It’s early September so here comes the NFL. In the springtime, Ronald Artest has the power to make me forget that football even exists–but when fall begins and Chris Berman starts bellowing on the TV and all the stores start carrying boots and trenchcoats even though it’s too hot in LA for any of that, I realize how much I’ve missed it.
I love and participate in Fantasy Football. I go at with my signature no-holds-barred style, I take no prisoners, I leave it all out on the field and I give it slightly more than 100% on any given Sunday. The fact that I always make fun of fake things should be disregarded. I hate fake rappers and fake nerds, fake NYC accents, fake rappers, fake producers, fake producers. The only good fake things are Biggie’s Twitter and fake football, and so I’m jumping into this season’s fakery with a full heart and a clear head. I just got my Fantasy roster, assigned to me by the robotic, soulless machine that is Yahoo! Fantasy Football automated system (I tried drafting my own guys last year, and it turns out I’m no good at it). I care about each of the randomly-assigned men below so much, but only to the degree that they remind me of a musical figure with a similar name or back story.
E-40’s still rapping, Funk Flex still hasn’t learned voice modulation. I’m still underdressed on the Internet. Rae’s still rapping. Scarface, Ghostface, Metal Face: still rapping. People do what they’re used to. The familiar is easy, comfortable, like they say on commercials for Wrangler jeans. Brett Favre, with his familiar face and his arthritic joints, is suiting up again this year, because Brett Favre still plays football. He retired a couple years ago. I remember, because Jay-Z was on his farewell tour at the time. But, you know. People just do things they’re used to. It’s hard to walk away.
Upon seeing my Fantasy roster, I started a spirited text conversation with my mom (also in my Fantasy league). “I got Bretty for QB!” I wrote on my tiny keyboard. “OMG, did you know he is old?” she sent back. Then I stopped playing. It started out as such a fun thing, and then somebody had to go and hurt my feelings. Fuck off, Mom. (sorry, Mom!) The concept of a (nearly) 41-year-old QB is the kind of thing everyone laughs at until everyone sees that it’s just crazy enough to work. I have a strong feeling that Brett Favre, sometime subject in Weezy* and Jeezy** songs, shall lead my squad to victory.
Brett Favre’s middle name is, like every good ol’ boy from Mississippi, Lorenzo. Odd and fascinating, that’s what that is. I’d like the story behind it, please. Brett Lorenzo has a 73-year-old body. He wears Wranglers, drives a truck, can’t handle his booze–a real live walking stereotype, except lovable. He continues to be worn and creaky, but still very very clutch—the E-40 of the NFL, rather than the grouchy, bloated old KRS, thank the lord.
(KRS has no current NFL equivalent…if it were the ’70s, maybe sad, elderly Namath when he played for the Rams? I don’t know; let me work out the analogy some more in my head).
* And I never miss a game, no Shaq O’Neal/More like Brett Favre, just like Brett Favre
(“Get High, Screw the World”).
** Watch for goonies when you got it, n—as wanna rob/And pull a staff and quarterback ’em like Brett Favre (“Trap or Die”).
Santana Moss. In terms of music, who does his name evoke? Well, Carlos Santana of course, and that hideous creature who calls himself Juelz. But there’s also Now for 10 years, we’ve been on our own/And moss grows fat on a rollin’ stone (“American Pie,” Don McLean). Don really enunciates that F–ffffffat. It’s unnecessary and wonderfully stylish. Anyway, a rolling stone gathers no something something; Santana, roll it back to ’05 and let’s have a thousand-plus-receiving-yards season, buddy.
Brandon Marshall. NO, not Marshall Mathers. The Marshall Tucker Band! The beautiful “Can’t You See” was on the Blow soundtrack, but I was already familiar with it due to childhood time spent frolicking in my parents’ record collection. It was released by Capricorn (of course) in ’73 and it therefore sounds like weed, Jim Beam, big belt buckles, and getting hugged by my dad. And it’s got a flute solo!
Ronnie Brown. Ronnie from New Edition, sure, but since I am a California girl dipped in honey and bronzed by the sunshine, I instantly think Ronnie Hudson and his “West Coast Poplock.” Worldwide, let ’em recognize from Long Beach to Rosecrans.
Owen Daniels. Owen Pallett, that weirdo who’s obsessed with Final Fantasy. Charlie Daniels, that guy who used to be SO hip hop on account of his storytelling technique but then started showing up on Fox News to weigh in on foreign wars and the reasons Obama is leading us all down the big global toilet. On a side “everything’s connected” note, however, Charlie Daniels did a lot of collaborating with the Marshall Tucker Band in the ’70s. Let’s hope that Owen Daniels does some collaborating with Brandon Marshall when the EP Eagles take the field–mostly I just want Owen to let Brandon get all the touches, since tight ends are worthless in Fantasy Football but the system forces you to play one anyway.
Devin Aromashodu. First of all: Who? Second: based on his name, I believe that he is of Nigerian descent. And third: NIGERIA!, now and forever. I don’t understand how such a small county is so fertile in terms of epic humans, but I’ve worked out the analogy in my head that Nigeria is to countries what Georgia is to American states–unfairly, disproportionately rich in musical geniuses (Fela, Sade, + a hundred more from Nigeria; Ray Charles + a thousand more from Georgia), writers (Achebe, Wole Solinka; Alice Walker, Carson McCullers), and physically stunning people (Oluchi; T.I.). I’ve never heard of this Aromashodu fellow but the signs tell me that he will surely kill it every week.
Jabar Gaffney. It’s painful to admit, but the little elves that run around inside my brain piecing together music trivia and rap lyric ephemera came up with nothing when I saw his name. It evokes nothing music-related. Luckily, all’s not lost because Jabar Gaffney is just a great-sounding name for a man. It’s got an adequate amount of syllables, and the stresses fall in all the right places. Quentin Jammer is the current holder of the best name in the NFL (Earthwind Moreland had the honor until ’05), and Black Milk is the current champ in terms of names on rappers’ birth certificates that now only the DMV and their grandmas call them by (Curtis Cross). But Jabar. That’s a nice goddamn name. Solid, with all those consonants. It makes me think of Kareem, and that’s nice. And if I’m to believe what some man on the Internet whom I’ve never met says, Mr. Gaffney is likely to be a sleeper Fantasy point-getter this season. Denver’s offense needs to make up for Brandon Marshall being gone (a real workhorse, Marshall now splits his time between the Dolphins and the Echo Park Eagles) and maybe Gaffney will get something thrown to him now and then. He’s got seniority among the team’s receivers and he’s supposed to do things, big things, this year.
Cedric Benson. Also a great name. It’s cinematic and comic-book-hero-sounding. Makes me think of George Benson. And Cedric Brooks, I think, was a Jamaican musician (?).
New Orleans’ defense. Everything about New Orleans reminds me of music, I love the Saints, and their defensive squad is ranked around #8 or 9 at the moment, so I’m happy I got ’em. “Football is violence and cold weather and sex and college rye,” said the great sports writer Roger Kahn. Football is also, let’s hope, teams from battered and beaten-down cities rising triumphantly in consecutive seasons.
No need to impede The High and Mighty mystique/That shit would be as ignorant as Jimmy the Greek. Soundbombing II hardly ever shows up on those stupid best-of album lists that clog up the Internet every 10 years. I think everyone’s still mad at Rawkus and we’re being babies by not giving it accolades. But we should. It’s a great compilation and I wore the CD out that summer (’99). It’s ranked in my personal stupid best-of album list that I carry around in my head. What/What, what, whaaaat.