Yesterday in the paper there was a review of a new collection of essays by Edward Hoagland.
“(He) is a writer who has spent more time observing with gratitude than opining,” says reviewer Susan Salter Reynolds,
“‘Life is moments,’ he writes, ‘day by day, not a chronometer or a contractual commitment by God.’” OH SHIT, TIME TO DO AN E-40 POST was of course my response to this. Moments like the song above coming on the radio, perfectly-timed and making my car’s tinny speaker system seem like something ten times more expensive? Those kinds of moments, you mean? Basically I’d just like to take a moment say Thank you, LA Times book review, in conjunction with Power 106 programmers. It all came together perfectly. I read that Hoagland sentence, then got in the Civic and heard that E-40 and I drove off into the sunset. Which brings me to the week’s first award –
1. Best Use of Bass (week of 06/12 – 06/19): “My Shit Bang,” E-40.
For achievement in convincing me that my shit bang even in a 13-year-old Honda coupe, I had to start the list with the English Professor (I attend Baller U – class of 2014, cuddie). 40’s also my Favorite Story-telling Cool Uncle and has a permanent spot on the List of Dudes Who I’d Like to Read the Phone Book to Me Out Loud.
My shit bang
My shit thrub
I’m a motherfucking beast
I’m a motherfucking hog
Pull up with the slump
Or should I say black truck soundin’
Like I got an alligator in the back
Paint wetter than melted ice
Rally and hockey stripes
burning rubber at every light
mean muggin’ like fuck your life.
Best Use of Alligator. And, without a doubt, Best Use of “Thrub.” I’d also like to recognize 40 as having this week’s Outstanding Non-Perfect Vocal Moment (the way he gets out of breath at 00:51, when he says hog – PERFECT; thanks for keeping it in the song, producer ToneBone from Los Angeles, CA).
“The Magritte work that I always return to is The Treachery of Images, because we have it at the LA County Museum. It’s a kind of touchstone of his. He’s affirming the slipperiness, or as he calls it the treachery, of images, of language – that a word and an object have no necessary connection other than that we collectively assigned that word and that object to go together. I really appreciate his word play.”
Is this me talking about 40, or Baldessari talking about Magritte in The Guardian? Aha, I have posed a difficult question, because it could be either. Except we didn’t collectively assign “gouda” to mean money or “elroy” for cop – 40 did, and we just followed along because he’s got that charisma. Signifiers and the signified can be a frustrating concept; it takes me back to my days as a co-ed. If my Lit 101 teacher had just used the example of an alligator to illustrate how the same thing that describes the knocking-ness of speakers can also describe a scaly thing that comes from a swamp, I would’ve had a much easier time with the whole concept of structuralism.
3. Best Hat; Most Blatant Display of Love for Eric Wright; Most Effective Pandering to Elderly Rap Fans; Best Use of Typeface; Best Use of Los Angeles Design Archetype When It Comes to Hats: Jeezy at the Hot 107.9 concert in Atlanta over the weekend. (That hat. LOOK AT THAT HAT, HOLY CHRIST). Outstanding Achievement by a Non-LA Resident in Making This Blogger Smile.
Normally I insist that a gentleman wear his hometown somewhere on his person. I do not care for fluid allegiances, dudes who forsake the home team because the division rival’s got better colors. REP YOUR SET, PLEASE. Have a little conviction. And yet I do not have a problem with a Georgian wearing the name of a city to which he does not belong. I’m complex like that, I guess. Or just in a really good mood.
Jeezy also gets Best Historical Tie-In, as this week is the 40th anniversary of upstanding moral human being Richard Nixon’s completely logical and well-planned “war on drugs.” If Nixon were here today he’d argue that coke raps fund terrorism. I’m pretty sure he’d hate Palin, though, so he and I would at least have that in common.
Best Hat, Runner-Up: Casual in that J. Rawls video.
“Ha, look at that dude’s funny-lookin stoic smiley-face on his hat! I don’t know what it means but it’s cuuuuute,” I said to myself, before realizing I’ve gotten slightly off-course in my mp3 habits. Been listening to too many 20-year-old MCs and worshiping at the altar of Georgia rap. I need to get back to my cranky-old-90s-reminiscing Cali roots sometimes. Plus I just love a black-on-black fitted, thank you and good day.
4. Best Use of Weezy: Jay Wayne Jenkins having Dwayne Carter come on through to the live show to perform his verse, AKA Jeezy at the Hot 107.9 concert in Atlanta over the weekend – specifically, this moment in his set, which got him so many cool points. And have I mentioned that HAT?
The best BEST part of this whole thing is the fact that there is no Wayne introduction, no stopping the music for maximum drama, even though that would certainly be warranted since Wayne is the most hugest rock star in the galaxy (Internet) right now. Wayne just starts in. Unheard of! I screamed, out loud, sitting right here as I type this, when he came out on stage – literally, this eruption of pleasure from my throat the moment I saw Weezy, even though the video is called JEEZY BRINGS OUT LIL WAYNE HOT 107.9 B-DAY BASH. Weezy and I, we have our ups and downs; he’s a man who sometimes falters (those pink shorts, working with Travis Barker, hanging out with Dirk, putting all those babies in women). But he knows how to redeem himself through sheer charisma. It translates to success and incredible likeability. That’s how when he was 16 he bought his first Mercedes-Benz, somethingsomething thousand something and their girlfriends. You gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, you get the women (the blogging women, to scream in response to you showing up and kicking your verse on Internet video).
I love this moment so much, it’s like I orchestrated the whole thing. I’m the puppeteer. I’m the Bill Graham of 2011 southern urban radio birthday shows. “Places, gentlemen,” I said to them, “Readyyyy, annnnnnnd AMAZE THE CROWD.” These radio station shows are so consistently dull, and the sound on the videos so consistently bad, that I don’t hardly ever watch them. Once every 8-10 years, though, you get some magic. Like me with this website. I don’t post nearly enough, but when I do, I pretty much come correct every time. (I’m the Terrence Malick of rap blogging.)
5. Best Set Claim: Jeezy in “I’m Ballin.” (song #2 above)
Summer’s mine, winter too
I’m poppin’ bottles in the club, that’s what winners do.
40 balled outta control; Jeezy’s just ballin. Just doin a lil ballin, that’s all. You know. NBD. Gotta start small. 40’s got 10 rap years and 50 lbs on Jeezy; don’t wanna step on The Scrillfather’s toes. Plus he’d make fun of a Compton hat on someone from Atlanta.
Jeezy bypassed repping a block/neighborhood/city/state and went straight to an entire season. “Keep your Hollygrove, your Cedar Block; I’m claiming an entire 3-month section of the calendar year,” he says, “Now who’s fuckin with that.” (“PS: yeaaauuughhhh”)
6. Most Amusing/Stubborn Trend: What I like to call “brain raps.” But not just brain raps – braggy, one-upping brain raps. This’ll be the summer of rappers increasingly outdoing each other with descriptions of places a girl went down on them, if songs like “Racks on Racks” (YC: while talking on the phone), “Ballin” (Jeezy: in the backseat of the Phantom), and “Session” (Tyler: while watching The Berrics – plus the giver is someone’s parent, for which he earns extra credit) are any indication.
7. I got that Dilla, Premo, Swizzy flow.
Most Sacrilegious and Delusional; Most Infuriating to Anyone with Taste and Good Sense: Wale in “I’m on One.” IN FACT, HIS FLOW IS NOT WELL-SUITED TO ANY OF THOSE PRODUCERS. Well, maybe Swizz.
Most Incorrect too. Replace the “I” in that sentence with “T3,” “Guru,” or “DMX,” then come back and see me.
I find Wale to be so intensely unlikeable as a human being that it’s hard for me to admit this next thing, BUT: I do like that N—s George Foreman grillin’/Shit I spit that rope-a-dope line. Everybody wanna hear a good Ali rap now and then; Wale knows. He’s got some good sports references. I can appreciate that. He also gets points for using “geechy” in a song circa 2011. However, this does not detract from the fact that he just seems like such a rude person. He’s the dude that says “AY. (pause) AY!” as a flirtation technique when you walk by and when you don’t respond he calls you stuck up or goes psssshhhhh (which means “She’s stuck up”). I’m speaking for all ladies with that one.
8. Best Closing Salutation: RZA in an interview by The Guardian.
It also gets the honor of Least Cynical Moment of the Week, and it slowed the world down for a sec and reminded me what’s really important. I have a tiny bit of a problem with the sentence that precedes his goodbye (RZA’s need to announce that he’s our collective daddy figure. It turns me off.) but I still find this quote amazingly comforting. RZA says Wu-Tang forever right before he walks away from you. What a freaking superhero. I imagine that having a conversation with him would result in me being so happy, my enthusiasm would make me lose control of my limbs and my ability to speak clearly. I’d want to go in for a hug but I’d lose my nerve. The result would be an awkward handshake/dap combo.
9. Best Use of Curren$y. Curren$y of the Week. Best Curren$y I Done Heard Since I Last Did a Curren$y Post: Curren$y, “You See It.”
Marvel at my stance at your girl
What she think, she can’t even respond
Cause her mind is now mine, fool
I ain’t lying, let’s just cross the couch
Sleeping with my shoes on just in case
I have to wake up and be out
Once again it’s on
Mama bring my bong to the game room
With nothing but some panties on
And them Bape socks that I gave you
Never once on probation but your man’s on his papers
Spendin’ them, stackin’ them, feelin’ them
Wrappin’ em, lightin’ em, never passin’ em.
That bong/panties part! Curren$y thinks he’s bossed up, like I’m going to respond to an order to be a sex robot. STOP TELLING ME WHAT TO DO, CURREN$Y, but really I mean please continue telling me what to do please. The song as a whole is forgettable, lacking something I can really swoon over – like the fuzzy THC bass of “Montreux” and that drum pattern of “Success is My Cologne.” But this week’s Best Curren$y has that nice power dynamic in its lyrical content. Bring my bong to the game room in just your chonies. Rakim’s the soul controller; Curren$y’s the mind controller (i.e., the soft-female-body-parts controller. That’s how this soft female operates, anyway). Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go take my boyfriend his medicine, which he will need in order to get relaxed yet focused for his upcoming billiards game. He promised he’d read me some more of the phone book tonight (he’s on “J” already!).
10. Best Use of Horns Since Trick Daddy’s “Shut Up”: Big Sean & Kanye, “Marvin Gaye and Chardonnay.”
Kanye’s not a Dude Who I’d Like to Read Me the Phone Book Out Loud (he’d go to the “Dick” section for last names and try to be funny, true to his 11-year-old boy tendencies). This week he has the honor of earning Best Impression of Waka by an 11-Year-Old Trapped in a Prissy Adult Male Chicagoan’s Body. I should say Best Impression of Drumma Boy too, since that beat is so severely jacked I worry that Kanye has trouble sleeping at night. His conscience just terrorizes him. Anyway, the song is lazy and cliche-ridden, Kanye West is the least sexy person in music, and why the fuck would I listen to a song about listening to Marvin Gaye when I could just put I Want You on the hi-fi and lounge around in my panties and Bape socks. Duh.
Best Excuse for Me to Post My Marvin Gaye Denim Photo Series: Big Sean and Kanye West, “Marvin Gaye and Chardonnay.”
Let’s Get It On (AKA “the denim-shirt session”) was recorded here. Jesus knows I don’t go west of La Brea if I can help it, but I have made a special trip to honor Marvin. The ghosts are still around, I can feel ’em when I walk by.
Do I automatically like a rap video if it’s animated? Am I that easy? Other self-questions this week (i.e., things I stated, out loud, to myself in disbelief):
Lil B is on the next Weezy mixtape?,
Bob Mould is gay??, and
That liftoff sound. 00:26 – 00:30. What is that sound called? It’s on every mixtape from the states of Georgia and Alabama. It’s gotta have a name, right? Email me, somebody. I’ll send you a dirty picture* as a big fat thank you.
*Not of me, but still. Be grateful.