B O N E S PaidProgramming Review
Hi everyone, Teamthany Seshtano here, Teen Ink’s busiest music nerd and it’s time for a classic review of the 2013 Bones mixtape, PaidProgramming. Elmo O’ Connor other wise known as Bones, or Th@ Kid if you’re looking at his earlier work, is a Michigan/ California rapper, part of the independent label known as TeamSesh and a part of the underground rap group SeshHolloWaterBoyz. This is the 29th tape under his belt and this isn’t really not an ordinary Bones tape because this is where, at least for me, where Bones started to really define a new image for himself. Even though it’s still in the style of his three previous tapes, those tapes being CRACKER, SCUMBAG, and CREEP, the overall concept of the album is what really draws me in and how interesting it is. The concept being of I guess just sitting in your home, late at night and just watching the Paid Programming portion of a certain channel.
The Album kicks off with the title track, which is a very somber and mysterious instrumental, with a clap sample once in awhile. It’s almost like you’re visualizing a grainy city background covered in fog, at least that’s I visualized, still pretty decent instrumental nonetheless. Now the next track titled JonathanTaylorThomas, is the first song that Bones actually raps and it seems to be about those whom Bones dislikes trying to be on his level, comparing them a to a young Jonathan Taylor Thomas. Saying how they’ll never actually earn respect or money doing what they’re doing and eventually end up dead in game by the hands of Bones, adding onto the song however, is Bones going even harder on this person saying how nobody is going to miss him and how they memory of the person will slowly fade into obscurity or even to the point where the man’s parents lied to his face about making it in life.
Just a bit of a disclaimer, there are quite a few references to drugs and money in Bones’ music, though he does make sure there is a decent variety of songs with differing subjects. The third song here titled WakingUpCrying, which is about I guess having some sort of smoking session with a girl he met though it does devolve into a bit of bragging when he talks about riding off in a yacht with a swimming pool on the top or how he’s a slim young pimp with twenty beepers on his hip. That is until Jonny Telafone comes in with some very tear stained and somber vocals, crying for the girl that Bones is with, wondering what else to do as he soaks his pillows with his tears. The next song up which I personally enjoy, titled RotatingBed sort of brings it back to concept of the album a bit with the beat and overall tone. The song is about Bones missing a girl and how his life really isn’t complete without her in his life, stating how he doesn’t how to act or to be sane when she isn’t around.
Sorry if the format seems a little repetitive, I’m just trying to do a short review of each song so bear with me a little bit. So, the next song titled Dial-Up seems to have a more mean mugging vibe to it while also taking place in two separate years it seems. Bones is in 2003 talking with someone’s girl on Nextel phone in a black Mercedes Benz jeep. While the guest feature on the song by Na$ty Matt is about him being in 2005, having casual sex with a few girls like they’ve had their tubes tied and riding in a Mercedes Benz with a machete on his side referring to himself as a dirtbag which is sort of fitting by the content of his lyrics. The next song in the track listing titled AmericanBeauty actually samples the movie that it’s named after, it’s the final quote of the movie actually before the character played by Kevin Spacey, is embracing his own death, which Bones likes to do in his music. After that however, Bones starts to go into a brag rap direction, talking about he has the dope and the flow, though the chorus oddly enough is the same chorus from Aaron Carter’s song, How I beat shaq. He then goes on to describe his day as he wakes up, wondering how much time he could kill as he rolls his first ‘bone’. Then the song devolves into Bones talking about how other’s aren’t as good as him or his label.
Now another thing to sort of bear with in this review is that Bones, like many other rappers, enjoys talking about how successful he is which isn’t a bad thing at all as long as you keep the song interesting. Next song in the tracklisting is called 281-330-8004, which is Mike Jones’ old personal number from 2005. In the song he talks about how he’s got friends that don’t talk to him because he I guess he would rather silently communicate than draw attention to themselves. Describing his popularity as Macaulay Culkin’s back in 1992 which makes sense in the popularity sense though doesn’t really make much sense in the way he got that popularity. The next cut on the album is 7DayOutlook, which samples an old weather channel ad fitting back in with the theme and concept of the album. Fellow Sesh member Dylan Ross is on this track for hook, telling those frauds in his life to stay out of it, telling them that because of them he no longer has any love to give. Bones then gets into his verse, saying how he doesn’t wear brand name clothes and wears his label’s merch, and also listens to his own music because he feels that rappers today aren’t up to his level. A more somber track up next titled Cut and seems to be about Bones deeply missing this girl to the point where he can’t think straight, as his mind fills with feelings of regret and sadness. Looking back on his memories with her, hoping that this girl feels the same when she thinks about him. He even retraces his steps at one point, however those he meets on the way don’t satisfy him, knowing they can’t relate to his situation. Eventually he wishes for death, know that he’ll never see her again.
The next song in the track listing titled FlashFloodWatch is about those who hate on Bones but still listen to his music. However Bones knows of this and begins to tear into these ‘secret fans’, seeing their hate as them throwing him in the water and just watching him sink to the bottom. Bones then talks about how these ‘secret fans’ don’t really know what he’s like as they’ve never been or seen a live show, however it comes back to sort of that brag rap style at the end of the song which is to be sort of expected. The next song, which is a vocal performance rather than a rap song is called TeenageBoy now, if you don’t know already, Bones is a pretty talented singer at times at least for me. He’s even got a little side project with Sesh Producer Greaf called surrenderdorothy where it’s just vocals, though I can see why people wouldn’t like this song or any other sad Bones song because, most now come to get hyped up and it’s unique to that variety again in Bones’ music but I digress. The track begins with a sample from the Adam Sandler movie the wedding singer, before singing about him and a girl, which is pretty formulaic at this point but think about the song and the context it’s in. It’s like some weird kid at school who entered the talent show and sings for the girl he can’t talk because he feels that if he makes any form of contact with this girl she’ll reject him.
Next song up is titled Snow and it seems to be about Bones revisiting locations from his childhood/teenager days and seeing how much they’ve changed since he left. Though he is unsure of whether or not the roads have changed however. Up next is the song SevereWeatherWarning which is about Bones describing how these labels want him but they can’t have him, as Bones is more akin to staying an underground artist. Eventually talking about his blade and his girl near and at the end of the song. However, the song after that titled Rust is probably the most depressing song on the album in which Bones goes a more tear stained and hateful approach to missing someone. Talking about losing all the love he could give because he already wasted it on someone who really didn’t need it, saying that the person may miss him but not actually. Even though it’s sort of implied that the person Bones is talking about feels this way, as some whimpering is heard at the end. Then we hear the interlude titled 30DayFreeTrial, which is pretty catchy and pleasing after Rust. The next song is titled StoneColdStunner, features Wiccaphase on vocals, saying how girls only like him because he looks like Bones or how he feels like a leech comparing himself to basically a clone of him and nothing else. Bones then talks about how he can’t stop whatever he is doing, that probably being smoking dope and doing whatever he wants, calling out for somebody to save him.
The song up next HeavyFog is a pretty standard Bones song, talking about rolling up ‘bones’, brandishing his knife, and how his writing is flawless. The song after however Called TeenGirlDiesAtRave, I feel yet again fits back in with the concept a bit, as if say an after school special comes on TV and it’s about drug abuse. The intro on the song takes place at a night club I guess and Bones is with his friend Claire, however he finds her on the floor not breathing and comes to the conclusion that she overdosed on pills and died. Then the song kicks off with a sample from a rave song titled,”Wipe away my tears”, after a while Bones starts to get into his verse, describing the last moments of Claire’s life as she slowly dies however he diverts from this narrative near the end. However, it jumps back from the theme and concept in the song ScatteredShowers, where Bones talks about how he was always the best without ever even noticing it before and then proceeds to talk about dope and how these other rappers are too scared to follow their dreams.
GrandfathersRing is the next song, immediately talking about how he’s young and handsome like the Hansons or how doesn’t care about his image as long as he gets his ash. However at the outro, it yet again for another time comes back to the concept and theme of the tape, where it’s basically a radio traffic and weather report which will tie into the end of the album. The next song titled 2006 is about how these scared, weak rappers need to step up their overall capital. At the end talking about how you’ll never catch him in Jordans dissing snapbacks aswell. The next two songs are pretty alright in my opinion the first one being Skin, which is another song about Bones and his lust for blunts and dope. The other being Blink187 which does sample actually sample a Blink182 song known as ”All The Small things.”. Bones then begins to talk about his extravagant bathroom as he smokes a blunt, threatening those mess with his brother saying they’ll be on First 48. The song after that is CracksInTheRoad, which is about Bones partying at some sort of exotic place with strange artifacts, eventually leaving the party at the end.
The last three songs on here, two out of three are pretty standard Bones tracks aside from the very last one. 5EasyPayments pretty standard, Bones talking about smoking dope or how he dropped out and made his own music. Now the second to last song is titled DelicateHands, which is about him trying not to lose feelings for a girl, at the same time trying to express his true feelings to her. The final song on the album is more of a Ten Minute Skit than a song, it’s called Sesh Radio: Volume 1. Now before I get into this one, there are two other Sesh Radio skits on two other tapes, those being Rotten and the sequel to this tape, PaidProgramming2. So it opens with a song by an alter ego by Bones named Ricky A Go Go, before actually getting into the news portion lead by ‘Sesh anchor Kip Chiperly’. This right here this skit is what really brings out the concept and theme which I personally enjoy very much. Kip finishes the weather report in which it then fades into a poem it seems, which is sampled from an old Chanel No.5 ad.The passage finally ends, and an unknown anchor is heard talking about the local ‘Sesh Fest’ cutting to the live feed down at the scene. However, it is implied that there actually is no Sesh fest because of the phoned in yelling at the ‘event’.The feed eventually cuts out, before another Ricky song plays, talking about walking down a lonely road at night. However, the unknown anchor returns and plays the next on the ‘playlist’ titled,TimeshareCondominium, this song later lands on another Bones tape titled DeadBoy. Though I won’t be talking about this song because I’m more focused on the skit than the song in the skit(however if people want, I could review DeadBoy). The song eventually ends and another Sesh Anchor, named Bobby Hallofax, begins to take calls from listeners. The only person who calls, named Pamela, doesn’t seem to speak english however Bobby takes this as show of support. Though he stops taking calls and plays an unknown song TeamSesh song before the track finally ends.
So overall I loved the concept and the aesthetic of the album though I can see why people wouldn’t like this album. Bones seems to talk about the same thing sometimes, though he does try to keep it interesting. Mixing different styles of rapping, singing, and in some of his tapes he even full on screams. Personally though, if you want to at least try and get your friend or friends into Bones I would try this album because it’s not too strong and it’s not too light, giving you the variety of styles Bones can have on a tape. That’s I really have to say on this one, Bones, PaidProgramming, TeamSesh, F O R E V E R.