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Allston indie rockers wage message-board rap war (sorta)

There’s a new feud brewing in the mean streets of Allston indie rock, one that threatens to undo all the goodwill and scene unity fostered by seven-nights-a-week shows at Great Scott, great new bands forming every three hours, and a vibrant online community centered on the Honeypump message board (board.honeypump.net). It started, as these things inevitably do, with a blistering, thugged-out hip-hop diss track.

A few Sundays ago — specifically, the one right after the blizzard — a mysterious MP3 titled "Lower Allston Raw Hate 2005" showed up on the Honeypump board. Introduced by snippets of watchdog barks and whirling police sirens, and shouted over a looped Shellac sample, the lo-fi battle rhyme called out unsuspecting scenesters of all stripes, from Morgan Coe, of the idealistic folk-punk collective Bread & Roses ("Make up your mind/It’s 2005 not ’69"), to "Blackout Bar" DJ Mark Viera (he’s called the "bald Blackout king") to Dan Shea, former booker of the basement venue known as House of Suffering Succotash ("I fucked your girl more times than the cops came to the H.O.S.S."). It also incited a turf war between Upper Allston and Lower Allston, and took a wholesale stab at Cambridge ("Of course it’s nice and quiet/You live in the ’burbs/Where Allston kids go to die/A city of nerds").

It’s nothing new for inter-nerd-battle rhymers to exchange written insults in chat rooms, but it’s rare for someone to actually record one. Credit Honeypump cruise director Ben Sisto, along with fellow HP regulars Brad and Kevin, with taking the game to the next level. "The three of us were filled with a lot of hate," the mild-mannered Sisto insisted last week, refusing to break character. "There’re a lot of fake-ass people out there in the scene at large that really need to get slapped. And we gave them a verbal slap." This past Sunday, Sisto would neither confirm nor deny reports that the whole thing was just an extremely funny in-joke, and that in fact he’d been bro-ing down at declared enemy Dan Shea’s dance night the previous evening.

Soon after Sisto’s salvo dropped, the predictable answer-song onslaught began. Jon Howard (HP user name: Unfuckwithable) posted an MP3 called "Royal Street Hater," on which, over a loop of the Righteous Brothers’ "You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’," he defiled Sisto’s crew with a deadly impersonation that closed with, "You embarrassing wiggers/Figured the wrong beef/I’m bigger than Brad’s hilarious front teeth!" The next day, a poster calling himself Bobby Anarchy countered with a jokey response (www.myspace.com/bobbyanarchy): "Honeypump is wilding/The fur is flying/Like a mob chasing Ben Sisto after a show/On the way to the Virgin Islands." And more answers are on the way: Shea says he’s working on one, and Sisto’s crew has already threatened "volume two."

Sisto has mixed reactions to the storm he’s started. "As for [‘Royal Street Hater’], we’re not even going to acknowledge that particular one. We didn’t even listen to it." But Bobby Anarchy, he said, "understood the nature of pure hate that’s bred in the streets." Before hanging up, Sisto added, "Oh, yeah. Make sure to mention that we thank our families and God."

Issue Date: Febraury 11 - 17, 2005
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