Unless you were into Thrash Metal in the 80s, you probably have no idea who Paul Baloff is. Lucky for us, William Braunstein was, and while your favorite rapper is name checking Michael Jordan or Bill Gates, Ill Bill is showing love for the lead singer from one of his favorite metal bands. Baloff would become one of the most extreme frontmen in Metal, and was known for calling out fans in the crowd that he didn’t deem true metal heads. My buddy, Stewart Voegtlin, who edits Beer & Chips Magazine and knows shite side more about the man than me says, “He was the ultimate poser killer. [He] would shred dudes’ hair metal shirts, and tie what was left to his wrist like a killin trophy.” This aggressive adherence to authenticity in face of cultural tourism is not unique to Metal as a genre, as any good Hip-Hop head will tell you, and Ill Bill is the genuine article. Metal and Rap music fused into the form of a golem come gangster.
In Paul Baloff we find Ill Bill up to his old tricks. His signature brand of Hip-Hop seems fully informed by this early love of Thrash. Rapid fire delivery, spewing multisyllabic madness, with all the aggressive violence of a grinding guitar, bounces of MoSS’s grimy production and paints a vivid portrait of the Cult Leaders’ depraved mind set. While Ill Bill has been recording more introspective material material, some of which shows up on The Grimy Awards e.g. When I Die, Paul Baloff is devoid of such thoughts and instead embraces its own dark nature. Charlie Manson’s bastard son’s heart is “pitch black as a panther cub or a cancer lung.” It’s not until the end of verse that we find Bill waxing poetic about watching Paul Baloff on VHS tapes in his youth, but imagine he was watching something like this:
The video that accompanies this bit of black magic is an animated ode to Baloff’s legendary distaste for Glam Metal posers. The clip opens with a nameless, shirtless, one many army behind the wheel of his red Trans Am smoking cigs and drinking a brew while doing donuts in an abandoned lot until his ire is raised by a couple spandex glad posers all atwitter over the prospect of a White Lion show. The rest is a whiskey-fueled fever dream orgy of violence as our hero begins to dispense his own brand of vigilante justice. As entertaining as is it seeing our shirtless assassin kick the living shit out of any and all posers he encounters, the highlight of the video is at the very end where we find our man pulling an Al Bundy on the couch while watching people call into a public access show with guest Paul Baloff. Guess who’s called in with a few questions for our man Baloff. None other than 14-year-old Bill. It’s a refreshing bit of nostalgia that helps shed a little bit of light on one of Hip-Hop’s darkest MCs.