Category Archives: Ear candy

Alphabetically stuck on that English.

Language moments that pleased me this week.

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 trouble
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.

Coquet Coquette
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

Coquet Coquet
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…

Coquet Coquette
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.

Thanks. I picked it up in Paris. Ha.

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.

Alcindor graduates, 1969.

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.


D. Fish’s Isaac Hayes beard disappoints. USC. Rap underperformers. Drake’s stranglehold on the hearts of journalists. Goo.

That beard, my favorite beard on a human this side of Frederick Jay Rubin, could not out-play Shrek and Donkey. Sigh. That’s not how we practiced it, gentlemen. And now I’m going crazy, I’m sitting alone in my 4-cornered room, starin at candles. My mother’s always stressin I ain’t livin right. It’s fuckin messed up, you guys, this mind of mine.

Isaac Hayes – “Hung Up On My Baby.” (my baby = the Lakeshowww)


(It was either this or Sam & Dave’s “Hold On, I’m Comin,” produced by Mr. Hayes but I would have failed you if I did not mention the sexual fervor that is Steve Cropper’s guitar, which you really should listen to like it’s the first time and take in that title, that chorus, like the promise that it is. Sweet Jesus, what a song. Makes my heart skip a beat, I tell you.)

Presenting, for one night only, in all its glory – Thank you, Barry Switzer: the story of a girl, her blog, and a pasty old football coach turned TV analyst who stood up for a scrappy LA team.

Everybody hates the popular/beautiful girl, even if she’s really nice. They dislike her success. Nobody could be blessed that much. No fair. Let’s be mean to her. Haters to the left, and then form an orderly line out the door and around the block. Such is the tale of the football squadron at the mighty University of Southern California, clearly the only school in NCAA history to have the thick, murky waters of cashmoney sin lapping up on the shores of pure and true academia/rah-rah sportsmanship. For shame, Mike Garrett and Pete Carroll! Reggie Bush was allowed to drive a car and live in a house?

OH WAIT. That’s only what we’re supposed to believe. I’m far from a Reggie Bush fan (he’s got a bitchy and Napoleonic air), but the shoulders of Reggie Bush are currently being burdened with blame and it’s not fair. If you see something, say something, right? Barry Switzer notes that Reggie Bush getting cars and cash is the norm rather than the anomaly, it’s been that way for years, and it’ll just keep happening when you have 19-year-olds padded up on TV, making cash registers sing for athletic departments across the land. Switzer’s comments are my most recent addition to the long, long list of things that people should just say out loud and stop omitting. Feel the power of truth. Rihanna’s voice is not good. Glen Davis’ eyes are too close together. Fucked-up Eminem was better than the sober version. Stop the charade already.

I have no reason to like Barry Switzer, since I’m ambivalent about the Sooners and I wish the Cowboys nothing but malice and a fiery end off a tall cliff, but credit has to be given here because it’s due. He is exactly right here. Agents and Escalades aren’t the problem but a symptom of a larger problem/issue and I wouldn’t even really call that issue a problem. The kids in uniforms play for free and they yield millions of dollars for their schools, millions of merch units sold, millions of viewers on TV, and make working-class girls like me want to go to those schools and walk in their halls. Although there are Division I coaches with better names (1. Izzo; 2. Stoops), Switzer’s on-point distillation of this issue renders him Today’s Winner. Nice one, Switzy.

O’Jays – “For the Love of Money.” Lookie, it’s a pun! Orenthal’s name! I RULE.

Gamble plus Huff plus bass plus wah-wah. Pretend it’s your first time hearing this; demand the DJ put this on when you come into the club, and I’ll see you from across the room and swear you’re Nino Brown. I mean, the resemblance is really uncanny.

Things I wish were better, rap-wise:

Minaj—love her and the way she p-pushes it real good, and the ludicrous amount of fun she seems to be having on the microphone is only rivaled by Chris Bridges, but I thought she was above the “Look At My Ass” hustle (which is a hustle I strongly wish I had thought of, as it is highly successful). The debate of why we hold the “Look at my ass; I’m classy” girl (Beyonce, Rihanna) and the “Look at my ass because it’s Warholian” girl in higher regard than girls like Nicki shall be deferred at this time.

Why is everyone acting like those Big Boi songs are good? (These ones). They’re too busy, the beats are too crowded, the choruses are dumb. More Organized Noize, please. More playin tennis with Don Cornelius, please. We playin on the moon, bitch. PACE.
“General Patton” and “Shutterbugg” aside, I demand better. His record’s still .500 at this point. I swear, sometimes I think you guys only like stuff because your friends do.

Q-Tip is annoying me steadily. The 16-year-old me deep inside is pouting.

CNN’s “Let’s Get Money.” Let’s leave the throwaway tracks thrown away, Nore, mi querido. It’s called manners.

That J.Cole, not fantastic. It’s called “Higher” and while I admire its aspiration, it does not take me there. I mean, that title is simply not a reality. Are all biracial MCs on some sort of wackness kick? (please see next bullet point, below)

I know way too many Drake songs right now/That I didn’t know last year. I blame bloggers, the entire province of Ontario, and Jimmy Iovine. Drake is only useful as a plot device (heroine vs. antagonist whom she hates and would never sleep with, but what’s this? Sometimes she finds herself humming that pretty part in his hit song “Find Your Love” [the third find your heart in the chorus, with the key change], though this has less to do with Drake than it does with the production power of melodic princes No ID and K. West).

Caramanica’s piece about him was wonderful, of course, but did not succeed in what I believe was an attempt to make Drake a sympathetic character in the saga that is Pop Music. There’s talk of his emo mastery, of course, except that I’d like to mention that everyone signed to Rhymesayers is superior in this regard. His alleged handsomeness is cited, of course, but he just can’t compete with T.I., the true beauty queen of popular rap (those perfect white teeth!). The most memorable things I took away from the article are that Drake’s worldview is that Girls Are Mean (Rihanna) and he once leased a Phantom and parked it in front of the damn house even though his mom couldn’t pay the bills. OMG, you can’t handle it. The realness. It’s too real for you. There’s some foolishness of youth that we’ve all gone through, yes, but that’s just offensive. He sure was gauche for a rich kid.

And ha!, look at this, the end of this salacious story (last few lines)! Even Drake’s fans are the worst, lamest kind of criminals–Van Der Sloot, failed pro poker player and alleged girl-killer, loves Drizzy’s rhymes, his realness. Everybody knows having your music incite the killing of a Texas state trooper is true hiphop. I’m getting tired of spelling it out for you every time.

Goo is 20 this month, and Kim and Kim’s husband and Lee and Steve are still ten times more hiphop than everybody except Scott-Heron, Crazy Legs, the melodic backbone that holds up “Trans-Europe Express,” and Rick Rubin’s NYU dorm room. I don’t have any cool older cousins who introduced me to this record. I had to learn the shit all on my own. (I’m kind of bitter, but hey. It built character. Made me the woman I am today. Etc.)

“Dirty Boots.” I left this one out of my Best Opening Track rant of twentyten.



Yeah but at least my team’s guard doesn’t look like Bow Wow, and other news.

All Khaled does is win; my darling Lakers, unfortunately, do not live by this same credo. If you are an NBA official, you woke up this morning to a whole city–my city–hating you. Congrats. The metaphor here is something like this, if you’re a whistle-happy man in zebra stripes:
LA is the rest of the world, or maybe just the UN, and you’re Israel, just fucking up all over and not bothering to even pretend to be bothered or ashamed ’cause you know you’ve got America bankrolling you. And there’s a Dick Bavetta in there somewhere.

Anyway, everyone needs a credo. They are easy to live by and help organize your daily activities. All Channel Live did, remember, was spark mad izm. All Stevie does is think about you. All me & Kellsies do is break up to make up. And all I do is try to fill up the emptiness after a home-court loss with videos of foxy beatmakers, a DJ Premier story that makes me weepy, and Fauvism as a platform for me to bemoan the existence of Drake.

Oh No loves his big brother, grew up about 5 minutes from me, and is a proud purveyor of that “raw, nasty, gangrene, go jump off a bridge, toilet bowl music. Disgusting, nasty.” That’s what he’s about.

Usually my credo is “If you have to say it, it’s probably not true.” But in this case, it’s true: he makes disgusting, nasty, old-lady-next-to-you-on-a-bus-bench-about-to-drop-dead, flesh-eating bacteria, dirty, oozing, nasty instrumental shit. Sorry, Mom. OX CITAAAYYY.

Reef the Lost Cauze, featuring OH MY GOD, Kool G Rap and RA!! – “Three Greats.”
First Prize, Most Accurate and Succinct Song Title, June 2010.

Courtesy of Robert H. Unkut. (or whatever his middle initial is)

Just before Guru died, Premier visited him in the hospital and performed some kind of last rites that I’m ill-equipped to comment on. So here’s a description of the event, handled with classy restraint, from XXL:

(Premier) stayed a short time (in the hospital room). Five, seven minutes, he says, before a nurse came in and he left. “I just wanted to tell (Guru) how much I loved him, period,” he says. “Whether he could hear me or not, I know somewhere he heard me. It was ill. His eyes were almost half open, and it was like he almost was awake, but he wasn’t… I took my Gang Starr shirt off, and I took it and rubbed it against his body, so he can feel the logo. I knew how much Gang Starr meant to him. Even if he moved on to another chapter in his life, I know how much Gang Starr was important to him. We did way too much to just completely block it out and act like it doesn’t exist.”

As a gentle segue,

Today in Melody and Beautiful Things:

Joy of Cooking – “Closer to the Ground.” I’m always looking for this in a round black circular format; I’m never finding it. This includes yesterday. (I got an old, ollllld, possibly-original copy of Prison Oval Rock, though. It is beautiful and it sounds like the Roots Radics are playing right there in my tiny apartment when I put it on. First Place, Album of the Month, June 1985. And June 2010.)

Keith Richards is releasing an album of Rastafarian spirituals, and I can’t even make fun of the fact that it’s him doing it because it’s really quite a nice thing.

Richards became friends with rocksteady deity Justin Hinds when he visited Jamaica in the ’70s. Lots of jamming ensued, plus spiritual awakening on Richards’ part–less like the Beatles in India (kid stuff), and more like if MC Serch became a Five Percenter. And then a few years later Peter Tosh got underused in a Stones video, but overall there’s been surprisingly little reggae-poaching in the Stones’ catalog. The band, I’m guessing, gave up any Jamaican style they had attempted due their inability to compete with something called The Clash.

Hinds and lesser-known local musicians comprised the group, called Wingless Angels. The sessions took place organically, says Richards. There was no planning when they began to play, and the Nyabinghi angels lifted everybody up on a glorious, fluffy cloud of week smoke.

The last batch of recordings are from 2004; Hinds died in 2005, and proceeds from the sales of the albums go to his family. “[Wingless Angels play deliberately at just slightly under heart rate. The drumming goes deeper than your bones. It’s marrow music,” Richards adds. This is a beautiful phrase that will for sure show up in a future blog post. If he came up with it, I’m shocked and pleased that someone with a morphine-addled brain could be so damn descriptive.

Next up, Ras Keith takes on daggering, translated for white American baby boomers like my mom, original bashment gyal.

“He has no wish to offer other people anything other than calm.” – Socialist politician Marcel Sembat, on Matisse.

Henri Matisse said some pretty amazing things in his day and volunteered to go to war. His gaunt face and steezy beard-and-stripes combo also set the standard for personal appearance that every dude in my neighborhood is trying to emulate circa 2010.

A relentless self-critic with overly anxious tendencies whom I have clearly based my entire persona on, Matisse said, “Black is not only a color but also a light.” Matisse also said, “You study, you learn, but you guard the original naivete” (which I’ll thank you to keep in mind every time I point out how surprised I am that the beauty of Ruffin’s voice could be ravaged by cocaine years later), and my personal favorite, “My curves are not crazy.” OUI, HENRI! C’est si bon!

Matisse was worried about the possible outcome of WWI and felt bad about not serving. He signed up, but failed the medical exam. He appealed; he was denied. Terrible, heavy guilt ensued. His mother was trapped in northeast part of France, as the Germans had occupied it; painter friends were in the trenches. “Contributing prints to fundraising efforts for civilian prisoners of war did something to assuage his feelings of guilt, (as he was) ‘sickened by all the upheaval to which I am not contributing.’” This makes me think of current artists—not painters, but the ones wielding microphones who live in the various ventricles of my warm, loving heart, as well as the ones I despise. It’s comical to imagine Drake holding a firearm, right? Panting and elbowing his way through muddy trenches. My imagination won’t allow it. Did you know he did Wal-Mart the favor of appearing in one of their videos, thereby increasing their quarterly profit? SO GULLY. The masculine-lite appeal that Drake exhibits is common among most current musicians, though. They are all so skinny and spoiled. Except those M.O.P. boys and Sean P–I think they’d be very good at war.

Heltah Skeltah feat. Smif-n-Wessun – “W.M.D.” Song of the summer, 1996! PS, a rap song with a good Sean Bell line will always get posted here, just always.



Obviously my squad won but more importantly

HOW do I get my soft and dainty hands on that Andre version of “All Together Now”? I need it, and then I need to assemble a group of individuals to come to my apartment and listen to the song with me and enjoy it without irony. (This should all happen without the expressed written consent of Nike, Inc., so get me an illegal copy. Xoxo.)

5, 6, 7-8-9-10, Andre, I love you ’cause you’re a habitual line-stepper. Also, Baby, baby. You’re in my system. (I know it’s the other one; it just fits here.)


Lordhavemercy | Ike & Tina & the Wrecking Crew | Limbaugh & Ali | Darryl | Pharrell | The Jazz Loft Project

(It gets cold in Michigan.)

Why yes, I am still enjoying and cuddling with “Power,” but LAND SAKES ALIVE, what we have here* is some additional fine rap music! The week started out slow, as Gibbs presented more of his unfettered Hoosier testosterone-rap that I can appreciate but that just doesn’t wow me. I mean, I’m a girl. I’m allowed this.

But then Dumile made an appearance (!), then Rae with his mixtape that stimulates my central nervous system, and Kanye returned toting his big booming ego under his arm–an ego that is, unfortunately, absolutely warranted when he makes big booming songs like “Power.” I had all these feelings welling up inside.

“OH SHIT” – the Pharcyde.

“Right here” – Monch.

“Oooh, and I like it” – DeBarge.

“I feel free” – Cream.

“Press rewind” – Del.

“We will never, ever, ever be apart” – Bieber.

Black Milk – “Don Cornelius.”
As always, I wish you love, peace, sooouuuuuulllll
, and Detroit-bred songs of sweltering fiery goodness.


That break:

Lee Fields and the Expressions – “Love Comes and Goes.” In the battle-of-the-backing-bands extravaganza that takes place in my head, Lee and his Expressions go up against Curtis and his Impressions. (They do it all to see who wins my hand in marriage)


Rick Ross & Kool G. Rap – “Knife Fight.”

Let’s get it: Doom motivation 101!
Last of the Ansars/On the microphone, cyclone like Myanmar. Madvillain – “Papermill,” part of the Adult Swim Singles Program. All the boys on the Internet are whining that this song is too short. In response, all the girls on this blog say “Stop complaining” and “How come you don’t hold the Ramones to that same standard.”


Today in 1966, Ike & Tina’s “River Deep, Mountain High” was released. Did I mention I’m a girl? If you are too, you know and love this song. If you’re male, you probably think you love it as much as a girl could, but no. You’ll never understand and I’m sorry about that. But hey, your bigger paycheck most likely makes up for it.

And it gets stronger, in every way. And it gets deeper, let me say. And it gets higher, day by day. SING IT, ANNA MAE. Girl singer, girl songwriter (Ellie Greenwich), girl bass player (Carol Kaye), plus Larry Levine sitting on a stool behind the glass, Ike no doubt off to the side seething because the song’s creation had nothing to do with him, and crazy gnome Spector overseeing the whole damn thing.


This week on NPR, Rush Limbaugh’s biographer Zev Chafets equated Rush with Muhammad Ali.

Dave Zirin wrote a piece negating this idea, of course, which was a courageous but wholly unnecessary thing to do. It’s a fun read, reposted at the Huffington Post from The Nation (where Zirin is normally found, distracting me at work with his excellent sports writing). My piece is entitled Good One, Zev Chafets, consisting of just the words “But seriously though,” and it’ll be running all week on HFS.

Pavement – “Rattled by the Rush.”


Darryl Strawberry had a big case of the crankys (which I’m guessing is not unusual for him) and shared them with the Mets, popping into the dugout last week and yelling at them to win when they were not giving it their best effort against the Nationals. I would suggest that you do not fuck with Crenshaw High, New York.

I like this, a man in recovery who decides to scream on ’em rather than go make a dumb hokey song with a big dumb chorus produced by the dude with the single dumbest name in musicdom (and that includes all the Animal Collective boys). I also like this story because it means I can post the above picture.

Pharrell’s been wearing the same outfit all over the globe, for many days in a row, and people wanna criticize and say he looks bummy. I say he pulls off the Echo Park boy uniform with much more finesse than all the actual Echo Park boys–and that, along with the almighty spy chord, the greatness of his work with the Thornton brothers, that voice, and of course those cheekbones, makes me fall back in love with him like it’s ’98 and I just heard that Nore song.

(“OMG, HAVE YOU HEARD THAT NORE SONG?? It basically just goes what-what-what-what-what-wh-what but it is SO GOOD” – me in ’98.)

Monk & band at rehearsal, 1959.

From 1957 to 1965, the photographer W. Eugene Smith exposed 1,447 rolls of film to record the goings-on inside his loft building, as well as scenes from street life visible from his windows. He also made 4,000 hours of audio recordings that captured random conversations, phone calls, radio programs, and above all, many legendary musicians of the day, who came to the building to hang out, rehearse and jam.

Well then.
The Jazz Loft Project: Photographs and Tapes of W. Eugene Smith from 821 Sixth Avenue is a book that I need. No 2 ways about it.

[NYT–slideshow and voiceover narration!]

Left: exactly how I’d look getting out of a car in front of the building if I had been around in 1960.

Right: girl gazing at Zoot Sims exactly how I gaze at my OJ Simpson vinyl.


This is way too much/I need a moment.

Kanye’s been
standing around looking dramatic and wondering why people won’t notice him (it’s ’cause we’re busy listening to Cocainism), so he dropped this off at my doorstep this morning, said, “Nice shot, Ron Ron,” and then disappeared in a cloud of smoke to keep the myth going.

It’s just after 6:30 am PST and this song is already everywhere. In fact, I probably heard about it from your site. And even though I’d prefer if it had a more fresh name, like “Clout” or “Aptitude,” and even though I have to deduct points for “At the end of the day…” and that dumb and random Austin Powers mention, please: I will be listening to this today until I start to feel sick from repetition, because of all those wonderful “HAH”s that I can’t believe Kanye still includes after all these years, because Arizona doesn’t care about brown people, and because of the sheer lack of Drake. YAY CHICAGO!

Kanye O. West – “Power.”
“I guess every superhero needs his theme music.” OH DEAR. Apparently he’s been listening to Skyzoo (“Every hero got his theme music”), which I can’t fault him for but I can certainly rib him a little for. Skyzoo’s better at introspection over a beat than Kanye, but he’s not better at making my heart leap out of my chest like this particular song does. Sorry, Brooklyn!

(I have fallen out of love with you, TSS. It’s just not a good fit anymore. But I wish you well in all your endeavors, and thanks for the mp3.)


“I don’t know how to start this shit” – Nasir Jones.

There is no try; there is only do. And sometimes, let’s face it, there isn’t even do. While I’ve been sitting around at work thinking of puns for the tragic misuse of apostrophe on the ’10 Rock the Bells flyer
*, my buddies at NPR got to this idea months before it would’ve hit me: What’s the best opening track on an album?

This is a game that’s impossible to win, but damn fun to play. (I mean, Thriller. Good morning.)

Other than Mike & Quincy’s contribution, here are the ones for which I have a particular spot that is soft. This list is restricted to what’s come into my head in the last 15 minutes as I look across the room at my record collection. I’ll really put my back into it next time.

Liquid Swords! 131 headless lords into the shogun was scared into FLASH EM BACK. This is a rare moment in which I don’t deduct creativity points for rhyming “cocaine” and “insane.” Enjoy it, Gary.

“Good morn or evening, friends,” the first words on Songs in the Key of Life. Love you, friendly announcer who guides me in all things.

“Uptown Anthem” to open Juice. Nothing to say here, other than PIANO and OH MY GOD and I’m speechless (but my spot is extra soft!).

• Every Beastie Boys album up to and including ’94.

• Jaylib, “LA to Detroit,” (LOUDER) into “McNasty Filth.” On Amazon this album has received an average of 4 out of 5 possible stars. This is the primary evidence I cite as to why you’re supposed to support your local brick-and-mortar book-selling establishment.

• “Gimme Shelter” to open Let It Bleed. Oh, children.

• “In Time” to start Sly and the Family Stone’s Fresh but really only because it leads into “If You Want Me to Stay.”

“Two of Us” to open Let It Be. When I was little it reminded me of riding on a horse, that rhythm. We’re on our way home. Also: Spector.

• “Hold On, Be Strong,” into “Return of the G” to open Aquemini. Peaches are delicious and juicy.

• the train clacking over tracks and “Stop fuckin around and be a man” at the start of Illmatic. Bullshit on the radio, amber bock, even without a record contract, leading into the “fuckin dungeons” line and Nas’ vulnerable moment as quoted in the title of this post.

• “Mommy, what’s a funkadelic?” Funkadelic’s first album, but all the ones on Westbound could get a spot here. I recommend you not ask your mom; just send me an email.

Nation of Millions. “London, England: consider yourself…warned.”

• Marvin, “I Want You.” The feeling is mutual, Marv.

Since you’re my special friend… “Bad Touch Example,” obviously. Have we just met?
PS, people on the Internet constantly trying to out-CoFlow me: stop that.

“Call my name,” Joe Bataan, to open up the album of the same name as well as to open up the whole season of Summertime. There probably should be some De La and a Prince album or two on here as well, but c’mon. This was just the Looking Around My Apartment list and I can’t be held responsible for missing the obscurities and obvious ones that somehow didn’t come into my head.

* STOP. Grammar time.


Victory is mandatory.


Hua Hsu and his epic links are the stuff my dorky dreams are made of.

Hit It and Quit It radio, welcome to my warm, loving heart. Enjoy your stay.

Oh please, press play. Boys would say This mix is fire. It’s a BEAST. I just say It’s beautiful and I love it. Lena Horne described her father as “a sharp, beautiful dude with a diamond stickpin.” I haven’t worked out all the hows and whys yet but I just feel that the quote is somehow appropriate for this post.

Part 1.


Part 2.



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

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

Sonny Rollins is the saxophone colossus,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Instrumentals I need and that in some way refer to the cultural zeitgeist at large, 05/06/10.

“Hand-Clapping songs improve cognitive development in children.”LiveScience, evidently just now hearing about how I won the entire school’s spelling bee when I was in second grade. That means I had to go up against fourth and fifth graders, and I won, and it’s all because of mom and dad’s record collection.

Look at you, North Carolina! Shining star, baby! “Who Dat” blew up the proverbial spot a couple days ago, and I’m hungry for the instrumental so I can raise up, take my shirt off, then twist it around my head and spin it like a helicopter. It’s the handclaps, sure, but that bassline gives me a magical feeling of ’90s nostalgia because of a certain Christopher Wallacian quality. Pink gators, my Detroit players/Timbs for my hooligans in Brook-lynnn. “Who Dat” into “Hypnotize”–that would be a nice mix.

Shirley Ellis – “The Clapping Song.” Joy, just pure joy. My parents used to play this when I was little and show me how to cut a rug right there in the living room. Obviously they saw the hips blooming on me and knew I’d have to learn how to move them in a rhythmic fashion in order to get boys to buy me things.


• I’m supposed to believe that Tiger Woods drove a Buick and Dr. Dre uses an HP to make beats. “STOOPS!,” the 15-year-old in me says. Good one, advertising! E for effort, and T for nice try.

Sometimes advertising is successful, though, like in the case below. “Evolve,” a Gatorade x David Banner wonderful thing, contains a song Banner wrote, produced, and arranged. And now, of course, I need it in instrumental form even though the singing is pretty great. Nice intro to build to crescendo. Courtesy of UGC.

• Detroit might someday legalize weed, perhaps. I live in California, where the streets are paved with gold and there’s greenery in a dispensary on every corner and we don’t have to worry about something called “sticks” or “stems” (I don’t smoke but I’ve listened to enough songs to know). So, Detroit, you’re onto something good here, even though the slow, state-by-state legalization of things gets tiresome. States’ rights vs. federal law means I have to leave Arizona if I’m too swarthy-looking (I always get guesses of Spain, Argentina, Brazil, sometimes Italy), I have to go to Michigan for weed, and then on to Iowa or DC to marry my girlfriend.

“Cali Hills.” Where is the instrumental of this, and may I have it, please, Stones Throw? PS, look at Guilty up there, lookin like he’s about to go to work in a factory so his kids can eat, like every dude in a Springsteen song or a gentler Joe Jackson. Goddammit I love a blue-collar-lookin MC.