Crates n’ crates n’ dresses n’ books bring me joy every day of the year, except for this particular day and the next few days that follow since I am moving. I am moving to a new apartment home in the city. I’m moving, again, just because I enjoy it so much. Soon there will be posts emerging from “apt. 680,” which I know, I knowwww doesn’t have the same catchy appeal as “apt. 15,” (Deck didn’t go to jail at the age of 680, sadly) but it’s a much better place, you guys! You’ll see. I’ll stand in my living room, probably holding a record and most definitely wearing something my mother would not approve of, take a picture of it, then post it. I know this girl with her own crib, in isolation, Keith said. That song’s about me. Sometimes I need to alter my surroundings. The background changes, but the overall themes of my life (bathing suits, ice cream, breaks, science stuff*, venom directed at bad/lazy rappers) never will. And yes, now I’ll be living up in the treez, but my heart’s still down at street level with all of you.
* The most powerful influence on women’s appreciation of their bodies is how they believe others view them, science says, to which I can only respond No fucking way/Yes, perhaps you have seen my blog.
Moving songs to give me energy while I drag crates and to, well, move me of course, include
1. V White and the Politician’s “Sixes on My Seven Deuce,” a song that’ll make you forget about the damage you’re doing to your car’s suspension with your heavy round chrome darlings. (Not to be too preachy. Sorry. They look tiiiiiight.)
2. I know nothing about these individuals other than a) fixies and b) drums. Warm-sounding drums. I don’t know if you’ll have the same love for it; I had to share, though.
(The greatness of an already-great song is slightly distorted, amplified, when I put on my precious expensive headphones. That’s the Sennheiser Effect. The sound is crystalline, booming and emotional. Hearty and fulfilling. My brain’s reward center needs it every few weeks – a song not about hookers and ki’s. This one’s like the musical version of steel-cut oats.)
• Mambo! This mix was posted on sofritoUK, which is currently down but I’m hoping they just need to pay the bill and it’ll be back. A mambo mix is totally appropriate for a post about roundness and round things because of congas and timbales and hips, hips all day, nothing but hips, que bolá! The site has a track listing for the blues and mambo mix below but I didn’t get it while it was still available. I’m asking you to blindly accept it, this gift without song titles, because I have excellent taste and I wouldn’t lead you astray. I do remember there’s a song called “Turn Around Girl” almost at the end, which might mean Turn around so I can see your front, miss but it might mean Turn around so I can see what is happening back there. Either way, I’m feeling pretty confident. Whatever you like, boss–I got you.
I wrote this note around New
Off a couple a shots and a few beers, but who
Enough about me, it’s about the beats
Not about the streets and who food he about to eat
Continuing our journey through the manmade artificial construct of time, I promise to be funnier and curvier and nerdier in twentyeleven. The Black on White Affair
Erykah, killing it since the Clinton administration.
erykah washes away the dust of everyday life with her irony-free sweetness.
No Ohio Players or Meters or Curtis, and no “I Get Lifted,” but to each her own. If she had included “I get lifted” it would’ve been better.
-Jay Elec, Jay Z commenter:
Cant listen to this,where the fuck is the drums?? Weak ass beat
The kids around the way used to think that I was buggin
But they don’t understand how I feel about the funk
I walk with the funk, I talk with the funk
I eat with the funk, I sleep with the funk
I live for the funk, I’ll die for the funk
So now what do they say, when I’m walkin up the block?
and not just because she lives my fantasy of having intercourse with cosmic rappers.
Chaka Khan, “Sweet Thing”
“Oh Chaka Khan, she is our queen. Anyone who sings soul and funk goes through the school of Chaka Khan. She has so many gorgeous songs but ‘Sweet Thang’ is the one — she sung that song from the vagina, from the bottom of her stomach, you can hear it all in her throat, she felt it. The places that she went with her voice, man, it was so scintillating in every way; it made me happy, it made me loving, it made me weak, it made me sad.”
The Isley Brothers, “Groove With You”
“When I first learned that I could be in love, that that was an actual thing that I could feel, I remember the Isley Brothers.”
Stevie Wonder, “As”
“It’s a beautiful song. Before I knew what the words said I was in love with the melody. His voice rocks you to sleep, it’s constant in me — his voice is a part of my DNA. It was hard to choose just one, but I’d have to pick this one; because not only is it a good groove song, but it gets you in the zone. It’s a beautiful love song.”
Soul II Soul, “Keep on Movin'”
“I remember when I knew that I could do things on my own, I was going away to college, and this group called Soul II Soul came out. Caron Wheeler is the front woman, Jazzie B is the front man, and the song was “Keep On Movin’,” don’t stop. And I felt like, damn, you’re right, I can do things on my own. I can do things on my own and isn’t that just beautiful.”
Bloodstone, “Natural High.”
Rickie Lee Jones, “Chuck E’s in Love”
“Rickie Lee Jones was the first white chick I saw with a cigarette in her mouth on her album cover and back then that meant a lot. Back then we didn’t have Internet or TV, so everything you knew about the person you knew from the album cover, that’s all you had, you turned that thing upside down and around studying your favorite singer — their face, their clothes, the art, the shape of the words, the look of their fingers. And there she was with her cigarette, she reminded me of a hippie chick and she had this raspy voice and it was just so funky, like she didn’t give a shit, she didn’t give a damn. And that’s part of who I am — Rickie Lee Jones is a big part of who I am — and I imagine her being someone who showed up as she was, I’m just here. And I wanted to be that. And when you really admire a singer or a song you either want to be them or have sex with them, and with Ricky Lee Jones I just wanted to be her, to feel what she said and sound like she did and have the whole experience just like that coming out of my mouth.”
Parliament, “Aqua Boogie”
“P Funk Funkadelic made me love purple and black, it looks cosmic and sloppy; throw a little neon green splash of something oozing and that’s what funk is to me. ‘Aqua Boogie’ is everything I love about a funk song is, I’m talking about changing voices, thirteen people, 76 instruments and 900 people on stage … damn, this song was just a cosmic funk party.”
The Doobie Brothers, “Minute by Minute”
“It was the eighties and I understood music to a certain extent because I had begun to understand what a groove was. The Doobie Brothers, they stay true to the groove, and that’s what I appreciate about this. [Michael McDonald]’s riding this beat and this music so very well, he makes you want to be there, be a part of the moment, of the song.”
The Brothers Johnson, “Strawberry Letter 23″
“On the album cover is these two dudes with Afros and goatees and mustaches and just chilling with the guitars, really making love to them, their shirts open to the navels, and just, damn, these are so grown men! And they sang together and it was just so groovy. And I wanted to get high. I didn’t even know what high was, but it was groovy. I like the groovy shit a lot, I’m a child of the funk. I live by the funk, I die by the funk. When people ask in school what I wanted to be when I grow up – teacher, doctor, whatever — I said I was gonna be funky. If God could make me funky, I’ll handle the rest.”
Erykah Badu, Baduizm
“And then I remember when I knew that I had a true platform, in 1997, Baduizm came out, and it was my music, it was real, it was true. On the radio, I remember how it felt, whenever I heard those songs, the millions and billions of atoms mixed up inside of you, oh, Lord, it was beautiful.”
Feminist thought and theory and practice is a necessary thing and has made life better for myself and my sisters in the struggle, except in the arena of stripclub rap. We’re no longer allowed to enjoy it, because popping it, locking it, and dropping it is bad for us and our self-esteem. Sexual objectification is only allowed when my paycheck is as big as yours and I don’t get street harassed for daring to wear jeans that actually fit my body. Nobody will ever take stripclub rap away from me and that’s final. Even if it includes the phrase “more cockier.”
a) Sorry, Gloria Steinem and Angela Davis and Mom; b) I’m going to hell for enjoying this drivel (but thanks, RapRadar!):
“My problem lies in reconciling my gross habits with my net income.” – Errol Flynn
Name: Billy Cobham, Crosswinds (Atlantic, 1974).
Is this title acceptable? Yes. Aviationally speaking, “crosswinds” are those that blow at an angle, um, across the intended line of flight of an aircraft, the course of a ship, or anything in motion that needs wind behind its back. Crosswinds blowing across the runway make plane landings and takeoffs more difficult than if the wind were blowing straight down the runway. It’s a metaphor for being a jazz drummer/composer/arranger, you see. Musicians always think of dope and meaningful album titles (with the exception of Maybach Music, which is stupid).
Global events at the time of its release: Taking it back to ’74, epic epic sexy songs on the charts included George McCrae’s “Rock Your Baby” (!) and William DeVaughn’s “Be Thankful for What You’ve Got” (!!). The Raiders’ record was 12-2 (the NFL season was only 14 games). Shaw Brothers movies were on the teevee, sloppily dubbed and getting the blood flowing inside a whole generation of boys who’d grow up to be rappers. Big L was born. Dilla was born. Derek Fisher was born (FISH!). Kareem was playing for the Bucks and that was a big time-waster, just a stop along the way in his career–a prelude to his destined greatness in LA. Everyone wanted to see Raquel Welch naked. The Ramones got together. The Rumble in the Jungle between Ali and Foreman took place, which was just an excuse to fly the whole Fania crew and Bill Withers and James Brown to Kinshasa to do a concert (Zaire 74). I am almost positive there were lots of songs by lots of singers during the show, but the VOICE OF LAVOE drowned all of them out, as it was at its strongest and clearest and Lavoe was convinced he had the strength to shake off the heroin devil and if you were backed by Marrero on timbales in front of a euphoric crowd, you’d probably feel invincible too.
Produced by: Mr. Cobham himself.
Entered my life: August 2010. Grady’s Record Refuge, in lovely Ventura, CA. $5. Five dollars, knucklehead. Five! HA HA. I rule. This record is simply unavailable in Los Angeles County; I know, as I have tried to locate it for several years with great lack of success. YEARS. Luckily, in Ventura, I am the only person who’s been looking for it since nobody’s a digger there. Everyone’s either surfing or shopping at antique stores downtown.
Difficulty of finding, vinyl-wise (1-10 scale): Please refer to the previous paragraph. In Ventura, it’s a 2.4. In LA, it’s a 10. Once again, LA-area dusty-fingered crate-digging boys who are my competition for good finds: HA HA.
Breaks contained: “Heather” is used in Big K.R.I.T.’s “Somedayz” but it’s more well-known for providing the sparkly intro for “’93 Til Infinity” when Tajai is talking and introducing his buddies (We hailin from East Oakland, California, andummm…). “Crosswind” was used in Gangstarr’s “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow,” which is not Guru’s finest lyrical moment but that bassline makes up for all his shortcomings. Plus it sounds so much like Ripple’s “I Don’t Know What it is, But It Sure is Funky,” it would blend beautifully into Special Ed’s “I Got it Made.” Email me if you want me to shut up about imaginary blends, and/or if you want me to draw you a diagram about imaginary blends.
Regarding the Souls who hail from East Oakland, indulge me for a second while I discuss. The whole “greenbacks in stacks” stanza is a great example of rhythmic wordplay, and “If you’re really dope why ain’t you signed yet?” is one of history’s great devastating lines and feelings-hurters, a straight, painful shot right into the hearts of so many independently-minded rappers. Today’s version would be “If you’re really dope why don’t you call out rappers who keep asking Ricky Rawss to hop on their tracks.” The best, though, has to be “So many females/So much inspiration,” a truth about life that packs so much meaning into 6 little words and makes you nod in agreement, even if you’re a straight girl like me. It works in 2 ways: a) I find it flattering—because perhaps, as a female, I have provided or could hope to provide inspiration to a young man who may or may not be a rap professional; b) I find it to be the god’s honest truth—females are inspiring, fuckin A, let’s face it. Even if I weren’t one, I’d mean that. Examples that immediately come to mind are Raquel Welch, all those street fashion sites with ladies who are naturally stylish (unlike myself), and Lara Stone’s impossible face/hair/body/swagger.
Reason for this post on today of all days: 93 ‘Til Infinity came out 16 years ago this very day! Aw, that’s sweet. Rap anniversaries are only going to become more frequent and more poignant as I get older. I’m especially looking forward to 2034, when I’ll be celebrating the 30th anniversary of Mm…Food.
Facts of nerdy interest that excite me and might show up on Jeopardy! someday: Billy Cobham es panameño! I didn’t know that; did you? This is because “Cobham” does not strike me as Panamanian-sounding, but then, Bernie Williams is Puerto Rican despite being named “Bernie Williams.” So, sure, Billy is of Panamanian descent – just like Ruben Blades, who started writing songs while working in the mailroom at Fania Records. Cobham was also in Jazz is Dead, a Grateful Dead cover band made up of jazz musicians. I tell you, this man is perfect in every way.
Sartorial accompaniment: shorts, tank, fabulous Wu pendant that protects me from all enemies like it’s ’93, and sandals, because it is approximately 157 degrees outside today. This whole outfit cost me $23. Buying clothes is not my thing; buying records is. Gross habits/net income, people.
Suitable activities while listening: Call up Bridget (she got friends). Think about Guru and get flooded with memories. Take a look in the mirror and wonder if you’ve gone a little bit too red with the highlights (as it turns out: no, it’s just the peachy color of the tank top brings out the ginger in a girl’s hair). Prepare to get street harassed upon stepping out the front door in that outfit (the flesh-exposing shorts! the flesh-exposing shirt!); really get that psychological guard up. Peruse pictures of the various Fashion Weeks and fantasize about the chocolate-brown Pucci number with not enough breast coverage paired with lace-up footwear that’s perfect to add to my “Stripper librarian goes to Coachella” closet.
Life lessons, important messages contained:
– The whole album is just over a half hour long. That’s the way to do it. Those of us afflicted with musical ADD appreciate it. Coincidentally or maybe not so coincidentally, Ramones was recorded the following year and is just under a half hour long. Obviously Joey and Dee Dee and the gang were influenced by Billy’s fusion jazz.
Best YouTube comment: “I listen to this tune at the great antiquity, and remain very much in the impression. And, I am glad to listen to this tune now. Thank you.” I couldn’t have put it better myself, sdpragit. Honorable mention goes to Dinso11’s “really great song…it really make me relaxing.”
Other notable things about today:
– The Kinks released “You Really Got Me” today in 1964. Dave Davies got his guitar to do those magical things by him cutting the speaker of his amp with a razor blade and poking pins into it.
– Dr. John and the Beastie Boys getting into any and all Halls of Fame is really great. Do we all no longer care about MCA’s health, by the way?
– Maino + Joell’s “Ask Me About Brooklyn” works because of that Morgan Heritage hook, despite it being a not very good song with verses full of references to individuals whose deaths will be avenged but whom I’ve never heard of.
– Freeway + Jake One’s “Beautiful Music” works because Jake One exists and decided to go into music as a career. Freeway still has that dirty-lookin beard and that fatigue in his voice, but those are good things to me. I don’t care for a pretty rapper. Those factors make up for the fact that the opening verse in which Freeway talks about himself like an actual freeway (“They said the freeway closin’/they said they saw the signs/but we done construction in preparation/we back open”). Groan. Sloppy songwriting.
Pop radio. Just ‘cause radio don’t play you don’t mean that you great.
Fuck art; let’s dance.
The first in the Wu pantheon to open 36 Chambers was RZA. It was closed by GZA and his mention of green clovers.
The inverse of this is true too—just ‘cause they play it on the radio while I’m driving the mighty 101 don’t mean it’s terrible.
That little gambit failed me as well.
This is thorny business.
Anthony Hamilton’s voice over John Legend’s.
____ sitting with you listening to (Scorsese, watching gangster movies)
Big Boi, DJ
Nipsey Hussle, sandwich
Chris Brown, dunking
Little Rock 9
today in street harassment.
Can’t leave no yay-per trail.
They’re trying to convince us that Mark Zuckerberg is some kind of Henry Hill-ish character, a real grimy, sexually exciting kind of cyberthug, aided by a Kanye music track, but that’s unsuccessful too.
, my synapses firing, fresh from bathin’ suit shopping, my emotions are held captive by radio DJs—or, more accurately, by the corporate interests of Clear Channel Media, Inc., owner of 96% of LA radio. You turn to KCRW and KPFK for , but you turn to pop radio for the familiar, the comfortably cozy. And because of my place on the autism spectrum, I have a gift that allows me to connect them all, to see the unseen. Danny Torrance and I have it—the shinin’.
“Shotgun” – I’ve visited this one before. It’s about high heels and shooting somebody, yet it all makes wonderful and perfect sense. Produced by Barry Gordy, who, in typical label-head fashion, .
Miguel—“All I want is you” (shotgun in the drop, made a right). This one’ll get that estrogen flowing, like when Gaga comes on the playlist loop at H&M. Every lady in the store knows every word.
Usher, “Hot Toddy” – Jay-Z
“You Nasty” – Lil Wayne, into the New Boyz–wait for it–“You Nasty.”
Tool, “The Pot”
“Ain’t Nobody.” The Roger Linn keyboard loop. It was produced by Russ Titelman, who also did Randy Newman’s “I Love L.A.”—a song that is about hating L.A. I can relate, as I hate this goddamn place—except when bathing suits are on sale at Barneys! And when “Ain’t Nobody” comes on the radio!
“Higher Ground.” Stevie is, in fact, my own personal Jesus. Interestingly, he only says higher once in the song—elsewhere in the lyrics, it’s all highest.
“Strangelove” – dépêche mode, the very best kind of mode there is. Dave Bascombe produced it, as well as wayway overdone American Idol favorite “Get Here” by Oleta Adams. The album title Music for the Masses predates the “You are going to fucking love this album” attitude adopted by Black Milk, who non-humbly named his next opus Album of the Year).
“You Nasty”—New Boyz. The whole damn thing went by without either of these 2 young men mentioning something called “motorboating.”
“Sunny”—‘cause of Bobby Hebb; hey, have you ever heard James Brown’s hot burning fire version? You should. YouTube comment: Lady Gaga, you peace of crap. Watch Gods incarnation of groove, bow down to Sir unbeatable electrifying unreachable Mr. James Brown and repent you no good for nothing iluminati bitch.
“Throw it in the Bag” radio killaaaaa. Fabo: speedy, duffle. I broadcast from LA, where boys don’t know who played in the Super Bowl last year but they can tell you about Comme des Garçons’ last collection. Apparently the same thing happens in Brooklyn, if Loso’s subject matter is any indicatoin. I do not care for young men who know a lot about ladies’ handbags. This is exceedingly effeminate to me–the opposite of what gets me to disrobe. If I wanted to go steady with a girl, I’d go ahead and do that.
I need joy in my music, especially when I get that high from commandeering a Japanese coupe through traffic-less stretches of freeway. Joy, of course, is melody, a nice drum pattern, a sing-along chorus, and bass on top of bass.
Ray j gary oldman in True Romance. Stripper heels.
Big Boi – not on the radio (yet); so far it’s just fodder for driving fantasies.
____, and something called “motorboating.”
I thought all of last week’s annoyances in life could be soothed by a single Prince acceptance speech at the BET Awards and Sean P’s wordplay (that album will be called Mic Tyson). But oh damn–there are other things in life that have recently made me cranky and that I have yet to negotiate. And it’s strange, but they are all in liquid form:
The problem: I know about gas and how it’s killing the big blue marble, and I know about the gross and inhumane way it makes its way to the Chevron station around the corner. Everyone profits from the gasoline made of Nigerian oil except for the people of Nigeria. Your 19-year-old cousin from Nowheresville, FL is currently in the desert fighting to making sure my Civic has enough juice in its guts to get me to Coachella and back. I’ve seen the sad fallout from oil spills, the greasy pelicans, I’ve heard the fishermen from St. Bernard Parish who don’t know what to do with themselves right about now as expressed in their plaintive Cajun-accented speech (“Can you replace my heritage?” one asked BP reps a few weeks ago. “No, you can’t. And you gotta understand that it’s not just money; it’s more than money. You’re not gonna replace me being able to teach my kid how to fish”).
The newest horrible thing I’ve learned about gasoline is that, in an elaborate display of extortion-fu, the Unites States government is paying off Afghan warlords to allow us to use their roads to transport military goods to US troops, who are, of course, fighting Afghan warlords. And I think there’s something about heroin in there too. Supporting the gasoline industry is an evil necessity until I have enough money to get one of those nice vegetable-oil-converted-diesel numbers. Until then, I’m just another lazy American who can’t survive without her own car, passing the wind turbine generators on the drive to Coachella and thinking Gosh, what a logical, green source of energy!
The comforting factor: We’d have very few songs about cars, and probably no label known as Motown, without the Michigan industry that so reliably fed into our dependence on fossil fuels. Maybe Derrick May’s grandfather never would’ve raised a family in Detroit if he hadn’t gotten a job at the Ford plant, and then where would we be, music-wise? Would Milt Olinga have been born elsewhere and might not have taken up the vibraphone, and then, years later, maybe there would’ve been no “Award Tour” break? And what about Black Milk? Dilla? The MC5? Stevie? (I know I already covered this in mentioning Motown, but really think about that–a Stevie-less universe).
The steel industry would’ve been impacted too, which means the city of Gary, Indiana might never had appealed to Joseph Jackson as a place to raise a musical brood, and Philly would’ve been without plants and mills to lure in young men who needed jobs to support their growing families–and yikes, think about how your record collection would be suffering right now. See, BP’s not so bad!
related: Dawn dishwashing liquid.
The problem: Hey, Dawn really cuts grease! Great, but do you know how I know this to be true? Because they’re using Dawn to clean all those poor, sweet birds on the coasts of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana who are just trying to eat and flap their sad wings and make nests for their babies. Thanks to NPR a couple weeks ago, I know that the ingredient in Dawn that makes it especially effective in separating and breaking down petroleum so that it can be wiped away is…petroleum. You have to use some of the bad stuff to make the bad stuff go away–this is the same reason they give stimulants to hyper kids.
The comforting factor: None, currently–those pictures of defeated, gummy-winged birds haunt my dreams. Well, wait, there’s this:
Andrew Bynum’s knee fluid.
The problem: The fact that I’m so hyperaware of the daily status of the liquid that bathes Bynum’s patella means that I’m growing up. Like our worst secrets and the amount of money I truly spend at the record store, the inner workings of professional sports teams should be hidden. A young Logan knew nothing of salary caps and clauses, agents and collective bargaining agreements, but she sure as hell liked to see tall, magical men on her TV screen, flying and running fast. It was all innocent and fun. I’d like to go back there, please.
The comforting factor: Oh, you haven’t heard? THE LAKERS ARE THE CHAMPIONS OF THE WORRRRRRLLLLLLD. So I feel pretty great. I can do without innocence! Andrew says he’s now going to get that surgery he’s been postponing, but my question is, Why the rush? Let’s not be hasty now, babycakes. Playing through the pain seemed to work just fine a couple weeks ago.
The saliva of Cam’ron, plus the rum & Coke he drinks as mentioned in “Speakin Tungs.”
The problem: I haven’t been able to enjoy the Killa since I left irony behind in ’07, doggy. I haven’t been able to move past him naming a rap group Children of the Corn. And I most certainly haven’t been able to move get over the awful stop-start cadence in “Horse and Carriage.”
I also despise him for not yet making a song using this when, here it is, I’m laying it right here at his feet:
The comforting factor: I should (and will therefore make it a point to) lighten up. What’s one more double cheeseburger when you’ve been gorging yourself on instantly gratifying, fatty things for so long? Really, it’s not going to hurt. The “Speakin Tungs” instrumental is like sweet Bollywood love story music, so inspirational while I’m sweeping and mopping the apartment on a Sunday morning. I assure you that nobody can fucking sweep a floor like I can when that instro is throbbing through my headphones (I’m a nice, quiet neighbor) and into my heart and blood and limbs. Plus it’s got DOUBLE HANDCLAPS! In summation: boys should never wear pink, but I’ve enthusiastically listened to this song so often that I’m not even minding that apostrophe in his name so much anymore. That thing used to fill me with rage, remember?
The bloodstream of humans, as affected by Lupus.
The disease that felled James Yancey, it works by making the immune system foolishly attack and destroy healthy body tissue. And it’s back on my radar because Gaga keeps talking about how she thinks she has it.
The problem: In Dilla’s absence, everything I aurally love these days is slick and shiny and lacking in depth. None of it makes me think of things beyond my own flesh and hour-to-hour (sometimes minute-to-minute) enjoyment. Look above–I just wrote a thing about how much I enjoy a song by Cameron Giles. People, this is some real self-loathing you’re witnessing.
The comforting factor: There’s no withholding Dilla’s stuff. We work ourselves into a fever clicking around online for his musical delights. Everyone’s sharing his compositions still, he’s still on records and we’ll take what we can get, even though it’s been decades (in rap years) since his death. We’re more ravenous for his beats than ever.
The bloodstream of Eminem, which was carrying large amounts of benzos until very recently.
The problem: I know exactly what he’s put into his body because, thanks to his Atonement Tour 2010, he’s constantly yammering about it and making horrible songs in which he makes a searching and fearless moral inventory of himself–with the final moral inventory approval by Jimmy Iovine and Universal Music Group, Inc., all rights reserved. Other than the music being bad, the campaign is bad. If the newly-sober guy wants to apologize, it should be just you and him on the phone; if it seems like his apologies are making him money, I’m less inclined to believe his apologies. “Hey, sorry about those years when my brain’s reward system ruled my life. Catch me on 106 & Park later.” This whole offensive seems so album-sales-friendly rather than heartfelt, sacred and private as apologies should be.
[Also a real big problem: Em’s Bed-Stuy affectation when he talks, like a kid playing dress-up, which nobody ever, ever calls him out on. He should have the flat “a,” the flat “o.” You know what I mean. That midwestern inflection–Michigan, Fargo, Chicago, Minnesota, parts of Ohio, Sarah Palin. I know there are regional differences (please don’t email me with an indignant tone) but to us coastal people it all sounds the same. Ooooohh gaaash. Braaatwurst. Coooach Ditka. I’m a speech expert and I do not appreciate the way Em thinks he can convince me he grew up taking the A train to school. Nobody from Detroit sounds like that, and they don’t pronounce song “sawng.”]
The comforting factor: For every piece of Em coverage, there’s one fewer piece of Drake coverage. Yay for hiphop.
Kim Kardashian, the fragrance.
The problem: Oh god, there are so many. She’s yet another exotic pretty lady with fetishized body parts. She’s sort of an idiot when she talks in her babyvoice. She keeps fucking with her face (pulling it back and injecting into it, when none of that is necessary). Since this is America, this combination of looks and behavior has earned her lots of MC love and lots of cash–both of which make me jealous. She knows how to dress for her body type, and as someone who is shaped like a girl I can appreciate that, since shit like this was not made for girls who are shaped like girls. Whenever Kim does it real big, she gets accused of looking vulgar, because of the male hegemonic fear of the power of female sexuality. She could be a thinking, challenging bombshell if she applied herself. But her major flaw is that she uses her fame for nothing but fame. Like Lady Gaga?, you might ask. Uh, no, I would respond, because although Gaga mainlines fame into her veins like Kim does, Gaga also has a purer calling, a do-gooder mentality that manifests itself in her campaigns for AIDS research, her gay rights activism and her feminist leanings.
Alas, she didn’t create the rules of the game, so it’s bitchy of me to blame her for playing. Kim’s the symptom, not the problem. She’s not bad; she’s just drawn that way. And still, there is a problem–her perfume is delicious and warm. It smells like how it feels to have your lower back touched in a soft way (that’s for the ladies; they know what I mean), like wearing glossy black 5-inch Loubies that are so comfy ’cause they’re lined in sheepskin, like the first 8 seconds of “Time of the Season” played on a loop. The most difficult thing for me to reconcile here is not that the perfume exists, but that I want it. I place it in small amounts on my wrists, for free, thanks to Sephora’s sampling policy because I refuse to buy it. I can’t support Kim as a brand so I won’t participate in helping her business ventures succeed. But it’s not fair, because the scent makes me feel sexy and I strongly want it in my home so I can put it on my skin after a shower, when my pores are open and at their most absorbent. “Crisp top notes, lush mid notes, and a sexy drydown.” CORRECT.
The comforting factors: Maybe she’ll become a humanitarian. Maybe she’ll procreate with one of the System of a Down boys and make the most stunning and talented babies we’ve ever seen. Or maybe, in the biggest win of my life as a Los Angeles resident, she’ll become the life partner of Kurupt, they’ll each get a Kompressor and drive around town listening to Organized Konfusion all day on the (what else?) Kenwood.
The blood, sweat, and tears of soccer players (like John Pastil of Ghana here)
The problem: I don’t fucking care about the World Cup and I feel manipulated by global media trying to make me care. Thanks to Lit 101, I’m well-versed in Lacanian theory as applied to advertising–we’re motivated by feelings of lack, and the subsequent desire we feel can never be completely filled. So even though I love Don Draper, advertising is truly nefarious work–Nike uses our consumer anxiety to make us believe its products are necessary. Nike wants me to believe soccer is the great equalizer and that Uruguay or Ghana winning would make it OK that they are not invited to the G-20 summit because they are countries filled with corruption and poor people. Oh and there’s the fact that Nike still doesn’t pay its workers enough.
The comforting factors: It’s just impossible to dislike that Argentina team–Papi Maradona is the Ozzie Guillen of soccer, the Andre 3000 of music. Mike Tyson loves the squad. And I always get assessed as Argentine, based on my physical appearance, by dudes at the club (or I did, back when I used to go to the club), so I have sort of a funny allegiance to the entire nation.
Additionally, it would’ve been great if Ghana had won, because then the shackles of imperialism would’ve been thrown off, the IMF would’ve become democratic, pictures of Kwame Nkrumah would’ve gotten a lot of love on various Tumblrs, and everyone would’ve, for a few days at least, stopped associating the continent with AIDS, genital mutilation, and outsiders like Oprah coming in to Save the Day. Ghana, I want you to be economically and politically stable enough to save your own day!
• Since it’s not Aug.-Oct. ’09 I’m not really listening to OB4CL2 anymore. Girls are finicky and not very loyal, so what do you expect. We move on. Rae doesn’t care; he’s making a video for “Ason Jones” and the coverage of it allows me to revisit this:
“Five foot seven, a legend was born, Russell ‘Ason’ Jones/I know him for his braids and lessons.” Plus he could dance slow and had knowledge 120 and would be killing things on Twitter if he were here.
Apart from my excitement in knowing ODB and I were the same physical size (!) thanks to this couplet here, the braids/lessons line is a restrained and lovely statement. He looked like this, and he talked like this, Rae says, but in far fewer words than I’d need and in a much gentler tone of voice than I’d use when describing ODB, a man for whom I have so much affection. Always calm, that Rae. Steadfast. Additionally, a Dilla beat is probably the only kind that could accurately carry the pathos of a tribute song.
• Bun B & T-Pain, “Trillionaire.” Terrible song despite the presence of Bun’s voice and the line where he says “tubular” then adds “uvula” as a colorful descriptive in that part about getting oral, but I’m including this one based on the feelings of disbelief it has stirred up within me. Nobody who raps and is from the state of Texas thought to make a song called “Trillionaire” before?
Also not yet used and that I’m offering everyone with a mixtape and a Port Arthur ZIP code: Dressed to trill. Mentally trill. An uptrill battle. It’s all downtrill from here. Where there’s a trill there’s a way. Saul Trilliams. And of course, the least-respected member of the Geto Boys, Trillie D. Limited time offer. Everything must go.
• Taking place in Brooklyn as of this very moment, the Afro-Punk Festival is a redundantly-named gathering (it’s rather like putting Afro- in front of R&B or blues or rock). Nonetheless, I fully support it because Mos Def, J*Davey, POS, and the Bad fucking Brains (hello) are playing. So it’s redundant but still nice. What, no Race Music Festival?
“We want to expose kids to the idea that there’s a different option, a different way to be,” said Matthew Morgan, a London native who helped start the festival partly in the spirit of uplift for minority children. “If everyone wears baggy trousers, and we all look the same, how rebellious is that?”
HIGH FIVE and EXACTLY, said the girl in her tiny apartment who has the appearance and carriage of a schoolteacher but the heart of a 17-year-old boy from Queens in ’95, Dah Shinin‘ playing in his Civic.
• Finally, someone calls out individuals who use the truncated simile too often on the microphone. Unfortunately, that someone was the annoying, monotone-voiced Canadian. I never thought we’d agree on anything, he and I, and now I need a shower. Thanks, Aub.
• Man fuck it I’m out,
Black owned and I’m bout it fool
I got a studio in my house
Along with some of the perks that come with my work
Pretty twentysomething sleeping in my Diamond Supply shirt.
New Curren$y feat. Mos & Jay Electronica, “The Day” (it keeps getting taken down, but it’s worth the search). Even though the word “featuring” is inappropriately used here since Mos is just on the chorus and we all remember what a hard time we gave a certain bomb-dropping individual when he tried to get away with that, this song is excellent and notable for the following reasons:
– Wack n—as with that sleep rappin and woke up in trou–ble
You was cool 10 years ago, you fuckin Lex bubbles!
(My exclamation point for emphasis.) a) Curren$y sounds like he’s about to fall asleep on account of the THC impeding his psychomotor coordination, and I commend the way he still manages to keep up with the rhythm of things. b)“Lex bubbles,” welcome to my vocabulary as the newest and freshest in derogatory terms. I’ll be incorporating it repeatedly into conversation for the next 2 weeks.
– the last line about the sleeping half-naked girl paints a very clear picture. I can practically see her lying over there. I hope you brought a hairbrush, sweetie. (Also, Nicky Diamonds–I continue to be jealous of your high-quality rap associations.)
– Bout it is still showing up in verses by Louisiana MCs. That’s un-ironically great. In recent years we’ve been bout this, of course, and sometimes bout that, but nothing really makes an impact as much as the original declaration.
– Not really English-language-related, but the song is produced by Ski, who’s been committed to blacksploiting every beat he comes into contact with since ’97. He did some stuff on Reasonable Doubt II, but that was not as appealing to me as his Camp Lo stuff. It’ll always be uptown Saturday night in apt. 15. Love you, Ski.
• Of Montreal, “Coquet Coquette.” [Stereogum] See, sometimes I like music from Georgia that’s not Grand Hustle or Dungeon Family or the Allman Brothers or that got its start on the chitlin circuit.
You know I won’t forget
How you kissed me strange to prove you were mythical
Oh my Coquet you use my voice as your earthly vehicle
You know I won’t forget
How you hurt me twice to prove you were cynical
Oh my Coquet, you are the death, you are the pinnacle
With you I can only see my black light constellations
And other shit I don’t think I have the language to say
I don’t want to catch you with some other guy’s face under your eyelids
Something must be wrong, you give me emotional artifacts
That can find no purchase…
You know I won’t forget
How you made me cry to prove I was dutiful
Oh my Coquet, my teenage lust for you is so pitiful
• This feature on the making of Aquemini is the latest forum for Andre to reveal himself as Sun Ra with a Geouhgia accent. My teenage lust for him is so pitiful.
– “You find some of the fakest people with dreads pouring oils on you.”
– “I’m so not in the world that I didn’t know Vincent Price had passed. I was going to have him on there.” I love it when he proudly trumpets his disconnect from earthly things. I’m so not in the world. Swoon.
– “I always wonder, what’s the last song recorded in the world going to sound like?”
– “Iceberg Slim used to put out albums talking on beats and I was like, ‘This is cool.’ I think I laid down my verse first and Big just came in. But instead of spoken word, Big likes to call it ‘smokin’ word.’ That was his smokin’ word.”
– “I remember reading about human beings and how if everybody is in the same place, humanity can go to another dimension. And when I’m saying that and recording that – ‘You are now entering the fifth dimension of ascension/Our only mission is to take you high’ – that’s what I’m thinking. I was just trying to make the impossible out of music, make people rise in some kind of way.” Andre’s got the hippie spirit of my dad, but he’s not my dad, which is a grand thing because it means we can have relations without it being incestuous. That was a close one.
• Adorable punctuation silkscreen in which characters assume voices and personalities and describe their functions in a pun-filled group scene. This, along with this, is the perfect snapshot of my sense of humor. Deal with it.
• She got jumper cable lips.
– Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, “40 Day Dream,” a song about wanting to die because she’s so wonderful. Oh, you could just die because of her gold doorknobs for eyes. If I were this girl, I’d be flattered, but because I don’t require metaphor in flattery, I’d also enjoy hearing You have a lovely grasp of grammar and Do you want to wear my Diamond Supply shirt and sleep in my bed.
• “All I Do Is Win” is constantly on the radio in my Civic and I don’t mind so much, shockingly. (I don’t need to link to it; just turn on your radio).
It’s incredible that Rawss is still lyrically committed to presenting himself as a kingpin, like we’re all gonna forget what we saw on The Smoking Gun. The best part of having this song in my life is when I’m driving around and it comes on the radio, I find myself getting excited just before Snoop’s verse comes in. His cadence is pulled straight from an R&B song. The lyrics aren’t telling me anything new but if you think of the words as being written and spoken by E-40, they’ll mysteriously just have more meaning. S’just the way it is, Snoop.
Heat in the kitchen, pot on the stove
Water getting boiled, dope being sold
Snoopy in the hoopty, system overload
I’ve been running this rap game since I was 20 years old
I hung with the worst of them
Bust till I burst on ’em
Floss ’em up, toss ’em up, Hardaway, boss ’em up
Pardon me I bossing the pressure up, bless ya bruh
Don’t wanna mess with us
We like the U in the 80’s
Back to back set a trap
Hit the lick, hit it back
Hit the trick, jump the track
Bitch I want my money back
Time and time again while I’m sipping on this gin
Al Davis said it best, just win baby win.
• Failing to prepare is preparing to fail, and other things of that nature. John Wooden gave us all those bite-sized aphorisms that Bill Walton is compiling for Chicken Soup for the Basketball Player’s Soul. You just wanna take these sayings and carve ’em into something wooden and hang it in front of your house. Right up there with fireworks to signify some sort of climax or declaring you’re going to Disneyland or Compton when you’ve won a televised athletic competition, Wooden’s cliches are unparalleled. I mean, never in a million years did I think I’d be doing a post about him.
“The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team,” John Wooden said, and I believe it was the Main Ingredient who said “Everybody plays the fool, sometimes.” There’s no exception to this. And hey, since we’re talking about the Main Ingredient, let’s revisit this thing of sonic cheerful sunshiny beauty whose drum break was borrowed and gently placed inside “Things Done Changed.”
• Ronald Artest The Ever-Quotable is just too great, too wonderful of a human. He can’t be real. This interview with him has achieved classic status in apt. 15; I look at the photo above–my new desktop background–and read the exchange aloud, alternating between my own voice when I play the interviewer, and a scratchy voice with a Queens lilt when I do Ron’s parts.
Do you think the Lakers would be the champs today if Ariza, and not you, was their swingman?
“Yeah, I think so. I think they still would’ve beaten Boston with Trevor. I really believe that.”
You know, thanks to you, your psychiatrist, Dr. Santhi, is the most famous name in her profession since Sigmund Freud.
“I just love her. She helped me relax in the storm — in a huge storm. I was in the eye of the storm, and I was able to control the storm, and it was beautiful.” So un-self-conscious.
(Until) now, the only humans to hear “Champions” were your musical collaborators and the boys in your locker room. You started floating the song around the team midseason. It has since become the team’s unofficial anthem. What inspired you to record it?
“Well, when I decided I was going to be in L.A., a guy I was working with said, ‘You’re going to be a champion.’ So I wrote a song called ‘Champions.’ But it’s a song for everybody. It’s not just about basketball. It’s not about sports. It’s for anyone who wants to be a champion — a champion father, a champion mother. Anybody can be a champion.” TICAAAAAL.