In Defense of Patrice Wilson and the ARK Music Factory


Rebecca Black’s “Friday” came before my column. November proved too hectic to write about “It’s Thanksgiving” in full form. But even so, I knew this day would come, and not just because I’ve had this topic requested at every family meeting since October. Are you happy now, cousins? ARE YOU HAPPY!?!?!

So yeah. I knew it was coming. However, I didn’t know I would reach a low point while writing it. I didn’t know that, after listening to his music posts and watching interviews and reading comment after comment, I would fall into this personal nadir. So knowing that, please don’t judge my next sentence too harshly…

want to defend this man. There’s more to this subject than I realized, and this faux-tycoon might just be… a genius. And now I have to approach this icky thesis.

Dear cousins, you may have ruined my mind.

Before I divulge the secrets of my hypothesis, can we agree to hate where it’s possibly valid? Too many commenters label Rebecca Black as music’s reincarnate Hitler, and Nicole Westbrook doesn’t get the respect of a pile of pig vomit. But they are between the ages 10 and 13, so blaming them for their infamy is stupid and ridiculous.

Also stupid and ridiculous, with an extra large helping of creepy.

Also stupid and ridiculous, with an extra large helping of creepy.

Luckily, only the most joyless trolls criticize the stupid, talentless children.

But even the bitter know who to blame. Follow the rancid stench of profiteering down multiple holes and you’ll find Mr. Patrice Wilson. You know him as the cruising rapper (and only adult) in “Friday,” the giant turkey (and only adult) at Nicole Westbrook’s Thanksgiving feast and the crazy-eyed gangster jump roper (and almost only adult) from Tweenchronic’s “Skip Rope.”


Look! Adult #2!

That last video is new, so you may not have seen it. Sadly, I refuse to let your ignorance continue. After all, I wouldn’t have written this if it wasn’t for “Skip Rope,” so I’m obligated to include a video link. Sorry.

When I first watched “Skip Rope,” I had the normal reaction: a mixture of apprehension, grimacing laughter and general discomfort. I had to keep watching it, though. Something piqued my interest.

Something smelled of satire.

Don’t believe me? The words “Skip Rope” sound suspiciously like “Skid Row,” there are drug-dealing children, faux-thug little girls rapping, a gangster dance centered on jump ropes… something about “Skip Rope” is a comment on something. I just couldn’t put my finger on it.

So I went back to research and found someone named Zach Wener-Fligner  which is one of the coolest names I’ve ever heard. According to Wener-Fligner, Patrice Wilson has become modern music’s version of Andy Warhol. And I believe in Wener-Fligner.


“Warhol would have loved Wilson’s videos,” he writes. “He once said that ‘when you do something exactly wrong, you always turn up something.’ This concept of ‘exactly wrong’ manifested itself in the carelessness of Warhol’s art: paintings with stray marks; fuzzy, amateurish film footage… But a universally mocked and hated music video, viewed over 165 million times? A piece earning the title of ‘Most disliked video, ever?’ Warhol would have been floored.” didn't I see it earlier?

…how didn’t I see it earlier?

Don’t believe in the satire? Here’s an interview Patrice Wilson did with… ARK music factory, apparently. Seriously, watch that video for the awesome interviewer. She has the dead eyes of a leech farmer. Anyway, back to business. Here’s some excerpts from the interview.

Interviewer: “Who are you?” (note: great opening question.)

Wilson: “That’s a very good question. I’m an artist myself… My dad’s from Africa and I moved here a couple months ago. I came to the United States thinking, ‘I need to let people know what clean, good music is.’ … Show people, yo people, we can make clean music and keep it clean and have fun…”

He goes on like that for a while. However, Wilson says something later in the video that seems suspiciously astute.

Interviewer: “How do you respond to people who say you profit from rich families and their children?” (note: actually, good question fake reporter.)

Wilson: “Look at Rebecca Black, she’s a viral star and that’s a success right there… But listen to a song on the radio and try to compare to the song ‘Friday.’ Regardless of the lyrics, we want the song to be catchy, and there’s no difference between what you hear on the radio today and one of the artists we work with.”

Catch that? He knows “Friday” is awful. He knows that hate defined Rebecca Black’s virality. However, he twists that fact and insults modern pop music. And you know what, he is TOTALLY RIGHT ON THE MARK.

Huh, even he seems incredulous.

Huh, even he seems incredulous.

Pop music is boring and easy. It’s the same lazy thirds and science of hooks. The lyrics are insipid, and too many singers rely on auto-tune. Patrice Wilson uses his production company to push those facts to absurd extremes. He then gives them to children, pushing the internet community to another extreme: the illogical hatred of younger generations, a trend I decried earlier. Patrice Wilson has showed us the worst of modern music and schadenfreude, deservingly earning our hatred. But our culture celebrates those same things in other venues… Can you see the genius?

With “Skip Rope,” Wilson lampoons the gangsta lifestyle by using candy, jump ropes and ten-year-olds. We know the song is awful, but real fake gangsterism is just as obtuse. Most “gangsta rap” is at least equally ridiculous. That’s a neat thesis for a children’s rap song featuring an eight-year-old with a mustache.

Thought I was kidding?

Thought I was kidding?

Patrice Wilson is either really smart or transcendently stupid. Either is possible, but the more I look, the more I see the marks of a satirical genius… a genius who really needs some adult friends.

It’s an icky thought, but Patrice Wilson may be just like Jonathan Swift… if Jonathan Swift used children to hyperbolize a heartless satirical point.

What? He wrote about WHAT?


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