By Ed Uncovered and Reticent Bob
It started, like most EU articles, with an idle chat. It ended, 12 hours later, with this: an exposé of ‘Pato’ Patrice Wilson, the grinning goon behind such pop gems as Friday and the infuriatingly infuriating Chinese Food.
It had been such an erudite week on Ed Uncovered as well. On Monday, Daniel wrote a guest blog about smartphone addiction. On Tuesday, Craig wrote about web design. Today, the ante has been upped and the tone lowered with a profile of Rebecca Black’s rapper aka the greatest threat white America’s tweens have ever faced.
When I began researching Patrice Wilson, I knew this much:
- Nigerian singer/songwriter
- Founder of ARK Music Factory and Pato Music World (PMV)
- Co-writer, co-producer and rapper on Rebecca Black’s Friday
- Performs similar duties on Alison Gold’s Chinese Food, released two days ago
As I began to dig deeper (y’know, past the first page of Google) things took a more sinister turn however. Within minutes, Pato went from being a phenomenally successful viral music producer to…well, we’ll get to that in a moment.
First though, a word from Reticent Bob, whose Facebook message had gotten the ball rolling:
“That Chinese Food song is amazeballs,” wrote Bob (who may or may not be the same ‘Bob’ who featured in The Best Piss Ever and Why Do Asians Take So Many Photos?). Bob had just finished reading yesterday’s web design blog, which noted: “Stuffing pages full of ads…is more annoying than Chinese Food.”
Suffice to say the article wasn’t speaking about dim sum. No, it was referencing the latest offering from the one-trick Pato. If you’ve yet to experience Chinese Food, we may as well get it out of the way now because, like it or not, you’re going to see it sooner or later.
As a fun game to play, watch Chinese Food and count the number of things that are wrong with the video. Not musically wrong – just wrong. Lest there be any doubt, its cardinal sins are listed at the end of this article.
Assuming you’ve just watched Chinese Food in its entirety, you will now be experiencing what can only be described as a WTF moment. Where does one even begin?
I began with a light Google which revealed that Ed Uncovered isn’t the only site questioning Pato’s motives. Gawker described his breakthrough video with Rebecca Black as an “obnoxious and catchy adolescent shitshow”, while Cracked.com (which is rarely funny but often right) seethed “Patrice Wilson sacrificed a young girl to the Internet in order to perpetuate his own renown.”
Only Cracked wasn’t speaking about Rebecca Black – it was speaking about 12-year-old Nicole Westbrook, the star of Pato’s second major hit. As the article explained, “Patrice Wilson…followed a formula that he stumbled upon with Rebecca Black to ensure that everyone despised his next music video, because that was the only way he could guarantee that it would be watched by millions and millions of people.”
If you’ve yet to see the track – It’s Thanksgiving – now’s your chance, but if you can make it past the first chorus without spilling vomit on your sweater, there is something deeply wrong with you. Perhaps not Patrice Wilson wrong, but certainly a little odd.
As I was viewing the video for the first and only time, my girlfriend walked in.
“If you’re turned on by watching that, you’re a paedophile,” she scolded.
“Bob sent me the link,” I protested.
“Well he’s a paedophile too.”
Behind the music
While Gawker and Cracked focused on deconstructing the songs themselves – an admittedly ripe hunting ground – I decided to delve deeper into Pato’s life. What I found may not shock you, but it’ll certainly disturb you. If you’re a parent, you may even find yourself letting out an “Eww!” as you ponder how to protect your kids from this big bad world.
Let’s be clear: Patrice ‘I rhyme broccoli with Monopoly’ Wilson is a wrong ‘un.
He may look like a ball of fun in his panda suit – just as he looks harmless enough rapping in Rebecca Black’s car – but peer a little closer and you’ll find a litany of misdeeds.
How old is Pato anyway? The internet doesn’t know and Pato sure as hell ain’t saying. Age doesn’t seem to trouble Patrice Wilson.
He may look like one of the Watson twins (both of them in fact), but according to Wikipedia, the pop mogul goes by the nickname of Fat Usher. Here at EU however we found ourselves thinking of R Kelly, what with Pato’s love for fresh beats.
The chink in Pato’s armour
Bob may have been mesmerised by Chinese Food, but he was less impressed with Patrice Wilson.
“This guy is so cynical,” he wrote. “I bet he’s making so much fucking money now.”
“Why is he dressed as a black and white paedo bear? Is it to show that paedophilia is not as simple, as black and white, as we’d like to believe?”
“Notice how some of his lyrics seem designed for pre-teen girls, but others seem more adult? It’s as though the lines are being blurred between what’s appropriate and what’s not.”
As it turns out, it’s possible to exploit little girls without being a paedophile. All you have to do is cash in on their hopes and dreams, take their douchebag parents’ money (I am OK with that part), create a subtly sexualised video, whore them out to every shopping mall and kids show and then ride off into the sunset with millions of dollars, leaving a trail of destruction in your wake.
An alternate view
Aw, come on. It’s just a bit of fun, right? These kids get their 15 minutes of fame, make a song they can cherish and, who knows, their viral video may help them go on to develop an entertainment career. What’s so wrong with that?
To answer that question, we have to go to Pato’s website, PMWLive.com. As the splash page proclaims:
“A Great Platform for undiscovered talent to get the recognition they deserve by increasing demand and providing a NON-Exclusive Management deal which consist of Social Media, Song Creation, Music Video Creation, Record Label and Music Distribution. Finally EXPOSURE!!!”
Exposure is a word with many meanings. To pin down Pato’s idea of exposure, I turned to his About page. Only there was no About page to view. Instead I found this:
On the Services page however I found a description of the song and music video production PMW provide: “We look at different variables from the artist’s vision, charisma, personality, character and experience.”
“What experience?” I asked. “She’s 12.”
“Have you got any experience little girl?” replied Bob.
It had started out as a light-hearted article on the super producer behind Chinese Food. Now it had turned into this.
I wasn’t the only one feeling the sinister vibes either. “I think there is something quite creepy about the whole thing,” typed Bob. “Not what we were [first] saying about it, but I dunno, it’s just underhand.”
The creepiness leapt several more notches when I encountered Pato’s ‘business’ Twitter account, @pmwlive. His timeline consists of trite messages regarding days of the week (sound familiar?) signed off with a smiley plus RTs of banal teen tweets such as this:
The pièce de résistance
Up until this point, I would have charitably described Pato’s modus operandi as opportunistic. While scrolling his Twitter feed however I found this – a lesser-known video by one of his child stars who never made the grade. 136,000 plays is more than most of us will ever muster but it’s certainly not Rebecca Black territory. This is a video that’s supposed to represent teen romance, first love and the simple pleasure of ‘just hanging out’. Watch it for yourself and see what you make of Dont [sic] Wanna Let It by Casey Banales.
It’s like a bad teen disco held in a basement full of shattered dreams. In 2013, is this the new American beauty pageant – parents paying for their kids to be ruthlessly (s)exploited?
“I liked that one,” confessed Bob after I linked him to Casey Banales.
“The ace thing about being Pato is that he just needs to give it five years and he’ll have a back catalogue of naive young girls he can call back…
Oh wait, that’s grooming isn’t it?”
And that pretty much encapusulates our file on Patrice ‘Pato’ Wilson. He’s not the Messiah of Pop – he’s a very naughty boy.
Chinese Food – the aftertaste
Ironically, with sites like EU writing about Chinese Food, we’re serving only to fuel Pato and and spread the malaise. The most telling thing about the following tweet is the person who RT’d it – Patrice Wilson himself.
We’ve just been conned by a smiling Nigerian. Now that’s a first.
When I woke up this morning, I opened the kitchen cupboard and reached for the coffee. There, nestling at the back, was a fortune cookie. I’d completely forgotten it was there. Given the timing, it seemed only right to crack it open.
As I unwrapped my fortune cookie, I was struck by two things. The first was this:
Suddenly, the Chinese Food video was starting to make sense.
The second thing was the message itself:
So I sat down and began writing.
Click below for bonus feature: What’s wrong with Chinese Food?
I asked earlier how many wrongs you could find in the Chinese Food video. Here are the most heinous ones, as identified by Gawker readers:
- “After ballin’, I go clubbin'” For fuck’s sake, man. She can’t possibly be older than 14. Aside from the fact that she obviously shouldn’t be trying to go “clubbin'”, there are no clubs in existence that will admit someone her age. Get the fuck outta here.
- Creepy that she and pandobear are both coming downstairs together. Right before he jets on a rainbow.
- I’m way more concerned about the ballin’
- I love that they took time to paint a white girl in geisha face and probably looked for a panda costume, but also that panda costume was maybe $50 max and the girl behind the register is floating her fingers 4 inches above the keys and the subtitles are never in the same fucking language.
- In my heart of hearts, I just knew that Patrice was in the Panda suit (heck you even told me) but I couldn’t contain my utter joy and excitement when he took off his head and started rapping about monopoly at the all 12-year-old girl sleepover. True art.
- After I heard this song, I wanted to listen again an hour later. Damn this musical MSG.
- girf and I watching this together the first time <spoilers!>:
girf, “I hope so!”
me, “check out the geisha”
girf, “geishas are japanese, not chinese.”
me, “do you think they realise they’re mixing up two completely separate cultures that hate each other?”
me, “that panda is awesome.”
<Panda head comes off revealing the ARK guy, rapping>
- This was pretty much the transcript of my reaction, except that I’m alone in my room having a conversation about this with a 40 oz. of malt liquor instead of a girlfriend.
- Patrice Wilson is a modern-day Andy Kaufman. The ultimate mass troll. It’s postmodern satire for the 21st century, and I’m a big fan. He’s so blatantly, purposefully stretching for the bottom, there’s no mistaking his work for sincere effort at all, which in itself is a marketing strategy (and let’s face it, an incredibly effective one; you’re here reading this, aren’t you?). Other artists strive for mediocrity, but caught up too much in the effort it takes to make bad movies/music/art. Patrice Wilson will shit something terrible out in four hours, and you’ll click on it. So suck it, Michael Bay, Uwe Boll, Tyler Perry, and the Black Eyed Peas; you may be intentionally terrible, but you’re just not aiming low enough to touch Patrice Wilson.
- The fortune cookies are odd. The panda’s fortune is “you will find a new friend too”. Why would a fortune cookie reference some other person’s fortune? Then the last fortune she gets at the end of the video says “The panda will fly away on a rainbow”, but that isn’t a fortune at that point, it’s what already happened.
- I think your biggest mistake is trying to apply any sort of logic to this.
- Why…why is there a terrible rapper in a panda suit at a girl’s sleepover?? O_O also…is it just me or are there white CHILDREN dressed up as geishas? That seems…odd and possibly offensive. HAng on…and THAT’S JAPANESE!! lol oh man. they really went all out for this, didn’t they.