Category Archives: Music nerdery will lead to my demise

Put some clothes on that ass Go to the Beat Swap Meet if you respect yourself.


I am more comfortable around music people. THERE, I SAID IT. Understand me.

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.


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 break and 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 Cat for 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.

8. Cold Blood, Thriller! (Reprise, 1973). $5.

I clearly got a bad copy of this, because I see ZERO songs produced by Quincy Jones, hey-oooo. You’ve been a great audience! GOODNIGHT.

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.)

I’d also like to thank Berry for my girls The Honey Cone and Parliament’s Osmium – two things that directly resulted from the Great Holland-Dozier-Holland Middle-Finger-to-Hitsville Peace-Out of 1968. You have to assume that some of the Chairmen’s songs, exceedingly Motown-ish in melodic structure, sprang from the house of Gordy, though. “Men Are Getting Scarce” has one of those tense, panicky openings at which H-D-H-at-Motown excelled (“Bernadette,” “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” “Standing in the Shadows of Love”).

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 got evil cachet but it’s that crazy-old-person concept of evil (Satanic backmasking). It’s a clownish, silly kind of evil. So it makes total sense that El-P, supergrouch and master deconstructor of concepts, uses “Fire on High” for a break in a song about the way life wears a man down to the point that he keeps razors and angel dust on his person, I mean the whole song’s so serious that it does a loop-back and somehow becomes clownish and surreal, two of El-P’s fave things, next to cigarettes, the word fuck, his cat, and Cipro.

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!

“They’re never gonna know that I move like hell” (why D’Angelo covering that Zeppelin song makes ridiculously perfect sense)

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.


There he she go.

SPARKLING JEWELS! In effect like alternate side of the street parking rules!

STILL BEEFING WITH: Kev Durant’s shooting accuracy and Westbrook’s incredible clutchness, people who don’t use turn signals, the state of Florida, the radio station at the laundromat that plays the Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams” every goddamn time I’m there, MMG now and forever, and Daniel Dumile for keeping his tour in foreign places, far away from my home. NEW BEEF: the state of Arizona, that awful new Animal Collective song (honestly, WTF), people who clicked “dislike” under the Danny Brown doc (HONESTLY. what in the fuck), and Nelly for not following Pharrell’s lead in making a respectful mention of the death of Chuck Brown, even though this anger is of my own making. (My expectations are probably too high of someone who puts “CEO of Nelly, Inc” as his first bio credit on Twitter.) 

BRAND-NEW BEEF!: my recent lack of self-control at the record store. I am about my paper, obviously, and I like to shout about it; “Look at me, just look how I’m always adding to my collection while still being able to eat and pay rent.” (This is my version of Got a condo on my wrist.) Last week in Pasadena, however, this system took a hit. I overspent, boss. I’m terrible. You say you need a hundred bucks? I’d spot you, but man I’m fresh OUT, or as my man E-40 said during the old school lunch hour on the radio today when I was driving, “perhaps today my scrilla ain’t feeling me.” Being CEO of Logan, Inc. doesn’t pay as well as you’d think.

Big big shout and hello, before we begin, to whoever tagged this blog NSFW on Reddit. Anonymous Internet soldier, you got me about a hundred thousand hits, but my mother would like to have a word with you. “This site is very SFW,” she’ll say, and “And yes, Logan did get her hips from me; who do you think taught her how to use them to get out of speeding tickets?” To those of you who were expecting sexy, sexy filth based on the NSFW tag, I’m sorry for the lack of nudity. We can engage in penetration but only of the cerebral kind. Which reminds me:


NOPE, not my tribute to the Denver Broncos. Hush now. 
These here are just the outtakes from my shoot for The State vs. Logan Melissa mixtape.
“You will spend $120 for 17 albums at Poo-Bah Records in Pasadena,” said my palm reader a couple weekends ago. “You really should tone it down with the spending,” she added. “Take it easy, baby doll.”
Oh hi, Kobe. Relax, god. Glad to see you shopping here during your off time, and boy I bet your upper body is tired since you’ve been carrying an entire goddamn team on your shoulders for 6 months.

05/12/12. Poo-Bah’s leftside wall that I saw upon entering,
except, in BrownVision™,

Poobah is the name of a buffoonish, self-important character in a Gilbert & Sullivan opera, and the word has been taken to mean “pompous individual; person who mistakenly believes he or she exerts great influence” ever since. It also means “Slightly chubby MC in Historically Black University hoodie.” Grand Puba’s “360° (What Goes Around)” is all catchy, braggy self-promo with the divine Miss Gladys Knight on the hook and I love that. Puba’s known for getting money, hitting skins (teehee, ’cause it was ’92), wearing Girbauds (’92). Count on it. He’s predictable, like taxes, the sun rising, the circle of life record spinning around and around, “Sweet Dreams” coming on at the goddamn laundromat, Curren$y doing a song per week about cars and penthouses and the whores who love them. Your Starbucks order is so predictable, as is mine of course.

Puba probably wasn’t hitting a ton of skins, in ’92 or at any point, but he was telling the truth about the cyclical nature of human existence. We’re all predictable. I’m predictable. Alamo, is you with me? Cuz there’s just one thing I wanna say, and that is If what goes around comes back around again, tomorrow morning I’m getting my iced coffee with vanilla syrup at Starbucks, just like I did this morning and the morning before that. I’ll do laundry on Saturday; I’ll buy records on Sunday. My buffoonish sense of self-importance leads me to think I can spend and spend and somehow keep apartment 680’s rent paid. I’m coming back to Poo-Bah with my debit card and an intense stare. (When I get evicted, let’s be roommates! I’m a good cook and I’m fun to be around. Just don’t touch my stuff.)

Librarian in a sweater 2 sizes too small, and Sounwave doing his “Black Milk Signs to Interscope in 2005.” Our styles are so different but we both love this Monk Higgins record.

1. Monk Higgins, Dance To The Disco Sax Of Monk Higgins (Buddah, 1974). $4.99.

I learned from Schoolboy’s “There He Go” that some dudes smoke Garcia Vegas (verse 2). I also discovered that I do a mean lean-point-&-lipsynch move (during the hook), and Sounwave and I have at least one record in common in our collections (the break, which comes from Dance to the Disco Sax). What I learned from the video is that Kendrick continues to be the square one of the crew, surrounded by cool guys who manage to be interesting just by sitting there. He’s the Ernie Johnson of Black Hippy, and he’s got Barkley to his far left (Ab) and Shaq to his right (SBQ). Poor Kendrick-Ernie. Anyway, the erotic-thriller sounding piano at the beginning of “There He Go” absolutely makes the song; it’s so dreamy and perfect. But like I’ve said about so many songs throughout history, it would be nothing without those drums.

You need this album. Jesus, what a find! “One Man Band (Plays All Alone)” is the “There He Go” drum break that Sounwave used, and the hook turns up in Meyhem Lauren and Action Bronson’s “Typhoon Rap.” Bronson and Lauren have that big-boned body type in common, and they’ve both done NFL player name songs (“Larry Csonka,” “Ray Lewis”) – a trend that is becoming tiresome even for someone like me (football fan; Fantasy Football team owner; person who tweets at the fucking NFL on Fox robot doofus out of boredom and rage). Bronson and SBQ have this break in common, they both look extremely huggable, and I’m pretty sure they satisfy that requirement I have of all straight men in that they do not know anything about ladies’ purses. None of you guys should know the difference between an LV Speedy and a Trouville. It’s one of my heart’s rules. All I need is simply to be the more feminine one in a relationship, whether that relationship is headphone-based (I don’t know you but I like your music) or flesh-based (I know you, and we are sleeping together, sharing childhood stories, watching Sportscenter, and other couple-y things). Jot it down.

Least surprising name-instrument matchups: Sidney Sharp on strings (alliteration), Freddy Robinson on guitar (“Freddy Robinson” just sounds like a man in the ’70s who played guitar). Most surprising: Jim Horn on flute.

Most Perplexing: Nobody’s chopped n’ looped the first 10 seconds of “Space Race.” The Beatnuts in ’97, get on that. Best Album Title, with its instruction to Dance to the Particular Instrument that Mr. Higgins Plays. Everybody go on and dance if you want to, I’m humming to myself as I write this. The muuuuuusic makes your body move. WELL, ALL RIGHT. I’m still thinking about Ohio after having found Zapp for $2 and marveling at how much Delonte West looks like Bizzy Bone. Jazz dazz, disco jazz, said the Dazz Band (from Cleveland). Jazz dazz, disco jah-yazzz. Monk Higgins was from Arkansas but I feel like he’d agree with the Dazz Band that “disco jazz” is a real thing.

Jeopardy! fact: Jim Horn was often used by Spector in the Wall of Sound, and plays sax on Ike and Tina’s “River Deep, Mountain High.” Tina took her shirt off when recording the vocal, a fact that everyone in the studio remembers with pervy accuracy according to the 3 Spector bios I’ve read. Jim Horn also played sax and flute on Pet Sounds (hi Dad!) and Ladies of the Canyon (hi Mom!), in case the topless Tina story is too sexy for Jeopardy!

Personal goal: “5’7”, 280, murder bloods for rep” – Bronson, “Typhoon Rap.” Start a 5’7″ club with Bronson! Kate Moss can join too.

2. The Jimi Hendrix Experience, live at the Forum, April 1969 (bootleg – but Zipper was the first label trying to profit from it, 1988). $7.99.

The topic on LA sports talk radio again today was the Bynum Problem. What do we do about Bynum, everyone wants to know. Our giant baby with the glass knee: will he mature? Or is his inner knucklehead a permanent part of his personality? Call now, lines are wide open, blah blah, opinion, analysis, disagreement, sarcasm, yelling. Andrew will mature, absolutely, unless he doesn’t. We should keep him, or maybe we shouldn’t. I don’t know! It is a debate I have no personal stake in but that nonetheless entertains me, like Backwoods v. Swishers v. Optimos (v. Garcia Vegas!). At the end of the hour, the consensus was that the Laker organization should hire Charles “Terrifying Human Being” Oakley to be an enforcer and knock Andrew’s crybaby block off. Kobe’s serial-killer icegrill has proven to be ineffective in making Andrew act right; Andrew, we all agree, will only respond to physical intimidation. Furthermore, I maintain that if the team played at a creaky, old, soulful venue like the Forum, Andrew’s behavior would not be tolerated. Staples is lovely and comfy, but it’s so completely soulless, from David Beckham’s stupid floppy hat to all the Speedy bags underneath the seats of plastic-breasted ladies sitting courtside. Becks ain’t coming to Inglewood. Listen, the point is what can I possibly say to describe a Hendrix bootleg album that I got for less than ten bucks other than YOU NEED THIS ALBUM and the beautiful gentleman sitting on the hood of the car up there wins the award for Best Impression of Andre Benjamin.

Jeopardy! fact:In ’96, Dr. Octagon, Roger Troutman, and Cobain did a show at the Forum, which you will obviously know as the FABULOUS Forum if you’re from anywhere within a 50-mile radius of my apartment.

Personal goal: If Oak is available post-Bynum, get him to punch the face of 106 & Park’s Terrence J, whose face was positively built for punching. Normally I don’t have these violent tendencies, but.

3. Smokey Robinson, Big Time soundtrack (Tamla, 1977). $3.99.

“MCs couldn’t hang if they was lynched by the Grand Dragon.” You need this album. It’s got the “8 Steps to Perfection” break.

Prettiest Lady: my forever/always girlfriend Jayne Kennedy, star of Big Time and men’s daydreams, and the epitome of “bad.” Those credentials are good enough, GO JANE, but the bigger feat here is that she’s “bad” while simultaneously looking “sweet” and “has a college degree”-ish, such a tricky combination to pull off. I got “college-degree looking” on lock; “bad,” however, is still something I need to attain. I feel like my hips get me halfway there, but then my gait and prim demeanor set me back in Schoolteacherville. SIGH. Teach me, Jane!

Most Transparent: the marketing folks at Motown Films in 1977. “Small-time con man Big Time Eddie Jones hustles his way to the big payoff,” goes Big Time‘s media kit description, “while trying to stay one step ahead of insurance investigators*, the FBI and the Mob. Think Uptown Saturday Night, with a harder edge.” Ha. Yeah, I bet you’d like me to think Uptown Saturday Night, Motown Films, and you’d also like me to ignore the fact that Big Time has no Poitier, no Silky Slim, and no Geechie Dan. Smokey probably turned up in Jet in ’77, being interviewed for a promo fluff piece and talking about how if you squint hard enough during Big Time, you might see a guy who looks kind of like Richard Pryor. Willie Hutch should’ve just ended the whole charade and put out a song called “Gullible Moviegoers.”

* Least-sexy villains in any film.

BEST OPENING. BEST BEST OPENING. The first 25 seconds of the movie’s theme song bang so freaking hard, courtesy of freaking hard-as-HALE guitar-banger god Wah-Wah Watson. That opening makes you think the song’s gonna be some spacey oddball adventure with sexy alien ladies and maybe a fake-Moroder bassline, but then, sigh, it turns into vanilla ’77 discotheque white-noise. As a listener, I feel bamboozled; “Ha Ha (Gotcha, Bitch)” would’ve been a more appropriate song title. Smokey could only divert from the norm so much, though. Even in the late ’70s he was on that tight Motown leash.

Best Uncredited Appearance:


Jeopardy! fact: Marvin’s I Want You; Blondie, Bohannon, George Duke, Quincy Jones, the Beach Boys: Wah Wah Watson never appeared on a corny album.  

Personal goal: Get that El-P + Killer Mike “G-Money” vinyl package. Am I my brother’s keeper? Shut up, who cares, GIMME. I must own it! The instrumental album is blood red!

4. Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway (Atlantic, 1972). 99¢.

Chicago’s got some bad juju — Donny’s suicidal brain chemicals, Kanye’s women issues, Derrick Rose’s ACL, poor Chief Keef can’t afford a tshirt. Good Chicago juju, thankfully, includes the unstoppable gray-haired, marriage-equality-pushing most-powerful-man-in-the-world calm-temperament swagger of one B. Obama, and the achy powerful beauty of Donny’s voice (top 10 voices in apt. 680’s collection, easily). I hereby announce that YOU NEED THIS ALBUM. This news fits right in with the rest of the world, as this week was full of facts that did not need to be announced – like Mitch Kupchak’s official statement that the Lakers “will be considering trades” (thanks, Scott Van Pelt) or that  _____ and _____ were beefing last week and now, what’s this? They’re collabing? Imagine I’m doing a “Public Service Announcement” freestyle when I tell you this, and it’ll come out less like an order and more like a helpful suggestion: You need this album. It’s Flack and Hathaway. I cannot WAIT for the Weezy x Pusha mixtape, by the way.

This one wins Best Hangover Album—it’s melodic, floaty, and gentle, which makes sense since Arif Mardin was in charge of strings and a gentleman named Joe Gentle played flute on it. (Best and Most Appropriate Flute Player’s Name: Joe Gentle). And it’s got Purdie drums, which are never too brain-rattling. You’ll appreciate this when it’s the morning after you yelled BOTTLES ON ME 14 separate times in one night, and you did that stupid “WOOOOO” that ladies do, and the memories of acting like a retard are flooding your brain and making you cringe and also the terrible terrible nausea.

Roberta and Donny do their take on “You’ve Got a Friend” – appropriate, since they were best buddies. They do “I Who Have Nothing” and “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling,” a song that I have never liked but it’s got a great Spector-being-creepy story behind it. The critics went nuts for this album. It is a collection of music that is the opposite of ironic. Roberta and Donny will slay the grouchy dragon that lives in your heart with pure, uncut love of humanity. They excel at earnestness. The two of them are the best in the whole world at it, other than maybe Neil Young. The fact that Donny’s brain chemicals were starting to betray him at this point in his life lends a beautiful gravity to the album, and also a sense of really making me mad and hopeless. Stop it, songs, my brain says. It’s like the songs are telling the future, the horrible bleak future of Donny, but that’s not true – I’m just reading too much into the songs like always. It’s best to listen to this album in a vacuum. Put it on and pretend it’s ’72.

Best Piano Break, provided by Donny, above, later used in “On My Block,” the instrumental of which you’ll recognize as the backing track for every “successful MC returns to his old neighborhood” story on MTV. “Where is the Love,” already a huge bummer of a song, provides the break in Nate Dogg’s “Never Leave Me Alone,” last heard in the lunchtime old school hour on the radio every day in Los Angeles for the last 5 years. Ugh. Nate is on my radio these days on the hook of a song called “Party We Will Throw Now,” a song that is too awful for me to link to and which should be called “Make Money off Nate Dogg’s Name and Likeness We Will Do Now.” Biggest Bummer. 

Jeopardy! fact: Before she signed to Atlantic, Carole King had imagined that Tin Pan Alley was an actual, physical alley next to the Brill Building. What a dummy! This is why girls shouldn’t be in the music industry. 

Personal goal: Jerry Wexler, bosslike always, referred to himself as “a despot who delegated poorly” at Atlantic Records, which reminds me that I should go to the Despot/Killer Mike/El-P/eXquire show at the Echo on 6/28, a block away from my apartment. I need to hear a hundred F words and I need you to buy me a drink and NOT tell me I look skinnier in person like everyone always does.
“industrio-rap.” LOL, music sites trying to out-clever each other in describing Death Grips.

5. Death Grips, The Money Store (Epic, 2012). $14.99.

FIRST of All, Most Unbelievable in 2012: Epic Records still exists. Second of all, this really is some dude rap and not really appropriate for a proper lady such as myself.

“get get get get got got got got, blood rush to my head lit hot lock/poppin off the fuckin block knot, clockin wrist slit watch bent through bot/tail pipe draggin, volume blastin, bailin out my brain red light flash, dem stop i smash/abraxas*, hydroplane, massive, catch this flight flow, rainin madness/mastered mine and laced, the ave wit black cat fish tailin waves of stratus.”

I’m not going to pretend I can enjoy these lyrics half as much as someone with a penis, because the laws of the universe state that this is impossible. Thisssome DUDE RAP, no doubt about it. But in a world of this type of babyish male communication


I am in pure, old-fashioned, Sacramento industrio-love with Death Grips.
Hahaaaaaaaaa. (9 a’s).

In my more compassionate moments, I’ll see a post on Rap Radar about the latest MMG wind-up rapper and think Aw, this is awful music, but what do I care. Let ’em have their fun. Get paid, darlings. I drove to Poo-Bah with the radio on, enjoying that “Burn” song in was the most guilty, dirty pleasure of my week. Then I get the fucking Death Grips album and I’m filled with heat and energy (which I guess is just another way of saying heat) and I think Yes, this is exactly how it should be. Only the people who I say can rap should be able to rap. Meek Mill still has the best cheekbones since Metta World Peace, but the fact remains the pleasure’s been stripped from future listenings of “Burn”; I bet “Cashin’ Out” will be next (sorry for this link, everyone with good taste). And now it is time for an “I’ve Seen Footage” interlude to cleanse my palate. 

(I’ll listen to your “Stay Schemin” freestyle if you can get me the “Audemars” instrumental, though. Deal? My fondness for Meek Mill’s vocal playfulness and light rasp is well documented. Unfortunately, I reached my saturation point for Audemar raps back in August ’11, so: instrumental, please.)

“Hustle Bones,” “I’ve Seen Footage,” and “Get Got” are the Best Song Titles in this record haul (next to “Sugar Lump” on that Leon Haywood record). This baby was destined to come home with me the second my eyes met it from across the room; the only misgiving I had about buying it was when I realized that Bieber probably has it on his iPod. But I fought it off, and now The Money Store is home with me, wedged in between some Nu Shooz and Jerry Butler on my living room floor.

Jeopardy! fact: *“Abraxas” doesn’t really mean anything other than “Santana album from 1970.” In Greek, abrasáx is “of obscure origin” but the combined numerical value of the Greek letters is 365, “an important figure in numerology” OOOOOILLUMINATI, YALL.  

Personal goal: Get Epic to re-release The Money Store with special bonus track “Phil Rizzuto.” 

6. Freddie Hubbard, Windjammer (Columbia, 1976). $1.99.
“Drums: Andy Newmark.” Bass: Gary King.” “Keys, producer, arranged by, conductor: Bob James.” Oh hello Windjammer, I said when I came across it in the bin, You must come home with me based entirely on these 3 credits. (Best Use of Andy Newmark; Best Use of Gary King; Best Use of Bob James). A Google image search of Gary King (I was just curious) has led me to the wonderful world of the forum (Best Link). But JESUS, Most Disturbing Album Cover. Looks like something out of a Cronenberg movie.
Windjammer features the legendary Bernie Glow on trumpet. If his nickname was not Bernie Blow the music industry and the music-nickname industries have both failed me.

The title track, above, provides the Best Walking-Down-the-Street Snippet (00:22 – 01:01), which turns into the Best Transitional Moment in My Personal Narrative, Such as When I Turn a Corner and See An Ex-Lover and Must Decide Whether to Stay for Some Uncomfortable Conversation or Run Away (01:02 – 01:25, the panic of the horns illustrating this perfectly). Then, starting at 02:48, my ex and I are making out in a sexy, dirty alleyway. (Sorry, Mom! It’s just a makeout; we’re not getting back together). And finally, at 3:20, I come to my senses and continue down the street. Probably Jamba Juice, because I’ll feel a little sick and feverish after I acted that way, making out with my ex – so out of character for me! – and I’ll want something healthy.

“Neo Terra (New Land)” has a spacey, super Bob-James-sounding open that Masta Ace used, though I must deduct points for Low End-era Tribe not using it. It would’ve been perfect. I also must deduct points for Freddie, or more likely Freddie’s A&R, deciding that “Neo Terra” had to include “(New Land)” in its title, since otherwise how could a buyer of this record with some basic understanding of Latin root words possibly know what the words neo terra mean.

Jeopardy! fact: Fellow flugelhorn player Chuck Mangione shares a song title with Afro-Rican (“Give It All You Got”)! This is a Jeopardy! fact but mostly it’s an “excuse to post this song because it’s been a long week and I feel like we can use it, also it’s good for the ass” fact.

Personal goal: Tear myself away from the forum. It’s the new in apartment 680.

7. The Bee Gees, Main Course (RSO, 1975). 99¢.

Real Gs move in silence, fierce little Dwayne told me in early ’11. Real Gees, however, make slinky bass and falsetto sounds when they move. Also their hair is feathered and that goes whooooosh when they start walking briskly. Released in August ’75, Main Course entered a world in which the number one jam was the Isleys’ “Fight the Power,” a song about Mookie breaking windows at Sal’s Pizzeria. People obviously needed some levity, and the Gibbs came along to give some.

Side A, track 1: “Nights on Broadway,” yes, perfect, love it, a yummy piece of chord-progression cake with synth frosting. Side A, track 2: “Jive Talkin’,” a headphone banger to such a degree that I get upset when it comes on at CVS in those tinny speakers that don’t do it justice.

These guys were capable musicians, not spectacular, and basically just got white-guy points for being white guys in the non-white-guy dominated world of the dance floor, but they had feathery hair they spent too much time on and they loved soul music, which is also a fitting description of myself. So I love em. The Gibbs came out so strong with those first 2 tracks; Main Course was produced by Arif Mardin which is why there’s that straight ear candy melodic goodness. But the brothers get fatigued out the gate, and the rest of the album is throwaway. Too many ballads. It starts bangingly and ends with a sad whimper, like the legacy of Pau Gasol as a professional athlete in Los Angeles. Still, those first two tracks! You need this album!

Further down in the post I share that I have big problems with Khalifa’s team design-jacking a David Ruffin album cover. But Akinyele jacked the Bee Gees’ cover and I have no negative comments. I’m complicated. And I actually prefer dancing to the version of a song done by feathery-haired Australians over the version done by Rufus, which is so weird for me to type, but it’s true. I’m complicated.

“NICE PANTS. HA, you guys look RIDICULOUS” – Kev Durant.
ASSORTED EPIC MOMENTS: Me, looking at the back cover and seeing “Conductor” as a credit (Gene Orloff); the first 10 seconds of “Jive Talkin,” which sounds like it could be the first 10 seconds of almost any Parliament song during the years 1974-9 (those amazing Gibbs! Sweet lord.); the weird echo effect on the “Edge of the Universe” vocals; the perfect BPM of “Nights on Broadway” (the piano break from which turned up in the speakers of every Maxima in ’98, courtesy of Dame Grease’s beat for DMX’s “The Convo.”Put that one on at your next BBQ if you’d like to see all the dudes over age 28 crying into their potato salad.)

Jeopardy! fact: The Gibbs were appointed to the Order of the British Empire. This puts them in the same category as George Martin and the flute player from Jethro Tull.

Personal goal: Book that concert I’ve been lining up in my head – the Bee Gees, the JB’s, O.C., L.T.D., and Thee Oh Sees. Live at PJ’s, of course.
8. David Ruffin, My Whole World Ended (Motown, 1969). $2.99.
My whole world ended when Khalifa’s people jacked the hell out of a Ruffin cover for Kush & OJ. It was upsetting and I regret having seen it. I also discovered a minute ago that “The Double Cross” from My Whole World Ended turns up as the break in, sigh, a J. Cole song. I regret having found this out. Cole’s producer is someone named Canei Finch, who does not appear to be as fresh as his name suggests (“Canei Finch”! So fresh!). His recent Twitter updates include the words “Sherman Oaks is popping,” which is absolutely a lie so I must leave Canei Finch behind. Moving on.

My Whole World Ended is like all other Ruffin albums in that it falls into the category of Records That Both Juicy J and I Would Tell You to Buy if You Ever See Them In Your Local Store’s Bin, along with anything by Womack or Willie Hutch. This alone is reason enough to buy it. Also, it’s Ruffin. You need this album. Support beautiful, doomed, coke-ravaged vocal masters by collecting their records, even though Berry Gordy is obviously Illuminati.

Jeopardy! facts: Humans see sexy ladies as sexy objects and sexy men as sexy people. Humans trust people with our money based on their faces rather than on their ability to handle money. We are a mess as a species, just hopeless. Science websites give me daily discoveries in the new and sad ways humans are tragic and primal, and these discoveries remind me that we’re too hard on the David Ruffins of the world.

Personal goal: Have someone look at me longingly while the title track plays.
Jack and his lady with the tight-as-all-hell outfit-coordination Tampa Bay Bucs colorway.
9. Brother Jack McDuff, Tobacco Road (Atlantic, 1967). $5.99. 
Best Hammond. Best Hammond. Tobacco Road was produced by Lew Futterman, a last name that ‘70s/’80s/’90s babies will probably (hopefully) always associate with “Futterman’s Rule” from Ill Communication. The album was purchased on the strength of Brother Jack’s esteemed status as a man whose songs were frequently tapped for ’90s breaks, but that cover design helped convince me, and the fact that “The Shadow of Your Smile” turns up in an Action Bronson song really just solidified the deal.
Statik Selektah looped that flute in “Shiraz,” which features the Logan-pleasing combination of words “I’m straight stoned – Sly, thank you.” I’m so easy. And here’s to my second Action Bronson mention in one post! King me! Oh, wait—what I meant was QUEENS me, due to my compulsive need to be clever. You need this album because it’ll remind you of that funny wordplay I just employed.
Brother Jack was from Illinois, so an album called Tobacco Road is silly. Then I found out the song was written by John Loudermilk, from North Carolina, and this soothed me because it made absolute sense. Loudermilk also wrote “Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye,” a song of numerous versions that we will all now (hopefully) associate with this, below, the very best version, Johnny Nash’s version, which leads to my Turn-and-Look-Over-Your-Shoulder-Please-Don’t-Go/Heartbreaking-Vocal-Beauty-of-Johnny-Nash Interlude Yall, concurrent with my Strongest Plea with Kanye to NOT Use This as a Break, Ever, NO KANYE DON’T DO IT PLEASE You’ll Ruin It:


Jeopardy! fact: Bull Durham Tobacco had its logo painted behind the Yankees’ dugout, thereby sparking the phrase “bullpen.”

Personal goal: Get a hug from cuddly tough guy Bronson. He’s probably top ten in the world right now when it comes to huggers. 

She takes my flight/she holds my weight.

10. Jack White, Blunderbuss (Third Man, 2012). $19.99. (OUCH)
Jack reached his high point in my heart with that live video of the Raconteurs doing “Level,” oh my god, a walking-down-the-street banger from which my hips may never recover. Blunderbuss is helping to keep him in my heart, because of his freaky upper-register vocal tricks and because I like it when I have the same taste in music as someone whose record I’ve just purchased (the guitar riff that starts “Sixteen Saltines” proves that Jack and I both really love the intro of Def Leppard’s “Photograph”).

I’ve loved songs about homemade narcotics ever since daddy played George Jones’ “White Lightnin'” in the living room on Saturday mornings when I was little. This is why, as a grown-up, I’ll beat you, anytime, just name the place, if you’d like to engage in a Nickatina-lyrics-off with me. Or perhaps E-40’s more your speed? Let me know! Bro we can do this anytime. We can do this. My brain’s got a special area where the verses are embedded, deep within the gray folds, and it’s only gotten more developed with age. I am also guaranteed to love anything with a pedal-steel guitar in it because of all my dad’s other Saturday-morning turntable DJ classics. The lovely pedal-steel on Blunderbuss‘ title track, which I love of course, comes courtesy of Fats Kaplin. He played with Pure Prairie League, the ones behind baby-Logan-family-vacation-car-tape-deck-everybody-sing-along-banger “Amie,” even though Kaplin wasn’t in the band when they recorded “Amie.” Nonetheless: “AMIE” INTERLUDE YALL.

Best Bars in This Record Haul, and Jack’s Not Even an MC: “Spike heels make a hole in a lifeboat/Drifting away when I’m talking and laughing as we float/I hear her whistle, that’s how I know she’s home/Lipstick, eyelash, broke mirror, broken home/Force fed, force meds ’till I drop dead/You can’t defeat her, when you meet her you’ll get what I said/The Lord knows there’s a method to her madness/But the Lord’s joke is a boat in a sea of sadness.”
You need this album. Like most great things in the universe, RZA is partly responsible for it. “Freedom at 21” was co-produced by LTJ Bukem, according to my imagination when I heard the opening drums. The title track is about fantasy love and contains the line An ancient grand hotel of Persian thread and ivory/And when your man would turn his head I’d see you look at me, which I swear is from an R. Kelly song. Plus the vinyl just feels really good to hold. It’s nice and hefty. I like a record that weighs 2 or 3 pounds, like a premature baby.

Jeopardy! fact: A blunderbuss is a musket-type gun. It’s also something you call a “clumsy, unsubtle” person. That’s why Cory Gunz can also be called Cory Blunderbuss without his name losing any meaning. 

Personal goal: Go to Detroit. Make it a real place in my heart and head. The problem, guys, is that Detroit’s too fraught with history, tragic romance, and musical pixie dust. It’s not real. It’s Henry Ford, Derrick May, Barry Sanders, Proof. The motor city’s burning. We almost lost Detroit. Kick out the fucking jams. Bass bass bassbassbass, metal-pipe sound from the GM assembly line, backspin, bass. I know from the hit film 8 Mile that Detroit gentlemen like to have sex in factories. I know from books that what was once Aretha’s dad’s church (New Bethel Baptist) is on the corner of Linwood and Philadelphia. But I don’t know where the westside begins or how to get to Ford Field. “I would never let my children roam the Dexter-Linwood area or 7 Mile and Chalmers,” says a concerned parent on a Detroit message board, “but how many responsible parents would?” Concerned parent, how should I know? I’ve never been to Detroit. I need to go to Detroit. I’ve already practiced what I’ll look like at People’s Records.

11. Lalo Schifrin, Voyage of the Damned score (ATV/Entr’acte, 1977). $3.99.

There’s no gentle way to say that this is the score of a film about a boatful of doomed Jewish refugees in 1939. Voyage of the Damned is a super bummer of a record, but even bummer Lalo, unstimulating Lalo, is Lalo worth having. The music does what it’s supposed to – just kind of lulls around in your brain after you’ve listened. It’s not a good sex record; it’s a folding laundry with frequent moments of staring off into space record. I could try to sell it by convincing you that owning this Lalo record will provide you with a wonderful object to spark historical conversation with your children about major life themes (persecution, war, humanity). I’ll just leave it at It’s Lalo Schifrin; you need this album.

At least 100 Bibles have been to the moon, I read once in Harper’s index. It made sense. People like to feel secure when they go on trips in which they might die; Lalo’s soothing background music for the boat trip was composed with this credo in mind. And for some levity, let me point out that one of the film’s protagonists is named Professor Egon Kreisler, played by THE GOD Max Von Sydow, whose characters always sound like they need to be mentioned in Doom songs (“Lankester Merrin,” “Colonel Kosnov,” “Antonius Block”). I’d tell this to Doom in person if only he’d bring his tour to my country, the United States.

Jeopardy! fact: Lalo was nominated for an Oscar for this score. But he was up against Jerry Goldsmith for The Omen and Bernard Herrmann for Taxi Driver, so, unshockingly, Lalo went winless. Shockingly, however, Bill Conti’s “Gonna Fly Now” from Rocky did NOT win Best Song in ’77 (Conti lost to Oscar juggernaut Barbra Streisand). This is a 35-year-old fact that I find so irritating it might as well have happened yesterday.

Personal goal: “Antonius Block” – DOOM feat. Kool Keith, Danny Brown, Mac Dre, Brian Eno, Scarface, The D.O.C., Reggie Watts, and Nas when he was 19, with some mid-90s UGK skull-rattle bass, someone on a Rhodes from ’74, and 3 or 4 Dilla sirens sprinkled throughout.


12. Wait Isn’t This the Dude Who’s Related to Alice Coltrane, The Golden Age of Apocalypse (Brainfeeder, 2011). $9.99.
Thundercat’s real name is Steve Bruner, a name so uncool it sounds like a cop’s name, and therefore comes with automatic ironic-cool cachet that almost makes up for the stupid photo above. YES, we see your Louis belt, Officer Steve Bruner of the LAPD’s Rampart division. You are dressed like a child and I’m mad you don’t use your real name. How could you NOT use the name Steve Bruner professionally? I do not approve of not using the name Steve Bruner. I also do not approve of cutesy-spellings for song titles (track 1: “HooooooO”), or strategically-placed Louis belts. Other than that, Nice Personnel on Your Record, Thundercat (Badu, the Sa-Ra guys, Daddy Kev). Nice Musical Genes; sadly, the musical-genes card is not as meaningful as it once was. For every Droop-E and Scoop Deville, there are the LMFAO professional musicians who have the blood of Berry Gordy running through them. And other than that, the best way to appreciate The Golden Age of Apocalypse is to indulge in some lo-fi sexytimes. Listen to some Julian Wass beats. Then listen to 4 Carl Craig tracks, The K + D Sessions, then Dots & Loops, Stanley Clarke’s first 3 records, then finish up with that Joy Orbison coke song, because I’m pretty sure those are the exact steps Thundercat took before sitting down to make this album. I’ll give it a few more listens, though, when I’m more focused. He’s a bass player so I will probably grow to love this record. But I’m too annoyed right now about the fact that there are 2 dudes nicknamed “Daddy” on this record’s credits (Daddy Kev mastered; Daddy Dave on drums), plus I’m still getting over the radness of the name Antonius Block. Gimme some time.

Jeopardy! fact: The Thundercats are apparently already a thing, all rights reserved, and cannot be copied or rebroadcast without the expressed written consent of blah blah. I believe the expression I always hear on Law & Order is “Lawyer up, Thundercat.”

Personal goal: Make fewer impulse buys at the record store. I should also probably listen to more Homeboy Sandman and Ty Segall, but whatever. I’m a busy lady.

Most “Are You My Boyfriend?” YouTube Comment: “1:05 looks like Paris the black fu from detroit grand pubahs” – darkmagik347, who should have my phone number.

Cutest YouTube Comment: “he’s got picachu pants on. DOPE.” This tells you everything you need to know about Thundercat and about the fans of Thundercat.

13. Leon Haywood, Keep it in the Family (20th Century, 1974). $1.99.
He’s got some sort of poly-blend pants on. DOPE! Most ’70s Outfit.

Most ’70s Cover Design (nature scene + lapels + singer/songwriter wistful gaze, which is usually seen on James Taylor album covers.) Most ’70s Name: “Leon Haywood.” Sounds like he should be playing bass in Sister Sledge or training Larry Holmes for his next match.

Sam Cooke hired Leon to play keys in his band, and this is yet another reason as to why Sam Cooke is not nearly as square as his reputation (and cherubic face) leads you to think. I heard Bieber and Curtis Jackson were at the Cotto-Mayweather fight a couple weeks ago. Aw, cute, but hey, I got some grown-man game for you, ESPN: Malcolm X sat courtside at the Ali-Liston fight in ’64, a seat away from Sam Cooke – a fact that further proves that Sam Cooke is not nearly as square as his rep and cherubic face leads you to think. The casual way in which I yield such a fact is proof that I’m like the Nardwuar of midcentury soul music if I were around in the midcentury and had a camera crew and were not afraid of looking foolish on camera. Listen, you need this record. Leon’s best known for “I Want’a Do Something Freaky to You,” which seems a little forward for a dude who doesn’t even know me, but what can I do, I got that allure. He will never do anything as incredible as that song ever again, and he doesn’t have to. Mannie’s never making anything half as good as 400 Degreez but his legacy is established. I’ll still be inconsolable when he dies. If he dies. Goonies Whoadies never say die.
Jeopardy! fact: X-Cooke-Ali-Liston.

Personal goal: “Blah blah Big Meech, Larry Hoover/’B.M.F. Beautiful’ is a song by Leon Haywood – hallelujah.” Include this line in my upcoming mixtape Teflon Fawn. (doe eyes)

“Internet, amphetamines and seclusion inspired my new album” 
Danny Brown Grimes

14. Grimes, Visions (4AD, 2012). $12.99.
How could I not love a cutesy woodland creature who shows up in a filthy Gainesville strip club in 1989 to sing over some Magic Mike breaks and also Kraftwerk is her backing band? HOW COULD I NOT LOVE HER. Grimes is rad. Elle est ma, howdoyousay, petit French-Canadian synth-bass chipmunk. But the thing that’s troubling about Grimes is that the people who love her music today are the same people who tortured her in high school. I had to buy this, though. You should buy this. Support thick-eyebrowed girls who weren’t popular in high school.

Big Sean makes way more commercially successful Welcome-to-Gamma-Phi-Beta Whitegirl Party Jams, as every female customer at H&M demonstrates when he comes on the playlist loop and they all walk around mouthing his verses to their friends and I want to die. But Grimes makes the Best Whitegirl Jams in This Particular Record Haul. She elicits true, uncut, premium-grade white girlishness inside of my skinny frame and big heart, just like when “There is a Light and it Never Goes Out” comes on the car radio and I lose control of my tear ducts and I must sing along. The Smiths turn me into a character in a future-apocalypse sci-fi movie in which I’ve been given a directive. I must sing along in order to save my own life and the lives of my family members. I feel it pretty deeply, you guys. Anyway, I’m a sarcastic, insecure white woman in a major metro area so of course as I write this I’m wearing my standard-issue Toms, eating a mayo sandwich, watching Girls, listening to Grimes. Bet you didn’t know she did the hooks on “Oh Boy”and “Through the Wire,” neither.

Jeopardy! fact: It rained lizards in Montreal once. “Lizards in Montreal,” by the way, is the Grimes remix of “N—-s in Paris.”

Personal goal: Get someone in the universe to create a grime Grimes mixtape – maybe Semtex could host it? – with Rae doing verses and Grimes doing the hooks, called Son I Had Crazy Visions. I’d also like to put on a sundress and walk through a grassy meadow while “Be a Body” plays at a hundred decibels.

15. The Dramatics, A Dramatic Experience (Volt, 1973). $2.99.

Most Sendakesque Cover. 

My dad had an OG copy of this, and misplaced it during the family move from First House to Second House when I was in high school. I got mad at him and went off to pout. I made mischief of one kind, then another kind, and then I sailed back over a year, in and out of weeks, and through a day, and into Poo-Bah Records in Pasadena, and found A Dramatic Experience, then brought A Dramatic Experience home, into the night of my very own room, where I put it on the turntable, AND IT WAS STLL HOT. You need this album.

A Dramatic Experience was recorded in Detroit during the fall of ’72. Amazing human Robert Harris was mayor of Ann Arbor at the time and worked with the city council to reduce weed-possession fines. “I’ll Be Around” was a big hit. The Tigers won their division. You were probably feeling yourself pretty hard if you were from the Detroit major metro area in the early ’70s. If it were me, I would’ve made up a story about how I grew up 2 streets over from Tony Hester, production god, arrangement god, writing god, who roared his terrible production roar and showed his terrible arrangement claws, warning us on A Dramatic Experience that “The Devil is Dope,” a song about the joys of hare-on that tries to pass itself off as an anti-drug song. (It’s impossible to make an anti-heroin song; email me your counter-arguments if you like, but I will just write “NOPE” in my reply to you.) This album’s necessary because it’s the Dramatics, simple as that, but they used up the really good stuff a year earlier on Whatcha See is Whatcha Get. If there is a better way to announce yourself to the world than by screaming and firmly suggesting everyone get the fuck up, I don’t want to know about it because I will have a hundred orgasms and then drop dead and I ain’t done living yet. They incorporate my favorite ’70s R&B thing of calling a woman mama (“Get up, now look at mama/Look at mama”). Then they fucking start side B with “In the Rain,” murdering it, just chewing up and spitting out my heart and guts. Tony Hester was Pac Man, treating my heart and guts like pac-dots. Game, as Lil Flip would say, over.

Lloyd Banks’ “Just Another Day” samples “Beware of the Man with the Candy in His Hand,” yet another attempt by ’70s musicians to convince me not to try pills and powder; meanwhile, most of the ’70s albums in my collection were made by dudes on pills and powder. Sigh. Stop trying to make drugs not cool, musicians. You sound like my middle school principal. Tone Capone does a nice job with the sample; here’s the instrumental version, free of Banks’ voice, because that’s how it should be. Capone also produced “I Got 5 On It” (!!) but had to resort to working with Banks a few years later because the mortgage payment was due. No judgment here. Get it, daddy. Even Donald “Duck” Dunn, bass god, may he rest in eternal sexy throbbing-bass peace, played on a freaking Rod Stewart album.

Most Diverse Side Hustles: Ellis Chapell. An in-house artist for Stax and Volt, he did the cover painting for A Dramatic Experience, designed book covers for John Grisham, Kurt Vonnegut, and Elmore Leonard, was the commissioned portraitist of the Neville Brothers for NARAS, and, most impressively, did the University of Tennessee Dental College portrait of Dr. Jim Slagle!

Most Stubborn:me. I’m in the minority in LA with this one, but seeing the Dramatics backing up Snoop in “Doggy Dogg World” is an experience I have always found to be legacy-killing and sad. Same for Roger Troutman in facepaint and spikes in the “California Love” video. Nobody knows how to shame some R&B gods like those shysters at Death Row. I’m digging in my heels and informing you all that The Dramatics shall always remain in the ’70s, where they belong, when it comes to my memory.

Jeopardy! fact: Oh, I don’t know – some random fact about Al Bell or Isaac Hayes. I got a million of ’em. 

Personal goal: Make a BDP x Dramatics mixtape. Call it A Lot of MCs Like to Use the Word Dramatics-al.

16. Roberta Flack, First Take (Atlantic, 1969). $3.99.

Joel Dorn, producer, is reason enough for me to insist that you need this album. And look – there’s Ron “Pretty Flaco” Carter on bass! But mostly you need First Take for the smoke-and-look-out-the-window-at-nothing heartbreak standard “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” which sounds like something A$AP “Pretty Flaco” Rocky says he hears from girls all the time. (I don’t find him to be that pretty, but he keeps insisting that I do). The song is Roberta’s take on the ODB classic with words that I am too ladylike to repeat here and which is this record haul’s Best 13-Year-Old-Boy Memory-Provoker. Remember when you heard Return to the 36 Chambers for the first time at your friend’s house? You were 13 and in love with dirty words and sex talk. You still are, even though you’re grown; you just hide it better these days.

Jeopardy! fact: Joel Dorn once said, “A bell goes off in your stomach when you see or hear something that grabs you.” He was describing his ear for good production and, years later, my body’s response to 808.

Personal goal: Get Roberta to write her autobiography. (Roberta Flack has no autobiography! That’s wrong!) I’m guessing she’s got a few stories to tell.


Dimension III is fine but it’s no Dimension V

17. The Jimmy Castor Bunch, Dimension III (RCA, 1973). $9.99.

PROMOTIONAL ALBUM–NOT FOR SALE, which is good, because you, sadly, do not need this record. I won’t ask you to watch me now or feel the groove when I put this on. You don’t need it. Get that YMO record for $9.99 instead.

It’s got a lack of Lenny Fridie on congas and that’s not Jimmy’s fault. He is to blame, however, for the stupid decision to cover “A Whiter Shade of Pale.” What in the world. The original song is unable to be improved upon, because the original has that Hammond. Jimmy’s sax can’t save the day elsewhere on Dimension III, either. In 1973, nobody could out-horn-section Willie Hutch.

Jeopardy! fact: You’d describe the third dimension as “Thickness in an object or space,” which I wish Alex Trebek would say because it would sound like he’s talking about ass.

Personal goal: Instigate some kind of silly beef in the comments section. That would be funny and make me feel powerful.

Comments Section Suggested Beef Topic: Jimmy’s “L.T.D. (Love, Tenderness, Devotion)” are better initials than L.T.D.’s L.T.D. (Love, Togetherness, Devotion). Go.
$120 for 17 records. Quit fussin, I say to my checking account, There’s so much to love in this new group, a bright and lovely bunch, and I wouldn’t return any of them – not even Castor. My game needs tightening, though. Spending like this jeopardizes my apartment, plus it’s just sad that I can’t control myself. My Beat Swap Meet #18 haul just kicked some dirt in my face, then laughed and ran off to tweet about it.

Poo-Bah Records
2636 E. Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91107

Pros: XXX on display just for me, I swear; huge selection of used stuff  – especially jazz and soul; store DJ plays upstairs from a perch (the Honey Cone! Lee Hazlewood! Pharoah Sanders!); good, cheap prices like the record store gods intended. It’s also just down the street from Coffey Optical, which makes me feel like Dennis secretly lives in Pasadena and loves fitting people for frames.

Cons: My checking account is sad.

You got a 100 50 20 10 dollar bill, put your hands up

Siiiingle laaaadieeees, I can’t hear you.
(because this week’s treasures are in my headphones)

Blond hash (hybrid), add to your choice of smoke, $10/gram!!! says the sign in the window of my hometown dispensary. I’m not a smoker, but I appreciate the news. Through my brother and Black Hippy songs, I stay up on weed prices just so I have something to talk about at parties, along with my old standby topics “Lakers: Yes” and “Do you think I am pretty, y/n.” $10 is a pretty good deal for a blond hash hybrid, right? A gram’ll last you a good month or two, right? Aw, I have no idea. In any case, it’s hard to beat ten bucks for anything blond and that is my completely unbiased opinion. NEW PATIENTS RECEIVE A FREE WAX SNAP!, promises the sign a little farther down, in smaller print. It’s getting really good now. There’s some thirsty sign-writers at this dispensary. Plus “wax snap” sounds like a record-scavenging term, so I approve.

$10 is enough to fix you, regardless of your pleasurable substance, if just for a little while. It’s not like I’m a fiend or anything, but I strongly believe that getting served doesn’t need to be expensive. When I went to my hometown to visit my mom last weekend, the ten bucks in my pocket could’ve gone to Starbucks (iced Americano plus an extra shot, plus a muffin), or blond hash to add to my smoke like the alluring dispensary offered. But none of these are fixes for me. So like always, I took my ten bucks to the local shop, just up the street. Records. Recordsrecords. Sometimes I swear I must have glaucoma because of floaty things in my eyes, but I’m not a weed addict. I’m not any kind of addict. I’m not at all like Nina Simone with her beloved Valium, or Rick Ross with releasing recorded pieces of garbage constantly into the universe; now those two are addicts. I can quit anytime I want to. Also I was just holding it for a friend, I’m quitting on Monday, and I need to borrow $20. Until then, here’s my cute little hometown mini-haul: 4 selections for $11! Exhilarating!

I’m good for that $20, by the way. And if you can spare $25 you’d really help me out of a jam. 

Stanley Clarke, Journey to Love (Nemperor, 1975). $3. 

Stanley Clarke was from Philly and had great facial hair, just like Freeway. He was also famous for playing the double bass, which, as someone with a license plate that says “MORE808,” is a phrase that makes my blood pump faster. DOUBLE BASS. This is like saying double small-of-my-back caressing or double piles of $100 bills to me.

“Thanks to L. Ron Hubbard for his never-ending inspiration,” it says just above Stan’s big beautiful face on the back, prompting a good, firm What in the fuck? from this little lady. I read it out loud to myself in the store just to make sure it was real. Stanley was clearly drunk when he wrote his thank yous, because everyone knows L. Ron Hubbard maybe supported Apartheid and was probably a bad person. This information is easily accessible. Stanley meant to shoutout Freddie Hubbard, I decided out of pure stubbornness, because that’s how I live my life. But after a minute of straight confusion I just gave in, succumbed to the weird Scientology juju, and shouted out THE GOD Isaac Hayes. Who am I, after all, to judge someone else’s spiritual truth? Get ’em, Stanley Clarke, with your religious beliefs that creep everybody out. You’re in good company. (Stanley learned Scientology from Chick Corea, like how Prince learned about being a Jehovah’s witness from Larry Graham. Stan and Chick are the jazzy, dad’s-record-collection version of religious-indoctrination music friends.)

Journey to Love is called a classic by the dads of the world. How silly. Calm down, dads. The album’s just your basic cleaning-the-house record (side B especially), with some perfectly nice guest appearances (Jeff Beck, George Duke). What really sells this thing is “Concerto for Jazz/Rock Orchestra,” the world’s clunkiest title for a song that happens to be the source of some good breaks—like the part at this exact moment, from Endtroducing…, and the one in that song by the King of Detroit/my heart, Danny Brown (“Guitar Solo”). “Hey, glasses-wearing production wizard Quelle Chris, where’s that loop from?,” I almost asked him about a hundred times on Twitter right after I got The Hybrid, but stopped because I am shy. I hoped I’d find out the answer at the guitar solo. And wouldn’t you know, that’s exactly what happened.

(Guitar solo by David Sancious.) 
“Song for John II” has a pretty, 9-note piano snippet that would make for an excellently emo break. C’mon, producers. And the plinky sounds at the beginning of the title track sound like the “Thuggish Ruggish Bone” break even though, yes, I am aware of the actual sample source. Any mention of Bone Thugs in 2012 means I’m either talking about Rocky’s flow, listening to KDAY’s lunchtime hour, marveling at how much Delonte West looks like Bizzy Bone, or complaining about the current lack of sing-song rap. I’m also complaining about the continued presence of Khalifa on my car radio, and about the stereotypes that seem inherent to rapper profiles (in which the profiler marvels at the fact that the rapper being profiled is actually an intelligent human being who is careful with his money.) Grantland, I adore you. But the “You mean to tell me Waka’s not a complete moron?” story angle is not compelling. Waka loves his mom, I assume. He watches Sportscenter, goes to CVS or whatever the Georgia version of CVS is, and is not a Vice Lord. This description also fits me, my mailman, and everyone reading this, probably. Adult Swim, emoticons, the mall, McDonald’s, all normal everything: WE ARE ALL WAKA, except for the part about having beautiful hair and being 7 feet tall. His normalcy is not surprising. Plus he has zero felonies, which is good, because having even one thing in common with Chris Brown or Scooter Libby makes you less of a man. Listen, I’m not against rap. I’m not against rappers. But I am against those thugs.
ANYWAY. Stanley graduated to soundtracks in the ‘90s, a classic hustle for every family man in the industry who is middle-aged and tired of touring. Stanley also briefly worked on the music for Pee-Wee’s Playhouse (!), a fact which delights the 9-year old girl inside of me. (The show also received musical contributions from Danny Elfman and Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh—a fact that I should’ve known in preparation for my upcoming Jeopardy! appearance, even though Devo is more Cash Cab than Jeopardy!)

[Stan later did the music for Roll Bounce (with Nile Rodgers!). I’m embarrassed to say how many times I’ve seen that film, but this has less to do with my choices in viewing habits or my weakness for Bow Wow’s seductive eyes and 5’2” stature (swoon) as it does with VH-1’s rerun habits. The film has a scene where all the boys are watching Meagan Good put on her skates and “Love to Love You Baby” is playing. It’s seductive as hell, not because I want to make out with Meagan although that would be just fine, but because I want to be Meagan. Listen, guys: we all just want to be gazed upon like in corny urban youth life lesson movies, or kicked game to while a song plays, like in the “Every Little Step” video.]

Jeopardy! Fact: Nemperor Records was started by the Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein, who carried on a love affair with speed and benzos that ended badly. Re-routing your brain chemicals is probably the only way to live when you’re gay and it’s illegal to be gay in your home country, though. The closest I can come to understanding this kind of anguish is when I think about the world we live in and the fact that there are monsters out there who have the nerve to sell their old Zapp and Bunny Wailer records to local stores.
Personal goal: Well, go on a journey to love, obviously. It’s the best kind of journey upon which a lady can possibly embark. 

Vanilla Fudge (ATCO, 1967). $5.
This goddamn band had the arrogance/cluelessness to do a droning, nonironic cover of “Shotgun,” so I am kind of mad at them. And their “Eleanor Rigby” is long and rambl-y, like how I can be with blog posts sometimes. Vanilla Fudge is worth having based entirely on their version of “Bang Bang,” beauuuutifully looped by the Alchemist, who then had to go fuck it up by getting mushmouth Lloyd Banks to say some rhymed words over it. The song is apparently from a video game called Saints Row, with which I am unfamiliar because I am a lady, but I looked it up and its basic premise is “cartoony gang violence and cornball voiceovers,” which explains the whole Banks connection.

They take on “People Get Ready” and “You Keep Me Hanging On,” which is pretty gutsy. I respect guts. But I’m not sure what’s supposed to be appealing about slowed-down, droning covers of Mayfield and Motown songs–and even in the producing hands of THE GOD Shadow Morton, whose echo chamber I would like to live in forever and ever (oh hello, Organized Noize!), they still can’t get it right. Am I being too hard on Vanilla Fudge? Hm. Probably. It’s my high standards. No apologies. But to keep things in perspective, I’ll point out that The Doors’ “Light My Fire,” Morrison’s droning exercise in how to sound bored while describing sex, was #1 in the country when this record came out. Drone, drone. People like terrible music, what can you do. But then, Aretha’s “Baby I Love You,” a song that is not droning or terrible in the least, was riding high on the charts too. Jerry Wexler never produced droning stuff, you guys, plus he’s one in a long line of musical production gods for whom I would convert to Judaism if asked. Ain’t no doubt about it, baby I love him

Madlib used “Eleanor Rigby” in a Lootpack’s “Crate Diggin.” “Never Top 40,” he says in the song, “just that raw addict vintage.” I do not subscribe to this philosophy, since driving around in the Prius with the radio on is one of my life’s great pleasures. But arguing with Madlib about music is like arguing with me about hips, meaning: don’t do that. Respect the master. I’ve reached my saturation point with regard to various popular-culture touchstones in 2012; I’m good when it comes to holograms, hearing that goddamn Gotye song again, and seeing Tebow’s stupid face. I’m never ever good, however, in terms of seeing enough Madlib interviews. Just found this one, in which he does his impression of an adult human Earthling doing earthly things (haircut, dinner). He slips up at the end when he admits he can restore his body’s power supply on 2 hours of sleep per night, which is of course how they do on his home planet. Otis, I see your outer-space glow under your human skin suit. Nice try. 

“For best results observe the R.I.A.A. high frequency roll-off characteristic with a 500 cycle crossover.” OBVIOUSLY.
Jeopardy! fact: The note above is pretty common on records from the ‘50s and ‘60s, when different record companies used different EQ compensation curves. Turnover is where the bass boost starts, I just learned; rollover is where the treble cut starts.  Preamps had controls that adjusted accordingly for proper sound. Today, most records use the standard RIAA curve. This newly-acquired piece of knowledge could very likely mean that I have reached my nerd apex. This is big for me! Buy me a drink next time we hang out.

Personal goal: Change the curve standard when it comes to hips, you feel me? (Pretty sure you do.)

Shield me from the harsh rays of the sun, O Dayton funk gods! 

(And for Zapp/bikini-clad rap-break nerd continuity, somebody please mention Biggie mumbling “somethingsomething, nice breasts in the west” in the comments or I’ll be really disappointed.)

Zapp (Warner Bros., 1980). $1. 
There are those dudes, the car-aesthetic nerds of the world, who probably love Daytons more than me. Curren$y for sure, and maybe Trick Daddy. Who loves Zapp more than me, though? Nobody! Nobody. Except maybe Dam-Funk and Quik. Nobody else, though. Yes I’m still watching Quik’s “What’s in My Bag?” often, and living, absolutely living for the moment at 01:52 when the interviewer asks him what kind of equipment he listens on and he goes, “Oh, my system?” and does the old-man lean complete with the hand on the hip and the attempt to suppress how excited he is about what he’s about to describe. Love him. Quik’s aging really well, too, right? He’ll always look like he’s 25.
Zapp came out in the summer, when the average temperature in Dayton is 83. That’s perfect weather for driving around while being bathed in talkboxy bass. In LA we know about it. We know Zapp. It would normally be unnecessary for a Los Angeles County lady to purchase this album, since “More Bounce” plays on local radio between 6 and 8 times daily. However, when that resident sees a copy of it for $1 at the local shop, well, she would be a fool not to buy it. Apparently it was produced by a William “Bootsy” Collins (?) whom I will be Googling shortly. I’d like to find out more about him, see if he worked on any other albums. Recorded at United Sound Systems in Detroit, Michigan it says in tiny print, upside down, on the back cover, like I’m not going to notice. That studio is legendary—John Lee Hooker*, Marvin, Aretha. Summon those spirits, Bootsy!

“Make it Zappy. It’s about that mowf.” I wanna say CHUUUCH but I’m far too schoolteacherish to pull it off. I’ll just stick with Truuuue, true.
“So where’s that mowf at right now?” the back cover wants to know, prompting a Whoa, HEY! You don’t know me like that from me every time I see it. Every time.
Known for its Ohio players (Kyrie Irving, Jim Brown), its Ohio players (Faze-O, The Pretenders, Slave, Bone Thugs), and its Ohio Players (from Dayton, just like Zapp), it’s a red state that holds no allure for me outside of its contributions to my record collection. But the power of Roger Troutman is evident when you consider that last year we voted to make “More Bounce,” a song done by Ohioans, the official song of LA. It narrowly beat out “Welcome to the Jungle” (meh), “It’s Funky Enough” (which it is, obviously), and “Whoop Whoop,” because that beat and Kam’s beautifully bright white tshirts represent the best of Los Angeles in such a fresh way. (Sorry, Cube.) Roger Troutman also deserves accolades for beating the tremendous odds stacked against him by being born with the name Roger Troutman.

The radio version of “More Bounce” cuts out the first few minutes, and really, you’re not missing much. The fact remains that I LOVE a song that bosses me around and calls me “mama” like ‘70s men used to*. Getgetgetgetgetgetonnnnn the dance floooooor, baby/Get dowwwwwn, mama. YES, MASTER, WATCH ME GET DOWN; is this good for you and are you enjoying what I am working with? I just wanna please the song. I let the song slap me around a little bit. I’m even willing to shut up about various ridiculous things (like my theory explaining why Southside gets a whole extra whoop), just because “More Bounce” tells me to shut up. Sometimes I try to talk back but then the song grabs my shoulders and says stuff like You gon learn, Logan. You gon learn. 

* In 2012 we get “mami,” which just isn’t as good.

Jeopardy! fact: The NCAA banned the use of the word “player.” Not only is this insanely dumb and insulting to our intelligence (they’re student athletes, says the NCAA, emphasis on “student”! Pay no mind to the revenue generated from TV and licensing deals!), the ban made it hard when I tried to request “Baby Come Back” from the DJ during Kentucky’s post-victory party back at Kidd-Gilchrist’s place. “Pplayer” (the spelling according to the back of Zapp) is still fine, luckily, and it sounds just like Slum Village’s “Playyyy-errrrrs.” I’m still not convinced it isn’t. I’m aware of the alleged sample source, but I don’t care. I’m stubborn.


Personal goal: Get somebody to use *“The Motor City’s Burning” as a break. How player would that be, man.

Bunny Wailer, Blackheart Man (Island, 1976). $2!
I know alllllll about Jamaica because of Sly & Robbie, and my ex-boyfriend Lennox from Belly. It’s a terribly frightening paradise with floaty basslines and crushing poverty, sexy dance moves, ass, super dope soundclashes, class warfare. Lots of easy-to-fetishize qualities; you get the idea. My life in Echo Park can’t compete, but still, who wan ramp wit me? NOBODY, since I got this piece of round black vinyl containing gorgeous music. BUNNY WAILER 2 BUCKS, I sent in a jubilant text to my brother when I found this magical object. Not bragging; just sharing the good news. 
The title track sells the whole thing. It’s beautiful. (The blackheart man in apt. 680 these days is Willard Mitt Romney, although I suppose he’s more DepravedIndifferenceMan, or maybe just ArrogantMan.) And that Tommy McCook flute to open: whyyyy hasn’t someone chopped and looped it?

The song’s about the weirdo in the neighborhood who’s either quiet and misunderstood but ultimately gentle (Boo Radley) or quiet and really fucking paranoid (George Zimmerman). Bunny and Peter have similar voices, with Bunny’s being a little lower, I guess? I like the lower registers of musical gentlemen, nice baritones—Kool AD, Rakim, Bun, whatshisname in The National. They all sound stern, like they’re giving me daddy lectures when they catch me sneaking into the house at 2 AM. Love it.

I could do without most of side B. And Bunny’s “Armagideon” is not as lovely as Willie Williams’, which causes a small amount of disappointment. Still, Blackheart Man is a treasure. Find it. You got your Iyaric lessons, standard; floaty basslines, songs about glory and trains. Snatch it up if you get the chance, if only so that you can join the club started by that random YouTube commenter in which we all sit around and talk about how disturbingly proud we are to have Blackheart Man on vinyl. 

It’s got all the credits you’d expect from an Island record in the ’70s—last names like Barrett, Tosh, Blackwell. There’s Richard “Dirty Harry” Hall on saxophone, who lacks a pop-culture sax-riff moment (RIP Greg Ham!) but nonetheless makes his presence felt by stealing both the show and the DJ booth in Rockers. Knowing what’s best for the crowd because he is a magical shaman psychologist, he plays “Queen Majesty,” a 1) Curtis-Mayfield-written 2) plea for romance despite socioeconomic differences that 3) has the loveliest chord progression I’ve heard all week, which is basically every element that a great song could possibly contain, other than maybe 4) some Rick Rock production? Although the greatest moment in Rockers is Kiddus I in the studio, the club takeover is one epic movie scene. SWOON, THOSE CHORDS. “Queen Majesty” interlude, yall. 
Go on.  You’re not so busy or heartless that you can’t let the whole thing play.

Jeopardy! fact: In the universe’s latest LOL, it turns out Farrakhan is part Jewish, maybe?   

Personal goal: Find a version of Rockers without subtitles. I understand overstand their inclusion but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Bemoaning the RapGenius-ing of this great country is my new party-conversation topic. My opening argument is that it’s turned us all into a bunch of needy, dumb babies. I close with “When Doom gets a verified account, I’ll consider giving it a chance.” Then I turn and sashay off.

.. .

Tied By 12: The Time x Buddy Miles

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!

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, neither Mouth 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?

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:

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.]

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 for hendrix + girlfriend makes 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.

’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 winged sandals 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.]

Before he was in Band of Gypsys, comprised of 3 dudes who made the noise of 10, Buddy played on Electric Ladyland with Jack Casady, bassist for Jefferson Airplane. Jefferson Ave. is the 2001 DJ Assault record that has your daughter doin things you don’t think she oughta. The sole premise of Assault’s music is I wanna see some asses wigglin, which proves he would be killer at managing a leotard-and-fishnets-based female music group with occasional singing, like Morris tried back in ’84


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



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.

10. YAPER. 
“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 had been 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.
$12,000 is the amount E-40 gave his high school alma mater for new band equipment, eliciting a huge AWWW from me. Earl Stevens can do no wrong. He is my lifelong English professor (Ball So Hard U) and clairvoyant ironic-lyric writer (“Watch out for that boy in the hoodie, man, he a monster”), and his power move of writing a big fat check reminds me once again that, even though sometimes it seems like it’s something to a boss, it is actually nothing to a boss. NOTHING. I’m the only one in my entire city who’s not in love with this “Recipe” song from Dre and Kendrick, because K’s sneer-growl flow is forced and I don’t believe the part about girls taking their panties off for him. PLEASE, KENDRICK. Please.  There’s some hoes in this town but c’mon now. Plus I’m just mad that Beats By Dre cost half a fucking month’s rent. I am still in love with “The Recipe” from ’08, however, and not just because that th-th-that th-that could totally be ME as the cooking show lady with the Cali accent during the hook and intro.

11. TOONS.
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.

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.
d. Morris’ “You better find a brand new bag, cuz these is my drawers” from “My Drawers,” which absolutely should have been pitched-down and used in Devin’s “In My Draws,” even though the finished product is hard to argue with.

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)
“Sex Shooter,” Apollonia 6. “Machine Gun,” Band of Gypsys.

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.


No worries bout nothin – just gettin good just gettin good just gettin good luh-uhh-huhhh-vinnn records.


(Moral support via Daniel Dumile and Grandma’s afghan.)

My entire hair repertoire, from “smooth and nicely-brushed” to “aw fuck it.”

BEAT SWAP MEET #17, 03/11/12 – My grasp of what constitutes “style” is limited, but I know that ladies should always accentuate the indent where the waist meets the hips and that the cotton sundress is timeless. I know that unless you are dating Fabolous, your boyfriend doesn’t care what brand your skirt is. I love those Jordan IV Cements on a gentleman, and I wish more of you dressed like Peter Tosh in the ‘70s. Jeans that are a little too tight look the best on me (sorry, Mom). Men’s size M Champion v-necks, the comfiest sleeping attire, are $20 for 5 (Hanes’ labor practices are inhumane and the company should not be supported with your money. Also ask me about, if you have 10 minutes to kill: La Perla’s superiority over Victoria’s Secret). I have foolishly bought several handbags that are so expensive they came with authenticity cards. I was listening to a lot of Clipse at the time.

“If it is not beautiful, it will not last. In the end you buy the pieces you cannot resist,” says the house of Lanvin’s artistic director and adorable bear-like human Alber Elbaz. (I can’t afford Lanvin. In case I’m ever seated at the same wedding-reception table with Pharrell and at least one Thornton brother, I’m keeping my knowledge of the line close at hand.) Elbaz was referring to ladies desperately needing to have one of his preposterous fantasy pieces, reassuring them that it’s OK to spend $3500 on a halter jumpsuit, but it’s like he was talking to anyone with a compulsion to collect lovely objects, which is to say it’s like he was talking right at record nerds. Pieces are irresistible. I don’t deny myself the pleasure of good finds. It’s just that I have to reign it in when it comes to spending. I work, I eat, I keep my lights on and my rent paid, I put some in savings, and other than that, my money goes to the purchasing of records, which, in the end, I cannot resist.

There’s a Beat Swap meet once every few months in LA; I am always there, so I was at the most recent one, a couple Sundays ago. 17 records later, I’m back with my report on the pleasures, the frustration, the rooms of so many elbows. I limited my spending to $50, apparently because I’m really into self-punishment-? I sold my original autographed test-pressing of Kraftwerk for 5 bucks. I ate a whole bunch of Miracle Whip. I wrote a love letter to Tim Tebow, charisma-free soldier for the lord. Then I listened to a bunch of Iggy Azalea and voted for Rick Santorum. Oh wait, no – the $50 cap was actually established because I have to pay my rent. I’d go crazy without a limit, like Hammer in the late ’80s, flinging cash carelessly except in tight pants. But it turns out a lady doesn’t have to choose between adding depth to her music collection or keeping a roof over her head. $47 for a collection of goodies is how it’s done. Yes, I’m sure I did get the Person with Breasts discount at my stops throughout the afternoon, a fact that may be upsetting for those without breasts but a fact that I think is just a version of affirmative action. My private areas are fodder for political gain. My paycheck amount drops by 30% because of my gender. The last song I heard on classic rock radio whined to me that there are lots of people talking but few of them know that the soul of a woman was created below. Please just let me have my small, $47 victories.

Berkeley city limits begin at Alcatraz Ave., just above the 50s and 60s of North Oakland, according to my geography teachers Main Attrakionz. If you are from Berkeley and you are a dude who is pretty, you really have it made, your chain looks like lightning and nobody knows quite what to make of you but this aura is magic, it’s precious rap currency; maybe you’ll be invited to NYU one day and I won’t be able to decide if this is a sign of academic enlightenment or if it’s just an excuse for academia to gawk at a weirdo. And if you are from Berkeley and not so pretty, but you can drum, and people don’t know what to make of you (black? white?), then you are Johnny Otis. And you’re in my record collection and I love you. 
1. The Johnny Otis Show, Featuring Mighty Mouth Evans & Shuggie Otis, Cold Shot! (Kent, 1968). $4.

“I can tell the way she walks, she ain’t been here long”: “Country Girl” is the sexy standout on Cold Shot!, and this would be true even were it not for my personal bias (I am healthy in body and wide-hipped, just like the girl in the song). The back-and-forth between Johnny and Mighty Mouth Evans, plus a super-cute baby Shuggie (age 15!) on guitar make up for the fact that it’s a song about the heterosexual male’s eyeball-pleasing experience of watching a woman walk down the street. Not to bring down the room, but please note that if you are the owner of that womanly body, and the eyeing is not consensual, the experience is less pleasant. Sigh. Sorry, gentlemen. Let’s all remember our mothers and sisters before we honk our horns in celebration of the ladyform, please. Ogling’s still great in the bedroom, though—especially if you find a way to isolate the drums and guitar in “Me and My Woman” and just play it on a loop as a seduction technique.

Jeopardy! Fact: Johnny Otis was technically from Berkeley, but he first hit planet Earth in Vallejo and was bosslike, just like E-40.

Personal Goal: LA’s a graveyard of shut-down record labels and studios. I need to start my own tour of these sites, catering to persons just like me, who want to see where Let’s Get It On and Quik is the Name were recorded (i.e., me. And Oliver Wang. And Dave Tompkins, if he would ever email me back). Kent Records used to be here, right by the Slauson Super Mall, star of a hundred Nipsey Hussle songs that will never make it to my headphones. I just can’t get into him. Lord knows I’ve tried, Los Angeles. 

William, Walter, and Eddie, doing 1972’s version of “pretty.” 
In 2012 we get A$AP Rocky in some damn camo cargo shorts.
2. The O’Jays, Back Stabbers (Philadelphia International, 1972).$3.
My 17-year-old cousin has been trying to inform me that squiggly-echo beat professionals The Weeknd and The-Dream are bickering, but, Oh dear!, sorry!, I can’t hear this news over the sound of GROWN MEN making music about GROWN MEN things such as LIFE and LOVE and BACKSTABBERY*. Nice watch, Terius. Nice house. Nice loft, guy from Canada. Nice car, nice bowlful of oxy, nice seafood dinner. You’re doing all right for yourselves, gentlemen. It’s just that crooned stuntery is kind of Kells’ domain.    
Yes yes, you’re right, of course I should’ve had this one in my collection already. It’s just not that hard to find. Without that panic in my stomach warning that I’ll never come across it again, I’ve taken for granted that I can get it whenever. It’s the Rumours of Philly soul. Plus I’m really such a Temps lady; David Ruffin is the gravelly-voiced captain of my heart, so there’s not a lot of room left over for gravelly-voiced Eddie LeVert. And sometimes Gamble & Huff’s production is too shiny and clean and disco-y for my taste (“Shiftless, Shady, Jealous Kinds of People”); you know, a lady just needs some heartache x guts sometimes when it comes to vocals x production (Ruffin x Whitfield, 1966-8). When they’re right, though, the strings are so right (“When the World’s at Peace,” the break in that “props like Norm Peterson” track that introduced Jeru to the world). On a related props note, some should be thrown to YouTube for kindly offering an instrumental of Cam’s “Triple Up.” Blissfully free of his voice, the beat is based around a sample of “Shiftless” and was produced by Headbangaz Ent., formerly headquartered on Broad Street in Columbus. In 2012 the spot is home to a Subway, doggy. And Cam turns up in a red sweater vest on Love & Hip-Hop, concerned about the state of affairs between Jones and that lady who works for him. Cam’s concerned, you guys. But in 2012, really, what else is he gonna do with all his free time.   
A hundred rap professionals have tried to do the title track justice. Project Pat’s the only one who got it sort of right, mostly just because he’s Pat but also because he brought Crucial Conflict (!) along for the ride. Jay Rock gets points for his buttery plaid button-up and denim ensemble on that album cover, ladies are you with me, but the O’Jays-sampling “Who Am I” from that earlier mixtape is not great. Rap game stressful, you guys. Coming-up-with-new-ideas-for-songs game stressful too. And when you’re a fellow MC from south of the 10 freeway it’s hard to kompete with Kurupt, the King of Kadence. (Luckily, “Zip That Chop That,” a 2-year-old pre-fame period piece, is still great, and beautifully displays how our gentlemen out here do that classic LA thing of keeping their white Ts super clean, plus Ab-Soul is actually Gusto from CB4. But I can already tell Schoolboy’s going to have kind of a belly as an older dude).
*100% Grade-A Certified Grown-Man R&Beef, for the record, is Teddy Pendergrass having an affair with Marvin Gaye’s wife. Please take a seat or go post to your Tumblr, everyone else signed to a major.

Jeopardy! Fact: The trio named itself in honor of DJ Eddie O’Jay – a sweet but weird tribute, like a group in 2012 calling itself The Funkmasters, which is actually kind of a cool name but they’d ruin it by calling their first single “Bomb Drop,” with verses about car shows and the Tunnel and people being told that they know what it is, all delivered in a yelling manner. I’m excited about The Green Lanterns’ debut album, though.

Personal Goal: Find out if anyone else is getting a “young Morris Chestnut” vibe from Eddie LeVert up there (far right).  

3. The Staple Singers & Curtis Mayfield, Let’s Do It Again soundtrack (Curtom, 1975). $6.
“The voice of God, if you must know,” said Marianne Faithfull, “is Aretha Franklin’s.” The voice of God according to my dad and ESPN Classic, however, is John Facenda’s. So I’m conflicted.

God’s voice is actually probably Doom; who am I kidding. And the sound of God trying to get my attention is definitely Curtis’ guitar-squeal that opens the title track, which happened yesterday while I was house-cleaning as the record played in apt. 680. By the way, you guys, God says hi. And he wanted me to tell you all that, for the record, he thinks people should be able to marry whoever they want. And he apologizes for the state of Florida continuing to exist.

Let’s Do It Again is about Jayne Kennedy’s legs making it hard for Cliff Huxtable to concentrate, and James Evans wanting Biggie Smalls to show some goddamn respect while they’re both dressed like they are in Camp Lo. The soundtrack title track is about lounging around in your La Perla bodysuit, doing grown-up things, then falling asleep in a warm glowy puddle of sunshine and oxytocin. The song was #1 on the charts for one glorious week in 1975, and was displaced the following week by KC and the Sunshine Band’s “That’s the Way (I Like It)” in what must have been an emotional letdown for radio listeners. The 2012 equivalent is when I’m driving around LA and Power 106 plays “Function” (YAY/RAWR) immediately followed by something by a Canadian softie in a sweater (UGH/GOD NO). Anyway, you have to flip your hands up in the air and sing along – I mean really, I am watching you to make sure you do it – during the “WHOOH-ooh-uh-OOH-uh” around the 02:30 mark, just like the “whoooooo” during the “Kryptonite” hook. You have to. It’s the law.
Jeopardy! fact: Michael Jackson stole shamone from Mavis. 
Personal Goal: LOOK MORE LIKE JAYNE KENNEDY WHEN WALKING DOWN THE STREET. In ’99 Jayne set the beauty standard for every lovely female in the club pursued by a Sociology major, thanks to “Ms. Fat Booty.” But Mos was pushing a fantasy for you guys! Jayne Kennedy types don’t go to the club! Try the library or the record store.

Winston Rodney is Burning Spear’s real name, since Jamaican parents must name their children as though they are going to take a seat in the British Parliament 30 years later.

4. Burning Spear, Marcus Garvey (Island, 1975). $2.
You are the top student in class today if you knew that Burning Spear named his album after Phife’s high school! And if you laugh at my corny rap-reference jokes! And you are the top student in my heart if you can keep the Jamaica theme going over the next 24 hours – run a gwaan fi dere and get me the instrumental of Nas’ “The Don,” last week’s new one produced by Salaam Remi. Nas is still obsessed with the nation of Colombia, his lyrics are still about cigars, and the whole thing is so ’99. But I love the Super Cat intro, the Super Cat hook, god that beat is just terrific with those big fat thick drums that I’ve been missing since Clams and his spaceship sounds took over. Mostly I’m just grateful for a song without a hashtag in its title.

I recommend the horns on “Marcus Garvey” as aural caffeine (nice work, Bobby Ellis), plus the vocal is so solid – typical of Jamaican singers, those triumphant wails. I also recommend that a producer use the piano-bass-drums snippet at the beginning of “Jordan River” as a break. I do not, however, recommend doing a lyric search of Marcus Garvey, as this will yield verses from terrible MCs trying to give you a history lesson (Lupe, Asher). The good news is that I can pull out my Black Star album for a refresher course, should anyone need it, followed by my mini-speech about Curren$y and how the news about him suing Dame Dash fills me with a deep satisfaction, like when I see a kitten or I hear the bass ride out like an ancient mating call.

“I’m not afraid to say I’m scared,” Thurston wrote in Sonic Youth’s “Burning Spear,” a fun, lo-fi journey of drums and bass that LCD Soundsystem has tried to take me on numerous times through imitation (with a fair amount of success, actually). “In my bed I’m deep in prayer/I trust the speed, I love the fear/The music comes: the burning spear.” You can’t argue with that. Of course Das Racist mentions Burning Spear in lyrics; shockingly, the Beastie Boys do not, according to the quick scan of the Beastie Boys lyrics section of my brain. Anyway, “Deep Ass Shit” has that great Doom loop, which is actually a Madvillain loop but Doom Loop sounds so cool, like an exhilarating, super-scary rollercoaster. Trust the speed. Love the fear.

Jeopardy! Fact: The “Bagawire (alternately spelled “Bag-o-Wire” on Studio One discussion boards) named in the title track is maybe Marcus’ former driver, maybe a family member? In either case, he was close to Marcus and betrayed him.

Personal Goal: Listen to more conscious/love songs. “Marcus Garvey words come to pass,” he sings, and then he turns into a love song with “Come little one/Let me do what I can for youuuuuuu,” which is, swoon, all a girl needs to hear these days.

5. Frank Zappa, apostrophe (’) (Discreet, 1974). $1.
WHEN I SAY ZAP, YOU SAY PA. Grab some, whenever and wherever he turns up (unless I’m there with you, in which case let me have first dibs).

Unkle saw their drum break opportunity with this record and pounced on it. Smart move. But Black Milk – Zappa fan and person who puts DRUMS on his tax return under Occupation – could kill this record, just stab it and leave it for dead on the side of the highway. I’m thrilled to have found apostrophe, but a Zappa-Black Milk meetup in my brain will always take a dark turn as long as the “Zap” break continues to remain elusive. It tortures me. At the swap meet I passed by House Shoes, a man who would definitely know what that break source is, but I was too shy to say anything even though he and I have a mutual love of Dennis Coffey. I am shaky and large-eyed and nervous, like a Chihuahua. Alcohol doesn’t work very well for me as a social lubricant so a drink would not have helped. I relax on half a Valium and THIS playing when I stroll around:

Jeopardy! Fact: Discreet was Zappa’s label subsidiary, his attempt to subvert the corporate interests of the mighty Warner Bros. Records (just like Prince would attempt a few years later. I am told this did not end well). Discreet also put out an album by Ted Nugent in ’74. Given the differences in Nugent’s and Zappa’s political views, the only explanation that works here is that Ted must’ve just been “eccentric, bad-boy Michigan woodsman” at this point, and hadn’t yet turned into “INSANE, xenophobic, ‘Get the hell off my property’ right-winger with a shotgun.”


6. Mantronix, In Full Effect (Capitol, 1988). $2!

Best Logo in This Particular Record Haul, no question. Best Band Name. Best Bass. “Do You Like…Mantronik?” is the album’s best song, and for the record I LOVE Mantronik, thank you, but the album’s Best Song Title is “In Full Effect (In Full Effect),” which, in case you forgot, is on that Mantronix album called In Full Effect. And isn’t it super fresh that dudes are once again are dressing like this, in 2012? Yes, it’s fresh (it’s fresh). It’s fresh.

Jeopardy! Fact: In Full Effect came out in ’88, as did In Effect Mode by your man Al B. Sure! I’m not sure which is the better album title, but Al “definitely had the better hair,” says Ryan Evans, guard for Wisconsin.“Oh really, because I prefer his eyebrows,” adds Anthony Davis.

Personal Goal: Run into Peanut Butter Wolf at Trader Joe’s sometime. He and I need to have a chat about these guys.

7. Sade, Lovers Rock (Epic, 2000). Price: classified. Too cheap to be legal.
Like me, Sade has a very un-sexy first name (Helen!), prefers hoop earrings to doorknockers, and likes to show off her tummy. We are one. If Sade and I had both made Nas’ “obedient fantasy objects with female anatomy” list and if we had both been introduced by Tom Hanks at least once, we would truly be the same person.

Expensive records are like a cruel taunt from the universe. I’m out here tryin to function, which in Bay slang means “Pay my rent and add to my record collection without compromising my ability to pay my rent.” Box sets of Doom 45s are wicked temptation, as is anything with the words “limited edition colored vinyl” on the cover. Torture. At Amoeba, Lovers Rock is $30, but my strong sense of justice/broke-ness has prevented me from laying down the cash. Turns out I was smart to wait this one out, because I found a pristine virgin beautiful shining brand-new copy for much MUCH less than $30 at the swap meet. There was bargaining involved – I wrote a number on a piece of paper and slid it across the folding-table to the eccentric booth proprietor wearing a dirty old Kentucky Wildcats t-shirt. The final price is a secret; 17 records for $47 total, though, remember? Let’s just say that the Person With Breasts discount is a beautiful thing. Everybody was jealous of this find when I walked around with it, but I didn’t gloat because that’s unladylike. Gloating on the Internet, however? Super ladylike.

Jeopardy! facts: 1. The name Folasade (Sade shortened it) is Yoruban and means “honor earns a crown.” 2. Dizzee Rascal is half Nigerian. And “Where’s da G’s” is still incredible, 4 years later. 3. Sadly, superfox Idris Elba is not at all Nigerian (half Sierra Leonean, half Ghanaian). Neither is Doom (Dumile is a Zimbabwean name). But did you see that? I still met my goal of working them both into this post.

Personal Goals: 1. Show off my tummy more. 5 days out of the week is not enough. 2. Give my love completely, like Sade offers her man in “By Your Side.” Provide warmth, sweetness. Be as ride-or-die as possible while still maintaining feminist beliefs. I am also determined not to let love disrupt, corrupt or interrupt me, just like my buddy Jack White. But mostly I just hope to deeply feel the power of love while skateboarding, like Marty McFly.

Art direction by Ed Thrasher, who also did the Purple Rain cover!
8. Allen Toussaint, Southern Nights (Reprise, 1975). $7.
“Nice! (Toussaint) produced The Meters,” said my new friend Andy, owner of a record store in Montebello, CA. He saw Southern Nights in my hand, freshly purchased from another seller.

“Yes, I know! And Dr. John! And Lee Dorsey!” I said, in a very nice way, I promise. (I’m a know-it-all, but I was raised right.) “C’mon, Andy! It’s not amateur hour.” Andy smiled, and thus a new friendship bloomed in the Los Angeles afternoon, the sunlight bouncing all over the place while EWF’s “Getaway” played. I can be intensely nerdy and high-spirited, and did not want to scare Andy off. Thus, in our first few minutes of knowing each other, things I kept to myself included the fact that Toussaint means “all saints” in French, and he wrote the song that was later used for the “meet your bachelorettes” portion of The Dating Game (“Whipped Cream,” as played by Herb Alpert). I suppressed my speech about how Arcade Fire are direct descendents of Earth Wind & Fire, since they both traffic in joy, multilayered arrangements, that thing where there are 50 people on stage, and lyrics about a better life. Nor did I start a spirited round of “Handclap Ranking,” my most favorite party game, in which the topic of whether Toussaint’s perfectly-placed handclaps on the Meters’ “Handclapping Song” are superior to the ones on “Nolia Clap” or “Party All the Time.” That comes later in our relationship.

HAND. CLAPS. The “We Luv Deez Hoes” break is proof that Antwan and Andre have the same taste in records as me. And I am not a ho but I bet you I could catch the eye of any straight man from the counties of Fulton or DeKalb because I wear jeans that are a little too tight and because, in the words of Lee Dorsey as written and produced by Toussaint, everything I do gon be funky from now on. EVERYTHING.

Jeopardy! Fact: Just a repeat of that superdope Purple Rain fact I provided to you up top there. 

Personal Goal: Get Big Boi to take me to the Cheesecake Factory.

Lalo had a meannnnn “Jack in The Shining” hairdo in ‘71.

9. Lalo Schifrin, Rock Requiem (Verve, 1971). $3. $3!
Lalo’s real name is Boris but when you grow up in Argentina you get a cool Latin nickname and cool Latin cachet – like how Gisele is actually a no-hips-having broad of German descent but she gets to check off “Brazilian” on Census forms. No fair. Anyway, when it comes to nicknames, Jamaicans are tops at giving them (Family Man, Stepping Razor, Bunny, Scratch, Horsemouth, Bag-o-Wire), but this GQ piece by big ol’ goofy Thunder forward Nick Collison is proof that NBA players can hold their own. Nick’s an over-explainer; his heart’s in the right place, though. “Eric Maynor is mostly referred to as ‘E’ but I call him ‘Sleazy-E.’ This is adaptated from the rapper Eazy-E.” Thanks, Nick! Got it, buddy! “Russheed Wallace” is a cute one for Russell Westbrook (because of all those technicals), but I cannot support “Jimbo Slice” for James Harden. “(Insert first letter)-imbo (Insert first letter)-ice” has already been done about a hundred times, most notably by this really intense, grouchy MC from Brownsville. Thus I have decided James Harden is “Jalley,” because of that Stalley beard. “J-Halley” is also acceptable.

Rock Requiem was a respectable purchase, though percussion deities King Errisson and Ron Tutt are underused. Also I’m still confused as to why Ron never got the nickname “King” since his last name is Tutt. Of additional note: It says “For the dead in southeast Asia” on the back, a heavy, serious concept that Marvin Gaye took on that same year but in a way sexier fashion. Marvin added James Jamerson and some front-cover sexy wistfulness and though I was not alive that year, I decided in 1971 that Marvin and I should probably kiss and maybe get married. The song “Agnus Dei” bangs, and the song title “Kyrie Eleison” (I had to look it up) means lord have mercy, which is like how your Aunt Jean says it, as opposed to the lawdaMERcy of Cutty Ranks. And Alexander Saint Charles (Mustafa voice on “Final Prayer”) appears a few years later on Quincy’s Body Heat, the title track of which is used in a “They Want EFX” remix, the original of which is dipped in purple stuff and used in “Trilla,” shoutout to Beautiful Lou for emailing me the instrumental because I asked sweetly, and shoutout to Danny Brown’s supercalafragilistic tic-tac flow during his turn in the XXL cypher. He says about 8 words during his turn and still puts heads to bed. Bum-stiggedy. 

Jeopardy! Fact: Gradual (side A) features Mike Melvoin on organ. That’s “Wendy and Lisa” Wendy’s dad!

Personal Goal: Get a tight, tight nickname – NOT something like “Henchman” or “Un.” Those dudes are what my 13-year-old cousin would call “bitch made.”

10. Love Unlimited, Under the Influence Of…Love Unlimited (20th Century, 1973). 99¢.

Breaks-use low points include Wale and Khalifa, two individuals whose success I take as personal insult. High points, thankfully, include the Beatnuts, 9th Wonder, and Buckwild, who harnessed the woodwind and keys from “Under the Influence of Love” up there and crafted this, my heroic theme song as I glide over rooftops to save Gotham from The Joker.

Jeopardy! Fact: Glodean, on the far right up there, entered into holiest and funkiest of matrimonies with Mr. Barry White in ’74, the image of which is now giving me sexy nightmares. She looks pretty dainty, that’s all I’m saying.

Personal Goal: Introduce JuJu to my dad


11. Roy Ayers Ubiquity, Mystic Voyage (Polydor, 1975). $3.

Shoutout to you, biology-teacher-looking-guy with red hair at the booth upstairs who was amazed and a little jealous that I have an original copy of Ayers’ Change Up the Groove (NWA break, Pretty Purdie on drums). Felt good. But NONSHOUTOUT TO YOU, guy who had the unabashed GALL to walk around in a Celtics jersey while the LA-Boston game was on the TV (inside, near the bar). By the time the game was over, he was gone and I never got the chance to make some kind of sassy comment to him about the superiority of the Lakers (97-94). Ah well, at least LA won, and at least the team still has the ultra-clutch Derek Fisher, who, in a typically reliable performance that day, had 9 points and 2 assists, along with his usual bag full of calm vibes and classy sportsmanship, contributions which cannot be quantified! He will forever be frozen in time as a Laker and never every go awa–OH.

All fired up after seeing the clown in green and white, because I’m exactly like Buggin Out in Do the Right Thing, my city pride swelled. It suddenly became extra necessary to buy some vinyl by a local musician. I already have Appetite for Destruction and Forever Changes on vinyl, and while my copy of Detox seems to keep getting lost in the mail, I do have No One Can Do It Better which contains the Dre work I hold most dear. I needed an LA someone – preferably someone who has been on the scene ever since honeys (my mom) was wearin Sassoon. I also needed to get some music-nerd points back after enjoying that awful “Thun Thun” song on the radio a little too much during my drive to the swap meet. (Link provided just so I can prove to you that Tyga’s curtains-in-a-Southern-funeral-home-meets-Chris-Wallace style is not something I made up). I chose a little Ayers, which obviously hit the spot. I am a genius. Logan, you’re a genius, you’ll say at my next BBQ, when I put on “Brother Green (The Disco King)” and the ladies put on their Sassoons and dance and drive the boys wild. (The song was written by Ayers and Edwin Birdsong, who had a hit with “Cola Bottle Baby,” a jam about the way my Sassoons compliment my shape.) Then I put on “Rapper Dapper Snapper” and we all drink Patron and talk about breaks, and someone says This is what heaven is. Blame it on the Patron but it’s the goddamn truth.  

Jeopardy! Fact: The brownstone-owning, OJ-drinking Celtic fan in Do the Right Thing was played by John Savage, character actor on cop shows. He worked as an assistant production manager for certain sequences of Malcolm X – which was shot in South Africa, where Savage was living at the time working with Nelson Mandela on the anti-apartheid movement. This only slightly makes up for his attempts to gentrify Brooklyn, however.

Personal Goal: Make an Ayers x Isley mixtape for someone I have a crush on. Call it Mystic Voyage to Atlantis.

12. Scritti Politti, Cupid & Psyche 85 (Virgin, 1985). 99¢.

Remember the “driving home from my mom’s after Christmas 2011” moment in the Prius, when The Outfield’s “Your Love” came on the radio? I nearly drove off the road to my death, remember, because I was so delirious with melody and fuzzy guitar chords? Scritti Politti’s “Perfect Way” is like that, plus 3 Zolofts in my eggnog plus the sugar from 12 candy canes coursing through my bloodstream, plus KEYS INTERLUDE. Fred Maher produced “Perfect Way,” along with Matthew Sweet’s “Girlfriend,” another delicious piece of fluff celebrating the Caucasian female. This record is exactly what it sets out to be; the songs sound like what the photo above looks like. The synth and drums are pleasing, but in that dated kind of way that we tend to look down on. Fairlight progamming is an actual credit!, bwahaha.” We’re such snobs. But then there’s Arif Mardin‘s name under “producer” for 3 of the tracks, which we appreciate because we’re dorks, and this credit decreases the guilt part of the record’s guilty pleasure ranking. But really all I care about is somebody getting Prince to cover “Perfect Way” at the Fantasy Concert of ’86 That I Will Attend Once I Achieve Time-Travel Abilities*, please.

Jeopardy! fact: We all know about Cupid in Roman mythology. Psyche, however, is lesser-known – she was a mortal girl who was “born too beautiful for her own safety,” a situation with which I am very familiar, obviously. Psyche also means butterfly in Greek! Aww.

Personal Goal: Get a DJ to play “Perfect Way” at the Do-Over.

13. The Fatback Band, Raising Hell (Event/Polydor, 1975). $3.

“This is not music to roller skate by,” explain the liner notes on Eric Dolphy’s Out to Lunch! 

“This is music to roller skate by,” explains me, when I put on Raising Hell. And it’s got that Roni Size break. But I’m still returning my copy because I couldn’t find “My Adidas” anywhere on the track listing.

Jeopardy! Fact: “Fatback” is an actual thing – “the strip of fat from the back of a hog carcass usually cured by drying and salting,” says Webster’s. I’m no longer a Five Percenter, so I can partake if I so choose.  

Personal Goal: Get Fatback’s Let’s Do It Again – “Ah yes, the one with the ‘Mathematics’ break that I flipped,” according to Premier, in my imagination, when he wants to talk about nerd stuff and sends me a DM.

14. Mandrill (Polydor, 1971). $3. And in shockingly great condition.

Dudes say I fuck with this so hard. Dudes in LA say I fuck with this so hord. I am a lady, so I just went Gasp! and said Ohmygodddd and did a little excited jump-up-and-down real quick when I found it. I had this one but not an original of this one, which is only important to the kind of person who cares so deeply about the dearth of originality in modern culture that she posts hateful things about MMG’s roster in rap site comments sections.

Someone named Mark Henry produced that new Don Trip “Help is on the Way,” its beat built atop THISSSSSS, gasp!, Ohmygoddddd what a SONNNNG. Normally I’d back slowly away from a producer who assisted tiny, unpleasant Wale (someone named Mark Henry), especially if this Mark Henry maybe got the break idea from Eminem’s All 12-Step Everything album, but in 2012 I guess I should open my mind a little. No more assumptions. I also thought the combination of a Jodeci snippet and David Banner raps would be an automatic slam-dunk, for example. Alas, no. But if you can do a good approximation of Banner’s YAUGH-ughhh for me, I want to hire you for my parties.

Jeopardy! Fact? Sigh. No, the following would never turn up on Jeopardy! (but it remains a nerd fact that I cherish nonetheless: Mandrill producer Beau Ray Fleming also had a hand in Sun’s albums, including Live On, Dream On, with “My Woman” – used in “Protect and Serve,” from Super Tight (The red one! Oh God. They’re crouching down? You know? The one where Chad had the Mighty Ducks jersey on? Oh Jesus. What’s it called. You know the one I’m talking about – me, describing Super Tight, because I can never remember it’s called Super Tight and that’s not very tight of me.

Personal Goal: Get to Memphis. Need to see Issac’s gold Eldorado, have someone play “Hold On…I’m Comin” when I walk down the street, see the ghost of Otis around every corner, and go record shopping. I also hear I might be able to get some fairly decent BBQ.


15. Ennio Morricone, The Good, the Bad & the Ugly soundtrack (United Artists, 1967). $3.

I’d like El-P (rapbeat master of so many action-tension-release journeys in my headphones) to score a film, so let’s get on that; in the meantime, Morricone is the master of the action-tension-release journey in cinematic sound. The hero of this film is someone named “Blondie.” The “crying coyotes” sound from its main theme is looped in productions by superb musical humans including but not limited to Larry Blackmon and Mannie Fresh. The title itself turns up in Doom’s mouth during “Vomitspit.” It was 3 bucks. It’s Morricone. Case closed. I bought it. “You wanna come home with me?” I asked it, reaching inside to check its body for scratches and other signs of wear. “Listen, I don’t have time for psychological romance,” I said, “just be straight with me.” Seduced, it took me up on my offer. (I was wearing really tight jeans). We’re having a threeway next week when I get the I…Comme Icare soundtrack with the sparkly Rae break.

Jeopardy! Fact: “In my childhood, America was like a religion,” director Sergio Leone said, “Then, real-life Americans abruptly entered my life – in jeeps – and upset all my dreams.” Well, yes. This has been our foreign policy for decades now. I get it, Serge.

He later added, “My greatest fear is that, in the future, young Americans will accept the horrible bars spood-fed to them in a marketing scheme that seeks to further the corporate interests of a large, grunting man who jacks my whole look. Hypnotized 13-year-olds running around shouting BAWSE; I cannot explain this.”

Personal Goal: Time travel. *Cameo are headliners at my Fantasy Concert of 1986, the lineup for which I have been curating in my imagination for the last several days. I’m frequently shuffling the show’s time slots but it’s a done deal that the opener and closer will be Cameo and Prince, respectively. Starship will do “We Built This City,” and when Simply Red comes out to do “Holding Back the Years,” we’ll all sway in the audience and cry and hold each other. DeBarge will definitely do “Rhythm of the Night,” for which we’ll form a dance circle. Oran “Juice” Jones will do “The Rain.” I’ll need Jermaine Stewart to make a brief appearance. We’ll forget him a month later but in the moment we will feel like he’s just going to keep putting out terrific singles. Ready for the World will tear the fucking house down, and Prince will come out and build a new fucking house just to tear it the fuck down, including the basement, perimeter footings, and the concrete foundation. He’ll do a cover of Neil Young’s Heart of Gold, turning it into a 23-minute-long slow-burner with 3 guitar solos. His surprise guest will be Sheila E. He’ll pull me onstage during “A Love Bizarre,” and he’ll impregnate me just by touching my hand. THANK YOU AND GOODNIGHT. For any of you interested in coming to the afterparty, these dudes Derrick, Juan and Kevin are DJing.

“Teeheeheeeeee! OH RICK, you’re so charming and funny! Sure, I’d love to try it! GOD, I feel fantastic! I don’t see how this night could possibly go wrong!”
16. Rick James, Cold Blooded (Gordy, 1983). 99¢.
“I have a lush, thick head of hair. I don’t take myself too seriously. I’m a singer with a refreshing lack of church-choir background. I saw you at the Beat Swap Meet, walkin around with that body like you’re straight off the Bustin Out of L Seven cover; you’re a record nerd with large eyes, and you’re sort of awkward, but I like that. You’re sexy and I want to defile you and tie you up, listen mama, are you cool with that” – Rick’s “Missed Connections” post in search of me. He’s my king and we are in love. See you later, LAMES.

Undeniable jungle cat, professor of Freakonomics, Dude in Italian Leather Who I’d Let Boss Me Around, Rick howls and growls and pleads on Cold Blooded, and it is delicious. But Throwin’ Down is better. And other than the pleasure derived from tracks 1 and 2, Cold Blooded would probably be just another 12” x 12” surface on which I’d chop and snort something if it weren’t for the contributions of Allen McGrier on bass (“Square Biz”; “In My House”). Too many slow jams. And the fact that “Cold Blooded” is supposedly about Linda Blair is too weird for me to cope with. Still, Rick’s white suit inside (gatefold cover) is killer, and like Mac Dre says, “Hoez Love It,” which is true, hoes really do, making Cold Blooded the second record in this haul to have provided a sample source for a ho-themed song (Toussaint/Outkast). Hoes also love the FREEZE part in the middle of the song, where the key changes and the synth takes control like synth is supposed to. Some of my cousins are hoes so I know about these things. I mean it, though – avoid the ballads. When Rick talks to women like they are actual people instead of sex dolls, he loses his touch. The awful “Ebony Eyes,” for example, features Smokey Robinson, who thought he looked cute with a mustache. This was the fault of cocaine. Mustaches are reserved for Slick Rick, Zappa, Morris Day, John Oates of course, my uncle Pete, and Mario & Luigi. Cue “Super Brooklyn.”

Jeopardy! Fact: Back when he was called “Jumpman,” Mario was given a mustache because his mouth was too difficult for the animators to draw in pixellated form. And they made him a carpenter by trade because overalls were an easy outfit to animate.

Personal Goal: Let my hair down/Let my body dowwwwwn more often. To please Rick.

17. King Crimson, Larks’ Tongues in Aspic (Atlantic, 1973). 99¢.
Dark Side of the Moon came out right before this one – same year, same month – which I’m sure prompted lots of nervous stomachaches and “bloody hell”s from the members of King Crimson. Dark Side is completely overrated, email me if you wanna start a fight about this; Wish You Were Here is the better record, and I’m not just saying that because I love beautiful crazies like Syd Barrett.

“Easy Money” is the superstar on Larks’ Tongues; those first 45 seconds are pure Fripp-ery and if you don’t get it, you are straight FRIPP. ING. I care too much about the fact that there’s a credit on this record for the almighty Mellotron, a prog-rock instrument that was “very temperamental and required regular servicing,” much like myself. This bit of history will never turn up on Jeopardy!, yet I’m super invested. Typical. I care too much about finding an original Moğollar pressing, and about my dream of convincing Juicy J to do an all-kung-fu-sample mixtape and calling it Bruce Lean, and about the make and model of the Purple Rain motorcycle. I also care wayyyyy too much about the visual trickery apparent in the XXL freshmen cypher videos. They make it look like Danny’s nodding his head to the lyrical stylings of Future. He’s not doing that. I’m positive. LOL, video editors.

Jeopardy! Fact: “Aspic” is a disgusting gelatin-and-meat substance created by the people from whom I am descended – the English. (We are good at prog-rock. Not food.)

Personal Goal: Before Kanye™ thinks of it, get someone to loop the hell outta whatever you call that magic starting at 01:37. 

17 records, $47. I have successfully maintained my rent for another month. I have milk and bread in the fridge, a fresh jar of Nutella on my counter. The monthly Prius payment has been sent in and my Internet works. I’m good. My Time Warner bill comes in an envelope stamped with red ink in an attempt to convince me it needs my urgent attention. This does not work. You’ll get paid next week, horrendous cable conglomerate.  


Now I ain’t sayin she a record digger.

“When her hands hunted out these beautiful new sounds, it was the best feeling she had ever known.” 
– Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

Hi! It’s me in my sassy glasses. Email marriage proposals to heightfiveseven@gmail, but only if you are signed to a major.

Digging’s a dumb name for it, a dude said to me in an email exchange last week.

This prompted a “NUH-UH” from me because I’m set in my ways and don’t like to be challenged, ever. Then I realized that what he said is true. We just take it as fact that digging should be the name for it since that’s what our great-great-grandparents called it in the old country, but NO LONGER, you guys. Henceforth, I’m not a Digger! I’m a Paycheck-Spender, definitely, but that’s not very catchy. I’m a Jump-Up-and-Down-er when I find something good, maybe? (also not catchy). An Enthusiast? A Celebrator of Random Dumb Luck, yes, definitely, when I find that Jaggerz record with the Curren$y break (this has not yet happened. I’m pretending it has happened, putting it out there as a way of tricking the universe into making sure it happens). And I attribute all of my random dumb luck at the last Beat Swap Meet in LA to the fact that I established only three rules for myself: 1) SPEND ALL THE MONEY YOU WANT, DOLLFACE; LIFE’S SHORT, 2) Take your list of Want-To-Finds and Must-Finds (compiled from scraps of paper in my purse and half the pages in my tiny Moleskine), and 3) Look cute, but wear something comfy in a fabric with plenty of stretch (suitable for reaching, hunching over, walking table to table, carrying a stack under my arm). A white cotton T attracts so much record dander, but it’s nothing bleach can’t fix. And my hair! It looked pretty – if I may be corny for a moment – thanks to Moroccan oil, a thing that makes my unruly Celtic hair smooth and shiny. You can get it at any beauty supply store, it’s nothing special, but the name “Moroccan oil” sounds rare and fancy, mostly because all things Morocco- and middle-east-related have exotic cache, like my good friend Jay Elect knows. (“Egypt, Egypt” – the Egyptian Lover; “Egypt, blah blah, I’m here to save you all, I’m destined to blow, my ancestors sent messages telling me so, Egypt, Egyptians…” – Jay Elect, every tenth bar.)

My haul from the day is described in loving detail below, along with the award(s) each record earned. Ah, and points for not going along with me blindly, young man in my story to open this post, just because you maybe want to see me out my jeans. Digging is a dumb name for it.

Ramsey Lewis, Solar Wind (Columbia, 1974)

I’m pretty sure Ramsey himself did his own gear styling for the cover, the theme of which is “Mod Squad detective who also does security for James Brown during the Black Caesar recording sessions.” The contents of the album, however, were lovingly overseen by Epic White Man, Stax capo, “In the Midnight Hour” writer, Logan-Walking-Down-the-Street-in-Some-Little-Ho-Shorts anthem “99 and a Half Just Won’t Do” producer, godlike individual with god status, the GOD, Steve Cropper, so Solar Wind was therefore a good purchase and a solid addition to apt. 680 – though it’s not nearly as good as Ramsey’s Sun Goddess, I’m sorry to say. That’s because Solar Wind doesn’t contain the song “Sun Goddess,” produced by Maurice White of Earth Wind & Fire – a production truth that is so obvious once you’ve found it out and listen to the song again. It’s just got that controlled/chaotic EWF sound that comes from knowing how to wrangle 57 band members – and, in later years, it was loved so hard by Ant Banks that he laid it over a fun, slappy beat and then gave it to his friend to rap over (and even added an R&B hook that’s corny yet enjoyable). Maurice White is terrific but Maurice will never be the god that Steve is, since not only is Steve part lion, he’s also a god, he is, and I know I use that term for every decent non-rap musician over age 50 and for rappers who were either in KMD or CoFlow at one point, or in OutKast currently, or named Danny Brown currently, but a god is a god and goddammit if I’m not going to use my little corner of the Internet to praise a god.

An actual deity, here on Earth, Steve had some production skills that would really do some fantastic work to your ears/heart even if the Stax studio on McLemore didn’t have that sloping floor* that made everything sound clear and huge, with just enough bass to convince you to take your pants off. (“If you ain’t claiming McLemore,” goes one of my life mottoes, “fuck y’all hoes.”) If I were from Memphis, I’d get wet-eyed over all things Stax, Comin’ Out Hard comin out hard of any vehicle (MORE808 is one of my other life mottoes), and DJay’s “Eiffel Tower/apocalypse/Tennessee/mixtapes” analogy in Hustle & Flow (his speech at the club to Luda!). I wouldn’t get wet-eyed over last summer’s super good Don Trip mixtape Tennessee Accents for 57 Minutes, err, ‘scuse me, Stepbrothers; I just like it a lot, so I’d bang it a lot.

*it used to be a movie theater

Most Sounds-Like-A-Blackstar-Song Title, in “Jamaican Marketplace.” And, because I just typed that, Ramsey’s record also provides the Strongest Yet Most Tangential Reminder That I Need the “You Already Knew” Instrumental

Nice version of “Summer Breeze,” nice Moog, nice bass, but overall the record is a little too nice and not enough not-nice. Sure I could walk down the street to it, but I wouldn’t feel very sexy. Wilson, like Quelle & Danny and Purrp, understands my walking-down-the-street needs in a way Ramsey never will.

Ballin’ Jack
(Columbia, 1970). 

YES, humans of planet Earth. Yes. This some stuff that, as they say, goesssssss*. It’s aural Viagra – the most mutually beneficial kind, because it works on your girlfriend too, who is currently busy taking her dress off; oh, there it goes, you didn’t even have to talk her into it! Ballin’ Jack’s gutter riffs coming from the hi-fi did all the work for you.

The “Never gonna let em say that I don’t loooovvvve youuuu” in the Beastie Boys’ “Shadrach” was Jimi to my 15-year-old ears. I was positive about this. But I was incorrect. (Turns out I was incorrect at age 15, many times, about many things). Most Pretentious: Me at 15, such a fucking know-it-all. Then I got right during junior year, straightened myself out, did some research, and discovered Ballin’ Jack, Best Paul’s Boutique Tie-In. Ballin’ Jack toured with Jimi, hence the vocal/stylistic similarities, and Ballin’ Jack was from Seattle, home to longtime aural stimulator/Logan’s fantasy phone-book-out-loud-reader Ish Butler, he who makes me blurt out, “Sweet Jesus, that voice” every time I watch this. (Oh, he says at the beginning, I thought it was comin in hot. Not even rapping at that point!, he’s swoon-y just in his everyday talk! Sorry, what was I saying?)

Ballin’ Jack. What an album. It slaps, people. Or in less E-40 speak, more Loganspeak: “You guyyyys! OH MY GOD! SO GOOD! It’ll make you sell your Raf Simonses and next thing you know you’ll be wearing some old Chucks in a busted old Camaro and picking me up so we can make out behind the bleachers!” Biggest Failure: ME, for not having owned Ballin’ Jack already. The record also wins Best Cover Font; just like everything out of Wiz’s mouth sounds like it should be in Comic Sans, every guitar part on this record sounds like a weed/sex/fight riff due to the use of the PreMetallica Jagged Serif typeface (72 pt.) on the cover. Thanks to frontman Luther Rabb, this one also gets Best Appearance in Today’s Haul by a Singing Bassist. There’s Lemmy, Bootsy, Geddy Lee, Phil Lynott; these are the greats. Rabb’s not one of the greats, but he’s a member of the club.


The group’s name also provides the Best Title of a UGK Song That Never Was. It’s track 10 on a Bandcamp-only album that’s too secret for me to share and anyway the link’s expired, and it’s about cars of course. Chad starts to sound really irritated around the end of his first verse, because he’s tired of dealing with this bullshit and he just wants to live, can he fucking LIVE goddammit and take care of his lady and his business, and the hook goes “Got new shoes for my baby ‘cause I’m ballin, Jack.”

Logan’s Run soundtrack (Jerry Goldsmith) (MGM/Polydor, 1976)

Most Throne-Sounding Song Titles: “Flameout,” “The Truth,” “End of the City,” “The Monument.” Most E-40-Sounding Song Titles: “On the Circuit,” “Intensive Care.”
Song That is, Shockingly, Not About Oral Sex or the NFL: “The Dome.”

We’ll all enjoy ourselves in the future, Logan’s Run says. Take me there, someone! Take me, even though the future evidently sounds like big stupid crescendos and cheesy flutes, the way old-timey movie-music people predicted the future would sound. How sad that they had no idea drum machines could make snares sound so warm, nicely exemplified in this song with a Logan’s Run mention (We ain’t jokin/For security we on this run like Logan/Kamaal’s doin the hustle/And you backstage voguin), produced by The Ummah, a wonderful musical-collective gift from the universe that I wish was still here because I’m in love with the past. I still wanna go to the future, though – it’s sexy and streamlined! The thing is, because it is so alluring and perfect, we’re not long for it. Sexyfuture is just a tease; beware. Logan’s Run takes place in a “hermetically sealed post-apocalyptic pleasuredome,” where humans don’t really need to work and they’re free to pursue all of the pleasures of life, just like the rap game circa 2011. Eating and drinking aren’t necessary, and when they feel like sex they just use a teleporting device to make it happen (just like what Twitter is to rappers, 2009 – present). The only catch in this idyllic existence is that nobody’s allowed to live more than 30 years – just like the rap game – with the corresponding downside being that future life partner Danny Brown would be forced to become a Runner in order to escape the fate of being killed at 30. The upside is that I would then willingly become a Runner, because what fun is a world without Danny Brown to describe getting rich/sad/triumphant/fucked-up in it?

George Duke, Liberated Fantasies (MPS, 1976)


Most Prince-ish Credit: “Amanda B. Reckondwith on vocals.” (Real name: Janet Ferguson.) Next I suppose you’re going to try and convince me that Vanity wasn’t that sexy lady’s real name-? (Real name: Denise Matthews).

It’s George on keys on this one, George on the mic, George’s smiling face and big beautiful cloud of hair. Liberated Fantasies was put out by the dopely-named German jazz label MPS – Musik Produktion Schwarzwald (“Music Production Black Forest”). MPS was the label responsible for Hans Koller-Wolfgang Dauner’s classic, claaaaaaaasic banger Kunstkopfindianer in 1974. Mannnn, we sure made some sweet ’70s love to that one, remember? I think there was some lager and strudel involved too, and you insisted I wear a Heidi costume, because you said C’mon baby, why not, being the big ol freak that you are.

Thanks to that cover: Best Smile. Artwork and photography by Cal Schenkel, a person who managed to overcome the name Cal Schenkel and make a living designing covers by the Mothers of Invention and Zappa (solo), Captain Beefheart, Tim Buckley. Cal is also responsible for THIS source of childhood nightmares for a young Logan flipping through her dad’s records on the living room floor:

HOLD ME. And turn on my nightlight after you tuck me in.

Christ!, the unadulterated freakiness of this thing, The Persistence of Memory but with keys, like something I’d see in a Red-Stripe-chased-with-Valium, passed-out-on-the-couch dream, not that I’d know anything about that! HI MOM. Even here, though, George remains a man not afraid to smile on an album cover. Unless you’re George Duke or your last name is 3000/Benjamin, smiling on your album cover is a 1-way ticket to Cornballville. (I have pretty strict guidelines when it comes to masculinity, particularly for musicians. I’m trying to let some of that go in 2012. Check back with me in mid-February-?)

I can also see ?uestlove doing some sort of nod to this, except he’d put a drumstick in those fingers.  Then all the blog boys would scurry about until they found the source that sparked the new.

The Blackbyrds, City Life (Fantasy, 1975)

Biggest Ego: Donald Byrd, for creating and naming the group after his damn self in the early ’70s. I guess LOOK AT ME I’M SUPERTALENTED DONALD BYRD I’M THE BEST would’ve been too ridiculous a name for a band.

Right now the world and my computer are both obsessed with the drawling-outta-control A$AP crew, based in New York and led by the prettiest member, Rocky (A$AP’s just his nick-naaaaame). Rocky was named after Rakim, who I’m told was a rapper based in New York. Rocky, then, is a cutesy shortened version of Rakim, like people who shorten Logan to Logey. Logey, in turn, enjoys turning DOOM into the cute “Doomsy” – which reminds me, why are we not all listening to THISSSSSS right now. City Life has the Most A$AP Rockyish Song Titles – like Rocky’s, the Blackbyrds’ are 2- and 3-word combos that tell you exactly what the song is about, no games or fancy language – “Purple Swag,” (Rocky)/“Hash and Eggs” (Blackbyrds). “Get High” (Rocky)/“Flying High” (Blackbyrds). “Uptown” (Rocky)/“City Life” (Blackbyrds). This one also gets the Label with the Freshest Backstory award, since Fantasy started in SF as an actual record-pressing plant, then morphed into a label. They named it Fantasy after a sci-fi novel, getting the Murs stamp of approval in so doing, and were the first label to record and produce Lenny Bruce on vinyl, thereby getting my parents’ stamp of approval. Fantasy merged with Concord Records – named for the East Bay city, back before the East Bay was known for Al Davis, 808, trunk tapes, and, circa 2011, a tiny Caucasian lady and her troupe of annoying, shit-talking friends who go crazy with the cat-eye liquid liner. Their existence is upsetting, both because 1) they are real live humans and not some nightmare from that time I passed out on the couch (Red Stripe/Valium), and because 2) disapproval of them is something that this ladyblogger has in common with Rawsssss. (which I, in turn, disapprove of. I disapprove that I disapprove of something that he also disapproves of. The snake eats its own disapproving tail, disapprovingly.)

The Blackbyrds are probably best known for “Walking in Rhythm,” which, sure, we all know it, it’s an OK jam I suppose, slightly dullsville if you ask me. This album was purchased on the strength of opening jam (Best Opening Jam) “Rock Creek Park,” about doing it both in the park and after dark. Oh. Yeah. And finally, there’s the Fact that Connects to a Quality MC of Today in a Tangential/Fresh Way: Donald Byrd, Detroit-bred human just like my future life partner Danny Brown, went to Wayne State, in Linwood (Inglewood pronunciation).

Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song soundtrack (Stax, 1971)

Tightest Commitment to Detail: Me, for making sure I put the correct number of As and Ss in Baadasssss. Most Spirited Handclaps: “Won’t Bleed Me.”

Sweet Sweetback is a tale of hoes and cops and a well-endowed black man who uses his penis to convince ladies to doing things for him (way to go, Melvin Van Peebles, just crushing those stereotypes), and its soundtrack was written by the same man who wrote the movie, then directed the movie, and got Earth, Wind & Fire to perform the songs on the soundtrack, which, by the way, he wrote and composed. And then, in his free time, he decided to cast the most appropriate, handsomest, most well-endowedest gentleman he could find in the lead role: himself. LOL, Melvin. L.O.L., buddy. Because we’re talking about the moving pictures industry, this walk through history would not be complete without some double-talk and shady business: Bill Cosby put up the key funds to allow this film to be completed. You might recognize Bill from introducing his kids to Stevie Wonder and Lena Horne on those reruns on your TV, and also for Chris Wallace wearing his sweaters. I, however, recognize Bill as that cranky guy on CNN, criticizing rap music for being violent and sexy. Or, wait – do I recognize Bill as the onetime movie producer who helped bankroll a movie about a fellow with a large penis who uses it to sex up ladies when he’s not beating dudes’ faces? GOSH I’M CONFUSED. 

Anyway, the soundtrack is amazing, filled with snippets that show up on Doom records years later, and it was produced by something called Yeah Inc, a dumb name that is still less dumb than the production names Boi 1-da and AraaaaabMuziaaaaiaiaiakkckck. (Ha, I also just found out the producer of that horrible “Rack City” thing that I secretly sing along with in my car is a grown man who thought it would be appropriate to call himself “DJ Mustard.”)

Leon Ware (Elektra, 1982)

Sorry to keep you waiting so long, ladies. Here’s Theophilus Leon. “Can I Touch You There,” he wants to know, in a moment of curiosity that’s more about the question than the answer, just like Marvin’s “When Did You Stop Loving Me, When Did I Stop Loving You,” Curren$y’s “What’s What,” Nore’s “What what what what what-what WH-WHAT,” and my personal composition “When Exactly Did Common Become Corny?, Like When Was the Precise Moment During the Earth’s Cycle Around the Sun? I’m Having Trouble Pinpointing It but I’d Like to Know for Personal-History Reasons.”

Regarding the undeniable sex vibrating from that cover photo, all I can muster is a “Leon, what happened to my lacy underthings? They were here a second ago.” Aw Leon, congrats on having the Best ‘I Have a Brass Waterbed I Wanna Show It To You Here’s Some Zinfandel, Pretty Lady’ Face. It’s your lust-face that makes me forget you were once capable of innocence in lyrical content and chord progression, like when you wrote “I Wanna Be Where You Are.” (I really really want to make this entire post about “I Wanna Be Where You Are.” Trying to show restraint here. I mean, Jesus, what a SONNNNG.)

No breaks on this one, but lots of Rhodes, plus a song called “Deeper Than Love,” which I like to think of as a “fuck off, Rawss” that was just delayed 30 years. Sadly, there’s also a corny, not-good song called “Why I Came to California,” which, because it is by a heterosexual ’70s man, is of course about paradise being real, hillsides and deserts, dreams coming true, watching pretty girls at Zuma Beach, lalala, good grief, gimme something new, Leon! It’s got THE GOD James God’s son  Gadson on drums, though, so slam-dunk, Leon. Purchasing your record was an excellent decision on my part. Now you and your ’70s sexface live in apt. 680 with me – in vinyl form, anyway. Maybe you think my place is paradise, maybe you think I’m pretty; maybe not. Either way, Zuma’s overrated and I’ll buy anything with your name on it, Mr. Ware, due to your god status for envisioning I Want You, conjuring it up, convincing Marvin, daydreaming about it, composing it, sweating it out, and wrestling with that bitch until it came to be. This album also has the Best Cover With Old-School Weekend Ties, as Bobby Holland was the photographer –  Holland did covers for Rose Royce, the Gap Band, DeBarge, and A Taste of Honey, which, in my brain, elicits a Hey LA fam, keep it locked to 92.3, old school and today’s R&B! We’re taking the 25th caller right now for these tickets to see Keith Sweat at The Pond! After the break, comin back with some MJ, “I Wanna Be Where You Are,” requested by a caller named Logan!

Best Fucking Fact Outta This Whole Haul: Leon Ware did the Deep Throat soundtrack -??? – !! – which had been one of the world’s great mysteries prior to an Internet search by Logan, circa Dec. 16, 2011. German 45s on eBay (viewed in super-tight zoom on my laptop’s screen) say Leon and a lyricist named Bob Hilliard did the music. It makes sense, groove-wise, when you listen. It’s got that Leon feel, even though it sounds like Leon used 2 soup cans and a toy piano to compose. Leon’s also from Detroit, so of course I love him, but I’ll never know why Leon doesn’t shout it from the rooftops that he did the Deep Throat music. This is illogical, like using the name AraabMUZIK professionally when your given name is the much-doper Abraham Orellana.

Dexter Wansel, Life On Mars (Philadelphia International, 1976)

Del, Madlib, Sun Ra, Kool Keith, Ayers, Monk, everyone on Ninja Tune in the ’90s, most dudes on Warp the next decade, all members of Parliament and Funkadelic and Parliament Funkadelic, Stevie Wonder, Zappa, and sure,what the hell, Bowie and Syd Barrett and Brian Wilson too; Dex Wansel is the latest in a long line of Space-Travelers sitting shoulder-to-shoulder in my record collection, along with ’70s singer/songwriters and the most skilled of all dead rappers. A crying shame that this wasn’t in apt. 680 before, I snatched it up at the swap meet based on its rap production pedigree* as well as my red-hot embarrassment at not owning it already.

Side A, track 1: “A Prophet Named K.G.,” which is, sadly, not about the Celtics’ forward or Naughty By Nature’s quietest member. It does, however, provide the Best Kenneth Gamble Nod in Song Title Form. I like to be reminded of Gamble & Huff, which, along with being a super production duo, also happen to be my two most favorite activities while in Vegas, HEY-O. The other song titles are  fresh and cosmic – “Stargazer,” “One Million Miles from the Ground,” and *“Theme from the Planets” being the standouts. I have dreams of interplanetary travel too, Dex! Escapism! Obsolete credit: “ARP by Dexter Wansel” (along with keys, synth, and lead vocals). ARP built good products, Google tells me, and they sold well; “the major problems that developed in the company were due less to design flaws than to corporate mismanagement.” So it was like that whole Rawkus thing. 

Gabor Szabo, Magical Connection (Blue Thumb, 1972)
This one’s actually not an album in tribute to the unstoppable love that Stringer Bell and I will always share (in my head). Our connection truly is a magical one (in my head). Sigh. “Logan Bell. Mrs. Bell. Mr. and Mrs. Stringer Bell.” Still, I purchased the record based on the fact that you can’t really go wrong with Mr. Szabo, there’s someone named “Lynn Blessing” on vibraphone, and because of that cover, designed by Tom Wilkes (Safe As Milk, Harvest, All Things Must Pass). Actual Song Title: “Love Theme from Spartacus.” I mean, what. (I have no idea). Additionally, this one earns the honor of having the Most Esoteric LA Connection. “Sombrero Sam” was used by Mumbles Fowler on “The Hunt” by Acey, who remains the only dude in LA who doesn’t look ridiculous in a fedora. Fowler then rode off into the Indian sunset, where he is, if not fully ascetic at this point, almost fully converted to the monastic life. Meanwhile, I’m still here living the hedonistic life, taking trips to Vegas, Gambling and Huffing.

Ha, they made soundtrack two words. Stupid Italians!

Blow-Up soundtrack, Herbie Hancock (MGM, 1966)

My prized baby of the bunch, it’s an original pressing. That’s Veruschka the German Fox on the cover,

and the image is compelling but makes me kind of uncomfortable if my eyes stay on it for more than a few seconds, just like that eXquire cover. Best Magic City/Kang of Diamonds Tie-In: that photo, with Veruschka contorting her body for a paycheck, is a reminder from the universe of what I’ve learned from strippers – 1) Scotch tape is the best way to get sparkly liquid (glitter + lotion) off your skin, and 2) knowing your angles when being viewed will increase your revenue significantly. Darling, life is performance. Know those angles, ladies. I have no hustles other than the I-work-an-honest-job hustle, but the fact is that we all use the skill set of looking interested, while not being interested at all, just so we can complete our current task at hand – and this describes modeling perfectly. It also describes stripping, office jobs, retail sales, having a conversation with my aunt Jean, being at a bar anytime something other than the Clipse is being played, and, hell, probably rapping for a good percentage of on-duty hours too.

Blow-Up is famous for the Veruschka modeling scene, the presence of a young Jane Birkin in a small role, and for having Herbie Hancock do the soundtrack. What I mean is, Blow-Up is famous in my own life for being perfect fantasy fodder – “sort-of-pretty-but-sort-of-odd-looking white ladies being heralded while Herbie plays in the background.” This is my life when I daydream at work! Best Bassline for an Opener: “Bring Down the Birds,” though the song then turns into some screwball-comedy sounding thing, not very sexy at all. Its “Groove is in the Heart” connection is sort of sexy(?), but supremely unsexy is the fact that I can’t figure out why Q-Tip (Jive) appeared on a record by Deee-Lite (Elektra) in 1990. Sex is brought later into the album in the form of “Stroll On” by the Yardbirds, whose audience of bored, uptight humans during their scene in the film could be, I swear, footage from any rap show in LA. Dudes are too cool for school out here.

None of these reasons compel me to borrow this film, Netflix it, or stream it illegally, though I guess I should just so I can be familiar with the films of Antonioni in case I get trapped in an elevator with Tarantino, James Franco, or the Das Racist boys. I already know the best line of the film: Thomas, the photographer, on the primary reason his wife is his wife, says, “She isn’t beautiful. She’s easy to live with.” This is important for us females to remember, along with the fact that we should never date anyone who refers to women as “females.” The feat of being easy to live with is just as important for males to remember, though, so you can just stop it with that email accusing me of being sexist and only insisting women adhere to this. We all want ease and comfort at the end of the day. Now be quiet so I can think! Also: my slippers, please.

Beat Swap Meet #16
Grandstar Jazz Club
943 N. Broadway, LA 

Pros: As always, the entrance fee was a canned good, collected for the homeless; records records recordssssss; Yogurtland afterward, then a nap. Heard Con Funk Shun’s “Ffun,” the ffuckin jam, in the car during the drive over!
Cons: I got overstimulated and tired. As always, I didn’t bring enough money; therefore, I kind of wanted to kill myself. (See also Beat Swap Meets # 1, 3, 4, 9 & 10). I was one of about 4 female humans in attendance. Our paychecks are still about 7/10 as large as yours, gentlemen, which accounts for some absences because we just don’t have as much disposable income, but LADIES: no excuses. Records are beautiful, life-affirming objects that bring messages from the other side. Get into it/get involved.


You will get a sentimental feeling when you hear…“No Diggity” into “Flava In Ya Ear”

  Last Christmas, I gave you my heart/But the very next day you gave it away, you JERK! This year, I’m giving you some peach Optimos and a picture of me in my new MG’s McLemore Avenue shirt. Don’t fuck up again, please.

Future husband, please understand that the small of my back is a playground of good feelings for me. (There must be a billion nerve endings there, and I love them all.) I’d like you to be pro-choice, pro-union, and pro-Pro Tools and pro-Pro Keds. I’m surprisingly forgiving when it comes to the contents of other people’s record collections, but yours is no doubt fresh anyway, so the matter doesn’t need to be addressed further. I’d like you to be able to correctly use “screamo” and “sissy bounce” in a sentence, future husband, and I’d like you to understand that 72% of our time spent together will consist of riding in the car, listening to music (we live in LA), and responding with our hands and mouths to all bangers as we hear them. (Hands up high in ecstasy; our mouths singing along, and making out). Please kiss me and tell me It’ll be OK when I talk about how I was born in the wrong era and should’ve been a teenage girl when David Ruffin was seducing teenage girls on the radio in 1966. Although I love my iPod, future husband, I’m in love with the radio–Power 106, where hiphop lives, and Hot 92.3, old school and today’s R&B, 93.5 KDAY, back in the day, of course the Whole Foods liberals on KCRW, and the nonstop oldies of K-EARTH 101, where you can often hear an old Wilson Pickett song called “Mustang Sally,” which, like 30% of Fabolous’ songs, is about a lowdown, unappreciative woman who drives all over town in a pretty car that her man bought for her. Its lesser-known remix is a song called “Prius Logan,” about a music dork with hips and skinny legs who drives all over town, singing along with her car radio.

And now, in no particular order, The Best Songs I Heard on the Radio During My Drive Back to LA from Mom’s House After Christmas.

1. “Two of Us,” The Beatles. 

Because: 1) Spector produced it.
Industry rule # 4,000-somethingorother is that the men with the most unfortunate combination of brain chemicals are always the ones who make the sweetest melodies. Hearing this one also satisfied my Spector hunger in the absence of Darlene Love’s “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).” Fuck off, radio gods, for not playing Darlene Love. 

2) It’s the perfect BPM, the speed of a horse galloping. It’s the musical approximation of riding next to your best friend of a hundred years with whom you are fighting. You’re both sad and bitter, but the tightness in your chest says that the relationship is worth saving. You shared a good chunk of each other’s lives and you know you should talk about where things went wrong but what’s the point, and dammit, there it is, you just forgave all her trespasses in the span of about 3½ minutes thanks to Spector and his 4 little elves playing instruments.

3) “You and me chasing paper, getting nowhere” sounds like a sweet line from a capable MC who is part of a duo, referencing the early days before they made any money from rapping. Maybe Bun & Pimp C? More likely: Mos & Talib since they seem more willing than UGK are to acknowledge there was actually a time that they weren’t rich.

4) the moments from 03:00 – 03:08. The bass outro, too. Paul is really just the worst with his schmaltzy lyrics and big stupid ego, but he’s forgiven here. It turns out a Beatles block was happening on the station when this song ended, and the INSUFFERABLE “Long and Winding Road” came on instead of “Across the Universe,” like baby Jesus, the birthday boy, would have wanted. I glared at my car radio like it had eyes and/or a human brain capable of detecting hatred, then turned it to KCRW, where THIS pleased me because sometimes the radio gods aren’t so bad after all:

2. “Christmas Day,” Desmond Dekker & the Aces. 

Oh goodness, these Jamaican singers and their voices filled with sweetness and light, yet punch-you-in-the-mouth masculinity at the same time (Barrington, Tenor Saw, Lord Creator)! My feelings about the island are always in conflict, as it is a land teeming with anti-gay sentiment and deeply-entrenched misogyny. Rastas also have that whole anti-oral sex thing, which makes them a people that cannot be liked or trusted. All this goes out the window for the moments that Desmond’s voice is filling my car, though. It’s Christmas! And he’s got his barrow in the marketplace! God bless us, every one!

3. “The Third Eye,” Roy Ayers.

Secrets of numbers, secrets of sound/Secrets of numbers, secrets of sound/Secrets of wisdom will be found/Baby, baby, baby, look to the sky/Seeking to find The Third Eye. Don’t tell Roy, but I’m pretty sure Del found the Third Eye sometime in the late ’80s. He turned it into one of the freshest icons in music and never looked back. Ah well. Like Del, Roy’s yet another space cadet dreamboat who lives in the warm depths of my heart. And like Mos Def, Roy enjoys writing songs about the sky and about Brooklyn (“Mylifemylifemylifemylife in the sun-shiiiiine”; “We live in Brooklyn, baby” – Roy; “Brooklyn BK BK blunts, stars nighttime, beautiful lady, champion lover not ease up, ism/schism, NASDAQ, skyline, stars, stars” – Mos). A man named Doug Rhodes plays drums on the album from whence this song comes, which is an adorable musical joke made just for me by the universe – like someone named Bob Zildjian playing keys! I’d also like to point out that Roy’s from LA just like J-Swift, and I bet you only 2 or 3 degrees separate us, friends-wise, just like me and J-Swift. I’d like to meet J-Swift. I really would. Before a bad fate befell him (chemicals), he produced this group the Pharcyde, an excitable bunch of rapping goofballs – including their song “Passin’ Me By,” which samples Roy Ayers’ “The Third Eye.” It’s true. (I read it on a blog.)

4. “Dream On, Dream On,” Ice Water Slim.

When I made it safely back to apt. 680 I could only find the version linked above, which, even while coursing into my ear canal through my precious, finely-crafted Sennheisers, sounds like it’s playing on an AM radio a hundred yards away while I’m standing in a UPS warehouse. Yet the entire MMG squad makes their lousy material on million-dollar equipment – this is the universe’s solemn reminder that sound quality will always trump sound quality.

A 1971 b-side produced by Johnny Otis, who was bosslike and from Vallejo just like E-40, this ain’t nothin more than a melodic wail by a dude who dreams about a pretty lady. But it is a fact that, currently in the United States, the #1 R&B song is “Lotus Flower Bomb,” about grenade-shaped perfume bottles and lady-areas being like flowers. This fact offends me not only as a person who buys perfume, but as a human female and a resident of planet Earth. Ladies should not smell like explosions or wartime, and we have enough to worry about without Wale laying out rules about our nails and handbags and how tight our, um, flowers should be. I wanna be reminded of tightness, I’ll watch Parliament live in ’76 like I did on Christmas Day with my family all on the couch, marveling at the interplay of brass and woodwind and cocaine. 

5. “You And I,” Lady Gaga. 

We gotta a whole lotta money, but we still pay rent/’Cause you can’t buy a house in heaven. The single greatest country banger that Prince Rogers Nelson never wrote (his version would be called “U & I,” of course), hearing this one satisfied my hunger for a Prince banger in the absence of “Another Lonely Christmas” (Of all the ones I dream about/U are the one that makes my love shout, see/U are the only one I care for). Because the Internet is for sharing embarrassing moments: I actually teared up in H&M last week when this came on. I was tired and overstimulated from all the other humans in the store breathing up my air, but also because of this song’s Prince-ian chords and overall lyrical content. It’s been two years since I let you go/I couldn’t listen to a joke or rock ‘n’ roll/Muscle cars drove a truck right through my heart/On my birthday you sang me “Heart of Gold”/With a guitar hummin’ and no clothes/This time I’m not leaving without you. (PRINCE. It’s so very, wonderfully Prince. I see you, Gaga. Also I’d like Prince to do a cover of “Heart of Gold,” turning a bittersweet song about the passage of time into a 16-minute-long burning plea by his guitar to get the ladies in the house to cry and take their dresses off). Master manipulator Gaga plays my girly emotional insides like a piano, and Queen was a really fucking great band, plus I got a really cute bikini at H&M. So shoutout to the combined efforts of producer Mutt Lange, the H&M speaker system engineers, and the people hired by the H&M corporate office to select the songs for the playlists. Non-shoutout to me, however, for a pop song making me get weepy, rather than the fact that I was buying from a company that sells cheap cotton items made by underpaid workers in Bangladesh (not the producer Bangladesh, which would be so dope). Tangential shoutout to Elliot Mazer, who produced both Harvest and Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death, displaying some real Rick-Rubin-esque range.

Gaga was on American Idol once and coached one of the kids to keep his mouth on the mic. “It’s your girlfriend,” she told him, adding that it’s also his money and telling him to “Make love to it,” which is the most sex-infused piece of technical advice I’ve ever heard. I love it. I love her. I am human and I have ears so of course I love this song. Gaga is a controversial choice, I get it, but there’s no arguing with me on this. It’s just like with Cameron Giles, Duke basketball, and Miracle Whip: you can’t change my opinion about any of those things, either (I hate them). Therefore, I say we stick to less controversial topics, like the artistic merits of Lana Del Rey and the best way to restructure the BCS.

6. “Change the Game,” Jay-Z/Bleek/Beans, into “Mass Appeal,” Gangstarr. 

Yeah yeah, Jay. You. Will. Not. Lose. We hear you, Jay. Easy, tiger. Now please repeat after me – there’s only one rule: RICK ROCK 4 EVS, 4 EVER & EVER. “Change” is one of the few Rick Rock productions with which I am not fully in love. Like “Can I Get A,” it is the very sound of Clinton Administration pop radio, shiny and hand-clap-py, so it’s just dated and that’s not the song’s fault, but it NEEDS MORE SNARE AND/OR BASS, says my soul, which does not understand the limits of space and time and the notion of something being “dated.” My soul does not care. More bass, please. It’s impossible to separate the song from its horrendous video, which features rappers not named DMX trying to convince me they ride motorbikes all around the city for fun (“NOPE” – my eyes, in response, just like back in September). But this one’ll always warm my heart. The boys all look happy and not beaten down by the industry, and Sigel Sigel in the house is fun and sing-song-y. It’s sweet that those 3 dudes could all be in the same room together at one point in history, which is really all a lady can ask for given the amount of crybaby-ness among rap professionals. I also like that it gives me an excuse to post the video of that time Robert Goulet spent the afternoon with Shawn and his coterie of ne’er-do-wells. The mix into “Mass Appeal” was nice, too, for this lady in 2011 driving her vehicle to her apartment in Los Angeles, years after these songs were made by dudes from New York and Massachusetts. “This ain’t just a car,” K.R.I.T. says, “This my time machine.”

7. “Run Rudolph Run,” Chuck Berry. 

“It’s dangerous, because it’s slick and catchy” – US counterterrorism officials, regarding a popular song on YouTube (2011).

“It’s dangerous, because it’s slick and catchy and done by black men and it might make our daughters want to have sex” – white US grown-ups, mostly regarding rock & roll music, but really, all forms of good music (1954-present, & forever & ever).

Promo is promo, meaning promotion, people talking, records sold, i.e., MONEY, and even in the ‘50s labels knew what they were doing when it came to making their stars sound badder than they actually were. Teenagers and their allowance money were a powerful bloc. They were also sullen and disrespectful, and thought they were real badass, and therefore bought the 45s of men whom they believed to be tough. This was mostly because they fell for promo tactics. But Chuck Berry! I’m pretty sure Chuck was/is a truly depraved gentleman, a genuine dirty bird, the real deal, who served actual jail time due to his taste for sweet young things and, years later, with the barometer for what he found stimulating raised higher throughout his life, his taste for odd and really unsexy things. It might’ve been promo, but that’s a hell of a commitment to promo, right? Even though I strongly want “Run Rudolph Run” to be a critique of what were socially acceptable gifts for American children in the late ’50s (the boy wants a guitar; the girl wants a doll), I am able to suspend this desire if I so choose. Just let it ride, Logan. This one’s just happy and Christmassy, it’ll make you stop wondering What in the hell must’ve happened to Chuck when he was a kid to make him so fetish-y? and instead it’ll make you think the much more pleasant How fucking hyped are you if you’re Chuck Berry and Mos Def does his hair like that and plays you in a movie!* Plus you got the essential Marty McFly element, and all those reindeer names sound like they could be A$AP crew members – A$AP Comet, A$AP Donner, and most especially, A$AP Blitzen.

*Not quite as hyped as David Ruffin would be if he knew beautiful human specimen Leon played him in a movie, but still. Pretty hyped.

8. The Outfield, “Your Love.”  

OHHOLYFUCK, screamed my whole body when this came on, my inner Drunk White Girl showing all of a sudden. My hand could not physically move fast enough to the volume knob, and even though I didn’t get to proclaim Josie’s on a vacation far away (I caught the song halfway through the first verse), I still got to participate in some great sing-along parts (Stay the night but keep it un-der-cover) and savored the delicious wrongness of a song about a dude wanting to sleep with, and then sleeping with, someone other than his live-in lady. I have a fair amount of self-respect but even I would probably fall for I ain’t got many friends left to talk to; may I please cry upon your shoulder? (aww!). The proper feminine response to this is a wide-eyed Would it help if I took my dress off?, which I have ON LOCK because I’m softhearted and have a compulsive need to soothe others. In closing: sorry if you were in the lane next to me on the freeway last night and I almost killed you with my swerving 4-wheeled piece of Japanese machinery.

The Internet and my brother tell me that the best outfielder was probably Rickey Henderson, whom I’ve heard of despite my lack of interest in the stupid sport of baseball, because my dad always liked the A’s and because I always liked dudes who can self-promote in a verbally stylish fashion instead of a Kanyesian (“I’m 34 but inside I’m still a 13-year-old boy who is sad and mad that none of the pretty girls in class are looking at me”) fashion.

9. “No Diggity,” Blackstreet (I refuse to type BLACKstreet, because I am a grown-up), into “Flava In Ya Ear (remix),” Biggie Smalls & a bunch of people not named Biggie Smalls.

Perfect mix, whatsyourname who matched these two up on KDAY. They basically have the same BPM and I guess I never noticed it before. Hearing Craig Mack reminded me that I only drink the finest breast milks, and hearing Teddy Riley inspired me to proclaim “Finna bring back no diggity in twenty-twelve, along with vainglorious and honey dip” out loud to myself in my car. Let’s just skip over that unfortunate video with the puppets & Dre in a fucking Emmitt Smith jersey, and ignore Teddy’s sad attempt at hitting that note in “by no means avvv-raaaaage,” sounding so wobbly, like he’s crossing a stream and stepped on a rock that looked secure but, oh no, oopsie!, it’s loose! He might fall down! Shaky-voice! Let’s just focus on the greatness of this song, the story of a honey dip who drives a nice car and has dudes open all over town, probably because she is witty and knows a lot of musical trivia and has a blog in which she writes about Blackstreet and Bill Withers in equal measure. Let’s also focus on finding out why exactly Teddy moved his studio to Virginia in the early ‘90s. There must be a story there, right? TEDDY, WHAT HAPPENED? And did you know this hideous Clams beat completely boosts your ’87 sound? And where is Timbaland? Just heard “Are You That Somebody” and it holds up so well.

Like me, the young lady in the song has all kinds of hustles and isn’t satisfied with a man unless he makes tons of money. So if you are poor, you and I will never have sex or even go on a date. However, because I’m nice, I’m providing you with the criteria for getting hired by UPS. (Don’t be mad!) Like being my lover, a job at UPS is no walk in the park (except, of course, when you and I go for actual walks in the actual park). “It may be fun and exciting, UPS warns, “but it’s also physical and fast-paced” (just like being my lover!). “Package Delivery Drivers must have excellent customer contact and driving skills, including the ability to operate a vehicle equipped with a manual transmission. Qualified applicants must have a valid driver’s license issued in the state that they live. This is a position that involves continual lifting, lowering, and maneuvering of large items,”  HEY-O, that sounds familiar, doesn’t it? No? Last night, in the bedroom? Remember? PS, a physical exam is also required (for both jobs).

10. “Rhythm Changes,” The Counts. 

Unpleasant facts of life with which I must make peace include:

that there are actual human females who brag about giving their precious inner-thigh parts to charisma-free yet famous human males Fabolous and Juelz;

that Wiz Khalifa makes his living as a professional musician (side note: EAT A CHEESEBURGER, CAMERON);

that “Maneater” preceded “Part Time Lover” by 3 years, so it would appear Stevie boosted the bassline from Hall & Oates, not the other way around, WTF;

and finally: I have big fat trouble coming to terms with the fact that I live in the entertainment capital of the world, yet “Rhythm Changes” is not on a constant loop on at least 2 of the 4 R&B stations in this city. I only heard it on Christmas night because programmers were given a little more leeway than usual. I believe it was Minaj who said something like, “This song just remind me of/Everything radio deprive me of.”

11. Emilio Santiago, “Bananeira.”

Bananeira não sei/Bananeira será/Bananeira sei não/Isso é lá com você/Será no fundo do quintal/Quintal do seu olhar/Olhar do coração (“Banana tree, I don’t know/Banana tree, maybe/Banana tree, I don’t know/That’s up to you/Maybe deep in the backyard/Backyard of your stare/The stare from the heart”). I mean, right? Exactly, Emilio! You nailed it!

Hypnotic and hip-friendly and more about the backing track than the lyrics, just like everything Jay Elect releases into the world, this is probably the best song about bananas since Dwayne Carter rapped over that one about being the best and fucking the world. This one also makes me forget about the banana trade in Brazil, an industry that’s a symbol of the income disparity that’s existed for hundreds of years. Bananas go bad really quickly, they can be racist, and their namesake spiders will kill you if you’re not careful. But at least Afro-Brazilian men can sing silly songs about bananas while still retaining their masculinity (it helps if you, like Emilio Santiago, have a deep, Scott-Heron-esque tone to your voice). Huddled with my family on the couch on Christmas Eve, “Cosmic Slop” on the TV, I was reminded of the sad reality of Black American manhood needing to disguise itself in fluffy hats and diapers in order to be less threatening. Um…merry Christmas?


Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got.

Laid all out on the floor of apartment 680, I call this installation Ian Curtis Surrounded Mostly by Musical Black Men of the ’70s, but its alternate name could be Logan Returns from a trip to Boston with a New Pile of Diamonds.

Luda’s new dumbed-down flow, my mother telling me every day on the phone to cut my hair, the UC Davis campus police, and Anthony Bourdain are all current sources of irritation in apartment 680 – but Bourdain especially, because he is rude and overbearing and on the Travel Channel as I write this. He’s got my dream job, though! That rude, overbearing Anthony Bourdain has my dreammmm job, traveling the world, getting paid, nerding out. The focus of my hungry curiosity is record stores, not open-air food markets in Phuket, but the getting-paid-to-travel-the-world-in-pursuit-of-local-delights hustle is still a hustle about which I need to be taught, so CALL ME, ANTHONY, master of this particular hustle! Teach me! And when we meet for our teaching session, don’t look my body up and down like I have a feeling you will! Thanks! I hate you!

Until I have my meet-up with lanky, creepy Anthony, I’m on my own when it comes to travel in order to satisfy primal cravings (records, I mean–not crocodile skin softened in truffle oil, a Thai delicacy I just made up, or frog curry, an actual Thai delicacy). And I have no passport, so my choice of locations is restricted to the U.S., Puerto Rico, and assorted other commonwealths and territories with sketchy acquisition histories and tense racial-relations histories. Vacation days were calling me and the east coast seemed like a logical choice, so a few weeks ago I took my geeky ass to Boston, with no, um, reservations, and no shorts (October!). I did, however, bring cash, a super cute carry-on bag (thanks, Mom), and a record shopping list that has been, according to a very realistic dream I once had, blessed by the ghost of Christopher Wallace. I also brought my hips and an ethnically ambiguous face on the trip – two things that come in handy for a lady when she’s traveling outside of her home region. (Hips ensure that straight men will be nice to you if you get lost, and the face straight from Denmark/Tunisia means you can pretend you don’t speak English when a creepy straight man is being too nice to you).

I saw Fenway as per the legal requirement for tourists, I drank a lot of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, I went to M.I.T., I got a Charlie card and rode the T, so fun and exotic for a girl used to driving her car every day – the cool metal poles, smooth and shiny like the bald head of Keith Elam. But all that was just a collection of stops either on the way to or on the way back from RECORD STORES. I didn’t spend too much money in total – around $200, I think – but I bought too many records to carry on the plane. I had to mail most of them back. Still…not too much money in total. Around…$230?

“FRAGILE FRAGILE FRAGILE.” I figured you’d prefer to see a bumblebee on top of a dolphin on top of a skateboard rather than my dumb old address.

I thought I needed scissors, because I’m an idiot. (All my brains are in my hips.)

I did not need scissors; there’s a tab to grip and pull for ease of opening. Tight work, US Postal Service! AMERICA!


5 stores’ worth, wrapped in some thin plastic and cardboard, safely arrived! USPS, you remain in good standing in my heart.

1. Nuggets, the 31-Year-Old Dustbin Where I Only Had Time to Buy 1 Item Before Being Dragged Away by My Traveling Companion.

“Step up in this motherfucker somethingsomething my hair.”

Buddy Miles Express, Electric Church.

Just like how I have my reserved seat on the A$AP Crew Caravan and the Danny Brown Blunt Convoy, I’m a ticket holder on the Buddy Miles Express. Row 12, seat A. Choo-choo, baby, what more can I say. Buddy was friends with Jimi and, I just learned, the voice on this commercial, but first and foremost Buddy was a drummer just like his dad. I’m a nice person just like my mom, so I can relate, and also she passed on her hips to me, hips of course being the body part that so many soulful men wrote songs about. (Full circle!) This one’s Logan-Walking-Down-the-Street-On-a-Hot-LA-Day Anthem: “Wrap It Up,” that time when Buddy took the Sam & Dave song and turned it into a plea for me to take my dress off. (A few years ago I remember the song was used in a department store commercial at Christmas time – wrap it up; I’ll take it – proof that ad firms are too lazy to listen to lyrics. The song’s about a man who wants to turn his woman’s, uh, love into a box, with a pretty bow on top, an obvious sexy, nasty anatomy reference. “Bring you sweet things from my candy jar/’Cause you’ve got tricks you ain’t never used/Give it, give it to me, it won’t get abused.” Isn’t this basically the same thing Danny promises in “I Will”? Aw, wait, I think it might get abused a tiny bit. SORRY, MOM.)

486 Commonwealth (“Comm”) Ave., Boston
Pros: Nice proprietors who didn’t mind the impromptu photo shoot my traveling companion and I initiated and asked if we were from the nearby photography school. Acknowledging the store’s quantity-over-quality inventory, they also wished us luck in finding “that rare Billy Idol 12-inch.”
Cons: Didn’t find that rare Billy Idol 12-inch.

2. Cheapo: The One True King of R&B (sorry, Kells)

I can’t believe they were able to get all four of them together for that photo on my shirt, since they basically wanted to stab each other in the stomach at this point as a band, right? Oh music industry!, you’re just a big corporate picnic where dudes who hate each other have to smile together in photo ops to soothe the boss’s anxiety and thereby ensure that everybody involved keeps making basketfuls of cash. Anyway, thoughts meander like a restless wind inside a letter box; they tumble blindly as they make their way across the universe, jai guru deva om, blahblah, mostly I’m trying to distract myself from the fact that I didn’t buy the record I’m holding above even though it is called Music for the Sensual Woman and has a sad-eyed thick-haired blonde girl on the cover, because, well, I guess I’m into self-sabotage these days.

Of course I felt a lustful pull toward this section, as 2 of these 3 adjectives describe me
(email me if you must know).

STUN     NING. Stunning. Life-affirming. All I need day to day, along with some lovin and some ice cream, are some old George McCrae and Chi-Lites records over which to geek out. Seeking photographer to shoot me as a slutty ballerina gymnast, Tawny Kitaen style, on top of stacks like this.

El Gran Combo, La Universidad de la Salsa. Bought because my hips were put here on Earth by god herself (Celia Cruz) to move rhythmically to Caribbean music. Also bought because this record was erroneously placed in the jazz section. Insane! This was no accident! I obviously had to go with the fate handed to me by record store gods. Entities outside of my control bind me sometimes, making me feel like the protagonist in horrible Power 106 earwig “Tony Montana.” “You leave me no choice,” excellent rapper Future says in the song, which is about having a decision already been made by the forces at play in the universe, and then living with the outcome of that decision, because you’re just like that man with a Caribbean-bred stronghold technique. “Tony Montana. Tony Montana. Tony Montana.” I’ll talk about the time I bought an El Gran Combo record in Boston if/when I meet Bobbito, but until then I will sweep the floor and bake cookies to it at my apartment in an inappropriate outfit like Beyonce, “Mujer Celosa” sounding so good even though salsa songs about women always have that sexist virgin/whore motif.  

The Chi-Lites, (For God’s Sake) Give More Power to the People. Produced by lead singer Eugene Record (Eugene RECORD), this one of course has song titles like “Troubles A Comin” and “We Are Neighbors” because it was 1971. Couched in the middle, though, there’s future-bankrupt-rapper blip-in-history-sample-source “Have You Seen Her.” How telling. In ’72, the guys included their version of “Inner City Blues” on an album otherwise full of love songs, and in ’73 they did a song called “We Need Order” on an album otherwise full of love songs. Later in ’73, they came out with the Chi-Lites album, completely full of love songs. Every one was about marriage and regretting not asking that one lady to get married when you had the chance – none were about world peace or strife. The lesson here is to remember always, darlings, that we all need to get along as the children of Earth, but mostly we just need sweet sweet romantic love, preferably with a really long spoken intro while the bass and strings build in the background. Related: my parents are gone for the weekend so I’m having a party in the basement (dirty old couches and a single red light hanging from the ceiling! 1971 BACK! All 1971 everything!).

Stylistics, Let’s Put It All Together. Yes, Stylistics! Let’s do that! You had better fucking betcha by golly wowwww I’m ready to put it all together, especially since this record contains “Love is the Answer”* and was produced by Avco album chiefs named Hugo & Luigi, in their spare time, I mean, when they weren’t trying to rescue Princess Toadstool from Bowser’s castle.


Archie Shepp, Fire Music. You can’t deny that cover painting – guts laid out and spread around, messy and thick. It comes courtesy of Mel Cheren, a gay man drafted into the Army who, upon returning from service in 1970, promptly started working for a record label, encouraging its higher-ups to start releasing disco, and then founded Paradise Garage, which seems like the greatest and most subversive Fuck you and your army, America committed by a gay man in my great nation’s history. This one also contains Shepp’s “Malcolm, Malcolm, Semper Malcolm,”* about Mr. El-Shabazz, which is a reminder of the power of 3- and 4-word song titles in jazz. Next week maybe a Fetti affiliate will do a tribute/style-jacking of “In Walked Bud,” only it’ll be called “In Walked Flocka,” and I’ll be so pleased.

*This go harder than a herd of runnin’ future husband, random YouTube commenter.

Roberta Flack, Chapter 2. Predictability is my strong suit – I always buy a record with a pensive-looking lady face on the cover, which might indicate a personality trait of mine, some deep-seated shyness that Roberta and I both have, or that Laura Nyro and I or Nina Simone and I both have. Most likely I buy these things just so I’ll have something to talk about with Lauryn if/when I meet her. Released in 1970, Chapter 2‘s pensive-face art design came courtesy of Ira Friedlander, whose Roberta-head-album-cover creativity apex was reached with Quiet Fire a year later. And although there aren’t any rap breaks to speak of on it, King Curtis and Donny Hathaway make strong and graceful appearances like they always did on Roberta’s albums; upon seeing this in the bins, it had to be mine. I love Roberta. It was, as they say, a wrap. (Predictability is my strong suit.)

George McCrae, Rock Your Baby. Shockingly difficult to find, this was substituted for yearrrrs in apt. 680 by a ton of compilations with all the great singles from the album. I was ashamed and felt small, like my secret would one day be found out. Thanks to Cheapo Records, though, I now have the original album, complete with pensive George modeling his denim on the cover, leaning up against some wood, so bossed up I can’t take it, denim on denim on denim, Levi’s, classic, not like fucking Trues that all the cartoony major-label signees wear. “I Get Lifted” is obviously the rapdork-saliva-pumper on this album and it’s a fantastic bass-y slice of cake, a real sexy piece of work, but this means that the album’s opener, “Rock Your Baby” gets tragically overlooked (unless you are a resident of apt. 680). Bonus: George’s powdery blue kit in the video shows up, years later, in Ghosty’s Sonny Carson/slacks baby blue, knitted sharkskin line from “Murda Goons.” That’s how music history works in my head, anyway.

Ron Carter, A Song for You. Who’s the best Isley? Marvin, because he played bass. Who was Kool & the Gang named for? KOOL, the bass player. What makes “Going Back to Cali” so fucking sexually exciting and fantast–OK GUYS YOU FEEL ME. But guys, who is the finest Mos Def doppelganger who plays bass and happens to be from my future life partner Danny Brown’s city of Detroit? Why it’s Ron “None of you can fuck with this, never, ever, not even in a hundred years; I smoke a pipe and have pretty lashes” Carter.

Donny Hathaway, Come Back Charleston Blue soundtrack. Bought because I need every record with Donny’s beautiful, doomed voice on it, and because I recognize “Little Ghetto Boy” (WEXLER!) in “Little Ghetto Boys” and “Lil’ Ghetto Boy.” The sequel to Cotton Comes to Harlem, this album was co-produced by Quincy Jones (along with Donny) and has a 1-minute interlude called “Furniture Truck,” which would later serve as inspiration for Zaytoven’s beats in tribute to mundane things (“Waffle House,” “Rubber Bands”) that take about 19 seconds to compose. Anyway, in 2012, the saga continues; I’d like you to please stay tuned for my Charleston Blue answer album Come Back Lil ½-Dead.

Return to Forever, No Mystery. Chick Corea, Massachusetts-born, will make you feel like you can walk into the store and steal a nice pair of sharkskin slacks when this song’s playing, a little thrill in your brain as you realize you’re getting away with it. Plus it’ll probably make your girlfriend take her dress off when you get home and put it on the hi-fi. And if your girlfriend’s name is Logan, she’ll start yammering on about it being an Eric B & Rakim break. Dog, you so lucky.

Cheapo Records
538 Mass. Ave., Cambridge

Pros: Large, cleanly laid out, well-lit. This is how record stores should be. Also, nice proprietors who recommended the Middle East for a good burger.
Cons: I live 3,000 miles from it. This is actually a Pro because it means I have enough money this month to pay my rent and buy a Balenciaga bag. Bonus Con: I just said “Balenciaga bag” like I’m Pusha’s girlfriend, so I am pretty corny.

3. Looney Tunes: the Stupidly-Named Place Near Berklee Which Was Definitely Run By My Dad in a Previous Life.

Nikki Giovanni, Truth is on its Way. Nikki, on being an alien from Michigan, in “Poem for Aretha”“Strangers pulling at you ’cause they love you. Nikki on being famous and lonely: Nobody mentions how it feels/To become a freak because you have talent.” Well, that did it. Cue me, forking over $16.

Dr. John, Babylon, bought because, don’t be silly, it’s Dr. John! He’s my pretend great-uncle and he’s just the best. Also bought because Babylon system is the vampire – I know it, Bob knows it, and Dr. John knows it.

Dr. John, Zu Zu Man, bought because Dr. John is still the finest, spookiest wheezy-voiced man out of N.O. (Sorry, Lil Wheezy). And because I was raised by music-loving heathens in a weed den, when I was 5 I knew about Dr. John before I knew about Dr. Teeth, his Muppet inspiration, despite the fact that I was a 5 year old child. Thanks, Pop.

Looney Tunes
1106 Boylston Street, Boston

Pros: Packed, unorganized, dark, no elbow room, great variety of genres. Thissss is how record stores should be.
Cons: Not the store’s fault, but I hit it at the end of a lonnnnng day of walking and shivering so I was not in top form when it came to eyeing and choosing. I only got 3 records but if I had sat down for 10 minutes, eaten something, then returned, I’m sure I would’ve bought 8 more. And if I had the sense to put on a scarf? 12 more, I bet.

4. Weirdo, Tiny Like Lil B’s Pants. Or Is It Dwayne Carter’s Pants. Or Is It Tiny Like the Size of the Lyric-Writing Center in Khalifa’s Brain. 

Oh well hello spiritual advisor Phil Spector, on the wall up there! How you doin, god.

It turns out I don’t just love Boston because Mitt Robotney is no longer the overlord of Massachusetts, or because of Guru’s accent (“He might be loose in the pahhhk/Or lurkin at the train station”) or because the Pixies had a Purple Tape just like Rae! I love Boston because of tiny, tiny Weirdo Records, where I found some Turkish psych and a Dilla break and some demonic fuzz.

Demon Fuzz, Afreaka! Bought because, OK, first of all, look at that cover. LOOK AT IT. Exactly. It’s an Etsy project photographed by David Cronenberg upon returning from lunch with Nelson George! Now that you understand, the reasons for purchasing just get better: band members included men named Sleepy Jack Joseph, Clarance Brooms Crosdale, and Smokey Adams, who, if not jazz musicians, would’ve been Dungeon Family members, or supporting characters in Uptown Saturday Night, or, years later, guest MCs on Uptown Saturday Night. And the name Demon Fuzz had two meanings, according to Crosdale: “Devil’s children or bad policemen.” Either way: I APPROVE.

Dorothy Ashby, The Rubaiyat of Dorothy Ashby. Fuckin rap music producers! Producers love this lady’s records, you guys, probably because your favorite producer’s favorite favorite producer Mr. Yancey (NO, NOT YOU, LUGER) made it mandatory to love her.

Original compositions inspired by the words of Omar Khayyam, it says on the cover of Dorothy’s album. Khayyam, research tells me, was an 11th century Persian poet. The meaning of his poetry varies a little according to which middle-aged white man translated it, but overall his writing appears to be a collection of soothing statements that explain the world. We’re here to enjoy each others’ company in meadows while the sun shines, the poems say. Also there should be lots of wine. I don’t care for wine, but I like words that soothe and the fact that Khayyam was a Sufi Muslim (just like Ghosty! EDIT: Ghostface is a Sunni Muslim. But, really, what’s the difference). A rubaiyat, research tells me, is a collection of poetry – quatrains that generally follow the AABA or AAAA rhyme scheme. So obviously Wiz and any Dipset blockhead would excel at this form of artistic expression. Cat/hat/sat/bat, cat/cat/cat. On a mat.

Turkish Freakout: Psych-Folk Singles, 1969-1980. It’s a compilation, brand new, the work’s already been done for me and that’s cheating, but Christ, I’m not Madlib. Wait, I’m not Oh No. WAIT, they’re both equally informed about Turkish psych and they both stack those Stones Throw dollars. I do not lead such a life of luxury. This lady’s on a budget! All I can afford is my rent, some Balenciaga, and some not very rare, non-eBay, non-first-pressing records every now and then. Actual song title on the comp: “Uryam Geldin” (“I Came Naked”). Madlib probably speaks Turkish at this point and knew that already, but I’m not ashamed to say I went right to Google Translate for the assist.

Sun Ra and his Arkestra, Sleeping Beauty. Just like a Mormon, I fetishize precious objects (gold in Mormons’ case; records in mine) and store material provisions for the End Times (food and water in Mormons’ case; records in mine). Nothing, nothing is more fetish-worthy than a handsome, musical man who was an actual space alien and brought messages from the other side; allow me to introduce you to my record collection full of bassists and MCs. Just like supreme fetish object Madlib, I do a tiny jump-up-and-down dance to myself when I find a stunning album in a store’s bin. And just like Madlib scrawled “Door of the Cosmos” on the side of the cave he descends into en route to his underground bunker, I need to leave little messages for myself around my dwelling, reminders about the power of human potential, in order to do my best work (blogging). In keeping with this, on my fridge is a list of the 7 Tenets of Mindfulness Practice because I stress too much, and Sleeping Beauty is on display right when you walk into apt. 680, wordlessly telling me keep it spacey, life should be weird and spacey. Also, keep it based. Sun Ra was based before #based was a thing.

Ennio Morricone, Le Professionel soundtrack. The MIT museum was lovely, a real nerd heaven,  despite the grouchy gift shop cashier and that fact that MIT almost spells out Romney’s first name. It turns out the MIT’s motto is Mens et Manus (“Mind and Hand”), a concise rendering of the philosophical intent of the school’s founders. Promote education for practical application, they proposed. Yes, I heard about that from BDP once or ten times, MIT museum, you biters. Get your head and your hands to develop a solid working relationship seems like it would serve you well if you were a boxer, which Jean-Paul Belmondo started as before he was beautiful and young and pretentious in Breathless and then old-ish and weathered in Le Professionel. Mind and hand is also a good thing to remember when you’re in front of your MPC making a powerful beat to which you’d like me to walk down the street in a dress, and it’s a perfect thing to remember during amorous times on the couch or in the backseat.

Weirdo Records
844 Mass. Ave., Cambridge

Pros: Very sweet proprietor who found it comical I had 4 separate transactions (FOUR), because every time I thought I was done, I’d find another darling that had to come home with me. Ahaha. HA.
Cons: It really is tiny inside, and lack of space means you’re at the mercy of your emotional state and the tricks of the universe when you visit (the universe might send in an annoying person who tells you “Mos Def just changed his name!” even though you don’t really care and plus you already know this.)

5. Newbury Comics: the “I Realize It’s a Boston Institution but Inside It Just Looks Like a Bunch of Red Sox Fans Took Over a Hot Topic.

“I can be smart when it’s important, but most men don’t like it.” – Lorelei Lee, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Musical space cadets from the future would’ve liked it, though, Lorelei! Should’ve been more willing to accept nontraditional romantic partners, mama.
Don’t make me chase you, Sun Ra. (Even doves have pride.)
I should use my cervine face to get away with bad things all the time. Bank robbery, etc.

Sun Ra and His Arkestra, Super-Sonic Jazz. “Super Blonde,” the liner notes say, “tells a happy story about a blonde who is just as super as someone else called super.” There’s no mention of this super lady as a blonde who wears a Warner Bros. Films x screenprint machine collab t-shirt, but I’m a sucker for a happy story so I had to have it.

Joy Division, Unknown Pleasures. Bought because I love depressed boys (but you knew that). I am a young, educated woman in a major city, so I am required to use the word “thrifted” to describe half my t-shirts and I have to love depressed boys. I am an awful, boring cliché on 2 legs. Sigh. Also bought because I can’t find Closer – somewhere at my parents’ house, maybe? – so I haven’t been able to play any Joy Division when I clean the house in an inappropriate Beyonce outfit. And bought because “She’s Lost Control” is my theme song in my darkest, baddest, most promiscuous moments, and in my bittersweet, heart-racing, body-moving, large-eyeball-pupiled moments, oh look, there I am, dancing alone in the corner at the Factory on Saturday night. Also bought because I didn’t have it in my collection but I always knew I should, and now I do. Aw Ian. Welcome to the collection of musical ghosts that live in apt. 680. You’ve been placed between Christopher Wallace and Elliott Smith.

The trip winding down, I made a quick stop at Quincy Mahhket to try to make love to a not-feeling-it Red Auerbach, then mailed my records and returned home to my native sunny land. Bourdain doesn’t have to worry about rent being due, but I do.


Things more interesting than popular music beefery and impending industry babies and Georgia rappers’ appearances on terrible Dwayne Carter albums

Put the paper in the panties when you get that dance, goes the sign above the front door at apt. 680, just as a reminder when you enter. There’s no basketball court here, unlike at King of Diamonds. There’s a basketball court there, inside, which makes it an odd and wonderful part of the Miami naked-girl scene. There’s a basketball court inside King of Diamonds, I said. Inside. This fact is thirty times more interesting to me in my life at the present time than anything Tyler says or does in, on, near, or around MTV because…hell, it’s MTV. (I feel like people are kind of making fun of his mom for her emotional display, too, and I don’t care for that. And did you hear there was some sort of dust-up between basic bitch Rawss and a thin white lady not named Logan?). The basketball court fact is more interesting than anything, really, at the present time in my life, other than wondering to myself Is Curren$y’s leg healing appropriately?; does he need anything from me, perhaps a nice home-cooked meal and a round of Duke Nukem? and How in the world does Wayne keep his white Ts so clean and fresh? (He seems like a sweaty person).

I believe the phrase in Miami is Don’t stop; get it, get it, correct? Anyway, I am too thin and awkward to be a nude dancing professional, but strippers and female rap bloggers are both regarded with a mixture of fear, patronization, and lust by males in our respective worlds so I feel like I’m an honorary nude dancing professional. Wayne – or, actually, the director of his video, with final approval by UMRG, all rights reserved – has some conflicting stripper feelings that this article sums up in a beautiful way. The only important thing that I would have included in the piece is the fact that the word hustle actually means “to shake to and fro.” The word hustle actually means that. And still, dudes are upset at/lusting over/giving fatherly advice to ladies using what they have to git what they want.

Also, still unclear: Wayne’s feelings about stripper librarians.

Just as odd and funny, but not quite as charming, is watching Internet boys discover Dwayne Carter’s “recent” descent into terribleness. Energy levels are high in this regard, dudes just going crazy, dissecting all the bars, hating up a storm. I tell you it’s some enthusiasm like I’ve never seen. They’re also getting excited (in the opposite way) over Andre’s verse on “Interlude,” which is only remarkable by default (due to the terribleness of the rest of the album). Everyone, everyone, I say, Calm down. Andre is the coolest, a real swingin cat, but if you show your hand too soon, lap up anything he gives you, he’ll lose his fire and then we’ll be stuck with another 5-year absence. Every night he reads me the phone book while I look at him with my chin resting in my hand but you don’t see me getting all excited. I just wait til he leaves, then I write about how much I like him in my diary, and listen to his “Walk It Out” verse like it’s still oh-six.

Internet boy Andy Nosnitsky, you annoy frequently but you charm more frequently. And I have you to thank for informing me that Phesto has a Tumblr

• This photo of Bun B exists. SWANGIN, I hear his voice say in my head when I look at it. And as of tomorrow, Bun B Day exists. “Way to go Bun B, it will truly be a Trill Day in Houston!,” says the mayor’s website, adorably. (The mayor apparently hasn’t heard B’s Population fifty thousand, only 3 high schools, but 8 sets of low-income housing critique, but I’m pretty sure B was talking about Port Arthur there anyway. A huge city like Houston’s got to have way more than just 3 high schools, right?)

• #1 in sales/DLs at this moment: “I’m On One” (Khaled). Really, America? I didn’t realize it was still mid-June. Best moment in the song, still: Khaled’s Get em uuuup overlapping Stupid Jerkface Drake’s I’m onnn one during the squiggly intro. The song is big dumb fun (still, even though it’s no longer mid-June), and it’s nice to see a Palestinian and a Jewish guy make some harmony together, quite literally. The other best moment is all moments not involving the image in my head of Rick Ross bending some poor lady over in the kitchen, Sweet Jesus. 

#1 at this moment in 1971 – “Spanish Harlem” (Aretha, age 29), produced by Jerry “MORE BASS” Wexler, AKA Production God For Whom I’d Convert to Judaism. Best part – piano at 01:44 (Aretha).

#1 in 2001 – “Fallin’” (Alicia, age 20), produced by Alicia (age 20!). Years later, these two ladies get cross-referenced in the Mos Def section of a certain bikini’d blogger’s brain (“One Step Ahead” as a break, and the “You Don’t Know My Name” video, SUH-WOOOON, DANTE, you give all shy, hardworking girls hope that dudes who don’t look at us will one day look at us).

I’m not a Belieber, I’m a…uhh, JerryLieberber? Hearing the original “Spanish Harlem” in the Civic  yesterday right when I started the engine means that some sort of deity exists and he/she is a fan of pop radio just like me. Best part: the syllabic stressing, the satisfying way the words ride the beat, during the It is a special one, it’s never seen the sun/It-only-comes-out-when-the-moon-is-on-the-run/And all the stars are gleeeaming part. Lieber’s heroic feats outside of actual music making include he and Mike Stoller insisting on getting producer credit on all of their work – unprecedented in the ’50s music industry. “Atlantic wanted to call us ‘directors’,” he said, “they said they were the producers because they put up the money.” But Jerry and Mike sealed the deal, ensuring that many years later a bikini’d lady blogger would hold Mannie Fresh in high regard for actually making the stuff that provides the soundtrack for her hustle, rather than one Bryan Williams for bankrolling it. See also: RZA rather than Steve Rifkind.