July/August 2012

“The Full Retard”

by El-P

Central Question: Is fashion a form of time travel?
Album featuring “The Full Retard”: Cancer for Cure; Album’s take on the coming dystopia: “Flesh shuddering from the ovens. / Prisoners of the earth, come out. / Storm the studio”; Source of sample in previous phrase: William S. Burroughs; Album’s take on hype: “Fuck your droid noise”; Album’s take on time travel: “Don’t make me suffer this dimension straight”; Earlier album’s take on time travel: “We need to go back in time to when motherfuckers could rock / 88 miles per hour, bring it back to the block”; Album’s take on things in general: “Fuck the sun.”

Like an oracle crowning herself queen, the hook from “The Full Retard” predicts its own reign: “So you should pump this shit, like they do in the future.” The song’s track is all clanging beats and zapping lasers, its lyrics Jaime Meline’s standard skyscrapers-and-sewers futurism, its overall effect a parade of sonic likenesses of the coming world’s broken infrastructure. The chorus, though—the chorus is more about taste than about politics or apocalypse. Take another gander: so you should pump this shit, like they do in the future.

This is a glimpse into the hypnotic heart of hype itself. What does it mean to pump, promote, or even love something right now, knowing that it—the song or the idea or the meme—will be ubiquitous in the future? Why would we want to prefigure the they of Meline’s rancid imagination, anyway? (To prepare?) More practically, shouldn’t our own pumping, or pooh-poohing, have some influence on the popularity of this shit among later humanoids?

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

To read the full piece, please visit our store to purchase a copy of the magazine.

—Jeremy Schmidt

Jeremy Schmidt is a doctoral student at UCLA.

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