It was Robert Johnson week in apt. 680, thanks to that LA Times article and that piece in The Guardian. Also, shout to my dad for his hero-worship of Southern gentlemen of color who picked up guitars; this trait has been passed down to me, except I now have the additional tendency to worship gentlemen who lovingly speak of Pyrex and Desert Eagles and Twitter.
Johnson would’ve been 100 as of yesterday, and The Times of course had to trot out all the usual grizzled old British men to validate his place in history, which made me sleepy from boredom. The Times apparently thinks I don’t know my shit-?, as if any grizzled Caucasians who’ve sold and toured successfully are going to introduce me to Mr. Johnson’s work. Also, T-Bone Burnett? Robbie Robertson? Nobody not-boring was available to be interviewed? Prince? I don’t know…Carlos Santana? Ritchie Blackmore? Steve Cropper? Iommi? Fripp? If we want to get really crazy with it, you know, maybe get a quote from somebody under age 67 – Ginn? Tom Morello? SLASH? Anyway, I was crabby about all that but then THE GOD Neil Young popped into the article and saved the day, as he is known to do, with his quote above. That’s more like it. (Still, though, sometimes I keep going: Dr. Know? Ernie Isley?)
Following the release of “Born This Way” and “Judas,” two overstuffed singles that didn’t really hit it out of the Song of Summer ballpark (and the Song of Summer is really what’s up for grabs here), Gaga has gone and rushed out her third single, “Edge of Glory,” and, boy, if it doesn’t go down relatively easy. If the first two tracks off the forthcoming Born This Way were all jangly dance-rock, this is as smooth as an eighties jam straight off the Flashdance soundtrack, and it has the saxophone breakdown to prove it. (At this point, it should be clear this is the song Gaga recorded with Clarence Clemons, of the E Street Band.) The presence of a sax on this track raises the very real and very awesome possibility that there will soon be a saxophone battle going down on the pop charts in this, the year 2011. Katy Perry’s next single, “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F),” another Song of Summer contender, also has a saxophone breakdown. (The Killers might want to consider rereleasing “Joy Ride,” off 2008’s Day & Age, if they want to capitalize on this new “trend.”) If for no other reason than that “sax” is an extremely fun, extremely juvenile word to make puns out of, we would be pro this development, but there is, of course, an even better reason — and that is that saxes are awesome. More sax please. More sax for everyone.
second only to Silky Johnson, 2003’s Player Hater of the Year, who once called in a bomb threat to the Special Olympics
But there may be another reason why Johnson recorded facing the wall. Elijah Wald is a musician and the author of the book Escaping the Delta: Robert Johnson and the Invention of the Blues. He says there were pre-war blues musicians who played guitar better than Johnson, as well as musicians who sang better. But Wald says that, unlike most of them, Johnson learned to play from listening to radio and records.
Sound is one of the main things that distinguishes Johnson’s sides from other records of the time. By facing the wall, Wald says Johnson might have made his vocals sound better to a later generation accustomed to high fidelity.
Also I’d really like to go somewhere and listen to Morello talk about Robert Johnson. That would be a very fine few hours I could spend.
The Guardian: You can’t hear a blues tune or a rock tune that don’t have some of Robert’s chords in it,” added another of Johnson’s musical associates in the documentary, the late Johnny Shines, “because he made them all.”
GIBBS HAS A SAD LOOKIN FACE. – me to my brother via text (in line at Ikea today, daydreaming as usual)
HE DOES. MUST BE THAT RUSTBELT FLOW. – my brother, number 1 brother in the world. He’s just a good dude, even-tempered, Witty with the texts, obviously. Might not mean much to you but to me exchanges like this are everything.
My ears and I spend our time bouncing from rapper to rapper, breakin hearts, collecting mixtapes. I’m loyal but I also need sweet love (good songs). I’d like always to be swimming in sweet love (good songs) – witty rhymes, bouncy cadence, some kind of delivery that stays with me, thick bass that makes my brain fuzzy and happy and cloudy while I’m at work. It occurs to me that from time to time on this blog I come across as groupie-ish for MCs, I guess because people think that someone with long hair and hips and breasts that are unusually large for a skinny frame cannot appreciate the skill it takes to just tell a really good story and separate that appreciation from wanting to undress for the storyteller. A good story does make me want to undress but that doesn’t mean I’m going to offer myself to Erick Sermon. breath control, delivery,
“What did we see today?” went the Robert Bly poem in an email from my uncle this afternoon. This seemed like a sign, the universe telling me to do some more bloggy preachin. The single greatest thing seen today was a LOS ANGELES RAIDERS license plate frame on the DeVille I was driving behind (Temple St., 4:43 pm PST). I love, love team loyalty. Plus people think Raider fans don’t like nice cars or use turn signals, and the dude today left both of those terrible stereotypes in the dust.
The most hiphop thing seen today was a girl and a gator in a fashion editorial (the lovely 5’7″ Camille in Jalouse mag, looking foxy in this spread despite its ridiculous swampy theme). I let my mind get free and loose with the associating and here we go: mentions of gators in rap songs!
Grizzly Bear has a nice song about alligators, which is the only animal that hasn’t been used yet for talking about heterosexual love in music. It bares teeth, extra sharp, that’ll cut you in the heart/It attacks really quick, try and fight it with a stick/There’s no use, give it up, this is life and this is love/You are my alligator. Beautiful. Bonnie Prince B also has that “Gator” song. But gators in my world means gator shoes, which are not beautiful at all. They are hideous and garish. They’re creepy and I hate them. But rappers make them pretty appealing. Just like how everybody in rap regardless of age or geographic region or crew affiliation talks about pretty ladies, ugly ladies, international diplomacy, cars and the details of their interiors and exteriors, family members fucking up, sunny days, eating, and memories of being a kid, everybody in rap talks about gators!
Gators are ugly as sin but if you’re from the south I think you kind of grow up loving them.
It’s called betrayal He on a mission to become a ball player Flip big Benzes, flossin all gators Had it all mapped out, 6’8″ 12th grader Fresh outta school, he fin’ to go make paper He had a brother who was hustlin, collectin his change Never let his baby brother stick his neck in the game Told him all he had to do is just enjoy the ride And he ain’t have to worry about money cause that’s in time
“Betrayal” is about 12 BPM which isn’t usually my taste, but I guess they can’t all be “Know the Ledge” when it comes to hiphop warnings about the dangers of being a little too committed to trife life, hm? The first part of this verse is the plot of ATL (big brother unsuccessfully trying to save baby brother from getting caught up). Then it gets into “Just to Get a Rep” territory. I told you: family members fucking up (all MCs have a story about ’em. And gators.) Because Face is made of blood, guts, and good stories, and has been able to successfully rise above that whole Office Space thing with his integrity intact (your cousins, my cousins, all rappin “No Tears” while driving. Don’t act like you don’t remember. Sigh.), he makes the tale of a high schooler dreaming of wearing gators believable and sad. I’m just like, Ohh, Scarface said it? Well then it must be true. His DMV name is Brad, which he has also overcome, thanks to his baritone and his Army sergeant way of carrying himself. Brad tells you a story to music and if you have it in your head when you’re shopping at Vons, it feels like everything’s in slow motion–eerie, like you’re about to run up on some dude from behind and stab him, and then sneak out the back to go to church and cry about it. You’re a murderer, but you’re still human, you know? You still have that human-guilt thing.
Got me some bread, made some paper Costly fabrics, minks and gators, bitch I’m ballin’ Diamonds on my chest, keep me looking good Got diamonds on my chest, keep me looking good
I said, I got me some bread, made some paper Costly fabrics, minks and gators, bitch I’m ballin’ Diamonds on my chest, keep me looking good Got diamonds on my chest, keep me looking good.
This Week in Annoying featured LAPD officers, LA County Sheriff’s Department officers, Dipset operatives rhyming a word with that same word in verse (also part of This Decade in Annoying), that fucking blond patch in Khalifa’s hair, John Legend’s level of success being inversely proportional to the degree of soul in his voice (I FUCKING HATE HIS VOICE AND WHOLE MANUFACTURED STYLE, I do; where is Anthony Hamilton?), 50’s cover-of-LowRider glamour shots (WTF), and people not from Texas trying to get away with using “trill” in music conversations (you see this a lot in the 2DopeBoyz comments sections).
It’s not Bun on the hook quoted here, but still: it’s a Bun song! It counts as one of his! He can rhyme good with good, and it ends up sounding pretty good! Plus he says the words “David Banner” in this song, which is just heaven–2 of my 3 Texas boyfriends in such close proximity (Scarface is the third; Devin is sometimes my fourth one too, when I can make time in my schedule to see him).
I also really really enjoy the use of “I said,” an old-timey bluesy thing you hear in songs to introduce the next verse (AAB rhyme pattern). Jazzy Pha’s doing his impression of Blind Willie McTell here. AH SAY-YID. See also: that Mike Jones one (you know exactly what I’m talking about!; nice try playing dumb, music snob). Anyway, Bun’s calm, fatherly delivery, established history of dustin these gators off ,and proven affection for footwear (he’s a shoe whore) is enough to get me to consider that gators might not be hideous–even though he did a song with noted awful monotoned Canadian rap carpetbagger Drake, who always sounds like he’s yelling at me on the radio.
Gorilla goons with the tool down to act a fool Birds in the living room, like Atlanta zoo Lions, tigers, minks, crocs, and gators for my shoes Monkey n—s in my hood, I’m living in the zoo Birds in the living room, and the kitchen too I’m a tiger in the bedroom–ask your baby boo I got lions, tigers, bears in my hood and closet too But my gun can stop an elephant just like Atlanta zoo.
I’m a rap apologist and I know it. I know it. No need to email me a description of how your opinion of Gucci is much lower than my opinion of him is, although it’s sweet of you to want to connect with me on that level. Gucci’s got that Dr. Seuss flow but at least he’s in on the joke, which is more than I can say for everybody’s darling K. West. I have to be honest and own up to the fact that I already had a particular bias toward this song even before I thought about songs with gator mentions–because later in it Gucci calls somebody else’s jewelry a fugazi, which I love due to its Brasco connotations (swoon/sigh/YES/oooooh).
This verse took on an unexpected somber tone when I did some research: in 2008, an elephant died at the Atlanta Zoo. She was 26 years old and pregnant. (She did not die from a gunshot, luckily–it was natural causes. I mean, as natural as can be when you’re a huge, gentle creature that’s been forced to live in jail your whole life)
Man a ni—a don’t want no trouble a playa just want to kick back with my gators off and watch my lil girl blow bubbles But still ready to rhyme standin’ my ground never back down Willin’ to rob steal & kill anything that threatens mine But good luck couldn’t be bought see many a fights had to be fought G for a n—a to ride these Vogues oh so close to the sidewalk to be gawked at watch your side my n—a ’cause we got gats the first n—a to buck is gon’ be the first n—a we attack
“Gator” rhymes with “Decatur.” I would appreciate an explanation as to why this fact has never been taken advantage of by OutKast. Thank you.
I also love that gators have this strong association with men who excel at selling the bodies of women, but Big Boi’s kicking his gators off in order to spend time with his daughter in a defiant display of helping to ensure her self-esteem stays high. Ooh, subversive!
You got a alligator mouth and a hummingbird ass Your mouth writing checks that your ass can’t cash 145 and I’m out of your weight class Want to survive, you better scramble like eggs and break fast
There are groupies in the world. I’m not one of them. But, BUT: T.I. is so physically stunning that, you know what?, maybe this dress would look better on the floor than on my body. Thank you for T.I., universe. Thank you for him. (He’s little, though, which is the universe’s way of reminding him to stay humble. He carries those 145 lbs well because he’s only like 5’5″. I’m quite sure that small stature of his is part of the reason he is so fond of firearms–they are a classic virility substitute.)
T.I.’s mention of his actual number of pounds reminds me of how few MCs reference their weight in lyrics. I guess every one of us is sensitive about that stuff. We all think we’re either too big or too skinny, but the difference is most of us have the sense not to talk about it into a microphone. Like, you know, if I were Rawss I don’t think I’d say something like “Pull up in a sleigh/Hop out like I’m Santa Claus” if I had his thyroid issues.
You know I’m not playin, man You want a concert, well you gotta pay the man Look at the shirts and socks, call him the gator man My crossover good, that’s how I shake them haters, man.
A few things I’ve realized thus far: Nothing fazes Curren$y; the dude is made of blood, guts, THC and klonnies (Young boy never been attracted to madness/I’m inside watchin re-runs of “What’s Happenin”). Nobody ever notices when I get a haircut because I always look exactly the same. The best R.E.M. song is “Nightswimming,” I don’t care what anybody says. I always like 50 best on other people’s songs (love how he gets more sing-songy and playful with his delivery). And whether they’re gators or Crocs, any kind of footwear named after a reptile is ugly. Coming from Curren$y’s mouth, though, you realize that gators are tiiiiiight. Or, in Louisiana-ese mixed with his mouth being a little dry, taaaht.
Lil Wayne Repping: New Orleans, LA; America; Mars; the soft ladyparts of your girlfriend; iTunes; Clear Channel; MTV; Gatorade (ha, how appropriate in this particular post); Hanes, Geico, Pizza Hut? (probably just a matter of time); your psyche
Hollygrove gator, ain’t nobody greater Leave you with some bullet holes the size of craters.
Gator boots with the pimped-out Gucci suits/Ain’t got no job, but I stay sharp, said Wayne’s friends some time ago. Wayne is small but vicious, has sleepy eyes, and comes from a swamp, just like an alligator. While not about ugly shoes, this little couplet still makes me love gators because it makes me love everything, because it’s Wheezy and he’s got that power. I am bearing a ton like Leee-vy, he also says in this song, which is a great line–even better than I pay these n—s with a reality check, a line I heard this week that is so simple and terrific. Bad yellow bitch keep my passenger seat warm, he also says. Pretty ladies are just like expensive things in that they are accessories used to display one’s wealth. And just like the quest of getting a pretty lady, making a reptile into a pair of shoes is hard and dirty, and requires focus:
“After the gators are killed with a stab to the brain, they are skinned and sorted: heads and claws for the French Quarter souvenir shops, meat for the Cajun restaurants, guts for turtles, dogs or anything else whose tastes run that way.” I cannot condone wearing animal skin in the name of fashion; however, I also cannot condone the posting of underclothed ladies on the Internet and yet I’m complicit in that as well.
8Ball & MJG repping: Memphis, TN (I can’t get away with saying “Ten-a-Key,” all casual like nobody would notice)
Don’t try to ever take my cash from me You might as well jump off a cliff, you fucking crash dummy Like that’s my last money This for my n—s who be bussin back to perpetrators We don’t discriminate, we’ll hurt you now, hurt you later But I ain’t worried, I smoke one on you fucking haters And I’m hiding gators under refrigerators
YOU FUCKING CRASH DUMMY, he said! Jump off a cliff, you dumb fuck! (sorry, Mom. sorrysorry) MJG turns into Don Rickles here–he insults you but it’s so strong in flair it just makes you want him to come at you more and more. Making Easy Money, Pimping Hoes In Style; that’s the mantra, and that’s what Memphis means to me (along with Stax, Derrick Rose, and this fucking white girl side hustle opportunity I missed and it kills me still even though it’s been a few years and I should be over it by now).
There’s hoes in the parking lot But I still got my glock cocked New money motherfucker don’t you see the big knot Don’t you see the big chain Don’t you see the big rims Wonder who they hatin on lately Baby it’s him, candy paint, Gator skin seats, call me Dundee pope in your hood I’m the one that you wanna be Haters wish they could feel the wood in my ’83 Ridin’ with no tint so the motherfuckers know it’s me
(2 verses later)
Hit the block on some new 10 thousand dollar wheels Can’t explain how I feel Touch the gator on the wheel Got peanut butter ice cream Peter pan seats Just gotta fresh cut Now we looking for them freaks Take a bad yellow bitch Make her drop them draws I’ma show you how to ball middle finger to the law
You do a post about gators, of course there’s going to be some heavy Southeastern Conference MC representation. You call yourself Rich Boy, of course there’s going to be some talk of expensive things in your songs. This one provides the only gator-on-the-wheel moment in this post, which is a little more attractive than gator-on-your-feet, but not by much. There is something charming and innocent about the desire to impress your neighbors, really such a silly way to behave when you think about it (“HEY I KNOW!, let’s put chopped-off, dried-out, tanned reptile skin on the steering wheel. I’M RICH.”). We’ve also learned how to make ketchup packets into shivs and convinced our females that putting plastic sacs under their skin makes them more attractive. Humans are incredible. Anyway, this song is one of the greatest rappin + drivin songs my Civic has ever had the pleasure of pouring from its speakers, and between Rich Boy’s stated fondness for yellow-bone girls and Polow’s documented fondness for, um, ladies with a skin tone similar to mine, this song is of course a tribute to ME, stunting in LA traffic with the radio on. Oh and the Alabama lean he gives to the word “baby” (01:24) is basically what a real man should sound like.
Yeah, you know how Slum do, when we come through Gumshoe, Air Force is a pair of Air Jordans Pelle Pelle, or old school with gangsta white walls Tailored suits, coordinatin’ with the gator boots Before you hate on what we do, it’s a D thing You flamin’ at a cabaret offa Alize Where the ladies at, pushin’ back your Baby Phat Make it clap like 80 gats
The only way out of class shame is conspicuous consumption (see: me and my Alexander Wang bag, winter 2010; can’t pay my rent cuz all my money’s spent, but that’s OK, cuz I’m still fly!). As evidenced here by El, when you’ve made it as a member of the Leisure Class, little matters other than holding onto your money, producing an heir, and looking really fresh–even though bragging about labels as proof that you’re a member of the Leisure Class is prissy and unmanly. It makes you seem like that Billy Zane character from Titanic. And Jesus, the only thing uglier than gator shoes are gator boots. But you know what makes me love gator skin, gator shoes, gator boots? DILLA. The song was produced by Black Milk before he was Black Milk, doing his best Dilla impression back before everybody else was doing their Dilla impression. Therefore, gators are attractive footwear, as long as they’re talked about in a nice rhyme pattern over some warm Dillaesque drums.
*A Detroit MC on this list covers the entire Great Lakes region (I didn’t want to have to try to think of any boring ass Rhymesayers lyrics).
Kool Keith From: The Bronx, but c’mon– Repping: Los Angeles, CA since forever
“Girl You Know”
I sport the real gators, Lucchese and Tony Lama Y’all act like divas with a flat ass like Madonna.
Keith is the only dude I know* who can brag about labels without sounding prissy and unmanly. There’s really nothing more to say here; Keith is one of the greats, just an all-around super guy–funny, bossy, smart but still unpretentious, a generous and innovative lover, appreciative of a girly shape and girly dresses, tweakin bass like he’s Jimmy Castor, and that’s everything I need in a sex/life partner. When I did an image search for him in my computer to accompany this section, an oldie that I had saved came up:
I had forgotten about it and its various comical aspects (I added the chubby pink hearts, a symbol of love, for emphasis. ‘Cause I love the entry so much):
1. a) Someone calling sex positions “sex styles.” b) Someone typing “sex styles” into the Google blank box, you know, just doin some research. Some sex research. People say “handstyles,” and people say “hairstyles,” because those are actual things. “Sex styles,” though!; nobody talks like that;
2. Someone turning to Wikipedia as part of research on sex positions (this makes me sad because it belies a whole lot of social awkwardness on the part of the searcher, and because Wikipedia is wrong so often that I don’t think I’d trust it as a source for learning new sex acrobatics);
3. Wikipedia kindly redirecting searchers to the “sex positions” entry without judging them or giggling, although I would argue that this redirection isn’t particularly helpful since listening to Sex Style will give you all the lessons you need, pumpkin.
Two cases on Stoli’s, eight thousand for this, man you owe me I left the V.I.P. section lonely Me, white folks, Don Juan played the back The women chose me over guess who? Pretty Toney Kid I got your lady signed to Sony Girls tell Bobby I’m the real tenderoni New York’s best verse carrier You better scoop her, before I marry her Award winner without rims Tap your dimepiece without spinners JVC, LL soapbox with the antennas I get hard on aspirin cups full with Guinness The Ernie Onassis, with masters, with Marc and Jack Jasper Sunday clean gators on the pastor Go ‘head player, you’s a wallflower Scared to talk to her, I’ma ask her Rep it at the casino, walk in your presence Miami’s biggest problem Wack rappers want me out the game like Al Pacino
1.One time Kutmasta Kurt emailed me and asked me to be in a Keith video—shockingly, they needed blondies willing to be dress-up dollies and, hey, what’s that, they thought I might be a good fit. How odd; who could have predicted.
“Would you be interested to dress up 70’s and be in the dr dooom video?” he asked. I declined, because I’m an idiot, and thereby missed out on one of the great white girl side hustle opportunities of the last 10 years. Sorry, Kurt. My poor decision-making means I will probably die without Kool Keith ever touching my bottom with affection and then taking me to the arcade, but a girl can dream.
2. I like beautiful large-bodied displays of American muscle in vehicle form (’74-’82) but the hustle of a dude trying to get a girl out of her dress by bragging about his car is a hustle that cannot be respected. Award winner without rims/Tap your dimepiece without spinners, says Keith, with much more dress-removing success than you can imagine. “I’m broke” raps are the best.
I’m out to conquer the globe Might start off in Vegas, hookers bringin’ more of those papers Boss mackin’ got me scuffin’ my gators Call me Luke Skywalker, the alien stalker Cuddie, fuck your friends, your folks, even your potna Lil’ soldier got a chopper plus he gone off one And OG’s think the penitentiary is fun So he’s ready to kill, and ain’t scared to die Nuclear age titan up out the Crest side
Annnnnd finally, northern Cali in this. There’s a line from Ghetto Stardom in which Mac alludes to reality-based paranoia–“Uncle Sam finding ways to fit computer chips in my dome.” This is a concept only slightly more frightening/psychologically violent than Uncle Sam successfully convincing us that buying stuff and displaying it on our bodies/cars/women is the way to freedom. The whole blue-collar tone of his stuff is what makes his mention of gators (ugly ugly footwear) acceptable. Boss mackin got me scuffin my gators. I come from proletariat stock, as most of us do–union members, people who didn’t hate their jobs but hated jobs in general, so signs of wear and tear on a dude’s shoes is a positive thing. Mac’s a man of the people. Some soldiers ain’t never gonna see the streets/That’s why I keep servin’ game over my beats.
In terms of gator-rap representation by the Bay Area, I thought for certain I’d be posting something by E-40. Cuddie, I’m telling you, I could come up with a verse for him–gator rhymes with hater, sooner or later, and of course Bay Areyerrrr. E-40’s Fatburger has been closed for a while, but I recently thought of it when
a) I sent the following text to my little brother: JAMAL MASHBURN IS ONE OF THE GREAT SPORTS NAMES (just out of nowhere, as is my habit. Probably influenced by all the Fab Five talk everywhere, though)
b) He wrote back IT REALLY IS. HE OWNS A BUNCH OF OUTBACK STEAKHOUSES (FUN FACT)
and c) I responded with IF IT WERE JERRY, THEY’D BE STACKHOUSES.
d) He texted back HEY-O, having grown up with me and knowing that my ego craves this kind of cheerleading, but that’s beside the point. The point is that E-40 would appreciate my pun, and his decades-long commitment to his various hustles (records, dope, women, restaurants, guest appearances on other people’s records) means he gets a place on this list, gators or no gators. But if I stick with the rules of the post, he does get a gator association in that he’s friends/songmates with Gator Mane (I’m still listening to “Since the ’90s”).
Revvin’ like a Cutty that bangs on the block Baby can I have your keys, I hate to pick your lock (I just love this) Snappin’ like a gator, never waitin’ like a waiter Cherry is my flavor when it comes to Now & Laters When it comes to gettin’ greedy, man I get green eyes And I gotta get it like Muslims slang pies.
“In all the 5 boroughs, I’m known,” this song Yet another Brasco connection! Twice in one post! (my next post will be Random Tribute: Lefty Ruggiero raps) Like the Wicked Witch, I gotta jump the broom/Screamin fuck you by the light of the moon. Screamin FUCK YOU by the light of the moon
OK, this one’s about actual gators, as in the animals, but Nickatina runs 12-Step groups called Ballers Anonymous in his spare time, and he no doubt has said something at some time about gators, as in the footwear (I didn’t have time to try to think of another gator lyric from among his 18,000 songs). Rich in pimping history, the Bay Area is replete with men who love a fine-looking kit–a nice suit, expensive footwear, baubles. And so, like MCs from the states of Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama, anyone who can successfully throw around the term “playboy” in verse can also convince me that gators are all right. This means you, Bay Area rappers. Oh, Gibbs too. Gibbs could definitely get away with saying “playboy.”
I wear my Air Jordans with my Anchor Blue jeans I like to spread my wings when I’m out on the scene You can break me down on a triple scale beam The color of the Benz same color whip cream
You want that, man do you like how I flaunt that Because I know I’d go to jail or hell if I bought that Man like a court case caught that and like a boxer in Vegas to box, yo I fought that I like steak and potatoes, ice cream gators I never say nothin yo to none of my neighbors I do it like Parliament, don’t get wet I do it like a gambler, make that bet
Like water off a duck’s back, Cuddie. Every verse of Nickatina’s makes me feel relaxed and confident, like I can handle anything, the highest compliment one can give an MC. This one’s from A Tale of Two Andres which forces me to ask: Have two more lovable rappers ever existed than Dre and King Nicky? NOPE. I’d shove you out of the way in the club or at the grocery store to get to either one of these gentlemen. Nothing personal. Nickatina’s like 8 feet tall and he’s toothpick-shaped and I hear he’s a basehead/ex-basehead from my ex-SF cab driver friend, so he is just clownish and odd enough to pull off wearing gators. It would be more weird if he didn’t wear gators, you know?
Cam’Ron (I cannot bring myself to use the apostrophe. It makes me mad) repping Harlem “Cookin Up”
You the soda bottle huh, i’m twisting ya’ cap and i’m luxury girl, come sit on my lap her friends like “dont go that s**t is a trap he’ll have you traficking, swallowing, s**ttin’ smack” they pigeons in fact, how you gon’ listen to that you the flyest one in ya’ crew them bitches is wack start at the smile, I knew that the shit was a wrap her friends were right though, she gon’ be pitching some crack i’m a true champ, you glance, four door, two tramps fuck my money, honey, bring ya’ foodstamps go ‘head you dance, an elephant to you ants chain – Alaska, bracelet – nebraska crib – well disaster, forty two plasmas royal blue Maury’s, shortie you bastard only thing I dont know, what resort we in I tell a bitch “get over here” like Scorpion cars, order in flavors, you order from Avis? come around me, why, they know my aura contagious and i’m sorta courages, plus the kids smart forget Biz Mark, he gon’ catch more than the vapors next door at ya’ neighbors, they said all of you haters set ya’ up the very moment I offered them paper and the law from the mayor, and my kicks? the University Of Florida, of course that they gator
UGH. God. Cam showed up in the post. I broke one of my cardinal blogging rules when I started HFS several years ago. Sometime y’all get crimey crimey, grimy grimy. Lately Tim Tebow is the Gator that’s been in the news (he is a Jesus freak who is afraid of female sexuality, as is typical of Jesus freaks). eBay $1,250.00 Nike AIR FORCE 1 LUX ’07 REAL GATOR SKIN 24K GOLD SZ 12, says the eBay posting I saw yesterday. Crocodile Birkin bag, $65,000
Few contract and inkpens later Turn into boss respect, mob ties and kingpin paper Mountin the D, Cardi frames and pink gators Gotta learn how to deal with the weak link haters Don’t even think about the top 10, just think Jada Never eat no less, then I think greater
Chin down, mouth open is something that photographers say to girls to get sexface out of them (please see above; also ask me because I could tell you some stories), but, in keeping with this post, it also happens to be something that paying customers probably say to girls to get sexface and sexotherthings out of them. It’s probably more often Chin UP, but still. There’s still that whole “bossing a lady around” theme, the gators-are-for-pimps theme. If you’re convicted of pandering in New York state, it carries a fine of $10,000. I’m just saying. You wear pink gators and you’re just begging to be stopped and questioned by vice. Pink gators are for Detroit players, Jada! You dummy! Others have forgotten about you rapping on Mariah Carey songs, but not me.
* YOU SIMPLY MUST PICTURE ME WALKING DOWN THE STREET TO THIS, because goddammit I’m picturing myself walking down the street to this. (I have a sundress on). The “Get to Poppin” instrumental, too–but that one’s not made for a sundress. It’ll always be a Logan-walking-down-the-street-in-jeans-that-may-or-may-not-be-a-little-too-tight-don’t-judge-me theme song.
Rae! repping: Brooklyn, NY
“My Favorite Dred”
On graduation day he threw me a towel He came through, heavy like fuck, suit flammable Ill pair of gators he copped in Beirut Had his man wit him, just stare, don’t stand with him If assassination strike, he gotta make plans with him
This Week in Wonderful included USDA prime rap beef, all 3 plays of “Ignition” (the remix, duh, hot n fresh out the kitchen) on LA radio while I was out driving (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday), single-word album titles, single-word song titles, my precious Sennheisers, and my precious precious Lakers who, what’s the phrase?, go hard in the mother fucking paint. Switzerland, beige Timbs, heavy like fuck. I’m outta here/showin love like Zorro.
Gang Starr (Guru and Premier, respectively) From: Boston and Houston, respectively, but c’mon– Repping: BROOKLYN (respectively) since forever
Now I’ma start collectin props, connectin plots Networkin like a conference, cause the nonsense is yet to stop Jakes shake me down, haters wanna take me down Break me down, clap–all they heard was the sound I scoped it out, I took your weak dream and choked it out Your bitch don’t really got no ass, she just poked it out on the d low, I’m sayin, you versus me though? We can do this shit right here, in front of your people See time is money kid, and BS walks And to me, it’s funny kid when you meatheads talk
Bangin your thoughts with the hot onslaught A kid got shot on the spot for goin where he should not Viciously, I make history, instantly Those other lame ass loser ass n—s, they can’t fuck with me I’m doin my thing now, to lamp later on Paid in the shade, with some fly gators on But now I’m grimy as they get, mud on my pants and shirt I bet you n—s out here know, I be puttin in work.
FIRST of all, there’s nothing wrong with a girl poking out her bottom. Let me make that clear. All the other real-world ladies and I have to find a way to compete with fantasy-ladies’ benefits of airbrushing (magazines), and perfect lighting, slow-motion jiggly shots, and professional makeup artists (videos)–unless you’re Syd, who gets along fine in her trusty red hoodie and looks stunning all the while. I forgot what else I was gonna say. Dude it’s Guru. Gators are anecdotal more than anything–a symbol of wealth. Guru never wore them. But that’s OK, kid.
Here’s another smooth song, so get your groove on Violate or try to fake, jacks or you’ll get moved on Peace to all my n—s with the thousand dollar shoes on Pushing rides with full-length minks with gator shoes on I’m known for rockin tours, picture me moppin floors Only fuck with ki’s and not the kind that be locking doors The type of nigga that be gaming your freaks While you out working hard I’m putting stains in your sheets
If you bite then tell your man what type of flowers you like! I’m chillin makin sure this money is right/Sippin Sunny Delite and hittin every honey in site! This post has gotten out of control, having turned into less of a Random Tribute Gator Raps post and more of a Random Tribute to Big L’s Wordplay post.
“Halfsharkalligatorhalfman.” Three alligators behind me, feel my skin is hard/Transvestites and people watch space parasites/I left his head in the store, legs in the street/Body in Wilcox, with blood dripping off my feet/LAPD through gray clouds couldn’t see me/I first turned rainbow, closed my eyes, watch my brain glow/People got scared and ran away, they think I’m weird/I was born this way. Mosley, Fante, Joni Mitchell, Axl, Eric Wright, Warren Zevon and Keith are tops when it comes to describing the Los Angeles landscape.
The only people you should trust to teach you about the general history of the world are Chomsky and Zinn. (Everybody else is either on the payroll at Fox or is trying to get website hits by making up dumb outrageous facts.) And the only person you should trust to inform you of important events in the Allman Brothers story is the girl whose middle name is Melissa.
On March 12 and 13 in 1971, the Alllman Brothers Band’s At Fillmore East shows were recorded–40 long years, but put it on the platter and I swear it throbs like it was made yesterday. (For the record, “Live at the Fillmoe, East” is a Rappin 4-Tay/San Quinn collab song that has yet to be made, but it exists in my heart and in my fantasies.) Anyway, before Duane Allman’s crying guitar played over the montage of everybody from the Lufthansa heist getting theirs, the wreckage of past sins finally coming to light, his crying guitar played in the living room on the platter while I lay on my stomach and colored. I’m a grownup now but I have a thousand pictures of him on my laptop because I still love him. Sometimes I swear I see him at Trader Joe’s (nope; it’s just all the boys in the neighborhood go 7 months between haircuts and wear nothing bigger than an M in t-shirts). He was quiet in real life, they say, and he was usually high, plus he died when he was 24; these are qualities that usually make me fond of a musical individual. And before I wanted to ride with the kid, and before all I wanted to pretend my name was Sally so I could ride around with abandon (ride, Sally. Ride.), before I was down to ride and definitely before I was prepared to ride or die, before I fully committed to the hoo ride lifestyle, before I begged the sweet chariot to swing down, stop, and let me ride, before I loved breathless ladies’ man Toney Knight Rider, way before I wanted to ride the plain bow in flare gully yellow rain coat, before I Ruff Rode and really believed in the Stop, drop, shutemdown-openupshop mantra (which is what I will forever think of any time I hear “Free Earl”), before I obeyed when a Gulf Way Blvd g told me to pop the trunk, get it crunk, it’s time to ride, show them boys I got that front back and side to side, baby, basically before I ever wanted to take that ride, and way before I asked myself how should I ride?, I knew running away and riding was the way to go ’cause Duane and the last 12 frets on his guitar were like honey, let’s ride.
mp3. It’s OK if you think of that Devil’s Rejects opening when you hear it. I don’t mind. The shit was pretty incredible. (Good job, Rob.)
“You take out the issue of white women and replace it with the issue of religion. That’s my story!” – Muhammad Ali, after seeing The Great White Hope
There are so many victims of time and circumstance in my country’s history, but it really seems like young pugilists from certain racial and socioeconomic groups seem to constitute an inappropriately large amount of this group.
Mr. Jack Johnson of Galveston had fist-related acumen, was of African descent, and enjoyed the fleshly delights of the prized white female. Since it was the early 1900s, this meant that things would not turn out well for him. Back then, my people held some truths to be self-evident, including that all men are created equal, except if it’s a black man who makes white men look bad by ripping the heavyweight championship out of their hands, and then that same black man pours lemon juice into their facial cuts by having sex with white ladies.
But over the years, there’s been a swelling of good intentions among good people who’ve noted the injustice in sending Johnson to prison on some Mann Act charges. We all want Johnson to receive a presidential pardon–last year, I was amazed to find out that John McCain was a major supporter in this movement. We’re still waiting; it’s in Obama’s hands now. And I’m proud to say that almost all the skinny bearded young white men who live in my neighborhood have heard of Johnson, thanks to that Mos supergroup and the popularity of his likeness on t-shirts. The one above is the best I’ve seen yet (even though that collar is so high and weird–but maybe it’s just this particular photo), and part of the profits from its sale goes to PBS for the funding and production of wonderful things like the annoyingly prolific Ken Burns’ documentary Unforgivable Blackness.
I’ll never fully come to terms with the fact that rappers actually age like mortals, but at least I can throw together a humble tribute to one of the greats in my humble corner of the Internet. Ghosty turns 40 today; here’s a dispatch from my emotional landscape:
• The Pill, too, was born on this day (in 1960). Without being too crass, let’s just say that the birth and subsequent music of Ghosty has given me sexual freedom in a way only equaled by oral contraceptives.
• The Taurean manis known to be affable and friendly, but in such need of stability that he can become possessive and stubborn. He’s also prone to brooding and dark moods. I think we all remember the“I’m just a lonely old man and people don’t know that” incident of 2007. I was a wreck for almost a week, you’ll recall, worrying and saving up money for a plane ticket to NY so I could hug him.
• Sexually depraved lyrics. Having recorded with El-P, Mobb Deep, Doom, Styles P., Kool G Rap. Songs about white women in knee high boots and bracelets. The high-pitched, breathless flow. The way I feel totally out of the loop sometimes when I listen to the slang and can’t keep the fuck up, yet I just want more and more. Keeping it weird. (just an unorganized collection of things I love about him)
• Back-in-time pretend time: on 9 May 1970, “American Woman” and “Turn Back the Hands of Time,” noted displays of bassline prowess, were riding high on the charts. Psychedelic Shack just came out (March), “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” was on the radio. Funkadelic came out. Wilson Pickett, “Get Me Back on Time, Engine #9.”; The Spinners, “It’s a Shame”; Stevie’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” with that joyous collision of bassline and tambourine as an opener–all of ’em were new and were immediate classics. The Derek & the Dominoes album with “Layla” on it came out. Next month, in June 1970, Band of Gypsys will come out. In the fall, Paranoid by Black Sabbath will come out. Obviously baby Dennis Coles was destined for musical greatness, being born in this musical climate. Meanwhile, the only groundbreaking musical thing that happened in apartment 15 last week was Gucci leaving So Icey.
Just the sheer craftsmanship of this song. Grab your headphones and indulge me, please.
This tall, handsome man from New York who has the face of a ghost could absolutely come over to your house for some coffee and lovely conversation with your mom, over there in the breakfast nook. Ragu and nutmeg, Camay, scales of fish, Betty Crocker: mothers understand these references in Toney’s breathless high pitch. Plus you got all those mentions of actresses, American presidents, kings, emperors, French-Canadian chanteuses, a bunch of athletes (tennis, football, boxing, wrasslin’), Colombian businessmen, game show hosts, ’60 and ’70s soul singers, ’80s pop stars, messiahs, ex-“Today Show” hosts, Rat Pack-ers, Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky and Mike (sorry)…it’s really so obvious that Toney and the moms of the world could chat about pop culture for an extended period of time. (Hi Ego Trip, it’s me again. I’m really disappointed in you for not seeing this first.) It weakens my argument to have to omit certain lines because not everybody’s mom would catch the references that mine would, but there’s still enough convincing material here. For example, I feel that I can be honest and admit that I had to leave out that Sonny Carson mention from “Murda Goons”; as fresh as my own mom is, she is unfamiliar with Sonny. However, I’m proud to say that I could include any verses mentioning Slick Rick, since my mom is quite familiar and could even pick him out in some sort of group Def Jam photo if asked (you would too if you had me for a daughter). Similarly, I included the Brian Urlacher and Jay Cutler stuff in case your mom watches football like mine. PS, the only Jaime Summers in a middle-aged mom’s world should be Lindsay Wagner, and my mom doesn’t understand the verb “to train” the way it’s used by Ghost* and I’m fine with that. Ssshhhh.
Puppy love, gorgeous face, amazed by lip gloss Cherry scent, when the princess spoke yo it bounced off Mole like Marilyn Monroe, threw a rose in her mouth Wherever God go will be Mrs. Coke
– “Child’s Play”
Wu-Tang Clan spark the wicks and However, I master the trick just like Nixon
– “Bring Da Ruckus”
I ran the Dark Ages, Constantine and great Henry the Eighth Built with Genghis Khan, the red suede Wally Don
– “4th Chamber”
Blow backs in, flip raps like forty-eight bundles Dinner plates, deadly front gates, celeb Bryant Gumbel
– “We Made It”
With starwriters like I fucked Celine Dion Stuck everything that’s the god’s honest beyond
– “9 Milli Bros.”
Thanks to the revolver, Ramik had the leap from the heat Like he was Frogger, bang monster King Arthur Guns older than Bob Barker, graze comin out the nose barrel Trouble maybe, then we from Harvard
– “Who Are We”
Sho nuff, hit the bank and thrust Cool Nauticas, *Jamie Summers got trained on the tour bus
– “Iron Maiden”
I know this chick from the hood named Courtney Cox And her brain is easy to pick like faulty locks
That’s how the God do, Motown twenty-five My orals like Smokey’s voice, little moist, but choice
– “Stay True”
Kiss the pyramid experiment with high explosive I slapbox with Jesus, lick shots at Joseph – “Daytona 500”
Burgundy minks, whips with sinks in em Broccoli blown, illa disease breath, elephant skin Meet the black Boy George, dusted on my honeymoon
– “Stroke of Death”
That’s the same kid that cut his wrists, talkin bout the cuffs did it He ran away, frontin majorly, eyes like Sammy Davis jr.
– “The Grain.”Pretty much his whole verse. (Queen Elizabeth, Vanna White, the Pope.)
Slinging the backs of five Cleopatras A cocaine chef, I stretch money like elastic My raps is bigger, dynamics with the muscle advantage Jay Cutler on dust, when I blam shit – “Rec-Room Therapy”
Fly shit like Curtis Mayfield and his intro Throw this in your whip, convent, your tens blow
– “Ghost Showers”
As I stroll the globe and terrorize the planet With a Bill Clinton mask and them Playskool hens – “The Mask”
I give a order to my peeps across the water To go and snatch up props all around the border And get far like a shootin star ‘Cause who I are, is dim in the light of Pablo Escobar
– “Protect Ya Neck”
You two-faces, scum of the slum, I got your whole body numb Blowin like Shalamar in eighty-one Sound convincin, thousand dollar court by convention Hands, like Sonny Liston, get fly permission – “Triumph”
Laying n—as like ceramic tile I’m like Urlacher, beasting at the top of the pile
– “New Wu”
Chop the O, sprinkle a lil’ snow inside a Optimo Swing the John McEnroe, rap rock’n’roll.
Aiyyo spiced out Calvin Coolidge, loungin with 7 duelers The Great Adventures of Slick, lickin with 6 rugers.
The Betty Crocker, marvel cake stakes admissor wax janitor, black Jack Mulligan from Canada – “Bells of War”
Sly in Hat, San Jose, 1968.On Jim’s page there’s a story about Sly at Doris Day’s house, white girls, and coke (back when it really meant something. Now everybody’s got white girls and coke, you know? People used to ooh and ahh when they’d see me in the streets. Now the market’s been flooded and it’s sad for me.)
Namath, probably telling her she’s different from all the others and her eyes are pretty.
Chain-store ambiance music is clearly the result of a partnership between the devil and Timothy Geithner, designed to distract me from the comatose economy and make me stay longer in the aisles, browsing and touching and spending my cash. This has been effective thus far, because I like magical pop music and I like brightly-colored nail polish, and I like scenarios in which I’m immersed in both. So:
I heard this today at CVS, added it to my “Fuck Off, I Love This” list and just like that, my whole day was improved. Sometimes that’s all it takes.
The Bee Gees, masters of chord progression and the build-build-build-to-crescendo, had been missing from the musical power rankings in my head. The hi-hat at the beginning, the bassline, and the whole tone of the song is so Withers-esque*. My sometime boyfriend Jake One flipped/bounced it for that Freeway song (underwhelming), but there’s just nothing like the tinny speakers at the drugstore piping the original one straight into your heart and mind to make you stay in the makeup aisle longer than you had planned. The Saturday Night Fever soundtrack was Saturday Night Fire, of course, and you’re welcome for the pun, but other than that I was just slipping so hard regarding Bee Gees appreciation until this point in my life. I also need to acknowledge the relentlessly dope work of Arif Mardin, a completely badass Turkish man who produced this as well as numerous badass others: Average White Band’s School Boy Crush (!), Aretha’s Rock Steady [Starbucks this morning, thanks coffee guy at the one at Pico & Westwood!], Son of a Preacher Man, Someday We’ll All Be Free, I Feel For You (Chaka, not Prince), plus Against All Odds! Like I said, badass. And Turkish.
Blamin’ it all on the nights on Broadwayyy, singin them sweet sounds to that crazy crazy town. If it were 1975, In not-really-related news, there’s this:
“When you win, nothing hurts”
attributed to Joe Namath. Nice one, Broadway Joe. In apt. 302, though, the saying goes “When you blog, nothing hurts.”
Here we are in the room full of strangers, Standing in the dark where your eyes couldn’t see me
Well, I have to follow you Though you didn’t want me to. But that won’t stop my lovin’ you I can’t stay away
Blaming it all on the nights on Broadway Singin’ them love songs, Singin’ them straight to the heart songs. Blamin’ it all on the nights on Broadway Singin’ them sweet sounds To that crazy, crazy town.
Now in my place There are so many others Standin’ in the line; How long will they stand between us?
Well, I have to follow you Though you didn’t want me to. But that won’t stop my lovin’ you I can’t stay away
Blaming it all on the nights on Broadway Singin’ them love songs, Singin’ them straight to the heart songs. Blamin’ it all on the nights on Broadway Singin’ them sweet sounds To that crazy, crazy town.
I will wait, even if it takes forever; I will wait, even if it takes a life time. Somehow I feel inside You never ever left my side. Make it like it was before Even if it takes a life time, takes a life time.
Blaming it all on the nights on Broadway Singin’ them love songs, Singin’ them straight to the heart songs. Blamin’ it all on the nights on Broadway Singin’ them sweet sounds To that crazy, crazy town
I don’t trust people who like Vegas, I don’t like people who start a question with “Question:” and who start a story like this: “True story:”. But I trust NY producers whom I’ve never met. I mean, look at his face. He’s just a great dude, you can tell, and if we knew each other I just know that no unpleasantness between us would ever ensue and that he would find my questions about Zev in ’89 super charming.
Not the most obscure piece of Paul production-ery here, but obscurity is the most ridiculous test of a music’s merit I think I ever done heard in mah LIFE. Stop stalling, press play, and take Aunt Jean for a spin around the living room to this with my beloved Raiders on your television set. De La – “Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey).”
mp3. I find it hard enough dealin with my own biz.
*I would like to add that I am also thankful for YouTube and for videos on YouTube that include the words “rare,” “Sam Cooke,” and “demo.”