Cyber-Digging Is Never Ever OK Acceptable This One Time Because of Future Grandchildren: a Photo Essay
It’s classic Logan to sit back and assume they’re nowhere near the end of rifling through his stacks, then to hear that they’re no longer rifling through his stacks. I can’t risk it this time, as I have future grandbabies to think of.
Keith Jarrett. Treasure Island. Impulse! (AS-9274 promo), 1974.
Jarrett, Redman, Haden, Motian, Johnson! I’m a godless heathen raised in a weed den and I like more rambl-y, 12-minute-long Keith, but that “Rich and (The Poor)” open takes me to church every time. FUCK OFF, NORWAY!
Here we go, a little emotion on a Sunday morning flowing through my girly brain, courtesy of RapRadar posting this video of Kendrick Lamar’s show last night at the Music Box. Ken’s komrade Game showed up for R.E.D.album promo moral support of course, and proceeded to konvince me that he’s a pretty nice guy – which is basically a big manipulation tactic by Game to make me forget about his musical output and that time he seared my eyes with his “acting.” But I’m relaxed. I’m just going with it. It’s Sunday and I’m not religious but I do pray for peace, no traffic accidents, lots of ice cream, some freaking tight lyrics – and also for things that remind me of how lovely humanity can be sometimes. On with it, then –
Top 5 emotional girly moments in the video, Cuz!(my set affiliations will likely fluctuate throughout this post, and anyway it doesn’t matter because at this point green is the most important color in all our lives, yes?):
1. THAT SUIT. So much hash-tag-ery occurring in the building on Saturday night, of course, but also so many Hundreds shirts, I’m sure of it! SO MANY. And yet look at KL in his nice black jeans and sport coat, dressed as if he’s going to a completely different function than everyone else. “It’s Saturday night, you’ll probably wear that shit to church,” AMG said one time to a young lady in the club. Ken’s show was Friday night, plus he seems like a super clean dude who doesn’t wear things more than once, I mean he really keeps it tight and right, so he’ll probably wear that outfit just for this show alone. Then tomorrow he’ll have it cleaned and nicely pressed. Looking good, sir. And I know I keep saying it but Kendrick Lamar is just a really fresh name. You should run for President with that name, young man.
2. REMINDERS FROM JAYCEON. I know where I live, both because I have an adequate grasp of geography and because I listen to Power 106 for a good 70% of my driving time and that means constant “west coast/Cali/LA” drops are flooding the inside of my Civic, however: Game saying THIS IS THE MOTHERFUCKIN WEST COAST in that nice rasp of his (sorry; I’m a girl, remember?) and continuing with I hate when they say that the west coast ain’t poppin just feels good to a young lady from the greater LA metropolitan area. I know my mom loves me but it’s still nice to hear it from her. I know I’m a nice person but it’s still nice to hear it from my buddies. On a very similar note: OH MY GOODNESS, GAME! YAY! This IS the west coast! I exclaim. Oh Game, I hate it when they say the west coast ain’t poppin too! We agree about some things and that is nice! I like some of your songs even though my blog would tell you otherwise!
(tomorrow morning I’ll wake up and be embarrassed I wrote those last 2 things. I like the Scoop DeVille stuff, and I like that “Red Nation” but, I must be honest with myself, that’s more because of the Eazy snippet and because of Cool & Dre’s dexterity with shuffle-y drum programming than because of anything Game said or did in any of those songs. Ah well.)
3. I LOVE YOUS FROM JAYCEON.“I love you,” Game says to Kendrick, with his arm around him in that way that men do – affectionate but still keeping the body in a guarded position should a scrap occur even though you know a scrap’s not going to occur, it’s just that men have to make it look that way because of the limits put on them by our culture when they want to express emotion. “Dre, I love you. Snoop, I love you. Jay Rock, Scoop, Kurupt, Roscoe, King Tee, Pooh, Eiht, Tyson Chandler, Venus and Serena. Even if you’re from Lynwood or Willowbrook, I love you. Skinny-lady blogs, I love you most of all. Apartment 680, Echo Park, birds in the sky, old records, the NFL about to start, cookies, ice cream, puppies. Logan, I love you. I love you – all of you.” Aww! Hold me! It’s promo, all promo, but it’s still heartwarming – like when Game volunteered at the animal shelter last week and provided updates about it, remember? “Sparky is a lab mix and has the nicest big brown eyes. ALL ANIMALS deserve good homes! ADOPT! #REDAlbum.”
4. PUNS FROM JAYCEON. “One thing me and (Ken) got in COMPTON…” Teehee.
5. SPECIAL APPEARANCE BY DANTE, WHAT IN THE FUCK. Kendrick’s a little too preachy at times, dropping some important historical names in verse without any real gravity behind it, criticizing his generation for sippin cough syrup like it’s water, blah blah, but he just turned 24 so that’s forgivable. (I was a realll pretentious piece of work at that age.) “Who gives a fuck?” Ken also says, “We never do listen unless it comes with an 808.” Not sure if I’m included in the “we” but just for argument’s sake, let’s say I am – and Kendrick, my dear, what’s your point? 808 taught me everything I need to know about car stereos and sex. But holy Christ, fucking hell, Mos Def is at his show in a sharp red button-up and shiny shoes, oh I just realized Mos is the only other dude in the place going to the same fancy function as Ken, I mean they’re in those matching sport coats, and people, my affection for these two men in this moment trumps all. (This is the video’s second-greatest moment – almost as aww-inducing as the crowd chanting Ken’s name at the beginning, but not quite).
Bonus emotion: The part in the video right after it cuts out, when Ken tosses it to Kurupt and he does a version of “Ohh!” that makes everyone in the audience rip their hair out and scream, it’s so incredible they can’t believe it’s actually happening.
Bonus bonus emotion (not really emotion, though – just a funny thing that fits in here): Nobody is apparently down-er than the Los Angeles Almanac, the website on which this map of Compton appears. CITY IN RED BELOW, SOO WOOOO, etc. etc.
(No color added for emphasis. Nothing added for emphasis. The LA Almanac just knows).
I like to think I’m made of fairy dust, hips, pure love and 808, but in fact I am human. I’m only human. The jerk above and his friend made a record, and on it they flash and stunt, and cry a little, and overall they try to grip hard to that thing they’re losing, that Scorsesian ability to make jerks seem appealing. Watch the Throne is a ghost that has nothing to do with my life, like those awful Transformers movies – no real storyline, just a bunch of explosions and cars and slow, panning shots of ladies’ asses. But I’m only human. So I had to give this thing a listen. Here, then, is a song-by-song breakdown of exactly how long it’ll take me to jump out of your car when you put Watch the Throne on the Kenwood with me in the passenger seat:
“You’re gonna put Frank Ocean on a song, and you waste that voice of his on this drivel?” I say out loud to you in my naggy voice (you’re a stand-in for the true object of my frustration, 88-Keys, who is no doubt the man behind the boards here. 2011 Kanye lacks the restraint required to make such an understated piece of music – 2003 Kanye had that restraint, but wishing for his return is not going to make it so.)
“What’s a mob to a king?,” Frank sings, “What’s a king to a God? What’s a God to a non-believer who don’t believe in anything?” Knock it off, Frank. Nobody cares. More importantly, I ask you, what’s a goon to a goblin?? I can only tolerate about 1 full minute of this, but still, it’s got some pluses: a) the presence of Frank’s voice, underused as it is, and b) an interesting beat. I can’t tell if I like it or not but goddammit I keep listening to it and that’s gotta mean something, right? Ooh and pitch it up and that BPM would make “That’s All” the perfect song to mix into it when you have your next BBQ.
Oh hi Beyonce, glad you could join us. You’re beautiful but boring, a spinning, perfect ballerina inside a jewelry box. And oh my, what’s this? Looks like you brought some ascending, triumphant synth stabs with you! Nice. J and K are trying to appeal to the “persons with breasts” demographic with this one, I see. Except that J and K should stop insulting my intelligence and just call the song “Pandering to the Ladies (The Lady Song).” I mean, really; let’s just lay it all out on the table, gentlemen. I can hear this thing playing at Forever 21 already. (Rap they don’t play at Forever 21: Curren$y, Wacko n’ Skip, Keith Thornton, Terrence Thornton. Just like God intended.)
Margiela, hot bitches, Derrick Rose’s crotch getting some love (verbally – not in any other way. Goodness gracious.): this song sounds like the daily goings-on in apartment 680! That’s not enough to hold me, however. Aw damn. Once I hear the full hook, which is pretty great even though it has Michael Bay explosions and I’m already tired of hearing Aziz Ansari’s future rap song based on the phrase that shit cray, I open up the door and I’m gone, gone like the wind…if the wind wore jeans that are too tight and if the wind cared wayyyyy too much about jerks who make rap music.
4. “Otis” – half a second. (no link; IT DOESN’T DESERVE A GODDAMN LINK)
“HOW BOUT WE JUST LISTEN TO THE ACTUAL ‘TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS,’” I yell when I hear the opening strains of track 4. You had to know this was coming; I’ve been bitching about this song for a week now! And since I don’t know when to quit, I just keep going. “HERE’S TODAY’S NEWSPAPER HEADLINE FOR THAT ASS: LOS ANGELES WOMAN GETS MIGRAINE UPON LEARNING OF CHICAGO MAN TAKING CREDIT FOR PRODUCING A SONG WHEN REALLY HE JUST ADDED FUZZINESS AND A DRUM TRACK OVER A CLASSIC.” Then I feel bad; you kind of like this song – it is chopped-up very nicely, I’ll give you that – and I just yelled at you about it. I put my face in my hands. Yelling’s not normally my thing; I don’t know what came over me. I am truly sorry. You’re still reeling, though, so then I try to sing a funny little song or tell a joke to lighten the mood. If you’re still annoyed, which you probably won’t be because I’m adorable, and have you seen my hips?, I’ll put my hand on your hand – trying a little tenderness, if you will – as a sign of apology. The actual “Try a Little Tenderness” is playing at this point, since I always get what I want. Then we make out, and things get especially hot during the drums at 2:34! Yay.
5. “Gotta Have It” – initially, 12 seconds. Then I let it warm up, and boy am I glad, because if I had gone with my first instinct I would’ve missed the very, verrrrry Pharrellian spare-change-jingling-in-your-pocket breakdown just before the 2-minute mark.
The Whatchu need, WhatWhatchu need draws me in, and the Takeumonhome about halfway through convinces me to ride this thing out (thank you for keeping the James Brown fires burning, Mr. Williams!) Unfortunately, I’ll probably still pout all the way through because when you said you were putting on a song about needing to have it, I thought I was going to hear THISSSSS:
Even more unfortunately, once the thing comes to an end I return to my senses and remember that if I wanna hear some JB all chopped up, goddammit it’s gonna be one J. Yancey who gives it to me.
6. “New Day” – 4:39. That’s the whole thing! (I like it; I want it to go on and on).
Nina Simone saying Breeze driftin on by, echoed coos, plus Robert Diggs, plus a narrative theme that cleanses me, kind of un-does all that gross consumerism I feel since I acted on impulse and bought that Alexander Wang bag. This song is wonderful, pretty, heavily-bottomed (ROBERT DIGGS; I just told you). “And if the day comes I only see him on the weekend,” J says about his pretend-son, “I just pray we was in love on the night that we conceived him.” Aw Shawn. It makes me get a little teary-eyed, probably because I have a mean case of melody-specific autism and because of my still-vulnerable emotional state after catching some very intense feelings over Mike Mills’ Beginnerswhen I saw it Sunday.
7. “That’s My Bitch” – 3:22 [just because I’m curious to see if what every ex-boyfriend says about me is true (that I really do like every song with the word bitch in the title)].
Q-Tip’s drums doing an impression of Pharrell n’ Chad’s drums in ’01 sounds nice, and then the drums from “Apache” come in and they always sound nice. But even though the best advice I can always give myself about anything in any situation at any time isDON’T OVER-THINK IT, LOGAN, I always fail in doing so. Track 7 is no exception to this. J on non-white feminine beauty: “Picasso was alive he woulda made her/That’s right….Mona Lisa can’t fade her/I mean Marilyn Monroe, she’s quite nice/But why all the pretty icons always all white?” Oh J, I’m so glad you asked – it’s probably because of Madison Avenue, our special American kind of racism that has a mutually beneficial relationship with our special way of commodifying women’s bodies within a free-market culture that convinces us to buy things we don’t need, and because your friend K raps constantly about pretty white icons as if they are the standard of beauty. (Beautiful ladies of color name-checked by Kanye in “Christian Dior Denim Flow”: 8. Beautiful ladies with my skin tone: 12. The defense rests, your honor.)
That GODDAMMIT right after J’s verse will stay in my head for the foreseeable future. I like that. Your shoes are still are ugly, though.
9. “Who Gon Stop Me” – 4 minutes; almost the whole thing, because it’s produced by the “Man Down” guy and because the rhyme patterns keep changing and I want to hear what comes next.
Alas, it’s too slow and it’s got tense buildups and shuddery breakdowns for no reason, rhyme patterns that change for no reason, and that thing J does where he just makes labored breathing sounds into the microphone every third line is really on display here and I hate it. UH-HUH. UHH. AH. The one thing I’ll probably always remember about these 4 minutes in your car, though? “Heard Yeezy was racist, well, I guess that’s on one basis: I only like green faces.” Cute.
10. “Murder to Excellence” – 2 minutes, 4 seconds. Too preachy, but people like it when kids sing on hooks, including me, so I let it play and play. And at 01:48 it sounds like the “Make Me Wanna Holler” intro, so that’s nice.
I’m reading a Spector bio and I’m pissed at this song as if it were an actual person. “Nailing the whole edifice to the ground like metal tent spikes in a storm were the drums,” says page 113, “A clean, hard backbeat was the cement in the Wall of Sound.” Riding in your car, I hear this drum-less demonstration in lameness that Kanye made on his SK-1 during the commercial break on a rerun of The Office last Thursday night, and I can’t stomach any conversation about the weather, the movies, the NBA lockout. I am that disheartened. I wanna hear some tinny melodic prettiness, I’ll put on something “Sleng Teng”-related. I wanna hear some drums that’ll give me a brain aneurysm, I’ll bypass J n’ K and go straight to Vietnam Sadler. (This one also includes Frank crooning “Sweet Father Joseph, Sweet Jesus/We made it in America/Sweet Baby Jesus, oh sweet baby Jesus.” I swear to Christ, and sweet baby Jesus, even, that I will never forgive Frank for this. Sold your soul for a paycheck, buddy.)
12. “Why I Love You” – UGH. A third of a second? A half-second? And can someone please tell me if it’s humanly possible to un-hear a song?
Brought to you by the good people at Red Bull and Edge Shaving Gel, when I hear this I feel like leaping off a mountaintop on my snowboard while Sal Masakela provides commentary over the slow-mo footage. When I hear this I do not, however, want to walk down the street, dance next to a parked car while someone films the whole thing, ride in a car at 12 MPH, take my dress off to lounge on the couch, take my dress off to make a baby, vote, punch someone in the face, sob, fly a kite, hug my mom, gun down Radames, take the stage at Magic City, or write a paper about Chomsky (things all goodrap songs songs should make me want to do).
13. “ BoringestIllest MF Alive” – zzzzzZZZZZZZ. Oh I’m sorry; I didn’t realize there was music coming from your speakers. Dullsville.
Obviously I love K’s “You in line behind Curren$y/Yeah you after money,” FUCK YES A CURREN$Y REFERENCE, but in the end, it’s not enough to save me from naptime when you put this song on. Anyway, if I wanna hear some female vocal operatical theatricals, I’ll listen to Xzibit’s “Paparazzi” (which, I must acknowledge, I first heard on an old 411 video shown to me by Jackson; thank you, little brother!). Cut it off; put on Jet Files or Jackie Moore or let’s see if Art Laboe is on. I’m feeling lucky, like maybe he’ll play some Flamingos.
14. “H.A.M.”– skipped. In apt. 680 it’s called “J.K.W.C. (Japanese Kids Watching Cartoons)” because this stuttery thing gives me a seizure. On the other hand, it makes me feel like I just jumped into Tron and that’s pretty fresh.
I don’t care what none of yall say; I still love em (“em” = Kanye’s HAHs). And out of respect for No ID, who produced it, I had to give it at least 2 minutes. But just 2 minutes. This was also the rule for my 808s and Heartbreak listening session, remember?
This is the way the album ends; not with a bang but with a whimper. At this point in the evening, I’m outside your car, walking with my heels in my hand, and you’re driving next to me at 2 MPH, asking what the fuck my problem is. I wasn’t raised to have screaming fights in public, so I keep it classy. “For my thoughts on ‘The Joy,’ please refer to my dissertation on ‘Otis,’” I snap. Then I raise my fists to the night sky and yell PETER PHILLIPS OF MOUNT VERNON, NEW YORK, you oughta be ashamed of yourself. I gave this song 7 seconds, some precious moments of my life that I’ll never get back. I should’ve spent those seconds scrolling through your iPod to find the original that was copied and pasted all sloppy-like into this piece of hot garbage.
Anyway, through it all, I laughed; I cried; I learned to experience freedom through the power of purchasing luxury goods. But other than “Gotta Have It” and “New Day,” I wish I had just stayed in and listened to the Three Tough Guys soundtrack (while wearing my TAF Jorge Ben shirt and NAF bathing suit and LUAF sandals.
(New As Fuck; Lace-Up As Fuck)
“Bitch I’m ten toes in it” – Gibbs, in a song about, um, my toes?
The Roots and Q-Tip doing “Straight Outta Compton,” via RapRadar.
The god Ruscha said, “Good art should elicit a response of ‘Huh? Wow!’ as opposed to ‘Wow! Huh?’.” See, the problem is that I do not know which one is being elicited here, Ed. I simply do not know.
How do I feel about this? Is it shockingly good? Is it awkward and terrible? Feelings are colliding in my soft little rapfan heart. Please help me sort through the emotional wreckage.
I love it!:
– Classic song. It makes me want to do inappropriate things with Dre’s Akai. I mean, I’d really like to be hugged up with that thing in a dark corner. Then I’d like to stop for some coffee and have a cop ask me for my number, and say Sure!, and write it down but then slowly rip it up in front of him and his dumb cop face, then laugh haughtily as I stroll away like an ice queen. HA HA, officer. 5 points.
– It’s melodic and mad, and it owns its duality. It’s fun to sing along with, it’s catchy. But wait, how can that be when it’s so oddly industrial-sounding and impersonal? WOW. These gentlemen are really waving that around and throwing it in your face–here’s a murder rap to keep y’all dancin. Anyone but Biebs or the Free Credit Score guys could do it and it would still sound amazing and have that energy to hypnotize and convince you to pull, I don’t know, some kind of jack move. The D.O.C. co-wrote it; MC Ren co-co-wrote it. Both are tragically, painfully underrated. 4 points.
– A villain with a hat, and it’s like that I tied yo’ moms to a motherfuckin train track Flat on her back, I give her some crack It’s ten o’clock – DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR MOMS IS AT?
– A bunch of rap-celeb east coasters know all the words! Everyone probably knows all the words, but c’mon. I come from a time when stupid geographic allegiances really meant something, and masculine bravado based on ZIP code was the popular thing, so these guys being familiar with the lyrics of men from a whole other coast is impressive. (I must own up to my bias here and remind you all that Ice Cube getting his songs covered by other rappers or even referred to by other rappers is a great thing to me–just today, in fact, there was Curren$y saying I think I’m Doughboy on my front porch/’63 Impala in my driveway, Saints gold.) Wow! 5 points.
On the other hand:
– It’s so weird that it’s these 2 guys doing it. Stylistically, they’re just trying to keep up, and lyrically, the words coming out of their mouths coupled with their curated personae are comically mismatched. That’s no disrespect to them as performers, since Ice Cube trying to get loose on “Electric Relaxation” would be equally weird. Ha, can you imagine? Still: -2 points, based for the most part on the cringe-inducing moments when the Abstract does that corny pantomine during the mix ’em in a pot like gumbo part, and when he actually says the words Here’s a murder rap to keep you dancin/with a crime record like Charles Manson/AK-47 is the tool/Don’t make me act the motherfuckin fool. Aw Tip, that makes the kids on Linden Blvd cry. To be fair though, Cube was never that tough outside of his song lyrics either–he’s just a better actor. Also, Black Thought saying dirty ass ho. a) HUH? b) Nope. -6 points.
– Jerry Heller is probably making money with every YouTube play. Royalties n shit. -2 points.
– There’s a tuba on stage. -2 points.
– I didn’t hear either of the gentlemen on stage with microphones say You are now about to witness the strength of street knowledge, a song intro that wrestles all other song intros to the ground and makes ’em say uncle. It could be that the filmer just didn’t catch that part; maybe Tip said it just before the cameras rolled. But I just don’t have time to entertain “what if” scenarios. I don’t have time. And what’s that thing that the idiots on the Internet say? “Pics or it didn’t happen”? -4 points.
It’s a draw. I could do the math but this decision was based more on intuition than anything a boring old equation could tell me. Any attempt at substantial analysis never stood a chance, as it was buried under regional alliances, my fondness for Black Thought’s Yankees fitted, and my giant wish that the city were flooded with music like old NWA. So that’s it. After a series of melodic/lyrical highs and corny stage-antic lows, Huh and Wow are about even.
I thought all of last week’s annoyances in life could be soothed by a single Prince acceptance speech at the BET Awards and Sean P’s wordplay (that album will be called Mic Tyson). But oh damn–there are other things in life that have recently made me cranky and that I have yet to negotiate. And it’s strange, but they are all in liquid form:
The problem: I know about gas and how it’s killing the big blue marble, and I know about the gross and inhumane way it makes its way to the Chevron station around the corner. Everyone profits from the gasoline made of Nigerian oil except for the people of Nigeria. Your 19-year-old cousin from Nowheresville, FL is currently in the desert fighting to making sure my Civic has enough juice in its guts to get me to Coachella and back. I’ve seen the sad fallout from oil spills, the greasy pelicans, I’ve heard the fishermen from St. Bernard Parish who don’t know what to do with themselves right about now as expressed in their plaintive Cajun-accented speech (“Can you replace my heritage?” one asked BP reps a few weeks ago. “No, you can’t. And you gotta understand that it’s not just money; it’s more than money. You’re not gonna replace me being able to teach my kid how to fish”).
The newest horrible thing I’ve learned about gasoline is that, in an elaborate display of extortion-fu, the Unites States government is paying off Afghan warlords to allow us to use their roads to transport military goods to US troops, who are, of course, fighting Afghan warlords. And I think there’s something about heroin in there too. Supporting the gasoline industry is an evil necessity until I have enough money to get one of those nice vegetable-oil-converted-diesel numbers. Until then, I’m just another lazy American who can’t survive without her own car, passing the wind turbine generators on the drive to Coachella and thinking Gosh, what a logical, green source of energy!
The comforting factor: We’d have very few songs about cars, and probably no label known as Motown, without the Michigan industry that so reliably fed into our dependence on fossil fuels. Maybe Derrick May’s grandfather never would’ve raised a family in Detroit if he hadn’t gotten a job at the Ford plant, and then where would we be, music-wise? Would Milt Olinga have been born elsewhere and might not have taken up the vibraphone, and then, years later, maybe there would’ve been no “Award Tour” break? And what about Black Milk? Dilla? The MC5? Stevie? (I know I already covered this in mentioning Motown, but really think about that–a Stevie-less universe).
The steel industry would’ve been impacted too, which means the city of Gary, Indiana might never had appealed to Joseph Jackson as a place to raise a musical brood, and Philly would’ve been without plants and mills to lure in young men who needed jobs to support their growing families–and yikes, think about how your record collection would be suffering right now. See, BP’s not so bad!
related:Dawn dishwashing liquid.
The problem: Hey, Dawn really cuts grease! Great, but do you know how I know this to be true? Because they’re using Dawn to clean all those poor, sweet birds on the coasts of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana who are just trying to eat and flap their sad wings and make nests for their babies. Thanks to NPR a couple weeks ago, I know that the ingredient in Dawn that makes it especially effective in separating and breaking down petroleum so that it can be wiped away is…petroleum. You have to use some of the bad stuff to make the bad stuff go away–this is the same reason they give stimulants to hyper kids.
The comforting factor: None, currently–those pictures of defeated, gummy-winged birds haunt my dreams.Well, wait, there’s this:
Andrew Bynum’s knee fluid.
The problem: The fact that I’m so hyperaware of the daily status of the liquid that bathes Bynum’s patella means that I’m growing up. Like our worst secrets and the amount of money I truly spend at the record store, the inner workings of professional sports teams should be hidden. A young Logan knew nothing of salary caps and clauses, agents and collective bargaining agreements, but she sure as hell liked to see tall, magical men on her TV screen, flying and running fast. It was all innocent and fun. I’d like to go back there, please.
The comforting factor: Oh, you haven’t heard? THE LAKERS ARE THE CHAMPIONS OF THE WORRRRRRLLLLLLD. So I feel pretty great. I can do without innocence! Andrew says he’s now going to get that surgery he’s been postponing, but my question is, Why the rush? Let’s not be hasty now, babycakes. Playing through the pain seemed to work just fine a couple weeks ago.
The saliva of Cam’ron, plus the rum & Coke he drinks as mentioned in “Speakin Tungs.” mp3.
The problem: I haven’t been able to enjoy the Killa since I left irony behind in ’07, doggy. I haven’t been able to move past him naming a rap group Children of the Corn. And I most certainly haven’t been able to move get over the awful stop-start cadence in “Horse and Carriage.”
I also despise him for not yet making a song using this when, here it is, I’m laying it right here at his feet:
The comforting factor: I should (and will therefore make it a point to) lighten up. What’s one more double cheeseburger when you’ve been gorging yourself on instantly gratifying, fatty things for so long? Really, it’s not going to hurt. The “Speakin Tungs” instrumental is like sweet Bollywood love story music, so inspirational while I’m sweeping and mopping the apartment on a Sunday morning. I assure you that nobody can fucking sweep a floor like I can when that instro is throbbing through my headphones (I’m a nice, quiet neighbor) and into my heart and blood and limbs. Plus it’s got DOUBLE HANDCLAPS! In summation: boys should never wear pink, but I’ve enthusiastically listened to this song so often that I’m not even minding that apostrophe in his name so much anymore. That thing used to fill me with rage, remember?
The bloodstream of humans, as affected by Lupus.
The disease that felled James Yancey, it works by making the immune system foolishly attack and destroy healthy body tissue. Andit’s back on my radar because Gaga keeps talking about how she thinks she has it. The problem: In Dilla’s absence, everything I aurally love these days is slick and shiny and lacking in depth. None of it makes me think of things beyond my own flesh and hour-to-hour (sometimes minute-to-minute) enjoyment. Look above–I just wrote a thing about how much I enjoy a song by Cameron Giles. People, this is some real self-loathing you’re witnessing.
The comforting factor: There’s no withholding Dilla’s stuff. We work ourselves into a fever clicking around online for his musical delights. Everyone’s sharing his compositions still, he’s still on records and we’ll take what we can get, even though it’s been decades (in rap years) since his death. We’re more ravenous for his beats than ever.
The bloodstream of Eminem, which was carrying large amounts of benzos until very recently.
The problem: I know exactly what he’s put into his body because, thanks to his Atonement Tour 2010, he’s constantly yammering about it and making horrible songs in which he makes a searching and fearless moral inventory of himself–with the final moral inventory approval by Jimmy Iovine and Universal Music Group, Inc., all rights reserved. Other than the music being bad, the campaign is bad. If the newly-sober guy wants to apologize, it should be just you and him on the phone; if it seems like his apologies are making him money, I’m less inclined to believe his apologies. “Hey, sorry about those years when my brain’s reward system ruled my life. Catch me on 106 & Park later.” This whole offensive seems so album-sales-friendly rather than heartfelt, sacred and private as apologies should be.
[Also a real big problem: Em’s Bed-Stuy affectation when he talks, like a kid playing dress-up, which nobody ever, ever calls him out on. He should have the flat “a,” the flat “o.” You know what I mean. That midwestern inflection–Michigan, Fargo, Chicago, Minnesota, parts of Ohio, Sarah Palin. I know there are regional differences (please don’t email me with an indignant tone) but to us coastal people it all sounds the same. Ooooohh gaaash. Braaatwurst. Coooach Ditka. I’m a speech expert and I do not appreciate the way Em thinks he can convince me he grew up taking the A train to school. Nobody from Detroit sounds like that, and they don’t pronounce song “sawng.”]
The comforting factor: For every piece of Em coverage, there’s one fewer piece of Drake coverage. Yay for hiphop.
Kim Kardashian, the fragrance.
The problem: Oh god, there are so many. She’s yet another exotic pretty lady with fetishized body parts. She’s sort of an idiot when she talks in her babyvoice. She keeps fucking with her face (pulling it back and injecting into it, when none of that is necessary). Since this is America, this combination of looks and behavior has earned her lots of MC love and lots of cash–both of which make me jealous. She knows how to dress for her body type, and as someone who is shaped like a girl I can appreciate that, sinceshit like thiswas not made for girls who are shaped like girls. Whenever Kim does it real big, she gets accused of looking vulgar, because of the male hegemonic fear of the power of female sexuality. She could be a thinking, challenging bombshell if she applied herself. But her major flaw is that she uses her fame for nothing but fame. Like Lady Gaga?, you might ask. Uh, no, I would respond, because although Gaga mainlines fame into her veins like Kim does, Gaga also has a purer calling, a do-gooder mentality that manifests itself in her campaigns for AIDS research, her gay rights activism and her feminist leanings.
Alas, she didn’t create the rules of the game, so it’s bitchy of me to blame her for playing. Kim’s the symptom, not the problem. She’s not bad; she’s just drawn that way. And still, there is a problem–her perfume is delicious and warm. It smells like how it feels to have your lower back touched in a soft way (that’s for the ladies; they know what I mean), like wearing glossy black 5-inch Loubies that are so comfy ’cause they’re lined in sheepskin, like the first 8 seconds of “Time of the Season”played on a loop. The most difficult thing for me to reconcile here is not that the perfume exists, but that I want it. I place it in small amounts on my wrists, for free, thanks to Sephora’s sampling policy because I refuse to buy it. I can’t support Kim as a brand so I won’t participate in helping her business ventures succeed. But it’s not fair, because the scent makes me feel sexy and I strongly want it in my home so I can put it on my skin after a shower, when my pores are open and at their most absorbent. “Crisp top notes, lush mid notes, and a sexy drydown.” CORRECT.
The comforting factors: Maybe she’ll become a humanitarian. Maybe she’ll procreate with one of the System of a Down boys and make the most stunning and talented babies we’ve ever seen. Or maybe, in the biggest win of my life as a Los Angeles resident, she’ll become the life partner of Kurupt, they’ll each get a Kompressor and drive around town listening to Organized Konfusion all day on the (what else?) Kenwood.
The blood, sweat, and tears of soccer players (like John Pastil of Ghana here)
Rob Griffith / AP
The problem: I don’t fucking care about the World Cup and I feel manipulated by global media trying to make me care. Thanks to Lit 101, I’m well-versed in Lacanian theory as applied to advertising–we’re motivated by feelings of lack, and the subsequent desire we feel can never be completely filled. So even though I love Don Draper, advertising is truly nefarious work–Nike uses our consumer anxiety to make us believe its products are necessary. Nike wants me to believe soccer is the great equalizer and that Uruguay or Ghana winning would make it OK that they are not invited to the G-20 summit because they are countries filled with corruption and poor people. Oh and there’s the fact that Nike still doesn’t pay its workers enough.
The comforting factors: It’s just impossible to dislike that Argentina team–Papi Maradona is the Ozzie Guillen of soccer, the Andre 3000 of music. Mike Tyson loves the squad. And I always get assessed as Argentine, based on my physical appearance, by dudes at the club (or I did, back when I used to go to the club), so I have sort of a funny allegiance to the entire nation.
Additionally, it would’ve been great if Ghana had won, because then the shackles of imperialism would’ve been thrown off, the IMF would’ve become democratic, pictures of Kwame Nkrumah would’ve gotten a lot of love on various Tumblrs, and everyone would’ve, for a few days at least, stopped associating the continent with AIDS, genital mutilation, and outsiders like Oprah coming in to Save the Day. Ghana, I want you to be economically and politically stable enough to save your own day!
Anyway, everyone needs a credo. They are easy to live by and help organize your daily activities. All Channel Live did, remember, was spark mad izm. All Stevie does is think about you. All me & Kellsies do is break up to make up. And all I do is try to fill up the emptiness after a home-court loss with videos of foxy beatmakers, a DJ Premier story that makes me weepy, and Fauvism as a platform for me to bemoan the existence of Drake.
• Oh No loves his big brother, grew up about 5 minutes from me, and is a proud purveyor of that “raw, nasty, gangrene, go jump off a bridge, toilet bowl music. Disgusting, nasty.” That’s what he’s about.
Usually my credo is “If you have to say it, it’s probably not true.” But in this case, it’s true: he makes disgusting, nasty, old-lady-next-to-you-on-a-bus-bench-about-to-drop-dead, flesh-eating bacteria, dirty, oozing, nasty instrumental shit. Sorry, Mom. OX CITAAAYYY.
• Reef the Lost Cauze, featuring OH MY GOD, Kool G Rap and RA!! – “Three Greats.” First Prize, Most Accurate and Succinct Song Title, June 2010.
• Just before Guru died, Premier visited him in the hospital and performed some kind of last rites that I’m ill-equipped to comment on. So here’s a description of the event, handled with classy restraint, from XXL:
(Premier) stayed a short time (in the hospital room). Five, seven minutes, he says, before a nurse came in and he left. “I just wanted to tell (Guru) how much I loved him, period,” he says. “Whether he could hear me or not, I know somewhere he heard me. It was ill. His eyes were almost half open, and it was like he almost was awake, but he wasn’t… I took my Gang Starr shirt off, and I took it and rubbed it against his body, so he can feel the logo. I knew how much Gang Starr meant to him. Even if he moved on to another chapter in his life, I know how much Gang Starr was important to him. We did way too much to just completely block it out and act like it doesn’t exist.”
As a gentle segue,
• Today in Melody and Beautiful Things:
Joy of Cooking – “Closer to the Ground.” I’m always looking for this in a round black circular format; I’m never finding it. This includes yesterday. (I got an old, ollllld, possibly-original copy of Prison Oval Rock, though. It is beautiful and it sounds like the Roots Radics are playing right there in my tiny apartment when I put it on. First Place, Album of the Month, June 1985. And June 2010.)
• Keith Richards is releasing an album of Rastafarian spirituals, and I can’t even make fun of the fact that it’s him doing it because it’s really quite a nice thing.
Richards became friends with rocksteady deity Justin Hinds when he visited Jamaica in the ’70s. Lots of jamming ensued, plus spiritual awakening on Richards’ part–less like the Beatles in India (kid stuff), and more like if MC Serch became a Five Percenter. And then a few years later Peter Tosh got underused in a Stones video, but overall there’s been surprisingly little reggae-poaching in the Stones’ catalog. The band, I’m guessing, gave up any Jamaican style they had attempted due their inability to compete with something called The Clash.
Hinds and lesser-known local musicians comprised the group, called Wingless Angels. The sessions took place organically, says Richards. There was no planning when they began to play, and the Nyabinghi angels lifted everybody up on a glorious, fluffy cloud of week smoke.
The last batch of recordings are from 2004; Hinds died in 2005, and proceeds from the sales of the albums go to his family. “[Wingless Angels play deliberately at just slightly under heart rate. The drumming goes deeper than your bones. It’s marrow music,” Richards adds. This is a beautiful phrase that will for sure show up in a future blog post. If he came up with it, I’m shocked and pleased that someone with a morphine-addled brain could be so damn descriptive.
Next up, Ras Keith takes on daggering, translated for white American baby boomers like my mom, original bashmentgyal.
“He has no wish to offer other people anything other than calm.” – Socialist politician Marcel Sembat, on Matisse.
• Henri Matisse said some pretty amazing things in his day and volunteered to go to war. His gaunt face and steezy beard-and-stripes combo also set the standard for personal appearance that every dude in my neighborhood is trying to emulate circa 2010.
A relentless self-critic with overly anxious tendencies whom I have clearly based my entire persona on, Matisse said, “Black is not only a color but also a light.” Matisse also said, “You study, you learn, but you guard the original naivete” (which I’ll thank you to keep in mind every time I point out how surprised I am that the beauty of Ruffin’s voice could be ravaged by cocaine years later), and my personal favorite, “My curves are not crazy.”OUI, HENRI! C’estsibon!
Matisse was worried about the possible outcome of WWI and felt bad about not serving. He signed up, but failed the medical exam. He appealed; he was denied. Terrible, heavy guilt ensued. His mother was trapped in northeast part of France, as the Germans had occupied it; painter friends were in the trenches. “Contributing prints to fundraising efforts for civilian prisoners of war did something to assuage his feelings of guilt, (as he was) ‘sickened by all the upheaval to which I am not contributing.’” This makes me think of current artists—not painters, but the ones wielding microphones who live in the various ventricles of my warm, loving heart, as well as the ones I despise. It’s comical to imagine Drake holding a firearm, right? Panting and elbowing his way through muddy trenches. My imagination won’t allow it. Did you know he did Wal-Mart the favor of appearing in one of their videos, thereby increasing their quarterly profit? SO GULLY. The masculine-lite appeal that Drake exhibits is common among most current musicians, though. They are all so skinny and spoiled. Except those M.O.P. boys and Sean P–I think they’d be very good at war.
HeltahSkeltah feat. Smif-n-Wessun – “W.M.D.” Song of the summer, 1996! PS, a rap song with a good Sean Bell line will always get posted here, just always. mp3.