"Wand Ambition," LiL iFFy (free download at www.wandcore.bandcamp.com)
Every now and then a really goofy idea turns into something really special. Who would've imagined that rap inspired by Harry Potter would become one of the most entertaining albums of the year?
Wil Wright, lead singer/songwriter of the band Senryu, came up with the idea for Lil iFFy, wizard rapper, in 2011. During the next year, he released the online album "Wandcore," did a national tour and turned iFFy into a word-of-mouth phenomenon.
"Wand Ambition" almost unbelievably turns the act into real art.
On "Wandcore" iFFy nailed the blend of rapper braggadocio and Potter fantasy, but on "Wand Ambition," iFFy and crew (who go by the name Dude Source) have had the chance to live it. The album's songs incorporate iFFy's real adventures and aspirations in a disorientingly lovable mashup of fantasy, fact and rapper mythology. Sure, they're white suburban guys with attitude, but the act's love of classic hip hop and lyrical and musical smarts is genuine.
DJ Tom Ato (Thomas Thibus) samples vintage funk to soundtracks to modern and classic rock, making for a solid and surprising foundation.
On "Sorted Affair," a rap mixed with a sung chorus (backed by a sample from the band Beach House), iFFy imagines a carnal encounter between himself (as Harry) and Hermione. It's a combination of raunch and romance that sounds like a breakout hit.
The skit "The Boy Who Lived It Up" imagines the birth of iFFy with a heated conversation between baby and dad while the baby is attempting to leave the birth canal!
The album's closer insists the audience "put your (expletive) wands in the sky if the magic is alive."
Put 'em up. However unlikely, LiL iFFy's magic is real.
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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