VIDEO: Chris Faraone interviews Wasted Talent
America's pastime glorifies grown men who run around in pinstripes and stirrups. According to a recent survey, the average age for PlayStation enthusiasts is 35. And, yes, Adam Sandler movies remain popular with Gen-Xers. So if everybody else can be a Toys "R" Us kid until he or she qualifies for discount coffee, why the hell should rappers have to grow up?
Despite a combined age of over 50, Dese and Oak Lonetree — together known as the Dunnas — still strive to be the white Red and Meth. And Nabo Rawk and Paul Foley — who unite as Wasted Talent — are determined to produce the most outrageous live show in Boston hip-hop, complete with folding-chair assaults and a posse member dressed like a gorilla passing out bananas.
Nabo, Foley, Oak, and Dese are hardly your work friends who make awful rap songs on GarageBand. They're marginally renowned Caucasians who stopped waiting for seven-figure deals a long time ago. As individuals, the members of Wasted Talent and the Dunnas wield enough underground notoriety to make king cobras jealous. In 2009, their goal is just to rhyme and move waistlines.
Some men use guys' night to play poker and watch baseball. Every Monday for the past six months, Dese and Oak have met up with their preppy prodigy producer, Billy Blaze, at Anna's Taqueria on Brookline's Harvard Street, where they bury burritos before heading to their studio for beats, blunts, beers, and chicken wings.
"I first liked Oak because he was the only dude I know who writes faster than me," says Dese, who's also a member of the Camp. Oak assures me, "It might be lame when rappers talk about how fast they write rhymes, but we write faster than them. We're also both fat fucks — so that's another common bond."
The upcoming 18-track Dunnas debut — All You Can Eat, which they drop at Unity Fest this Thursday — finds Oak and Dese smashing topics that should resonate with everymen. So far they've leaked cuts called "Douchebag" and "I Hate Mondays." Dese: "We're just doing songs that people can understand. Even my mother called to tell me that she heard 'Douchebag' on MySpace and liked it."
On Wasted Talent's cherry popper — which they unveil Tuesday at the Middle East — Nabo and Foley also cover mundane ground, from "Hot Dog Water" (a metaphor for how long they sit around) to "Khed" (think "kid" with a Boston drawl), which has Nabo clotheslining junkies on the Orange Line. "I always had an idea for a project called Wasted Talent," says Foley. "I just have so many friends who are artistic and who sit around jerking off all day." Adds Nabo: "Seriously — we do."
Although their collaboration is recent, Nabo and Foley have been homeboys for a decade. Both came up in Beantown's storied mid-'90s rap scene — Foley with falsehood, and Nabo with Porn Theatre Ushers. Over the years each worked with Mister Jason — who was in PTU and falsehood — as well as with K-No Supreme, who produced much of the synth-logged Wasted Talent debut. "Until this I pretty much stopped [rhyming] in '97," says Foley. "Nabo's probably the most famous out of all my rapper friends, and he's not even really famous."
Wasted Talent's motivation is imagination. As a scenester DJ who watches hipster scenes flourish around Boston, Foley is determined to avoid rap clichés. "While we want to rap, we don't want to be a slave to it," he says, and he refuses to book shows with other hip-hop acts. Adds Nabo: "Paul definitely has me going out of my realm a bit — there's even one song where I'm being really nice to the ladies. He kept telling me that I could do it, but I really didn't think I could."
When I first mentioned this article to Wasted Talent and the Dunnas — the duos loosely know each other — my intention was to write about the prominent misogynistic white-rap scene in the Bean. Even when both groups balked at the idea, I still liked it. Only when we sat for brews and interviews did I realize that, despite the hilarity and degeneracy that often fuel their processes, their stamina has little to do with melanin or chauvinism.
"We have no idea what kind of music we'll make next, and we're not concerned with how many CDs get sold," says Nabo. "I'll be putting out records on iTunes when I'm 60. I don't fucking give a shit, dude — I'm having a ball. I would like to become a professional wrestler, though."
THE DUNNAS + RAEKWON + AKROBATIK + SPECIAL TEAMZ + 7L & ESOTERIC + MORE at UNITY FEST | Paradise, 967 Comm Ave, Boston | June 4 at 8 pm | $25 | 617.562.8800 or www.thedise.com
WASTED TALENT, CD release party + MYSTERY ROAR (Formerly Cassette) + THE SECRET SEA (Formerly UV Protection) + DJ SILENT PARTNER | The Middle East Upstairs, 472 Mass Ave., Cambridge | June 9 at 8 pm | 18+ | $9 |617.864.3278, www.mideastclub.com/