Category Archives: Epic humans

Switch to southpaw, split your right jaw

You take out the issue of white women and replace it with the issue of religion. That’s my story! – Muhammad Ali, after seeing The Great White Hope

There are so many victims of time and circumstance in my country’s history, but it really seems like young pugilists from certain racial and socioeconomic groups seem to constitute an inappropriately large amount of this group.

Mr. Jack Johnson of Galveston had fist-related acumen, was of African descent, and enjoyed the fleshly delights of the prized white female. Since it was the early 1900s, this meant that things would not turn out well for him. Back then, my people held some truths to be self-evident, including that all men are created equal, except if it’s a black man who makes white men look bad by ripping the heavyweight championship out of their hands, and then that same black man pours lemon juice into their facial cuts by having sex with white ladies.

But over the years, there’s been a swelling of good intentions among good people who’ve noted the injustice in sending Johnson to prison on some Mann Act charges. We all want Johnson to receive a presidential pardon–last year, I was amazed to find out that John McCain was a major supporter in this movement. We’re still waiting; it’s in Obama’s hands now. And I’m proud to say that almost all the skinny bearded young white men who live in my neighborhood have heard of Johnson, thanks to that Mos supergroup and the popularity of his likeness on t-shirts. The one above is the best I’ve seen yet (even though that collar is so high and weird–but maybe it’s just this particular photo), and part of the profits from its sale goes to PBS for the funding and production of wonderful things like the annoyingly prolific Ken Burns’ documentary Unforgivable Blackness.

[Cool Hunting]

“Swishas and Dosha.” Because I had to post a Texas song, because that chorus, oh that glorious chorus!, and because of Bun’s punch your mouth and knock out the taste part.

Coma Cinema – “Sucker Punch”



Do I have to keep on talking til I can’t go on?

The reason for the “Epic humans” tag on this blog.

Bron-Bron to New York maybe, Elena Kagan’s preference of sexual intercourse partner somehow means something, trappin may be dead at this point, and the color of the sky above has changed, but nothing else matters on May 13 except for the fact that the god Stevie was born on this very day in 1950. If you think of a way to capture in language the influence of this man, you’re kind of a jerk for trying but I’m jealous of your ability. (PS, call me; we should probably be sleeping together).

This is the best song I could think of to post, because of each beautiful and perfect note from that clavinet, and because Bobbito played it right after “Tears of a Clown” at Wonderfull ’05 and it made me collapse right there on the floor, a quivering mass of estrogen and joy. Familiarity breeds contempt, they say, except when you’re talking about the Stevie Wonder catalogue.

We Can Work It Out. Saginaw > Liverpool.



At the 40/40 club, ESPN on the screen.

NY lovehate.

1. “Jay-Z is my favorite MC.” – Rakim.

He added, “Well, except for ‘Forever Young.’ That song’s bullshit.

Which it is! Fuckin A, Kanye. Stop making bad things happen. Sloppy production work, my dear. Sloppy sloppy. And lazy. Very lazy.

(And yes, the song is awful drivel, but the video of Jay and his lovely wife dueting at Coachella made me teary-eyed. Of course. I mean, Jesus Christ, I’m not some kind of monster).

Hot damn though: being able to buy your mom whatever she wants? Moving units while maintaining the respect of nerdy ladybloggers? And now this, THE GOD Rakim proclaiming his affection for you to the world? Must be nice. Must be real nice. Jay-Z owns the universe and everything in it. He’s our new Oprah.

2. KRS still a crabby old guy, still needs a hobby.

He’s decided to boycott the newly-opened National Museum of Hip Hop located in the Bronx, citing Afrika Bambaataa’s claim that the event is “illegitimate.” [HipHopDX]

I can endorse this.

1. Any translation of hip hop into a museum display is impossible unless Bill Adler is the curator or all the Ego Trip boys do a version of it in my living room.

2. Like KRS, Afrika Bambaataa is my spiritual advisor. I obey him. If he says something is bad and wrong, I steer clear.

3. As the founder of a 1-woman crusade against Drake that has so far been unsuccessful in its attempt to prevent kids from downloading his music, I have sympathy for KRS as he puts out press releases about hip hop history as if people care. Also, KRS can be cranky, is always yelling about how elders must be respected, and he thinks old music is better than new music. KRS and I are twins.

3. I dislike the Yanquis more than you could possibly understand, I mean it’s a real fiery hot passion, but this story warmed my ice-cold heart. Like, the Yankees are Cindy Lou-Who and I’m the Grinch, maybe?

On Thursday, April 15, every MLB player wore #42 in honor of Jackie Robinson, who broke baseball’s color barrier on that date in 1947.

The Yankees were host to the Angels. Second baseman Robinson Cano was named in honor of Robinson. (That’s Rodriguez, Jeter, and Cano above.) He hit 2 home runs during the game, which the Yankees won. And before the game, Cano presented a bouquet of flowers to Rachel Robinson, Jackie’s widow, whose family was honored in ceremonies that day. 44,7-hundred-or-so persons were in attendance. It was 71 degrees outside. New babies were made. I got a puppy. Glenn Beck was in a tragic larynx-damaging accident resulting in his voice being rendered completely silent forever. Etc, etc.

We don’t want no problems, B! Crooklyn Dodgers for musical accompaniment, of course, because what else was I gonna post if not Masta Ace and his nasally voice? I know you wanna enter but I can’t let you in/My mind state’s the maddest; I’m gone with the wind.


Aretha. Andrew. Sly.

Jerry Wexler + Aretha, an epic coupling in the long, long history of Urban Judaic Man Signing Green Young Talent to Contract in Order to Lay Down Gorgeous Tracks Together.
Spector + Ronettes, Clive Davis + everybody, Rifkind + Wu. Etc.

1. News items about old singers whose influence cannot be quantified always gets me thinking What are we gonna do when ________ dies? (Prince, Stevie Wonder). Sorry to be so morbid. By contrast, I do believe that a recently-unearthed, Sydney Pollack-directed documentary of Aretha recording 1972’s Amazing Grace will provide us with some life-affirming positive energy. Please remember that from here on out, any lack of appreciation shown for Aretha will result in me sitting you down and pulling out that dusty old Marianne Faithfull quote to show you. Again.

“One Step Ahead.” Columbia-years Aretha. I’ve posted it before, but I can’t help myself because, you see, I know…I can’t…afffoooorrrd to stop. (00:53).


“Rock Steady.” Perfection, due to its combination of jangly guitar, mention of the motion of hips, and sheer meta-ness because I LOVE a self-referential song. Let’s call this song exactly what it is (what it is, what it is, what it iiiiis).


2. “Do not build fortresses to protect yourself; isolation is dangerous.” Andrew Bynum of my beloved Lakeshowww (he’s the only one on the squad without a current hand injury) is getting all grown up now and has just discovered Robert Greene’s The 48 Laws of Power [CNN]. Welcome to the year 2000, Andy! You heard Supreme Clientele yet?

The 49th Law is “Always heed the advice of Mr. Sky Hook.”

I already posted this one before too, but it gets a second nod simply based on the line I know I talk a lot of shit but I can back it up, part of the vast collection of statements I love because they are things I could never get away with saying In Real Life. Also, it gets a second nod ’cause it’s M.O.P. Duh.

3. Goddammit, Sly Stone, your music makes my brain hurt and my lady areas feel nice and even though you’re a space alien we still celebrate the annual marker of your years here on Earth. You and Kool Keith have that in common. Happy birthday.

“Equinox symmetry and the balance is right/Smokin‘ and drinkin‘ on a Tuesday night.”


From the mouths of epic humans, 02/07/10.

This was late 1993, in New York. I went to Wu-Tang’s Firehouse Studio and spoke to RZA. I recall this memory. He said,

‘You know this sweatshirt right here … I’ve been wearing this sweatshirt for three days. But I got beats.’

“Now Jay-Z is on the radio and he’s talented, but he’s just not at the level he use to be at on Reasonable Doubt and The Blueprint. The genius is still there, but there’s no more motivation.”

“I didn’t watch the whole thing—I know what state the union’s in,” says Gil Scott-Heron

I think it’s amazing what’s been done for Haiti,” Wayne said, gazing out at the assembled reporters and cameramen in a tent just outside the Jim Henson Recording Studios in Hollywood as he stepped off a stool and lowered the microphone. Then, raising the mic to his iced-out grill once more, he added, “But I also think it’s amazing what hasn’t been done for New Orleans.”

And with that, he walked out without taking any further questions.

A year and a day.

Jan. 20, 2009:

“President-elect Barack Obama was about to walk out to take the oath of office. Backstage at the U.S. Capitol, he took one last look at his appearance in the mirror.” (Official White House photo, Pete Souza)

Obamic Accomplishments lauded in apt. 302: Economic stimuli of varying sorts, health care (pre-Massachusetts straight fucking it all up), the Nobel, tax credits to offset the cost of tuition, more health insurance for more kids. And, of course: BO! Also, the Muslim world hates us a teeny bit less these days. Yes dear, of course he could be doing better. We all could. But basically, enjoy the man’s feats thus far and stop throwing salt in my game. I’m looking at you, people who frequently email me to call me out on my “crush on the President.” Barry O is the truth!, even if it takes you a little longer than me to see it.

I am the bard and I am the last one/I am the king and this is my castle.
I’d also like to add And you can bet your ass.

. . .

Young Money (non-New Orleans version)

Damon Williams: 14 years old, living the dream, making me question all my life choices that have placed me squarely here and now. I’m conflicted about the content above (knowledge of a global multi-billion-dollar system that by its very nature seeks to exclude 14-year-old Chicago kids, vs. buying a piece of Phil Knight’s [alleged] 12-year-old-Asian-girl workforce cash cow), but leaning towards “this is pretty dope.” And that mom of his! Timothy Geithner and Suze Orman, have a seat.

via (ugh) Kanye’s blog. Somebody kick me right in the behind, please.

Dilla, “Milk Money.”



Ray is a better wordsmith than all your favorite rappers especially the one from ’05.


I’d like to think that when I sing a song, I can let you know all about the heartbreak, struggle, lies and kicks in the ass I’ve gotten over the years, for being black and everything else, without actually saying a word about it. – Ray.

A!Juelz, who apparently a) still exists and b) is still saying this-?

NY, 1966.

LA, 1966. [Bill Ray]

Today in 1965, Ray was convicted of possession of heroin and marijuana. He was given a five-year suspended sentence and fined $10,000. Drugs, you’ve done wonders for my life/heart/record collection (that’s all the same place).
What’d I Say.” CADENCE.


Bein‘ Green.” Truth about life as expressed in song: Trouble weighs a ton at first, then things start looking up. Green’s big like an ocean, or important like a mountain, or tall like a tree. Let’s all write it down and remember it always.



Thing #76,433 we’re thankful for: PAUL.

Darling youuuu send me. Honest you do. Honestyoudo, honestyoudo.*

I don’t trust people who like Vegas, I don’t like people who start a question with “Question:” and who start a story like this: “True story:”. But I trust NY producers whom I’ve never met. I mean, look at his face. He’s just a great dude, you can tell, and if we knew each other I just know that no unpleasantness between us would ever ensue and that he would find my questions about Zev in ’89 super charming.

Not the most obscure piece of Paul production-ery here, but obscurity is the most ridiculous test of a music’s merit I think I ever done heard in mah LIFE. Stop stalling, press play, and take Aunt Jean for a spin around the living room to this with my beloved Raiders on your television set. De La – “Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey).”


I find it hard enough dealin with my own biz.

*I would like to add that I am also thankful for YouTube and for videos on YouTube that include the words “rare,” “Sam Cooke,” and “demo.”