Wesley Charles Tank – better known by his stage name “WC Tank” – wears many hats. Following a stint with short-lived locals Antler Antennas, the self-proclaimed “poet, filmmaker, emcee and psycartographer” set out solo. Piling extra emphasis on the emcee portion of his varied résumé, Tank managed an EP, two singles and a 15-song smattering of strung-together syllables and spastic production in the form of debut album Painghosty Dreamlaughs.
Tank’s rapid fire lyrics and genre-gumbo continues into his latest, Kisscry Patina, a 10-song Mad Lib with nods to weathered statues, House Of Pain, asparagus and anything else Tank can cram between breaths.
Kisscry strolls eagerly into motion with the lazy, sitar-backed “Rap 4 Voices,” produced by theContractor, who plays a role in the album’s three standout songs (including “Model” and “Rockstar Parking”). “Model (For A Real Lover)” brings about the same laid-back production approach, which, again, is successfully contrasted by Tank’s busybody implementation of a high-art journal’s word jumble.
The middle of the album takes a predominately dour turn, with should-be interludes “Diametric Opposites” and “Shooken,” as well as a functional-while-somber remix of The Fatty Acids’ “Light Polluted Constellations” (“Constellations Of Polluted Light”). The aforementioned “Rockstar Parking” restores normalcy, as does re-written House Of Pain song, “Jump Around Rhymescheme Remix For 3rd Grade Exercise Dance.”
Throughout Kisscry Patina, WC Tank and his host of skilled producers take the listener down a series of avenues. Some pair rich multi-layer beats with well-thought and better-executed lyrics, while other routes see bleak production tethered to monotone poetry. Occasionally we’ll encounter a song re-written for a third grade dance class, a semi-sample of ’60s rockers The Animals, or the word “terrorist” being rhymed with “asparagus.” Fault Tank for being sporadic in Kisscry Patina, but for the most part, it’s another mark in the win column for an artist who’s quickly becoming one of Milwaukee’s most inventive and multifaceted emcees.
Kisscry Patina is available for free digital download on WC Tank’s Bandcamp page. Tank will give his album a proper release Saturday at Club Timbuktu (520 E. Center St.) with a show that also features The Fatty Acids, Offsite, Safari, and Milo. The show begins at 9 and costs $5.
Joe Guzskowski caught up with WC Tank to pick his brain about his new album. We heard about his love of jump-rope, his boombox and his rewrite of “Jump Around” for a class of third-grade health nuts.
What’s the story behind the album title?
“Patina” is a real word. It’s statue rust. It’s usually kinda teal in color. So that teal, rusty statue thing. “Kisscry” can be either kissing while crying, so there’s that emotion where it’s happy or sad. I liked that because “scry” is also a word that means where you stare into water and have spiritual visions of sorts. So, the visions you have while you’re kissing and crying, and then the album being the crystallization and the sculpture that comes out of that.
Was this an emotional album for you?
Yeah, definitely. But I wanted to kind of mix it, where it’s kind of bi-polar in a way. I wanted to not have it be so cut and dry. I wanted it to feel like the music that you hear in your head where you’re leaving on an airplane someplace you don’t want to be leaving, mixed with the feeling that you get when you arrive somewhere you want to be.
I hear a lot of Anticon and Kool Keith in your songs. What would you say influenced you while making this album?
I really love old school rap, and I’ve been wanting to get to this point where I can make more of an old school sounding album without sounding like I’m trying to mock it. Just do it true blue. I really love early ’90s west coast and early ’90s east coast, so when I was choosing the beats I wanted to get both those styles in there. Poets. Writers, like Jonathan Lethem, Allen Ginsberg. But then also people like Doseone, old school MF Doom. Film is a huge influence. I’m a filmmaker. I like to use film samples occasionally. On the new album, there’s a sample from Rocky II. The last track on the album is the opening credits from Rocky II.
You rewrote the lyrics of “Jump Around” for a third grade class.
My friend who produced the song, Seth Warren Crow, teaches sound for dance in the UWM dance department. He was commissioned to remix “Jump Around.” They wanted it to be kid-friendly. There’s some bad language in it or whatever. But also the dance was about exercise. And they had already pre-choreographed this dance to “Jump Around.” Seth came to me and was like, “Hey, do you wanna, like, rewrite the song, and maybe make it about exercise?” And I was like, “Hell yeah.” I like to jump rope a lot, on a regular basis. So I was like, “That’s a really good opportunity to rap about jumping rope.” On the roof, in particular.
You’re playing on Saturday with The Fatty Acids, Milo, Offsite and Safari Al. What can people expect from a WC Tank performance?
I have a boombox and a pyramid that was made by my friend Eddie Villanueva. And I put the boombox on top of the pyramid. He chopped the top off that and we just put the boombox on top of there. It’s a pretty distinctive boombox.
Is it the boombox from the “Candy Council” video?
No. That was my old one. I got a more powerful boombox so that I can perform on the street if I want to. I don’t need amplification.