“Aw girl I know it’s dangerous to look directly at an eclipse but I can’t help but stare at CELESTIAL BODIES, youfeelme” – my future husband. Hopefully he’ll appreciate the fact that his wife and the RZA have the same taste in records. Hopefully.
I believe the expression is “The bigger the headache, the bigger the pill.” Less popular but no less true is the expression “The bigger my love for Dr. Funkenstein, licensed administer of ear-canal narcotics including but not limited to rubbery bassline antidepressants, the greater the likelihood that I’m willing to forego monogamy and share my groom with my other sister-wives so we can blow the cobwebs out your mind.”
I wish George would give women a little wiggle room when it comes to roles – we are backup singers and side-project wives, and that’s it – but if I complain I’ll get kicked out of the family and he’ll easily find another fake wife to hit in the protons and make sure her hips keep moving. Having to share Dr. Funkenstein with some other ladies is better than no Funkenstein at all.
Jimmy Miller, production god who never really got his propers, made some real walking-down-the-street bangers. “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin” immediately comes to mind, a shining example of pure hot-weather-in-a-sundress magic. That song’s 41 years old and still sexual as all hell (especially those first 45 seconds, mmm). “Gimme Shelter,” with the way it builds and builds? I’M SWEATIN. Be a lamb and put an ice cube down my back, would you.
When fall comes along, his stuff is employed for colder-weather activities – “Tumblin’ Dice” for walking down the street in jeans (“cold-weather activity” in my city means doing the same thing as during summer, except in jeans because it’s 5 degrees cooler.) Mick’s platform in the song is that women are terrible and sexy and not to be trusted, and playing into that is rather fun, so what better way to be a jezebel than to paint on some stretchy denim that shows off your lady-shape. “Gimme Some Lovin,” a personal favorite because of the holy trifecta of kick drum, tambourine, and copious church-y HEY!s like a pre-pre-pre-cursor to “Power,” is perfect to have on when it’s a frigid 65 degrees out and I’m making some baked chicken. You should see my kitchen moves, guys. I shake it like a combination of the girls in that 2 Chainz video and 2 Chainz.
Mr. Fantasy isn’t in the same category. It’s dreamy and filled with sitars and tambura, too dreamy and slow for a walk. It’s got that classic Miller style, though – driving bass, vocal build-ups and cascades, loud, clear drum punches. “Being a drummer,” he said, “I was very rhythm minded.” Being a Fantasy Football manager for the 2012-13 season, I too am rhythm minded. Everything must flow. The guys on the squad don’t have to be best friends, but they have to respect each other as men and support each other to get the job done. (I know how to wrangle some big personalities, just like Miller had to. He worked with The Rolling Stones, you see). My guys execute driving routes, clear punches; tight and right, balanced, nothing sloppy. The pieces of my offense all fit and complement each other, a powerful machine that runs on VitaCoco and maybe a little HGH. I was rifling through my records and came across Mr. Fantasy; a couple hours later, I had my team for this season, drafted and ready. I’m giving Jimmy Miller co-manager credit this year.
The rules were the same this year as every other: 1. do minimal research on who’s really hot – meaning projected to possibly be hot, provided everyone’s knees and psyches hold up – for the 2012 season. Check Rotoworld and CBS Fantasy ONLY, in other words – not Rotoworld, CBS Fantasy, SBNation, FantasySharks, “Fantasy” by Guy, The xx, and Earth Wind & Fire, or Final Fantasy 4, big big shout to Danny Brown and DeShay that I should just get out of the way right at the beginning of the post. 2. GET RODGERS; failing that, GET STAFFORD. 3. Draft no Raiders, as I cannot have my real life allegiances and my Fantasy allegiances getting crisscrossed and tied into knots. Drafting dudes from the RVIDXR KLVN, however, is acceptable.
Fall is the finest of all the seasons. My apologies for being truly unpleasant to be around between now and December, but LEH’, as my 17-year-old cousin Kevin and all his lame friends said circa summer/fall 2011, GO:
Nickname(s): None to my knowledge, but I like thinking about dudes walking around Michigan with STAF written above the dark blue oval of the Ford logo on their shirts. IT’S DETROIT; they definitely do this.
Pros: • 63% completion last year. • Poised and in control at all times, much like myself. • Thinking of him gets me all revved up to yell “KITTY PRIDE” at the TV 2-3 times this season after a really big Lions play.
Cons: • The Goonies was on the other night. Stafford looks like Chunk from The Goonies, mixed with a little Temple Grandin.
Do-Gooder Twitter Score (1 – 10 scale): 6. Lots of support for the Wounded Warriors Project, but this is offset by boring self-promo (“Check out my exclusive video with SWAG, a new digital magazine”). The rest of his feed is all Republican-sounding notes on golfing with dad, NASCAR, and the on-the-couch-with-a-bag-of-Doritos-NFL-fan-favorite “leading a healthy lifestyle.” Then he demands to see Obama’s birth certificate and lays out his plan to keep troops in Afghanistan for the next 200 years.
Flacco’s ability to throw the ball with accuracy lessens every year; honestly, his appeal as a player is purely emotional for me, because of his rad name, his do-gooder qualities (see below), and the fact that his team’s been in the news alongside the name of THE GOD Chris Kluwe, soldier for equality. Flacco will do for now. I’m just biding my time until Andrew Luck has one awful week and someone in my league drops him because nobody has loyalty.
Do-Gooder Twitter Score: 9. Being a dad, Joe says, is amazing. He also pushes the Special Olympics and something called Boys Hope Girls Hope Baltimore. Get ‘em, Joe.
Nicknames: Dez “Dickerson” Bryant; “Trouble Man*,” “The Modernaire.”
*Invoking the Toddler Clause in his contract, Jerry Jones has decided that, just like my 2-year-old niece, Bryant cannot stay out too late or drink anything bad for him. Dez Bryant is 24 years old.
Desmond had his barrow in the marketplace, and by “barrow” I mean “bands” and by “marketplace” I mean “Magic City.” I fail to see what any of this has to do with him catching a ball and running while avoiding defenders, but the impact Dez’s off-season behavior has on his teammates is just the latest in a whole mess of things that Jerry Jones and I don’t see eye to eye about.
“Pacman Jones might be a rich man today,” a Deadspin commenter noted re: athletes needing to be treated like children, “if there was someone hanging around him all the time trying to keep him out of trouble.” Ridiculous. Incorrect. In the immortal words of Nathan Arizona, “And if a frog had wings he wouldn’t bump his ass a-hoppin’.” Listen, the physical feats of human males are completely separable from their psychological workings and their feelings about their mothers and whether they like their strippers with tattoos or without. Dez Bryant is a grown-up, as was Pacman Jones when he was a part of the esteemed Cowboys organization. The plot of Get Him to the Greek as a real-life scenario with a professional athlete in the Russell Brand role is just not meant to be, guys.
Pros: • Pimp C being a Cowboys fan decreases some of the symptoms of acid reflux in my trachea due to my searing IRL hatred of the Cowboys. • It’s kind of cool that Dez is now an NFL Cowboy after being a Cowboy at Oklahoma State, which reminds me: that Mike Gundy video never gets old!
Decker? I hardly know her! Now that that’s out of the way:
Drafted on the strength of his head-to-neck-thickness ratio and the fact that he will be catching balls thrown by Peyton W. Manning (goofy white guy!). Decker went to Minnesota, just like Manning’s beloved Tony Dungy. The fuzzy feelings this stirs up in Manning due to this association will no doubt make Decker a favorite target. I mean, I already have fuzzy feelings about all things Minnesotan due to Prince connotations.
Nickname(s): None so far, but if he starts to do real well I’m prepared to introduce the name “Eric Wrecker” to the world.
Pros: • Tall, lanky • Good route runner • Manning.
Cons: • CORNBALL. He and Demaryius Thomas “have been trying to get the nickname ‘Salt & Pepper’ to stick since 2010 when they were rookie roommates.” • Is a Bronco. This is inherently offensive to me, because RAIDERS ALL DAY AND SOME OF THE NIGHT AS WELL; the Chiefs, Chargers, and especially those fucking Broncos can all go to HELL (a Drake concert in Mitt Romney’s backyard) but that doesn’t mean I can’t use them to get points in Fantasy. I want their players to fail; I want their players to kill it. On Sundays, therefore, catch me at the bar/on my couch in apt. 680/on Mom’s couch, practicing some meannnnn cognitive dissonance.
Do-gooder Twitter score: 6. His shoutout to a kid with cancer is offset by relentless pushing of the VitaCoco brand, thanking a dude who said, “Just took you in my Fantasy draft,” and saying, “LEZZZZZGO” in response to somebody yelling for the Golden Gophers to start the season off right.
“I’m never cutting the beard!” – 07/15/12.
“OK everybody I’m CUTTING THE BEARD!!!!” – 08/28/12.
Ha, I kid. This is just a pretend Con. I still need this confirmed, but I heard once that sometimes people say things that shouldn’t be taken literally (?). The beard saga was probably for preseason press, just to get his name out there and distract us from his fragile, glasslike body. Actual Con, however: his public back-and-forth with a grown lady who has chosen to call herself “Mulatto Mami.”
Pros: • 21 years old. His team’s awful but there’s nowhere to go but up. • Trent has no Twitter account. He also plays in the city of Cleveland, where there’s nothing to do – which proves he has an active inner world and a healthy imagination and probably just goes to the gym and the bookstore during training camp, leading to increased strength and focus when he suits up. These are what we refer to as “intangibles” in the sports world.
I apologize in advance once again for being truly insufferable for the next few months. Steve Winwood!: take me out.
STILL BEEFING WITH: Kev Durant’s shooting accuracy and Westbrook’s incredible clutchness, people who don’t use turn signals, the state of Florida, the radio station at the laundromat that plays the Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams” every goddamn time I’m there, MMG now and forever, and Daniel Dumile for keeping his tour in foreign places, far away from my home. NEW BEEF: the state of Arizona, that awful new Animal Collective song (honestly, WTF), people who clicked “dislike” under the Danny Brown doc (HONESTLY. what in the fuck), and Nelly for not following Pharrell’s lead in making a respectful mention of the death of Chuck Brown, even though this anger is of my own making. (My expectations are probably too high of someone who puts “CEO of Nelly, Inc” as his first bio credit on Twitter.)
BRAND-NEW BEEF!: my recent lack of self-control at the record store. I am about my paper, obviously, and I like to shout about it; “Look at me, just look how I’m always adding to my collection while still being able to eat and pay rent.” (This is my version of Got a condo on my wrist.) Last week in Pasadena, however, this system took a hit. I overspent, boss. I’m terrible. You say you need a hundred bucks? I’d spot you, but man I’m fresh OUT, or as my man E-40 said during the old school lunch hour on the radio today when I was driving, “perhaps today my scrilla ain’t feeling me.” Being CEO of Logan, Inc. doesn’t pay as well as you’d think.
Big big shout and hello, before we begin, to whoever tagged this blog NSFW on Reddit. Anonymous Internet soldier, you got me about a hundred thousand hits, but my mother would like to have a word with you. “This site is very SFW,” she’ll say, and “And yes, Logan did get her hips from me; who do you think taught her how to use them to get out of speeding tickets?” To those of you who were expecting sexy, sexy filth based on the NSFW tag, I’m sorry for the lack of nudity. We can engage in penetration but only of the cerebral kind. Which reminds me:
WHO WANNA HEAR ABOUT SOME RECORDS I BOUGHT.
Poobah is the name of a buffoonish, self-important character in a Gilbert & Sullivan opera, and the word has been taken to mean “pompous individual; person who mistakenly believes he or she exerts great influence” ever since. It also means “Slightly chubby MC in Historically Black University hoodie.” Grand Puba’s “360° (What Goes Around)” is all catchy, braggy self-promo with the divine Miss Gladys Knight on the hook and I love that. Puba’s known for getting money, hitting skins (teehee, ’cause it was ’92), wearing Girbauds (’92). Count on it. He’s predictable, like taxes, the sun rising, the circle of life record spinning around and around, “Sweet Dreams” coming on at the goddamn laundromat, Curren$y doing a song per week about cars and penthouses and the whores who love them. Your Starbucks order is so predictable, as is mine of course.
Puba probably wasn’t hitting a ton of skins, in ’92 or at any point, but he was telling the truth about the cyclical nature of human existence. We’re all predictable. I’m predictable. Alamo, is you with me? Cuz there’s just one thing I wanna say, and that is If what goes around comes back around again, tomorrow morning I’m getting my iced coffee with vanilla syrup at Starbucks, just like I did this morning and the morning before that. I’ll do laundry on Saturday; I’ll buy records on Sunday. My buffoonish sense of self-importance leads me to think I can spend and spend and somehow keep apartment 680′s rent paid. I’m coming back to Poo-Bah with my debit card and an intense stare. (When I get evicted, let’s be roommates! I’m a good cook and I’m fun to be around. Just don’t touch my stuff.)
Librarian in a sweater 2 sizes too small, and Sounwave doing his “Black Milk Signs to Interscope in 2005.” Our styles are so different but we both love this Monk Higgins record.
1. Monk Higgins, Dance To The Disco Sax Of Monk Higgins (Buddah, 1974). $4.99.
I learned from Schoolboy’s “There He Go” that some dudes smoke Garcia Vegas (verse 2). I also discovered that I do a mean lean-point-&-lipsynch move (during the hook), and Sounwave and I have at least one record in common in our collections (the break, which comes from Dance to the Disco Sax). What I learned from the video is that Kendrick continues to be the square one of the crew, surrounded by cool guys who manage to be interesting just by sitting there. He’s the Ernie Johnson of Black Hippy, and he’s got Barkley to his far left (Ab) and Shaq to his right (SBQ). Poor Kendrick-Ernie. Anyway, the erotic-thriller sounding piano at the beginning of “There He Go” absolutely makes the song; it’s so dreamy and perfect. But like I’ve said about so many songs throughout history, it would be nothing without those drums.
You need this album. Jesus, what a find! “One Man Band (Plays All Alone)” is the “There He Go” drum break that Sounwave used, and the hook turns up in Meyhem Lauren and Action Bronson’s “Typhoon Rap.” Bronson and Lauren have that big-boned body type in common, and they’ve both done NFL player name songs (“Larry Csonka,” “Ray Lewis”) – a trend that is becoming tiresome even for someone like me (football fan; Fantasy Football team owner; person who tweets at the fucking NFL on Fox robot doofus out of boredom and rage). Bronson and SBQ have this break in common, they both look extremely huggable, and I’m pretty sure they satisfy that requirement I have of all straight men in that they do not know anything about ladies’ purses. None of you guys should know the difference between an LV Speedy and a Trouville. It’s one of my heart’s rules. All I need is simply to be the more feminine one in a relationship, whether that relationship is headphone-based (I don’t know you but I like your music) or flesh-based (I know you, and we are sleeping together, sharing childhood stories, watching Sportscenter, and other couple-y things). Jot it down.
Most Perplexing: Nobody’s chopped n’ looped the first 10 seconds of “Space Race.” The Beatnuts in ’97, get on that. Best Album Title, with its instruction to Dance to the Particular Instrument that Mr. Higgins Plays. Everybody go on and dance if you want to, I’m humming to myself as I write this. The muuuuuusic makes your body move. WELL, ALL RIGHT. I’m still thinking about Ohio after having found Zapp for $2 and marveling at how much Delonte West looks like Bizzy Bone. Jazz dazz, disco jazz, said the Dazz Band (from Cleveland). Jazz dazz, disco jah-yazzz. Monk Higgins was from Arkansas but I feel like he’d agree with the Dazz Band that “disco jazz” is a real thing.
Jeopardy! fact: Jim Horn was often used by Spector in the Wall of Sound, and plays sax on Ike and Tina’s “River Deep, Mountain High.” Tina took her shirt off when recording the vocal, a fact that everyone in the studio remembers with pervy accuracy according to the 3 Spector bios I’ve read. Jim Horn also played sax and flute on Pet Sounds (hi Dad!) and Ladies of the Canyon (hi Mom!), in case the topless Tina story is too sexy for Jeopardy!
Personal goal: “5’7″, 280, murder bloods for rep” – Bronson, “Typhoon Rap.” Start a 5’7″ club with Bronson! Kate Moss can join too.
2. The Jimi Hendrix Experience, live at the Forum, April 1969 (bootleg – but Zipper was the first label trying to profit from it, 1988). $7.99.
The topic on LA sports talk radio again today was the Bynum Problem. What do we do about Bynum, everyone wants to know. Our giant baby with the glass knee: will he mature? Or is his inner knucklehead a permanent part of his personality? Call now, lines are wide open, blah blah, opinion, analysis, disagreement, sarcasm, yelling. Andrew will mature, absolutely, unless he doesn’t. We should keep him, or maybe we shouldn’t. I don’t know! It is a debate I have no personal stake in but that nonetheless entertains me, like Backwoods v. Swishers v. Optimos (v. Garcia Vegas!). At the end of the hour, the consensus was that the Laker organization should hire Charles “Terrifying Human Being” Oakley to be an enforcer and knock Andrew’s crybaby block off. Kobe’s serial-killer icegrill has proven to be ineffective in making Andrew act right; Andrew, we all agree, will only respond to physical intimidation. Furthermore, I maintain that if the team played at a creaky, old, soulful venue like the Forum, Andrew’s behavior would not be tolerated. Staples is lovely and comfy, but it’s so completely soulless, from David Beckham’s stupid floppy hat to all the Speedy bags underneath the seats of plastic-breasted ladies sitting courtside. Becks ain’t coming to Inglewood. Listen, the point is what can I possibly say to describe a Hendrix bootleg album that I got for less than ten bucks other than YOU NEED THIS ALBUM and the beautiful gentleman sitting on the hood of the car up there wins the award for Best Impression of Andre Benjamin.
Jeopardy! fact:In ’96, Dr. Octagon, Roger Troutman, and Cobain did a show at the Forum, which you will obviously know as the FABULOUS Forum if you’re from anywhere within a 50-mile radius of my apartment.
3. Smokey Robinson, Big Time soundtrack (Tamla, 1977). $3.99.
“MCs couldn’t hang if they was lynched by the Grand Dragon.” You need this album. It’s got the “8 Steps to Perfection” break.
Prettiest Lady: my forever/always girlfriend Jayne Kennedy, star of Big Time and men’s daydreams, and the epitome of “bad.” Those credentials are good enough, GO JANE, but the bigger feat here is that she’s “bad” while simultaneously looking “sweet” and “has a college degree”-ish, such a tricky combination to pull off. I got “college-degree looking” on lock; “bad,” however, is still something I need to attain. I feel like my hips get me halfway there, but then my gait and prim demeanor set me back in Schoolteacherville. SIGH. Teach me, Jane!
Most Transparent: the marketing folks at Motown Films in 1977. “Small-time con man Big Time Eddie Jones hustles his way to the big payoff,” goes Big Time‘s media kit description, “while trying to stay one step ahead of insurance investigators*, the FBI and the Mob. Think Uptown Saturday Night, with a harder edge.” Ha. Yeah, I bet you’d like me to think Uptown Saturday Night, Motown Films, and you’d also like me to ignore the fact that Big Time has no Poitier, no Silky Slim, and no Geechie Dan. Smokey probably turned up in Jet in ’77, being interviewed for a promo fluff piece and talking about how if you squint hard enough during Big Time, you might see a guy who looks kind of like Richard Pryor. Willie Hutch should’ve just ended the whole charade and put out a song called “Gullible Moviegoers.”
* Least-sexy villains in any film.
BEST OPENING. BEST BEST OPENING. The first 25 seconds of the movie’s theme song bang so freaking hard, courtesy of freaking hard-as-HALE guitar-banger god Wah-Wah Watson. That opening makes you think the song’s gonna be some spacey oddball adventure with sexy alien ladies and maybe a fake-Moroder bassline, but then, sigh, it turns into vanilla ’77 discotheque white-noise. As a listener, I feel bamboozled; “Ha Ha (Gotcha, Bitch)” would’ve been a more appropriate song title. Smokey could only divert from the norm so much, though. Even in the late ’70s he was on that tight Motown leash.
Jeopardy! fact: Marvin’s I Want You; Blondie, Bohannon, George Duke, Quincy Jones, the Beach Boys: Wah Wah Watson never appeared on a corny album.
Personal goal: Get that El-P + Killer Mike “G-Money” vinyl package. Am I my brother’s keeper? Shut up, who cares, GIMME. I must own it! The instrumental album is blood red!
4. Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway (Atlantic, 1972). 99¢.
Chicago’s got some bad juju — Donny’s suicidal brain chemicals, Kanye’s women issues, Derrick Rose’s ACL, poor Chief Keef can’t afford a tshirt. Good Chicago juju, thankfully, includes the unstoppable gray-haired, marriage-equality-pushing most-powerful-man-in-the-world calm-temperament swagger of one B. Obama, and the achy powerful beauty of Donny’s voice (top 10 voices in apt. 680′s collection, easily). I hereby announce that YOU NEED THIS ALBUM. This news fits right in with the rest of the world, as this week was full of facts that did not need to be announced – like Mitch Kupchak’s official statement that the Lakers “will be considering trades” (thanks, Scott Van Pelt) or that _____ and _____ were beefing last week and now, what’s this? They’re collabing? Imagine I’m doing a “Public Service Announcement” freestyle when I tell you this, and it’ll come out less like an order and more like a helpful suggestion: You need this album. It’s Flack and Hathaway. I cannot WAIT for the Weezy x Pusha mixtape, by the way.
This one wins Best Hangover Album—it’s melodic, floaty, and gentle, which makes sense since Arif Mardin was in charge of strings and a gentleman named Joe Gentle played flute on it. (Best and Most Appropriate Flute Player’s Name: Joe Gentle). And it’s got Purdie drums, which are never too brain-rattling. You’ll appreciate this when it’s the morning after you yelled BOTTLES ON ME 14 separate times in one night, and you did that stupid “WOOOOO” that ladies do, and the memories of acting like a retard are flooding your brain and making you cringe and also the terrible terrible nausea.
Roberta and Donny do their take on “You’ve Got a Friend” – appropriate, since they were best buddies. They do “I Who Have Nothing” and “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling,” a song that I have never liked but it’s got a great Spector-being-creepy story behind it. The critics went nuts for this album. It is a collection of music that is the opposite of ironic. Roberta and Donny will slay the grouchy dragon that lives in your heart with pure, uncut love of humanity. They excel at earnestness. The two of them are the best in the whole world at it, other than maybe Neil Young. The fact that Donny’s brain chemicals were starting to betray him at this point in his life lends a beautiful gravity to the album, and also a sense of really making me mad and hopeless. Stop it, songs, my brain says. It’s like the songs are telling the future, the horrible bleak future of Donny, but that’s not true – I’m just reading too much into the songs like always. It’s best to listen to this album in a vacuum. Put it on and pretend it’s ’72.
Best Piano Break, provided by Donny, above, later used in “On My Block,” the instrumental of which you’ll recognize as the backing track for every “successful MC returns to his old neighborhood” story on MTV. “Where is the Love,” already a huge bummer of a song, provides the break in Nate Dogg’s “Never Leave Me Alone,” last heard in the lunchtime old school hour on the radio every day in Los Angeles for the last 5 years. Ugh. Nate is on my radio these days on the hook of a song called “Party We Will Throw Now,” a song that is too awful for me to link to and which should be called “Make Money off Nate Dogg’s Name and Likeness We Will Do Now.” Biggest Bummer.
5. Death Grips, The Money Store (Epic, 2012). $14.99.
FIRST of All, Most Unbelievable in 2012: Epic Records still exists. Second of all, this really is some dude rap and not really appropriate for a proper lady such as myself.
I’m not going to pretend I can enjoy these lyrics half as much as someone with a penis, because the laws of the universe state that this is impossible. Thisssome DUDE RAP, no doubt about it. But in a world of this type of babyish male communication
I am in pure, old-fashioned, Sacramento industrio-love with Death Grips.
Hahaaaaaaaaa. (9 a’s).
In my more compassionate moments, I’ll see a post on Rap Radar about the latest MMG wind-up rapper and think Aw, this is awful music, but what do I care. Let ‘em have their fun. Get paid, darlings. I drove to Poo-Bah with the radio on, enjoying that “Burn” song in was the most guilty, dirty pleasure of my week. Then I get the fucking Death Grips album and I’m filled with heat and energy (which I guess is just another way of saying heat) and I think Yes, this is exactly how it should be. Only the people who I say can rap should be able to rap. Meek Mill still has the best cheekbones since Metta World Peace, but the fact remains the pleasure’s been stripped from future listenings of “Burn”; I bet “Cashin’ Out” will be next (sorry for this link, everyone with good taste). And now it is time for an “I’ve Seen Footage” interlude to cleanse my palate.
(I’ll listen to your “Stay Schemin” freestyle if you can get me the “Audemars” instrumental, though. Deal? My fondness for Meek Mill’s vocal playfulness and light rasp is well documented. Unfortunately, I reached my saturation point for Audemar raps back in August ’11, so: instrumental, please.)
“Hustle Bones,” “I’ve Seen Footage,” and “Get Got” are the Best Song Titles in this record haul (next to “Sugar Lump” on that Leon Haywood record). This baby was destined to come home with me the second my eyes met it from across the room; the only misgiving I had about buying it was when I realized that Bieber probably has it on his iPod. But I fought it off, and now The Money Store is home with me, wedged in between some Nu Shooz and Jerry Butler on my living room floor.
Personal goal: Get Epic to re-release The Money Store with special bonus track “Phil Rizzuto.”
The title track, above, provides the Best Walking-Down-the-Street Snippet (00:22 – 01:01), which turns into the Best Transitional Moment in My Personal Narrative, Such as When I Turn a Corner and See An Ex-Lover and Must Decide Whether to Stay for Some Uncomfortable Conversation or Run Away (01:02 – 01:25, the panic of the horns illustrating this perfectly). Then, starting at 02:48, my ex and I are making out in a sexy, dirty alleyway. (Sorry, Mom! It’s just a makeout; we’re not getting back together). And finally, at 3:20, I come to my senses and continue down the street. Probably Jamba Juice, because I’ll feel a little sick and feverish after I acted that way, making out with my ex – so out of character for me! – and I’ll want something healthy.
“Neo Terra (New Land)” has a spacey, super Bob-James-sounding open that Masta Ace used, though I must deduct points for Low End-era Tribe not using it. It would’ve been perfect. I also must deduct points for Freddie, or more likely Freddie’s A&R, deciding that “Neo Terra” had to include “(New Land)” in its title, since otherwise how could a buyer of this record with some basic understanding of Latin root words possibly know what the words neo terra mean.
Personal goal: Tear myself away from the TalkBass.com forum. It’s the new prince.org in apartment 680.
Side A, track 1: “Nights on Broadway,” yes, perfect, love it, a yummy piece of chord-progression cake with synth frosting. Side A, track 2: “Jive Talkin’,” a headphone banger to such a degree that I get upset when it comes on at CVS in those tinny speakers that don’t do it justice.
Further down in the post I share that I have big problems with Khalifa’s team design-jacking a David Ruffin album cover. But Akinyele jacked the Bee Gees’ cover and I have no negative comments. I’m complicated. And I actually prefer dancing to the version of a song done by feathery-haired Australians over the version done by Rufus, which is so weird for me to type, but it’s true. I’m complicated.
My Whole World Ended is like all other Ruffin albums in that it falls into the category of Records That Both Juicy J and I Would Tell You to Buy if You Ever See Them In Your Local Store’s Bin, along with anything by Womack or Willie Hutch. This alone is reason enough to buy it. Also, it’s Ruffin. You need this album. Support beautiful, doomed, coke-ravaged vocal masters by collecting their records, even though Berry Gordy is obviously Illuminati.
Personal goal: Get a hug from cuddly tough guy Bronson. He’s probably top ten in the world right now when it comes to huggers.
I’ve loved songs about homemade narcotics ever since daddy played George Jones’ “White Lightnin’” in the living room on Saturday mornings when I was little. This is why, as a grown-up, I’ll beat you, anytime, just name the place, if you’d like to engage in a Nickatina-lyrics-off with me. Or perhaps E-40′s more your speed? Let me know! Bro we can do this anytime. We can do this. My brain’s got a special area where the verses are embedded, deep within the gray folds, and it’s only gotten more developed with age. I am also guaranteed to love anything with a pedal-steel guitar in it because of all my dad’s other Saturday-morning turntable DJ classics. The lovely pedal-steel on Blunderbuss‘ title track, which I love of course, comes courtesy of Fats Kaplin. He played with Pure Prairie League, the ones behind baby-Logan-family-vacation-car-tape-deck-everybody-sing-along-banger “Amie,” even though Kaplin wasn’t in the band when they recorded “Amie.” Nonetheless: “AMIE” INTERLUDE YALL.
Jeopardy! fact: A blunderbuss is a musket-type gun. It’s also something you call a “clumsy, unsubtle” person. That’s why Cory Gunz can also be called Cory Blunderbuss without his name losing any meaning.
Personal goal: Go to Detroit. Make it a real place in my heart and head. The problem, guys, is that Detroit’s too fraught with history, tragic romance, and musical pixie dust. It’s not real. It’s Henry Ford, Derrick May, Barry Sanders, Proof. The motor city’s burning. We almost lost Detroit. Kick out the fucking jams. Bass bass bassbassbass, metal-pipe sound from the GM assembly line, backspin, bass. I know from the hit film 8 Mile that Detroit gentlemen like to have sex in factories. I know from books that what was once Aretha’s dad’s church (New Bethel Baptist) is on the corner of Linwood and Philadelphia. But I don’t know where the westside begins or how to get to Ford Field. “I would never let my children roam the Dexter-Linwood area or 7 Mile and Chalmers,” says a concerned parent on a Detroit message board, “but how many responsible parents would?” Concerned parent, how should I know? I’ve never been to Detroit. I need to go to Detroit. I’ve already practiced what I’ll look like at People’s Records.
At least 100 Bibles have been to the moon, I read once in Harper’s index. It made sense. People like to feel secure when they go on trips in which they might die; Lalo’s soothing background music for the boat trip was composed with this credo in mind. And for some levity, let me point out that one of the film’s protagonists is named Professor Egon Kreisler, played by THE GOD Max Von Sydow, whose characters always sound like they need to be mentioned in Doom songs (“Lankester Merrin,” “Colonel Kosnov,” “Antonius Block”). I’d tell this to Doom in person if only he’d bring his tour to my country, the United States.
Jeopardy! fact: The Thundercats are apparently already a thing, all rights reserved, and cannot be copied or rebroadcast without the expressed written consent of blah blah. I believe the expression I always hear on Law & Order is “Lawyer up, Thundercat.”
Cutest YouTube Comment: “he’s got picachu pants on. DOPE.” This tells you everything you need to know about Thundercat and about the fans of Thundercat.
Most ’70s Cover Design (nature scene + lapels + singer/songwriter wistful gaze, which is usually seen on James Taylor album covers.) Most ’70s Name: “Leon Haywood.” Sounds like he should be playing bass in Sister Sledge or training Larry Holmes for his next match.
Personal goal: “Blah blah Big Meech, Larry Hoover/’B.M.F. Beautiful’ is a song by Leon Haywood – hallelujah.” Include this line in my upcoming mixtape Teflon Fawn. (doe eyes)
Big Sean makes way more commercially successful Welcome-to-Gamma-Phi-Beta Whitegirl Party Jams, as every female customer at H&M demonstrates when he comes on the playlist loop and they all walk around mouthing his verses to their friends and I want to die. But Grimes makes the Best Whitegirl Jams in This Particular Record Haul. She elicits true, uncut, premium-grade white girlishness inside of my skinny frame and big heart, just like when “There is a Light and it Never Goes Out” comes on the car radio and I lose control of my tear ducts and I must sing along. The Smiths turn me into a character in a future-apocalypse sci-fi movie in which I’ve been given a directive. I must sing along in order to save my own life and the lives of my family members. I feel it pretty deeply, you guys. Anyway, I’m a sarcastic, insecure white woman in a major metro area so of course as I write this I’m wearing my standard-issue Toms, eating a mayo sandwich, watching Girls, listening to Grimes. Bet you didn’t know she did the hooks on “Oh Boy”and “Through the Wire,” neither.
15. The Dramatics, A Dramatic Experience (Volt, 1973). $2.99.
My dad had an OG copy of this, and misplaced it during the family move from First House to Second House when I was in high school. I got mad at him and went off to pout. I made mischief of one kind, then another kind, and then I sailed back over a year, in and out of weeks, and through a day, and into Poo-Bah Records in Pasadena, and found A Dramatic Experience, then brought A Dramatic Experience home, into the night of my very own room, where I put it on the turntable, AND IT WAS STLL HOT. You need this album.
A Dramatic Experience was recorded in Detroit during the fall of ’72. Amazing human Robert Harris was mayor of Ann Arbor at the time and worked with the city council to reduce weed-possession fines. “I’ll Be Around” was a big hit. The Tigers won their division. You were probably feeling yourself pretty hard if you were from the Detroit major metro area in the early ’70s. If it were me, I would’ve made up a story about how I grew up 2 streets over from Tony Hester, production god, arrangement god, writing god, who roared his terrible production roar and showed his terrible arrangement claws, warning us on A Dramatic Experience that “The Devil is Dope,” a song about the joys of hare-on that tries to pass itself off as an anti-drug song. (It’s impossible to make an anti-heroin song; email me your counter-arguments if you like, but I will just write “NOPE” in my reply to you.) This album’s necessary because it’s the Dramatics, simple as that, but they used up the really good stuff a year earlier on Whatcha See is Whatcha Get. If there is a better way to announce yourself to the world than by screaming and firmly suggesting everyone get the fuck up, I don’t want to know about it because I will have a hundred orgasms and then drop dead and I ain’t done living yet. They incorporate my favorite ’70s R&B thing of calling a woman mama (“Get up, now look at mama/Look at mama”). Then they fucking start side B with “In the Rain,” murdering it, just chewing up and spitting out my heart and guts. Tony Hester was Pac Man, treating my heart and guts like pac-dots. Game, as Lil Flip would say, over.
Lloyd Banks’ “Just Another Day” samples “Beware of the Man with the Candy in His Hand,” yet another attempt by ’70s musicians to convince me not to try pills and powder; meanwhile, most of the ’70s albums in my collection were made by dudes on pills and powder. Sigh. Stop trying to make drugs not cool, musicians. You sound like my middle school principal. Tone Capone does a nice job with the sample; here’s the instrumental version, free of Banks’ voice, because that’s how it should be. Capone also produced “I Got 5 On It” (!!) but had to resort to working with Banks a few years later because the mortgage payment was due. No judgment here. Get it, daddy. Even Donald “Duck” Dunn, bass god, may he rest in eternal sexy throbbing-bass peace, played on a freaking Rod Stewart album.
Most Diverse Side Hustles: Ellis Chapell. An in-house artist for Stax and Volt, he did the cover painting for A Dramatic Experience, designed book covers for John Grisham, Kurt Vonnegut, and Elmore Leonard, was the commissioned portraitist of the Neville Brothers for NARAS, and, most impressively, did the University of Tennessee Dental College portrait of Dr. Jim Slagle!
Jeopardy! fact: Oh, I don’t know – some random fact about Al Bell or Isaac Hayes. I got a million of ‘em.
Personal goal: Make a BDP x Dramatics mixtape. Call it A Lot of MCs Like to Use the Word Dramatics-al.
Joel Dorn, producer, is reason enough for me to insist that you need this album. And look – there’s Ron “Pretty Flaco” Carter on bass! But mostly you need First Take for the smoke-and-look-out-the-window-at-nothing heartbreak standard “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” which sounds like something A$AP “Pretty Flaco” Rocky says he hears from girls all the time. (I don’t find him to be that pretty, but he keeps insisting that I do). The song is Roberta’s take on the ODB classic with words that I am too ladylike to repeat here and which is this record haul’s Best 13-Year-Old-Boy Memory-Provoker. Remember when you heard Return to the 36 Chambers for the first time at your friend’s house? You were 13 and in love with dirty words and sex talk. You still are, even though you’re grown; you just hide it better these days.
Jeopardy! fact: Joel Dorn once said, “A bell goes off in your stomach when you see or hear something that grabs you.” He was describing his ear for good production and, years later, my body’s response to 808.
Personal goal: Get Roberta to write her autobiography. (Roberta Flack has no autobiography! That’s wrong!) I’m guessing she’s got a few stories to tell.
17. The Jimmy Castor Bunch, Dimension III (RCA, 1973). $9.99.
It’s got a lack of Lenny Fridie on congas and that’s not Jimmy’s fault. He is to blame, however, for the stupid decision to cover “A Whiter Shade of Pale.” What in the world. The original song is unable to be improved upon, because the original has that Hammond. Jimmy’s sax can’t save the day elsewhere on Dimension III, either. In 1973, nobody could out-horn-section Willie Hutch.
Pros: XXX on display just for me, I swear; huge selection of used stuff – especially jazz and soul; store DJ plays upstairs from a perch (the Honey Cone! Lee Hazlewood! Pharoah Sanders!); good, cheap prices like the record store gods intended. It’s also just down the street from Coffey Optical, which makes me feel like Dennis secretly lives in Pasadena and loves fitting people for frames.
Cons: My checking account is sad.
Future husband, please understand that the small of my back is a playground of good feelings for me. (There must be a billion nerve endings there, and I love them all.) I’d like you to be pro-choice, pro-union, and pro-Pro Tools and pro-Pro Keds. I’m surprisingly forgiving when it comes to the contents of other people’s record collections, but yours is no doubt fresh anyway, so the matter doesn’t need to be addressed further. I’d like you to be able to correctly use “screamo” and “sissy bounce” in a sentence, future husband, and I’d like you to understand that 72% of our time spent together will consist of riding in the car, listening to music (we live in LA), and responding with our hands and mouths to all bangers as we hear them. (Hands up high in ecstasy; our mouths singing along, and making out). Please kiss me and tell me It’ll be OK when I talk about how I was born in the wrong era and should’ve been a teenage girl when David Ruffin was seducing teenage girls on the radio in 1966. Although I love my iPod, future husband, I’m in love with the radio–Power 106, where hiphop lives, and Hot 92.3, old school and today’s R&B, 93.5 KDAY, back in the day, of course the Whole Foods liberals on KCRW, and the nonstop oldies of K-EARTH 101, where you can often hear an old Wilson Pickett song called “Mustang Sally,” which, like 30% of Fabolous’ songs, is about a lowdown, unappreciative woman who drives all over town in a pretty car that her man bought for her. Its lesser-known remix is a song called “Prius Logan,” about a music dork with hips and skinny legs who drives all over town, singing along with her car radio.
And now, in no particular order, The Best Songs I Heard on the Radio During My Drive Back to LA from Mom’s House After Christmas.
1. “Two of Us,” The Beatles.
Because: 1) Spector produced it.
Industry rule # 4,000-somethingorother is that the men with the most unfortunate combination of brain chemicals are always the ones who make the sweetest melodies. Hearing this one also satisfied my Spector hunger in the absence of Darlene Love’s “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).” Fuck off, radio gods, for not playing Darlene Love.
2) It’s the perfect BPM, the speed of a horse galloping. It’s the musical approximation of riding next to your best friend of a hundred years with whom you are fighting. You’re both sad and bitter, but the tightness in your chest says that the relationship is worth saving. You shared a good chunk of each other’s lives and you know you should talk about where things went wrong but what’s the point, and dammit, there it is, you just forgave all her trespasses in the span of about 3½ minutes thanks to Spector and his 4 little elves playing instruments.
3) “You and me chasing paper, getting nowhere” sounds like a sweet line from a capable MC who is part of a duo, referencing the early days before they made any money from rapping. Maybe Bun & Pimp C? More likely: Mos & Talib since they seem more willing than UGK are to acknowledge there was actually a time that they weren’t rich.
4) the moments from 03:00 – 03:08. The bass outro, too. Paul is really just the worst with his schmaltzy lyrics and big stupid ego, but he’s forgiven here. It turns out a Beatles block was happening on the station when this song ended, and the INSUFFERABLE “Long and Winding Road” came on instead of “Across the Universe,” like baby Jesus, the birthday boy, would have wanted. I glared at my car radio like it had eyes and/or a human brain capable of detecting hatred, then turned it to KCRW, where THIS pleased me because sometimes the radio gods aren’t so bad after all:
2. “Christmas Day,” Desmond Dekker & the Aces.
Oh goodness, these Jamaican singers and their voices filled with sweetness and light, yet punch-you-in-the-mouth masculinity at the same time (Barrington, Tenor Saw, Lord Creator)! My feelings about the island are always in conflict, as it is a land teeming with anti-gay sentiment and deeply-entrenched misogyny. Rastas also have that whole anti-oral sex thing, which makes them a people that cannot be liked or trusted. All this goes out the window for the moments that Desmond’s voice is filling my car, though. It’s Christmas! And he’s got his barrow in the marketplace! God bless us, every one!
3. “The Third Eye,” Roy Ayers.
Secrets of numbers, secrets of sound/Secrets of numbers, secrets of sound/Secrets of wisdom will be found/Baby, baby, baby, look to the sky/Seeking to find The Third Eye. Don’t tell Roy, but I’m pretty sure Del found the Third Eye sometime in the late ’80s. He turned it into one of the freshest icons in music and never looked back. Ah well. Like Del, Roy’s yet another space cadet dreamboat who lives in the warm depths of my heart. And like Mos Def, Roy enjoys writing songs about the sky and about Brooklyn (“Mylifemylifemylifemylife in the sun-shiiiiine”; “We live in Brooklyn, baby” – Roy; “Brooklyn BK BK blunts, stars nighttime, beautiful lady, champion lover not ease up, ism/schism, NASDAQ, skyline, stars, stars” – Mos). A man named Doug Rhodes plays drums on the album from whence this song comes, which is an adorable musical joke made just for me by the universe – like someone named Bob Zildjian playing keys! I’d also like to point out that Roy’s from LA just like J-Swift, and I bet you only 2 or 3 degrees separate us, friends-wise, just like me and J-Swift. I’d like to meet J-Swift. I really would. Before a bad fate befell him (chemicals), he produced this group the Pharcyde, an excitable bunch of rapping goofballs – including their song “Passin’ Me By,” which samples Roy Ayers’ “The Third Eye.” It’s true. (I read it on a blog.)
4. “Dream On, Dream On,” Ice Water Slim.
When I made it safely back to apt. 680 I could only find the version linked above, which, even while coursing into my ear canal through my precious, finely-crafted Sennheisers, sounds like it’s playing on an AM radio a hundred yards away while I’m standing in a UPS warehouse. Yet the entire MMG squad makes their lousy material on million-dollar equipment – this is the universe’s solemn reminder that sound quality will always trump sound quality.
A 1971 b-side produced by Johnny Otis, who was bosslike and from Vallejo just like E-40, this ain’t nothin more than a melodic wail by a dude who dreams about a pretty lady. But it is a fact that, currently in the United States, the #1 R&B song is “Lotus Flower Bomb,” about grenade-shaped perfume bottles and lady-areas being like flowers. This fact offends me not only as a person who buys perfume, but as a human female and a resident of planet Earth. Ladies should not smell like explosions or wartime, and we have enough to worry about without Wale laying out rules about our nails and handbags and how tight our, um, flowers should be. I wanna be reminded of tightness, I’ll watch Parliament live in ’76 like I did on Christmas Day with my family all on the couch, marveling at the interplay of brass and woodwind and cocaine.
5. “You And I,” Lady Gaga.
We gotta a whole lotta money, but we still pay rent/’Cause you can’t buy a house in heaven. The single greatest country banger that Prince Rogers Nelson never wrote (his version would be called “U & I,” of course), hearing this one satisfied my hunger for a Prince banger in the absence of “Another Lonely Christmas” (Of all the ones I dream about/U are the one that makes my love shout, see/U are the only one I care for). Because the Internet is for sharing embarrassing moments: I actually teared up in H&M last week when this came on. I was tired and overstimulated from all the other humans in the store breathing up my air, but also because of this song’s Prince-ian chords and overall lyrical content. It’s been two years since I let you go/I couldn’t listen to a joke or rock ‘n’ roll/Muscle cars drove a truck right through my heart/On my birthday you sang me “Heart of Gold”/With a guitar hummin’ and no clothes/This time I’m not leaving without you. (PRINCE. It’s so very, wonderfully Prince. I see you, Gaga. Also I’d like Prince to do a cover of “Heart of Gold,” turning a bittersweet song about the passage of time into a 16-minute-long burning plea by his guitar to get the ladies in the house to cry and take their dresses off). Master manipulator Gaga plays my girly emotional insides like a piano, and Queen was a really fucking great band, plus I got a really cute bikini at H&M. So shoutout to the combined efforts of producer Mutt Lange, the H&M speaker system engineers, and the people hired by the H&M corporate office to select the songs for the playlists. Non-shoutout to me, however, for a pop song making me get weepy, rather than the fact that I was buying from a company that sells cheap cotton items made by underpaid workers in Bangladesh (not the producer Bangladesh, which would be so dope). Tangential shoutout to Elliot Mazer, who produced both Harvest and Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death, displaying some real Rick-Rubin-esque range.
Gaga was on American Idol once and coached one of the kids to keep his mouth on the mic. “It’s your girlfriend,” she told him, adding that it’s also his money and telling him to “Make love to it,” which is the most sex-infused piece of technical advice I’ve ever heard. I love it. I love her. I am human and I have ears so of course I love this song. Gaga is a controversial choice, I get it, but there’s no arguing with me on this. It’s just like with Cameron Giles, Duke basketball, and Miracle Whip: you can’t change my opinion about any of those things, either (I hate them). Therefore, I say we stick to less controversial topics, like the artistic merits of Lana Del Rey and the best way to restructure the BCS.
6. “Change the Game,” Jay-Z/Bleek/Beans, into “Mass Appeal,” Gangstarr.
Yeah yeah, Jay. You. Will. Not. Lose. We hear you, Jay. Easy, tiger. Now please repeat after me – there’s only one rule: RICK ROCK 4 EVS, 4 EVER & EVER. “Change” is one of the few Rick Rock productions with which I am not fully in love. Like “Can I Get A,” it is the very sound of Clinton Administration pop radio, shiny and hand-clap-py, so it’s just dated and that’s not the song’s fault, but it NEEDS MORE SNARE AND/OR BASS, says my soul, which does not understand the limits of space and time and the notion of something being “dated.” My soul does not care. More bass, please. It’s impossible to separate the song from its horrendous video, which features rappers not named DMX trying to convince me they ride motorbikes all around the city for fun (“NOPE” – my eyes, in response, just like back in September). But this one’ll always warm my heart. The boys all look happy and not beaten down by the industry, and Sigel Sigel in the house is fun and sing-song-y. It’s sweet that those 3 dudes could all be in the same room together at one point in history, which is really all a lady can ask for given the amount of crybaby-ness among rap professionals. I also like that it gives me an excuse to post the video of that time Robert Goulet spent the afternoon with Shawn and his coterie of ne’er-do-wells. The mix into “Mass Appeal” was nice, too, for this lady in 2011 driving her vehicle to her apartment in Los Angeles, years after these songs were made by dudes from New York and Massachusetts. “This ain’t just a car,” K.R.I.T. says, “This my time machine.”
7. “Run Rudolph Run,” Chuck Berry.
“It’s dangerous, because it’s slick and catchy” – US counterterrorism officials, regarding a popular song on YouTube (2011).
“It’s dangerous, because it’s slick and catchy and done by black men and it might make our daughters want to have sex” – white US grown-ups, mostly regarding rock & roll music, but really, all forms of good music (1954-present, & forever & ever).
Promo is promo, meaning promotion, people talking, records sold, i.e., MONEY, and even in the ‘50s labels knew what they were doing when it came to making their stars sound badder than they actually were. Teenagers and their allowance money were a powerful bloc. They were also sullen and disrespectful, and thought they were real badass, and therefore bought the 45s of men whom they believed to be tough. This was mostly because they fell for promo tactics. But Chuck Berry! I’m pretty sure Chuck was/is a truly depraved gentleman, a genuine dirty bird, the real deal, who served actual jail time due to his taste for sweet young things and, years later, with the barometer for what he found stimulating raised higher throughout his life, his taste for odd and really unsexy things. It might’ve been promo, but that’s a hell of a commitment to promo, right? Even though I strongly want “Run Rudolph Run” to be a critique of what were socially acceptable gifts for American children in the late ’50s (the boy wants a guitar; the girl wants a doll), I am able to suspend this desire if I so choose. Just let it ride, Logan. This one’s just happy and Christmassy, it’ll make you stop wondering What in the hell must’ve happened to Chuck when he was a kid to make him so fetish-y? and instead it’ll make you think the much more pleasant How fucking hyped are you if you’re Chuck Berry and Mos Def does his hair like that and plays you in a movie!* Plus you got the essential Marty McFly element, and all those reindeer names sound like they could be A$AP crew members – A$AP Comet, A$AP Donner, and most especially, A$AP Blitzen.
*Not quite as hyped as David Ruffin would be if he knew beautiful human specimen Leon played him in a movie, but still. Pretty hyped.
8. The Outfield, “Your Love.”
OHHOLYFUCK, screamed my whole body when this came on, my inner Drunk White Girl showing all of a sudden. My hand could not physically move fast enough to the volume knob, and even though I didn’t get to proclaim Josie’s on a vacation far away (I caught the song halfway through the first verse), I still got to participate in some great sing-along parts (Stay the night but keep it un-der-cover) and savored the delicious wrongness of a song about a dude wanting to sleep with, and then sleeping with, someone other than his live-in lady. I have a fair amount of self-respect but even I would probably fall for I ain’t got many friends left to talk to; may I please cry upon your shoulder? (aww!). The proper feminine response to this is a wide-eyed Would it help if I took my dress off?, which I have ON LOCK because I’m softhearted and have a compulsive need to soothe others. In closing: sorry if you were in the lane next to me on the freeway last night and I almost killed you with my swerving 4-wheeled piece of Japanese machinery.
The Internet and my brother tell me that the best outfielder was probably Rickey Henderson, whom I’ve heard of despite my lack of interest in the stupid sport of baseball, because my dad always liked the A’s and because I always liked dudes who can self-promote in a verbally stylish fashion instead of a Kanyesian (“I’m 34 but inside I’m still a 13-year-old boy who is sad and mad that none of the pretty girls in class are looking at me”) fashion.
Perfect mix, whatsyourname who matched these two up on KDAY. They basically have the same BPM and I guess I never noticed it before. Hearing Craig Mack reminded me that I only drink the finest breast milks, and hearing Teddy Riley inspired me to proclaim “Finna bring back no diggity in twenty-twelve, along with vainglorious and honey dip” out loud to myself in my car. Let’s just skip over that unfortunate video with the puppets & Dre in a fucking Emmitt Smith jersey, and ignore Teddy’s sad attempt at hitting that note in “by no means avvv-raaaaage,” sounding so wobbly, like he’s crossing a stream and stepped on a rock that looked secure but, oh no, oopsie!, it’s loose! He might fall down! Shaky-voice! Let’s just focus on the greatness of this song, the story of a honey dip who drives a nice car and has dudes open all over town, probably because she is witty and knows a lot of musical trivia and has a blog in which she writes about Blackstreet and Bill Withers in equal measure. Let’s also focus on finding out why exactly Teddy moved his studio to Virginia in the early ‘90s. There must be a story there, right? TEDDY, WHAT HAPPENED? And did you know this hideous Clams beat completely boosts your ’87 sound? And where is Timbaland? Just heard “Are You That Somebody” and it holds up so well.
Like me, the young lady in the song has all kinds of hustles and isn’t satisfied with a man unless he makes tons of money. So if you are poor, you and I will never have sex or even go on a date. However, because I’m nice, I’m providing you with the criteria for getting hired by UPS. (Don’t be mad!) Like being my lover, a job at UPS is no walk in the park (except, of course, when you and I go for actual walks in the actual park). “It may be fun and exciting,” UPS warns, “but it’s also physical and fast-paced” (just like being my lover!). “Package Delivery Drivers must have excellent customer contact and driving skills, including the ability to operate a vehicle equipped with a manual transmission. Qualified applicants must have a valid driver’s license issued in the state that they live. This is a position that involves continual lifting, lowering, and maneuvering of large items,” HEY-O, that sounds familiar, doesn’t it? No? Last night, in the bedroom? Remember? PS, a physical exam is also required (for both jobs).
10. “Rhythm Changes,” The Counts.
Unpleasant facts of life with which I must make peace include:
that there are actual human females who brag about giving their precious inner-thigh parts to charisma-free yet famous human males Fabolous and Juelz;
that Wiz Khalifa makes his living as a professional musician (side note: EAT A CHEESEBURGER, CAMERON);
and finally: I have big fat trouble coming to terms with the fact that I live in the entertainment capital of the world, yet “Rhythm Changes” is not on a constant loop on at least 2 of the 4 R&B stations in this city. I only heard it on Christmas night because programmers were given a little more leeway than usual. I believe it was Minaj who said something like, “This song just remind me of/Everything radio deprive me of.”
11. Emilio Santiago, “Bananeira.”
Bananeira não sei/Bananeira será/Bananeira sei não/Isso é lá com você/Será no fundo do quintal/Quintal do seu olhar/Olhar do coração (“Banana tree, I don’t know/Banana tree, maybe/Banana tree, I don’t know/That’s up to you/Maybe deep in the backyard/Backyard of your stare/The stare from the heart”). I mean, right? Exactly, Emilio! You nailed it!
Hypnotic and hip-friendly and more about the backing track than the lyrics, just like everything Jay Elect releases into the world, this is probably the best song about bananas since Dwayne Carter rapped over that one about being the best and fucking the world. This one also makes me forget about the banana trade in Brazil, an industry that’s a symbol of the income disparity that’s existed for hundreds of years. Bananas go bad really quickly, they can be racist, and their namesake spiders will kill you if you’re not careful. But at least Afro-Brazilian men can sing silly songs about bananas while still retaining their masculinity (it helps if you, like Emilio Santiago, have a deep, Scott-Heron-esque tone to your voice). Huddled with my family on the couch on Christmas Eve, “Cosmic Slop” on the TV, I was reminded of the sad reality of Black American manhood needing to disguise itself in fluffy hats and diapers in order to be less threatening. Um…merry Christmas?
YouTube can’t give me good back rubs or tell me I look pretty, but his recommendations make my heart beat faster and that’s all I need (other than, you know, a good back rub. And an adoring glance in my direction 2-4 times a week).
Above, look at what YouTube says I like. YouTube knows me. I like Laboe oldies, Jimmy Smith, Bay rap, and various riddims. This seems obvious because you guys pay attention when I start running my yap about snares and wobbly basslines, but you’d be surprised at the lack of attention-paying out there. Sometimes people email me links to Portland drone-rock band websites and I’m like What the hell and Why did you do that; everyone knows I only listen to old stuff (mostly Stax and Rawkus), Full Clip, ’93-’96 rap from the state of New York, a little Trick Daddy, and current rap from the states of Georgia, Louisiana, and California.
I could do without the Keith Emerson video where he shows off his backwards tricks, even though I can appreciate his use of Moog. Rick Wakeman is still the white-man-on-keys god, though. And that Santana one is kind of a lazy recommendation. Everything else in this group is pretty on point, however–Cellski, Heatwave, Jimmy Smith, that Simpleton song. Dancehall is good for your self-esteem if you are a hip-blessed woman; I mean they really do love those coke-bottle*, sweating-in-the-bashment body shapes. Dancehall is not good for your self-esteem if you’re a gay man, however. This is a conflict for me. I wish both of these groups could be cherished and respected on the island. But then, Jamaicans also frown upon oral sex, so overall it kind of feels like they are a people that cannot be liked or trusted.
In a rare misstep, YouTube recommends an awful Cleveland gimmick rapper (no, not Krayzie Bone. Or Wish Bone. Or any Bone, actually). Apart from feeling hurt that YouTube doesn’t realize I hate terrible rappers, I am confused–I’m not sure how you can make the leap from Cellski to Cudi. How ridiculous and dumb, this connection. Should’ve recommended Ray Cash, YouTube! He’s my true Cleveland love based on that song (RICK ROCK) where he talks about what he’s listening to and rapping along with while driving in his big-bodied 2-door.
Horace Silver, “Message from Kenya.” Nice save, YouTube. A successful redemption, and a logical next step when someone watches a Sonny Rollins video. I like that Whitefield Brothers push, too–because I watched that Blackrock video with the “Deadly Medley” break. SWOON, 00:28 – 01:28. Oh my goddddd, I said out loud to nobody else in apt. 15 when I first heard this. Oh my dear sweet Jesus. Then I said fuck about 10 times.
Whitefield Brothers. I am so fond of this recommendation that YouTube and I are now going from 2nd to 3rd base about a week sooner than I had predicted.
Sometimes I can’t remember doing the thing YouTube said I did, just like in any romantic relationship.
“You said you liked Depp’s performance in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” Really? I did? ‘Cause I’m pretty sure I didn’t. What I said was, “Depp was never hotter than in Donnie Brasco, holyfuckinghell, would you look at that, how did my panties just come off like that with no warning.” Then I turned to look at you in hopes that you would start dressing and swagging like that too.
“You watched P.A.” I did???? I mean, I appreciate the Outkast and Goodie Mob and 8Ball recommendations, but prove that I watched such a thing. Show me when and where, because honestly I think you’re making it up. I like regional rap but I’m not cool enough to have sought out such a semi-obscure group from the greater Atlanta area.
I can remember watching that Whatnauts video, which I do almost weekly because of the way Doomsy used it and the way RZA bent and shaped it into some rap finery a few years back. Ha, just kidding! There was little bending/shaping. He was super lazy with it and basically just put on the record and let it play while he and Deck said what they had to say. No way to eat, so I dropped a half a G on a rented SP/1200 Sampler, and a Yamaha 4-Track/The bass from the lab used to blow the fuckin door back. I love raps about raps (meta-hop), raps about white girls in any form (narcotics, actual white human girls), and raps about struggles during the come-up and descriptions of the first equipment somebody’s rap music was made on. By the way, RZA is in Due Date. Prepare yourself; otherwise you too will emit an excited loud cry in the theater and spill your popcorn and everyone will turn and look. We’ll get into why I actually spent money to see Due Date in another post. His scene is at the beginning and he is charming and hilarious even though I wish he would always be in ’70s garb like in American Gangster or like Depp in Brasco.
YES, I watched “I Luv It,” OKAY? I was having a moment. A 2006 moment. Then I felt corny so I cleansed my soul with some Wayne Shorter and then Jackie Moore’s “Precious Precious,” which is what I hear in my head every time I see Depp in Brasco.
You been with every girl in this town/You been dealin in dirt (just wallowin in dirt, yes you have)/But I look at love as a 2-way street/You get the good with the bad, you take the bitter with the sweet. Kanye’s loud boring ass, DJ Drama’s stupid cocked fitted like he’s a 15-year-old, Drake’s haircut (his whole hairline, actually. Anything Drake’s-head-related is bad), and grown people who use the word “naughty”: Jackie Moore makes all the things I hate disappear from my brain with her lovely vocals.
Fucking Galt MacDermot has arrived, YES. Bout time. And then YouTube says Here’s more Whatnauts for you, Logan. I know you’ve been looking for this one on vinyl for years because of, you know, this. Enjoy, my precious darling smart beautiful girl. And more breaks (Buddy Baker’s “Sign Song” = “Off the Books”). Applause the Lighthouse, yep. And BOSCOE, who I’d never heard of before but who are my new paramours.
(He doesn’t really keep me down; don’t worry. But he can make my dress come off if someone presses the little forward-direction arrow button down there.) (!)
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.
#3 – Nappy 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.