When Vine died her tragic death two years ago, everyone who had garnered fame on the short-lived platform had to jump ship. Some turned to Instagram, others to YouTube. Some tried their hand at music.
Pretty much everyone has been unfortunate enough to witness Jake Paul’s heartbreakingly horrific ‘It’s Everyday Bro’ – so I can already hear your gasps of horror when I propose that there is actually some ex-Vine music that is enjoyable to listen to.
I mentioned Jake Paul’s train-wreck of a song for a reason. In response to the song and the rage that followed it, ex-Viners Cody Ko and Noel Miller felt the same level of horror as you or I. In response, they decided to one-up the younger Paul. If he was going to brag about writing a (terrible) song in a day, they would prove that they could write (a better) one too. Thus, comedy rap duo TMG (Tiny Meat Gang) was born, with their first single “Keep Ya D*ck Fat.” KYDF now has over a million views on YouTube, and TMG has only grown since.
Locals Only is the second EP by TMG, released in December of last year.
Ko and Miller are self-aware before anything. They walk the precarious line between making good music while still not taking themselves seriously – they are, after all, rapping about their ‘meat’. They themselves have talked about hoping that no-one watches their music videos and takes them 100% seriously. Luckily for them, it’s a balance they manage perfectly. With tracks produced by a fellow ex-Viner ‘Spock’ and producer Diamond Pistols, the Locals Only EP has a level of professionalism unexpected for two guys who started out just making jokes about how small they were downstairs. Songs like “No Flex” and “Stay Safe” are so good they make you backtrack and ask yourself, “Am I really bopping to a song about safe sex?”
You can track a serious growth from their first EP Bangers and Ass to Locals Only – with a clear growth in both Ko and Miller’s rapping style and their lyricism. Some of the songs are a little jarring, with Ko and Miller clearly having fun using auto-tune in mockery of bigger (more serious) artists – like in their song “Please Be A Hit”, where Miller’s heavily auto-tuned voice brags about how he “Made a milli and I got some teeth”, but overall Locals Only is more cohesive musically, good to listen to and not just funny. When discussing Locals Only on their podcast, Miller described the process of making the EP as “feeling more like song-writing” and less of them “trying to be funny” and asking themselves “What would be a funny joke?”
Not to say, of course, that it isn’t funny. That’s the whole point. The EP covers topics that Ko and Miller frequently make fun of in their podcasts, like taking steroids and testosterone (Juice), childish gamer culture (G-Sh*t), and ridiculous flexing of superficial wealth (Drip and No Flex). Some lyric highlights include: “Man, I got tens… of dollars in my pocket right now”, “I don’t mean to flex, but I’ve been having sex/ Like once a week at least, or two, if my girl ain’t stressed” and “And when I’m in the whip I keep the seatbelt fastened / And in the back I keep a spare tire/This verse whack ’cause I don’t play with fire.”
Music as comedy is not a new form. Weird Al Yankovic has been making us laugh since nearly the dawn of time. You would be wise to be wary of any music made by ex-Vine stars, but you can give TMG the benefit of the doubt. They’ll surprise you.