Bringing back the spirit of hardcore hip hop, the song is a blackly comedic look at the dystopian quality of Cost of Living Crisis Britain.
The academic definition of Jester’s privilege is: “The ability and right of a jester to talk and mock freely without being punished; for nothing he says seems to matter.” With this in mind, let us introduce South London’s answer to Punk Rap, Neuro Placid. The brainchild of Ollie Brown, self titled “toddler with a power drill”, Neuro Placid stands out from the crowd, far removed from the dense and often nauseating fog of ‘shouty-man’ post-punk bands. Reviving the acerbic spirit that defined the heyday of hardcore hip hop acts like Public Enemy and more contemporary voices like MF DOOM and Eminem, Placid is what happens when Jester’s Privilege takes to the stage.
Placid masters the art of self-deprecation, making no bones about his tumultuous upbringing. This debut – intentional or incidental – comes as a statement from one of the creative British underclass as a cry, “Yes, we’re still here.” ‘Silly in the Mental’ comes across ergo as a fervent counterblast to the growing miasma of champagne socialism and trustafarians in the urban music community. Spitting in the face of the contrived, Placid draws on a heritage that winds from Public Image Ltd to slowthai. An adept social satirist, Brown is showing us the world as he sees it, all, of course, in a comedically veiled threat.
Placid’s rapping technique is centred on intricacy, packed full of multisyllabic rhymes and syncopation with a heavy focus on humour. Without one modicum of restraint, Brown describes Neuro Placid as his alter ego, the man who can say that which Ollie Brown cannot. In this way Placid rather unceremoniously throws political correctness out the window and makes a mockery of just about anything sensitive or contentious: “My split personality is sick of me / I’m a sofa surfer with a dream”. Placid sells knives to preschoolers, trips off of acid while babysitting war vets, sets the family dog on fire all with a regal wave and a menacing grin.
Employing the overt use of the trope of Alex from Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange, Placid hints at the horrorcore parallels between himself and the infamous protagonist. He raps; “Me and my three droogs / Breaking into family homes and beating up old dudes.” Placid and Alex are both delinquents, both existing in an increasingly uninhabitable, disenfranchised and dystopian Britain. With his rap rock, poetic horrorcore and hardcore hip hop, Placid captures the unsavory reality of working-class musicians and creatives, rather than romanticizing it. Placid is a violent, dark and comic persona that can vocalize the innermost twisted and truthful thoughts that an alter ego is able to voice.
The reality is that most of the time for working class artists, there is no golden parachute; “Empty pockets and still smoking nicotine / Now I’m mad at me, it’s so sad to see.” Musicians in this position regularly have to fend for themselves as they face poverty, hardship and, at times, homelessness. In a time where the cost of living is an insurmountable barrier to creatives, it is a matter of championing psychological resilience in having the wherewithal to make something from nothing. Furthermore, championing the self and the determination to succeed has never been more crucial. This is a huge socio-political statement from a working-class creative, but, of course, all in the spirit of jest because nothing he says really matters… or does it?
‘Silly In The Mental’ is out March 24th with Neuro Placid’s first ever release party happening on the same day at Paper Dress Vintage.