Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” is John Hughes movie released in 1986 about a sick high school kid who manipulates the world around him better than most adults. What a metaphor.
Bueller is a mixtape coming out January 21st of 2014 by 17 year old hip-hop artist Jay Wirth hailing from the most rural of possible origins, Hawley, Pennsylvania. Themixtape is, front-to-back, a sweeping display of prodigious lyrical talent and it represents a step forward for the rapper who has already released volumes of material artistically competitive with artists a decade his elder, now finally sees himself to be graduating high school and unsticking himself from the mud, as well as distinguishing himself from his peers.
Its intro establishes Bueller as a John Hughes-inspired mixtape about a rapper skipping school because it has nothing to offer him. This remains the theme throughout, surfacing in the lyrics multiple times. Similarly sequenced with the nominal film, Wirth begins with a high school anthem called FTR (Fuck The Rules), which is his stringed doorknob contraption to fool the parents and kick off the tomfoolery, before moving to Mondays featuring Aj Suede. This track displays Wirth further easing into his naturally technical style with muted piano tones in the background, harkening to Ferris’s puke-laced keyboard medley. The following track, Today’s Today, is a crash-course on just how deep this 17 year old will delve in his rhyme schemes and how frustrated he’ll get with his monotonous surroundings and, at times, himself for falling victim to the very same societal pressures he demeans, albeit through gritted teeth and two thick coatings of Buddha smoke. “Stuck in the mud, shit, enough is enough / we’re in need of brighter days,” foreshadows his next track, Juice, during which Wirth states plainly that he’s going to change the world because “someone’s gotta do it.”
If you’ve seen the mixtape’s eponymous film, you know the loudest, most attention-grabbing scene is the one during which the main character, skipping school to indulge in the trappings of Chicago, literally perform a dance number in a parade. Enter Taurus, Wirth’s loudest, catchiest and, in some ways, most lyrically complicated song on the album.It is Ferris screaming, “Fuck you, Rooney!” and dancing on a goddamn parade float mouthing a Nas sample and throwing hand grenades. Taurus may not be your favorite song on the mixtape, but it’s the one you’ll play the loudest. Along with Bong Rips, this section of the album is essentially Wirth taking the opportunity to show off lyrically. However scattershot Bong Rips may be, and however misleadingly Cypress Hill-inspired its title may be, it is a love song to hip-hop music and the forms of writing such. With a Breaking Bad metaphor, a Pablo Picasso reference and an ode to LL Cool J, I’d like to think this is when Ferris takes a lap around the Art Institute of Chicago.
Next comes Oligarchy, which is a bridge from the technically focused former half of “Bueller” to the more personal, introspective latter. In Let’s See What Happens, Wirth raps over a bipolar bassline to a faceless connection who, amidst the bullshit world he’s described since FTR, seems to be the Sloane to his Ferris. Sinclair Lewis begins to unwind the album and reintroduce the version of Jay Wirth who’s hungry for the world despite currently being passed out facedown on a mattress. On easily the longest track of the mixtape, Wirth raps over Childish Gambino’sMelrose, punctuating the depressing wraparound piano chords and ghostly Gambino howls with even bleaker tidings: “The future’s looking brighter, keep that head up more / she said ‘not around here, the sun sets at four.’”
Graduation concludes the album as a straightforward anthem to his high school experience, whether it involved hallowed halls and studying or scraped bowls, headphones, and scribbled rhyme books. “I’m stoned, grew up in the sticks / see, nothing’s breaking my bones.” This is not Wirth’s first project, and it clearly will not be his last, but it will stand as a concept album representing his transfer from high school backpack rapper to hip-hop artist.
Clocking in at thirty-eight minutes, “Bueller” is not the lengthiest of musical endeavors, but that does not preclude it from being a weighty experience. Listen to it loudly and remember the artist who wrote the lyrics has yet to graduate high school and has already opened for the likes of Mobb Deep. Although it comes out merely three weeks into the New Year, 2014 already has a new challenger for best young hip-hop lyricist, among the likes of Brooklyn’s Joey Bada$$ (despite the thematic departure). Can anyone name an up-and-coming artist who can trump Jay Wirth’s most recent installment? It’ll be interesting to compare it with the year’s subsequentmixtapes, but for now, all I can hear is Ben Stein droning: “Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?”
1. 1986/FTR (Intro)
3. Mondays (Feat. Aj Suede)
4. Today’s Today
5. Bong Rips
6. Juice (Feat. Nicky Gwiggs)
9. Let’s See What Happens
10. SinclairLouis (Feat. Karizma)
11. Melrose ll