February 04, 2003

Har Mar Superstar "You Can Feel Me"

When one thinks of white rappers, two images come to mind: Vanilla Ice and Eminem. (If you're older, 3rd Bass, but they were more of a group than individual personalities). Of course, as time goes by, the differences between Eminem and Vanilla Ice grow smaller--when Mr. Mathers makes his live record, the transformation shall be complete. Then there's R&B singing. Michael Bolton comes to mind. Though there's a whole new world of independent rap and hip-hop being born which breaks the racial barrier, the genre is still pretty much thought of as not a white one. If you're a regular reader, you should know that we're not going to waste our time or your time talking about music made by the artists mentioned above. Why should we? Then there's Har Mar Superstar, a very talented man with an excellent singing voice, who simply defies description.

Har Mar Superstar is the "brother" of Sean Na Na's Sean Tillmann. He's an amazing fellow, too--just look at the pictures in the booklet. He's a short, stocky fellow with long hair, a pencil-thin mustache, and one helluva ego. He's not a fighter, he's a LOVER, baby, and he's already loved your girl. The man is totally comfortable with himself, and that makes me feel good, because he's not what you'd expect. Although he's sincere about his music, there's a "joke" atmosphere that is undeniably present. I don't think that Har Mar Superstar is a joke, but the air of humor to be found on You Can Feel Me is as strong as cheap cologne and Swisher Sweets. Just look to his two pals, Dirty Preston and Ric Diculous. It's good to laugh, and you'll certainly have a smile on your face whenever you listen.

It doesn't hurt Har Mar that he's enlisted some really talented people to help him out. With folks as diverse as the Busy Signals, Broken Spindles, and the Faint contributing beats and rhythms. The Gossip's Beth Ditto makes a cameo appearance on "Power Lunch" and "H.A.R.M.A.R.," and her singing is just AMAZING. You Can Feel Me is a shockingly slick-sounding record, with expert beats and studio polish and a sound that Justin Timberlake would be jealous of. At times, Har Mar ventures from rap and R&B and heads straight into pop territory--such as on "Elephant Walk" and "We Can Be Happy,"--and guess what? He kicks ass at it, too! Sean--whoops, I mean Harold--actually possesses a VERY strong voice, and it's really should not be a shock to see the Har Mar star growing larger.

Were it not for the fact that I believe that Tillmann's appeal seems to be built on absurdity--absuridty of his style, and, unfortunatly, his appearance--I think that he could be a legitimate hit-making pop star. Hell, he should be a pop star. You Can Feel Me certainly makes a case for it, but that whole "humor" aspect seems to weigh any chance of it down. If you ever have the opportunity to see him live, DO IT. He's one helluva performer, and if he ever makes it to Top 40, I'll not only not be surprised, I'll be happy.

--Joseph Kyle

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