“How come the things that make us happy make us sad?” asked golden-voiced philosopher Frankie Beverly. His question was in response to unstoppable rap machine Curren$y putting out song after song with Wiz Khalifa. “Well, it seems to me,” Frankie said, “that joy and pain are like sunshine and rain.”
Sigh. Yes, Frankie. YES. It seems that way to me, too. Like every young lady with a computer and a working pair of ears, I love Curren$y. I hate Wiz. They keep doing songs together, and that’s a zig-zag-y journey through the joy and pain regions of my brain. (It’s also a Zig Zag journey, of course! teehee.) I’m not an MC, but since I can stand upright and speak basic English, I am pleased to announce my impending fame, including but not limited to being on the cover of Smooth! and getting a fake naked girlfriend for promo purposes. I’m told I should also have a likeable personality, which, OK, done, and get close with some cheesy Nordic producers which, oh dear, will take a little bit of work. Have faith, though – in a month or two I’ll be skyping Curren$y while Antwerp-bound which sounds dirty but it’s not.
1. “Rooftops,” from Rolling Papers (produced by Big Jerm)
Wiz, signed and rich (richer than me, anyway, and to me that’s rich):And they say they ballin’, but I do it how the pros do/Where we goin’ next week I let my hoes choose/No socks and my boat shoes/Guess a n—a eatin’ good like Whole Foods.
Do, choose, shoes, Foods. Seuss raps. When done correctly, in a New York accent (AUDIO TWO) or in a Louisiana accent (White carpet in my Scarface house/No undergarments on my Scarface spouse), it’s rap perfection. Rapfection. When not done well, it’s Wiz. I simply cannot explain this phenomenon, nor do I care to try, because then I’d sound like a Pitchfork writer and they never post pictures of themselves in bathing suits so they are losers.
Logan, unsigned/poor, Moleskine full of rhymes: Somethingsomething much- ballyhooed/Don’t know what I like more – devil’s pie or devil’s food/Blah blah, Premier’s a porn fiend, plus he got hops & barley ’cause it’s home brewed/…uhhhh…Tell the driver to fire up that Marley, I wanna hear some “Mellow Mood”-?
I’m sure many of you out there could get loose over the beat, go in a completely different direction than me, use that sad horn as punctuation for a tale of a break-up or a death instead of this lowest-common-denominator drivel I have presented here (porn, beer, cake, A/A rhyme scheme). But this is a copy-Wiz exercise and it therefore needs to be as mindless as possible. Other than the part where I made Premier into a craft-beer specialist, what?, I promise you that no creative juices flowed in the composing of this verse (which took me about 14 seconds). Everybody likes being high? Well then, put it in your verse! Everybody knows fresh-faced mid-’60s Studio One rocksteady Marley was the best Marley? It goes in the fuckin verse! Also, you’ll notice that the term “Marley” works in 2 ways here, which just shows that when I really apply myself for 14 seconds I can come up with some lyrical blasts to your freaking head. Oh my lorrrrd, I am absolutely killingit. Wiz, you ain’t got no job security.
Curren$y, diminutive rapstar millionaire:You n—s ain’t help us – on second thought, you did/The hatin’ was the fuel for this shit.
JETLIFEFOOOOOLLLLAHTEIHIQ#N+*HMM7LLFH9Y%ILEH5NFU*^7WEHR. I get excited and my fingers get all quivery! CAN’T TYPE! TOO EXCITED. Anyway, it’s JET LIFE, now, tomorrow, always, goddamn you if you’re not on board with this, jet life forever and ever amen, so “fuel” works 2 ways here. His verse is unremarkable, but that’s ok; you’ve heard his voice, right? (This might be a girly thing; forgive me). Plus he’s got that accent, the star of every damn one of his songs (even when it’s not a song, it sounds like a song ’cause his way of speaking is so sing-songy. Conversationally, he’s a musical genius.) He sneaks in a “whoadie,” which he rarely does and that is so weird to me, because if I were from N.O. I’d say it all the time just because I could. The hell do people from Pittsburgh say? NOTHING. They have no slang because nobody cares what they say, or what they do, or the shoes they wear, or how they feel about things.
2. “Dot Dot Dot,”from some upcoming mysterious mixtape creation, with Big Sean (produced by Big Jerm)
Wiz:King size papers, king size bed/N—s blow money but I’d rather keep mine instead/Roll something n—a, blow something/Say you’re ballin out of control/Let a n—a hold something.
Logan, better than Wiz:Earl Stevens calls it gouda, I was raised to call it ‘bread’/got so much I retired, hired Doom to read me the phone book, somethingsomething… Rosebud the sled/Butterflies in my tummy, drinking tea, lying in bed/…uhhhhhm, fuck this is rather difficult. You must be outta your head if your system ain’t up to the red (?).
I don’t know, maybe I’m not as good at this as I thought. I start to plagiarize, my brain just pulling out random lines I remember and love from the rap years ’97 or ’03, and then Citizen Kane was on AMC the other night. I’m easily influenced. And those drums, so pretty and Black-Milk-esque!, they cloud my thoughts. I can’t focus on telling the story. But go easy on me, please. Be nice. I’m just starting. You’ll note, however, that even though I’m no good I’m still a heavier hitter, lyrically speaking, than Wiz. I’m also a heavier hitter in literal terms, because even though my hip bones stick out a little, I probably outweigh WK, rap’s Skeletor, by about 15 lbs. I thought weed was supposed to be an appetite stimulant.
Curren$y:It has been said I keep one rolled up like LL’s pants leg/Full of life in this bitch, though I may seem half-dead/Trust me, I’m cool/I just ain’t talking to you.
Critical bias on the part of the blogger: this man’s words speak to me. He’s looking right at me as he says this. Except for the pant leg part, it’s a summary of me interacting with every LAPD officer at Starbucks downtown (2nd and Central; COPS LOVE ME and it is a terrible burden with which I have been saddled). Trust me, officer; I’m cool. I’m way cool. Thanks for holding the door for me but I’m not interested in chatting and I never ever talk like this because I am a lady but I’d just like you to know I don’t fuck with pigs, dog (Muslim), you have a great day now.
3. “Flowers”(that mixtape with Big Sean; Big Jerm)
Wiz:How the fuck could you hate this/Half of these people aint real, n—s shape shift/That’s why I’m smoking OG til I’m weightless/Yeah and my homies are Taylor Gang/We rolling up papers and yeah of course they gon hate/But fuck what they say, ’cause we gon stay the same.
Logan, making a fool of Wiz like this is the parking lot at Osborn High:“I knew it had went off. I saw the fire, like, come through my jeans/I took a couple more steps and my jeans were like — my jeans are wet/And I looked down. I had some Chuck Taylors on/and they were — the white was all red/I’m in trouble.”
Curren$y:Now pan on them lenses and focus on the dopest/In the Mitchell & Ness Marino, see how far back I done throwed it.
It’s a throwback, darling. A throw-back. Marino was a QB (he threw back). This verse coming right after mine is genius, because we’re both making reference to the NFL. So for the sake of the song it doesn’t really matter that Marino is dullsville, as is the entire Dolphins squad except for the fact that Trick is a fan, but Marino was in Ace Ventura and that was kind of cool and unexpected of him. So now I really really want Curren$y to throw in something Ace Ventura-related, maybe on Verde Terrace? (update, after I just listened to it: nope). Ace Ventura‘s kind of a stoner movie, right? No? A little? Am I out of touch here? Anyway, the ultimate would be Curren$y coming out with a song called “Laces Out,” a duet about footwear with fellow shoe whore Bun B. Or maybe a mixtape called If I’m Not Back in 5 Minutes, Just Wait Longer.
4. “Fly N—s Do Fly Things” (the How Fly mixtape; Sledgren)
Wiz:Influenced by the reefer but I’m still positively speaking/Heading down to New Orleans, fuck with Spitta for a weekend/Exotic bitches freakin, minks on the rug/I’m living Clicquot dreams, pouring drinks in the tub/One life to live, so I’ma live it up.
That beat is pretty all right with me but that’s probably because I’m a sucker for echo-y handclaps and because I have “Bass Boost” checked off in my laptop’s Speaker Enhancements tab (which makes everything sound fantastic). Yeahhh, bitch, Wiz says to start the song, and that’s funny because that’s exactly what I say to myself every time I hear a Wiz-less Curren$y song. Yayyy and Thank God are also what runs through my head. I don’t give a fuck, Wiz says a little later, which describes both his attitude about the world as well as my attitude about Wiz making another song for as long as we both shall live. Heading down to N.O., fuck with Spitta, Wiz adds. I am aware of the transactional nature of rap friendships – the potential to earn revenue trumps all, yes? – but clearly, Curren$y’s not being up front with Wiz. Come to my city, hang out with me, Spitta says, but this is only possible because Wiz has a friend named “Chevy,” and Curren$y’s bowtied til he dies.
Logan (my primary goal here is to get the keys to the jet and I will spend my entire verse trying to convince Curren$y to hand them over):Eatin gumbo with a Neville; it’s Cyril, he doesn’t have a DeVille/So Spitta, I have a request (you don’t ask, you don’t get)/Don’t need your spaceship, your Francesca, your Eldorado, your Corvette/Escort with the paint messed up from that accident at Kohl’s/Please lemme get keys to the jet; headed overseas, seein’ Dumile n’ Dennis Coles.
Ha, nobody thought I had any NOLA raps. Shame on you. I’m not upset with Wiz for wanting to hang out down there; he and I both have this fantasy about “accidentally” running into Mannie at Winn-Dixie after stalking him for several weeks and getting a feel for his shopping patterns. The air is thick with the spirit of good MCs who’ve walked the streets of the city, and also thick with suffocating swamp air. Every cab driver looks like Professor Longhair, and I see Chris Paul in the car next to me at every stoplight. We don’t even mind the mosquitoes, me and Wiz, since we get it how we live and hug the block, lalalalaaa, les bon temps are rouler-ing left and right, life is wonderful, geaux Saints, I’m IN. Game feels it, too – wanting to join Cash Money and all. Oh, hey, guess what, Game? Me too, Game! ME TOO. Probably not happening for either of us, though. Sorry, Game. We must all know our limitations*.
*(I can’t get away with using “beasting” as a verb in conversations about the performances of NBA players, or the word “jawn” in any context, nor will I ever have the pale-skinned, hip-less steezyness of Leigh Lezark. I’ll also never have a name as rad as Jason Goldwatch’s. But accepting the things we cannot change allows us to conserve our energy and focus on the things we can.)
This look is foxy and it is just not possible for me. It’s not in the cards. Not ever. (Sigh.)
Curren$y:Would it be cliche to start my verse saying something that I always say?/The planes got it, I perfected my roll in the sunset/Aeronautics, I swear on my soul I would never co-sign some nonsense/Muscle car auction, I just cop it and then go ride it/Wait for the night to set, then really pop it and drive it/Bitches run on the side of it like those little Jamaican kids.
META RAPS! Critical bias on the part of the blogger: META RAPS are the alpha and the omega. Take the first letter out of each word in this joint, for example (Mt. Vernon fresh). Verse number 2, do the damn thing (guilty-pleasure/Nitti fresh). Last time on a Khaled remix/Now I’m on the original version (guilty-pleasure/Luda fresh). I know they gonna criticize the hook on this song (“can I live?” fresh). The violin on “Knowledge God” sounded ill (gods-in-the-Wu-pantheon fresh). Also, META GEORGIAN FUNK (50% of James Brown songs – him discussing the song breaking down while it’s breaking down. Breakdown fresh), and let’s not forget META TEXAN FUNK. “Come on and tighten up that bass,” Archie Bell said, “Oh yeah. Now look here – I want that guitar to fall in on there. Tighten it up now. Oh. Yeah. Now tighten it up, organ. Yeah.” (KCRW with the assist here, for being fresh and playing “Tighten Up” while I was out driving for my government job yesterday morning).
5. “O.T.T.R.” (that mixtape with Big Sean; Big Jerm)
Wiz:I’m moving at top speed, my engine is foreign/I travel across seas where women are gorgeous/And ni—s know it’s us, we make it tough to mistake it/Just let me roll it up and when it’s stuffed, we blaze it/Then we Off To The Races.
Logan, embarrassing Wiz:I’m still working on it, but I do know the hook will be something about how I’m off to my new Caprice/since I’m bowtied til I die (“O.T.M.N.C.S.I.B.T.I.D.”). And it’ll embarrass Wiz, of course, yayyyy, because Wiz and I have to keep it theatrical whenever we meet up for a “freestyle skirmish in the parking lot,” AKA my daydream-y brain while I’m at work. It’s like that Murs/Eyedea smiley throwdown except I am both Murs and Eyedea, and Wiz isn’t qualified to be my adversary – he’s just there to give me fresh Aquafina bottles as needed.
Curren$y: And I’ma Pimp, see (C!), leaning in my ride like how Bun be (B!)/Sittin’ tall on my chrome, see, but I’m low in the seat/My girl in the sheet fast asleep, I’m in the street after the cheddar/Peddlin’ melodies, purchasin’ better things/On the road to the riches I done drove over n—-s.
Critical bias on the part of the blogger:UGK raps fill up all the empty places inside me, as do musician-name-pun raps, and this one’s so freaking fine, it’s like the 2011 version of Andre Ben’s I’m so like a pimp, I’m glad it’s night. I also devour raps about girls doing nothing, girls lounging, girls sleeping – especially raps that also include the beautiful, surprisingly un-corny phrase “peddling melodies.” Women need more sleep than men (it’s science), and I greatly appreciate the kindness of someone who lets me stay curled up in bed, the queen of dreamland, while he goes out and handles it. That’s a good man, no two ways about it. (No two ways BOUT IT, neither, since at this point I am an honorary Louisianan). I can’t wait til we get married and I get some South infused in my speech and start referring to him as my huzzzbin. When we come to California to visit my family on holidays, we stop in LA to hang out with Nick Dahhhhmond. And at this point I’d like to provide a shout from the bottom of my tender heart to all the ladies out there who, like me, Karen Hill, and Amber Rose, realized long ago they’d never make good cops’ or teachers’ wives. Sorry, Mom.
Side note: FUCKING LOOK AT THIS QUARTET OF BADASS JEWISH GIRLS FROM QUEENS.
2. This isn’t real; it’s a picture of the inside of my brain (ARTEST X CURREN$Y, 504 X 718, life is wonderfulllll, lalalalaaaa), via the LA Times.
3. John Carpenter being interviewed by RA is not really that unreal, if you think about it. It really makes complete sense, if you think about it. What’s really unreal, though, is the fact that apparently John Carpenter is my father-? (he talks how my dad talks and that’s why I am the way I am). (GrandGood)
4. “Nostalgia is a seductive liar.” – George Ball.
“How’d you come up with the concept for ‘Sleepin’ On My Couch’?”“Uh, it’s about people sleepin on my couch, Dre.” Del is probably a difficult interview, though, so I shouldn’t be too hard on Dre. Anyway, Baby Del and his WOOLY DOME and his complaints about people coming to his home and not wanting to step are not real. It’s seduction; not a real thing. I am not familiar with this man’s work but from the strength of his speaking voice I feel like he might make a great MC and beat artisan (but only on his days off from reading me the phone book out loud).
I just discovered that first album was recorded here, in what is now a sad little AT&T store. 20 years later, here’s me, a girl on planet Earth, typing this post on a laptop I purchased in a store across the street from that location. The Boogiemen used to make coffee runs at that very Starbucks, which first came to LA 20 years ago. Mindfucks aren’t real. They’re just not.
5.“Dyslexie, a Typeface Designed to Help Dyslexics Read.” This is real, and it feels good.
A man reads the Koran on the first day of Ramadan while taking shelter from rain on a sidewalk in Lahore August 2. (Mohsin Raza/Reuters); The Big Picture.
I don’t get You’re beautiful emails; I get Nice blog, nerd emails. That’s the way I planned it and that’s the way I likes it; I know my visitors come to read my Fripp dorkouts, my Gibbs dorkouts, my ramblings about that moment when I realized K.R.I.T. means King Remembered In Time (pretentious, but I still like him). My visitors don’t even notice or care that I have hips (right??) because the pleasures of language overpower any romantic feelings between us. My visitors eat words up. I do too. And I take it for granted that I can do it so easily. So I’m taking a break from complaining about rappers, both because I’m still exhausted from yelling about WTT and because it’s not good for my psyche to be so focused on the negative, to do a little fawning over a typeface designer who’s doing some good for the world.
Boer compares Dyslexie (example above) to a wheelchair. He has dyslexia, and “followed his own instincts about optimizing typography to fit his own eye, then recruited eight other dyslexics (whom he didn’t know) to help him iterate through four rounds of design to refine the letterforms…” One of the key features of Dyslexie is the extra visual ‘weight’ it adds to the bottom halves of the letters.” Boer says this is to help “pin the letters to the baseline, which helps make them easier to read.”
The time he spent perfecting the thing is the best, most fawn-worthy part of his story. “I can tell you that I have worked on the comma for four hours,” he says, “and the letter ‘a’ for more than 12 hours.” Nice work, Christian, but does it make Watch the Throne any more tolerable?(FastCoDesign)
You gotta let me read just a page of you, baby. Frank Ocean – “Bedtime Story.” Frank’s got car-sing-along Power 106 Chris-Brown-levels beautiful pop melodies, minus the no-holds-barred bitchery and absolute hatred of women that Chris tries to make us all forget about when he flashes his perfect white teeth. Plus Frank’s got some musical blood running through him, being Billy Ocean’s son and all. J/K! Shabaam Sahdeeq and Raphael Saadiq are cousins, though. (J/K! Stop believing it just because of my trustworthy face!)
I HAVE BLONDE HAIR AND OFTEN WEAR A WHITE TANK TOO, YOU KNOW, SO HOW COME I CAIN’T SIT THERE?
I would add “Whothefuck is that bitch,” à la Joi in Friday, but I don’t talk like that in real life so I don’t want Curren$y to see this post and think I’m foul-mouthed. It’s unladylike.
Aw, censorship. I had to do it, this being a sweet and innocent blog.
(you gotta buy the Blu-Ray edition if you want the director’s cut)
I know there’s more to him as a man but you can’t fault me for thinking that all Curren$y cares about is his X-box, V-12 engines, the greatest strains this season, and a whole lot of commas on his checks. He also says things like Dead stock tissue in the box, elephant print/On my Flint 13’s no retro 3M reflective, which is either about cars or shoes – either way, I’m fucked. Not a lot for me to work with there, conversation-wise.
But I bet you I can elicit a smile across the dinner table by engaging him in a debate about Sean Payton’s visor (stylish or no?) and which is the superior walking-in-slow-motion-out-to-your-Caprice-in-the-driveway song (“Easin’ In” or “Only One Can Win”?). Then I can just babble on, ask him what he thinks about the pumpkin-colored 328 on that Frank O cover, and try to repeat some of my favorite lyrics of his – Something you n—as ain’t never been: boss/Can’t find your mom and your dad/In the grocery store, panicking: lost – til the champagne hits me and I lose my focus. I start to get all critical like I’m composing a blog post (“I didn’t much care for your lyrical content being so firearm-heavy a few years ago, you sounded silly”; “How come I was not notified of the audition for the ‘White Girl Jumping into Pool’ character in the ‘Address’ video?”). It turns into a huge foot-in-mouth extravaganza. So I just resort to giggling, playing with my hair, saying “I FEEL THE JETNESS, LALALAAA” and just when I’m about to ask him to start reading the phone book to me, the DJ plays my funtimes girly song that I have no choice but to love due to the estrogen flowing through me, or maybe it’s that funtimes girly song, so I scream THISMYSONNNG, then excuse myself from the table to go work it out on the floor. It’s a good plan, yes? I’m ready. I am. I’ve lotioned myself up, I got my white tank on and I’m ready for my meal at the table, the human obstruction known as “Dame Dash” be damned. I want to be that lady at that table. Time to get it crackin like lobsters.
“Run Dat Shit.” The part about having advance access to fashion designers’ sketch pads for next season is lame; it could be straight from Rawss’ playbook and that’s the most devastating criticism I can give a lyric. But the description of him on the red carpet in shorts makes up for it. (He was just at the premier ’cause his homeboy was in the movie!). Also: My style straight like 9:15 and Marlo on the screen, yeah bitch we on The Wire/You talking too much, bitch – go sit up there with the driver.(things I like)
Mr. World Peace has gotten soft over the last couple years – and yet, in a move I could not possibly have seen coming, I love him more with each passing day. (This never happens, since I prefer ’em during the dirty n’ inappropriate years. Upstanding adults who’ve outgrown teenage-boy behavior are boring. Sorry, MCA, Ice-T, and Mike Tyson).
Driving around during my government-job shift earlier this week, I heard a podcast on my local pretentious public radio station featuring Ronald talking about Lenny Williams, the O’Jays, and Mobb Deep like it ain’t no spectacular thing, NO BIG DEAL, DUN (I managed to retain control of the vehicle, though just barely). Listening to Ron Artest talk about records is intense daydreamy material – that accent! that voice! – and erases the pain I felt when I missed his autograph sesh at Living Spaces a couple months back. Thank you for the make-up gift, universe!
– Ron can’t listen to rap before a game (gets him too emotional. ME TOO, Ron! Me too).
– He likes to listen to Alberta Hunter before a game. But if I may be so bold: based on his performance in the Mavs series, I would suggest that this ritual be re-tooled a little bit. Maybe bring some UGK in?, I don’t know. Also, keep practicing less, because that seemed to agree with you.
– The host (Jason Bentley. Don’t get me started.) is shocked at Ron’s taste. “Ron shares his surprising pre-game soundtrack – soulful songs about love – and more in his Guest DJ set.” Because, you see, men who handle their disputes in an effective manner, which may or may not be with angry faces and fists thrown in rage, cannot possibly like songs about romantic triumphs and tribulations. Mr. Bentley believes that just because Ronald’s mentality is what, kid, that he doesn’t have a muscle the size of his fist thumping away in his chest. Ugh. The stereotypes.
– Ronald and his mom listened to good music before church. Just like every other professional athlete during the last hundred years.
– Ron has an auntie, and the children of that auntie are, guess what, his cousins (he explains this in a charming and innocent fashion during the “Killa B shot in the head” portion of the interview).
– Mary J. got Ron through some tough times. This is developmentally appropriate; Ron was a teenager in the ’90s and in college in the late ’90s, and those were some prime Mary years.
– Ron’s a Dude Who I Wish Would Read Me the Phone Book out loud, he’s also a dude who can tell me stories any goddamn time he wants about Killa B’s self-inflicted gunshot wound. (This actually happens in the interview. This is a thing that he actually talks about. Because that’s just Ron for you). And Ron likes good old soulful music, dudes pouring their hearts out (Lenny Williams, the O’Jays). ME TOO, RON! Me too.
The Lenny Williams song is a Laboe classic, as well as an Original Kings of Comedy defining moment.
You take Steve’s reaction to the Lenny song, along with that of all those ladies in the first 10 rows, and you have successfully created a composite of me and my bodily responses in the Civic when “Cross My Heart” comes on. Throw in some Minaj,
and you got me in the Civic when anything Toomp– or Mannie- or Spector-produced comes on.)
And The Best Thing:
Well obviously it’s the Mobb Deep Mention, of course.
Yesterday in the paper there was a review of a new collection of essays by Edward Hoagland.
“(He) is a writer who has spent more time observing with gratitude than opining,” says reviewer Susan Salter Reynolds,
“‘Life is moments,’ he writes, ‘day by day, not a chronometer or a contractual commitment by God.’”OH SHIT, TIME TO DO AN E-40 POST was of course my response to this.Moments like the song above coming on the radio, perfectly-timed and making my car’s tinny speaker system seem like something ten times more expensive? Those kinds of moments, you mean? Basically I’d just like to take a moment say Thank you, LA Times book review, in conjunction with Power 106 programmers. It all came together perfectly. I read that Hoagland sentence, then got in the Civic and heard that E-40 and I drove off into the sunset. Which brings me to the week’s first award –
1. Best Use of Bass (week of 06/12 – 06/19): “My Shit Bang,” E-40.
For achievement in convincing me that my shit bang even in a 13-year-old Honda coupe, I had to start the list with the English Professor (I attend Baller U – class of 2014, cuddie). 40’s also my Favorite Story-telling Cool Uncle and has a permanent spot on the List of Dudes Who I’d Like to Read the Phone Book to Me Out Loud.
My shit bang My shit thrub I’m a motherfucking beast I’m a motherfucking hog Pull up with the slump Or should I say black truck soundin’ Like I got an alligator in the back Paint wetter than melted ice Rally and hockey stripes burning rubber at every light mean muggin’ like fuck your life. Best Use of Alligator. And, without a doubt, Best Use of “Thrub.”I’d also like to recognize 40 as having this week’s Outstanding Non-Perfect Vocal Moment (the way he gets out of breath at 00:51, when he says hog – PERFECT; thanks for keeping it in the song, producer ToneBone from Los Angeles, CA).
2. Best Nonrap Appreciation that Translates Perfectly as a Rap Appreciation:
“The Magritte work that I always return to is The Treachery of Images, because we have it at the LA County Museum. It’s a kind of touchstone of his. He’s affirming the slipperiness, or as he calls it the treachery, of images, of language – that a word and an object have no necessary connection other than that we collectively assigned that word and that object to go together. I really appreciate his word play.”
Is this me talking about 40, or Baldessari talking about Magritte in The Guardian? Aha, I have posed a difficult question, because it could be either. Except we didn’t collectively assign “gouda” to mean money or “elroy” for cop – 40 did, and we just followed along because he’s got that charisma. Signifiers and the signified can be a frustrating concept; it takes me back to my days as a co-ed. If my Lit 101 teacher had just used the example of an alligator to illustrate how the same thing that describes the knocking-ness of speakers can also describe a scaly thing that comes from a swamp, I would’ve had a much easier time with the whole concept of structuralism.
3.Best Hat; Most Blatant Display of Love for Eric Wright; Most Effective Pandering to Elderly Rap Fans; Best Use of Typeface; Best Use of Los Angeles Design Archetype When It Comes to Hats: Jeezy at the Hot 107.9 concert in Atlanta over the weekend. (That hat. LOOK AT THAT HAT, HOLY CHRIST). Outstanding Achievement by a Non-LA Resident in Making This Blogger Smile.
Normally I insist that a gentleman wear his hometown somewhere on his person. I do not care for fluid allegiances, dudes who forsake the home team because the division rival’s got better colors. REP YOUR SET, PLEASE. Have a little conviction. And yet I do not have a problem with a Georgian wearing the name of a city to which he does not belong. I’m complex like that, I guess. Or just in a really good mood.
Jeezy also gets Best Historical Tie-In, as this week is the 40th anniversary of upstanding moral human being Richard Nixon’s completely logical and well-planned “war on drugs.” If Nixon were here today he’d argue that coke raps fund terrorism. I’m pretty sure he’d hate Palin, though, so he and I would at least have that in common.
“Ha, look at that dude’s funny-lookin stoic smiley-face on his hat! I don’t know what it means but it’s cuuuuute,” I said to myself, before realizing I’ve gotten slightly off-course in my mp3 habits. Been listening to too many 20-year-old MCs and worshiping at the altar of Georgia rap. I need to get back to my cranky-old-90s-reminiscing Cali roots sometimes. Plus I just love a black-on-black fitted, thank you and good day.
4. Best Use of Weezy: Jay Wayne Jenkins having Dwayne Carter come on through to the live show to perform his verse, AKA Jeezy at the Hot 107.9 concert in Atlanta over the weekend – specifically, this moment in his set, which got him so many cool points. And have I mentioned that HAT?
The best BEST part of this whole thing is the fact that there is no Wayne introduction, no stopping the music for maximum drama, even though that would certainly be warranted since Wayne is the most hugest rock star in the galaxy (Internet) right now. Wayne just starts in. Unheard of! I screamed, out loud, sitting right here as I type this, when he came out on stage – literally, this eruption of pleasure from my throat the moment I saw Weezy, even though the video is calledJEEZY BRINGS OUT LIL WAYNE HOT 107.9 B-DAY BASH. Weezy and I, we have our ups and downs; he’s a man who sometimes falters (those pink shorts, working with Travis Barker, hanging out with Dirk, putting all those babies in women). But he knows how to redeem himself through sheer charisma. It translates to success and incredible likeability. That’s how when he was 16 he bought his first Mercedes-Benz, somethingsomething thousand something and their girlfriends. You gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, you get the women (the blogging women, to scream in response to you showing up and kicking your verse on Internet video).
I love this moment so much, it’s like I orchestrated the whole thing. I’m the puppeteer. I’m the Bill Graham of 2011 southern urban radio birthday shows. “Places, gentlemen,” I said to them, “Readyyyy, annnnnnnd AMAZE THE CROWD.” These radio station shows are so consistently dull, and the sound on the videos so consistently bad, that I don’t hardly ever watch them. Once every 8-10 years, though, you get some magic. Like me with this website. I don’t post nearly enough, but when I do, I pretty much come correct every time. (I’m the Terrence Malick of rap blogging.)
5. Best Set Claim: Jeezy in “I’m Ballin.” (song #2 above)
Summer’s mine, winter too I’m poppin’ bottles in the club, that’s what winners do.
40 balled outta control; Jeezy’s just ballin. Just doin a lil ballin, that’s all. You know. NBD. Gotta start small. 40’s got 10 rap years and 50 lbs on Jeezy; don’t wanna step on The Scrillfather’s toes. Plus he’d make fun of a Compton hat on someone from Atlanta.
Jeezy bypassed repping a block/neighborhood/city/state and went straight to an entire season. “Keep your Hollygrove, your Cedar Block; I’m claiming an entire 3-month section of the calendar year,” he says, “Now who’s fuckin with that.” (“PS: yeaaauuughhhh”)
6. Most Amusing/Stubborn Trend: What I like to call “brain raps.” But not just brain raps – braggy, one-upping brain raps. This’ll be the summer of rappers increasingly outdoing each other with descriptions of places a girl went down on them, if songs like “Racks on Racks” (YC: while talking on the phone), “Ballin” (Jeezy: in the backseat of the Phantom), and “Session” (Tyler: while watching The Berrics – plus the giver is someone’s parent, for which he earns extra credit) are any indication.
7. I got that Dilla, Premo, Swizzy flow. Most Sacrilegious and Delusional; Most Infuriating to Anyone with Taste and Good Sense: Wale in “I’m on One.” IN FACT, HIS FLOW IS NOT WELL-SUITED TO ANY OF THOSE PRODUCERS. Well, maybe Swizz.
Most Incorrect too. Replace the “I” in that sentence with “T3,” “Guru,” or “DMX,” then come back and see me.
I find Wale to be so intensely unlikeable as a human being that it’s hard for me to admit this next thing, BUT: I do like that N—s George Foreman grillin’/Shit I spit that rope-a-dope line. Everybody wanna hear a good Ali rap now and then; Wale knows. He’s got some good sports references. I can appreciate that. He also gets points for using “geechy” in a song circa 2011. However, this does not detract from the fact that he just seems like such a rude person. He’s the dude that says “AY. (pause) AY!” as a flirtation technique when you walk by and when you don’t respond he calls you stuck up or goes psssshhhhh (which means “She’s stuck up”). I’m speaking for all ladies with that one.
8. Best Closing Salutation: RZA in an interview by The Guardian.
It also gets the honor of Least Cynical Moment of the Week, and it slowed the world down for a sec and reminded me what’s really important. I have a tiny bit of a problem with the sentence that precedes his goodbye (RZA’s need to announce that he’s our collective daddy figure. It turns me off.) but I still find this quote amazingly comforting. RZA says Wu-Tang forever right before he walks away from you. What a freaking superhero. I imagine that having a conversation with him would result in me being so happy, my enthusiasm would make me lose control of my limbs and my ability to speak clearly. I’d want to go in for a hug but I’d lose my nerve. The result would be an awkward handshake/dap combo.
9. Best Use of Curren$y. Curren$y of the Week. Best Curren$y I Done Heard Since I Last Did a Curren$y Post: Curren$y, “You See It.”
Marvel at my stance at your girl What she think, she can’t even respond Cause her mind is now mine, fool I ain’t lying, let’s just cross the couch Sleeping with my shoes on just in case I haveto wake up and be out Once again it’s on Mama bring my bong to the game room With nothing but some panties on And them Bape socks that I gave you Never once on probation but your man’s on his papers Spendin’ them, stackin’ them, feelin’ them Wrappin’ em, lightin’ em, never passin’ em.
That bong/panties part! Curren$y thinks he’s bossed up, like I’m going to respond to an order to be a sex robot. STOP TELLING ME WHAT TO DO, CURREN$Y, but really I mean please continue telling me what to do please. The song as a whole is forgettable, lacking something I can really swoon over – like the fuzzy THC bass of “Montreux” and that drum pattern of “Success is My Cologne.” But this week’s Best Curren$y has that nice power dynamic in its lyrical content. Bring my bong to the game room in just your chonies. Rakim’s the soul controller; Curren$y’s the mind controller (i.e., the soft-female-body-parts controller. That’s how this soft female operates, anyway). Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go take my boyfriend his medicine, which he will need in order to get relaxed yet focused for his upcoming billiards game. He promised he’d read me some more of the phone book tonight (he’s on “J” already!).
10.Best Use of Horns Since Trick Daddy’s “Shut Up”: Big Sean & Kanye, “Marvin Gaye and Chardonnay.”
Kanye’s not a Dude Who I’d Like to Read Me the Phone Book Out Loud (he’d go to the “Dick” section for last names and try to be funny, true to his 11-year-old boy tendencies). This week he has the honor of earning Best Impression of Waka by an 11-Year-Old Trapped in a Prissy Adult Male Chicagoan’s Body. I should say Best Impression of Drumma Boy too, since that beat is so severely jacked I worry that Kanye has trouble sleeping at night. His conscience just terrorizes him. Anyway, the song is lazy and cliche-ridden, Kanye West is the least sexy person in music, and why the fuck would I listen to a song about listening to Marvin Gaye when I could just put I Want You on the hi-fi and lounge around in my panties and Bape socks. Duh.
Best Excuse for Me to Post My Marvin Gaye Denim Photo Series: Big Sean and Kanye West, “Marvin Gaye and Chardonnay.”
Let’s Get It On (AKA “the denim-shirt session”) was recorded here. Jesus knows I don’t go west of La Brea if I can help it, but I have made a special trip to honor Marvin. The ghosts are still around, I can feel ’em when I walk by.
Also if you are a Marlboro smoker you are that much closer to being like Marvin and maybe we should go on a date.
11. Remember when everyone used to say Nas’ shortcoming was picking post-Illmatic producers who couldn’t provide a good enough canvas on which to paint his verbal pictures? Yeah. I had a feeling you would. Me too.
The whole point of that sentence was to compare today with 10 years ago as I say “I’D LIKE THE INSTRO OF ‘NASTY’ FOR THIS WEEK’s SECOND-FINEST* LOGAN-WALKING-DOWN-THE-STREET ANTHEM PLEASE.” No lyrics; just Salaam Remi. I can do without the lyrics, and it’s a Nas song. Never thought I’d see the day. Today’s world is an odd place. Nas can still read the phone book to me, though, in that sandpapery Queens drawl.
12. *Finest Logan-Walking-Down-the-Street-Anthem (week of 06/12 – 06/19); Outstanding Achievement in Animation: Buddy Leezle, “Drug Dealer” (via GrandGood). This one’s such a delicious headphone banger, you’ll see, though it might take a couple listens.
Do I automatically like a rap video if it’s animated? Am I that easy? Other self-questions this week (i.e., things I stated, out loud, to myself in disbelief):
13. Juicy J, read me the phone book please! Also what does Anwar do exactly, other than be attractive, charismatic, and have perfect dreads? At least Waka puts out mixtapes and shows up on TMZ sometimes. Anyway, this week’s Best Use of THAT SOUND: “Make It Happen,” Juicy J & Casey Veggies.
That liftoff sound. 00:26 – 00:30.What is that sound called? It’s on every mixtape from the states of Georgia and Alabama. It’s gotta have a name, right? Email me, somebody. I’ll send you a dirty picture* as a big fat thank you.