While all of the major news outlets have been reporting on the Winter Meetings, we here at Twinkie Town have an exclusive scoop on some major Joe Mauer news to come out of this off season. No, we were not at his wedding -- reporting on that would be an un-Minnesotan violation of Joe's privacy. We have a bigger scoop -- the release of Joe's debut rap album "Straight Outta Cretin."
According to our anonymous sources, the album should be released to your favorite Twin Cities record stores* starting April 1. However, we have been leaked an exclusive copy of early tracks of Joe's flow** which we are previewing here for you right now! The track list is full of classic hip hop anthems, but with the Mauer twist -- which is to say, you could listen to any of these songs over a glass of milk with your parents in your childhood kitchen. (And in the case of the opener, "Skim and Juice," we hear that was how it was recorded.)
Unfortunately, as much as I wanted to like this album, I couldn't help but find that Joe's public persona of being slightly robotic really comes off in this album thanks to the heavy use of autotune. For example, in the clip of Baby Got Backstop, Joe sounds like one of the automated voices from Mac OS X just layered over a cheesy GarageBand track.*** His rapping is often off-beat and the lyrics frequently don't rhyme, particularly in the track "Hard out Here for a Newly Married Guy Who Totally Respects Women." Still, we approve of the appearance of Justin Morneau at the end of the album, forming super-rap duo M&M performing the song "Our Names Are." [We are not allowed to share the lyrics here due to an on-going copyright battle with some guy from Detroit -- probably an angry Tigers fan.]
Rumor has it that in an on-going quest for publicity, M.C. Hammer himself wanted to join Mauer on the song "Can't Catch This," but Joe's mom vetoed the collaboration for fear that Joe would some how come out of it bankrupt. The peppy track "Bat Around" was reportedly performed in the clubhouse before games in an attempt to inspire the rest of the Twins line-up in 2012. However, we hear from a certain player recently traded to the NL East that the performances usually had the opposite effect and are somewhat to blame for the lackluster offense this past season -- except for Willingham. The Yes Pig loves rappin' Joe.
Sabermetric fans will probably hate "Ain't Nothin' But A 'RBI' Thang," which sounds like a relic from another era and completely irrelevant to what the kids are listening to these days. Such fans will probably prefer "It's All About The WAR," although older listeners will find the bass line hard to follow and the lyrics too complicated to sing along with easily at home. The album closes with the sentimental number "Parents Definitely Understand," where Joe reminisces about the time his mom drove him to the mall and got him a really awesome button down plaid shirt with a butterfly collar, which he loved. The second verse tells of the time Joe's parents left him home alone for the weekend and he borrowed the keys to his dad's Porsche so that he could get him a custom engraved keychain as a welcome home present.
Overall, this is not an album that's going to win any Grammy awards. Still, it's Joe Mauer and you're from Minnesota. It doesn't matter how bad it is -- you're going to buy it, the only thing worthwhile you'll find when you do is one single you like, and Joe is going to get overpaid for it.****
* Did you know they still have record stores? I thought everyone just downloaded mp3s and streamed off of Internet radio, but it turns out you can still interact with a human to buy physical media.
** This is not a menstrual cycle reference. I promised I was done with those and I meant it.
*** That's not at all what this clip is. In no way did I hack together a track last minute on my laptop. This is all real.*****
**** Not a dig on Joe's contract. Honest.