On the surface, it seems like Rolling Stone spent six paragraphs and approximately 800 words too many explaining Limp Bizkit’s recent Cash Money signing. It isn’t until one actually decides to read Dan Hyman’s piece when the guts can be properly digested and, subsequently, regurgitated into a kind of “you’ve gotta be f*ckin’ kidding me” moment:
“The Limp Bizkit frontman, Williams had learned, had called to inform him that he was interested in inking a deal with Cash Money…. ‘That’s some shit I like to hear,’ Williams was quick to say, ‘let’s do it!'”
Once all dropped jaws are appropriately placed back into locked position, consider Baby’s decision as making sense. In a 12-month period where society has seen a Lou Reed/Metallica collaboration album (Blerg) and a Jack White/Insane Clown Possee side project (Double Blerg!) the LB/Cash Money pairing seems all too appropriate. We are in an age of the nonsensical, after all.
Yet, what separates these other head-scratching projects from the Durst/Baby power axis are the intentions. For as subjectively bad as Lou Reed/Metallica and Jack White/Insane Clown Possee were, there was an artistic ambition that was never fully realized, which sought to bridge the high-brown with the admittedly low-brow*. The Durst/Baby tag team was never an artistic grab as much as it was trying to pair a long-dead mainstream fad (Limp Bizkit and late-1990s nu-metal) with a mainstream Hip-Hop label. It’s like Baby thought and still thinks Rebirth was a good idea, so why not take that decision to its radicalized end?
This isn’t to dissuade Hip-Hop labels from taking on rock ‘n’ roll acts. The Black Keys have occupied that territory for years now and Blakroc was solid. However, Baby’s move is dumb not only when one considers Limp Bizkit hasn’t been relevant in over a decade, but also nu-metal isn’t even the dominant rock paradigm anymore. Bizkit peers Korn are dubsteppin’ with Skrillex and Linkin Park have metastasized into something much different than nu-metal.
The best we can hope for is Durst landing next to Jae Millz and Gudda Gudda in the land of YM signees that are signed and forgotten, never to be heard from again. However, this new relationship will probably just produce nothing other than more frat-rock–Durst has never been known as progressive and/or malleable. And if Baby finds that he can market Durst to someone other than the audience at Columbus, Ohio’s “Rock On the Range” music festival, then more power to him. But cheap gimmicks only work for so long, especially when they’re not as sensational as Nicki Minaj nor as marketable as Tha Carter IV.
So while Durst thinks the new Cash Money affiliation will “bring out the heaviest Limp Bizkit stuff to date,” it’s bound to be another exercise in money-burning for Baby. Maybe the signing will take the place of him betting a few million on who will come up 5th in the Poughkeepsie Springs 500 or something.