I’m twelve years old and watching MTV at Jennifer Mones’ house. I’m trying my best attempt at humor and charm, but a boy can only do so much while sporting a bootleg Chicago Bulls jersey. I’m crushing hard on her and failing but at the eleventh hour, this fucking music starts blaring in the background. I turn around to notice some outfit called Limp Bizkit has a video playing for a track titled ‘Nookie.’ I haven’t heard anything this remotely heavy ever. Suddenly my raging hormones and Jennifer had taken a back seat to ‘Nookie’ and whatever else was to be found on this Significant Other (Interscope).
Months later my cousin is in town and he’s got himself a fancy Sony Walkman and a Gameboy Color. At this age, I would typically borrow the Gameboy and kill a perfectly good Saturday afternoon on Pokemon Yellow, but this time Significant Other was on the menu. I gladly traded the pocket monsters to finally get my fill of this odd Hip-Hop and Metal cocktail. I sat in silence as ‘Just Like This’ and its interweaving of Fred Durst‘s rap verses and Wes Borland‘s sneaky guitar licks set me up for the next fifty-odd minutes. ‘Nookie’ finally started making musical sense and filled me with paranoid dread as I took its lyrics to heart with regards to my hypothetical Jennifer relationship.
But Significant Other didn’t really sink its hooks in me until the opening riff and verse of ‘Break Stuff.’ My teenage brain worked overtime to take in the amplified rage that Borland was shelling and yes, I felt like I could rip someone’s head off or break a fucking face tonight. It was the sound of waves of wayward youth quickly finding their fiery purpose. Now life goals shifted towards learning guitar, skateboarding shoes, loud music, and Ultimate Fighting bootlegs. ‘Break Stuff’ seemed to be the new national anthem for a generation of young men that didn’t realize that Beastie Boys‘ ‘Fight For Your Right’ was written with tongue firmly in cheek.
And fortunately for that tough guy crowd, Limp Bizkit made sure to pack the rest of Significant Other with Nu-Metal bangers like ‘Trust?’ and the awesome Jonathan Davis and Scott Weiland collaboration ‘Nobody Like You.’ But just as importantly this Jacksonville unit also taught some of us that we could get our adrenaline rush from other musical avenues, i.e. hip-hop. With the help of Gang Starr‘s DJ Premier and Method Man of Wu-Tang Clan fame, Limp Bizkit put together a solid Rap jam on ‘N 2 Gether Now.’
Is Significant Other dated? How is a rock album with this much turntable scratching not going to sound dated twenty years down the road? Is it silly and/or borderline immature? Listen to ‘No Sex,’ ‘Show Me What You Got’ or Matt Pinfield‘s ridiculous spoken word bit on ‘Outro’ certainly make a strong case towards camp. But that doesn’t matter anymore. This is a prime callback to when nu-metal was at its most confident and polished with releases like Korn‘s Issues, Deftones‘ White Pony and Mudvayne‘s L.D. 50 being dropped around the same time. It’s about how I felt on those early listens and realizing that Durst and his cohorts are partly responsible for leading me towards Hardcore, Extreme Metal, Electronica, and rap.
And no, I never made it with Jennifer.