You want me to talk about how your Caucasian-psych-swirly-bass band reminded me to do Fantasy Football again this year? WELL OK THEN.
Jimmy Miller, production god who never really got his propers, made some real walking-down-the-street bangers. “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin” immediately comes to mind, a shining example of pure hot-weather-in-a-sundress magic. That song’s 41 years old and still sexual as all hell (especially those first 45 seconds, mmm). “Gimme Shelter,” with the way it builds and builds? I’M SWEATIN. Be a lamb and put an ice cube down my back, would you.
When fall comes along, his stuff is employed for colder-weather activities – “Tumblin’ Dice” for walking down the street in jeans (“cold-weather activity” in my city means doing the same thing as during summer, except in jeans because it’s 5 degrees cooler.) Mick’s platform in the song is that women are terrible and sexy and not to be trusted, and playing into that is rather fun, so what better way to be a jezebel than to paint on some stretchy denim that shows off your lady-shape. “Gimme Some Lovin,” a personal favorite because of the holy trifecta of kick drum, tambourine, and copious church-y HEY!s like a pre-pre-pre-cursor to “Power,” is perfect to have on when it’s a frigid 65 degrees out and I’m making some baked chicken. You should see my kitchen moves, guys. I shake it like a combination of the girls in that 2 Chainz video and 2 Chainz.
Mr. Fantasy isn’t in the same category. It’s dreamy and filled with sitars and tambura, too dreamy and slow for a walk. It’s got that classic Miller style, though – driving bass, vocal build-ups and cascades, loud, clear drum punches. “Being a drummer,” he said, “I was very rhythm minded.” Being a Fantasy Football manager for the 2012-13 season, I too am rhythm minded. Everything must flow. The guys on the squad don’t have to be best friends, but they have to respect each other as men and support each other to get the job done. (I know how to wrangle some big personalities, just like Miller had to. He worked with The Rolling Stones, you see). My guys execute driving routes, clear punches; tight and right, balanced, nothing sloppy. The pieces of my offense all fit and complement each other, a powerful machine that runs on VitaCoco and maybe a little HGH. I was rifling through my records and came across Mr. Fantasy; a couple hours later, I had my team for this season, drafted and ready. I’m giving Jimmy Miller co-manager credit this year.
The rules were the same this year as every other: 1. do minimal research on who’s really hot – meaning projected to possibly be hot, provided everyone’s knees and psyches hold up – for the 2012 season. Check Rotoworld and CBS Fantasy ONLY, in other words – not Rotoworld, CBS Fantasy, SBNation, FantasySharks, “Fantasy” by Guy, The xx, and Earth Wind & Fire, or Final Fantasy 4, big big shout to Danny Brown and DeShay that I should just get out of the way right at the beginning of the post. 2. GET RODGERS; failing that, GET STAFFORD. 3. Draft no Raiders, as I cannot have my real life allegiances and my Fantasy allegiances getting crisscrossed and tied into knots. Drafting dudes from the RVIDXR KLVN, however, is acceptable.
Fall is the finest of all the seasons. My apologies for being truly unpleasant to be around between now and December, but LEH’, as my 17-year-old cousin Kevin and all his lame friends said circa summer/fall 2011, GO:
Nickname(s): None to my knowledge, but I like thinking about dudes walking around Michigan with STAF written above the dark blue oval of the Ford logo on their shirts. IT’S DETROIT; they definitely do this.
Pros: •63% completion last year. • Poised and in control at all times, much like myself. • Thinking of him gets me all revved up to yell “KITTY PRIDE” at the TV 2-3 times this season after a really big Lions play.
Cons:• The Goonies was on the other night. Stafford looks like Chunk from The Goonies, mixed with a little Temple Grandin.
Do-Gooder Twitter Score (1 – 10 scale): 6. Lots of support for the Wounded Warriors Project, but this is offset by boring self-promo (“Check out my exclusive video with SWAG, a new digital magazine”). The rest of his feed is all Republican-sounding notes on golfing with dad, NASCAR, and the on-the-couch-with-a-bag-of-Doritos-NFL-fan-favorite “leading a healthy lifestyle.” Then he demands to see Obama’s birth certificate and lays out his plan to keep troops in Afghanistan for the next 200 years.
Nickname: “Pretty Flacco.”Drafted because it was the 12th round and neither Ryan Leaf nor Tim Tebow were looking appealing. Plus I’m always on the prowl for a big goofy white guy to recruit for QB, as they all seem to be great at throwing a football with speed and accuracy. (Ryan Lochte!, I’ve got my eye on you, buddy.)
Flacco’s ability to throw the ball with accuracy lessens every year; honestly, his appeal as a player is purely emotional for me, because of his rad name, his do-gooder qualities (see below), and the fact that his team’s been in the news alongside the name of THE GOD Chris Kluwe, soldier for equality. Flacco will do for now. I’m just biding my time until Andrew Luck has one awful week and someone in my league drops him because nobody has loyalty.
Do-Gooder Twitter Score: 9. Being a dad, Joe says, is amazing. He also pushes the Special Olympics and something called Boys Hope Girls Hope Baltimore. Get ’em, Joe.
Nicknames: Dez “Dickerson” Bryant; “Trouble Man*,” “The Modernaire.”
*Invoking the Toddler Clause in his contract, Jerry Jones has decided that, just like my 2-year-old niece, Bryant cannot stay out too late or drink anything bad for him. Dez Bryant is 24 years old.
“Pacman Jones might be a rich man today,” a Deadspin commenter noted re: athletes needing to be treated like children, “if there was someone hanging around him all the time trying to keep him out of trouble.” Ridiculous. Incorrect. In the immortal words of Nathan Arizona, “And if a frog had wings he wouldn’t bump his ass a-hoppin’.” Listen, the physical feats of human males are completely separable from their psychological workings and their feelings about their mothers and whether they like their strippers with tattoos or without. Dez Bryant is a grown-up, as was Pacman Jones when he was a part of the esteemed Cowboys organization. The plot of Get Him to the Greek as a real-life scenario with a professional athlete in the Russell Brand role is just not meant to be, guys.
Pros:• Pimp C being a Cowboys fan decreases some of the symptoms of acid reflux in my trachea due to my searing IRL hatred of the Cowboys. • It’s kind of cool that Dez is now an NFL Cowboy after being a Cowboy at Oklahoma State, which reminds me: that Mike Gundy video never gets old!
Cons:•Psychological trauma from an elderly man making him kiss the ring will mess with his head on game days. • Tendinitis. (Really though, who in the NFL doesn’t have tendinitis.)
Twitter do-gooder score: 4. Mostly he just talks about beating his bros in Madden and tweets Bible verses. Love the bio/location up top, though: the lovely and understated “Cowboys Stadium.”
Decker? I hardly know her! Now that that’s out of the way:
Drafted on the strength of his head-to-neck-thickness ratio and the fact that he will be catching balls thrown by Peyton W. Manning (goofy white guy!). Decker went to Minnesota, just like Manning’s beloved Tony Dungy. The fuzzy feelings this stirs up in Manning due to this association will no doubt make Decker a favorite target. I mean, I already have fuzzy feelings about all things Minnesotan due to Prince connotations.
Nickname(s): None so far, but if he starts to do real well I’m prepared to introduce the name “Eric Wrecker” to the world.
Pros:• Tall, lanky• Good route runner • Manning.
Cons: • CORNBALL. He and Demaryius Thomas “have been trying to get the nickname ‘Salt & Pepper’ to stick since 2010 when they were rookie roommates.”•Is a Bronco. This is inherently offensive to me, because RAIDERS ALL DAY AND SOME OF THE NIGHT AS WELL; the Chiefs, Chargers, and especially those fucking Broncos can all go to HELL (a Drake concert in Mitt Romney’s backyard) but that doesn’t mean I can’t use them to get points in Fantasy. I want their players to fail; I want their players to kill it. On Sundays, therefore, catch me at the bar/on my couch in apt. 680/on Mom’s couch, practicing some meannnnn cognitive dissonance.
Do-gooder Twitter score: 6. His shoutout to a kid with cancer is offset by relentless pushing of the VitaCoco brand, thanking a dude who said, “Just took you in my Fantasy draft,” and saying, “LEZZZZZGO” in response to somebody yelling for the Golden Gophers to start the season off right.
Nickname(s):Moore Rhymin’? I don’t know. I tossed around “Faith No Moore” for a hot sec but then I realized it’s a negative phrase. I don’t need any of that on the field.
Pros:• Plays for the RAIDAHS, the greatest team in professional sports according to my dad, Bishop’s chest, every Los Angeles MC in 1985, and the ghost of Al Davis. •Elicits mega underdog soft girly feelings in my heart – he’s from Tatum, Texas, where the backyards are filled with flowers, the median household income is less than $30,000/year, and people are fond of voting against their own self-interests based on the fact that this guy is their representative in Congress. I will obviously be pulling for Denarius Moore with some fiery enthusiasm this season.
Cons:• Plays for the RAIDAHS, a terrible omen. I broke my rule about drafting no members of the team I like in my actual life, but because it’s the Raiders, he’ll probably rupture or tear something in his soft parts and then spend the rest of the season tweeting about it (“Coming back strong! Trainer says I’m recovering so fast it’s a miracle!”). Every time I picture him while rearranging my roster in my head, he’s got a raincloud over his head like Schleprock and his leg in a jacuzzi full of ice. Al’s gone, though, so maybe the dark days are over? Maybe the coaches will be allowed to coach? Greg Knapp, let’s get it.
Twitter Do-Gooder Score: 3. He’s got the occasional shout to a kid with cancer, but his feed is identical to your cousin’s at Arizona State whose current favorite song is that Tyga joint. “What’s up kinfolk,” “Whad up,” “dm me your gamer tag,” “preciate it brah,” and the especially powerful “2 chainz!”
Nickname: Titus Andronicus. “Young Titus” is pretty good, though.
Drafted because I saw that aw, he just had a baby! and we ladies have all kinds of chemicals running through us that make us draft guys to our Fantasy team if we can picture them holding a newborn. He’s also Poised for a Breakout Season, says the completely impartial DetroitLions.com, and it’s rad that he went to Uni High, yet another thing he has in common with Darby Crash and Kim Gordon.
Pro: • Not Greg Little, whom I almost took. Unless of course Greg Little develops some kind of magical symmetry with QB Brandon Weeden (big goofy white guy!), which will turn “not selecting Greg Little” into a Con.
Cons:• Not Calvin Johnson. • Not Nate Burleson. • Comes in at 5’11”, according to the Lions’ PR team. So, he’s 5’9¾”. • I will probably drop him for Nate Washington, at which point Titus will have a string of 2-touchdown, 100-yard games because the gods don’t want me to be happy.
Twitter Do-Gooder Score:N/A. He appears to have an account, but it’s unverified.
Nickname: Killer Mike? Pirate Mike? Pirate Mike!
Not USC’s Mike Williams, who, fun fact, is the proud possessor of the terribly appropriate middle name “Troy.” This Mike Williams will probably not be the flashiest guy on my roster, as he is competing with IRL teammate Vincent Jackson for receptions.
Pros: • Will give me ample opportunity to share my “How much does a pirate pay for corn? A BUCK AN EAR” joke after too much Ciroc • Vincent Jacskon can’t catch every single pass, right?
Cons: • Double-talker, according to a quick scan of his Twitter feed:
“I’m never cutting the beard!” – 07/15/12. “OK everybody I’m CUTTING THE BEARD!!!!” – 08/28/12.
Nickname(s): Stevie J, of course! Yall are ridin his bus!!
Pros: •Quick legs and a bountiful head of hair. The longer the locks, the wiser the Rasta. • Playing for new coach Jeff “Fischer,” who’s introduced the disgusting/sexy sounding “ground and pound” offense, according to Bleacher Report. I guess I’ll believe this, even though the site doesn’t know the correct spelling of Jeff Fisher. • Alum of Oregon State, just like my beautiful mother who is contractually obligated to bring up “the radness of Houshmandzadeh during the ’08-’09 season” every September, getting all wistful when we’re in line at Target.
Cons: • Maybe assaulted his girlfriend a few years ago, allegedly? Various articles note that she was his pregnant girlfriend, which on the Lady Crime Ranking Scale is up there with “not being there when you said you would” and “hanging out with Benzino all the time.” • His blog and Twitter feed are dull collections of inspirational cliches. “Desire, dedication & being 6’2″ & having genes that have made it easy for me to build muscle determination is what’s required to live a dream.”
Twitter Do-Gooder Score: 1. There’s of course a pic of him at a military base, but this was with several of his teammates and a camera crew, so I’m assuming terrible things about his motivation for showing up. I see zero pleas for helping fellow humans, unless of course you’ve entered the Rawlings Football Sweepstakes, an event in which Steven wishes you much good fortune. Mostly Steven wants you to know that Steven is ready for a great season and Steven Steven Steven. “Everyone please join me in telling my beautiful mother happy birthday!,” “It’s official my fighting weight .. Haha 234.8 LBS and 5.1% body fat.” I gave him 2 additional points for a kid-with-cancer tweet, then realized #cancers was referring to his son’s astrological sign and had to take ’em back.
Nickname: None necessary; baddest name in the NFL. I just hope he’ll come out from behind his big desk in his office in downtown Gotham in time to take the field on Sundays this season. Should I decide one day that he needs a nickname, it will certainly not be the tired old “Frank the Tank” that everyone else is going with; I shall call him The Captain, for he inhabits that role on the 49ers. (He’s one of four total captains, but that doesn’t make him LESS of a captain, youfeelme, also yadadamean since we’re talking about the Bay here.)
Drafted because of his numbers, simple as that. He’s little, but he’s got the numbers. Physical stats in the NFL are just like those in modeling. The numbers get padded, because nobody cares enough to take the time to check. The NFL says Frank is 5’9″, which means Frank is 5’7½” like most jockeys and rappers.
Pro: Same height as me!; i.e., destined for greatness.
Con: Mentioned in a Wayne song, which means that multiple times this season I will throw a Dorito at Stuart Scott’s face on my TV when he’s doing postgame 49er highlights.
Twitter Do-Gooder Score: N/A. No Twitter.
His nickname’s “The Engine,” he’s so young that he was born around the time Ice-T donned that floppy beanie to film scenes for New Jack City, and he’s yet another longhair on my squad. He’s also yet another guy with a hurt knee on my squad, causing much chair-gripping and teeth-gritting by this little lady while watching him run a sweep and get shoved out of bounds and fall and roll. I have a trick knee, too.
Pros:• 21 years old. His team’s awful but there’s nowhere to go but up. • Trent has no Twitter account. He also plays in the city of Cleveland, where there’s nothing to do – which proves he has an active inner world and a healthy imagination and probably just goes to the gym and the bookstore during training camp, leading to increased strength and focus when he suits up. These are what we refer to as “intangibles” in the sports world.
Con: He might not be starting against Philly in the opener. I’m not a Fantasy expert but this seems like an inefficient way to get me points during Week 1.
The Falcons aren’t playing any away games against New York teams this season, so my dream of chanting “T-O-N-Y invade NY, beef somethingsomething BEEF” will have to die. Anyway, I love to hate Tony. He’s durable and probably underrated so he might not get covered like, say, Gronkowski definitely will. But having this guy on my team is unpleasant because I have numerous memories of his receptions when he was on the Chiefs, playing against my beloved Raiders and then “dunking” the ball over the goalpost crossbar in a giant display of HEY I USED TO PLAY BASKETBALL, I’M 6’5″! What a goddamn showoff jerk. Fuck him. I mean, outside of him getting me Fantasy points.
Nicknames: “Greg Nice”; And because he’s HUGE and spends a lot of time in Miami, “Blond 2 Chainz.”
Pros: • Olsen is the very definition of my beautiful mother’s favorite thing in football, a “Big white tight end who doesn’t try to be too flashy.” That’s not racist because a white woman making a joke about white men of a certain physical type is not racist. • I now have “Radiation Vibe” in my head (Greg’s from Wayne, NJ).
“So now it’s time to sayyyyy/WhatIforGOT to say, ba-byyyy, ba-by ba-byyyyy.”
Hi there, 1996! Missed you!
Con: He’s not the Gronk. I really wanted the Gronk.
Twitter Do-Gooder Score: 10. See but he sneaks up on you though. His feed itself is littered with birthday wishes and pics of his baby and gratitude toward fans; then you look up and under his avatar it says Founder of Receptions For Research Foundation (“established in 2009 to provide hospitals, doctors, and researchers the necessary resources to save those affected with various types of cancers”). Greg’s mom is a cancer survivor and he started the foundation in her honor and do you think Greg likes record dorks who make really good baked chicken? I know a gal who might be available. She needs a baller for the purposes of these but other than that her love don’t cost a thing.
eXquire’s from New York but he swears there’s good somethingsomething in Chicago and I’m pretty sure it’s DEFENSE. The Bears need to defend better against the pass rush and have old dog Brian Urlacher only for the next 5 minutes before his knee gives out and his body crumples like a Jenga tower. But they’re still ranked high because of Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman, both of whom have the names of drill sergeants, and Julius Peppers, a towering hulk of a man whose name makes me hungry. Plus Devin Hester will be returning punts again this year, I think? Everybody pray he has a great season for me, please, as this will help me forget the pain of not getting Chicago’s Matt “Rappin” Forte on my offensive squad.
Cons:•The Bears’ corners and safeties are TINY – 5’8″, 5’9″, 5’10”. Good look covering guys like the SIX FOOT FOUR A.J. Green, dummies. • The mother of one of Lance Briggs’ children is named “Brittini.” This isn’t his fault but it’s still so terrible that it belongs on the Cons list. • Lance Briggs no longer owns a sweeeeet Continental, affectionate hello to Danny Brown for the second time in the post; coincidentally, I no longer have any interest in DMing Lance Briggs naked pics of myself.
I apologize in advance once again for being truly insufferable for the next few months. Steve Winwood!: take me out.
Most trained record-scavenging machines out there only need a big fat ATM withdrawal before a Beat Swap Meet. They’ll usually get coffee and a muffin too, time permitting.
This machine, however, is a lady machine, with long, misbehaving hair that needs to be smoothed down. Nails need to have a nice sheen like a pool of motor oil or candy paint; I know this from years of UGK listening. Coming through looking clean is the name of the game (UGK again), so I need to iron my clothes and “bring a pocketbook that matches,” according to my proper southern grandma. Coming through smelling like cupcakes doesn’t hurt either (cocoa butter-vanilla oil combo).
Laundry, an absolute must, is the foundation of my pre-BSM routine.(I’d take it personally if MCs ever stop rapping about the foxiness and Snuggle-fresh clothing of LA women.) I went off to wash clothes the morning of June 10, bringing along an iced coffee and that silly Parade “magazine” that comes in the Sunday paper. Normally I read strictly highbrow fare while I’m at the laundromat (WaxPo, Harper’s, Adario-era Source, Utne). I’m not embarrassed about reading Parade, though; I’m secure in myself. (Only God Can Judge Me, according to Pac, Master P, and Mike Bibby’s calf.) Besides, Parade sometimes provides pretty useful bits of information – like the fact that June 10 was THE GOD Saul Bellow’s birthday. Saul’s a great writer, known for Augie March, a white American male alienation classic, right up there with Nevermind, I suppose, and Labor Days. But Saul should be known for having a perfect name for a shouty preacher (SAUL BELLOW, c’mon), and for once saying, “Everybody needs his memories. They keep the wolf of insignificance from the door,” a phrase so lovely that it cannot be improved upon unless you put a squiggly bassline under it. I’m getting it tatted on my calf this weekend.
Just the way players I play, all day every day. Honestly, guys. I don’t know what else to say.
It turns out, appropriately enough, that June 10, BSM day, new/old record-gettin day, was the god Howlin’ Wolf’s birthday and the g.o.d. The D.O.C.’s, too. (Not mentioned in Parade, though lord knows they should’ve been.) I came up nicely – spent around $80, got 13 records, and didn’t have to travel more than 5 miles round trip from my doorstep.The high in LA was 76°. I smelled good (cupcakes). And I exchanged smiles with so many people, because, you see, unlike the employees of Time Warner*, Beat Swap Meet sellers and buyers – music people – do not find it unusual that a woman enjoys record albums.
* “Whose records are these?” – 3 separate technicians during 3 separate visits, upon entering my apartment.
The original-pressing “Player’s Anthem” break that’s been hard to find now lives in apt. 680 (even though the true player’s anthem is obviously either “Freddie’s Dead” or “Superman Lover”; duh, Clark Kent. And God’s favorite DJ is actually Derrick May. DUH, CLARK KENT.)
1. The New Birth, Birth Day (RCA Victor, 1972). $8.
It’s 2012 and everyone knows Queens and Harlem are the rapping-est boroughs. But it’s still fun to summon the spirit of someone jocking Brooklyn super hard in ’94 and exclaim: Biggie! Jeru! (Clark Kent and Premier both used the “You Are What I’m All About” pencil-tapping-the-side-of-a-mason-jar sound!) An automatic purchase because it’s an original pressing as opposed to a ’90s rapstalgia reissue, I saw Birth Day on display when I was walking out. It was the end of the afternoon and the end of my cash supply. The allure of this damn thing made me trot (ha, J/K; I sashay) across the street to the ATM to pull out more cash and come back. John was the seller’s name, I think. Thank you, John. The freshness of your Van Exel jersey was not lost on me.
“HAPPY LISTENING FOR YOU AND ME.”
Their cover of Womack’s “I Can Understand It” opens the album. Lovely. The New Birth version lacks the crucial “yeah-uh” that kills me every time in the original (01:11), but when a DJ at the swap meet played “Across 110th St.” while my weak arms were struggling with the weight of record bags during my exit walk to the car, it was a clear sign that I had to get something Womackian before I left. I was raised by leftist heathens in a weed den, but even I have to give in when God and all the angels send a message directly to me (“Womack, Logan. WOMACK”). And there was John, suddenly, with his clean copy of Birth Day to sell me. “You Are What I’m All About” (Biggie and Jeru) and “Got to Get a Knutt” (De La, PE, Doom!) are the rap-break superstars, but there’s so much material on this record to be mined. More use should be made out of “Buck and the Preacher,” for example. Current producers are scared to compete with G Rap and Large Pro, obviously, and this is why none of them have tried to chop and loop it. What an air-tight theory. Except that nobody but me and the Ego Trip guys and you currently reading this blog post even think about G Rap or Large Pro or anyone else in AARP anymore, unless there’s a lawsuit involved and we’re forced to care out of loyalty to the old dogs and our mutual hatred of Mac Miller. Twitter stuntery and ass injections are mostly the move in the industry now, with the scary, cold eyes of Riff Raff overseeing it all. Everybody get ready for my “Cashin Out” freestyle, which the world definitely needs.
Birth Day‘s other standout is “Easy, Evil.” (Sorry; no link.) It’s a better song title than actual song, a feat last accomplished by The Dirty Projectors’ “Gun Has No Trigger,” but it’s got this weird, sexy line “Sometimes I don’t know what I’m doin’ ’til I’m done,” which would be perfect as a UGK hook. It doesn’t matter that Chad isn’t around! He’s still around, kinda! He resurfaces every couple of years like a new Batman movie! (It does matter that K.R.I.T. is way more interesting when he produces than when he raps. What am I to do about this? Somebody, please.)
Person on this record around whom I’d probably feel most comfortable: Harvey Fuqua, New Birth’s producer and the uncle of Training Day director Antoine. Harvey’s got lots of music industry tales I’d love to hear, details about Berry Gordy making out-of-wedlock babies. And he co-wrote and -produced Edwin Starr’s “25 Miles,” road trip playlist heaven. Plus I might be able to get him to call his nephew so I can find out whatever happened to Alonzo’s stunning black Monte Carlo. I still send that thing love letters and naked pics of myself.
Suitable for bonding with: Clark Kent, Premier. And Daniel Dumile, provided that I can compose myself in his presence and not shake like a naked Chihuaha. (Unlikely.)
Free line for the taking: “Beatin down Joey Bada$$es/Cracks in stacks and masses,” my take on that one part from “Player’s Anthem.” It’ll turn up on a fake-diss track that Joey’s A&R suggests to Action Bronson’s people, to reignite the Queens v Brooklyn flame, with the end result of course being promo and profit. Remember where you heard it first! I’m also working on a post-iPad-world version of “My mind’s my nine, my pen’s my Mac-10,” a line that’s so old-timey, Big might as well be talking about his quill and inkwell.
Feminist points: Minimal. The New Birth had a strong female contingency, but the men were the ones in control of the writing, production, and marketing. And when it comes to The New Birth breaks-usage, there’s little to be thrilled about in terms of feminist deconstruction. Jeru’s voice is legendary; that authoritative tone really does it for me. Maybe I have a thing about being dominated, but maybe I just admire his ability to flow beautifully while looking bored with his own genius. Jeru’s judgment about the way ladies choose to dress themselves, however, is awful. “Skin-tight jeans, everything all exposed”; then the hook kicks in, blah blah, preach, not in my house, young lady. Groan. Dad raps are the absolute worst, even when there’s a Premier beat involved. The ladies of the ’90s apparently needed to be reprimanded for letting their asses show. Good thing it’s 2012 and I’m grown. Settle down with the slut lectures, J.
Side B, track 2: “Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child.” Sometimes I feel like I already heard someone say that, and it was on a song by GHOSTFACE. Nice try, biting-ass El Chicano.
2. El Chicano, Viva Tirado (Kapp, 1970). $7.
Bullfighting, in the words of Chicago fetus Chief Keef, is that shit we ladies DON’T LIKE. For the record, we do not care for those Subway commercials with adults talking like little kids, being cold, Mitt Romney, Drake, or people coming at us crazy (which includes Mitt and Drake, politically- and musically-speaking) either. “Viva Tirado” is about a bullfighter. Cringe. I don’t like. However, it is a scientific fact that women love drums in general, and women with exceptional hips love congas. So when the god Andre Baéza enters the picture, bullfighting somehow becomes tolerable. Women with exceptional hips and great taste in music genuinely love the musical productions of Scoop DeVille – the son of the man whose hit song is based on “Viva Tirado” (there’s baby Scoop at 00:31 and throughout!). Tony G, an LA institution like Fred Roggin and dads at the mall in Kobe jerseys, produced “La Raza” and “Mentirosa” which means that, like me, he was cool with Mexicans and Cubans.
Feminist points?: I can’t think of anything overtly feminist about this album. Tangentially, however, I could point out that the liner notes mention that it was recorded at at 3840 Crenshaw. Formerly a restaurant, the address is now home to a Social Security office – which, in providing benefits that act as a safety net for thousands of LA women and their families, is a place with feminist/humanist connnotations.
Suitable for Bonding With:Houston Los Angeles old heads.
Person around whom I’d feel most comfortable: Baéza, the conga player. Drummers just understand me.
Nov. 25, 1970. Reagan’s just been reelected governor of my state, and it’s not even the cool Reagan who wears checkered Vans. The prosecution has just rested in the Manson trial. The city seems a little, I don’t know…tense? On the plus side, “Super Bad (part 1)” is #1 on the charts, and Pharoah records Thembi at the Record Plant. Then he goes and stands on some rocks and looks at the ocean like Madlib’s weird old uncle who rents a room in Port Hueneme.
3. Pharoah Sanders, Thembi (Impulse!, 1971). $14.
Listen, the jazz cat knows women. “This album is dedicated to and named after Thembi Sanders,” it says in the upper-right corner of the inside (gatefold!) cover. This is a classic “I love you, wife” dedication and I am powerless against its charms. While nothing tops the Tess, Tess, Tess, Tess, Tess dedication from bookwriting cat Raymond Chandler, the jazz cat knows women. Create something, name it after us: become immortal in our hearts.
$14 is normally outside of my price range but I absolutely had to have this record. Thembi‘s got a KMD breakand Lonnie Liston Smith, two things that occupy the “obsessions” part of my brain. It also boasts old-timey names like Cecil McBee and Clifford Jarvis on the credits (bass and “bird noises,” and percussion, respectively), both of whom sound like they were either quarterbacks for the ’52 Packers or members of the ’71 Globetrotters.
Feminist points:Lillian Douma, a LADY, was a co-engineer on this record, making her the Syd tha Kid of the ’70s jazz world! (This is how I explain it to my 13-year-old cousin, to try to get him interested in ’70s jazz). For extra credit, there were female pharaohs in ancient Egypt, so Sanders gets feminist points just by association.
LOL: “Production and engineering by Bill Szymczyk,” a man whose name’ll get you 500 points on Words with Friends. He produced people like The James Gang and Bill Walsh, and then right in the middle of his discography is this Pharoah Sanders record. Love it.
Suitable for bonding with: Weird old jazz guys who close their eyes when they’re talking to you and trying to remember details about that show at The Lighthouse in ’61. And Dante Ross, on account of the KMD factor – though Dante would not allow any bonding to take place because that would interrupt his constant name-droppery.
Person around whom I’d feel most comfortable: Lonnie Liston Smith, astronaut and boss – bosstronaut – whose credits on Thembi include “Fender Rhodes” and “shouts.” Delightful. There’s also an appearance by Chief Bey on this album. He is Mos Def’s uncle, maybe.
LOOK AT THAT BEAUTIFUL FACE. Art Blakey said, “Whatever truth drops on, it eventually grinds to a powder,” which you’ll recognize as the inspiration for my future coke-paranoia-themed mixtape (Truth to Powder). Harry Fraud, send me some beats.
4. Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers, 3 Blind Mice (Blue Note, 1962). $4.
I recommend Tom Catfor true Blakey percussive loveliness, but 3 Blind Mice‘s personnel includes THE GOD Wayne Shorter, plus THE GOD Billy Collins wrote a poem about it, plus it’s got face sweat on the cover along with Art looking heavenward. I had to get this. The Muslim held most dear in apt. 680 is Ghosty. (He’s a Sunni.) But the Muslim with the best album-cover face sweat is Art Blakey.
The nursery rhyme about the mice has a truly horrific story of origin (a Catholic queen murdering Protestant dissenters), which just serves to make it more entertaining and tragic. This is simply the power of melody – it’ll make you forgive a horrible story that angers you, or just make it go down a little easier, in what feminists such as myself know as the He’s Not Talking About Me Theory (ho raps, violence-against-hoes raps, side-chick raps – they are pleasing and fun, because the MC is never talking about me). Today I’m referring to it as The Wham! Theory. “Everything She Wants” is a song about a greedy whore whom a poor, defenseless man marries. He’s captain-save-em. The man takes 4 whole minutes to whine and cry about it, the material is so morally repugnant, there’s really no point to the song at all, and it just fucking bangs so hard, with fun chord progressions and that great synth-y bass from what I’m told is the Linn LM-1? (Dave Tompkins with the future information-confirmation assist here. Thanks in advance, Dave!). I’m trying to think of a way I can draw parallels between Art’s hard bop (jazz influenced by R&B, with more hip-friendly, bluesy rhythms than bebop) and Wham!’s shiny, electronic, we’re-not-gay-we’re-just-British pop of the ’80s. Who says you need an profound reason for an “Everything She Wants” interlude, though? And how come George Michael never gets credit for his production skills?
Suitable for bonding with: Cornel West, Pete Rock, Madlib, Mark Gonzales, David Byrne, skate shop employees in Portland and SF.
Person around whom I’d feel most comfortable: Wayne Shorter, superboss and the Jazz Messengers’ musical director, who once said, “If all you have in life is music, then you haven’t got music.” I feel comfortable around music people who are secure enough in their musical-ness to say things like this.
5. The Sons (Capitol, 1969). $9.
This one’s got a break used by charming pornographic goofballs The Beatnuts, who’ll remind you that rappening is, in fact, what’s happening. Or at least it was back when Relativity Records was poppin. To get that simple, clean melody for “Straight Jacket,” the boys slowed down The Sons’ “Boomp Boomp Chomp” – a song with the satisfying one-two punch of a Dilla-esque title and a quick, sustained hi-hat that makes me file it in the same place in my head as the intro of “Boogie Nights” and that k-Os song, based on a “Hot Music.” Marsalis!
I play “Hot Music” when Clams comes over, just to remind him of the sound DRUMS make. But then he just goes back to making those “Eyes Without a Face”-ish instrumentals because that’s how he stays paid.
After forming the Sons of Champlin, then disbanding it, Bill Champlin became a member of Chicago. It was pre-“I’m a Man” and –“Street Player” Chicago, though, so that fact is a bit of a throwaway. He did cowrite EWF’s “After the Love is Gone,” which proves that just because a man looks like a cross between Huey Lewis and Ian McKellen you shouldn’t assume he can’t write a floaty ’70s makeup sex jam. Bill Champlin also convinced an entire band to call themselves his sons, a feat that I dare you not to respect. Champlin sonned his bandmates, then ordered them to do this song, best one on the album.
Suitable for bonding with: JuJu, Les, C-Rayz Walz. I don’t know how often I’ll listen to The Sons. If I clamor for white men who bleed funk, I’m listening to The Talking Heads or AWB or The Mothers. But it was a great find – a rare original pressing, including the lyrics booklet with pictures of unshowered Americans of European descent just like the ones who live next door and breathe up all my air at Trader Joe’s.
Oh hey Justin and Sara and Ben! WHAT’S GOOD.
The Duke of Earl and The Iceman just walkin through the woods together in some tweed and leather, probably writing some hits. No big deal.
6. Gene Chandler & Jerry Butler, one & one (Mercury, 1971). $4.
Do you speak fluent Yancey? You are basically telling the world that you do if you bought this after 2005.
Gene and Jerry didn’t really dominate any hearts or ears with one & one, probably because it was 1971. Marvin and Sly and Funkadelic were doing it absolutely to death at the time. It’s hard to compete with Maggot Brain, you feel me. But Gene, the voice, had THE voice. Akon’s got Gene’s picture in his wallet like a prayer card. He stares at it before he goes into the booth to try to reach that upper-register sweet spot, solid and high (Barrington Levy; Frankie Lymon; the guy from Supertramp). Jerry, the songwriter, is from Chicago and has always insisted on putting his own voice on recordings despite its limitations, instead of letting his gifts as songwriter/arranger simply send his messages to the world. Jerry Butler’s the Kanye of Cabrini-Green.
one & one lacks any true bangers, but good lord: Dilla Dilla Dilla. It’s comforting to think that his beats continue to inspire the diggingest of diggers and the J Dilla Foundation continues to get donations because of this man’s beloved status – even if me buying a 40-year-old record on a lovely June Sunday results in no funds actually ending up at the organization. (I am also comforted to think that Nate Dogg’s family is maybe getting some extra money from the licensing of “Till I Collapse” from the Savages trailer that shows every 12 minutes on my television. The music industry is fair and nobody ever gets fucked over. Rainbows, kittens!)
Notes from an annoyed feminist: Women love the voice, according to Q-Tip, who is from Queens but is not Action Bronson, Nore, Simon, Garfunkel, or Monch, so I’m not all that familiar with his work. Brothers dig the lyrics. How silly! What a limiting thing to say! Linden Boulevard, you lost me with that one. Disrupting Q-Tip’s entire theory, I adore the talents of Gene (voice) and Jerry (lyrics) equally, even though I am a lady. My male buddies feel the same way about Gene and Jerry, enjoying each man’s contributions irrespective of anatomy. We all need to taste life, enjoying it fluidly, unbound by gender roles or societal constraints. Let’s be swingers, ok? But just when it comes to DatPiff and our record collections. Voice, lyrics: love it all. Kittens, rainbows.
Suitable for bonding with:Ha, Dilla nerds. (“You Just Can’t Win” is the grandpa, or maybe the wise old uncle?, of “Glazed”). Owning this record means you’ve signed up for a lifetime of bonding with these people. Good luck with that. They’re nice enough; just a little intense.
If your nickname is “Fats” you’re either a jazz professional or a large, inept man in Miami who insists on releasing grunt raps.
7. Lou Donaldson, Mr. Shing-A-Ling (Blue Note, 1967). $11.
HOLY HELL IDRIS MUHAMMAD ON DRUMS, back when he was Leo Morris, went the shout of the outspoken lady who lives inside my head when I saw the unmistakable pink and green on the cover. The real-life me, however, said nothing, due to being raised right (taught not to scream like an idiot in public). I just clutched this one to my lovely bosom and asked how much. Original pressing; I thought it would be at least $20. Nope – just above $10! And all I had to do was trade sexual favors! FEMINISM, YALL.
“Ode to Billie Joe” is the reason for this purchase, with Idris’ Leo’s shuffly drums making me feel like I’m in the marching band if the marching band were made of Bond girls in bikinis who are librarians in their spare time, think about Wham! songs at work, and happen to love coke raps. Snare snare, shuffle shuffle shuffle, til it gets to that liquid center around 02:40, the hot magma. That’s when the bass kicks in and I realize I’m not meant to be in a marching band; what was I thinking. I’m meant to take Stage 2 at Magic City. Throb throb, bassbass throb.
Ignore the fact that the woman who wrote the song was not actually named Bobbie Gentry and probably didn’t have any working-class southern roots. Her father was definitely a senator, Republican of course, and she went to prep school and once kissed a black guy so she felt like she could write songs about struggle and heartache. She made millions. That’s just how the music industry works, sweetie. Even in 1968. Wake up. Bobbie was a semi-cold piece of work, however, with all that big black hair. Plus she wrote her own material and lived my fantasy life of lounging in some tight pants with nothing but her daydreams and a hi-fi to keep her company, and for this I must respect her.
Suitable for bonding with: Kutmasta Kurt. (“Ode to Billie Joe” begat “Sex Style”). Feminist points: KEITH THORNTON. Bisexuals on stage eating Fruit Loops, pornographic thespians, the ladyboys of Thailand: Kool Keith is accepting of all types of femininity, and he’s one of the top 10 most feminist MCs ever*. Raps by guys like Keith and El-P and Danny Brown will always be more inherently feminist than those by Drake, because they don’t pander to us.
* Just relax, think, let it marinate. I’ll do a full explanatory blog post in the future if you guys beg for it.
Impossible: The first 10 seconds of “Kissing My Love” has allegedly only been looped once or twice on major-label rap songs (??). IMPOSSIBLE. Im possible. Internet, you a goddamn liar.
I am not allowing my hips to reach their full potential because: I have yet to walk down the street to this. Too busy walking down the street to this. (The entire melodic structure and overall hotness of “Loco-Motive” makes up for the previous release from that new Nas album, the Rawse-tainted “Accident Murderers.” That’s the one with Nas’ line about dudes who “rubbed each other wrong like a bad massage,” which is terrible and should be relegated to that inevitable Bieber collab.)
Hustlenomics professor: ME. Finding Thriller! at all is rare; finding Thriller! for $5 in the middle of a major city, surrounded by record dorks who want it so bad, is the result of such a tight hustle that people assume I am tricking or have a record shop connection. I have neither; it’s just the patience hustle, sprinkled with a little dumb-luck hustle. Best hustle of all, though, is the one belonging to Cold Blood’s singer Lydia Pense. She got the band to name their 1974 album Lydia. TIGHT WORK, doll. This would be like Curren$y getting the 504 Boyz to name one of their albums Shante Franklin.
Suitable for Bonding With: Dudes who love everything embodied by Cold Blood – breakbeats, the Bay Area, songs about getting down, and yellow-haired ladies who show their midriffs. So, Danny Brown.
9. Chairmen of the Board, Bittersweet (“Fuck Off, Motown” Invictus, 1972). $12.
Shoutout to greedy bastard Berry Gordy, who is directly responsible for this album.
(Money disputes. Control disputes. Of courrrrrse. Berry doesn’t enter into disputes about anything else, silly.)
It’s not their fault, but Chairmen of the Board get feminist points deducted because “Give Me Just a Little More Time” is used on that goddamn mop commercial about a lady whose life is passing her by because she cannot stand living with a dirty floor. That fucking floor rules her entire world. Even when she gets the new, quick-use mop, allowing her lots of free time, she chooses to spend this time sitting on her front porch with a cold drink because the housechore goblins have stripped her of all life-force. Blaming Berry Gordy for this whole charade just feels right, so let’s go with that. Anyway, the lady should be using her free time having a super-hot love affair and then going through some heartache, with the closing move of walking away from her man in slow motion, looking at him over her shoulder while “Bittersweet” plays. Please erase any Kanye associationsfrom your brain and only acknowledge this, the one true version, complete with heavenly tempo change right around the 2-minute mark, hands in the air if you ever been in love of the hurtin’ kind, C’MON:
Suitable for bonding with: Kanye West. Lucky me. Also suitable for bonding with Lee Stone, who used a Chairmen break on Method Man’s “The Motto.” I wouldn’t be able to pick Lee Stone out of a room of people, but I love him for being Nyshiem Myrick’s production sidekick and somehow never becoming a member of The Hitmen and padding Sean Combs’ bank account. That’s some integrity, Lee Stone. A person still listening to Method Man in ’04 probably also has plenty of integrity, along with an intense loyalty I shall never possess. I’m pretty sure the rest of us gave up on Mef around ’99-? He owned ’94 and maintained his stats for the next 4 or 5 years, rap game Olajuwon. And now he is old and has the classic old-rapper-problems duo of irrelevance and unpaid back taxes.
10. E.L.O., Face the Music (United Artists, 1975). $2.
MECHANIC ROCK, YALL. I know so many of this stupid band’s songs from my time spent waiting in the lobby at Jiffy Lube.
E.L.O.’s also got the ’70s prog hair, and Jeff Lynne produced some pretty good Tom Petty stuff (though Lynne is no Iovine or Rubin when it comes to Tom Petty production). This is an impressive list of facts about E.L.O. Impressive indeed. It’s just that this doesn’t solve the case of my missing enjoyment. I own 3 or 4 of their records because I’m open-minded and willing to give anyone a chance. But they are terrible. I mean, in the words of headband aficionado and current global analysis object Frank Ocean, Sweet baby Jesus, E.L.O. is a terrible, boring band.
“Evil Woman” sucks, apart from that banging piano intro. On the feminist front, I cannot legitimately complain about the “Evil Woman” lyrics, because they are too stupid to entertain. “Ha ha, woman – what you gonna do/You destroyed all the virtues that the lord gave you,” goes this terrible piece of music written by professional songwriters with Romney-sized buckets of money, “It’s so good that you’re feeling pain/But you better get your face on board the very next train.” Just my face, E.L.O.? Or the rest of me too? I’m awarding “Evil Woman” Most Feminist Song of my record haul, just to annoy the band because this is the opposite intention with which “Evil Woman” was written. Ha ha, E.L.O. Women have all kinds of tricks up inside of us. You’re just scratching the surface, dummies.
I would not have purchased this record were it not for:
“Special thanks to: Ellie Greenwich.” AMEN, BROTHER.
Suitable for bonding with: El-P, as if I need yet another thing over which to bond with him when we run into each other at that store that sells Camels, Chomsky books, black-market iPad replacement parts, cat food, sandwiches, and old DAT machines in pristine condition.
Also suitable for bonding with Curren$y. It says “Copyright Jet Music” on the credits, which is a 1975 nod to the empire Curren$y would build 3 decades later. Here’s hoping this post gets seen by one or both of these men, because I’d love a Curren$y x El-P something, and I am not referring to a song in which one of them gets a “featuring” credit by simply chanting the hook. I am comfortable and cozy around music people, but THE WORD “FEATURING” USED INCORRECTLY is lowdown and dirty. Until you can convince Premier to go back and re-title it “Mass Appeal (feat. Da Youngstas),”the Hook Chant shall cease to merit a “featuring” credit. Good day.
11. Pato Banton, Never Give In (Primitive Man, 1987). $1.
THIS IS TO ALL YOU FUCKIN BUGGED OUT COKE HEADS, someone comment-shouts under “Don’t Sniff Coke.” This is an individual who understands that coke always brings with it, to steal a NBA-draft-day phrase from Jeff Van Gundy describing the Washington Wizards, a huge knucklehead factor. Freeze, rock, etc. Don’t do it. It would be nice to say that I grew up on Pato, my parents had a deep appreciation for the intricate rhythms of UK and Jamaican reggae and finding this record in the dollar bin was like getting a piece of my childhood back. Alas, no. Everybody, including me, snatches Never Give In outta the dollar bin because of “The Sounds of Science.” C’mon. I’m not a complicated woman. That song also made me get a Range Rover and drop an orange like Galileo. Plus I have a fondness for not giving in, not ever. Jimmy V taught me. And really you can’t go wrong with buying anything with the (fake) last name Banton on the cover. [Same rule for the (real) last name Hayes. Lil Scrappy is whining all over the TV in 2012 but I can make lemonade out of his whiny southern lemons by savoring good old snappy “Money in the Bank,” produced by Isaac’s son and accompanied by a video fulla Banner screwface.]
Suitable for bonding with:Josh in apt. 694, who works at the dispensary. Josh, like me, prefers live instrumentation to digi-riddims but Josh, like me, cannot resist the digi-seductions of “Hello Tosh.”
“Mr Pato, you’re a lyric computer/I can find no fault with you whatsoever/How’d you like to earn yourself a quick fiver?/Just repeat that line into my tape recorder.”
Jeopardy! fact that somehow I was unaware of before this post: “Sensimilla” comes from the Spanish words for “without” (sin) and “seed” (similla). “Coke” comes from the Spanish word for “knucklehead.”
“Any color you want, but it’d be, like, blue and cream.” GET EM WITH THOSE WALLYS, RICHARD ASHCROFT! I also approve of that Sen Dog/SBQ/Smoke DZA/EPMD on the cover of Unfinished Business/Omar Epps in Juice bucket hat.
12. The Verve, Urban Hymns (Virgin, 1997). Price classified, like that Sade record I bought a few months ago.
Contrary to what track 4 says, everybody knows that the drugs actually do work. They work nicely. Urban Hymns‘s strings make it fancy, the lyrics make it Caucasian-mopey, and there are just enough drug songs to satisfy. That song “The Rolling People” is about me and my slutty cousin Natalie hanging out with Juicy J and some yellow pokeballs backstage.
“Lucky Man” is the best song on here, prime material for an R&B god to do a version of that makes me cry and want to take my clothes off, but I’d be a fool to ignore the epic influence of walking-down-the-street banger “Bittersweet Symphony.” Rocky rapped over it; I don’t remember a single bar but I’m sure there was something about purple stuff and his stunning beauty. Though successful, this whole Pretty thing remains a tiresome branding technique. Anyway, thinking of Rocky in combination with hearing Naughty By Nature’s “Craziest”on KDAY yesterday has really crystallized my discomfort regarding the lack of a Treach-like flow in 2012. We have Texas flows from New Yorkers and ’90s flows from 17-year-olds, so seems appropriate that we should have a new, baby Treach on the come-up. Let’s go, random baby-voiced teenage girls in Florida with laptop cameras. Rap game’s yours for the taking.
Suitable for bonding with: the same jazz guys I bonded with over Pharoah Sanders and Art Blakey, plus Madlib, because they all think I mean Verve Records when really I’m talking about THEEE Verve. Sigh. It’s hard to talk to space cadets. Also suitable for bonding with people who enjoy making fun of diminutive professional rapper Big Sean, who is like 5’8″, maybe 5’9″ at the most. Replace every one of his “swerve”s with “VERVE” and you can magically turn “Mercy” into one hell of a song.
Yawn: The boring courtroom-bitchery history of “Bittersweet Symphony.” The Verve v. The Stones is no Prince Paul v. The Turtles, trust me.
Person around whom I’d feel most comfortable: Ashcroft, the band’s chief songwriter. He doesn’t play bass or drums so I will not be having sex with him. We’ll just hang out and talk about Leonard Cohen.
13. Black Science Orchestra, “New Jersey Deep” 12″ [Junior Boy’s Own, 2003 (originally ’94, though)]. 99¢.
If this purchase needed justification, that justification would go in this space.
Suitable for bonding with: Other carbon-based life forms who have ears and a soul and are constantly dodging the wolves of insignificance.
My guiding philosophy of the day at the BSM could’ve easily been “I like nice shit and I know how to get it/Hustle, dumbass. It’s not rocket science or Quantum Physics.” Nobody likes a dude who brings 2 Chainz or Wiz along, but aside from that, Curren$y’s got that slurry charisma and he’s fantastic, my personal motivational speaker, a tiny Tony Robbins from the bayou who loves a classic Chevelle. His motivational speeches were in my car speakers during the drive to the venue; “Nice shit” refers to records available for purchase; “hustle” might mean Girl I would suggest you bring your hips, but because I am a feminist and I was raised right plus I’m just really shy, this is a corny as hell negotiation technique that I never employ. During the BSM, it was Bellow’s words that turned out to have more staying power in my brain, though. Do your best, wolves; new memories tied to these records are pending, as we speak. Music persons of Los Angeles and parts nearby: see you guys at the next one!
The story goes that swans are silent their entire lives, then cry out once, only when they are dying.
It’s not a true story, mind you—swans are loud and make grating honk noises—but it’s pretty and sad, and that’s why we hold onto it. In 1974, Led Zeppelin named their sparkling new post-Atlantic label Swan Song in tribute to the (untrue) swan-death myth. The label’s logo, a winged, brolic angel crying in pain, is taken from a painting done in tribute to the swan-death myth. The actual myth is Greek, and says that in ancient times, just before Apollo’s birth, a flock of swans circled overhead exactly seven times, singing. Apollo was the god of music; his birth was a glorious event and swans announcing it seems just right. But at some point the story got flipped. A “swan song” is now a death cry—a wrong, ironic meaning that’s now forever part of the Zeppelin story. D’Angelo emerged a couple weeks ago in Tennessee and covered Zeppelin, a glorious event. Somethingsomething Jesus, resurrection, the people rejoicing. The part in D’Angelo’s story where the irony comes in is when he put out an album in 2000 with songs about hair pulling and ass smacking (track 3), and something about wetness and thighs (you know the track). The label that released it: Virgin.
D’Angelo’s set at Bonnaroo contained nothing from Voodoo except for a snippet of “Chicken Grease.” But because it’s D’Angelo, earnest and sober (I think?) and in front of some keys, the audio from the show is still on daily rotation in my headphones thanks to the download link that’s not too hard to find (GO NOW, if you haven’t already GO GO GET IT GO). The setlist contains nothing surprising—Mayfield, The Time, Johnny “Guitar” Watson, Parliament of course. The Beatles’ “She Came in Through the Bathroom Window” fits in especially nicely, with its weird words and that great drum break after each bar. But it’s his version of Led Zeppelin’s “What Is and What Should Never Be” that lifts the set into next-levels territory. The track bangs, yes, satisfying my heart’s need for grown-man emo and my lower body’s need for bass. But it also satisfies my hungry nerd brain, because its back story makes it such a logical choice for him to cover.
A D’Angelo-Zeppelin meetup was probably bound to happen. Voodoo was recorded at Electric Lady studios; most of Zeppelin’s albums were mixed there. Jimmy Page and D’Angelo are both Rhodes guys, calm and bosslike on the instrument. Robert Plant and D’Angelo each had unpleasant periods involving car crashes and general coke mayhem. And “What Is…,” a dreamy little number at its beginning, settles into that mid-tempo BPM that D’Angelo always slays so easily. “Devil’s Pie” has a BPM of 90; “Me and Those Dreamin’ Eyes of Mine” is 87. “Lady” is 85, and so is the Zeppelin song. “Do do, bop bop a do-oh,” wails Plant at the end of it. The part could be lifted from a Soulquarians vamp session and you wouldn’t know the difference. “My my my my, my-my yeahhh.” You wouldn’t know the difference. D’Angelo and Robert Plant are men who are both fluent in Rural Southern–even though the commonwealth of Virginia is a little too close to Yankee territory for it to be taken seriously as a bluesy place, and Plant is from a town in the English midlands famous for its carpets.
D’Angelo is uncomfortable with his burden of sexiness. I know this from reading Questlove interviews. His public persona is almost swaggerless when it comes to sex (almost). Plant is much more comfortable with his aura of steam and lust – he wrote “What Is…” during his Tolkien-obsession phase and somehow managed to inject unsexy hobbit mythology into Sonny Boy Williamson-esque heavy-riffed gut punchers that he’d sing to willing, sexy girls in the third row. Plant became obsessed with Welsh culture in the late ’60s, druids and the like, mysticism, paganism. (Today is the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, when pagans have historically witnessed the sunrise at places like Stonehendge, marking the event with ceremonies celebrating fertility. So, this post could’ve just as easily been about D’Angelo and Spinal Tap.) The thing in the song that “was” but that “should never be,” according to rumor and speculation and this is as good as the gospel to music dorks, is, hold up now: Plant’s relationship with his wife’s sister. Well goddamn. The theme of forbidden desires could therefore link Zeppelin’s “What Is…” with every D’Angelo-tagged post on MediaTakeout (D’Angelo’s own forbidden desires being, of course, narcotics, fatty food and mouthsex). But this is too easy, too shallow. It’s more interesting to consider that Tolkien, like D’Angelo, grew tired of the fans who loved his dumbed-down work. He saw himself primarily as a scholar, not a fairy-tale writer, and he hated that The Lord of the Rings was his biggest success. He would not have cared for Robert Plant’s great fondness for Mordor.
Written in a Tolkien haze, the thing that makes “What Is and What Should Never Be” so satisfying as a song covered by D’Angelo of all people is the very specific type of alienation shared by the two men. They are both people whose messages get distorted when they try to talk to us. “Everybody I know seems to know me well,” goes the closing verse, with the punchline being that nobody who bought their books/albums actually does. For D’Angelo it was his abs, for Tolkien it was his fantasy writings; they both felt a deep resentment for being praised for what they felt were their least important achievements. Tokien’s Hobbit and LOTR were his attempt to construct what he referred to as a “body of myth” – which happens to be exactly the same phrase used by ladies in describing D’Angelo’s form in the “Untitled” video, much to his dismay.
I am neither a pagan nor a Pentecostal at this point. Things are still cloudy for me, belief-wise. Though if God actually exists he will obviously one day fulfill my dream of hearing D’Angelo do the Ohhhh, oh-oh-ohh-ohh-OHHHH to open “D’yer Mak’er.” Its BPM is 90. He’d kill it.
Guys! Here’s me at Coachella! is how this post was supposed to begin. Above, here’s what I wore! We drove for 4 hours and, per tradition, we hit up the In-N-Out just after checking into Motel 6 because I don’t need fancy accommodations but I do need a big delicious burger – no onions, extra spread! At the show, hearing Snoop’s If you ain’t up on thaaaaangs – the very sound of so many of car rides with LA boys during my bad-girl years* – was worth the entire trip! I saw the still-lanky Kurupt on stage left, and I shouted my appreciation at him from the crowd! He’ll always be the king of kadence! Did I say Coachella? Kuz what I meant was KOACHELLA.
Alas, Guys! I’m broke! is the reality. Guys, I’m in my apartment. LOOK AT THIS CLOWN, GUYS I NEED SOME NEW DOOM. So I’m in apt. 680 in my sad, sexy Coachella clothes, and SIGH there’s no new Doom over which to obsess. And there’s no Fantasy Football yet, so there’s no roster for me to play with. And the evening’s episode of How the States Got Their Shapes is a rerun. So…records, then. Always records. Serotonin reuptake through records. My go-to cheering-up activity is to pull 2 records at random from apt. 680′s thick, wonderful stacks and challenge myself to a degrees-of-separation game. I am known around town for my hips but my most valuable inner quality, the one that drives all the boys crazy, is that I can tie together any 2 records through their common qualities, personnel, historical placement, usage in rap songs, color schemes, life lessons, degrees of separation from Doom. Me and my wacky brain fulla trivia and rap lyrics! I tell you it’s a wonder I remain single, Internet.
*That’s a joke, Mom! I had no bad-girl years. Love you.
The Time, Ice Cream Castle (Warner Bros., 1984). $4.99.
Buddy Miles, Them Changes (Mercury, 1970). $0 (Dad’s collection).
Buddy Miles’ Them Changes and The Time’s Ice Cream Castle were my 2 randomly-selected gems for the week. (The selection process was truly random, I promise. I put my hand over my eyes and just started grabbing at what was in front of me, which also describes my technique in bed with a gentleman). The purpose isn’t to compare or rank the albums; that’s more of a guy activity, like the sad little conversations I always seem to wander into when dudes are debating the merits of rap song X vs. rap song Y. Stop it! “Both teams played hard, my man”! Ice Cream Castle and Them Changes are both life-improving records, and you should have both of them in your collection if you hope to one day personally experience my technique in bed. They also happen to have exactly twelve areas of commonality, a beautiful example of life’s cosmic tendencies, since this means I get to pull out a terrific rap pun from my arsenal. Watch me don my almost-Coachella outfit and celebrate 2 records with unfairly-overshadowed frontmen (Morris : Prince :: Buddy : Jimi Hendrix), which is mostly a tribute to the ways that the 2 records are connected, which is pretty much a front for Watch me show off the endless snippets of nerdery I have in my head. Sorry, guys. Thanks for tolerating my annoying, adorable ass. But just think of how proud you’ll be when I finally make it to Jeopardy!
1. BEING THE AZ TO SOMEONE ELSE’S NAS/THE REN TO SOMEONE ELSE’S ICE CUBE.
On a 1988 episode of Soul Train, Morris Day was on as a “special guest/afterthought,” billed under featured performers Dana Dane who cold rocked it, and later in the hour, Eddie Kendricks (!) and David Ruffin (!!). Morris was on the show to promote his solo record, Daydreaming, but who cared? Nobody cared. The crowd only wanted to see him order Jerome to throw that lady in the dumpster, talk about his home (oh lawwd is it exciting), then close with “Get It Up” and finish with a shoutout to Madame CJ Walker for being a perm visionary. Morris worked with Prince!, even I, noted Morris fan, would’ve said if I had been in the audience during the taping. Do you think he can introduce me to Prince?? Hey, do you guys like my Prince shirt? Can Prince really not get that hip transplant he needs because of the Jehovah’s Witness blood-transfusion thing? PrincePrincePriiiiiiiince. With that lineup it must’ve been a super rad episode, especially for this particular blogger who is a noted Temps groupie, but a super symbolic episode too. Soul Train #17.23 is just so very typical of Morris’ experience in the industry. He’s a man with the good fortune and smarts to have linked up with musical meteor Prince, and appear on the same TV program with THE GOD David Ruffin and a rapping fake-Englishman with style, but relative to all of his co-stars, he’s always the less-dope. Always. I would buy whatever car, pill, or encyclopedia set Morris E. Day is pushing, but it’s not like Morris Day made me die and ascend to Sexy Heaven on that grassy field in ’08. I mean, neitherMouth nor I have a Morris Day shirt, youfeelme:
Same thing for Buddy. “Buddy Miles: Flamboyant Jimi Hendrix Drummer, Dies” went his typical obituary headline in 2008. “Buddy Miles, 60, of Hendrix group Band of Gypsys, Dies.” Buddy was Jimi’s sideman even in death, though in life he seemed more cheerful about being constantly overshadowed by his musical associate than Morris ever felt about being overshadowed by you-know-who (ahem, cranky quotes from Mr. Day in the most recent issue of WaxPo). “Morris” was at least his real name, though – Buddy wasn’t even a Buddy; he was a George who was nicknamed Buddy in honor of drummer Buddy Rich, a common activity for jazz people (like his dad, a bassist). I can respect the practice of naming-in-musical-tribute, but it still seems it like would do a number on your manhood. Did George feel hollow inside his whole life? Did he feel like he wasn’t good enough? And have I just developed a whole back story about the ego struggles of a man in my record collection whom I’ve never met?
2. VOCAL SKILL TO EXPRESS WEATHER-RELATED DESPERATION.
Buddy Miles was from Nebraska but spent much of his music career in Chicago. The Time are Minnesotans. Delicate, thin-skinned lady that I am, catch me NOT being in any of these locations during the winter, thank you. It’s a frigid 58 degrees on this Los Angeles evening; I need to be wrapped in a blanket and held close.
It’s not like Buddy or Morris were terribly skilled, vocals-wise. Neither was fucking with my heart Anthony Hamilton-style. But they both made up for lack of vocal power and range with the charm and good hair required of all frontmen. Morris was cool about it (“bearskin rug/fireplace too”) and Buddy was pleading about it (“You’re my heart’s delight/Oh baby don’t you know you’re outta sight/Oh when I can’t find a reason or way, no no no no no no no no”), but in the case of both men, they used their bag of musical tricks to convince female bodies to keep them warm, because it’s FUCKING FREEZING.
This category gave me a gang of trouble at first. It’s not impossible to link Buddy and The Time through rap-breaks use; it just seems that way because of The Time’s minimal album output and very minimal history of having their stuff mined for breaks. If DJ Assault also took a Buddy Miles song and laid it over a ’97-warehouse-bursting-with-love lady vocal, my work here would be done, the link would be established and I could just pack it in, submit the blog post and lay my body down on my comfy couch, Blue Dream & Lean on the iPod (still! Like 2 months later! GO J.). Alas, there’s no ghettotech Buddy Miles remix so I’ll have to take the long route. Linking Them Changes and Ice Cream Castle through breaks takes the nerdiest of brain circuitries and a lot of free time, both of which I have, lucky for WaxPo.
The cleanest way to connect the two is to start with Buddy’s cover of Neil Young’s “Down By the River.” It’s been chopped and looped extensively by producers, but of course the one for whom I have the most affection is Diamond D, who once said I got a thousand old records in my crib, thereby securing his place in my heart for all time since I got that many of that exact same thing! But I also have a thousand new mp3s in my crib, courtesy of my generous 17-year-old cousin with great taste in music; I rely on him to keep my DatPiff game strong, since I do not have time to go through heaps of new daily rap offerings, daily rap news. I didn’t even know Snoop was officially dabbling in Rastafarianism until last week. Shit is, as they say, exhausting. (Thanks for the help, Kev!)
This’ll be our year of coming to grips with the “old enough to have baby-sat current rappers when they were kids” reality, guys. I could be the great-grandma of Chief Keef, whom I believe is just now starting on solid foods. RZA is doing things like this now. There is an actual recorded piece of music by the corny-human trifecta of Chris Brown, Big Sean, and oh good LORD, Wiz Khalifa, aptly called “Til I Die,” since the title describes the length of time that I would’ve been satisfied going without hearing a song with those 3 on it. (Be sure to catch Tebow, Sean Hannity, and people who use the term “YOLO” on the More People Logan Can’t Fucking Stand remix.) I’m lucky that my college-years hero El-P is still around, aging gracefully, ruling, making rap songs that sound like rap songs with his friends, Larry David Davis references and all. Banner’s still large and in charge, shouting out Louis C.K. “for the inspiration” and making me smile. There’s all kinds of new drug raps too, new feelings to behold, like Lil B with all those Flame tapes, a different flavor for every mood, and hey!, would you look at that, even Warhol loved Addy. Aesop Rock’s on Rhymesayers now, so that’s fun. Nickatina will never stop, not ever. Denmark Vessey had last week’s Logan-Walking-Down-the-Street-in-a-Sundress jam. And actually it’s kind of cool that these days second-generation sample sources continue to dominate – most of Curren$y’s discography immediately comes to mind (I believe it was either Monsta or Dame who used that Outkast that sampled the Five Stairsteps-?). Inspirational sample sources should be included in this group too – songs like Smif n Wessun’s “Gunn Rap” from ’05, on which Khrysis looped the pretty clavinet from “Down by the River” and probably got the idea to do so by listening to that Akinyele album over and over (produced by Main Source). This is pure speculation on my part about Khrysis’ inspiration sources, but c’mon son. I’m not an idiot.
(Khrysis now produces Mac Miller, which means he has the actual words “Producer of Sean P, Cormega, and Mac Miller” on his ASCAP credits. Rap game hilarious.)
Andre Lewis played that clavinet on “Down by the River,” and on Johnny “Guitar” Watson’s “Lovin’ You,” used by Just Blaze on Jay-Z’s “People Talkin” during Blueprint-era Jay. Blueprint-era Jay was of course Kanye-era Jay, according to Kanye, who went on to sample a bunch of Prince songs and there’s your link to The Time in 5 degrees of separation! Behold my efficiency! But a funner way to link back to The Time is to reference that Kanye song about lesbians and French robots in which he mentions the length of time that he has been fond of a lady (since Prince was on Apollonia – 2 persons who starred in a movie with Morris Day). I’d like to take a moment to ask if anyone out there can link Buddy Miles to The Time via Kool Keith’s “Like Prince, all the panties hit the floor in one room in Paisley.” If it’s you, I think we’re supposed to get married. Email me for directions to my apartment. I have a comfy blue couch and this is already on the hi-fi:
4. VENKMAN, SPENGLER, STANTZ, ZEDDEMORE.
Ray Parker Jr., famous for the Ghostbusters theme (and, in my apartment, famous for producing “Mr. Telephone Man”), played on All the Faces of Buddy Miles which came out four years after Them Changes. Parker, a Barry White associate, played on “I’m Gonna Love You Just a Little More, Babe.” The Cecil Holmes Soulful Sounds’ version was sampled on Mos Def’s “Grown Man Business,” the producer of which was who?
Dueling online dictionary sources tell me Minnesota means either “sky-tinted water” or “cloudy water” in the Dakota language; either way, it’s lovely and evocative. Minnesota is the home state of a band called The Time, a corporation called Target, and a lake called Minnetonka, which of course means “Don’t get my seat all wet, topless lady.”
[Fun with translations can continue endlessly via the “also known as” feature on imdb. In Portugal, Purple Rain was released as the ridiculously appropriate Viva a Música. In the Netherlands, Ghostbusters was called Het Bovennatuurlijke Superspektakel – “Supernaturalism Super Show”! SO FRESH. If you were in Denmark in 1984, you no doubt went to see the hit film Frækkere end Politiet Tillader, about a police officer in Beverly Hills who’s a huge Detroit Lions fan: “Kinky Cop.” Love it. And Dead Presidents has nothing to do with this post, but I had to include it because of its Brazilian title: Ambição em Alta Voltagem, AKA “Ambition High Voltage,” which also just happens to be my future mixtape title. (It’s a concept tape about how I plot to meet Rick Ross just so I can electrocute his vocal cords, thereby saving the rap game, hashtag YOUREWELCOME.]
5. CHERCHEZ LA WHITE GIRL.
They were in Grand Central and Band of Gypsys, with Prince and Jimi, respectively: Morris and Buddy were the bandmates of frontmen who really really liked white ladies who fall somewhere on the prettiness scale between “eh” and “gorgeous.”
I’m too prim and ladylike to post this but a link is OK.
An image search forhendrix + girlfriendmakes Jimi’s fondness pretty clear. Same for Prince, who usually likes ’em musically inclined and brunette, much to my dismay since I am neither. A blonde does appear in the Prince mix every so often, however – there’s a funny part in Alan Leeds’ piece in the most recent issue of excellent magazine Wax Poetics in which he describes being on the road with with the band in ’83 during the 1999 tour. Prince was still with Vanity at the time, or maybe not (it’s Prince, so who the fuck knows if he believes in monogamy or if the role of Main Chick is simply given to the woman he can trust the most to look after his guitars while on tour).
“Jill Jones was also around him a lot (at the time),” Leeds says, innocently, “and I wasn’t really sure what that meant.” (I’ve sent Alan an email with a description of exactly what that meant). Morris’ personal feelings about white women are unclear, since his feelings about all women are unclear; it appears that women provide no actual romantic fulfillment for Morris’s soul and simply serve as currency in his game of Big Bank Take Little Bank against his rival, Prince. Ladies are tokens with hips – the alive, pretty version of little plastic pieces with which he hopes to sink Prince’s battleship. Viola player Novi Novog (the Miri Ben-Ari of her day) makes an appearance on Ice Cream Castle, though, so let’s just assume Morris found us irresistible. My completely unbiased opinion is that we’re irresistible. All white girls are sweet, patient, and we don’t ask too many questions. We’re great at cooking steak. Plus we smell fresh always, like Snuggle. Irresistible! In ’84 we got bit parts in movies if we were cute and had connections to musical men; in ’12 you can catch us getting engaged to Dwayne Carter, ruining NBA marriages, flipping off the camera and making kissy faces on Tumblr like idiots, trying to get you to switch to T-Mobile, writing the NWA biopic, and acting inappropriate while in our underwear, Blue Dream & Lean on the iPod. Shoutout, by the way, to consistently-lovable Uncle Juice for shouting out white hoes on “Been Gettin Money.” It’s a compliment, because I’m a weirdo.
6. THE GREEK/ROMAN PANTHEON + THE GOD JEREMY SCOTT.
’83: In keeping with his theme of naming his protégées like Bond girls who do porn in their spare time, but really classy porn where the female leads are worldly and speak 3 languages, Prince gives new harem member Patty Kotero the name “Apollonia.” This is in reference to Apollo, Greek god of music and Harlem, leading me to (incorrectly) believe all these years that Ms. Kotero is part Greek. Apollo was entertained by a scamp named Hermes who could make bewitching sounds with his lyre, just like Prince. Hermes wore wingedsandals because he was the primary messenger between the gods and humans.
’11:“Whine, whine,” goes the chorus of cranky people upset by the prolonged hunger for Jeremy Scott designs among the 17-year-old cousins of the world. “His stuff is so garish! Whinewhine, bitch moan whine, back in my day, whine.” I know from personal anecdotes and rap lyrics that A$AP Rocky, Danny Brown*, Das Racist are fans, as are all the dudes in line outside of A$AP mob, Danny Brown, and Das Racist shows. Jeremy enjoys the artistic freedom (plus that Adidas money) to make Garanimals for the modern gentleman’s foot – Mickey Mouse and plush panda heads on shoes, unicorn horns, goretex, blood diamonds, candy paint. People love em, people hate em. The rap game’s a parade and you have to have confidence in your costume. The point is that whether it’s J Scott, Jesus pieces, Margiela, or Snoop showing up on SNL in that XXXL Hilfiger jersey in ’94, everybody says you’re trying too hard or not trying hard enough. Anyway, I know from my cousin’s Instagram stunting that Jeremy’s winged shoes were all the rage last year. The design was perhaps an homage to Hermes the Greek god—who, in Roman mythology, is known as Mercury, which is also the name of the record label that put out Them Changes! COSMIC! Pretty-rapper favorites Rick Owens and Raf Simons were also contenders in this category, but it turned out they have no connection to Ice Cream Castle or Them Changes, or to Greek mythology. So Jeremy Scott, you pointy-eared weirdo: you win. And I’m not sure how to factor it in here, but it’s also important to keep in mind that when it comes to the pantheon of Greek gods, Keak’s the black Zeus.
* “Bitches skinny dippin in the lake: purple rain” – “Horny Zebra,” Danny Brown. This makes perfect sense, since “horny zebra” is what Morris asked for at the tailor when he went in for his Purple Rain wardrobe fitting. It ended up on the lapels of his shiny gold jacket during the “Jungle Love” performance scene. One day I’ll do a post entirely about Purple Rain fashion, including Morris’ sexy suits and the unparalleled radness of Billy’s Tigers hat, MY LORD.
[As an alternate route, you could start with the Jeremy Scotts on the feet of Kool AD, thizzin in his Derrick Rose jersey. This would provide a nice tie-in to the legend that Prince’s decision to shelve the Black Album in ’88 was brought on by a bad Ecstasy trip. People want to believe the Prince-on-E story because it’s sexy all over; drug stories are sexy and Prince is sexy, and though it contains not one song that’s as sexy as “Crystal Ball,” the Black Album is pretty sexy. I understand the appeal of the E story, but it’s full of holes. People forget that Prince is too much of a control freak to ever try tripping on anything but Jehovah and basslines, plus maybe a splash of cognac when things get really stressful in the studio. As Salvador Dalí would later say, “I don’t do drugs. I am drugs,” aptly describing both himself and Prince. The tie-in to Them Changes is the legend that Neil Young wrote “Down by the River” while laid up in bed, not coming down from pills but feeling organically trippy – he had a 103-degree fever.]
There is no modern-day equivalent of the Morris-Jerome partnership, but Schoolboy Q’s “There He Go” video displays a similar dynamic (“sidekick, you stay 10 paces behind me and just back up everything I say because I’m the pretty one and you are not”). SBQ makes the ladies swoon. I live here. I see it. He and Blu walked down the street together last week and 8 girls got pregnant by sheer force of will.
The stunning cover of Ice Cream Castle was shot by Larry Williams, who later became a director on the show Oz – fitting, since, according to Morris, the Prince camp was prison, except with pocketsquares and gators. If the studio was 1940s Italy, then Prince was a tiny, sexy Mussolini who did not appreciate detractors. The Time wanted more creative control, which prompted Prince to reduce meals to once per day after he sensed there was mutiny afoot. The Revolution and The Time were then forced to make pruno in the woodshed behind Paisley Park. Anyway, Williams also directed videos for Iggy Pop, Keith Richards, Paul Simon, Prince.
Stars and stripes on the snare! The US flag’s been a favorite design concept of Buddy’s from his days with Electric Flag. He leaves the big bass drum plain, without any color or lettering. That’s because the snare is king; you know it, I know it. Buddy knows it. The stunning cover of Them Changes was designed by Burnell Caldwell, who did the cover of Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan (with the Little Brother break!). Chaka is a nice segue back to Prince, since the two of them are linked by “I Feel for You,” this video of “Sweet Thing” that I watch once a week, and their respective religious beliefs that people can never really explain.
Gatefold? More like greatfold, C’MONNNN.
The “3 dudes in the woods, 1970” tableau on the back of Them Changes – later recreated in the “3 dudes crouching by some plants, 1993” photo on the back of 21 & Over, and the “multiple dudes in the woods, 2011” of that gorgeous Dungeon Family photo in GQ.
1970 was the year of Them Changes, and of Cold Fact and Psychedelic Shack which would later appear in the apt. 680 Hall of Fame. It was also the year of Black Sabbath and Paranoid, records made by young men who had to work in factories and were pissed, obviously. You would be pissed. Ian Curtis wasn’t, because of his rich inner life and ability to detach, but Jimmy Smith jr. was fucking steamed. Bob Marley too. Joe Jackson was clearly pissed, having to work in the steel mill all day and then coming home to rehearse the boys, and goddamn Marlon couldn’t even get the dance steps right, always fucking up the turns.
The National Front party in Great Britain was gaining ground in 1970; it was a fascist, whites-only party that tapped into pissed-off white Britons’ fear of men who looked like Buddy Miles and had the ruthless hustle of Morris, in the UK to steal their jobs and the virginity of their daughters. Old issues of WaxPo explain the beautiful history of how the cold rhythmic dullness of factory work shows up in metal songs of the ‘70s and in Detroit techno in the ‘80s. And my copy of Vogue from last October can explain that, when faced with a shortage of foreign supplies during the difficult years of Fascist dictatorship in 1940s Italy, Gucci began experimenting with atypical luxury materials – hemp, linen, canvas. Its artisans had to innovate in the absence of usable materials. They used burnished cane to create the handle of the what they’d call the bamboo bag. It was a huge hit. Ladies covet it to this day because we’re pressured to consume conspicuously and never be satisfied with our current possessions, but the fact remains that you simply must respect this, the Gucci hustle. The story reminds me of Buddy and Morris innovating, using their respective materials to their respective advantage. Jimi was a shaman type, sort of distant and dreamy; by contrast, Buddy’s appeal was in his kindness, his goofy persona. Prince is moody as HELL and tiny; Morris capitalized on the fact that he’s a foot taller than him and always looks like he’s having fun. Play the hand you’re dealt, my southern grandma always says. The El-P equivalent is Tap that strength and burn with greatness.
9. 26 (LET MY 9 SCREENS FLIP!).
Morris was 26 when Ice Cream Castle came out. Current 26-year-olds include Chris Paul, the Sleng Teng riddim, and LL’s Radio. To think that 1985 yielded both the thrilling song “Rock the Bells” and the unthrilling eyebrow clown J. Cole is a reminder of the ridiculousness of the universe, although the line “You bring the woodpecker; I’ll bring the wood” and the line “Money can’t buy you love ‘cause it’s overpriced” are matched in their stupidity level, so maybe the universe isn’t as arbitrary as we think. Dilla was 26 when Fantastic, Vol. 2 came out. Keith was 26 when Critical Beatdown came out. Pharoahe Monch was 26 when Internal Affairs came out. Monch is a solid Twitter follow (he really realllllly likes his Giants, you guys) and had noted Beverly Hills street soldier Alan Maman produce his “No Mercy,” a song on which Brownsville showed up to be rad and tough in the human form of M.O.P. Alc’s sample source was Jerry Goldsmith’s “The Trap,” which was never used in a Jeezy song circa 2005 because the rap game is dumb and Collipark doesn’t respect my wonderful ideas. The song was, however, from the soundtrack to Bandolero!, a film most known in apartment 680 for providing me with this indelible image of my beauty/fashion/womanly-powers icon, Miss Raquel Welch.
M.O.P. did “Fight Club” with Fat Joe, whose verse mentions doin 30 in Washington Heights, somethingsomething automatic mac, who cares, Joey’s boring and I’ve never been a fan. 30 is the percentage of all Americans who have been arrested by the age of 23 – which is how old Buddy was when Them Changes came out. A$AP Rocky is 23, which is proven every time I see a picture of him in those stupid camo shorts, but the kid seems to be doing all right for himself. I have no outward style anyway, so who am I to judge. And for a quick link back to Morris: my scan of Twitter a minute ago reveals that the quality of A$AP groupies is shockingly sub-par until you remember that, like Morris, Rocky likes to always be the pretty one in the relationship.
“Gatorade bottle full of burgundy Carlo Rossi.” GUYS I JUST REALLY REALLY WANTED TO USE THIS PHOTO BUT JESUS CAN YOU BLAME ME, THAT THICK MANLY FOREARM LOOKIN LIKE A BIG OLE TURKEY LEG.
“Shoelace tied,” Juicy J says, coming with the footwear pun, “but a n—a still trippin.” This blog post has been delayed by my side assignment of trying to listen to the SIXXXXTYYYYY new songs on that E-40 album, Clever Slang Words for Everyday Things Such as Cars and Money. Sixty tracks! That’s so many a lady might even say it’s hella tracks, and so far I’ve only gotten through the first 6. (I don’t have the headphone stamina I did at age 17.) Track 2 is “They Point,” with J’s line above satisfying his contractual obligation to mention tangerine trees and marmalade skies at least once per song. Blotter raps. Love it. Love him. J’s beat-riding is so tight, his musical timing is so perfect – like Alexander O’Neal’s, who had perfect life timing and left The Time before it became The Time, and had a respectable solo career that did not require him to bow down to Prince. Game, set, match. “Saturday Love” is the freaking jam, too, right? Right, says Nickatina. Anyway, J rides the beat with such exactness that he could be in the J.B.’s circa 1970, taking orders from Mr. Brown to ride the beat, D-flat major, ride that goddamn beat. My orders to underwhelming rappers who do that thing of being too cool to ride the beat in 2012? RIDE THE BEAT LIKE FRED WESLEY AND THE JUICE MAN, IDIOTS.
Other than in Three 6 lyrics, acid hadbeen an underused rap topic for years. It’s hard to write something in verse that tops the Woodstock-screwface story of Carlos Santana, frequent Buddy Miles collaborator. But late last summer one of the A$AP guys (either Twelvyy or Nast; can’t tell em apart) rolled up in something foreign with a whole caravan of druggys and hoes and said Smoke somethin bitch! Or at least put this under your tongue, baby doll, then promptly turned my pupils huge and black, like pools of Valvoline. LSD’s psychedelic properties were discovered in 1943, when scientists were trying to find a cure for migraines. 1943 is also the year Sly Stone was born. Sly later rented a Bel-Air mansion for $12,000/month from John Phillips because of course he did, he’s Sly Stone, the fuck you think.
There are 4 Jeromes in my world. Kern, Garcia, and Benton live in my record collection for their contributions in the arts of writing, singing, and, um, according to the verrrry generous and exaggerated Ice Cream Castle credits, “percussion and voice.” Ha. “Mirror-bringing” was too silly to include, I guess.
a)The fourth Jerome also has a spot in one of my crates, as a central figure in Nas’ “One Love” whose life takes a shocking turn after what was supposed to be a fun day at the beach. Q-Tip samples Parliament’s “Come in Out of the Rain,” co-written by Ruth Copeland, soulful Caucasian lady who loved bass and inappropriately-mini skirts, not unlike this particular blogger.
Copeland was married to Jeffrey Bowen, Motown producer and writer; he co-wrote Marvin Gaye’s “You,” the b-side of “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” – which Buddy sang as a California Raisin in ’88. The Raisins were claymation but they technically count as cartoons, yes? They were also labelmates with Eazy in ’88 (Priority), proving that children’s characters and lyrically hard rappers ran in the same industry circles way before Bieber x Rae in 2011. In ’01, Priority was also the label that released 504 Boyz’ “Wobble Wobble,” a song for which my enthusiasm knows No Limit, teehee. And though it took a while to the point in this post where a “Wobble Wobble” link was appropriate, goddammit here we are.
b) “Hoes love me: Jerome,” says Flatbush Zombies’ Juice. “Hoes love me. Jerrrome.” Also from Flatbush was pixel visionary Joseph Barbera, who went on to create the Jetsons. Elroy Jetson would later serve as the ultimate sonning metaphor by Guru, while big sister Judy got to live my dream of getting mentioned in a Dumile song (“Our next guest, a real cutie specimen/And she’s startin to get a little booty, Miss Judy Jetson”). The song samples Harry Nilsson, who later provided the soundtrack of Henry Hill’s coke paranoia in Goodfellas, hung out with John Lennon and probably also lots of coke at the same time, and played on 1968’s The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees along with Buddy Miles.
12. MY FANTASIES, DAYDREAMS.
COVER SONGS.The Time should do INXS’s “What You Need,” because Morris and Michael Hutchence both have that talk-sing thing down. And because Prince will cover INXS‘s “I Need You Tonight” in Music Heaven, making exactly one article of clothing come off of my body with every guitar-riff razor. His opening act will be Buddy Miles, who will cover something by the Black Keys to make one of their songs immediately rad and not annoying like they are currently. (“Baby I’m howlin’ for youuuu” is not something you can get away with singing when you look like my cousin Nick in Portland with the bubble goose vest, beard and earnest eyes). Alicia Keys, by the way, inducted Prince into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in ’04, which is real bottom-of-the-barrel casting; sorry, she is boring and I just don’t care for her voice. She was chosen only because, at the time, James Brown was dealing with domestic violence charges, Sly Stone was off Syd Barrett-ing somewhere, George Clinton was touring, Joni Mitchell was touring, Morris was busy with his guest spot on 227 plus he was bitter, and I was not famous enough (yet) to have done the honors.
Since Buddy did Neil Young’s “Down by the River,” The Time should so obviously do Neil Young’s“Cinnamon Girl,” at about three times the original speed. They’ll also need to add 2 heaping scoops of bass. Minneapolis stunt-funk bass, though – not Tennessee bass, or even Florida bass. I need some of that desperate bass, the kind that only men from a cold climate can muster. Neil Young’s song called “Are You Ready for the Country” should have its the title used for a track by Bun feat. Scarface, Juve from 10 years ago, and David Banner. Yelawolf’ll try to get on, but I’ll have to say no because of my integrity.
BREAKS.It’s possible to influence people as they sleep and give them perfect dreams, so who says I can’t shout my fantasy breaks out into the world and hope Ski or Monsta or Rick Rock or Necro hears me? I remain committed to my dream that Black Hippy will one day use the “Top Dawg/Bite em all” from “The Next Episode” in something. Please guys, it’s so perfect! Don’t make the same mistake Collipark did when he ignored my Jeezy idea in ’05. Until then, I’m focusing on:
a. Them Changes‘ “Memphis Train.” To be used by the fairly capable Don Trip in some song about his hometown, since he’s a Memphian(a fun new actual word I just learned). I foresee something for him involving the Alllllll right and that drum break at 00:44, then the bassline coming in. Since we’re at the tail end of the “rising synth”/”every song must sound like a video game” period in beatmaking (or perhaps it’s just a fantasy of mine), my timing of this beat idea is perfect. As usual.
The hook could also be a great break. “Train number one is gone,” Buddy sings, “Train number two is gone/Train number three is BEEN gone/Now how long must I wait for you.” I’d like MJG to use it in a song about his relationship with Suave House going sour. The train’s a metaphor for genuine industry friendship, a rare and precious thing that usually experiences a head-on crash somewhere down the tracks. Train’s gone, M! Or perhaps he could use it in a song about his lady leaving town to go to meet with the WaxPo editors to talk about her upcoming monthly feature-?
b. The part of “Paul B. Allen, Omaha, Nebraska” at 3:47 – 4:17 is rich with untapped fantasy breaks. As usual, YouTube commenters are able to articulate my deepest feelings about a song I’m dissecting in a blog post: “Check out that footwork! Ain’t no bass player on this tune, just the pedals of the organ!!” (You are correct, not-at-all-ridiculously-named bassbot69.) It also gets praise for being a truly dignified tribute to a musical hero, as opposed to Buddy doing a song called “Paul B. Allen Back” or Buddy doing a show with a Paul B. Allen hologram. Mr. Allen, by the way, owned Allen’s Showcase, an Omaha nightclub that nurtured local artists including a young Buddy Miles. The equivalent of a song by The Time would be called “Billy Sparks, Minneapolis, Minnesota.”
c. Morris’ “The Wright brothers can’t fuck with that” from “The Bird,” which absolutely must be used by Jerm for a Curren$y song, JET LIFE, JETLIFEJETLIFE, EAUGH. This would make up for the tragedy that Morris’ “Think I wanna/Think I wanna file my nails” is a rap-song ready quote but there are no current rappers who are ironically-heteromasculine enough to get away with using that line.
These ladies don’t seem to realize how valuable Morris’ time is. Apollonia’s pretty-person-and awful-performer-who-works-with-the-right-producer(s) hustle was pretty solid in ’84. Such a hustle continues today in the form of horrendous Los Angeles music professional Game.
FIREARMS. (bonus category, because I’m enthusiastic and have trouble editing)
Jimi produced Band of Gypsys under the name Heaven Research, a name that is so Prince-esque it makes me want to slap somebody. “Machine Gun” was about the jungles of Vietnam, which provides another connection to The Time, who did “Jungle Love.” If there were a Jimi loop used in Dilla’s “Jungle Love,” this section would come full-circle, wrapped up in a nice pretty bow and I’d be able to retire to the couch again, R.A.P. Music on the iPod. No such loop exists. However, Guilty’s “Without that loot, your instrumentals stay instrumentals” is such a Morrisesque thing to say. I just awarded myself partial credit.
“People say I’m the baddest drummer,” Buddy said once, with typical modesty, “If that’s true, thank you world.” Morris never had to say words like this out loud, partly because he felt that his drumming spoke for itself, but mostly because talking about his drumming would take time away from talking about how great he is in bed. “Yeah,” he says, with typical shiny confidence at the end of “Jungle Love,” draining the open 3 in the seventh game of the series with home court advantage. “Thassssit thassit.” It’s lovely to be a woman and live among both the modest and the swaggy when it comes to men. A lady needs a variety of masculine types in her life, and of course in her record collection. Buddy’s long gone and Morris never calls me back, but if I could get the two of them in a room I’d inform them that the music industry is currently plagued by a lack of grown-man sexual mojo and I’d thank them for their contributions. xo.
I guess I didn’t realize that just ‘cause you promised em a spot on your song means you better find a way to fit em ALL on your song.From the “Fuck off; I love it” collection, this one fascinates and entertains me because of its odd mix – 17 DEEP! – of terrible rappers and fantastic ones. Nickatina, KRS, Earl S. and Lil’ ½ Dead were all too busy, I guess.
Ranking the performances on the “Racks on Racks” remix, in order of lyrical strength and overall auditory enjoyment. LEH’GO:
17. Wiz “15 Minutes” Khalifa
Racks on, racks off, see that blonde stripper, my hat’s off Lookin’ at my Rollie, ’bout thirty grand what that cost Smoke like I’m in Cali, fuck takin’ flight, I blast off N—s talkin’ tattoos, we should have a tat-off… Way back in 2004, I told ‘em it was a wrap Now my life ain’t my life no more, I told you, n—a, it’s a wrap
Like Drake, this young man’s voice has the appeal of a foghorn and he clearly needs to see an audiologist. When you are pitchy on the microphone and you are not singing, that’s a problem – and not in a good way, like ooooh this Random Axe is gonna be a problem. I mean, an actual problem, like a hearing issue. Rhyming wrap with wrap, saying “racks on/racks off” (makes no sense), that “tat-off” line, and his amateurish cadence throughout which sounds how I would soundif I got on the mic (i.e., bad, just bad); the whole thing is an exercise in delivery-inadequacy and poor storytelling. How bout a cheeseburger-off instead, Wiz? Did you know Dylan wrote a song about you? (Wiz is very thin, that’s all I’m saying)
16. Ace Hood
I’m that n—a in fact (in fact), paper tall as Shaq (oh boy) Blood, Sweat, and Tears, it’ll be on your local Wal-Mart rack Soon
Call me Bobby Ray, but it’s not two names Flyin’ through the city, all-black, Bruce Wayne… As a kid, I was struck by lightning, it’s no wonder I’m electrifying Fuck a brainstorm, I’ll fuck around and cause a power outage And it ain’t no rivals, if it was, it’d be no survivors Just gimme a hour, I’ll light it up like an Eiffel Tower
Sigh. OK. I really did try to approach this activity without prejudice even though I strongly dislike this particular individual. After listening with a clear head and an open heart, though, it turns out this guy is an annoying doofus! What’s all that garbage about lightning? Why is someone other than Eddy Grant trying to talk to me about electricity? Who encouraged him to enter into battles that are completely unwinnable? His delusion is not cute; it’s irritating. And his voice sounds like Tyrone Biggums’ at the start of his verse. And his style of dress makes him look like he works at Barneys*. And sorry, but “Bobby” and “Ray” are 2 names. And he appears to have some sort of weather symbol tattooed onto his wrist area, which I never noticed before. I should’ve been making fun of it, and it’s sad I missed out on doing so all these months.
Wiz and his tat-off are waiting for you, Bobby.
Racks on racks on racks, I’m tryna smash and not call back My name Wale, you so silly, wet my willie, might call you a cab Yeah, ridin’ around wit’ that reefer scent, ridin’ around with Ms. Reece and them When I’m in the groove, I can freak a tune, I’m smoother than alopecia skin I shows out, like dope when I put that flow down Like soap when I put my clothes on, I’m jokin’, but I be Foamed out And all she want is more bags, but all I want is more 1s I told her “Bring that money back” like all them racks is Nordstrom’s, whooaaa
Let’s say I had a friend named “Blonde Patti Smith” who I kept trying to get you to like. Man I just did this siiiiiick track with Blonde Patti. I really push her in your face. She’s my sidekick at every party and I keep suggesting we have ciphers and then I just toss the mic to her so she can get loose. Me and Blonde Patti are going on tour; have you listened to her new mixtape yet? You would hate that. It’s annoying. Wale doesn’t understand this concept.
Fresh from putting on a suit and standing next to Rawss behind a rented Bentley, Wale lays down yet another verse about wearing Nikes and not calling girls. What a G. Using the word smash is extra hard too, or so says my cousin in 8th grade. I would caution my fellow ladies against accepting a date invitation from Wale – he’s a grown man who uses the word smash – although if you’re a woman who thinks sleeping with Wale is a good idea, you are impaired and you probably say smash for the act of lovemaking too, so maybe you kind of deserve what you get. Another terrible thing I can’t ignore: the way he says “WHOOAAA” at the end of his own verse and everybody hates that as much as I do, right? Oops, pow, surprise! And finally, “alopecia skin” is gross. I understand the analogy and I guess it’s kind of clever-? But it’s still gross and he never brings nothin new to the table and that’s how he solidified the #14 spot. Can’t ride the “No Hands” gravy train forever, lazybones.
I’m the hood if you wondered where I’m at In the back of a Chevy that’s all black… Couple of whi-whips that I ride like yachts A couple of haters lookin’, I’m knowin’ them n—s hot And tell ‘em that I don’t give a damn Hard as a motherfucker, tell ‘em I was HAM
I’m pretty confident nobody was wondering where Trae was at. Thanks for the update, though, buddy. He’s on the track by default – I think it’s likely he was offered a chance to hop on and contribute a verse only in an attempt by the label to make the geographic representation less lopsided (MCs from Georgia on the “Racks” remix: 5. MCs from Texas: 3, including Trae). Scarface is currently otherwise engaged, Pimp C is unavailable, and Devin just flat-out said no when they asked him to get on, so Trae, you’re up.
ALSO: STOP TRYING TO MAKE ‘HAM’ HAPPEN, everybody.
Everybody wanna hate because I’m on, blowin’ head back, bottles by the zone Twista finna get up on the track and spit it the way I do simp-a-ly because I like this song When I step up out the Maserati car, gotta pull it, pull it, pull it, pull it from the jar Then I blow, I’ma close out the par’, with some killers and everybody know who we are
I don’t know, I guess I’m not impressed by machine-gun delivery anymore. It’s cute for a while and then it just gets old and gimmick-y, plus it’s really hard to rap along with in the car and that’s a bummer.
11. Big Sean
I got single bitches tryin’, married bitches lyin’ I take ‘em to the crib and leave our future in a condom I wake up fresher than these motherfuckers as is Look inside my closet, that shit look like it’s Raks Fifth… I’m at the altar sayin’ my vows to this Benjamin Franklin power You buy her a house, I won’t buy her a vowel, you fell in love, and I fell in her mouth
That condom line. Ugh. I hate myself for saying so, but it really is kind of amusing. (I didn’t say “Verses on the ‘Racks’ remix ranked according to level of female-friendliness and unbridled romance”; I’m ranking them on lyrical strength and overall enjoyment.) When did everyone start saying LEH’GO in their songs and At what point is the jump-on-my-remix madness going to end are the 2 primary questions this song elicits inside of me, but hearing Sean on any song brings up the question Which other MC named “Big” is going to battle him – Boi, K.R.I.T., L (even from the grave, he could take Sean), Smalls (even from the grave), Noyd, Mike, Pooh? In other opposing-forces news, this track’s producer is Sonny Digital, and Kool Keith was an Analog Brother. Feels like there’s a cage match between those two I should be planning.
Got Activist in my Sprite, Benjamins in my Robins Franck Muller wit’ flooded ice, but I still got my brightness In the fast lane, gettin’ slow brain in a 2012 Maserati I’m kickin’, pimpin’, like Liu Kang, my coupe smokin’ like Friday Puffin’ on that garlic, sick off all the Marley Inked up on my hands and arms, got Def Jam in my pocket
I’m sorry, but WHO? I’m not familiar. “Dose”? Unless he’s a new golfwanger or the next big thing in YMCMB or endorsed by Doomsy, why am I hearing about him? Is he Dose One’s son? Who the heck is he and did I mention this song’s got SEVENTEEN DUDES on it? Fuckin thing is 12 minutes long as a result and in Ramones terms that’s like 22 or 23 songs. So much filler makes my tummy hurt. This verse should’ve been edited out but it taught me that “garlic” is a term for weed and that there is a brand of jeans called Robin’s; nothing more, nothing less.
We got racks on racks on racks (she got) Racks on racks on racks (they got) Racks on racks on racks… All around the globe, bein’ on TV Everywhere you look, you see YC Hatin’-ass n—s just wishin’ they were me YC, YC, YC Way too big for my ma’fuckin’ jeans I’m so fly I don’t even got wings
Ranked right in the middle of the list for a reason, this is an unremarkable verse that, like Dose’s, I neither hate nor love. It’s stupid (“I’m so fly I don’t even got wings”) but I don’t care enough to get mad at it. Yawn. Wake me up when we get to Bun B’s part. YC’s responsible for that monster hook, though, and I do like the inclusiveness of his sentiment. It really is a glorious sing-along Power 106 beast. Racks: he got, she got, they got, we all got. Gimme my cut, please.
8. Cory Gunz
Young Money, Cash Money so strong, keep scorin’, I’ma bring it on home Those Xans and the lean cause zones, somethin’ tan with a mean jawbone… Goin’ for the grips every day ’til the grave I be worried about chips, you be worried about the Lay’s
I don’t care if you follow it up with Gunz; the name Cory will never be intimidating – though if your real name is Peter Pankey jr., I can’t criticize you for adopting a firearm-related alias in an attempt to make yourself seem badder. This one gets a pretty high spot on the list by default (he’s simply not as weak as Wale or Wiz), though that “chips/Lay’s” line is sort of cute and helped get him to #8. Plus I love the blatant truth-telling contained in his verse (Young Money Cash Money really is so strong at the moment) as well as the blatant pandering to Soulja.
7. Yo Gotti
Gotta front me a brick, that ain’t nothin’ to you Just ran through a ticket, there ain’t nothin’ to do Yeah, I love these streets like I love the booth Mr. Cocaine Music, I’m 100 proof Got white on white on white, ice on ice on ice And when I’m in the club it look like lights on lights on lights
Um, Jeezy is Mr. Cocaine Music, just for the record. Glad to see Yo Gotti’s still alive, though. For me, it’s all about the voice with him. Honestly I can’t think of one memorable thing he’s said on a track but I can tell you everything is said in a nice gravelly Memphis twang.
6. Cory Mo
Catch me in the city with the trunk on crack Top dropped down, black on black Fistful of wood, twisted for the good Check my bank account, got racks on racks Look around, fool, got a wall full of plaques Platinum and gold, you gots to love that Posted up just like a thumbtack Better hide ya ho, ’cause she bound to get snatched H-Town, Texas to ATL She got a fat ass, she prolly know me well Keep it on the low, never kiss and tell True player, Cory Mo cold as hell
Two Corys on one song! Name the last time that happened! CM’s got a deep, fatherly voice and uses the world “cold” as an adjective like an old man who’s seen some stuff, or like Drexl Spivey; I appreciate both of these things about him. Last time I remember hearing cold, Jay-Z said it right before he asked me to 2-way him. Bring it back in songs, please! Also Cory’s name is fun and bouncy, making it appropriate for a cool (cold!) intro. If I were a boxing announcer or the host of a mixtape I’d introduce Cory with a cute rhyme, like Cory Mo with the classic flow. I lack the grasp of technical language to describe the rhythmic rapid beauty of his style, but it’s textbook Texan. Cold Cory Mo with the Texan flow.
5. Waka Flocka Flame
I got racks on top of racks, stacks on top of stacks Bands on top of bands, got me fuckin her and her friends Bad boys don’t do papers, that was just for my haters… Got a bad bitch from the U.K. She do everything I say Go crazy when she hear my music She got “Grove St.” on replay
This is just pure magic (FLOCKA!) despite the presence of Auto-Tune. All of apt. 680 was stunned by yet another nuanced, sophisticated performance by Flocka (Flocka!) on the remix. Listening to him is a proven heartrate-increasor. Nobody can outdo him, spirit-wise. Flocka is Flocka’s biggest fan and that kind of self-confidence is contagious. I get dressed and do my hair to the sweet sounds of Benjamin Flocka, then I walk down the street like I’m a bad bitch from the UK and can’t nobody tell me nothin.
4. CyHi Da Prynce
Got racks on racks on racks, y’all rap so wack on wax Purple by the pound, that’s that Flacco, haaaa I make big plays, I got big chips Blue money like six Crips Switch gears like stick shifts… Pull triggers like hamstrings Boy, I’m doin’ my damn thing Big blood with them bricks, pimp Get off a key like I can’t sing Got the seven on me like big jersey Ridin’ round, and this bitch dirty I’m the best, hands down, they nicknamed me 6:30
In a stunning moment of self-alienation, I found that I actually enjoyed this. Joe Flacco is someone I can never get in my Fantasy draft, but he wears purple for the Ravens and I like when there are cute NFL references in rap music (usually only people like GZA and Monch attempt this). Cy’s verse ranked so highly because he mixes up his cadence style and his fast delivery resembles that of every Texas rapper since ’98*. Why does he have to spell his name like that, though. Why.
3. Young Jeezy
Young, if it’s convertible, then how is it a hardtop? (then Jeezy makes a car-screech sound, love it) Bitch, I hit one button, my roof open like a hard spot Make me throw my diamonds up, bitch, my life was hard knock Had so much kush and Ciroc, bitch, I think my heart stop Every night’s a weekend, every day’s a Friday night You ain’t seen nothin’ yet, bitch, this just my Friday ice ’87, brick fare, yeah, I’m talkin’ thirty racks All I sold is hundos, where the fuck my twenties at?
First of all: YEEEEEAAAAAUUUUUGGGGHHHHH. I’d also like to add CTE, baby; we all we got. Additionally: Jeezy took a break from mentoring youngsters in the business of cocaine to write a confusing verse about days of the week. If every day is a Friday night, that means you are up and about like you would be during 12 – 4 AM on Friday, going places and doing things, hugging girls, shaking hands. You therefore sleep/recover during the other hours, which, if my overthinking is correct, would be actual PM hours. This is the schedule that Ben Franklin would’ve recommended; the Snowman keeps it healthy, wealthy, and wise. Jeezy’s continued presence in rap is also helping to offset all the damage B.o.B. is doing to the reputation of the state of Georgia.
Yeah, they call me Country Grammar, my brother out the slammer I’m crimson color painted, you can call that Alabama I’m not from Alabama, but check out how I roll tide He might have the same whip, but check out how I roll mine Y’all n—s ain’t no stars, y’all only in it for the cars The sky is your limit, mayne, and mine somewhere ’bout Mars… I ride wit’ them boys in the middle of the map St. Louis, Detroit, Chi-town, Nap Down to the Dirty, back up through the trap But the money don’t stack, man, money overlap Yeah, y’all better watch it, mayne, right here we lock and load Two things is for certain, mayne, and one thing is fa sho’ Got a house on hundred acres, I’ve never seen my neighbors A chick in ATL, and from Buckhead to Decatur
A younger me had a meannnn crush on Nells but this verse was ranked based completely on ear-canal enjoyment rather than any romantic feelings. I can be objective sometimes! First of all, how can you not LOVE a dude who starts his verse talking about how happy he is to have his little brother back? Right?? It makes you forget that he just said “They call me Country Grammar” (which they do not actually do). His brother got out a year ago, too, which makes it that much more touching – Nelly is still on that high of being reunited with him. The joy hasn’t faded and he’s gonna let the world know through the majesty of song. Whatta guy.
Nelly has suffered the unfortunate curse of pop radio stardom wherein his talent is wasted on songs they play at H&M. I pray he either starts hanging out on Fairfax to get people interested in him again, or gets really filthy on a mixtape so H&M loses interest completely. Or, you know, he could pull a Luda move and simultaneously be popular and non-wack. This verse is a good start. “Check out how I roll tide” is clever, even though Nelly should be a Mizzou fan, obviously. I hate it when people abandon sports allegiances for the sake of being cool, or because another team’s got a fresher colorway for their fitted. “I ride with them boys in the middle of the map”: also clever. Geography raps are too rare. Blatantly calling out his colleagues on this same track – “y’all only in it for the cars (WIZ stop acting like you don’t see me looking at you)” – is a move of bravery and integrity. And “Two things is for certain mayne and one thing is fa sho” is just pure language-rhythm heaven; I will be reciting this verse in the Civic all over LA this summer.
1. Bun B
*Bun B, I’m a underground king (kang) In the candy-painted car on swing (swang) With the top on drop and the trunk on pop Boy, you can’t tell me a damn thang… Yeah, I rep that P-A-T One hundred, yeah, that’s me If you don’t recognize, you gon’ see I’m a straight-up trill OG In a black-on-black-on-black Cadillac, like a Mack on clacks Try to jack and I will attack It’s a fact that I ain’t givin’ up my stacks like that
LOVE. LOVELOVE. Bout time a grown man showed up. Chunk the deuce, get throwed, somthingsomething candypaintwoodgrainVogues, breakin sketti, go hard annnnd don’t forget to ride foreign all the livelong day.
I ♥ASS said the bumper sticker I saw today while out driving – except, can you believe it, the heart was upside-down, like an ass! It looked just like a nice, curvy bottom! Teehee. It was a message just for me. Religious types say God works in mysterious ways; I just say Well, there it is – a sign that it’s time for me to finally do this Kool Keith post.
What’s that you say? A girl with high self-esteem and several Women’s Studies courses under her belt should know better? A porno-fiend caped rap crusader will only make me cry into my Hello Kitty blanket? He’ll eventually find the hips of another woman to get enveloped in, so I should move on? Oh dear, I’m sorry, I’m sure you have valid points but Keith just arrived and I can’t hear you over the sounds of our vigorous lovemaking. He’s good to me. He doesn’t charge me for twice-daily pelvic exams. He wears a cape (rad), and doesn’t name-drop even though he is friends with Ced Gee and Doomsy (SO RAD). And he’s dependable – Keith’s bread and (sexy) butter is brag-raps, conquest-raps, songs about spanking and biting, tales of headstands and whipped cream, lube and rope, Silly String, stripper shoes, librarian shoes, insisting he gets to be both the cowboy and the Indian when we play cowboys & Indians, insisting I ride the mechanical bull while eating frosting out of the can without a spoon, and for putting his left leg in and shaking it all about. He also goes, um, deep when it comes to romance, but nobody seems to notice. He’s not known for his emotional-connection raps. After years of listening to him and obsessing, though, I’m telling you: Keith wants to make sweet, tender love to me until the sun comes up, and watch this, I can prove it:
1.You’re blonde and weird; let’s get naked, dollface. You’re Dutch/Argentinean, yes? Or wait, no – Persian/Irish? I love you. – “Break U Off,” Diesel Truckers (2004).
“Don’t get me wrong now, I like ’em blonde with long hair They call me Suavere, I like her underwear She don’t mind posin, she don’t even care I like her atmosphere, plus she’s out there The type of girl to break out, yo we outta here House and closets, model with a lot of gear She love to clown and pose, spread ’em on the chair Talk on the rooftop, when she wanna feel some air… With a see-through nightgown, she got to be Spanish Brassiere, baby come over here The mamacita, lick the ice off her back when I freak her She look Brazilian sometime, her face look unique-a.”
Long blonde hair with an ethnically ambiguous face? UH OF COURSE THIS SONG’S ABOUT ME so it had to start the list. Indulge me, please. She’s (meaning me, the romantic lead) blonde, “plus she’s out there,” meaning she might just be the type to have a pic of Harold Rhodes for her laptop background and a blog in which she obsesses over rap lyrics. It would also help if she had an absurdly feminine body shape, but this combination of qualities is just impossible to find in an actual human lady. You’re dreamin, kid.
Blonde girls are like unusual, highlighted birds to Keith. I get it. He’s from the Bronx; blondes are probably rare there. Keith was apparently so smitten he had to take to the microphone and count the ways he loves his fair-haired oddball baby doll space cadet(te?), including her ability to make love to the camera. It is a common theme in sex songs. The big thing on the radio right now is “Double Dip,” an awful/catchy song about repeat coitus. When you texted that pic of your backside to me, the dude says, My reply was like, “Give that right to me.” Points for straighforwardness, sir, but none for romance, originality, or mastery of words that rhyme with “me” (there are about a thousand, for the record). It is boring. Just a boring series of words over an awful/catchy beat. By contrast, Keith somehow makes “spread ’em on the chair” sound fresh and witty, like no other young lady in history thought to pose nakedly for her man, to put her leg like that, open her mouth a little, yes love, just like that – gorgeous! (snap, snap). The fact that he asked me to wear a Hello Kitty onesie and some thigh-highs just before I mounted the mechanical bull and started posing? Just part of the romance, baby.
Basically just a list of all the things he likes about his lady, “Break U Off,” also gets a nod for the lines “Tastes so good, her body like Krispy Kreme” (yum!) and “I love your sweet eyelashes” (aww).
“Answer the phone, honey You lay on my chest like Max Julien, Cleopatra status Coke bottle shape, Miss Nubian Watch your sheer nightgown in the bathroom light With camel toe showin, I can tell you tight Loose jeans don’t work, my job is to convert.”
Never in mah life have I heard an MC who pays such close attention to a woman’s sleeping and lounging garments. Keith does this over and over in his verses – descriptions of cotton and lace, silk, that satin thong in “Sexy Girl.” He loves drapey, soft things on skin, and he’ll tell you about it over a beat. How sweet. This verse made Top 10 because of that attention to detail, and because of his appreciation of a nightgown, an old-timey garment that your grandma wore, as opposed to one of those lace bodystockings from AA or a corset or something.
3.I like to hear your voice sometimes – not just type messages to you on my phone’s tiny keyboard. – “How Sexy,”Dr. Dooom 2 (2008)
“I met you, wanted me to buy porno girl you had it in your hormones Last night before you talked to me on the phone I asked you twice to bite my ice cream cone C’mon be serious- this ain’t typin a few words back and forth like kids; we grown.”
YES. THIS. “We’ve seen each other naked,” says every girl in the world, including the girl whose blog you are currently reading, “can we sometimes talk, please? Hear each other’s voices?”
I saw a funny bumper sticker about ass! And I made cupcakes, do you want one? I had a dream that I had a kitten! What do you think French Montana and Push Montana talk about at the annual Montana Family Picnic? That new Jeezy n’ Freddie has a lower BPM than I normally like but man when I hear it in the Civic it makes me wanna get back in the narcotics game, like the “Black Betty”/airport scene in Blow! They’re having a Dudes Who Will Not be Seeing Logan Naked conference on stage at the Meadowlands! (well, except for Waka. I believe “He could get it” is the expression-?). 9th Wonder adds “Member of the Universal Zulu Nation” to his self-intro (“Producer/teacher/rapper…”); is that true?? Does he still adhere to the 15 Beliefs, or is he a detractor? There’s a human who calls himself “Black Cobain,” the fuck is that about! They play Frank Ocean on Power 106; is this dope, or a sign of the apocalypse? Dude oh my god Spader simply killed it on The Office!That story about Pyrex is so interesting, and it’s a perfect mix of rap music and science, my two greatest loves! I got ____ and ____ at Amoeba today, and then I brought them home and laid them on my floor and rolled around nakedly on them! Wait, why’d your phone go to voicemail again? Hey boy, let’s talk, cuz WE GROWN. I mean, aren’t we?
It’s not that I’m chatty; it’s that the world is amazing. I think about some dope, weird, silly, dumb stuff and I want to lay it on you in actual conversations once in a while. Actually, I think about all kinds of nice stuff I wanna lay on you, conversationally and otherwise. RAWR.
4.You’re not boring, even when we’re doing boring things. – “Telephone Girlfriend” again
“In the living room, on the couch and sofa Mature female, you act older No problem at all when I walk with you to the mall Circle the parking lot, you park and hot(? I think) At night you booty call, we order things from Pink Dot.”
Same song, different romantic scenario. Romance doesn’t have to be dinner upstairs at El Cid (though the empanadas are so SO good) or getting flowers at work; it’s living-room lounging, buying dumb stuff together at CVS on Tuesday after work, then you rolling your eyes during one of my Power 106 dorkout sessions while sitting in traffic (“Racks on racks on racks, LEH’GO”). If the person you’re with is fun even when you’re doing the most mundane things, you’ve got it – a magical, perfect coupling, a lovely picture of relationship beauty – and you should hold onto it. See also: the person you’re with embellishing life accomplishments just to make you smile (“First man from New York City housing to have his face on a $30 bill”), and that person also somehow being more interesting than the NBA playoffs (“I turned the Lakers off, you can’t stop my afterparty/A fifth of vodka and latex, drink your Bacardi” – “Regular Girl”).
This track also includes massaging, a thing that is both a classically romantic gesture and a thing that dudes are deliciously skilled at because they have more upper-body strength than women. It’s science. “Baby oil on your toes while you get wet to my flows” gets an honorable mention as well, simply because I love it. Hi Mom!
Until he says “I love your purple onesie” or “Darling you look spectacular when we’re in apt. 680 and you poke your hip out like that,” I will have to settle for “I see a packed house in different color bodysuits” (“Don’t Crush It”) as the best lyric Keith wrote with me in mind. That cover model, by the way, is Spantaneeus Xtasy. She has starred inCrimson Thighs, Butt-nanza, and The Boobcage 2, which is poorly made and does a terrible disservice to the first Boobcage (don’t even bother with it, I’m serious).
5.Wack rappers be quiet. The world is wondrous and so strange and I’d like to tell you about it with my patented colorful and stylish narrative technique. – “Plastic World,” Sex Style (1997)
“As I do see…(??) wack beer commercials Some rappers are bought and puppeteered like the Ninja Turtles From Manhattan I heat up, yo light up Times Square I make noise like open high hats on your cheap snare No promotional shows, girls wear cornrows People with hooded sweaters on crack keep me on my toes I walk with straw hats, fake glasses in the projects Bring my ghost image so tense on the line of scrimmage Playing my numbers, waiting for the 5 to come Spaghetti out the window, people acting dumb Fire hazards wake the neighbors, your family’s nosy I come and go as I please on blockhead MCs You bought new sneakers, no car, scrambling on the corner I’m not the star you are, the city’s fallen far By mechanism, you’re on my tip Stay off my penis, you’ve duplicated me for years.”
Go weird or go home, that’s what I always say. Keith lost that nice bouncy “Poppa Large” flow somewhere along the way – spring of ’95, I believe it was – and goddammit if he didn’t made up for it with lyrics like these. References to a drum kit, terrible MCs who are inexplicably successful, and the weirdos prowling the city: this song is romantic because to a lady English major, interesting, well-written rhymes are the sweet love-nectar of life. Also, good storytellers are the highest form of human. Good storytellers get women naked, if they storytell in a way that is romantic yet non-corny (a tricky mix). Sex Style was dope stuff, late-’90s weird-hop, streamofconsciousness-sex-hop, and Keith had no challengers, really (except RA, maybe? at times? Slick Rick and Too $hort, no – they ruled the ’80s sexrap industry but mostly they put out plain old intercourse verses, free from BDSM and mechanical bulls and other Keith-ish weirdisms). Just wait til 2009, though, when a scrappy young buck from the Bay will stroll in and announce he’s Paris Hilton and his chain look like lightning – he’ll polarize the Internet! Anyway, Keith is the rap Trav Bickle, describing NYC as cluttered and greasy and sin-filled, but instead of making me recoil in disgust when he talks about how dirty it is, it makes me want to go there. (This also serves as a metaphor for our sexual life together.) Oh and “stay off my penis” is just funny; no two ways about it*. Romance cannot survive without some humor thrown in.
*I should do a post about mentions of penis in lyrics over the years; seems like a good use of my time but I have a feeling I’ll just keep putting it off. I should also listen to more Gang Gang Dance and finally read The Executioner’s Song but that is probably not happening either.
6.Brokest rapper you know (hi Sean P!) – “Let Me Talk to You,” Masters of Illusion (2000)
“I respect you for going with me to Burger King, riding with me in my lil jalopy. Stickin by me, through thick and thin. Goin to White Castle and stuff…ridin around in like a little ’65 Chevy. Can’t afford them Benzes, we can only fantasize.”
We forget Keith’s a real person sometimes because of his superb, otherworldly brain, the fact that he was so spacey Thelonious stopped taking his phone calls and he got kicked out of both the Cosmic Echoes and the Arkestra*, and the fact that his overall demeanor is like that of an alien doing an impression of Al Goldstein doing an impression of a dude asking for change in front of the 99Cents store at Willoughby and La Brea. But if Keith’s cut, he bleeds. He likes waffles for breakfast (oh god Keith me too! Me TOO we are meant to be togetherrrrr). He turns up “Owner of a Lonely Heart” when it comes on the car radio for a life-is-wonderful rockout sesh just like everybody else. And he likes his partner to appreciate him for more than his money, because he is huuuuman and he needs to be looooved/just like everybody else doessssss. Keith likes playing games but only the sexy kind, and if you are a lowdown dirty female thinking that you can manipulate him into catching feelings and paying your student loan bill, well, you will probably get a mean-spirited rap song written about you. He wrote groupie-decimating “Dolly and the Rat Trap,” remember. We’re all aware that when the feelings are real and the love is true, cash is often a nice supplement to a romantic relationship (thanks, Jay-Z and Fabolous songs from 10 years ago!). But when cash becomes so terribly important that romance needs it in order to stay alive, why, that’s not romance at all! Love don’t live here anymore!, say all the other songs by Jay-Z and Fabolous.
Again, the details of a sexy courtship are what Keith is so good at, uh, nailing (har) – “Bringing extra underwear to the picnic,” “Drinkin cups of tea by the fireplace,” the importance of doing certain things to her in certain places with care and enthusiasm (I cannot describe these actions or these places here, as I am a lady). And reciprocity, darling: “When a woman loves a man,” he says, “she’ll clean the grime off your feet.” This is true. And when a man loves a woman, he makes a cute cartoon video to accompany one of his most romantic songs. PS, Keith! Benzes are cornball and I like you better without one. I’d rather bob my head in a ragtop (preferably a monkey-green one*) any damn way. * This is something I just made up and found amusing. So it stays in the post.
7.I did this for you, and that for you, because I’m a nice person. Oh and did I mention I have a Seville? – “Supergalactic Lover,”Black Elvis/Lost in Space (1999)
“Diamond rings with roses, I put pearls in your noses Put you in heels, paid your school loans and tons of bills I ripped eight thousand threw a stack up in the fireplace You couldn’t believe it, your mom was there with a sad face… I walked in with cape, with jewels on, you know I’m the captain Outside by the Cadillac three brothers rappin, soundin wack and I kept on steppin, legend status, you know my rep and I see you at 8, turn your pager off, don’t be late… Supergalactic lover Comin from the projects on the hill Supergalactic lover *In my monkey-green ragtop Seville”
“Darling let me tackle that Chase bill for you, and here’s somePhillip Lim stripper-librarian heels in a pretty oxblood color. I’ll pick you up at 8:01 PST in my Detroit-made sedan.”
“OH NO, I couldn’t possib—AW DAMN. WELL, OKAY KEITH, if you insist.”
I can pay my own way but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the offer – even though a supergalactic lover will always take a back seat to a superman lover in my heart.
The student loan hustle is one of the greatest ever concocted by the federal government. What a pain. I need relief. I’m willing to accept cash aid as a form of this relief. I also like pretty, overpriced shoes. And it’s my dream to be able to stop my days of worryation. And I like Cadillacs. And even though I do not even give a tiny bit of a fuck that Thom Yorke sometimes shows up and spazzes out at the Low End Theory, because he is boring and because it’s not the year 1997, ’98, or ’99, I do give a big huge fuck about everything Keith still does even though it’s not ’97 or 8 or 9. The captain put spaceship pictures up on the wall and paid my student loan balance, so if he tells me to turn my pager off, I’m doing it. Being bossed around by someone with more money than you adds an interesting power dynamic to a relationship, and can manifest itself in some pretty intense ways in the bedroom. Or, um, so I am told? (Hi again, Mom!). This one also contains the best mention of “ragtop” since “Bombs Over Baghdad.”
“You made me who I am now, my mind is under all different types of enjoyin weather in the deep relation Your feelings are ready for elevation I need you now to meet me at the station I need you nowww to meet me at the station You gotta be there on time… I can’t think no more, I cry to myself by the bed I can’t sit by the sink no more Your perfume lingers in my room with the overjoy and pain I think about you even when it doesn’t rain”
People who don’t like road trips are soulless, like Republicans and Serato users. Jot that down. Remember it always.
There’s lots of “let’s run away together” in Avett Brothers songs, Band of Horses songs. Fleet Foxes. Bon Iver. Elliott Smith. My Morning Blitzen Trapper Drive-By ugghhh too tired to finish the list. I have numerous bearded boyfriends with albums full of white girl swoon-y road trip classics. And then there are songs that just make you feel like running away with someone when you hear them (Flying Burrito Brothers, The Band, Bill Callahan, Cass McCombs, side A of Anodyne). You’ll notice that there are no rap groups, or individual MCs, among the musical persons I just named. Keith steps up in this case, though, courting me by tapping into my deeply feminine need to leave it all behind. Even though this song has some horrible singing and Keith kind of phones it in lyrically – lazy cliches about riding horses, analogies about love being like a car or like the road on which you’re driving a car, and he even rhymes wife and life (a wack ’80s R&B move, a lazy cliche) – in the end he saves the day with the “let’s run away together” lazy cliche. Because it works, that’s why. Responsibility and the daily grind are not romantic (grinding daily, however: very romantic). The whole getting-the-you-know-what-outta-Dodge/Echo Park life plan is a cliche for a reason, people: the laydeez love it. I am a lady, and I’m telling you it’s a fact.
That “I can’t sit by the sink no more” line is so sad and touching too. Shit just got really real; DAMN. (All her lady-things are there, you see. Her lotions and perfumes. Brings back memories for the kid. Aw Keith.)
9.Your face appeals to me, as does your commitment to your education. Also I have a rescue fantasy. – “Fine Girls,” Black Elvis/Lost in Space (1999)
“I like your pretty eyes Tell me where you get your hair done, your face so clear With fourteen carat diamonds in your ear He beat you up, I’ll eat you up, reheat you up Come fix your life, make you my wife, improve in time No wine and dine, don’t waste my time, mature your mind… You’re that fine girl from high school, college graduate Lady always on my mind, girl can you imagine it?… Come here girl, I wanna talk to you I wanna tell you a lot of things”
“Come here girl, I wanna talk to you” is standard game kicked at the bar/club/grocery store/DMV (or so I’ve heard about and seen in movies; dudes don’t talk to me, unless they’re at Amoeba, over 55, and looking for that same Mighty Diamonds record as me and keep bumping into my ass in the aisle. Or unless they’re married. Or a cop). But when it comes to Keith and that Bronx lilt of his, such a line is extraordinary and not at all standard. I wanna tualk to you. He’s so specific about what he likes about this particular lady, too – the eyes, the nice skin, the college degree. This song is like his version of “Ice Cream” but without the part complimenting the girl’s rude, crabby demeanor. Keith likes ’em sweet. It all ventures into cliche territory, and because it’s Keith he’s still able to triumph, showing up at my door with some In-N-Out, a nice handwritten note, and something water-based in order to reduce friction between body parts. Horoscopes are a big collection of cliches too, but that doesn’t mean they don’t make me feel good (today for Aries: “The one who recognizes that there is something special in you will capture your heart.” AWW).
10.No means YES. – “Sexual Intruder,” Personal Album (2004)
I had to honorPersonal Album somewhere in this post just on the strength of its song titles (“I Do What I Want”; “A Black Kid Who Think He’s White”; “Girl Wanna Kill Herself”). I would not have been able to live with myself otherwise.
“Lead singer up front, you feel me like The Temptations The way I gave you the world Send you to learn about the (M)oments, on a thousand vacations With you sick in the hospital, I bought you the flowers They were (B)lack (I)vory, they made you cry with heavy (E)motions Your back and night was rubbed down professional with sweet cucumber lotion, with all my time and devotion You cried about the bills your ex-man had left you with Throwin rocks into the ocean I heard your (W)hispers all the way to my ear, on a foggy night You walkin with one of your Pomeranians, 3 Dog Nights With Pitts comin you was in shock I couldn’t let 3 dogs fight (I couldn’t let 3 dogs fight)… Waitin in the emergency room for your mild concussions You knew your heart always and forever Through the (H)eatwave, your body was rushin You had to get to your own apartment, you didn’t want to say with your cousin Your mom always fussin, takin a train from the Grand (Graham) Central Station When I was on stage, nothin could stop you from faintin Grabbin my hand on the spot, you was scared under the shy (Chi) lights (Lites) With apple bottoms on, jeans fittin tight Beggin me to put on your direct light, in love like a sex slave Sippin red Alize under the purple light, sexual intruder Sexual intruder, I’m your sexual intruder…”
Weird-hop! Can’t get enough! This song is a big collection of WTF, but sometimes you need that in a relationship. Boredom kills, you know; keep me guessing and I’ll be yours forever. The whole storyline Keith lays out here, for example – huh? Was she attacked by dogs? Is her medical prognosis good? Did she and Keith do it in her hospital bed? I’ll be thinking about all that later (I’ll probably call you, since a text can’t capture the raw emotion), but for now I want to swoon over the fact that KEITH MAKES CUTE PUNS OUT OF OLD R&B GROUP NAMES. It’s romantic when someone uses a song to talk to you – in this case, Heatwave’s “Always and Forever.” I can’t believe Keith really flipped it and bounced it like that; I mean, it really is just like a dream to me that somehow came true, and I know tomorrow will still be the same, because Keith and I? We’ve got a life of love that won’t ever change, and every day (I’m hoping) he’ll love me his own special way. Keith’s mention of the Temps’ lead singer speaks to me as well, for I believe my feelings about the god David Ruffin are well-documented. Cloud Nine-era Temptations were fantastic. Puzzle People, yes of course. Psychedelic Shack, great. I like it all. But c’mon – nothing beats coked-up-Ruffin-era Temptations in my book/heart/soul.
Back to the song. Keith calls himself an intruder, and there’s a clear element of Keith as the bawss here (because sweetheart that’s what you signed up for as soon as you replied to that first MySpace message from him), but this song tells the story of a relationship between two willing grown-ups. He wants to dominate but not shame you, plus you can agree on a safe word ahead of time! A fulfilling erotic life can often involve expressions of submission, consensual use of restraint, intense sensory stimulation, and fantasy role-play. Or, if you’re still just 19 or 20: it more frequently involves staring, fantasizing, daydreaming, trying to distract yourself from daydreaming, writing rap songs, and being mad at the girl while also wanting her to put on a sundress and run away with you (“Usually I just stalk you and masturbate” – Ty). The power differential between Keith and his lady is only a pretend one, and besides, he could never scare anybody – he’s got this innocence to him that’s always there, even though he says rectum a thousand times on his albums. Sometimes it seems like Keith’s talking sexy when he’s really just trying to battle (“I roll wit globs and I come real sticky”), but for the most part he keeps it pretty straightforward (“Take Off Your Clothes”; “Take Off Your Panties”; “Girl Let Me Touch You”) and a lady has to respect that. Plus that lascivious, good-natured way about him, coupled with an NY borough accent, sorta makes him the Tracy Morgan of rap-?
The Temptations, “Since I Lost My Baby.” Written by Smokey R.!
I also would’ve given Ghosty the Lightbulb-I-Wanna-Cuddle-With award on account of that suit, and asked him if even he can figure out whether this is one of his or one of Bowie’s. Could go either way, yes?:
GIBBS HAS A SAD LOOKIN FACE. – me to my brother via text (in line at Ikea today, daydreaming as usual)
HE DOES. MUST BE THAT RUSTBELT FLOW. – my brother, number 1 brother in the world. He’s just a good dude, even-tempered, Witty with the texts, obviously. Might not mean much to you but to me exchanges like this are everything.
My ears and I spend our time bouncing from rapper to rapper, breakin hearts, collecting mixtapes. I’m loyal but I also need sweet love (good songs). I’d like always to be swimming in sweet love (good songs) – witty rhymes, bouncy cadence, some kind of delivery that stays with me, thick bass that makes my brain fuzzy and happy and cloudy while I’m at work. It occurs to me that from time to time on this blog I come across as groupie-ish for MCs, I guess because people think that someone with long hair and hips and breasts that are unusually large for a skinny frame cannot appreciate the skill it takes to just tell a really good story and separate that appreciation from wanting to undress for the storyteller. A good story does make me want to undress but that doesn’t mean I’m going to offer myself to Erick Sermon. breath control, delivery,
“My relationship to groceries is directly related to how much I earn as a street musician,” says the man profiled in a Wall Street Journal piece from a couple months ago.
Well yes, sir, but
anybody’s relationship to anything purchase-able is directly related to how much that person earns as a ______ (occupation).
The article is called Ten Rules for Street Musicians, but it could just as easily be 10 Rules for Strippers, or 10 rules for anybody with any type of hustle, anybody who uses what they have to get what they need. 10 Rules for the Cardboard Sign Wearer on the Corner. 10 Rules for Those of Us who Expect Payment for Services Rendered. 10 Rules for People who Need to Eat. 10 Rules for Humans.
The street musician’s list of rules came about after he “explored the ideal circumstances for generating the funds to feed (his) food habit.” That’s a universal exploration, though. My food habit is a beast, as is my rent habit and my Amoeba habit. And goddammit if I’m about to let something prevent me from generating funds to satisfy all my habits even if it means I need to take it to the Magic City stage. The street musician’s primary means of securing ends to feed himself has been playing the cello on the streets, but for the girls in the club, just as it is for any professional, the advice on how to succeed is no different.
1. (Take Into Account) Day of Week / Time of Day.
“I make two or three times more money on Friday mornings than Monday mornings,” the street musician says. “Friday afternoons are second best. Tuesday morning is better than Wednesday morning although Wednesday afternoon is better than Tuesday afternoon. Thursday mornings aren’t so good but Thursday afternoons are.”
In a free market economy, people can choose the things on which they spend their disposable income and you better adjust accordingly, mama. The tightness and rightness of your game should be a given, but there are variables you need to consider. Stock market crashes, the latest with the Libya situation, a major sporting event on TV–try to predict the factors that will decrease or distract your audience so you don’t waste your time putting time and effort into something that won’t reach your best-paying customers. But then come extra hard when your audience returns so you can recoup your losses. They’ll return, luckily. “It’s like dope,” Frank Lucas said about money but it applies to anything pleasurable, “they always want more.”
I could never get hired as a stripper due to my innocent face and sassy mouth but I think Tuesdays and Wednesdays in the club would be deadsville. Thursday nights would be pretty lucrative, though–everybody psyched because the week’s practically over. Fridays and Saturdays would be good too, but it seems like the club might be full of too many dudes being rowdy for the sake of rowdy (i.e., weekend warrior types coming to gawk with their crew rather that to tip the performers). No day shift, ever. The day shift is for the ugly girls, we know this.
2. How to Prepare for the Job.
“I get up about 6:00 a.m., eat a solid breakfast and listen to the Market Place Morning Report on National Public Radio while I drink a cup of coffee,” says the street musician.
Other than a Teflon psychological shield and vanilla cherry perfume oil, it’s autopilot time for me at the club. There’s nothing to prepare for or think about. The shield one is exhausting, though. And dude we all listen to NPR, so stop.
3. What to Wear.
“I dress respectably but not too nice – somewhere between grungy and preppy. I wear brown leather suede shoes and dark pants. If it’s cold, I wear a sweater but t-shirts are fine. People don’t need to see a collar.”
I could never be a stripper because I am terribly shy; however, I’m not an idiot so I know that if I were a fantasy fulfillment professional I would dress accordingly. I’d dress respectably but not too nice – somewhere between librarian and hooker. And no, people really don’t need to see a collar.
4. Eye Contact.
“Eye contact is essential. I don’t wear sunglasses or a large brimmed hat.”
YEP. This one definitely applies to the seduction-arts specialist. People never talk about the importance of eye contact (music and outfits get more discussion time) but it’s of the utmost. I could never be a stripper because I’d get tired of people asking me Ha, yeah, so what’s your real name? when I tell them my name’s Logan, but if I were, I would master the “I enjoy pleasing you” direct gaze. At first I thought it would feel gross to fake such a thing–the “I’m thrilled to be here” thing that a girl at the club has to put on, like a jacket or a hat, except worse even than a heavy, hot and itchy jacket or a hat because it fucks with you psychologically. Then I remembered everybody at work is doing this constantly no matter what the job is, including me at my government job, except at my job I don’t get to hear any new Brick Squad or Grand Hustle stuff. Really, I’m thrilled to be here. Honest.
“The Charles/MGH Station is best for me as a solo cellist. It’s big, open and glassy, kind of like a greenhouse. I feel happy there so my music is probably better.”
Other than east of the LA River, south of the 10, or anywhere in the valley, I think I’d be fine with any club location. Obviously the ideal place would be next to the Starbucks at 2nd and Central downtown, so all my LAPD admirers could finally have their dreams come true. GROSS. Now I’m thinking about them! Moving on –
“Once I showed up at the Harvard Square stop before 7:00 a.m. and wasn’t able to get a spot because other musicians were already set up. I came back another day and found an empty spot. I start to play and another street musician with a guitar comes up and said, ‘Did you guys do the lottery this morning?” I said, “There was space. I started playing.’ He said, ‘Usually we show up before 7 and flip a coin to see who goes first.’ I don’t know what’s true. Street musicians talk a lot of shit. I don’t go Harvard Square anymore because people who play there are so territorial. And the money isn’t as good for me.”
The original meaning of hustle was “to shake, to toss.” And if it’s stripping we’re referring to here as the hustle of note, there is no competition for me if I do say so. Have we just met? Shaking it and nerding it up are the 2 things at which I am most skilled. I get my fondness for logic from Dad; hips from Mom. I have excellent balance and I did ballet for 8 years. Combine these qualities and you get pure practicality – I heard that people will pay me if I do this thing and that thing with my body, so I’ll go get a job at a place that will hire me to do this thing/that thing. Makes sense. I’d probably hold back a tiny bit on stage, though, so that my coworker with the young child would still be able to make a decent amount. We all need to get ours and the nature of the free market means that the girl with the most hips will get the most cash, but that doesn’t make it right. Women get stereotyped as being competitive and catty, the whole crabs-in-a-bucket thing, but that’s just a by-product of our culture’s fear of female sexuality. What can you do.
7. Selection of music / Weather.
N/A regarding that second thing, but oh yes, the first one is definitely important – Toomp, Nitti, Mannie, Lex, Collipark, Shawty Redd, Neptunes ’98-02, Rick Rock, DJ Paul who never gets any accolades but whose compositions are just amazing, 80% of David Banner’s catalog, 100% of Nickatina’s, that Minaj instro, the “Ha” instro, oh fuck it, really any rap instro from the states of Georgia, Florida, or Louisiana between ’96 and ’03, and in a surprising twist, some Jake One instros. The DJ might try to drive the particularly nerdy musicdork bassline-loving ladies who were raised on the Stax catalog out of their minds by playing something from Black Caesar or maybe some Cymande or something. Please, no. It reminds such ladies of their parents’ record collection, and therefore it reminds them of being a kid. Kid stuff doesn’t belong in the club.
Mr. DJ might also try to play “The Next Episode,” since it’s burned into our collective psyche as that song with that stripper video and it’s the perfect BPM, plus it has provided the image to open this post. That one blonde girl at the club with the hips who you came specifically to see and who you’re pretty sure would go on a date with you would not enjoy this coming out of the speakers, however. She would be thinking about David McCallum and it would distract her too much. She’s also thinking about the unadulterated epicness of the name “Kurt Vile” for a musical human, the catchy/sad accuracy of the words You only want me when I’m gone/You only want me when I’m fever dreaming, and how she just figured out that the “All of the Lights” drums sound like Hanna Barbera characters when they’re running in place. “Xxplosive” is perfect, though, a slow swangin one to balance out all the frenetic Waka stuff. Anything by him or Weezy I would refuse to dance to, just based on the triteness of such a scene; girls getting money to the sweet sounds of “Bingo,” ooh. Groundbreaking. I refuse to take part. (If “No Hands” is played, though, all bets are off.)
8. Bad situations.
“One day, two guys come up,” the street musician says. “They keep giving me a hard time. I say to them, ‘Can you please just leave me alone? This is my workplace. Don’t bother me. I’m just trying to do my job.’”
I wouldn’t get hired as a stripper unless I gained 7-10 lbs, but if I ever did, I bet I’d think about the possibility of bad situations pretty frequently. Getting followed after my shift is the scariest thing that could happen, I suppose. Bad tippers, although not scary, are a bad situation too. Dudes being visibly uncomfortable, resulting in me feeling sorry for them. Dudes bringing their girlfriends in to get cool points. (No cool points awarded, dumb dumb; you’re a cliche). I could never be a stripper and sometimes I feel inadequate because of that, but then I remind myself about the pitfalls of such a job and I’m fine.
9. Customer / audience demographics.
“Race and gender make no difference if someone is going to stop, listen and/or give me money,” the street musician says.
WORDEMUP, buddy. We speak the same language. Stripper Logan fully concurs with street musician’s assessment, as does Nerd Logan, Lazy Saturday Afternoon Logan, Bookstore Logan, Bikini Logan, Record Hoarder Logan and Grocery Shopping Logan.
10. How to measure success.
“One day was a bad day,” says the street musician. “Everybody was unhappy. I didn’t get much money. But when I got home, there was an email from a woman. She wrote, ‘Every time I see you, it brightens my day.’”
Is this one a trick? The answer to this is “REVENUE RETRIEVIN–money, in rolls or stacks, even though that’s impractical and we only store it that way because that’s how Gs and Henry Hill do it and it looks dope.”
There’s a reason an E-40 synonym for “hustling” is “grittin & grindin.” If I’m a stripper, I don’t make an hourly wage. I don’t get medical or dental. I have to pay the house at the end of every shift. My legs hurt. I felt on your private parts with my soft ladyparts but neither of us got any intimacy or connection to each other as humans. And nobody ever emails me afterward to tell me I brightened his day : (
“What did we see today?” went the Robert Bly poem in an email from my uncle this afternoon. This seemed like a sign, the universe telling me to do some more bloggy preachin. The single greatest thing seen today was a LOS ANGELES RAIDERS license plate frame on the DeVille I was driving behind (Temple St., 4:43 pm PST). I love, love team loyalty. Plus people think Raider fans don’t like nice cars or use turn signals, and the dude today left both of those terrible stereotypes in the dust.
The most hiphop thing seen today was a girl and a gator in a fashion editorial (the lovely 5’7″ Camille in Jalouse mag, looking foxy in this spread despite its ridiculous swampy theme). I let my mind get free and loose with the associating and here we go: mentions of gators in rap songs!
Grizzly Bear has a nice song about alligators, which is the only animal that hasn’t been used yet for talking about heterosexual love in music. It bares teeth, extra sharp, that’ll cut you in the heart/It attacks really quick, try and fight it with a stick/There’s no use, give it up, this is life and this is love/You are my alligator. Beautiful. Bonnie Prince B also has that “Gator” song. But gators in my world means gator shoes, which are not beautiful at all. They are hideous and garish. They’re creepy and I hate them. But rappers make them pretty appealing. Just like how everybody in rap regardless of age or geographic region or crew affiliation talks about pretty ladies, ugly ladies, international diplomacy, cars and the details of their interiors and exteriors, family members fucking up, sunny days, eating, and memories of being a kid, everybody in rap talks about gators!
Gators are ugly as sin but if you’re from the south I think you kind of grow up loving them.
It’s called betrayal He on a mission to become a ball player Flip big Benzes, flossin all gators Had it all mapped out, 6’8″ 12th grader Fresh outta school, he fin’ to go make paper He had a brother who was hustlin, collectin his change Never let his baby brother stick his neck in the game Told him all he had to do is just enjoy the ride And he ain’t have to worry about money cause that’s in time
“Betrayal” is about 12 BPM which isn’t usually my taste, but I guess they can’t all be “Know the Ledge” when it comes to hiphop warnings about the dangers of being a little too committed to trife life, hm? The first part of this verse is the plot of ATL (big brother unsuccessfully trying to save baby brother from getting caught up). Then it gets into “Just to Get a Rep” territory. I told you: family members fucking up (all MCs have a story about ’em. And gators.) Because Face is made of blood, guts, and good stories, and has been able to successfully rise above that whole Office Space thing with his integrity intact (your cousins, my cousins, all rappin “No Tears” while driving. Don’t act like you don’t remember. Sigh.), he makes the tale of a high schooler dreaming of wearing gators believable and sad. I’m just like, Ohh, Scarface said it? Well then it must be true. His DMV name is Brad, which he has also overcome, thanks to his baritone and his Army sergeant way of carrying himself. Brad tells you a story to music and if you have it in your head when you’re shopping at Vons, it feels like everything’s in slow motion–eerie, like you’re about to run up on some dude from behind and stab him, and then sneak out the back to go to church and cry about it. You’re a murderer, but you’re still human, you know? You still have that human-guilt thing.
Got me some bread, made some paper Costly fabrics, minks and gators, bitch I’m ballin’ Diamonds on my chest, keep me looking good Got diamonds on my chest, keep me looking good
I said, I got me some bread, made some paper Costly fabrics, minks and gators, bitch I’m ballin’ Diamonds on my chest, keep me looking good Got diamonds on my chest, keep me looking good.
This Week in Annoying featured LAPD officers, LA County Sheriff’s Department officers, Dipset operatives rhyming a word with that same word in verse (also part of This Decade in Annoying), that fucking blond patch in Khalifa’s hair, John Legend’s level of success being inversely proportional to the degree of soul in his voice (I FUCKING HATE HIS VOICE AND WHOLE MANUFACTURED STYLE, I do; where is Anthony Hamilton?), 50’s cover-of-LowRider glamour shots (WTF), and people not from Texas trying to get away with using “trill” in music conversations (you see this a lot in the 2DopeBoyz comments sections).
It’s not Bun on the hook quoted here, but still: it’s a Bun song! It counts as one of his! He can rhyme good with good, and it ends up sounding pretty good! Plus he says the words “David Banner” in this song, which is just heaven–2 of my 3 Texas boyfriends in such close proximity (Scarface is the third; Devin is sometimes my fourth one too, when I can make time in my schedule to see him).
I also really really enjoy the use of “I said,” an old-timey bluesy thing you hear in songs to introduce the next verse (AAB rhyme pattern). Jazzy Pha’s doing his impression of Blind Willie McTell here. AH SAY-YID. See also: that Mike Jones one (you know exactly what I’m talking about!; nice try playing dumb, music snob). Anyway, Bun’s calm, fatherly delivery, established history of dustin these gators off ,and proven affection for footwear (he’s a shoe whore) is enough to get me to consider that gators might not be hideous–even though he did a song with noted awful monotoned Canadian rap carpetbagger Drake, who always sounds like he’s yelling at me on the radio.
Gorilla goons with the tool down to act a fool Birds in the living room, like Atlanta zoo Lions, tigers, minks, crocs, and gators for my shoes Monkey n—s in my hood, I’m living in the zoo Birds in the living room, and the kitchen too I’m a tiger in the bedroom–ask your baby boo I got lions, tigers, bears in my hood and closet too But my gun can stop an elephant just like Atlanta zoo.
I’m a rap apologist and I know it. I know it. No need to email me a description of how your opinion of Gucci is much lower than my opinion of him is, although it’s sweet of you to want to connect with me on that level. Gucci’s got that Dr. Seuss flow but at least he’s in on the joke, which is more than I can say for everybody’s darling K. West. I have to be honest and own up to the fact that I already had a particular bias toward this song even before I thought about songs with gator mentions–because later in it Gucci calls somebody else’s jewelry a fugazi, which I love due to its Brasco connotations (swoon/sigh/YES/oooooh).
This verse took on an unexpected somber tone when I did some research: in 2008, an elephant died at the Atlanta Zoo. She was 26 years old and pregnant. (She did not die from a gunshot, luckily–it was natural causes. I mean, as natural as can be when you’re a huge, gentle creature that’s been forced to live in jail your whole life)
Man a ni—a don’t want no trouble a playa just want to kick back with my gators off and watch my lil girl blow bubbles But still ready to rhyme standin’ my ground never back down Willin’ to rob steal & kill anything that threatens mine But good luck couldn’t be bought see many a fights had to be fought G for a n—a to ride these Vogues oh so close to the sidewalk to be gawked at watch your side my n—a ’cause we got gats the first n—a to buck is gon’ be the first n—a we attack
“Gator” rhymes with “Decatur.” I would appreciate an explanation as to why this fact has never been taken advantage of by OutKast. Thank you.
I also love that gators have this strong association with men who excel at selling the bodies of women, but Big Boi’s kicking his gators off in order to spend time with his daughter in a defiant display of helping to ensure her self-esteem stays high. Ooh, subversive!
You got a alligator mouth and a hummingbird ass Your mouth writing checks that your ass can’t cash 145 and I’m out of your weight class Want to survive, you better scramble like eggs and break fast
There are groupies in the world. I’m not one of them. But, BUT: T.I. is so physically stunning that, you know what?, maybe this dress would look better on the floor than on my body. Thank you for T.I., universe. Thank you for him. (He’s little, though, which is the universe’s way of reminding him to stay humble. He carries those 145 lbs well because he’s only like 5’5″. I’m quite sure that small stature of his is part of the reason he is so fond of firearms–they are a classic virility substitute.)
T.I.’s mention of his actual number of pounds reminds me of how few MCs reference their weight in lyrics. I guess every one of us is sensitive about that stuff. We all think we’re either too big or too skinny, but the difference is most of us have the sense not to talk about it into a microphone. Like, you know, if I were Rawss I don’t think I’d say something like “Pull up in a sleigh/Hop out like I’m Santa Claus” if I had his thyroid issues.
You know I’m not playin, man You want a concert, well you gotta pay the man Look at the shirts and socks, call him the gator man My crossover good, that’s how I shake them haters, man.
A few things I’ve realized thus far: Nothing fazes Curren$y; the dude is made of blood, guts, THC and klonnies (Young boy never been attracted to madness/I’m inside watchin re-runs of “What’s Happenin”). Nobody ever notices when I get a haircut because I always look exactly the same. The best R.E.M. song is “Nightswimming,” I don’t care what anybody says. I always like 50 best on other people’s songs (love how he gets more sing-songy and playful with his delivery). And whether they’re gators or Crocs, any kind of footwear named after a reptile is ugly. Coming from Curren$y’s mouth, though, you realize that gators are tiiiiiight. Or, in Louisiana-ese mixed with his mouth being a little dry, taaaht.
Lil Wayne Repping: New Orleans, LA; America; Mars; the soft ladyparts of your girlfriend; iTunes; Clear Channel; MTV; Gatorade (ha, how appropriate in this particular post); Hanes, Geico, Pizza Hut? (probably just a matter of time); your psyche
Hollygrove gator, ain’t nobody greater Leave you with some bullet holes the size of craters.
Gator boots with the pimped-out Gucci suits/Ain’t got no job, but I stay sharp, said Wayne’s friends some time ago. Wayne is small but vicious, has sleepy eyes, and comes from a swamp, just like an alligator. While not about ugly shoes, this little couplet still makes me love gators because it makes me love everything, because it’s Wheezy and he’s got that power. I am bearing a ton like Leee-vy, he also says in this song, which is a great line–even better than I pay these n—s with a reality check, a line I heard this week that is so simple and terrific. Bad yellow bitch keep my passenger seat warm, he also says. Pretty ladies are just like expensive things in that they are accessories used to display one’s wealth. And just like the quest of getting a pretty lady, making a reptile into a pair of shoes is hard and dirty, and requires focus:
“After the gators are killed with a stab to the brain, they are skinned and sorted: heads and claws for the French Quarter souvenir shops, meat for the Cajun restaurants, guts for turtles, dogs or anything else whose tastes run that way.” I cannot condone wearing animal skin in the name of fashion; however, I also cannot condone the posting of underclothed ladies on the Internet and yet I’m complicit in that as well.
8Ball & MJG repping: Memphis, TN (I can’t get away with saying “Ten-a-Key,” all casual like nobody would notice)
Don’t try to ever take my cash from me You might as well jump off a cliff, you fucking crash dummy Like that’s my last money This for my n—s who be bussin back to perpetrators We don’t discriminate, we’ll hurt you now, hurt you later But I ain’t worried, I smoke one on you fucking haters And I’m hiding gators under refrigerators
YOU FUCKING CRASH DUMMY, he said! Jump off a cliff, you dumb fuck! (sorry, Mom. sorrysorry) MJG turns into Don Rickles here–he insults you but it’s so strong in flair it just makes you want him to come at you more and more. Making Easy Money, Pimping Hoes In Style; that’s the mantra, and that’s what Memphis means to me (along with Stax, Derrick Rose, and this fucking white girl side hustle opportunity I missed and it kills me still even though it’s been a few years and I should be over it by now).
There’s hoes in the parking lot But I still got my glock cocked New money motherfucker don’t you see the big knot Don’t you see the big chain Don’t you see the big rims Wonder who they hatin on lately Baby it’s him, candy paint, Gator skin seats, call me Dundee pope in your hood I’m the one that you wanna be Haters wish they could feel the wood in my ’83 Ridin’ with no tint so the motherfuckers know it’s me
(2 verses later)
Hit the block on some new 10 thousand dollar wheels Can’t explain how I feel Touch the gator on the wheel Got peanut butter ice cream Peter pan seats Just gotta fresh cut Now we looking for them freaks Take a bad yellow bitch Make her drop them draws I’ma show you how to ball middle finger to the law
You do a post about gators, of course there’s going to be some heavy Southeastern Conference MC representation. You call yourself Rich Boy, of course there’s going to be some talk of expensive things in your songs. This one provides the only gator-on-the-wheel moment in this post, which is a little more attractive than gator-on-your-feet, but not by much. There is something charming and innocent about the desire to impress your neighbors, really such a silly way to behave when you think about it (“HEY I KNOW!, let’s put chopped-off, dried-out, tanned reptile skin on the steering wheel. I’M RICH.”). We’ve also learned how to make ketchup packets into shivs and convinced our females that putting plastic sacs under their skin makes them more attractive. Humans are incredible. Anyway, this song is one of the greatest rappin + drivin songs my Civic has ever had the pleasure of pouring from its speakers, and between Rich Boy’s stated fondness for yellow-bone girls and Polow’s documented fondness for, um, ladies with a skin tone similar to mine, this song is of course a tribute to ME, stunting in LA traffic with the radio on. Oh and the Alabama lean he gives to the word “baby” (01:24) is basically what a real man should sound like.
Yeah, you know how Slum do, when we come through Gumshoe, Air Force is a pair of Air Jordans Pelle Pelle, or old school with gangsta white walls Tailored suits, coordinatin’ with the gator boots Before you hate on what we do, it’s a D thing You flamin’ at a cabaret offa Alize Where the ladies at, pushin’ back your Baby Phat Make it clap like 80 gats
The only way out of class shame is conspicuous consumption (see: me and my Alexander Wang bag, winter 2010; can’t pay my rent cuz all my money’s spent, but that’s OK, cuz I’m still fly!). As evidenced here by El, when you’ve made it as a member of the Leisure Class, little matters other than holding onto your money, producing an heir, and looking really fresh–even though bragging about labels as proof that you’re a member of the Leisure Class is prissy and unmanly. It makes you seem like that Billy Zane character from Titanic. And Jesus, the only thing uglier than gator shoes are gator boots. But you know what makes me love gator skin, gator shoes, gator boots? DILLA. The song was produced by Black Milk before he was Black Milk, doing his best Dilla impression back before everybody else was doing their Dilla impression. Therefore, gators are attractive footwear, as long as they’re talked about in a nice rhyme pattern over some warm Dillaesque drums.
*A Detroit MC on this list covers the entire Great Lakes region (I didn’t want to have to try to think of any boring ass Rhymesayers lyrics).
Kool Keith From: The Bronx, but c’mon– Repping: Los Angeles, CA since forever
“Girl You Know”
I sport the real gators, Lucchese and Tony Lama Y’all act like divas with a flat ass like Madonna.
Keith is the only dude I know* who can brag about labels without sounding prissy and unmanly. There’s really nothing more to say here; Keith is one of the greats, just an all-around super guy–funny, bossy, smart but still unpretentious, a generous and innovative lover, appreciative of a girly shape and girly dresses, tweakin bass like he’s Jimmy Castor, and that’s everything I need in a sex/life partner. When I did an image search for him in my computer to accompany this section, an oldie that I had saved came up:
I had forgotten about it and its various comical aspects (I added the chubby pink hearts, a symbol of love, for emphasis. ‘Cause I love the entry so much):
1. a) Someone calling sex positions “sex styles.” b) Someone typing “sex styles” into the Google blank box, you know, just doin some research. Some sex research. People say “handstyles,” and people say “hairstyles,” because those are actual things. “Sex styles,” though!; nobody talks like that;
2. Someone turning to Wikipedia as part of research on sex positions (this makes me sad because it belies a whole lot of social awkwardness on the part of the searcher, and because Wikipedia is wrong so often that I don’t think I’d trust it as a source for learning new sex acrobatics);
3. Wikipedia kindly redirecting searchers to the “sex positions” entry without judging them or giggling, although I would argue that this redirection isn’t particularly helpful since listening to Sex Style will give you all the lessons you need, pumpkin.
Two cases on Stoli’s, eight thousand for this, man you owe me I left the V.I.P. section lonely Me, white folks, Don Juan played the back The women chose me over guess who? Pretty Toney Kid I got your lady signed to Sony Girls tell Bobby I’m the real tenderoni New York’s best verse carrier You better scoop her, before I marry her Award winner without rims Tap your dimepiece without spinners JVC, LL soapbox with the antennas I get hard on aspirin cups full with Guinness The Ernie Onassis, with masters, with Marc and Jack Jasper Sunday clean gators on the pastor Go ‘head player, you’s a wallflower Scared to talk to her, I’ma ask her Rep it at the casino, walk in your presence Miami’s biggest problem Wack rappers want me out the game like Al Pacino
1.One time Kutmasta Kurt emailed me and asked me to be in a Keith video—shockingly, they needed blondies willing to be dress-up dollies and, hey, what’s that, they thought I might be a good fit. How odd; who could have predicted.
“Would you be interested to dress up 70’s and be in the dr dooom video?” he asked. I declined, because I’m an idiot, and thereby missed out on one of the great white girl side hustle opportunities of the last 10 years. Sorry, Kurt. My poor decision-making means I will probably die without Kool Keith ever touching my bottom with affection and then taking me to the arcade, but a girl can dream.
2. I like beautiful large-bodied displays of American muscle in vehicle form (’74-’82) but the hustle of a dude trying to get a girl out of her dress by bragging about his car is a hustle that cannot be respected. Award winner without rims/Tap your dimepiece without spinners, says Keith, with much more dress-removing success than you can imagine. “I’m broke” raps are the best.
I’m out to conquer the globe Might start off in Vegas, hookers bringin’ more of those papers Boss mackin’ got me scuffin’ my gators Call me Luke Skywalker, the alien stalker Cuddie, fuck your friends, your folks, even your potna Lil’ soldier got a chopper plus he gone off one And OG’s think the penitentiary is fun So he’s ready to kill, and ain’t scared to die Nuclear age titan up out the Crest side
Annnnnd finally, northern Cali in this. There’s a line from Ghetto Stardom in which Mac alludes to reality-based paranoia–“Uncle Sam finding ways to fit computer chips in my dome.” This is a concept only slightly more frightening/psychologically violent than Uncle Sam successfully convincing us that buying stuff and displaying it on our bodies/cars/women is the way to freedom. The whole blue-collar tone of his stuff is what makes his mention of gators (ugly ugly footwear) acceptable. Boss mackin got me scuffin my gators. I come from proletariat stock, as most of us do–union members, people who didn’t hate their jobs but hated jobs in general, so signs of wear and tear on a dude’s shoes is a positive thing. Mac’s a man of the people. Some soldiers ain’t never gonna see the streets/That’s why I keep servin’ game over my beats.
In terms of gator-rap representation by the Bay Area, I thought for certain I’d be posting something by E-40. Cuddie, I’m telling you, I could come up with a verse for him–gator rhymes with hater, sooner or later, and of course Bay Areyerrrr. E-40’s Fatburger has been closed for a while, but I recently thought of it when
a) I sent the following text to my little brother: JAMAL MASHBURN IS ONE OF THE GREAT SPORTS NAMES (just out of nowhere, as is my habit. Probably influenced by all the Fab Five talk everywhere, though)
b) He wrote back IT REALLY IS. HE OWNS A BUNCH OF OUTBACK STEAKHOUSES (FUN FACT)
and c) I responded with IF IT WERE JERRY, THEY’D BE STACKHOUSES.
d) He texted back HEY-O, having grown up with me and knowing that my ego craves this kind of cheerleading, but that’s beside the point. The point is that E-40 would appreciate my pun, and his decades-long commitment to his various hustles (records, dope, women, restaurants, guest appearances on other people’s records) means he gets a place on this list, gators or no gators. But if I stick with the rules of the post, he does get a gator association in that he’s friends/songmates with Gator Mane (I’m still listening to “Since the ’90s”).
Revvin’ like a Cutty that bangs on the block Baby can I have your keys, I hate to pick your lock (I just love this) Snappin’ like a gator, never waitin’ like a waiter Cherry is my flavor when it comes to Now & Laters When it comes to gettin’ greedy, man I get green eyes And I gotta get it like Muslims slang pies.
“In all the 5 boroughs, I’m known,” this song Yet another Brasco connection! Twice in one post! (my next post will be Random Tribute: Lefty Ruggiero raps) Like the Wicked Witch, I gotta jump the broom/Screamin fuck you by the light of the moon. Screamin FUCK YOU by the light of the moon
OK, this one’s about actual gators, as in the animals, but Nickatina runs 12-Step groups called Ballers Anonymous in his spare time, and he no doubt has said something at some time about gators, as in the footwear (I didn’t have time to try to think of another gator lyric from among his 18,000 songs). Rich in pimping history, the Bay Area is replete with men who love a fine-looking kit–a nice suit, expensive footwear, baubles. And so, like MCs from the states of Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama, anyone who can successfully throw around the term “playboy” in verse can also convince me that gators are all right. This means you, Bay Area rappers. Oh, Gibbs too. Gibbs could definitely get away with saying “playboy.”
I wear my Air Jordans with my Anchor Blue jeans I like to spread my wings when I’m out on the scene You can break me down on a triple scale beam The color of the Benz same color whip cream
You want that, man do you like how I flaunt that Because I know I’d go to jail or hell if I bought that Man like a court case caught that and like a boxer in Vegas to box, yo I fought that I like steak and potatoes, ice cream gators I never say nothin yo to none of my neighbors I do it like Parliament, don’t get wet I do it like a gambler, make that bet
Like water off a duck’s back, Cuddie. Every verse of Nickatina’s makes me feel relaxed and confident, like I can handle anything, the highest compliment one can give an MC. This one’s from A Tale of Two Andres which forces me to ask: Have two more lovable rappers ever existed than Dre and King Nicky? NOPE. I’d shove you out of the way in the club or at the grocery store to get to either one of these gentlemen. Nothing personal. Nickatina’s like 8 feet tall and he’s toothpick-shaped and I hear he’s a basehead/ex-basehead from my ex-SF cab driver friend, so he is just clownish and odd enough to pull off wearing gators. It would be more weird if he didn’t wear gators, you know?
Cam’Ron (I cannot bring myself to use the apostrophe. It makes me mad) repping Harlem “Cookin Up”
You the soda bottle huh, i’m twisting ya’ cap and i’m luxury girl, come sit on my lap her friends like “dont go that s**t is a trap he’ll have you traficking, swallowing, s**ttin’ smack” they pigeons in fact, how you gon’ listen to that you the flyest one in ya’ crew them bitches is wack start at the smile, I knew that the shit was a wrap her friends were right though, she gon’ be pitching some crack i’m a true champ, you glance, four door, two tramps fuck my money, honey, bring ya’ foodstamps go ‘head you dance, an elephant to you ants chain – Alaska, bracelet – nebraska crib – well disaster, forty two plasmas royal blue Maury’s, shortie you bastard only thing I dont know, what resort we in I tell a bitch “get over here” like Scorpion cars, order in flavors, you order from Avis? come around me, why, they know my aura contagious and i’m sorta courages, plus the kids smart forget Biz Mark, he gon’ catch more than the vapors next door at ya’ neighbors, they said all of you haters set ya’ up the very moment I offered them paper and the law from the mayor, and my kicks? the University Of Florida, of course that they gator
UGH. God. Cam showed up in the post. I broke one of my cardinal blogging rules when I started HFS several years ago. Sometime y’all get crimey crimey, grimy grimy. Lately Tim Tebow is the Gator that’s been in the news (he is a Jesus freak who is afraid of female sexuality, as is typical of Jesus freaks). eBay $1,250.00 Nike AIR FORCE 1 LUX ’07 REAL GATOR SKIN 24K GOLD SZ 12, says the eBay posting I saw yesterday. Crocodile Birkin bag, $65,000
Few contract and inkpens later Turn into boss respect, mob ties and kingpin paper Mountin the D, Cardi frames and pink gators Gotta learn how to deal with the weak link haters Don’t even think about the top 10, just think Jada Never eat no less, then I think greater
Chin down, mouth open is something that photographers say to girls to get sexface out of them (please see above; also ask me because I could tell you some stories), but, in keeping with this post, it also happens to be something that paying customers probably say to girls to get sexface and sexotherthings out of them. It’s probably more often Chin UP, but still. There’s still that whole “bossing a lady around” theme, the gators-are-for-pimps theme. If you’re convicted of pandering in New York state, it carries a fine of $10,000. I’m just saying. You wear pink gators and you’re just begging to be stopped and questioned by vice. Pink gators are for Detroit players, Jada! You dummy! Others have forgotten about you rapping on Mariah Carey songs, but not me.
* YOU SIMPLY MUST PICTURE ME WALKING DOWN THE STREET TO THIS, because goddammit I’m picturing myself walking down the street to this. (I have a sundress on). The “Get to Poppin” instrumental, too–but that one’s not made for a sundress. It’ll always be a Logan-walking-down-the-street-in-jeans-that-may-or-may-not-be-a-little-too-tight-don’t-judge-me theme song.
Rae! repping: Brooklyn, NY
“My Favorite Dred”
On graduation day he threw me a towel He came through, heavy like fuck, suit flammable Ill pair of gators he copped in Beirut Had his man wit him, just stare, don’t stand with him If assassination strike, he gotta make plans with him
This Week in Wonderful included USDA prime rap beef, all 3 plays of “Ignition” (the remix, duh, hot n fresh out the kitchen) on LA radio while I was out driving (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday), single-word album titles, single-word song titles, my precious Sennheisers, and my precious precious Lakers who, what’s the phrase?, go hard in the mother fucking paint. Switzerland, beige Timbs, heavy like fuck. I’m outta here/showin love like Zorro.
Gang Starr (Guru and Premier, respectively) From: Boston and Houston, respectively, but c’mon– Repping: BROOKLYN (respectively) since forever
Now I’ma start collectin props, connectin plots Networkin like a conference, cause the nonsense is yet to stop Jakes shake me down, haters wanna take me down Break me down, clap–all they heard was the sound I scoped it out, I took your weak dream and choked it out Your bitch don’t really got no ass, she just poked it out on the d low, I’m sayin, you versus me though? We can do this shit right here, in front of your people See time is money kid, and BS walks And to me, it’s funny kid when you meatheads talk
Bangin your thoughts with the hot onslaught A kid got shot on the spot for goin where he should not Viciously, I make history, instantly Those other lame ass loser ass n—s, they can’t fuck with me I’m doin my thing now, to lamp later on Paid in the shade, with some fly gators on But now I’m grimy as they get, mud on my pants and shirt I bet you n—s out here know, I be puttin in work.
FIRST of all, there’s nothing wrong with a girl poking out her bottom. Let me make that clear. All the other real-world ladies and I have to find a way to compete with fantasy-ladies’ benefits of airbrushing (magazines), and perfect lighting, slow-motion jiggly shots, and professional makeup artists (videos)–unless you’re Syd, who gets along fine in her trusty red hoodie and looks stunning all the while. I forgot what else I was gonna say. Dude it’s Guru. Gators are anecdotal more than anything–a symbol of wealth. Guru never wore them. But that’s OK, kid.
Here’s another smooth song, so get your groove on Violate or try to fake, jacks or you’ll get moved on Peace to all my n—s with the thousand dollar shoes on Pushing rides with full-length minks with gator shoes on I’m known for rockin tours, picture me moppin floors Only fuck with ki’s and not the kind that be locking doors The type of nigga that be gaming your freaks While you out working hard I’m putting stains in your sheets
If you bite then tell your man what type of flowers you like! I’m chillin makin sure this money is right/Sippin Sunny Delite and hittin every honey in site! This post has gotten out of control, having turned into less of a Random Tribute Gator Raps post and more of a Random Tribute to Big L’s Wordplay post.
“Halfsharkalligatorhalfman.” Three alligators behind me, feel my skin is hard/Transvestites and people watch space parasites/I left his head in the store, legs in the street/Body in Wilcox, with blood dripping off my feet/LAPD through gray clouds couldn’t see me/I first turned rainbow, closed my eyes, watch my brain glow/People got scared and ran away, they think I’m weird/I was born this way. Mosley, Fante, Joni Mitchell, Axl, Eric Wright, Warren Zevon and Keith are tops when it comes to describing the Los Angeles landscape.