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by Philip Sherburne

May 1, 2013

Weird Rhapsody: False Skrillexes

by Philip Sherburne  |  May 1, 2013

Skrillex went from being an unknown upstart to becoming a full-on meme in record time. (It's kind of ironic, then, that the "Oh my gosh!" sample in his first hit came from a competitive "speed-stacker" of plastic cups who found fame on YouTube.) It seems like practically as soon as we knew who he was, he was everywhere: Girls That Look Like Skrillex, Cooking With Skrillex, the Sad Skrillex Meme, a cappella Skrillex covers and, of course, a viral video of Skrillex briefly catching his hair on fire as he blew out the candles on his birthday cake.

So it only figures that some wags would start riffing on the wub-loving rabble-rouser in song. Exhibit A: "Mozart vs. Skrillex," by an outfit named Epic Rap Battles of History -- essentially, a sort of Crunk Al Yankovic meets Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. It sounds just like you might expect, with impersonations of the two musicians trading barbs over canned strings and cut-rate dubstep beats. (For the record, Mozart wins the battle: "I am the world's greatest composer/ No one knows what you are/ Except a lonely little troll/ Who knows how to press a space bar.")

Electric Valentine address a topic that Scene Kids everywhere will understand with their self-explanatory song, "Girl, You Got Skrillex Hair" ("You got Skrillex hair, you got Skrillex hair/ Oh my god girl, you got Skrillex hair.") Again, the music sounds more like Casiotone crunk than dubstep, making you wonder how many of Skrillex's parodists have actually heard his music. Then, file under WTF: A U.K. artist named Rednek chose the title "I'm Not Skrillex" for a bizarre amalgam of country twang and laser bass in which a cartoonish drawl declares, "I don't live in a trailer, this ain't my real voice, I'm not racist, I don't drive a pickup truck … I guess now I'm a redneck."

Of course, fame like Skrillex's brings the opportunists out of the woodwork. Hence cheap SEO grabs like "Skrillex Swag," a bargain-basement dubstep track made on synth presets by an "artist" called UKF Dubstep (the name is obviously carpetbagging on the dubstep media company UKF, which has nothing to do with the release). There's a lot of that kind of gray-market product out there, as well as a glut of the usual karaoke and "tribute" versions that feast parasitically on pop hits. (There are even tribute versions of Skrillex's remix of Benny Benassi's "Cinema," which, just, wow.) But once you get past the shady stuff, there are a few unintentionally amusing gems, like the Piano Tribute Players' New Age redo of "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites," or Nostromo Pilots' "String Quartet Mix" of the same. (From the sound of it, it was recorded without a single actual stringed instrument, but the cheapness of the sound is part of its charm.)

We've put together a playlist of the best and the worst of it. And, for good measure, we included Katie Wilson's "Dubstep Violin Parody" of Lindsey Stirling, a dubstepping violin prodigy whose popularity is currently exploding -- despite the fact that she sounds a little like a parody act herself. Who knows; this time next year, we may be clicking on Lindsey Stirling memes.

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