G-Biz: Politics and Hip-Hop 101

Minneapolis hip-hop duo G-Biz recently fell under Michele Bachmann’s radar for their vulgar promotional flyer

Raghav Mehta

From Bob DylanâÄôs decade-defining protest-folk to the fight-the-power fist-raisers of Public Enemy to RadioheadâÄôs the-planet-is-dying, Bush-era doom and gloom, artists have never been afraid to mix politics with their music. While the songs arenâÄôt always poignant or effective, it almost always grabs listenersâÄô (and non-listenersâÄô) attention. So when flyers for local hip hop act G-BizâÄôs upcoming tape-release party entitled âÄúF*** Michele Bachmann” were spotted in Minneapolis last month, it didnâÄôt take long for our never-shy congresswoman to publicly denounce the poster and the artists behind it, forever altering G-BizâÄôs status as Twin Cities nobodyâÄôs to being lambasted on air by conservative pundit Sean Hannity. And aside from the flyer hubbub, no one knows a thing about G-Biz, at least not until now. G-Biz is a Minneapolis-based hip-hop duo comprised of MC Gringo Blingo (Matt Ernster) and DJ G-Nome (G-Nome declined to give us his full name for this story) that has been evolving since Ernster first started the project in 2002. Employing old drum machines, mixers and distorted vocals, G-Biz is a sinister-sounding body of mechanical noise thatâÄôs so willfully weird, so strangely hypnotic that it will either engross or completely alienate its listeners. Ernster and G-Nome admit that the Bachmann stunt, which originated from a song carrying the same title that Ernster recorded in 2006, was solely to promote the show. But thatâÄôs not to say the duo isnâÄôt politically minded. âÄúWeâÄôre kind of in no-manâÄôs land, but itâÄôs really just hip-hop,âÄù Ernster said. ItâÄôs definitely not the same brand of club-friendly cash-money hip-hop youâÄôd expect to hear from rap moguls like Raekwon or Jay-Z . But it doesnâÄôt really resemble anything from Twin CitiesâÄô thriving hip-hop scene either. G-Biz is more like the kind of hip-hop Trent Reznor would produce if he was holed up in an insane asylum with malfunctioning robots, had binged on PCP and left Tom WaitsâÄô âÄúBone MachineâÄù playing in the background on repeat for a month. âÄúItâÄôs just fat beats with noise on top of it âÄî it just happens to sound semi-industrial,âÄù said G-Nome. âÄúWe get a lot of confused people.âÄù G-BizâÄôs soon-to-be-released untitled EP is an uncompromising blend of industrial-like hip-hop full of back-alley nihilism and long stretches of meaty, pulsating beats punctuated by moments of pure terror. The songs are so violently engaging that you can almost feel your mind rattling around in your head long after itâÄôs even over. âÄúItâÄôs hard not to write [politically] now. ItâÄôs just more prevalent,âÄù Ernstner said. âÄúAmericaâÄôs never been more impoverished âĦ And just watching friends and family suffer all the time âÄî itâÄôs hard not to focus on that.âÄù Because of all the excess noise, most of the lyrics are virtually indecipherable. But titles like âÄúRedneck Make-a-WishâÄù and âÄúJune 6, 2006âÄù (6/6/06, get it?) reveal ErstnerâÄôs not-so-subtle social and political commentary. And though Rep. Michele Bachmann might be their favorite target, G-BizâÄôs music is more of a full-fledged rejection of the nature of the American political system as a whole rather than just cheap partisan vitriol. âÄúI have so many family members living on farms in Houston county who are just getting [expletive] left and right. IâÄôve had uncles whoâÄôve had to give up their livelihood because of pathetic white trash like Michele Bachmann,âÄù Erstner said. âÄúSheâÄôs definitely not the leader of it, but sheâÄôs the most blatant.âÄù BachmannâÄôs campaign office was unavailable to comment for this story. But the songs arenâÄôt rallying cries for change either. TheyâÄôre vicious, no-holds-barred anthems for anarchists. From ErstnerâÄôs NWA channeling in âÄúJune 6, 2006âÄù: âÄúWhen something happens in South Side, nothing happens / ItâÄôs just another gringo dead / ItâÄôs just another six bullets in your headâÄù to the 12-minute marathon of mutiny in âÄúWe All Screwed,âÄù G-Biz provides a grim soundtrack for all the hopeless cynics of the digital underground. Earlier this month, BachmannâÄôs husband issued a statement on G-Biz deeming the posters âÄújuvenileâÄù and âÄúimmature.âÄù âÄúItâÄôs juvenile, of course. But I find her going around making hate speeches that are anti-immigration and anti-homosexual juvenile,âÄù G-Nome said. âÄúYeah, thatâÄôs far more juvenile than a cartoon elephant crapping blood,âÄù Erstner said.