I wear many hats, but in my heart of hearts I am an idea oscillator and a generous collaborator. I shift weight between film, poetry, rap, installation and performance, dynamically responding to a world perpetually waxing poetic. A life-affirming quality threads my work in its various forms; there’s a visceral notion of “THIS COULD BE WORTH IT YOU GUYS” in everything I do. I dialog with life and love by writing lyrically intimate word streams that transmute into rap songs, movie scripts, epic poems and landmarks for imagination maps. My practice operates independently and pluralistically with those who share a tenacious hunger for the bleeding edge. When I make the decision to do something, I go all in, every time. I make art to prove to myself that I am alive.
“Local director and part-time rapper WC Tank has a gift for mining the fantastical from the ordinary, so his take on the rap video is typically hallucinatory. In this video for Milwaukee/Chicago rapper Milo, a routine trip to the park becomes a survivalistic ordeal. Even a pizza break doesn’t bring much relief, since it takes place in the back of an ambulance. A faint sense of danger and unease carries through the whole video, even its requisite live footage, which like every other scene is somehow out of step with the world as it actually is.” -Shepard Express
Official Selection at the 2013 Milwaukee Film Festival
Back in Paleolithic days of MTV, music videos were treated more like short films than three-minute commercials. It wasn’t enough to have Michael Jackson dance and lip sync to “Thriller”—you had to have Michael Jackson check out a movie with his girlfriend, walk her home, get attacked by the undead, and then dance and lip sync to “Thriller.” In 2013 Milwaukee,Honeycomb Productions director Kurt Raether and rapper WC Tank are following in the choreographed footsteps of Jackson with their video for “Demigodz (Of Tha Law),” the first single from Tank’s Kisscry Patina album.
The six-minute “mini-rap-musical short” takes place after Tank and Raether’s previous music video, “Candy Council,” and features Tank embarking on a cosmic journey to the “Gutterworld.” There, he encounters an oppressed avant-garde group known as the “Aggrevatuers,” is transformed into a “Faintmaker,” and takes on the feared cultural overlords known as the “Demigodz.” If you’re looking for a video of a dude rapping in front of a brick wall, you’ve clearly come to the wrong place.
On the technical end of things, the tripped-out film was inspired by an old-school music video. According to Raether, “We were looking to make a more classic rap video in black and white, but we wanted to do more with it. So we watched a lot of older videos, and my favorite music video of all time, A Tribe Called Quest’s ‘What’s the Scenario’ had this awesome part where Busta Rhyme’s shirt is keyed out and there are all sorts of patterns on it. You watch that video and it’s so full of bounce.”
“Demigodz (Of Tha Law)” was shot at various iconic Milwaukee locations, including the Lynden Sculpture Garden, the Charles Allis Art Museum, and the Port of Milwaukee salt flats. It also contains an audio nod to John Carpenter’s Prince Of Darkness (“We are unable to transmit through conscious neural interference. You are receiving this broadcast as a dream.”), which makes it even more awesome.
-Matt Wild, The Onion A.V. Club
For more content visit theoculi.bandcamp.com.
Weaving Between Structures is a recurring feature on the
Lynden Sculpture Garden blog that I am producing as their current ‘blogger-in-residence.’ I recently posted my first video poem, entitled Inverted Appearances. I have been having a blast spending my Fridays exploring, writing, thinking, shooting, editing and playing on their beautiful grounds.
WC Tank leads walking rap tour down Kinnickinnic Ave.
One of my favorite thinkers Werner Herzog once said “to walk is virtue and tourism sin” and I will paraphrase him further and say that when a human being has a deeply purposed destination to get to, it is important for them to walk that distance in order to truly become truly acquainted with the space between the two points. In the modern world many of us have become accustomed to scaling great breadths of space quickly, be it by car or by plane, by phone or modem.
Around Halloween 2012 I was asked by He Can Jog to lead with rap the audience of an Audible Electricity performance from Cedar House in Milwaukee, WI. to Shampoo Horn, six floors above Barnacle Buds. He Can Jog professed that it would take more than rice and beans to behoove this group of experimental music enthusiasts. He needed something more human than food, more directional than a map, to move more than one dude, what he needed was rap.
I told him I’d do the best I could but never once begged a follower, only carried a torch and never looked back. I supposed I could tell them the same old stories I’d told before while acquainting them to the surroundings of our time together.
It began in an alley. I only fell once. I was okay. I needed to stay focused so as to maintain both my vocation as tourguide as well and as emcee and essentially performing multiple forms of navigation at once.
When we reached our first checkpoint I saw some kids trick or treating and realized someone might think our mass exodus a farce. But quickly decided it did not matter and so we pressed forth.
By vascular deduction I decided to take Kinnickinick avenue, a main artery of Bay View.
As our walk continued I found myself attempting to reconcile my pre-written words with an evolving environment by compensating with both my body and voice. When I perform, my movements aren’t necessarily planned and the sounds of my untrained voice are different every time, I react to my surroundings physically, while the words run out of my mouth like a player piano. The stage or in this case the sidewalk becomes a desert and gum on the ground becomes skullz. My only prop is my boom box, during one song it could be a baby and in another, a bomb. In some cases, I must become the bomb.
At a certain point in every performance, all self reflexiveness melts away, and the character takes over. When that happened during this performance, my tourguiding became disoriented and more or less esoteric as I found myself pointing out unknown paths and invisible landmarks.
The character I am playing isn’t some made-up persona, but the externalization of my innermost dreams, juxtaposed with the situation I am presently in. In this case, I was able to guide an audience through a physical space while using my imagination as a map. When we reached our destination, I felt myself waking from the dream in a familiar place.
This is a poem prezi I created as an experiment in displaying my writing visually, originally projected on a wall as part of a twelve hour performance installation group show called 12-12-12. It contains twelve poems from the past twelve years sprawling from a circular center. Though it can be read linearly by hitting the space-bar, it can be explored and navigated by clicking and dragging or scrolling up or down, like an electronic elevation map. I encourage you to get lost in the words, plot your own course and discover your own poems. I send gratitude to Erik Schoster for helping me relaunch my website in a fashion that allows for more customized elements. We are currently developing more interactive multimedia experiments, so keep checking back!
WC Tank Raps at Marcus Center for the Performing Arts
Perhaps by mistake, on September 12, the day after my birthday, I was asked to rap at a silent auction. The event was a benefit put on by the Milwaukee Artist Resource Network for the artists of Green Gallery which had burned to the ground the previous July.
Never having been to an event like this before, I felt somewhat like an extra terrestrial at the wedding of homosapiens I had only begun to discover.
I had no idea how to approach rapping in such a setting and was slightly intimidated to be performing in the same building as Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. When first asked I feared my presence might be too loud and detract from the intentions of event reserved for silence. After an awkwardly melodramatic intro where I pretended the boombox was a magic lantern like “Kazaam,” and I was off to the races.
When I started rapping it no longer mattered where I was. The performance took over and I let go of myself, completely in the moment.
As my set progressed, I began to feel more comfortable in the space and began busting out my props, illustrating the lyrics with theatrical hand gestures and emphatic facial expressions.
All in all, the night was sure one for the books, though why I was asked to rap at a silent auction remains to be understood. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like rap silent, pantomiming the actions of my favorite rappers and handing out lyric leaflets watching to see if people can synch them to my lips. Perhaps I was just another painting for sale, or perhaps they mistook me for a silent auctioneer, but the only bid I heard was an old man who wanted to buy my suit coat. I couldn’t part with with it though because it was a prop for the finale of my set.
When I perform its almost as if I leave my body and swim around in my imagined potential perceptions of anyone in range. From their vantage, I think who is that man? Is he ok? Why’s he crawling around all over everything? I feel concerned for him but trust that he knows what he is doing. -WC Tank
My new full length album, “Kisscry Patina” is available for free download. This is a record I spent the last year writing, structuring, recording and mixing. It picks up right where “Painghosty Dreamlaughs” left off, in a welcoming, happy place, ready to explore new lyrical and performative territory. My full length albums generally take me about a year to complete, and they often reflect the ranges of emotion, experience and thought patterns of the year they were created. 2012 was an amazing year for me, full of discovery, travel, new ideas and increasing independence. This elevated the mood of the record, allowing me to have the kind of perspective that is able to make fun, danceable rap music while exploring complex emotional territories..
As on “Painghosty,” the production is a musical support system of heartfelt spasm-inducing beats by friends of mine. The cover art is by Eddie Villanueva.