Years before Eminem fantasized about killing his baby mama, another white rapper was crafting hip-hop joints about killing annoying passersby and setting fire to buildings in the dead of night with orgiastic pyromaniac glee. Dallas’ Mark Griffin took art rock, industrial beats, alternative, and hip-hop to create uncategorizable tales about modern life and the ones who can’t cope. College radio caught on first, playing “Truth Is Out Of Style” from Griffin’s first album, Hell With the Lid Off.
A year later, Griffin explored more mature and unsettling themes with his second album, Welcome to My Dream. Commercial alternative radio took a few tentative steps towards embracing MC 900 Ft. Jesus, as the single, “Killer Inside Me” (download) got some airplay and plenty of late-night MTV exposure. A dark journey into the mind of possibly the world’s most casual serial killer, the song provided the perfect soundtrack for fans of Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho. While there was definitely an bleak vibe, Griffin also cut the gloom with plenty of ironic humor, so you weren’t quite sure exactly where he was coming from.
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It was Welcome to My Dream‘s second single that got the most attention, though. “The City Sleeps” (download), a song from the point of view of a hopeless arsonist, got quite a bit of alternative radio action, making MC 900 Ft. Jesus one of the first popular white rappers (after the Beastie Boys and two-thirds of 3rd Bass).
Griffin recorded another album, One Step Ahead of the Spider, when fate struck. The video for “If I Only Had a Brain,” was showcased on an episode of Beavis & Butthead, where Beavis did a hilarious imitation of the song’s bassline (“Dum, da dum, da dum, da dum dum dum”). Sadly, instead of being known for paving the way for Eminem, this seems to be the mainstream’s only point of reference for MC 900 Ft. Jesus.
These days, Griffin DJs in his spare time and works as a clerk at Borders. Seriously. So, next time someone tries to sell you on a Borders Rewards membership, remember “Killer Inside Me” and smile politely when you say, “No, thank you.”
“Killer Inside Me” and “The City Sleeps” did not chart.Â
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