Music » Record Review

Juan Huevos

MC People Magazine
(self-released)

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Durham's Juan Huevos makes hip hop in the classic street journalism sense: That is, the 10 tracks on MC People Magazine detail familiar episodes in his life and among his scene with wit, candor and a dose of braggadocio. Well, sort of: The situations Huevos wades in aren't quite as street as N.W.A. or Jeezy or even an underground firebrand like Sage Francis: Rather, Juan Huevos—the outlet of Jon Gregory, a 28-year-old white dude from Durham with a killer moustache­—raps about falling off bar stools, turning Friendster photos into late-night pornography and wanting to quit bad jobs. Huevos' scene is one of alternating socializing and ostracizing. Either he's with friends and too drunk to sit on a bar stool, or he's smoking grass late at night by himself, using his roommate's computer. He delivers those tails and his social diagnoses with sinewy semantics, bouncing it off of synth-snare-and-sample beats that suggest Gregory's always ready to party.

Indeed, suds and sex are the memes here, and Gregory's descriptions aren't always flattering. The Lurk, for instance, is his most clever mechanism, a repeating description of that steely-eyed, can-I-buy-you-a-drink maneuver singles do in a crowded bar. Gregory is both disgusted by it and involved in it. On "Wannabeherbf," he wakes up beside a beautiful girl ("What we did was more than naked"), suddenly realizing that he wants more than a few-night stand. But he can't settle, so he goes back to the bar, looking for somebody special: "I got Now & Laters, Sweet Tarts and gum/ She's got a body that's built for fun/ Who needs gels for making it go numb?/ Let's get dumb so we both can cum." On the title track, a fantasy about being in Entertainment Weekly, Gregory makes a soundbite of his own contradictions: He wants to be in Entertainment Weekly, but he wants to be the rapper that disses the rag in its own pages. Pretty representative and logical, after all.

Juan Huevos plays The Cave Friday, Nov. 23, at 10 p.m.

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