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Oh lordy, 'I'm the Man.' Anthrax's slightly less successful answer to Aerosmith/Run DMC's 'Walk This Way' that was fortunately treated largely as a joke, but all the same doesn't make for a riveting listen - especially when presented no less than three times on one short E.P.
Despite being the first rap metal song (oh fantastic, I just love that particular god-awful sub-genre. Thanx, Anthrax), there really is no trace of metal here. It's essentially a stupid Beastie Boys rip-off full of "hilarious" lyrics performed by bassist Frank Bello, drummer Charlie Benante and guitarist Scott Ian, while regular singer Joey Belladonna politely declines in favour of hiding on the drum kit at the back, and lead guitarist Dave Spitz is similarly unenthusiastic to get involved. It really is a dumb song, possessing nothing beyond novelty value and not even doing that particularly well - the jokes essentially revolve around the presence of naughty words, leading to the existence of the 'radio edit' here that's identical apart from turntable scratching over the offending obscenities, and more specifically their substitution for something more "hilariously" modest. As an example, at one point one of the MCs declares "They say rap and metal can never mix, well all of them can suck--" before his sentence is concluded by another suggesting "a sexual organ located in the lower abdominal area." And then the first responds, "no, it's dick." They say rap and metal can never mix? Get outta town. Far, far away.
I'm not a fan of novelty songs at the best of times, especially hip hop, and combining them with an otherwise talented metal band I quite like doesn't make for the most enjoyable E.P. I've ever heard, especially as I have to listen to the offending song three consecutive times. The only good news is that it was strictly confined to this separate release, and not permitted to intrude on the otherwise enjoyable albums the band were putting out during this period. Also on the positive side, the second half of the E.P. attempts to make up for it by serving up some real metal, but to be honest I was still a little too disturbed and nauseated to properly appreciate it. Their cover of Black Sabbath's 'Sabbath Bloody Sabbath' is distinctly average, the guitars lacking any sense of the original and only Belladonna impressing with his Ozzy-like delivery of the verses, and the two live Anthrax songs are merely "quite good." I would only inflict this on an enemy as a cruel joke, particularly if I thought they had a similar taste to me when it comes to "hilarious" novelty rap rock songs performed thrice in a row, but otherwise it's an easily overlooked but sadly unforgettable offering from Anthrax's classic period.
The really sad thing is, a few years later they did it all again.
1. I'm the Man (censored radio version)
2. I'm the Man
3. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (Black Sabbath cover)
4. I'm the Man (live)
5. Caught in a Mosh (live)
6. I Am the Law (live)
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 I'm The Man
2 I'm The Man
3 Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
4 I'm The Man
5 Caught In A Mosh
6 I Am The Law