Sunday, August 29, 2010

Plaid: variations on a theme

Now I’m in the limelight due to the fact that I rhyme tight, and also because of my vast knee-high/thigh-high sock collection. These pics are from that one day when Biggie informed my outfit choices, and I strutted around in my red-and-black lumberjack and my pixellated-Biggie-face slouchy tank top, and nobody dared fuck with me. WE DID IT, BROOKLYN.

The only things I know about fashion are

Bathing suits are nice,
it took me a long time to figure out that boys like skinny legs and go crazy when they are paired with short garments + heels; I wish I’d known sooner because I would’ve really capitalized on the shit instead of being awkward and self-conscious about my own terribly skinny legs,
Zac Posen has a mean case of bitchface,
florals will be huge this spring,
I would like a bag from the House of Wang with those DOPE GROMMETS on the bottom!,
there was this one time when K. West and crew went to Paris fashion week and just did not give a collective fuck about how they would be perceived by all the dudes in their old neighborhoods. Other than that, plaid is in for fall, and as someone who is partially made of hardy Scottish stock and who likes songs about red-and-black lumberjacks, I endorse this.

In other plaid news:

I miss this individual and his solid technique of verbal intercourse. And yes, my wistful memories and corresponding photograph are appropriate in this post because houndstooth is a form of plaid. Fall back, pattern police.

“Livin’ Astro.” When rap's Sun Ra tones the weirdness down, he has a Chris Wallace sort of lyrical bent. This could be a Biggie verse, no?

I got my shades, big rock star compared to Elvis
Signin autographs for rappers, while girls move they pelvis
Write songs quickly, for Elton John or Lionel Richie
Call up my butler, get clothes washed by the maid
Ivory soap, this is clean, feel like Cascade
I count the bills, roll to Detroit in Sedan DeVilles
I throw my skully on, big robe like Marvin Gaye
Step in the front row, primetime I move your way
Budweiser Fest soundcheck, demanding more respect
I come correct through the Metro, and turn y'all petrol
I'm up here early bitin donuts sippin on espresso.

Isaac Hayes displays how stunting is, in fact, a habit.
That is all.

Just found out they fucking play Pavement at Urban Outfitters. Not counting the fun I had singing along in my head when I walked around, this was a bad experience. My stress level really suffers because of these kinds of daily intersections of commerce and musical purity. Who cares if the 15-year-old next to me is hearing Pavement on account of shopping in a store headed by a conservative capitalist entrepreneur? She's 15, and it's Pavement, and this means that the music will seep into her and inform all of her choices in life. She might not hear it otherwise, until years later when Natalie the roommate plays it for her during freshman year at UCSB. My mom says it's bad for me, all this mental anguish. But she also says that my sassy mouth is the reason I'm unmarried, so what does she know. Look at Steve there, though. That's a pretty nice haircut (har!). I love the purple v-neck, too. Fashion, baby.

That is all.

If you can rap like this, and we all know you can rap like this, how come you don't rap like this all the time? There's the crushing grind of the rap game, the pressure of feeling pressured. I know the work won't always be sublime. I have a tiny bit of sympathy. But overall, I'm tired of the games and the distracting sidework, Nasir.

I’d rather die in a box than live safe in witness protection
Gotti was a racist, but he still get praises
We don’t give a fuck—gangster is gangster.

Abbey Lee Kershaw has that gap-toothed, tiny-facial-featured beauty that I will just never be able to master. It's frustrating. Fashion loves skinny and white, and I'm both of those, but sadly, fashion does not care for hips and that's why my modeling career peaked when I was 12, then plummeted and landed with a resounding thud. I have confidence that I could pull off something like the look in this photo, though, because I can master nakedness under a plaid button-up, I can master having an adorable bellybutton, and I sure as hell can master a bored expression in front of the camera. This picture is oddly sexy and I can't understand why, although it's that criterion that generally applies to anything sexy. My point is, just please, someone: manipulate an electronic image of me, and give me cartoon antlers.

The Great Typo Hunt has been all over NPR, and the concept is kind of cute--these 2 guys who get little to no ass embarked on a journey to fix all egregious misuses of grammar in signs, ads, and articles. They then wrote a book about their, uh, adventures. I’m kind of like these guys, except with sloppy rap songwriting and production. I see it and I have to call it out; I'm on a mission from God. Maybe one day I’ll write a book about it, and then you’ll all be sorry you ever made fun of me.

Oh look, here's our first example. That awful Game and his buddies Swizzy and Jay Elec (whose presence here confuses and upsets me) have made a song called “Higher,” which is bad and which flips and bounces Bob Marley's “Iron Lion Zion” incorrectly. “I'm gonna be higher,” they believe the chorus goes--except somebody didn't pay attention to the fact that the song is called “Iron Lion Zion,” and there is no mention of the word “higher” in there. It sounds like “higher” because Swizz, I guess, cannot understand Jamaican patois, but all he had to do was consult the title of the song he chopped up and looped. This is just lazy songwriting, and more proof that the best thing Swizz Beats ever did was play hypeman to DMX on Chappelle's Show. That's where he excelled.

Ciccone Youth!

Mike Watt is never not lumberjackin', sartorially speaking. Always with the flannel button-ups, that one. But you know, you're in San Pedro, you got the onshore flow, it's overcast. Dress in layers. They did a piece about him in the LA Times over the weekend that was entertaining and delightful. His feelings about Iggy Pop and, more importantly, BASS, are summed up below. Watt will always be the same, even with creaky bones and gray hair, just like Adam Yauch.

Iggy's a great cat, as a music person, but he actually knows a lot about culture. He's very intelligent. I've learned so much about being a better bass player from that guy. There's these guys that don't operate machines, they have different perspectives of the sound; they're more like conductors, almost like a bridge to the people. So they can help you, especially with bass, because it's kind of mysterious how bass works. It's not just a guitar. It's a weird thing, kinda like grout between the tiles.

OHSHIT SONNNN. Gallo's a disgusting Republican jerkoff but he keeps good company. VMAs, '94. Snoop must've magically risen from that wheelchair.

First of all, this is just an excellent photograph. It's full of joy and movement. Who knew Jehovah's Witnesses could swagger so convincingly.

Second, it's MJ's birthday. That's why “Human Nature” was all over popular radio today, even though they should've been playing “The Way You Make Me Feel” (late-'80s MJ), “Say, Say, Say” (early-'80s-underrated-pop-duet-banger MJ), “You Haven't Done Nothing”* (mid-'70s-backing-Stevie-Wonder-with-his-brothers MJ), or “I Wanna Be Where You Are,” from the heartbreakingly-innocent-face era of MJ. OH, or “It's Great to be Here.”




Tuesday, August 24, 2010

That new Black Milk video presents everything grand and joyful about life in just under 4 minutes.

There's the Stevie Wonder mention, the rapper-who-can-produce and producer-who-can-rap factor, and, of course, the undisputed mightiness of DRUM LOOPS (front and center in every Black Milk creation). And after watching it 12 times, I've noticed that this video work that's been commissioned by Black Milk to accompany the music has every fantastic thing about life, large and small, that makes all the rotten things about life worth dealing with.

An overall masculine carriage. Seeing a handsome young gentlemen from a major metropolitan area executing the getting-out-the-car move, followed by the look-behind move, all in one fluid mating-call performance. I don't wanna get into or think about the complicated and heavy history between the black man and the white woman in America; I just wanna say Be still my shy, nerdy, suburban-raised heart when I see this, have my heart swell with appreciation and a little lust, and then I wanna move on to the next thing. Watching this part in the video, which is of course in slow motion, I know exactly what all the girls must've felt like seeing David Ruffin on stage.

Boldness, cleanness, unclutteredness. Contrast. Simplicity. Pleasing-to-the-eye-ness.
(particularly of the sans-serif kind)

Individuals whose whole identity is wrapped up in how tall they are. Those people are the best.

Body needlework in a place that must've been painful.
Facial scruff.

The hero shot.

Legendary humans. Fitteds. Appreciation. Buddies. Bowing your head in reverence to those greater than ourselves.

Feelin like Jesus/Superman.


Something well-built and shapely that is not a girl in a bathing suit. (although we love those, too).
Bending corners. Sunshine on chrome.
That shade of blue.
American sturdiness (when cars were metal instead of plastic).
The city of Detroit.
This is also the part where Royce says he's old school like Dean Pritchard.


Fluffy nimbus clouds and the bright blue sky.
People applying themselves (At 1:47, Royce's voice suddenly takes on a loudness and urgency, like he just realized he's on a track about slaying individuals lyrically and that song happens to be produced by Black Milk. So, you know, time for the A Game.)
Large egos that are deserved due to one's skill set (“I don't even write seriously; I just fuck around”).

“Pockets go green like it was Earth Day.” Cash.
German cars.
A pop of perfect blue against gray and black and concrete drabness.

That shade of blue! (looks better in the video; this pic can't quite capture it)
White Ts on dudes.
(Gentlemen, you’ll never understand it. I don’t understand it.
But when they are wrinkle-free and have that freshly-laundered smell, they are pure aphrodisiacal magic.)

Social criticism. Parodying dummy right-wingers.
(from the way this is framed in the video, it's clear that this sticker is ironic and the whole shot has a mocking tone.
At least, that's how it appears to me. But I'm right about most things.)

Rappin in sync with your friend(s) while driving! Is anything better? (No.)

Pausing for introspection. Thinking about yourself and where you fit in this crazy world.

Gerard Victor Atillo, don't know how you did it but I'm glad you did. Just, next time, try to include Ron Artest, my mom, bathing suits, Nutella, and kittens.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Stupid: variations on a theme

The poison is bad for ya, stupid.

Aside from the ones that are so obvious we stop even noticing—Glenn Beck, Andy Breitbart, Shark Week, CNN, the design of all Trader Joe's parking lots—there are many stupid things that surround us, and I need to call 'em out. When people exaggerate they use the adjective “countless”; there are countless stupid things in this world, one might say. I was able to quantify all the stupidity from last week, though, and then I placed my findings in a handy list for you.

- This news that Fat Beats is closing in NY and LA. What's so stupid is not just the punch in rap history's stomach here, but additionally: WHERE ELSE can I go to purchase Living Legends 12”s while dressed like a stripper librarian and being overly self-conscious with my heels clicking on the wooden floor? As is always the case in my times of stress and heartache, I only want a member or close ally of CoFlow to provide me with consolation; Mr. Len, thank God, stepped up. His eulogy is about 2 sentences long, but he deserves a break because he's writing from a place of stress and heartache. And he manages to work in “Internet you crafty son of a bitch you win again,” a little ray of comic sunshine in an otherwise sad news story (Atlantic Monthly).

- Madlib x overpriced coffee, courtesy of Intelligentsia. No way in hell could Madlib ever be stupid, or say or do one stupid thing, so this gimmicky nonsense is clearly Chris Manak's doing. Gimmicks are stupid, especially when they are tie-ins with crowded and sense-overloading coffee depots that frighten hip-blessed nerdy girls with social anxiety disorder. And OH THE IRONY, since Madlib has no need for stimulants of the caffeinated sort--he is holed up in his bunker most of the time with his 12"s and subsides only on Nitrogen atoms from the sky above and acai extract that he got from a shaman atop Corcovado.

PS, Monchie’s been telling his bros about Madlib because Monchie, I guess, thinks that his bros haven't heard of Madlib? It appears that Monchie believes it is currently 1996. (I do too, though, so it’s ok. The Score is a great CD! Can't wait for the Fugees' next 3 or 4 albums).

Asked about the appeal of the look to the opposite sex, Mr. Hunter said, “It just gets a dirty idea in your head. Like, 'This girl is wild,' or it's just very sexual, like, 'Let's degrade this person.'”

- Mark Hunter, on the appeal of the "dirty girl" look to the opposite sex

- “Dirty Girls.” The NY Observer's story on them is about 4 years too late (they interviewed the Cobrasnake), but the siren call of the unwashed ladymuse does not appear to be waning in its power. The quote above is outrageously stupid, but I approve of the trend because it expands the definition of female beauty--physical imperfections show up in V mag and we realize they are lovely, not unlike ourselves and our own numerous imperfections. It’s like the Rawss phenomenon among suburban kids—you listen to him and you’re like Hey! I could do that! Makes you feel pretty good. It’s too bad we need imperfections to show up in V in order to realize our own imperfections are lovely, and it's too bad that you're only allowed to pull off this look if you are a thin girl and a white girl, but that’s a topic too vast and wide for me to cover here. I’d like to point you in the direction of a Naomi Wolf or bell hooks essay, thank you.

- Fabulous' “Body Count”? So stupid! These “dead people” of which he speaks are former US presidents and statesmen whose faces adorn the currency in his pocket. This is a cute concept, and I'm surprised nobody thought of it before (go Brooklyn!) The stupid part (aside from his monotonous voice and complete lack of microphone-related charisma) is the line where he describes unworthy adversaries as such: The competition is a skinny bitch: no body. This is not so much “Loso, you’re stupid” as it is “Loso, you hurt my feelings”; as a skinny bitch with hips and a soft pillowy bosom like pow, I am particularly qualified to point out that there are outliers among us bony featherweight types. Even if we account for the fact that 98% of us who are skinny do lack body, we should remember that lacking body is not a bad thing according to a thousand Tumblrs. Fabolous clearly has not seen those photoblogs in which underweight white ladies are presented as silent, topless, bird-like creatures that you are supposed to want to make vigorous love to. Worship her until her beautiful smooth-skinned shell cracks and she transfers her magical life elixir into your breath and bloodstream. Then give her a sandwich and encourage her to stop smoking, 'cause it's just not ladylike. Also, Loso, failing to mention of Ice-T even once in a song called “Body Count” is stupid.

- Lawsuits. They are not stupid on their own, but when formerly virile New York MCs are the plaintiffs in lawsuits, they quickly turn into sad and stupid exercises. I'm referring here to Method Man suing vast quantities of something called “Juggalos” and/or their representatives.

Many moons ago, before the Clan got torn asunder on account of death and bickering, Meth was the biggest and the toughest, a real ladykiller with that charisma and sense of humor. Dudes had a crush on him, too. But years of record industry foolishness has apparently taken its toll, for now he is a bitter old man who does not realize how foolish he looks, nor the comedy gold inherent in a chubby 19-year-old in Iowa being able to brag to his boys, "Method Man sued me!" The least possible G thing you can do is sue somebody, followed closely by “make up a criminal past just to see if people believe you” and “hustle for followerz.” Lawsuits are for cranky old men and celebrities afraid of being called gay. The hardheaded never learn. Stop actin stupid, Mef.

(there I am on the left, pretending to make out with Robert Fripp. OMG, look at my prepster chic ensemble and new espadrilles! Cuuuuuute.)

- The “Power” remix is stupid. No, not Swizz’s ridiculous and pointless part where they just let him yammer on for a while, loudly shouting annoying hypeman platitudes to Kanye from the booth—although that part is really stupid. What I’m referring to is Kayne Omari rapping about sex, in the least-convincing collection of rhymes since Rawss talked about kilos and work and gunplay. Aw Jesus. It's so stupid because WE DON’T BELIEVE YOU, SIR. Nobody thinks you actually return home from the club with something to poke on! (sorry Mom). Murakami and Jeremy Scott raps are where you excel and nobody can take that away from you. Let's stick with what we know. I don't think that's actually you on Twitter, neither, but that intern does a mean impression of you.

- Expensive shoes! They're stupid. Beautiful, though.

These delicious and dreamy Miu Miu stripper-librarian oxblood ankle-strap 5-inch penny loafer platforms are called Amarena colored in the store (amarenas are Italian cherries). In apt. 15, I prance around in ‘em and feel so smug that they match my ox blood Porsche, which of course match my rims--and those, in turn, remind me of blood hitting his Timbs. Still, my intellect will win out, I'm afraid. Paying September’s rent is smart; buying a pair of shoes that are equivalent to September’s rent is stupid. I’m too fiscally responsible to buy these at full price so the prance-around-the-apartment scene will remain a fantasy. But I have exceedingly good breeding and knowledge of social graces, so I’ll curtsy and say “Thank you, kind sir” if/when you present them to me. Then I’ll put ‘em on so I can keep it sleazy while in the stacks, returning books to their proper home according to the Dewey Decimal System.

Wally-esque bootie heels! Successfully unifying stupid with amazing, these are necessary for Pepper Potts role-play dress-up time as part of my sexual repertoire. I need to impress my boyfriend with the feminized version of the Clarks classic. I can get 'em in any color you want, but it’d be like blue and cream, if you really, in fact, know what I am saying.

- Everyone please calm down about that tragic Biebs/Rae/Kanye thing that appears to be actually happening, maybe; you're being stupid. (I'm posting this from my bunker with my Living Legends 12”s where I'm writing letters in blood to Daniel Dumile, begging him to impregnate me so that something good and pure and real will emerge out of my body and remind me that there’s still beauty in this cold, dead world. And yet, it's you all that I'm telling to calm down. Heh. Stupid.)

- People tell me that there is a hiphop fest called Rock the Bells. What's stupid about that? Everyone loves hundred-degree heat, expensive bottles of water, and rappers past their prime. The stupid thing here is that there is a hiphop fest called Rock the Bells, and LL has never performed at this fest, which is called Rock the Bells. This seems impossible, but I did some fact-checking and it's really true. I wasn't there but believe me, here's what it looked like yesterday when the Remnants of the Wu took the stage.

Ha! Thanks for indulging me. I’m being stupid.

- Raekwon's Gold Superfantastic Edish of OB4CL2 has a Travis Barker remix on it, and that's stupid. Mr. Barker has some kind of odd stranglehold over the rap collab and remix world, and I really feel out of it, like I missed the boat entirely. I'm lost. Crawling back into my bunker soon. But at least there's no Biebs on the album, and at least it's more Rae being released into the universe, and at least there's this song, which turned me into a weed smoker after years of remaining abstinent, even though I went to college at UC Santa Cruz! It's called "Rockstars," featuring GZA, the production work of GZA's cousin, and Inspectah Deck doing a dopeish Bun B impression, and I need to know from whence that guitar snippet came, before it got chopped n' looped n' caressed into this.

Mac Dre - “Get Stupid.” It was either this or any one of E-40's songs--but I feel like this site already heartily supports E-40's songs. The women like me—I’m dipped in butter/I’ll rob your brother, pimp the blood out your mother. This is where the definition of "stupid" suddenly changes. "Stupid" is now "great" and "knocking," because this song is fucking stupid. I mean, really really dumb. Nearly retarded.