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squaring numbers are just like women, if they're under thirteen just do them in your head
July 13, 2008 6:03 AM   Subscribe

I'm bo, yo. Bo Burnham is a precocious 17 year old musician, singer, and rapper who displays a gift for word play and rhyme through themes such as Rehab for Fictional Characters, a romance with a larger woman, and, my personal favourite, math. Previously. MLYT

My favorite lyric would have to be:
"and if ten percent of men are gay,
and twenty percent of men are Chinese,
what are the odds that a man chosen at random
spends his freetime and mealtime while on his knees?"
posted by shokod (79 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
well, this kind of mildly offensive and not very amusing lyrics are to be expected from a 17 year old, but I expect better from a metafilter post.
posted by kolophon at 6:26 AM on July 13, 2008


a romance with a larger woman

LOLFATTIEZ LOLVIRGINZ!!1!
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:30 AM on July 13, 2008


pre·co·cious
–adjective
1. unusually advanced or mature in development, esp. mental development


He is not precocious, instead I would say he is the opposite: juvenile.

Good on him for getting so much attention and all, but i found him *very* annoying. I made it through about 15 seconds before succumbing to terrifying flash backs of high school drama club pizza parties.
posted by Merik at 6:37 AM on July 13, 2008 [6 favorites]


I can't disagree that some of the content is childish and offensive but I do think there are definitely parts that have clever word twists and whatnot that is impressive in a person with the additional musical talent. This being from someone with none of that talent and so it strikes a special place in the cockles of my jealousy.
posted by shokod at 6:39 AM on July 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yes, he's juvenile. But I was 17 once. And sex, sex organs, having sex, watching sex, dreaming of sex, and hoping for sex is pretty much the only think boys that age think about. At least he's being honest about it. I'm sure his friends think he's hilarious.
posted by billysumday at 6:43 AM on July 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


In ten years this guy will own everything.
posted by Dizzy at 6:43 AM on July 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


squaring numbers are just like women, if they're under thirteen just do them in your head

sorry?!??
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:49 AM on July 13, 2008


I think that he's good for a 17-year-old. I imagine he'll get better and better as he ages.

Snark away, but I suspect that most of you couldn't write snappy lyrics like that at any age.
posted by leftcoastbob at 6:54 AM on July 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


As amusing as Bo may be (yeah, it's not particularly mature, but the guy is pretty clever), this isn't exactly the newest thing on the net. Most of this stuff went up in mid-2007. I'm not sure a single new song justifies an FPP.
posted by valkyryn at 6:58 AM on July 13, 2008


Snark away, but I suspect that most of you couldn't write snappy lyrics like that at any age.

"how'd i get to master all these things?
like a tampon thief, i had to pull some strings"


well, that's some clever & classy shit to aspire to. you're so right.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:02 AM on July 13, 2008


ok, enough snark. good luck to him; i imagine he'll do some good stuff when he stops being such a nauseating adolescent
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:04 AM on July 13, 2008


Needs to spend more time listening to Weezy and less listening to MC Tom Lehrer if he's ever gonna make it in the rap game.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:06 AM on July 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


Snark away, but I suspect that most of you couldn't write snappy lyrics like that at any age.

Every day I get down on my knees and thank God there was no Youtube when I was a teenager and that I burnt all my precocious poetry...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:09 AM on July 13, 2008 [6 favorites]


Squaring numbers are just like women, if they're under thirteen just do them in your head

Okay I'm not a fan of the kid, but I must admit that's a pretty good line, in jurisdictions where it makes sense at least. It was fourteen when I grew up. Quickly.

But I think 17 is a few years too late to still be labeled 'precocious' unless you're, like, wearing socks with sandals and chasing kids off your lawn.
posted by rokusan at 7:14 AM on July 13, 2008


fearfulsymmetry: here's some vicarious shame for you.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:14 AM on July 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm sure his friends think he's hilarious.

Great. A "Weird Al" of rap. I thought that was Digital Underground's bit already.
posted by JaredSeth at 7:16 AM on July 13, 2008


That looks like FRED! Am I wrong? I could have sworn that there was another post in the Blue about Fred and his groundswell of Youtube support. Here is an article about Fred.

Marketing campaign? Real people? Coin flip?
posted by zerobyproxy at 7:27 AM on July 13, 2008


Man, I don't know whether racism ("Square root of the NBA is Africa in a box"?) or clever turns of phrase win out.

Seriously, I don't.
posted by DoctorFedora at 7:28 AM on July 13, 2008


reminds me of paul barman.

without the great production by prince paul.
posted by ewwgene at 7:40 AM on July 13, 2008


"Read over your compositions, and where ever you meet with a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out." -- Samuel Johnson.

I always thought that advice was a little extreme. Maybe not.
posted by ibmcginty at 7:42 AM on July 13, 2008 [4 favorites]


Racism is maybe a tad strong since black people are just an idea to this kid, a vague concept shaped by images on television and in magazine pictures.
posted by The Straightener at 7:44 AM on July 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


women, ditto.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:47 AM on July 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is utter shit. I don't understand why people are impressed by this garbage.
posted by autodidact at 7:49 AM on July 13, 2008


... oh and I too thank god there was no Youtube until I was almost thirty.
posted by autodidact at 7:51 AM on July 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


acceptable, but just. He'll probably wind up on SNL.
posted by boo_radley at 7:54 AM on July 13, 2008


If a number can't come real / then I don't need that stumper / The concept of the variable / can take it in the dumper.
posted by neustile at 8:01 AM on July 13, 2008


This place isn't his audience (unless maybe you're a high school kid). Check the yt comments: "Hehe Bo's HOT!!!!! He's also really fucking taletned! Lol" and so on. If only a quarter of those comments are real, he's probably enjoying life more than most.
posted by pracowity at 8:09 AM on July 13, 2008


Racism is maybe a tad strong since black people are just an idea to this kid

And being from Hamilton , Mass., home of the Myopia Hunt Club, I think it's best to say that black people will remain just an idea for the rest of his life. And yes, he's just a teenager and is probably very popular within his *snicker* crew.
posted by jsavimbi at 8:18 AM on July 13, 2008


Bo, when you turn 18, call me. I will make you wise in the ways of the world. And then at least your homophobia will be very well informed.
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 8:28 AM on July 13, 2008 [4 favorites]


There could never be such a thing as a "Weird Al of rap". It's impossible.
posted by Zambrano at 8:29 AM on July 13, 2008


That dude rocks.
posted by matty at 8:29 AM on July 13, 2008


"squaring numbers are just like women, if they're under thirteen just do them in your head"

sorry?!??
posted by UbuRoivas


Be happy you don't get the joke.
posted by marxchivist at 8:31 AM on July 13, 2008


Weird Al IS the Weird Al of rap
posted by Megafly at 8:36 AM on July 13, 2008 [7 favorites]


Totally high-school drama club flashback. Christ, I expected him to start playing 'One up/One down' in the middle of his video.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 8:40 AM on July 13, 2008


Megafly, I knew I was going to get that response between hitting Post Comment and the page refreshing. Took an hour and change...you guys are slipping.
posted by JaredSeth at 8:50 AM on July 13, 2008


Oh man, so far I like what I've heard from Math, I can't wait to hear the rest
posted by Del Far at 8:52 AM on July 13, 2008


I'm surprised by the amount of snark in these comments, but maybe it's because I'm a young enough male to think he's pretty funny. I think he is precocious and talented, and I join leftcoastbob in challenging any of you haters to come up with anything half as clever. It's easy to react to parts of the content of his songs or raps, and reject his stuff because it's not to your specific taste, but regardless this kid is pretty damn talented lyrically and musically, and I'm glad for having come across it, however briefly, through a metafilter post. And that squaring numbers thing was brilliant.
posted by farishta at 9:16 AM on July 13, 2008


Pretty good if you can appreciate it. Not Led Zep or Kool Keith, but entertaining enough.
posted by smackwich at 9:19 AM on July 13, 2008


"Now amongst such elites as 'The Chocolate Rain'guy and Chris Crocker, Bo hopes to capitalize on his 'success' and share his stories with the world."

Elites?
posted by ericb at 9:31 AM on July 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's not the "cleverness" that's at issue, for me.

It's that he knows absolutely nothing about the world and has no idea. In fact, it's clear he believes otherwise.

Clever on one hand, incalculably ignorant on the other.

And that, math fans, equals "meh".
posted by batmonkey at 9:32 AM on July 13, 2008


Bo, when you turn 18, call me. I will make you wise in the ways of the world. And then at least your homophobia will be very well informed.

Gonna show him what a his G-spot is not-hermi, eh?
posted by WolfDaddy at 9:34 AM on July 13, 2008


It's funny because the "do" in "do them in your head" can have two different meanings.
posted by found missing at 9:38 AM on July 13, 2008


Apparently you guys didn't have music in your water when you were growing up or something, because I've heard significantly better seventeen year old guitar players and singers. His songwriting is fairly impressive for a 17 year old, I admit. At least if your goal is to make other 17 year olds laugh.
posted by Caduceus at 9:39 AM on July 13, 2008


This poor young man is going to have such a rude awakening one of these days. At least, that's what I'm hoping.
posted by pupdog at 9:49 AM on July 13, 2008


One is left to wonder if many of the snarkmeisters in this thread are simply jealous YouTube didn't exist when they were 17 and thought themselves quite clever.
posted by tommasz at 9:57 AM on July 13, 2008


It's a good thing young people don't listen to old people.
posted by hojoki at 10:07 AM on July 13, 2008 [8 favorites]


One would be mistaken, I think most of us are fairly glad we weren't 'precocious' enough to record how clueless we were for history...
posted by pupdog at 10:08 AM on July 13, 2008


This is where the "Your favorite band sucks" catch phrase comes from.

Personally, I think that he's pretty clever, especially accounting for his age, but MetaFilter tends to react badly to music posts unless everyone involved in the production of the music is already dead. You won't see much praise for him in here. Don't take it personally.

Also: I totally agree with fearfulsymmetry. Back when I was in junior high I wrote some (terrible) Sonic the Hedgehog fan fiction. Some years later, I came across a MST3K-style script that ripped my story apart, to my utter embarrassment. My parents and my little brother both found it much more hilarious than I did.
posted by JDHarper at 10:09 AM on July 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Just rememberd: As someone who, in my teenage years actually wrote the lyric "The girls go down like Titanic cuz I'm manic, not depressive just impressive and I keep 'em guessin, that's your first lesson son" I'm REALLY glad YT wasn't around.
posted by autodidact at 10:17 AM on July 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


"I'm REALLY glad YT wasn't around."

and now we all know anyway...
posted by HuronBob at 10:24 AM on July 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Bo's got talent and he can turn a clever phrase, but the nerd-on-nerd hate is the really entertaining part of this thread.
posted by Balonious Assault at 10:25 AM on July 13, 2008 [6 favorites]


So, here's an FPP with the words "Bo", "yo", "rapper", "precocious", "math", and "larger woman", and you clicked on the links?

Y'all got what you deserved!
posted by HuronBob at 10:26 AM on July 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


the nerd-on-nerd hate is the really entertaining part of this thread

Isn't that the really entertaining part of most MetaFilter threads?
posted by found missing at 10:27 AM on July 13, 2008 [4 favorites]


It's that he knows absolutely nothing about the world and has no idea. In fact, it's clear he believes otherwise.

He's clearly labeled as being seventeen in the FPP, so I don't see how this is news. Anyway, the kid needs to graduate and then get on the college comedy circuit. He seems well suited for it.
posted by Bookhouse at 10:44 AM on July 13, 2008


...the kid needs to graduate and then get on the college comedy circuit

He should become a TA?
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 10:49 AM on July 13, 2008


He's annoying but he sure has some great lines. I'm find of "And girl don't sit on the couch cause I treat my objects like women."
posted by ORthey at 11:00 AM on July 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: I made it through about 15 seconds before succumbing to terrifying flash backs of high school drama club pizza parties.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 11:09 AM on July 13, 2008


I made it to the first hacky joke and closed (7 seconds?). BEST OF WEBZ! LULZ!
posted by basicchannel at 11:20 AM on July 13, 2008


This is where snarky comment threads serve a true purpose: in convincing me that I don't need to click any of the links just to see for myself. Thanks.

"if they're under thirteen just do them in your head"
...and don't strip-search them.
posted by wendell at 11:20 AM on July 13, 2008


Back when I was in junior high I wrote some (terrible) Sonic the Hedgehog fan fiction.

Yeah, I'm going to need to see that.
posted by Powerful Religious Baby at 11:47 AM on July 13, 2008


Obviously influenced by Stephen Lynch.
posted by Crotalus at 12:00 PM on July 13, 2008


"And girl don't sit on the couch cause I treat my objects like women."

Jackie Treehorn did it first, buddy.
posted by porn in the woods at 12:11 PM on July 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


He is extremely good for his age, and shows a talent for word play that most professional musicians would envy.

Somebody needs to introduce this kid to Tom Lehrer immediately. It could do him wonders.
posted by JHarris at 12:23 PM on July 13, 2008


This kid watches way to much internet porn.
posted by P.o.B. at 12:54 PM on July 13, 2008


His lyrics are clever, unfortunately he was not born with a natural singer's voice so the presentation comes off as whiny.

This would have reached the sidebar if it had been cortex that performed it instead of Bo.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:56 PM on July 13, 2008


I liked some of his structures and even some of the allegedly offensive stuff is amusing.

Sure, I wrote daft poems and silly sketches at that age and shared 'em with my friends. He should do that, too. Being able to put them online for all and sundry to see them is where he's going to learn about how limited his worldview is, so that's what we're helping him with now :D

He has no excuse for being that ignorant at 17. He can clearly get online and learn about all of the daft things he's "rapping" about.

He has access to all of the info in the world and clearly has some kind of monetary resources but he's put his brain in a very small yard, where it is yapping in loneliness :(
posted by batmonkey at 1:08 PM on July 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


As a more mature person, I find a lot of his work, like 80% of every other "artist's" work, to be uninspiring (which is better than what could be said for golf). But there is a lot of wit and promise to be found in this young man. Be that as it may (taste is subjective), what should encourage most who read here is the fact that this chap writes and plays songs. Honestly, he writes his own stuff and plays his own instrument. In a world of "sampling" (formerly called stealing) and backing tracks and lip syncing and remake after remake after f*cking remake, he may not be ready to blow through the world like a hurricane, but he is, in my opinion, at least a fresh breeze. I see worse on television every day.
posted by FrankBlack at 4:11 PM on July 13, 2008


Needs to learn about Tom Lehrer.

Has obviously been influenced by Stephen Lynch.

Jackie Treehorn did it first.

He's got no excuse for being that ignorant at 17.


Yeesh. A lot of this smacks of, "When I went to school, we had to walk. Uphill. Both ways." shokod posts a, "You might find this somewhat interesting, maybe not...but for what it's worth..." piece. What follows is...this? I mean, maybe you're right, and hopefully Bo will learn about Lehrer, that Treehorn did it first, and (surprise!) that he's a more than somewhat sheltered 17 year-old who needs to broaden his perspective.

Um.

So? So what? Maybe I'm missing something (probably); but the reaction here reads like a series of not all that helpful responses to an AskMeFi query.
posted by t2urner at 4:56 PM on July 13, 2008


I mean, maybe you're right, and hopefully Bo will learn about Lehrer, that Treehorn did it first, and (surprise!) that he's a more than somewhat sheltered 17 year-old who needs to broaden his perspective.

You missed my point. I wasn't trying to say that since Lehrer did it first he shouldn't bother. I was trying to say that Tom Lerher does the same kind of thing, and extremely well. The kid could certainly stand to pick up some ideas there.
posted by JHarris at 5:13 PM on July 13, 2008


Apologies, JHarris. I should have left your comment out of the mix. I got the point that Lehrer does the same kind of thing, and well (and share the the kid could certainly stand to pick up some ideas there sentiment). I guess I was (to a degree, am) feeling that the reaction to the post was devolving into something along the lines of, "Kids these days..." (all us ol' folks nodding our heads more or less in disapproval/disagreement) when (again, my probably mistaken interpretation) the point was more like, "Kids! These days..."

I'd dare to say that there are a fair number of us here on MeFi who either knew or were Bo Burnham at some point in our lives; we went on to (hopefully) learn what we needed to learn from the outside world, discovered that we weren't all that original here and there, broadened our perspective (or were, um, fortunate in that life broadened our perspective for us via a swift kick in the posterior the pre-MeFi equivalent of "Now get off my porch!") and have turned out more or less all right.

Maybe if we all want to do Bo a favor it would be better to send some of those Lehrer/Lynch/Treehorn links his way and see what happens than to snark behind his back, so to speak.
posted by t2urner at 6:13 PM on July 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Great. A "Weird Al" of rap. I thought that was Digital Underground's bit already.

???

Have you even listened to Digital Underground?
posted by humannaire at 7:00 PM on July 13, 2008


Oh, and by the way, I think Bo Burnham is a great talent. Of course, I agree with all the comments about his [thoughtlessness], but I still admire Beastie Boys' Licensed To Ill album though those lyrics made me wince even then.

And in my opinion, they turned out alright. You grow, Bo Burnham. Humannaire is checking for you.
posted by humannaire at 7:12 PM on July 13, 2008


BTW, it was 3.14 Apple Pi that made me a believer.
posted by humannaire at 7:38 PM on July 13, 2008


t2urner, put that way, I agree with you. The sooner smart people get their perspectives broadened, the better the world turns out.
posted by JHarris at 8:15 PM on July 13, 2008


I would like to see him become an accountant but still work on his singing in his spare time.
posted by storybored at 8:24 PM on July 13, 2008


BTW, it was 3.14 Apple Pi that made me a believer.

did you make it past "the girls that i date have a particular taste"?

(guess what comes next. go on, bet you can't guess it. give it a try, anyway)

"the taste of my wiener"

it's just that little twist that makes it so funny. you're all thinking that they have a certain taste in clothes or something, but actually, it's a setup! they taste like his penis, because he put his penis into them! and then he tasted his penis flavour when he kissed them or went down on them or felched them! it's great!
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:28 PM on July 13, 2008


just based on the lyrics cited in the thread this guys sounds horrible.
posted by mary8nne at 2:24 AM on July 14, 2008


I'm glad that there were some positive responses here - I knew some people would come around.
I will wholeheartedly grant that some of the stuff may seem immature (NB: precocious also can mean possessing mind, faculties or skill of higher maturity) but the kid has solid talent, especially with lyricism. I believe that taste is subjective but that talent is not.
I don't think he'll be regretting that YT was available when he grew up.
posted by shokod at 4:41 AM on July 14, 2008


No, it doesn't smack of elitism or ageism.

It smacks of "I wasn't a racist, anti-queer, sexist asshole at 17 and I didn't have the internet, so what the hell is this guy's excuse?"

Yeesh.
posted by batmonkey at 9:08 AM on July 14, 2008


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