As a singer-songwriter — although that term is pretty misleading — Oxford-based Mission Man is one weird dude. His one-man approach to musical performance is basically the following: set a cheap-sounding, pre-programmed beat on the keyboard and slap on the bass guitar while hyperactively rapping about basketball, buddies and other everyday matters in a warbly, white-guy monotone. Throw in an occasional off-key melody for the chorus, and you've got the idea. —-
This may sound like a novelty act taken to its gimmicky extreme, but Mission Man's built up a 17-year-long-and-counting array of unique, oddly catchy broke-dick Funk/Rap jams. (Check out fan favorite "Chillin' at the Papa," a seasick-sounding ode to a boring winter day killing time with an employee named Michelle while stranded at a particular pizza chain.) It's this fact, and the man’s sheer level of commitment to the seemingly doomed formula, that really makes him an act worth seeing.
I don't want to make the guy sound like Wesley Willis here. While Mission Man may qualify as an “outsider artist,” his music is quite a few steps beyond the obsessive, redundant and quite often painfully awful (yet still sublimely fun) psychotic experiments churned out by the sadly deceased King of the Headbutt. And I'm pretty sure Mission Man doesn't have a major psychological condition like schizophrenia to account for his bizarre, unselfconscious style. He's just an unapologetically dorky guy who sounds like he's way into Hip Hop and R&B. Do I need to mention that the college set loves him?
In any case, if any of this sounds interesting to you, check out Mission Man’s show tonight at the Balcony in Oxford or at the Cup and Saucer Cafe in Cincinnati on Saturday, when he’ll perform with Mr. Leg, Ormo and My Family Needs Food.
Hear the legendary Mission Man here.