Category Archives: I’m so ’90s

Self-esteem Sunday with special guests Fatlip and Keith Murray

Psychologists interrupt the cycle of social insecurity
cienceDaily (Aug. 15, 2011) — Tom likes Susan but he fears she does not like him. Expecting to be rejected, he’s cold toward Susan. And guess what? She snubs him back. His prophesy is self-fulfilled, his social insecurity reinforced. The miserable cycle continues. But what if Tom could be helped to set aside his fears and behave as warmly as he feels?
Happily, he can, says University of Victoria psychologist Danu Anthony Stinson. “Self-affirmation” — a task in which people contemplate personal values that are central to their identity — “seems to provide a psychological buffer for insecure people, allowing them to put aside social fears and anxieties and behave in more warm and inviting ways.”
A new study by Stinson, along with Christine Logel, Steven Shepherd, and Mark Zanna of the University of Waterloo, demonstrates the real-life social benefits of self-affirmation — and finds that the benefits last as long as two months. Their article will be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
In the experiment, 117 participants completed questionnaires assessing their feelings of “relational security” with friends, family, and current or potential romantic partners — rating agreement with such statements as “My friends regard me as very important in their lives” and “I have the kind of qualities that many people desire in a romantic partner.”
Next, participants ranked 11 values, such as intellect and creativity, in order of personal importance. The experimental group wrote a self-affirmation essay, in which they detailed the reasons why their top-ranked value was important to them, how it influenced their lives, and why it was central to their identity. The control group wrote about their ninth-ranked value and why it might matter to someone else. Participants then went about their lives, returning to the lab for follow-up sessions two times in the subsequent two months. At those sessions, participants again reported on their relational security. They also interacted with an experimenter, who rated their social tension, evidenced by their displays of agitation, anxiety, and appreciativeness.
The results: Initially insecure participants who completed the self-affirmation task grew more secure over the following two months and also behaved in more relaxed and positive ways with the experimenter.
Why do the effects last so long? Probably, says Stinson, it works this way: “You do this self-affirmation task, and then you walk out the door and smile at a stranger and the stranger smiles back.” At home, if your partner is in a bad mood, you don’t take it personally, and even try to cheer him up. Next time, he does the same for you. “It’s a recursive process: ‘I feel better, I behave better, I notice others behave better toward me, I feel better” — and so on.
“Feeling like other people don’t love or value you affects every aspect of wellbeing,” with negative outcomes ranging from depression to frequent colds, says Stinson. So if self-affirmation can help people feel better about themselves and more at ease with others, the benefits could be far reaching. Says Stinson: “This research matters more than any I’ve ever done.”

How did I not know that Glen E. Friedman produced that Suicidal Tendencies album?, and other things related to Cypress Hill turning 20 today.

“L. Muggerud – L. Freeze – S. Reyes.” SO TOUGH. Best DMV names in rapdom.

1. I will never not say it: Intelligent Hoodlum is a waaaaay better name than Tragedy Khadafi.

2. The simplicity, functionality and aesthetic appeal of those Source ads from ’91 still hold up in ’11.  

Was it album art director Stacy Drummond who was responsible? If so: madam, excellent work.

Ms. Valentine taught me about the concept of “Chekhov’s gun” in 12-grade English – a literary technique in which an entity is introduced early in a story, but its significance does not become clear until later. Muggs says they recorded this album in the winter of 1990-1. In March ’91, a video came out featuring the LAPD behaving like complete fucking murderous heathens. Ho-hum. Aaaaanyway, track 1 is called “Pigs,” it is about law enforcement officers, and in it – just like in nearly every song that follows it on the album – the boys make brutality (shooting, prison rape) sound fun and sing-song-y. There are all these well-placed la-la-laaaas in the album’s stories about putting holes in human flesh, which is terrifying yet charismatic and amusing, like Jack Torrance or every character Joe Pesci plays.

3. Muggs tells Brian Coleman that PE and Ultramag were his favorites and the ones that influenced him most of all.

First of all, ME TOO, LAWRENCE MUGGERUD, even though I don’t make beats (yet); second, NO FUCKING WAY, LAWRENCE. What I mean is: yes, upon listening to your compositions, one might be able to infer that you were influenced by the brothers Shocklee and that perhaps every night during the Cypress Hill crafting sessions you slept with one hand on your crate of most breaks-rich funk records. This influence also explains the New York-y feel to the group, which was probably Columbia’s doing on some A&R bs – plus it was the Giants over the Bills in the ’91 Super Bowl – but the fact remains I have a big problem with the videos being shot in NYC (even though ’91 Q-Tip is always nice to see – the presence of Ice Cube in the video doesn’t make it all ok, though! You’re just throwing LA a bone with that one, gentlemen). PS, Larry: I’m not mad that to make “Something for the Blunted” you basically just let “Future Shock” play and laid some cheeba cuts on top. (Ask me about my feelings regarding Kanye and “Otis” sometime, and you’ll understand how much of a compliment that is.) I’d also like to give you a special shout for using that “Tramp” bassline, which provides the whole foundation for the song, and for sampling THREE James Brown records on that same song. THREE. Swoon.

People don’t put that creepy stop-motion walking-backwards craze in their videos anymore. I miss it.

Other things people no longer do: call dudes busters or marks; do the lift-up-the-knee stomp-dance;
wear bucket hats (other than DZA; he’s the only one these days).

4. That “Phuncky Feel One” breakdown vs. the source of that breakdown (the JB’s, “More Peas”): which is superior? This remains a heated debate in apt. 680.

“Phuncky” is a can of ginseng extract with a pinch of coke. I mean it’s just pure energy. A party in a bottle, 2 in the morning, still jumpin ’cause your mama ain’t home. But then you got the JB’s! It’s THE JB’s! How can I deny them? There’s the break at 08:28, takes my breath away, and just before that, James, as usual, chops it up with the song. He asks the song how it’s doing, you know – makes suggestions for where the song should go, talks about the geographic areas where the people playing the song are from (Georgia; not DC). “We gave the people some. Can we give the bass some? Bass, you ain’t had none. When we give the bass some, let’s take it to F…Can we take it to F?” UM FUCK YES MR. BROWN, AND OH DEAR, WHAT’S THIS, MY DRESS APPEARS TO HAVE FALLEN OFF OF MY BODY.

5. In 1990, there was no such thing as Death Row Records and, just as tragic with regard to my personal life story, no such thing as Starbucks in Los Angeles. Things were different then, that’s all I’m saying, and the world was rather inadequate. 

So of course you and your boys are gonna want to make some music. There was nothing else to do. LA was dullsville. “Back in ’94 I shoulda signed to Death Row,” today’s Power 106 driving-around-in-the-Civic banger said to me. Ooh what a song, I thought to myself after that first verse/hook combo. Then I thought: Oh dear, all the mentions of firearms and ki’s and ass; Banner would hate this even though he raps about those things too then he hides behind his master’s degree. And then: No, Money Jay–back in nine-one you shoulda signed to Death Row. You want to be ahead of the curve, my friend. Ah well. I still have great fondness for the song, though in concept more than execution. Dudes are so braggy all the time in my ear canal that it’s nice to hear some humility and remorse for bad decision-making every once in a while.

6. This is Cypress Avenue in South Gate, where the shit used to go down for our heroic trio – or at least where they would play football in the street until their families called them in for dinner.  

Does it look familiar? It should, because it could also pass for Andre Young’s childhood street, or Pooh’s or King Tee’s or, I don’t know, Arabian Prince’s? Hell, it looks like Oxnard too – the street upon which Michael and Otis Jackson jr. played. The grassy, pretty, tree-lined-ness of LA neighborhood aesthetics lends itself perfectly to making songs when you are a young man, because it’s boring, and there’s little else to do. And my ears/heart/body thank the good lord for that.

7. November 3, 1990 – NBA on NBC starts airing. 

John Tesh’s epic/corny ass composes the music; it’s playing in my head as I write this. Do-do dododoDOdo-dooooo (that’s how it goes). I knew this fact before I composed this post, because I have a massive nerd brain inside the head that sits atop my skinny-lady frame. What I didn’t know is that this was also the year the flagrant foul was introduced. I’m not sure how all this dovetails with the recording sessions for Cypress Hill (winter ’90-1, remember), but it seems important-? And then, 20 years later, Lil B does a song about his chain looking like John Tesh and girls doing things to him with their mouths because he looks like John Tesh, and in his spare time he introduces the term Mary Hart for a groupie. J/K. Lil B has no idea who John Tesh is.

8. Top 5 lines from “How I Could Just Kill a Man”:

1. How do you know where I’m at when you haven’t been where I’ve been? Understand where I’m coming from. This is just skilled writing – specific and universal, like all great sentences.
2. Time for some action, just a fraction of friction/I got the clearance to run the interference. What does this mean/I love it/I’ve loved it from the first time I heard it.
3. ALL I WANTED WAS A PEPSI. Muggs, I see you. You got alllllll those Parliament and Bar-Kays records on your shelf, plus one precious copy of Suicidal Tendencies hidden in the back.
4. Actin kinda loco, I’m just another local/Kid from the street gettin paid for my vocal. Please see #1 (this one’s not so universal, although it kind of is, because in the greater LA area, everyone’s got label connects and/or a deal pending).
5. The hummin/comin at ya, how it’s always going away then popping back up in the song, is something like perfection only that sounds trite so I won’t say it. You can just tell Muggs puts his time in, though – he really fucking cares about the stuff he puts out. I will say that.

Honorable mention: putos. The way they just spit it out, so full of venom.

9. We’re supposed to believe “Time 4 Sum Aksion” was produced by Erick Sermon, 

I guess back when he and CH were ‘90s buddies and used to…Ruffhouse together? (No? Teehee?…Groan. Sorry.) However, I know for a fact that “Time 4 Sum Aksion” was crafted by the hands of the basketball gods themselves, with care and love, for the purpose of having every high school team between the years 1992 and ’95 use the song as its warm-up music. And in a comical note, Wikipedia has a collection of “popular culture” instances in which the song appeared—a list of the 259 boxers/wrestlers/MMA dudes who have used the song as their intro theme. Not on the list: me, even though this song is my “getting fucking psyched to conquer the hordes at the DMV” motivation. Let’s get ready to ruuumbllllllllle. Mr. Sermon also used it in “Cummin Atcha” from that same time period (I get it, Erick – you liked the first Cypress Hill album); that song’s only remarkable for the liggedy-let the nines clap line, which reminds me that it was the height of the 9mm era, and I guess one could argue that we’re still in that era, but honestly for the last 10-12 years in lyrics the mighty Desert Eagle has stolen the show.

10. That “Duke of Earl” sample makes no sense within the lyrical context of Hand on the Pump, but this is forgivable.

I knowwww I can’t afforrrrrd to stop is what comes into my mind, first thing, when I think of a break that’s appropriate to the thematic and lyrical elements of an MC’s story. On the opposite end of the appropriateness scale, Squeeze her, don’t tease her, never leave her, while beauuuuutifully chopped up and placed in between J and K’s stanzas, is a terribly irrelevant and dumb Otis snippet to use in a song about having lunch with Charles Schwab or whatever the fuck those two are yammering on about. If I may, J and K: I would suggest an Otis song about having dreams to remember, or the We don’t want nothing but joy, y’all/Nothing but joy from Cigarettes and Coffee,in a song about jets and cash and being able to dodge charges in the American legal system just like Dominique Strauss-Kahn. You’re welcome, J and K! Really, J and K, it was nothing. But I would like a co-producer credit, please.

So the use of this particular break makes no sense, but Duke duke duke, duke of just sounds really fresh in a rap song about hunters v. hunted and being fucked v. being the one doing the fucking; nothing less than that, but nothing more, either. I guess to justify its use, you could say the narrators are establishing their royal status within their social system – Sen and B are dukes, figuratively speaking? Really, though, it’s just a sample that LA guys raised on K-Earth and Art Laboe wanted to use, so they found a place for it on the album. Why I can forgive inappropriateness when Muggs does it but I cannot when Kanye does will go down as one of apt. 680’s eternal mysteries – right up there with how come some teenage boy actors can grow up and become fine, fine rappers (Mos) and others make me want to kill myself (Drake).



The best G n’ R mentions in rap music.

You know where you are?

You’re in the jungle, baby.

Guns Roses – raekwon rae song! Rock & Roll!

“Power” remix
They tryna Axl Rose you, welcome to the jungle
To be continued, we on that Norman Mailer shit

Where do we go? Where do we go now? Where do we go?

Jay Z: an appetite for destruction but I scrape the plate, ’cause it sounds sorta sexual and I like it.

I can make a hundred yard line start to dash
I can make a whole lake of fish start to splash
I can make Conan and the Titans clash
I can Metallica and guns ‘N Roses crash

The Roots, “Proceed”

Biggie: with more Guns than Roses

M.O.P. Guns n Roses

Jay Z Guns & Roses song

Westside Connection Don’t Get Outta Pocket

NWA Appetite for Destruction

Lil Wayne, Jump Jiggy

It’s entirely possible that G n’ R did not invent the term welcome to the jungle. For the purposes of this post, however, G n’ R invented the term welcome to the jungle.

WU, Reunited appetite

TV on the Radio, Dancing Choose foam injected Axl Rose

2 Live Crew. Not a mention verbally, but dude.

Clipse Guns n Roses

“Welcome to the Jungle”-

Black Axl Rose, Move halfs and wholes
Come down to the jungle, Just ask for Hov
Move blocks and squares, Move apples and pears
Work pots and pans, Just to cop me some Airs

Ghostface Guns N’ Razors. DOOM.

kanye, jay-z
“Power” remix
They tryna Axl Rose you, welcome to the jungle

Rae – rock n roll

I’m a true master, you can check my credentials.

Fidel Castro makes a surprise appearance at the 6th Communist Party Congress in Havana April 19. (Javier Galeano/AP)

Fidel lookin fresh to fucking death in his Fila warm-ups. Got a freaky, freaky, freaky-freaky flow/Control the mic like Fidel Castro locked Cuba.

You wanna front what?
Jump up and get bucked
If you’re feeling lucky duck
Then press your luck
I snatch fake gangsta MC’s and make em faggot flambe
Your nine spray; my mind spray
Malignant mist steadily pumps the funk
The results you’re a gang stuffed in a car trunk
You couldn’t come to the jungles of the East poppin that game
You won’t survive get live catchin wreck is our thing
I don’t gang bang or shoot out bang bang
The relentless lyrics the only dope I slang
I’m a true master you can check my credentials
Cuz I choose to use my infinite potentials

So deep that you can scuba dive/my jive
Origin is unknown like the Jubas
I’ve accumulated honies all across the map
Cuz I’d rather bust a nut then bust a cap in
Ya back in fact my rap snaps ya sacroilliac
I’m the mack so i don’t need to tote a Mac
My attack is purely mental and its nature’s not hate
It’s meant to wake ya up out of ya brainwashed state
Stagnate nonsense but if you persist
You’ll get ya snotbox bust you press up on this
I flip hoes dip none of the real niggas slip
You don’t know enough math to count the mics that I ripped
Keep the Dirty Rotten Scoundrel as his verbal weapons spit

Verse Two:

Real rough and rugged, shine like a gold nugget
Every time i pick up the microphone i drug it
Unplug it on chumps with the gangsta babble
Leave your nines at home and bring your skills to the battle
You’re rattlin’ on and on and ain’t sayin nothing
That’s why you got snuffed when you bump heads with Dirty Rotten
Have you forgotten, i’ll tap you [jaw]
I also kick like kung fu flicks by run run shaw
Made frauds bleed every time I g’d
Cuz i’ve perfected my drunken style like sam seed
Pseudo psychos i play like Michael
Jackson when i’m bustin ass and breakin backs
Inhale the putrified aroma
Breathe too deep and you’ll wind up coma-
tose the king i’m hard like a fifth of vodka
And bring your clique cuz i’m a hard rock knocka
I gotcha, out on a limb i’m about to push you off the brink
Let you draw your craw but you burnin’ shot breaks
When the East is in the house you should come equipped

Fly like a jet sting like a hornet
Knuckleheads get live and set it off if you want it
Dirty rotten scoundrels is crushin fools no joke
With styles more fatal than second hand smoke
Don’t provoke the wrath of this rhyme inventor
Cuz I blow up spots like the world trade center
Come with the super trooper on his assault mission
The tech’s technique cuz he’s a technician
Wishin he’ll go away won’t help the weapons stop
The skills are shot cuz any idiot can let off a glock
Hard rock smellin the clutch of this untoucha
You claim you got beef on the streets so whatcha
Gonna do when real niggaz roll up on you
And you don’t got your crew
Pull your glock but you don’t got the heart
You was webbed straight from the start
Bought a tool and didn’t learn how to use it
Got lost in Brooklyn so you had to lose it
Just for frontin you got that ass waxed


When Steele cooks beef/The smoke’ll never clear.

The head of the Republican Party criticized Senate candidate Rand Paul on Sunday for questioning the landmark Civil Rights Act and said the Kentucky libertarian’s views were out of step with the party and country. [Reuters]

Heaven! Oh, it’s heaven.

Republican in-fighting is a joyful, lovely thing, and it’s all this lady needs on a this particular Sunday to wash away the grime and escape the miasma of urban woe. Michael Steele called out Rand Paul for his criticism of the Civil Rights Act; this was the correct thing to do, which marks the first time I’ve approved of Michael Steele’s behavior. Rand Paul’s already done a quick side-step, turn-around, backpedal, “nevermind” dance following the fallout from his remarks, because that’s what shit-talkers always do. He also says he does, after all, support the Act, make no mistake about it, because shit-talkers are also liars. Anyway, the whole thing is fun, plus, YOU GUYS, this is just like Jimmy vs. Cam, only the Huffington Post is the arena instead of Kay Slay’s show!

Unfortunately, this is unlikely to affect Mr. Paul’s political trajectory, as people just do not give even a little bit of a fuck about Michael Steele and what he says. I bet even he knows it. This is not cause to feel sorry for him, since E-40 teaches that if you live by the dirt, you die by the shovel.

Mos Def – “Johnny Too Beef.” Because I must’ve posted BDP’s “Beef” in a previous post. I must have.



The 3 things on the Internet that have invaded my heart today.

Cherry + Rollins, Milan, 1963. [Roberto Polillo]

Sonny Rollins is the saxophone colossus,

that Duck Sauce song and its corresponding video* will never stop ruling,

Lil Jon is too old to still be making songs like that, and

anything produced by the good people at Organized Noize is fucking FUN, like music and life are sposed to be. I had forgotten about this; it’s from ’99. “Gold teeth and heavy Chevys, and talking slow/Afros & loud-ass Italian clothes” is the winner here, but that little shuffle in the drum pattern gets (a very impressive and nothing to be ashamed of) 2nd place.

#1 – Memphis bleak; there’s a good piece at the Village Voice about the trials and tribs of Three 6 Mafia and 8Ball & MJG, penned by goofy looking white guy Ben Westhoff. (They always make the best writers, though, so it’s OK, Ben.)

#2 – E-40, Clyde Carson, Husalah, “Lightweight Jammin.” It’s no “The Server”; let’s just get that out of the way right now. But oddly, in defiance of the Lil Jon rule, E-40 will never be too old to make songs like this. And the way he talks about the beat while the beat plays is like a lightweight, Solano County version of James Brown talking to Fred and Maceo as “Doing It To Death” takes shape–describing the drums coming in just before they come in, talking about the effects that the groove has on his private parts, and stating with frankness the fact that he needs to be in the key of D in order to really get down there, in touch with his private parts. I tell you. People, it’s bad.

#3Nappy Roots, “Ride.” I thought this was gonna be corny and feel-good, and then I realized I’m pretty corny and I like feeling good. And when I let it play for longer than 45 seconds, I figured out that the song isn’t corny. Ignore the corny white guy strumming while leaning against the car, though; focus instead on the cute doggy and Skinny’s delivery, and of course the chorus, which makes me feel good. (XXL, thanks.)

(Why yes, I heard and saw that new
Fashawn too; it leaves me underwhelmed and longing for the Mighty Mos rhyming/coal-mining original, despite Blu’s presence. Can’t win ’em all, Los Angeles. Unless, you know, it’s the NBA we’re talking about.)
* “I-can-doitanywaythatyouwantiiiiiit” is usually my line, but it’s OK for someone else just this once.


I’m ready Slick, are you?

It hurts to type this, but

as of this week in the year two thousand and ten,

BBD’s “Poison” is 20 years old. OWW. IT BURNS.

Someone allegedly named Dr. Freeze wrote and produced it (he later masterminded “I Wanna Sex You Up”), and the Bomb Squad (!) had a hand in making the rest of the Poison album. Right around April 1990, Mandela was released, Mapplethorpe was too gay and sexy for museums, all the Iran-Contra players were surprised that Americans did not care for that whole “arms for hostages” concept, and most importantly, BBD sang about the pain and pleasure involved in the pursuit of juicy, prized jumpoffs.

Below, go ahead and savor Biv’s Raiders parka, Ronnie’s mismatched footwear, G Rap’s big booming voice spitting out “poison!,” oh dear, I just realized I’m suddenly so old but watch me and my creaky old bones giggin up a storm on the dancefloor! Life really just doesn’t get any better than that moment when you’re at the bar and the chorus swells, and everyone lifts their drinks and sings “It’s driiiiving meeeee ouuuut of myyy miiiiind…” People, it’s pop music and it is wondrous! BBD IN FULL EFFECT.

Relationships, it’s true, do all seem so beautiful at the start. But when she lets you and your friends run a train on her, she’s a hooker and I do believe it’s time to look elsewhere for STD-free affection. Also, that thing between you two is not really something that can be called a “relationship” if you do anything with her that involves yourself and your crew. Anyway, 2 decades later, it would behoove us to heed the warning of Ronnie, Mike, and Ricky and still never trust big butt and a smile. Full hips & a blank stare*, though? Always trustworthy!


“Rappers getting leery to hear me/G speaks in a new technique of fury.” G Rap is me n’ Raekwon’s favorite MC.


Monday morning, Tupac, and my hurt feelings.

“Eclipse” is a new play in Cleveland in which fantasy confrontational scenarios are enacted between Tupac and his famous adversaries, Suge and Biggie. Its corresponding write-up in the NY Times made me rather indignant and cranky. Pac’s gone and he’s never EVER coming back, and now all we got is Drake’s loud loud monotone, rap-yelling at me all over my car stereo when I drive around my city.

“Tupac is a very Shakespearean character,” said the “Eclipse” playwright, Michael Oatman, of Cleveland. “He is loaded with contradictions. He’ll be talking about ‘bitches and hos’ one minute then give you a song that has a crushing sensitivity. He lends himself to theatricality.”

– Johnathan Jackson, 19, who plays Shakur in “Eclipse,” reports that the rapper’s music appeals more to his mother’s generation than his own. OWW. IT BURNS.

– “50 Cent is kind of like our Tupac,” Mr. Jackson said. “But there won’t be a 50 Cent musical. Tupac’s death is what made him this legend.” You know, we all said goofy things when we were 19. Still, I’m shocked at what’s become of the youth of America.

– Everyone is always amazed at his contradictions, like we aren’t all conflicted, complicated individuals talkin bout Huey Newton, suing the Oakland PD, then gettin some oral in the club. Right?

There will never be a better one. And that Steadicam work, swoon. The Underground Railroad, who produced 1 little Aceyalone track and then curled up and died somewhere, evidently.

2Pac – “Trapped”


Bye-bye, Def Jux.

– my RSS feed (Prefix).

Emo is, for the record:

Muddy Waters,
Billie Holiday,
everything sung into a mic in the greater DC area in the years 1976-1978,
Kurt Cobain from Bleach until like November ’93,
and nothing, nothing else. Oh and Def Jux, of course. Almost forgot.

And either this story is true, and I’m sad and mad and feeling like 1998 might actually be over and like I’m going to faint and then awaken briefly just to take a bottle of Klonopin mixed with some opiate of my choosing and die,


somebody’s got a new record coming out. Industry drones, please email me the real story. My life hangs in the balance!