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Catching breaks: Homebwoi channel surfs through hip-hop.

When Homebwoi recorded "Gimme a Break" he had been rapping to little notice since childhood. "I was about to give up," he says. "I knew so many people in the industry that were doing for themselves, and I'm like, Man, why won't it work for me?"

"Gimme a Break" samples the opening theme from the '80s sitcom of the same name, and it finds the cartoonishly exuberant Homebwoi trying to figure out where he went wrong. When the Grif. n, Georgia native implies the entire rap industry is at fault for his lack of success, it could easily be a mega eye-roller, except he sounds like he actually enjoys being left out, rapping, What I gotta do? Work blocks and slang rocks/ Get a couple of keys of crack and get pop/ Act like I'm thugging it up like 2pac/ Then will ya give me a break? As it turns out, it was this big fuck you that caught the attention of Mr. Collipark in 2004, who signed Homebwoi and kicked off a series of false starts that included a minor hit with B.G. on "Where Da At," "Halftime (Stand Up Get Crunk)" with the Ying Yang Twins and, puzzlingly, a WWE opening theme for Jonathan "Coach" Coachman.

But Homebwoi's self-deprecating and occasionally snide lyrics were wildly mismatched with the minimal club hits that Mr. Collipark was churning out at the time. "It got to the point where they tried to force a lot of stuff they did on me, and being a totally different artist than what they do, it's just not natural," he says. So Homebwoi put together The Goodnite Show with DJ Smallz. The mixtape, in addition to "Gimme a Break," features "It's Just Me," which samples the theme to The Greatest American Hero, the syrupy-stringed easy listening jam that's always playing when you buy shampoo at Rite Aid. But The Goodnite Show reaches its apex of ridiculousness with "Magni. cent," a song about Homebwoi coming to terms with his girl being the Erykah Badu to his Andre 3000 (She got me wearing blonde wigs, rocking shoulder pads) over a beat that comes from Vangelis' majestic opening theme to Chariots of Fire. The sample and the lyrics have approximately zero things in common, but it doesn't really matter. Homebwoi has carved out a comfortable space for himself as the happy underdog, content to rap over pop culture detritus, embracing their corniness and catchiness as one.


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Title Annotation:GEN F
Author:Hockley-Smith, Sam
Publication:The Fader
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2009
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