by Chris Lovato
“I’m back with passion, ready for action…redemption.”
When you hear the words “white” and “rapper” together, you probably think of Eminem, but the producers of Archer are looking to change all that with their new series, Chozen. When I first read FX’s official description, they said Chozen’s “music and lyrics take aim at the stereotypes of machismo misogyny that [are] synonymous with rap music,” so naturally, it piqued my interest.
At the peak of his career with a very parent-friendly rap group, the Kool Kidz, alongside his friends Crisco, Ricky and Phantasm, Chozen discovers that Phantasm is involved in some not so parent-friendly activities, he’s set up and sent to prison. Ten years later, he’s out and ready to make it to the top, but there are more than a few things standing in his way. Thanks to the setup, Phantasm is the number one rap game in town, mainly because he’s bullied Crisco and Ricky into sticking under the radar, spinning Kool Kidz-style rhymes at children’s birthday parties. Forced to crash on his sister, Tracy’s, couch, he bides his time, writing fresh new rhymes on his quest to get back to the top…and for vengeance.
Drawing on some well-known talent, Chozen offers a plethora of regular and guest stars to keep the game interesting. Saturday Night Live’s Bobby Moynihan plays Chozen, a rapper fresh from the slammer with a thirst for fame. Chozen is gay, which adds a very interesting element: he treats men the same way some men treat women, and the results are hilarious. Plus, his rap game is nothing to shake a stick at! Kathryn Hahn of Crossing Jordan is Tracy, a sister who’s caught up between being furious at her brother for ordering a G.I. Joe movie with Channing Tatum six times and loving him because of who he was before he went to jail. Hannibal Buress, a writer from 30 Rock, and Michael Peña from most recently Turbo and American Hustle, play the two rappers turned birthday clowns Ricky and Crisco, but Chozen really went all out: Method Man plays Phantasm, and he definitely embodies the classic “rapper.”
The animation style is very similar to Archer, but given the subject matter, there’s a lot of room to get more creative, namely Chozen’s music video with the stuffed animals. Mind you, this was not a music video he was shooting for his rap career and that’s all I’m going to say. Perhaps the biggest visual achievement with this show isn’t in the show at all–the promo and poster art. If you’d like an example, pay FX’s website a visit and check out the Chozen page.
Overall, the producers of Archer have, in my opinion, created something that has the potential to be as popular as its sister show as long as people spread the word. From what I saw in the first episode, I’m guessing it won’t be too long before the internet is blowing up with word about animated sitcoms’ newest rap star, but until next week, we’ll just have to see!
Check out Chozen Mondays at 10:30 Central/11:30 Pacific on FX.