Friday, May 28, 2010

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.

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.)


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

“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.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Leavin the bodega I say “suave.”

1. Synthetic substitutions, like the generic version of Klonopin and that song by Melvin Bliss, are essential for psychological soothing.

2. “Living for that breakbeat,” said by Mel junior, is an exceedingly accurate and concise summary of my life thus far.

3. Person who will be making that doc about Ray Bryant, call me so we can start our flirty-tension-leading-to-sexual-gratification courtship.

Crate Kings
, I'm still in love with you.

Ray Bryant – “Up Above the Rock”


Butterfly in the sky/I can go twice as hiiiiiigh. Plus new Mos Def!

Me and my precious new rectangular baby, How to Wreck a Nice Beach!

It was a lovely weekend. Special shout to Stories, the good people at Urban Outfitters who make consistently pretty dresses for girls with hips, the “Ha Ha” instrumental, Bruce Haack, Nutella always, Bob Power for being named Bob Power and for ruling, KCRW for playing Little Willie John's “My Love Is” at the exact perfect moment on Sunday afternoon, and Mr. Tompkins, of course. Even in a perfect world, where everyone was equal, Dave would most likely own the film rights and be working on the sequel.

But don't take my word for it.

“Reading Rainbow" theme. Horrendous sound quality, but kindly disregard that.


Joe Tex - “Buying a Book.”


Gil Scott-Heron featuring Mos Def - “New York is Killing Me.” Mos added his verse, cleaned up the BP oil spill, then rode off into the sunset.


(Thank you, Pitchfork)


Sunday, May 23, 2010

When Steele cooks beef/The smoke'll never clear.

The head of the Republican Party criticized Senate candidate Rand Paul on Sunday for questioning the landmark Civil Rights Act and said the Kentucky libertarian's views were out of step with the party and country. [Reuters]

Heaven! Oh, it's heaven.

Republican in-fighting is a joyful, lovely thing, and it's all this lady needs on a this particular Sunday to wash away the grime and escape the miasma of urban woe. Michael Steele called out Rand Paul for his criticism of the Civil Rights Act; this was the correct thing to do, which marks the first time I've approved of Michael Steele's behavior. Rand Paul's already done a quick side-step, turn-around, backpedal, "nevermind" dance following the fallout from his remarks, because that's what shit-talkers always do. He also says he does, after all, support the Act, make no mistake about it, because shit-talkers are also liars. Anyway, the whole thing is fun, plus, YOU GUYS, this is just like Jimmy vs. Cam, only the Huffington Post is the arena instead of Kay Slay's show!

Unfortunately, this is unlikely to affect Mr. Paul's political trajectory, as people just do not give even a little bit of a fuck about Michael Steele and what he says. I bet even he knows it. This is not cause to feel sorry for him, since E-40 teaches that if you live by the dirt, you die by the shovel.

Mos Def - “Johnny Too Beef.” Because I must've posted BDP's "Beef" in a previous post. I must have.



Friday, May 21, 2010

Then came the worst date, May 21st/2:19, that's when my mama water burst.

Obviously MCs are mythologized in my head and they kind of talk to me as I make my way through each day, giving me pep talks and inspiring me with joyful and creative wordplay. Yancy Thigpen couldn't catch me sleepin; On my feet is venom/see I'm dressed to kill (I always wear heels to work), blah blah. Their births, therefore, must be celebrated. It just so happens that Biggie's birthday falls on this particular Spring day in which so much is irritating and sad. Sorry, Chris.

Oil-covered animals are washing up ashore, I hate HAAATE that dash in The-Dream's name, Arizona, Texas, and Kentucky are in a 3-way battle for Evil Supremacy within these United States (the "Atlantic Triangular Trade," fucking hell), and Christopher Wallace is gone and he's never coming back (never, not EVER). Then there's this "6 Unexpected Ways to Turn Him On" story today, pushed hard by Yahoo (I refuse to put the exclamation point; I'm an adult). I knew I'd have to make fun of it before I read one word in the body, as "turn him on" is so comical, like something from Cosmo in '86. This feature is part of the larger body of Internet theme pieces that compile alluring qualities of people of each gender - a theme that is annoying and stupid, but that I wish I had thought of because people really seem to love it, as evidenced by their enthusiastic comments and such. People get riled up when you tell them to do this, and not to do that, if you want someone to love you.

This particular list is BS, I'm afraid, as there are no statements of requirements related to sex, a girl maintaining a nice weight even after babies, voting appropriately, and possessing the good sense to be quiet when she knows that talking would just ruin the moment. Even I look for these qualities in girls and I'm not even looking to date a girl. It's just human decency.

1. She Appreciates "Nontraditional" Beauty
. I love feedback - the squealing sound produced by guitars held close to amps. Feedback sounds like a rusty door, a dying cat, or a pack of whales crying in the ocean. When I share the ultimate feedback song, Smashing Pumpkins' "Drown," with a girl, she usually refers to the feedback-laden ending as "senseless noise." But in my opinion, it's a carefully orchestrated, creative way to use a sonic element of the guitar.

I'm not sure why I can't just walk away from this one instead of dignifying it with a response, but I must take the bait and address that "dying cat" reference. Girls don't like to be reminded that animals die (please refer to the second paragraph of this post) - especially if they are sweet and furry animals like kitties. Further, JIMI is the feedback don; his version of the Star-Spangled Banner is the song you must play in order to gauge a lady's sensitivity to the mating call of the guitar. Additionally, there is an annoying band from Los Angeles called the Silversun Pickups that bite the sound of Billy Corgan & co. like it's '94 all over again (which, of course, it is, but only when it comes to rap music). Basically, I'm just leading up to this: I wish one of my favorite rappers would do an "Ava Adore" freestyle.

2. She Faces Reality. People avoid reading about bad things that happen in the world, but it's important to have perspective and realize the world is good - and bad.

Is this even true? I only give my body and time and energy to someone who is brilliant and strong, appreciative of my smarts, affectionate, and can give a rough estimate of when Rawkus started to go downhill. Therefore, I simply don't know what most mortal human boys like and need. So is this one true or not?
Realize the world is bad? I thought a sunshiny outlook was best. Do boys like a girl who watches CNN and then discusses world issues, frowny-faced and with a heavy heart? Is the art of escapism not appreciated among you? Please inform. (FYI, she should be watching BBC World News instead.)

3. She Doesn't Do What Everyone Else Does. The media embraces certain things, and many people follow. But, to most guys, followers are boring, and independent thinkers are sexy. Set trends on your own and buck established ones.

This one is just disingenuous, since "independently thinking" is probably only acceptable inasmuch as it does not interfere with a girl's commitment to shaving her legs and taking her birth control. I should've ignored this one on sheer principle, since "The media embraces certain things" is a poorly constructed sentence opener that just makes no sense and now I'm complicit in its promotion on the Internet. Nice, Logan.

4. She's Tuned in to the World. A few weeks ago, I read about a disease wiping out entire colonies of bats along the East Coast. The article confirmed my worst fears: As the bats disappear, the insect populations they feed on will explode. When I relay this story to most women I meet they say, "Why should I care?" There seems to be a dearth of people who have a passion about the world.

Science is the greatest and any girl worth marrying knows that, but 1) fuck a bat, and 2) all bugs should die because it scares me when I see one unexpectedly. And, really, who isn't tuned into the world? Are we not assuming that all girls read the paper and watch Rachel Maddow every day? Because we should assume that, as this is the standard to which we should be holding our girls. Anyway, we're spending too much time on this. Let's tune in to some world events. There's new Oddisee to discuss and obsess over. And pull your head out of your ass, because Texas is trying its hardest to get back into the Confederacy.

5. She Can Tell a Good Story. Storytelling is a gift that requires a sense of timing and an understanding of an audience. A good storyteller is intriguing but hard to find.

It's the birthday of Biggie Smalls, the fourth-best storyteller after Aesop, Slick Rick, and Captain Koons in Pulp Fiction, and any lady worth dating is obviously going to know that. I can't really tell a story for shit (I mix up my metaphors and get nervous from the pressure), but goddammit if I can't hand you a list of 100 microphone kings with great narrative ability. This would make me wife material if it weren't for the fact that I refuse to participate in the institution of marriage until it's legal for my beloved gays to do the same - in every state. So, for now, you and I will just sleep together and go record shopping together, but part ways after that and return to our own apartments for quiet time, personal time. It's rough, I know.

6. She Can Talk About "Boy Stuff." Sometimes, I spout off "boy stuff" (read: sports) and unfairly expect a girl to keep up, but I do talk about my fair share of "girl stuff" - cooking, fashion, hair - to deserve a few conversations about serial killers and horror movies.

Cronenberg and Argento, obviously. But the serial killers thing? Is that true? I feel so lost.

I know about Gacy and the clowns, and I guess there's something cool and outlaw-ish about those guys as a whole if you sort of detach yourself from the emotion -the taking of human life and evading the law, pretty G - but a whole conversation about serial killers is off-putting to me and the rest of my ladies, all the chickenheads from Pasadena to Medina. Boy stuff, if you must mark it as such and place it over on that side of the room (away from girl stuff), should maybe be reserved for talk between you and your boys. Not every girl cares about basketball and funny old pictures of KG at the high school prom, even though in a perfect world every girl would because that's some of the best stuff in life. Also, why are your gender attitudes cribbed from Father Knows Best?

I wish Big were here, but I'm OK. (I say this because I want to be). Devin the Dude still makes albums, I'm loving the delicious LeBron-Delonte dramaticals, plus I found out that me and Rizz use the same technology portal!

Being the proud owner of a trusty Toshiba laptop makes a girl feel alluring and classy, like a tall, lanky, and spectacular music producer with kung-fu, chess, and comic book fetishes. Once again, Robert saves the day. WU-TANG, UBER ALLES.

DJ Anthony - "Brooklyn Bomb."



Tuesday, May 18, 2010

No Fucking Way (Zen Master edition) | Anita P. | Bad rap music | Guilty & me, on that midnight train

Phil Jackson is a bad person and a pretty substantial asshole? Nofuckingway.

Why you people never saw this before is beyond me.
(not to sound like a jerk. Sorry.)

Rappers have ghostwriters, my blonde highlights aren't from the sun, and rich men like to hold onto their money. Phil Jackson's salary is rumored to be around $12 million. Wake up from dreamworld at some point, babycakes.

Phil is, I'm guessing with so much certainty that it's not even a guess anymore, a GOP supporter. There are some nefarious goings-on at play in the boardrooms of successful business organizations, including such businesses as national sports franchises, and shiny championship rings are so blinding that they prevent us from seeing it.

It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness, Tolstoy said. It's also amazing that a tall, deep-voiced white man with a calming presence can throw around snippets of the teachings of Siddhartha and completely delude everyone into thinking he's some kind of hippie. Phil's got Buddhist mystique but he’s clearly hollow inside, driving his Boxster to Iyengar class, popping Viagra, going to sushi with Russ Simmons probably a couple times a year. Dude is just a jerk. A cold, hard, hollow man who is rich and who favors awful and unconstitutional immigration laws.

That said, LAKERS IN 2.

Steely Dan - "Bodhisattva."


El-P, on the other hand, is the good kind of asshole! The very best kind, in fact. "Whores: the Movie," via the Village Voice.



There's all this talk of Exile on Main Street, everywhere, just all over, because it's being reissued. The only redeeming thing about this is that it makes everyone fall in love again with Billy Preston's piano wizard hands, and it provides me an opportunity to revisit my love of Anita Pallenberg and briefly summarize my feelings about the soft-skinned muses who put male frontmen in heat.

There is simply not enough love for music's inspirational ladies, who often get the disrespectful "groupie" label by unknowing dolts who don't understand the magic of lady power when it comes to good recorded sound. What's that? What could I mean by this? OH NOTHING, just Prince's ENTIRE CAREER. Tina so inspired Ike that he made her the focus, the one to belt out stuff that he had written. Quincy Jones was so inspired by Peggy Lipton's undergarments that the song "PYT" just burst out of him. Then there was Ice-T and Darlene, of course. And Tawny Kitaen, obviously. And now Jay Elec is just murdering the game, slicing and dicing everything in his path, and it's probably because of the sweet love he makes to Erykah.
(Amber Rose, we shall see what kind of production your influence has wrought when your "boyfriend"(?)'s next album hits the streets/Internet. I have my doubts but I'll reserve judgment until I hear the finished product).

In sum: people of Earth, the root of the word music is muse. Give your girlfriend a smooch. Bloody hell, beauty is goodness! Fuck off, Tolstoy.

"Tumbling Dice." If your parents did it right they raised you on Muddy Waters and Howlin Wolf instead of this drivel. That said, it’s hard to get mad at enthusiastic white kids wanting to be cool by copying the greats. I love this song in spite of myself; right around the 2:30 point I just give in to it. All of us women are low-down gamblers, and we're lovable as hell. CLACKETY CLACK.



"Hip-hop is the most important art form in my life, because it is the art of democracy."

Ta-Nehesi at The Atlantic, back at it again with so much truth it kind of knocks you over: "Forever Young," it must be said, is awful - especially in comparison with really great flipped/bounced loops in rap songs over the years.

People who agree with me about bad songs are the coolest and will obviously get linked to on this blog. Nice one, Mr. Coates.


It is clear to me that Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" is about me (small town girl, lonely world) and Guilty Simpson (city boy, south Detroit). I still haven't gotten How to Wreck a Nice Beach but this whole "Journey/bearded Michigan MC" motif that came to me today provided a nice soul-soothing distraction during my workday.

"Drums." Obviously I need the instrumental of this within the next 48 hours or I'll throw a tantrum; however, I do love his vocal on here. He sounds sleepy but still like he could do a whole shift at the factory. Then the chorus comes in with various ways of praising the almighty DRUM! If you say you don't want a part of this you're lying. (Thank you kindly, Stones Throw)



Sunday, May 16, 2010

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.



“Amerikkka's Most Wanted” is 20 today so of course I had to write a love letter to it.

I should have instructed (NWA) to leave Cube behind in Phoenix, where he could have continued his mechanical drafting career. He had hustled back into the group when the Priority deal was finalized, but he was always a major pain in the ass--a complainer, a borderline paranoiac.

‘A paranoiac,’ growled writer William S. Burroughs, ‘is someone who's in complete possession of the facts.’

- Ruthless, Jerry Heller

“Once again it's on,” all our parents heard from our rooms when we got into this album. “The motherfucking psycho.” Ice Cube was a damn baby when this came out--19, almost 20--but remember, those are Black Man in '80s South LA years. I believe the word I'm looking for, then, is “perspective.”

People call the narrator of Amerikkka’s Most Wanted amoral, misogynistic, pockets heavy with ammunition and a fucking chip on his shoulder. I guess, but really, that was the opinion held by people who had nothing to do with me. Those were people afraid of language. All you need to do is listen to the album more than once. I love Black women with a passion, he says, and he puts a girl on a song—Yo-Yo, a girl pretty skilled at rhyming—imploring him to respect her. He didn't fool me when I heard it some years later, a suburbs-raised girl who got along with her parents and was free of tragedy. He wants girls to cover themselves, talks about how great he is and says fuck a lot. This made him no more or less complicated than the people I knew in real life. The cover is lovely (those calm, clasped hands) and the samples used are strangely revealing--Sly, James Brown, Parliament*, music that hits the cerebral and the physical. Then there was the bad guy in the story, of course, the foil to our hero; Jerry Heller played the part of villainous fucking jerk whose attempts at discrediting Cube (“gangsta rapper? Uh, no--try mechanical engineer”) fell blissfully flat.

The empirical is so overrated in music, our need for singers and MCs to have lived it--even I'm guilty of this, though (Drake is a rich kid from Canada! CANADA). But thankfully, nobody deducted points for Cube having 2 loving parents and a career path outside of rap music. He had facts and sad stories, things that happened so many times that they made him sound paranoid, always the same details--sirens, girls, County, bullshit, fakery, authenticity, the constantly defensive stance. He also sounded sure as hell when he described how he would exact revenge on the LAPD.
A realllll pain in the ass, that one, they surely said about him.


Honesty is an overrated quality in an MC.
We were talking from the perspective of a coast, rather from the perspective of one man, said Sir Jinx of the album. Ice Cube wasn’t like, ‘I’m a Crip, I’m a killer.’ He was more so like, ‘This is what can happen in Los Angeles’.” Cube’s not known for his lyrical prowess, which is so much bullshit because he wrote 70% of Eazy's quotables and about half of Straight Outta Compton. Charisma, vocal volume and force combined with sheer insistence is his thing; he gave his best lyrics away to other men. Generosity is an underrated quality in an MC.

NWA started with 5, but 1 couldn’t take it
. So then it became 4 ‘cause the fifth couldn’t make it. When he first walked away, I imagine Cube might've been scared. I'd be. Flying to New York, finding solace with the Bomb Squad, he must've been aware of his talent and supremely confident, but the nerves were probably jangled. It just made him a better protagonist, though. Paranoid, but rightfully so. Heller was pretty powerful during those years.


Some rappers are heaven sent/But “Self-Destruction” don't pay the fucking rent. His words coming out of my bedroom never shocked my parents, a couple of socially aware hippies who possessed equal parts romantic idealism and hard cynicism, although they were probably appropriately concerned that their suburbs-raised daughter was listening to what was basically poverty porn in CD format. I knew nothing of the goings-on in places south of Olympic and east of Vermont. But I liked a good storyteller, and I knew the police were bad (via my parents, the stories about their college years). I liked somebody whose anger makes his stories better (all teenagers do). He was believable and charming. His delivery was uncomplicated. His voice had that great parched sound to it. Also: ganked. Gafflin. I wish somebody'd bring these words back into the lexicon. And while we're on the topic of my hopes and dreams, I also wish they'd have put “Burn Hollywood Burn” on the album. I mean, it was from the same sessions so it would've been easy.


I have a government job, working with homeless men. A few weeks ago, they shut down my regular route to work in downtown LA so they could have a funeral procession for Daryl Gates. I had to drive all the way around the blocked-off area, Figueroa to 1st, up Alameda, then left onto Temple. This added 20 minutes to my commute; I was late to work. There was a client waiting for me in the lobby when I walked in and he asked me where I'd been. I explained, apologized, and evidently didn't do a very good job of hiding my disdain. I was cranky and flustered. But this was mostly just bad planning on my part.

“You didn't hear they were gonna block off Temple?
he asked me. I had heard, but you know. I just didn't give myself enough time. Bad planning.

“I can’t believe it didn't last all day,
he said. “Daryl Gates probably said half that shit in the '80s just to get a king's funeral.”

His public persona was very different from his private one, one of his former subordinates said in an article I read about the funeral, sitting at my desk a while later, still grumbling about the goddamn traffic. I know he got in trouble a lot of times for the things he said, and that's unfortunate because that wasn't his heart. His words were exciting, inflammatory. That's what everyone remembers.

* Amerikkka's samples (zip), courtesy of HipHopIsRead, even though it pains me to think you're getting these in tinny, compressed mp3 format instead of hearty, delicious analog.



Friday, May 14, 2010

Bikini-clad white girls with funny names don't like sports! and other sporty news.

1. Ronn-dohhh, we all yelled. Rondo Rondo! And it worked!

Sorry, Ohio! You had to know it was curtains for you when you played a team with Tony Allen on it. Tony Allen. Aw Ohio, your love's still like a rollercoaster baby baby, I still wanna ride, and you still got Hi-Tek, Bone Thugs, Bootsy, and The Pretenders, plus the Geto Boys used this, below. Get yourself an affirmation + “God is Love” intervention from Rev Run and chin up, buddy.

The Ohio Players - "Skin Tight."


2. LeBron's crew team chic in the photo above is from a GQ feature about NBA press conference style that I saw and promptly devoured.

Wait, LeBron is kind of attractive? I approve of forearm tats and the not-too-closely-cropped hairdo. King without a ring, though! Such a shame.

Kev D with the chest buckle!

Derrick Rose & Dwyane Wade: dictator chic.

"Dwight Howard, looking like he stopped by a Robert Evans/Robert Wagner yard sale." Ha.

Steve pulls off a black trench, even though he's so, SO unfortunate in the face. Unbelievable, the amount of blessings one man can receive in a certain area (physical prowess) while being denied in another (that FACE). Genetics can be quite the joker sometimes.


Ice Cube, if you didn't know, got drama hoes. Jackin for beats, steady mobbin, and this week, his episode of "30 for 30" premiered. He's a busy guy. Cube interviews Al Davis (you must see this, you must), and delves into the history of the LA Raiders vis-a-vis the emergence of NWA. Everyone hated the Raiders for playing dirty and being too violent and for having too many brown young men south of Wilshire as fans (yeah I said it), but when their gear started to sell, everyone was a fan and everyone wanted a piece. The LA Kings changed their colors as a direct result of the Raiders' success, and immediately saw their popularity swell. Violence is a bad and awful thing, except when the kids get into it and start buying shit. This is so clearly a metaphor for '80s hip-hop, O'Shea says it without needing to directly say it.

"Straight Outta LA" will repeat on ESPN all this weekend and next week. Howie Long comes out the gate with an anecdote about being told Al Davis wasted a draft pick on him because he was, although quite large and talented,
white. Howie laughs it off, like all white men should in situations like that. Good job, Howie. And thanks for being nice to me when I was a little kid.

I know I look like a boy, but that's me! A very unphotogenic me.


NYC continues its plea for the guy with the tatted forearms to just give it a chance. New York is convulsing with desperation to get LeBron, and I keep seeing examples of how much New York is dumbing it down in its desperation--offering free lap dances to LeBron if he'll sign with the Knicks and telling him that such luminaries as, uh, John Leguizamo, Martha Stewart, and Tommy Hil (??) want to see him at MSG. New York is like a tough guy who suddenly decides that begging is an effective tactic instead of maintaining the stoic mystery that's always made him so appealing. LL did "I Need Love," and it worked, but that's because it was preceded by tough-guy stuff like "Rock the Bells" and followed up by tough-guy stuff like "Going Back to Cali" and "The Boomin' System." It was just enough vulnerability that it didn't cross the line into simping territory.

I think it's also important to note that LeBron already fucking gets free lap dances, dummy, and he probably gets 'em in places with strip clubs superior to New York's (Atlanta, Miami. Or so I'm told). I feel embarrassed for New York, so sprung and willing to grovel during these times.
Act like you don't care, New York, and Bron'll come running to you. (See, I flipped and bounced Leykis 101.)

5. Will athletes boycott Arizona? This is basically just an article from The Atlantic about what a G Ozzie Guillen is. I love him.

"It's not clear what would happen if a player did refuse to go (play the Diamondbacks in Arizona), and perhaps no one will. The players' union would be obligated to represent a player if he did refuse, but, since there's nothing in baseball's Collective Bargaining Agreement about players refusing to travel because of laws they don't like--or in political protest--the player may not have much of a case. Consequently, the union is unlikely to go out of its way, despite its opposition to the law, to encourage a player to take a doomed stand against his contract and to begin a formal grievance process when, or if, he is fined."

6. I alternate between somber and flippant in this section; you've been warned.

The inner workings of LT's psyche are being bandied about and discursively examined everywhere I look, but this angle from the Huffington Post is one that should probably be more in the forefront. I don't know what happened in the hotel room and neither do you, and there's all this talk of condoms and sex acts and fluids, but the one thing that's not disputed is the fact that the girl was 16. When she's 18, it's prostitution; when she's not yet 18, it's human trafficking.

LT's likely sense of entitlement to buy sex is a sad and gross thing, and it's "yet another example of the most powerful, respected and privileged among us demonstrating the normalization of the sexual exploitation of women and girls. Mr. Taylor is part of what (those) in the anti-trafficking movement call 'the demand that fuels sex trafficking.' Without the demand for commercial sexual exploitation there would be no 16-year-olds or 26-year-olds for that matter, being offered for sale, to Johns by traffickers."

I remain, as always, deeply conflicted when I think about this story--LT has frequently been rewarded professionally for not giving a fuck, so why would we expect a sudden moral trepidation from him when it comes to sex acts? And sure, LT is replete with demons and had it rough growing up, but you know what, I'm guessing this is equally true of the 16-year-old girl whose body he tried to purchase. In the end, unfortunately, there probably isn't an end, a tidy answer or explanation. That tossing of the discursive ball, back and forth, will just have to continue. Men are complicated beings and the socioeconomic/environmental/cultural forces at play in shaping them will always interest me. Also, don't underestimate the redemptive powers of talent. I mean, Ike Turner was an awful guy, but DUDE. HE PRODUCED "PROUD MARY."


The New York Times found a sports-lovin underweight whitegirl and decided it was such a novelty that they wrote a whole piece about her. SI Swimsuit model Brooklyn Decker, who tries unsuccessfully to murder me on my own shit, got the "30 Seconds" treatment a few weeks back to plug a movie and talk about her love of the Tar Heels and Panthers. No disrespect, but I am clearly the superior Girl in Bathing Suit in this arena, and if I wanted to look at a sports dork in a 2-piece, I'd visit my own website* instead of an esteemed publication like the New York Times. TAKE IT ELSEWHERE, MRS. RODDICK.

JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound, "Baltimore is the New Brooklyn." I needed a song with the word Brooklyn in it, obviously. Ha, you thought I was gonna post something by the Boot Camp Clik.