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October 15, 2008

Crazy for Shwayze

shwayzeMy good friend Evan Haga has a confession to make: He has an unnatural obsession with Shwayze.

Haven't heard of Shwayze? You must be crazy!

Sorry, I had to go there. Let me hit you with some knowledge: Shwayze is a California-based hip-hop/acoustic rock duo.

Rapper Aaron Smith (relatively unknown before the group) is Shwayze. He is joined by producer and Hollywood playboy Cisco Adler. They were featured on the MTV reality TV series Buzzin.

Before Shwayze, Adler was perhaps best known for being the frontman of Whitestarr, the son of famed producer Lou Adler and a dude who dates models. Actress Mischa Barton broke up with him after he "leaked" a nude photo of himself on the Internet.

Back to Evan.

Evan paid $20 to see Shwayze perform at Sante Fe Cafe in College Park this past weekend. You may ask yourself, "Why would a 25-year-old go to a college town and pay $20 to see a semi-successful acoustic rap duo?" His answer? "They make me giggle."

Here is Evan's take on the show ... 

shwayzeHow was the Shwayze gig? I'd put it alongside Springsteen, the Stones, Parliament, the Grateful Dead and Sonny Rollins as the most transcendent live show in human history. Kidding. 

It was fun. Considering how inept they were on their reality show (and how they never seemed to perform more than two songs in a set), my expectations were about what they’d be if Sarah Palin were to compete on Jeopardy!

Editor's note: Midnight Sun endorses neither Sarah Palin nor Jeopardy.

But Shwayze and Adler pretty much delivered. There was some twisted sense of professionalism about the pair, even if their job description is to recite moronic rhymes in front of a DJ named "Skeet Skeet" and shout expletives at drunk college kids.

And after looking at Shwayze’s eyes, I’m surprised he could stand up much less remember his rhymes—especially the really heady ones like "She said, ‘Boy, you crazy’/Nah, I’m Shwayze."

I’m being overly cynical about a group I actually paid 20 bucks to see. Critics destroyed their record, and they probably should have, but it interests me if only because it’s the most morally damaged music marketed to teenage girls since hair metal (also, not surprisingly, a Los Angeles invention).

shwayzeThe pot references are one thing, but one tune, "Polaroid," has the line "At a party on the hill/I popped a pill/Threw back a shot/And started to chill." Nice, guys. This isn’t a cautionary tale, but a song about how efficient it would be to photograph the young ladies you womanize because remembering their names is way too hard.

That sort of rhetoric is all over the album: The hit "Buzzin’," a song that at least feels romantic, is Shwayze’s "Ramblin’ Man" confession: "I move on like the Greyhound bus/I go town to town/And I prey on [a slang term for sexually promiscuous women that sort of rhymes with "bus"]."

At least he’s honest, and I think the inebriated party girls who got onstage to grind appreciated that candor.      

Adler, who at age 30 has developed into a totally awesome 19-year-old, can write a hook (almost literally, because they all sound the same). And he opens songs with their choruses a la Phil Spector, so there’s some production savvy there too.

Adler also produced "Corona and Lime," a hit whose chorus lyrics have nothing to do with the words in the verses. Very postmodern. Of course, when that song’s three-note intro kicked in and the sold-out crowd screamed and swilled more beer (try and guess what kind), the lack of continuity didn’t seem to be a problem.

(AP photos) 

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:31 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Random stuff


I hate hipster douchebags... Nuff' said. Never got the Whitestarr buzz either. Way to tarnish your Dad's legacy.

His pants are so tight he had to adjust in mid picture. WOW

I do like Corona and Lime, the drink (and fruit), so I can't hate on that...buuuuuttt I couldn't tell you anything else about that song outside of that line.

In the grand scheme of mainstream hip hop they're no worse then anything else. No timeless music is created anymore, but hey, it'll make a hot ring tone for three weeks.


You people are dumb. Maryland is a bubble. When you made that comments about popping a pill and taking a shot, thats how people live on the west coast. I would know cuz i have been there and seen it. There are many drungs in california and mostly everyone there uses them The music is only influencial if you let it be. Shwayze is a rapper who worked minimum wage many years and broke out as a rapper, and yes he does smoke weed. I love shwayze. he isnt afraid of censoring hiself and actually puts heart into his beats and lyrics. learn to appreciate stuff in life instead of bashing it.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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