March 20, 2018

It’s a good day for an Oulipian rap-star-in-waiting who’s living without that fifth stiff glyph


Andrew Huang. Via Twitter.

It’s not hard to think good stuff about Andrw Huang’s music. Huang’s a guy who may play a song about fruit with that fruit, or do that Bling jam only in sounds from old talk-o-mats. Who can sing convincingly in a particular mold whilst looking too young to harbor first-hand flashbacks of it.

Now, this may not bring you thoughts of Oulipo, but hang on. Oulipo, as you may know, is a group of authors, starting in Gaul, working with constraints.

What kinds of constraints? Thanks for asking. So, our words consist of small signs. A, B, C, you might say, and so on, to D. But it may occur, now and again, that an author will want to avoid writing a particular sign. That fifth one, possibly. That’s okay. That’s an Oulipian approach. Unum out of pluribus. This guy did a book that way, a work of fiction. In a Frankish idiom, you could call it La Disparition; UK- and USA-ward, it’s known as A Void.

And now, back to our buddy, A. Huang. What if I told you that Andy, too, gladly omits that fifth sign? In particular, Huang raps without it. If you think that sounds about as fun as any rap constraint could, dig on this:

Say what you want, but Huang pulls this off! So what if it’s not fully un-corny? It’s fun and smart, music’s tight. What’s not to think fondly of?


Ian Dreiblatt is the former Director of Digital Media at Melville House.