Bizarre might be the most aptly-named emcee in all of Hip Hop. In a culture that in many ways embraces odd, he might be the oddest of them all. Like Kool Keith, Bizarre has intertwined his many verbal talents into an image that is rather unique. Friday Night at St. Andrews only reinforces the notion of odd. It’s clear that the D12 member has embraced this aspect of his personality and really made it his trademark.
From the very beginning Bizarre sets a tone that he rarely strays from. Over the course of the album, he talks about taking every drug known to man, sexing plenty of women women – and on “I Love The Babies,” it’s, well, just disturbing. The Detroit native understands that humor is part of his draw and like any controversial comedian, he pushes the limits. Unfortunately pedophilia is one of those unaccepted areas of humor, and listeners are left feeling uncomfortable. This is a common trend throughout St. Andrews, Bizarre likes to push the listener to the edge of their comfort level and give them a shove with the most politically-incorrect thing he can think of.
With the questionable content aside, Bizarre has a tough time carrying the album all by his lonesome. His unique delivery can wear on the listener. After all, he achieved his national fame as part of the platinum-selling group D12. While his verses made him arguably the second most notable voice in the group, they also didn’t bring about a public outcry for a solo album. On Friday Night at St. Andrews, Bizarre sounds best when he is surrounded with his peers. On the Yelawolf-assisted “Down the Road,” the host thrives beside another brilliant Yela verse. “Believer” sees Tech N9ne and Bizarre lamenting over the fading loves. In Tech’s case, it is the health of his mother and with Bizarre, it is the state of Detroit. Bizarre paints a vivid picture of his hometown and with lines like “The D, watching my people get slaughtered / Hurricane Katrina without the water,” the Celebrity Fit Club contestant is in his element. The line is very telling of the economic state that the city is in, and the song itself is Bizarre’s best moment. It’s one of the few times where Bizarre leaves the humor and perversion behind and gets truly personal and the result is successful.
Unfortunately the album’s strong moments are few and far between. Aside from the two aforementioned tracks, and a catchy “Here We Go” / “Raps Finest,” the remainder of the album is below average. Bizarre’s biggest flaw is lack of genuine commitment to a topic. Regardless of the seriousness of the topic he somehow manages to compromise himself. Where Brotha Lynch Hung does Horror-core to perfection, Bizarre’s ill-timed jokes prevent him from being taken seriously. Even on ridiculously cliché tracks like “Pussy,” Bizarre manages to ruin a perfectly capable strip club anthem with the mere mention of a “Ponderosa buffet.” The weird humor that made his appearances on Eminem’s projects so memorable, also prevent him from constructing an in-depth album. Tracks like “School Teacher,” “Wild Like Us” and “Smoking Crack” demonstrate this point further.
While an emcee like Eminem spits shock value one liners, he also tucks them away inside complex lyrical structures. His one-liners tend to sneak up on you out of nowhere. Bizarre doesn’t have that luxury. The predictability of upcoming lines hampers his appeal. With that said, it’s clear that his creativity has had an apparent influence on Slim Shady. While Bizarre is a grizzled veteran and strange has a market to sell, it has to be done in a convincing manner. Bizarre is unable to do this on Friday Night at St. Andrews, and even though the album is blessed with solid production, it is ultimately a failure.