Saturday, November 27, 2010

I'm in love with my car radio, episode 34,000

I'm your Internet girlfriend and I don't ask a lot of you, other than daily shoulder rubs and you laughing at my jokes. And every once in a while I want you all to pay close attention when I start to go on and on about individual songs on popular radio. This is as close to egotism as I get.

(PS, I'd also like everything I do to be written about in Futura Bold Italic against a red background, like in a Barbara Kruger piece or a Supreme anything. Other than that, I am humble and lack egotism).

On the mighty 101 freeway this evening, I heard some fine pop music; 64 miles, 94 minutes, 10 radio stations, and 7 “Bottoms Up”s later (SEVENNNN, I swear to god, I counted), I have made my selections and here they are: the best “driving back to LA from Mom's after Thanksgiving” songs and what they mean to me. What they mean to all of us.

“This Christmas,” Donny Hathaway. And so it was decreed on this day that the only Christmas songs allowed in apt. 15 are this Donny H. classic, “Christmas in Hollis,” that Pogues one, Prince's “Another Lonely Christmas,” and “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” with Darlene Love's crybaby vocals ripping up the insides of my heart (the effect it was supposed to have, probably because Spector was poking her with a hot wire hanger just outside the booth to get the best performance out of her).

When I’m between salon visits, my hair starts to turn reddish because my highlights are fading. It is during these times that several people have commented that I resemble noted American pornographic thespian Faye Reagan. I don’t see it, other than you can see my freckles when I don't wear makeup. But that’s ok, because she is pretty. I'll take it. Sometimes I also get Anne Hathaway with lighter hair, because we both have those too-large eyes (baby deer lost in the forest). “Anne with highlights,” my mom says. I'll take that too, because Anne Hathaway is pretty and because the comparison makes me feel close to Donny Hathaway. Anyway, Donny's version of this song is the gold standard, the beginning and the end, the only one, pure, uncut, straight from the fields of Afghanistan. This is the ONLY version of this song you’re allowed to listen to. I mean it. I will turn this car around. You can have Kanye and your other false prophets; I'll take Donny and his quiet suffering, his turtlenecks, and his doomed, beautiful voice.

“Bottoms Up,” Trey Songz. This was played 7 doggone times during my time on the freeway tonight, you guys. I guess the evil little playlist-compiling elves at ClearChannel were thinking that that this would be good to drink to at your uncle's house. I was mad at the frequency with which I heard it, and yet I have not lost any appreciation for the song’s woooahhh-oh-ohhh intro, with Trey doing his moaning Kels impression*, the drumroll at 00:47, the double-timed “up”s during the last part of the hook, or the way the whole song is put together. Nice job, KaneBeatz. I hate Nicki’s verse, though, where she does babytalk and starts off with a list of different kinds of booze. It’s like in “Monster,” when Jay just lists a bunch of scary things (demons, ghouls) and then asks what they have in common. UHHH THAT’S NOT RAPPING, SHAWN.

*I can sing this whole part, with no breaks or pitchiness. I also nail every single I know in “Ain't No Sunshine” whenever it comes on the radio. BREATH CONTROL.

Vince, who I swear I've seen around my neighborhood, getting his American Spirits at the store on my block.

“Linus and Lucy,” Vince Guaraldi. Of course this is burned into our childhood memories, the Peanuts kids dancing to it, but please disregard that and listen to the whole thing with fresh ears, as it is lovely and trance-inducing. My brother also informed me that this song powered a Pat Duffy skate part. The only other jazzy tune I know of in the history of skate parts was “Traneing In” in Video Days. And now, as always, I am thinking about how much fun being a boy must be. Girls don’t have that gene that makes you guys want to hurl yourselves off of things, and that’s fine. But every time I see a good skate video part, or hear anything from It’s Dark and Hell is Hot, I get jealous and think being a dude sure seems like it would be fun. Luckily, being a girl is fun enough for me 'cause we get to wear cuddly lounge-y cashmere underthings*. Also fun: this song's meter changes while battling traffic at the 101-405 interchange. That's some joy in my Japanese coupe right there, you blockhead.


want/need. Thank you in advance, based god.

“Sunny,” Bobby Hebb.
I never said a proper goodbye to Bobby and I should have. But hey, have you ever heard James Brown’s hot burning fire version of this song? You should.

(best YouTube comment:

Lady Gaga, you piece of crap. Watch God's incarnation of groove, bow down to Sir unbeatable electrifying unreachable Mr. James Brown and repent, you good for nothing illuminati bitch.

I’d say it were time for this person to attend anger management class, except I completely agree with him.)

“Shotgun,” Jr. Walker & the All-Stars. They say guns clap just like people do, right? I done been down this road before, all pleased with myself for realizing that Jr. Walker and Dilla both decided to call one of their songs “Shotgun.” Must be a Detroit thing. This one’s about high heels and shooting somebody, just like all the best Clipse songs, and of course it all makes wonderful and perfect sense.

“The Return of the D.ST,” De La. 1) Handclappy intros are the best. 2) If something’s, uh, coming, it’s always a nice touch to announce it. Just a couple times, though—if you start saying it too far in advance, and too often, the other person who's there stops believing you. HI MOM.


“No Hands,” Waka. Stripper songs, stripper songs, guess which one of your favorite nerdy lady bloggers loves stripper songs. All we ladies want in a man is 1) a combination of Wale in “No Hands,” 2) Obama, and 3) our dad/grandpa/nice uncle. That is, someone who sweats out weaves, has a powerful presence without resorting to shouting, and tells us Don't ever change, you're perfect and beautiful, but still calls us on our shit since someone always agreeing with you is boring. It took me a little while to give in to Waka and his lovely cheekbones, but here I am. (Thanks for saving me a seat, you guys; nice to see you all here!)

I have many questions about life. So many questions. How come nobody told me about the MF Based mixtape, for example. When will Nipsey and Wiz eat a cheeseburger (so skinny, those boys!). How come Jay-Z never did a verse in which he referred to himself as having x amount of JIGGA WATTS (Back to the Future on TV earlier today). Where is Jeezy. Why doesn't Plies go by Algernod Washington instead because that is a far superior name. Whyyy. And finally: how long will oddballs rule the rap game, bodying everything and everyone with their siren songs. Rap is only going to get weirder in the world in which we live, our own Theatre of the Absurd. I cannot wait.

“All I Want is You,” Miguel feat. J. Cole. All we ladies want when a dude is mean to us is for him to lose some sleep and be very very sorry. There should be some karmic payback for every cruel deed committed, just to make some sense of this crazy world. This song’ll get that estrogen flowing, like when Gaga comes on the playlist loop at H&M and me and all my sistren among the racks of $25 skirts have that tiny, private moment of joy and sing along in our heads.

I wonder sometimes/I wonder if I was wrong/Tryna do right by you got me here/Now all I am is alone. Ah yes. Of course. I recognize an “I cheated; I'm an idiot” lyric when I hear one. 'Cause her eyes, and those hips/And that ass don’t compare at all/And at best, all they do is distract me. Goddamn right; perhaps you should not have strayed from the hips and ass that were waiting for you at home, young man. Aw damn, I love it though. The pathos. That heavy bass drum and the sad echo applied to the vocals makes my progesterone level spike 50%. Salaam Remi produced this, along with “Fu-Gee-La,” and I therefore love him forever and ever amen.

“I Got 5 On It” (original), The Luniz. Much like how I become an honorary Latina every time “Suavecito” comes on, I am suddenly and without warning straight from Alameda County whenever I hear some Luniz. I believe it was my beloved OG rap crush El-P who once said Just because radio don't play you/Doesn't mean that you great. The inverse of this is also true, and has become the theme for this whole list--just 'cause you hear it on the radio don't mean it's not great. The remix of this one has Dru Down's entertaining You can bend her over the table/But be sure that you bring my stallion back to my stable, a callous reference to the trafficking of women's bodies, but unlike people at the Voice, I have the ability to separate my real life from my enjoyment of song lyrics (sorry, I can't let this Odd Future thing go). The remix also has Richie Rich's verse, and Shock G's. But the original has the superstylish Pass it 'cross the table like ping pong, I'm gone/Beat-ing my chest like King Kong. Only it sounds like gaowwwn, and Yuk rhymes it with King Kawwnnng. The line I got more growing pains than Maggie never has gotten enough love in this lady's opinion, either.

In 1996 Oakland, Ebonics was introduced, the concept spread throughout the country, and everybody in America either laughed or got upset. In 1995 Oakland, The Luniz put E-40 on their remix and he became a young Logan's after-hours language tutor--teaching me to think differently about English, like Robin Williams did for those kids in Dead Poets Society.


Friday, November 19, 2010

The Detroit Emeralds!

Name: The Detroit Emeralds, I’m in Love with You (Westbound, 1973).

Is this title acceptable? No. It feels like they didn't even hardly try. Minimalism and sincerity are fine things, but in the early '70s lapels were big and basslines were fat. Record titles had to be powerful, memorable. Alas, the Emeralds were victims of the ol’ Stylistics one-up (“I’m Stone in Love with You”). Al Green and his qualifier-in-the-title (“I’m Still in Love With You”) preceded the Emeralds' album by a year, too.

Produced by: Hm. Things are a little cloudy here. The record is a Katouzzion production, but what does that mean? The surname Katouzian is from Iran, but there's not even a geographical connection there because Westbound was founded by an Armenian-American (Armen Boladian). The record's production supervisor is Bob Scerbo, who was already at Janus records when it took over distribution for Westbound. Mr. Scerbo seems to know what he was doing, as he also supervised production on (which I guess is better than plain old produced) The Ohio Players' Climax, Cymande's Second Time Around, and Eddie Harris' Smokin, with this beauty:

Entered my life: Ah, this is a problem. I cannot remember. I know I got it at a Beat Swap Meet and it was at the Echo, an awful venue for such an event. The lighting was really bad, I recall, so it was not just hunched-over dorks flipping through bins and not talking to each other, it was squinty hunched-over dorks. It says $8 on the sleeve but you should know the man who sold it to me charged a criminal $20! I'm surrounded by criminals/Heavy rollers, even the sheisty individuals*. I am complicit in my own poverty, though, since I paid him what he asked with no hesitation.

*independent record sellers in Los Angeles, CA

Global events at the time of its release: Lonnie Liston Smith heard some Cosmic Echoes and did some Astral Traveling, babycakes. I should’ve been alive and of fornicating age in ’73, lord have mercy.

Coleman Young, Detroit's first African-American mayor, was elected in '73. The Belleville Three were preteen boys; their uncles worked at GM and they'd visit them in the factory and so years later they'd make music sounding like cars being put together. Motown had just moved to LA, which sort of allowed Westbound and its signees (Parliament! Ohio Players!) to flourish. Berry Gordy was probably tired of the cold and felt guilty about what he'd done to Holland-Dozier-Holland.

Difficulty of finding, vinyl-wise (1-10 scale): Pretty high up there, I think. That's why the man at the Beat Swap Meet did me like that. (He saw the hunger in my eyes.)

Breaks contained:

“Incarcerated Scarfaces”! “The Most Beautifullest Thing in This World”! Drums, drumsdrumssss. Also “Lookin at the Front Door,” and “The Light,” which would have been perfect if left as an instrumental plus Caldwell's sangin, and all of Com's lyrical cliches and platitudes were taken away. “My heart's dictionary defines you, it's love and happiness”; UGH. I was never a huge fan, but I do know things were better when he was bad as Leroy Brown.

Reason for this post on today of all days: 2 things happened--I wore green which made me think of green-themed records, and I saw this picture of Mr. Pasty Elbows um, “guarding” Kareem. I therefore thought of Detroit.

Sartorial accompaniment: “Flouncy-skirted record nerd with too much eyeliner goes to Coachella” is today's aesthetic. Celery-colored tank and lilypad-colored skirt that I made myself (!) as a much cheaper replica of the $40 AA one I was going to buy. Ha ha, Dov! I support your amazingly progressive labor practices but stop being gross*! HA HA.

*every girl in LA has had a Dov is gross experience, including this girl

Suitable activities while listening: Playing hooky from work, so I've really got to make today count. I'll go to the bookstore and finally give in to the Just Kids juggernaut. OK PATTI SMITH, FINE I WILL BUY YOUR BOOK. LEAVE ME BE.

Best YouTube comment:

I love this song. If anyone is out of East Dallas Texas, and remembers the Maverick skating rink, this was the jam. It's like Missed Connections but on YouTube. ADORABLE.

Other notable things about today:

The mack god said that just because you meet a ho/And she wear a jersey that say “champion” and eat a bowl of Wheaties/Don't make her a winner. '96 E-40 washes away the dust of everyday life. Even though the based god has obviously replaced the mack god in my heart.

Every time I'm jammed I always find a loophole/I got a crime record longer than Manute Bol. The Voice has a good article about the almost-stardom of Big L, a man whose violent death and current status as solemn rap ghost means his lyrical content is too sacred for us to inspect through a terribly critical lens. This is a relief. I wish they'd leave other performers alone in a similar way. If you too are sick of rap writers deciding what our enjoyment of moral repugnance in song says about ourselves and the human experience, we should probably go on a date. Let's take ourselves off the market and be together, because we're just annoying everyone else.

If Big L got the AIDS every cutie in the city got it
. Big L had a bunch of AIDS raps, which I guess are right up there with rape raps in terms of things that people want to inspect and ruminate on. Whiffle-ball bat raps, snuffin-Jesus raps, there is nothing new under the sun; Judas Priest, 2 Live Crew, Body Count, Tipper Gore found a new hobby thank god, but the West Memphis Three are still locked up. I have intellectual pretensions but overall this is a party blog so I won't try to address such things or keep yelling at people who think they know the secrets of my heart and brain and want to write Internet essays about why it is bad that we like Odd Future...

but hey, how 'bout “Full Clip”? Remember? So good. The video is a funny rap time capsule, plus it features rare footage of Premier not watching porn.

It Gets Better is Dan Savage's beautiful venture and website with messages for gay and lesbian kids currently in the bell jar. Inspired by such a project, a writer at The New Gay compiled a list of the top 19 anti-suicide anthems. OK. Sorry, nice idea, but I have a few things to say. First of all, there's the cognitive dissonance of a Joy Division song being on the list. I guess I should be thankful there's no Elliott Smith-? But the main problem is that the list is just so replete with guitar jams by white men--David Bowie, Wilco, Peter Gabriel--that apparently there was no room for any rapping of any kind (ew, The Streets does not count). Personal taste in music is one thing, but leaving out an entire genus of music in the kingdom is irresponsible and makes me want to kill myself! Heh. The New Gay purports that its list is made of “songs that acknowledge how bleak and bad things can get, but by their very existence prove that it’s surmountable.” Oh my god, how weird, I already made a list just like that, starting with Aesey Rock's “One of Four.” Or any song by any Minnesota MC 5 years ago. Or any songs by any Brooklyn MC, or really any MC from anywhere who is forthcoming about past poverty and endorses the fact that money makes it all right. Sloppily composed song compilations are the worst.

I like this: Women's “Narrow Down the Hall.” On Pitchfork they talk about it, linking the words “half-diffident vocals” and “catharsis.” Nobody wants to read that, a boring description of what it sounds like; let's talk instead of what it makes us want to do (here's mine: walk down the street in a cotton sundress, in slow motion, filmed by Hype Williams circa '94 or Benny Boom in '08 or Little X a couple years prior). “The nice melody plus the chanting over throbby bass” is all I will say to describe it. Something sweet with something simple makes something powerful and intoxicating, like how sugar plus yeast equals alcohol.


New Orleans, I love you. But your Jay Electronica has a boring voice and a boring flow, OH NO! All the boys in town love him, so they all stopped their respective activities and got tongue-tied when Jay and Jay (Z's) “Shiny Suit Theory” was made available this week. Most people loved it; I did not. I find the lyrics to be unbearably pretentious (Egyptology, yawn) and there's a ridiculous Puffy/Miami mention, plus Jay E. already had a song with a little story about Puffy in it. I appropriately freaked out over Exhibits A, B, and C, and I love my Moleskine too, but that had everything to do with Just Blaze and nothing to do with the MC on those particular songs. I would be happy if Jay Elec would preserve the crazy and become a recluse, and I really would be satisfied with Jay-Z retiring and that's been true for at least 5-6 years. But I'm usually in the minority regarding both of these opinions. So when I see comments daring to criticize Jay + Jay's musical linkage, it makes me feel a little more understood by all my invisible Internet boyfriends out there.

Amid a sea of “YES”es and “NICE”s and not-so-funny Jay/camel references (meanies), plus one “I just came” (LOL, sexy commenters), a young man emerges, standing brave and tall, to loudly ask what I was just about to: Where, the fuck, is the drums. I'm in love with this individual and his opinions. Coffee + conversation, Somebody Somewhere?

The kids around the way used to think that I was buggin; this is because they did not understand how I feel about the funk. Erykah Badu, it turns out, had similar experiences in seventh grade. She's my pretend sister, my pretend buddy, my idol due to her ability to draw cosmic and pretty-eyed rappers to her naked body (Andre, not boring Jay Elec). All I want is for her to talk about music and let me listen. So thank you, NY Mag, for gathering up all her funky dreams and memories into a nifty slideshow where she explains all of the songs that made her a “child of the funk.” Killing it since the Clinton administration, Erykah washes away the dust of everyday life with her irony-free sweetness that comes through when she talks about these songs. She doesn't include any Ohio Players or Meters or Curtis or even any James Brown or “I Get Lifted, but to each her own.

A common trope in the lady-blogger-nerd inbox is the request to talk about music while wearing a bathing suit. First of all, have you seen my blog, gentlemen who email me, 'cause that's what I do already. Second, I am a lot sweeter and a lot more boring in person--I don't even cuss, really--so you should probably calm down with that fantasy. And third, I now understand the request. I wish Erykah would talk about music every day on the Internet so I could savor it and think about how alike we are, she and I. Her in a bathing suit is not necessary. I would like her to do a lot of sensual poses and faraway glances out of windows, though.

“Things you've heard Logan say” are in bold, below.

On Chaka Khan's “Sweet Thing”:

“Oh Chaka Khan, she is our queen. Anyone who sings soul and funk goes through the school of Chaka Khan. She has so many gorgeous songs but ‘Sweet Thing’ is the one — she sung that song from the vagina, from the bottom of her stomach, you can hear it all in her throat, she felt it. The places that she went with her voice, man, it was so scintillating in every way; it made me happy, it made me loving, it made me weak, it made me sad.”

The Isley Brothers, “Groove With You”:

“When I first learned that I could be in love, that that was an actual thing that I could feel, I remember the Isley Brothers.”

Stevie Wonder, “As”:

“It's a beautiful song. Before I knew what the words said I was in love with the melody. His voice rocks you to sleep, it's constant in me — his voice is a part of my DNA.”

Soul II Soul, “Keep on Movin'”:

“I remember when I knew that I could do things on my own, I was going away to college, and this group called Soul II Soul came out. (The) song was “Keep On Movin'," don't stop. And I felt like, damn, you’re right, I can do things on my own. I can do things on my own and isn’t that just beautiful.

Rickie Lee Jones, “Chuck E's in Love”:

“Rickie Lee Jones was the first white chick I saw with a cigarette in her mouth on her album cover and back then that meant a lot. Back then we didn’t have Internet or TV, so everything you knew about the person you knew from the album cover, that's all you had, you turned that thing upside down and around studying your favorite singer — their face, their clothes, the art, the shape of the words, the look of their fingers. And there she was with her cigarette, she reminded me of a hippie chick and she had this raspy voice and it was just so funky, like she didn’t give a shit, she didn’t give a damn. And that’s part of who I am — Rickie Lee Jones is a big part of who I am — and I imagine her being someone who showed up as she was, I’m just here. And I wanted to be that. And when you really admire a singer or a song you either want to be them or have sex with them, and with Ricky Lee Jones I just wanted to be her, to feel what she said and sound like she did and have the whole experience just like that coming out of my mouth.”

Parliament, “Aqua Boogie”:

P-Funk. Funkadelic made me love purple and black, it looks cosmic and sloppy; throw a little neon green splash of something oozing and that's what funk is to me. 'Aqua Boogie' is everything I love about a funk song...I’m talking about changing voices, thirteen people, 76 instruments and 900 people on stage… damn, this song was just a cosmic funk party.”

The Brothers Johnson, “Strawberry Letter 23”:

“On the album cover is these two dudes with Afros and goatees and mustaches and just chilling with the guitars, really making love to them, their shirts open to the navels, and just, damn, these are so grown men! And they sang together and it was just so groovy. And I wanted to get high. I didn't even know what high was, but it was groovy. I like the groovy shit a lot, I’m a child of the funk. I live by the funk, I die by the funk. When people ask in school what I wanted to be when I grow up – teacher, doctor, whatever — I said I was gonna be funky. If God could make me funky, I’ll handle the rest.”

"Hajj 2010" by The Big Picture, gaze-worthy beauty like nearly every post on The Big Picture.

I have much respect for the peaceful religion of Islam. But I still want to caption every one of these pictures with THANK YOU BASED GOD or a Poor Righteous Teachers lyric.

(Also lush and beautiful: National Geographic's Photography Contest 2010. “Three hundred and sixty degrees of perfected styles” - my caption for photo #3.)


Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Stylistics!

“My problem lies in reconciling my gross habits with my net income.” - Errol Flynn

“Picture me snotty nose sittin on my aunt's lap/The kid like 5 or 6, shit I will curse back/I got it from the older folks sittin in the living room/Everybody had cups, Stylistics on boom.” - Ghosty. This pic is The Stylistics-era Stylistics, rather than the Hurry Up This Way Again Stylistics. But I had to post it because of the pants.

Name: The Stylistics, Hurry Up This Way Again (TSOP*, 1980).

*The Sound of Philadelphia.

Is this title acceptable? Yes! I like it. It’s sweet, but also kind of bossy. I like that combination. “Hurry up, girl. You sure are fine/brilliant/hilarious, but herry uppp.”

Produced by: Dexter Wansel, who arranged and co-produced “Love TKO” and made “Theme from the Planets.”

("I Ain't No Joke." "We're All in the Same Gang." "Gutfest '89." "Castle to Castle." "Not Your Average Girl." "TKO." "Spotlight." )

Global events at the time of its release: In late '80, the Gang of Four trial began in China. I had never heard of the Communist Gang of Four before this post; I just like that "Damaged Goods" song. In high school I found out about the Biafra region and was the last time I was similarly excited about world history as reflected in music names. Ronald Reagan was also just-elected in late '80 and things were about to not go so well in my country, America. The only good thing that happened was that pic of PE in Minor Threat shirts. “Master Blaster” was #1, though, so things could've been worse, you know?

Entered my life: Last March. Amoeba. $4.99. It had been a long and arduous search. Then I found it. It just appeared. I was shocked and pleased. And the clouds did part and the birds did sing. It was my birthday and I spent just over $300 that day and all that vinyl weight was so hard on my poor scrawny arms. I have some regrets in life—should’ve learned to read music years ago; shouldn’t be so shy—but I will never regret 1) telling someone I really like him in whatever way is most appropriate (words, unbridled physicality) 'cause life's too short, nor 2) buying records I must have, even though I’m broke. In both scenarios, my unstoppable enthusiasm always overpowers my normally level-headed and thoughtful nature.

Difficulty of finding, vinyl-wise (1-10 scale): A quick eBay search reveals you can get a copy for anywhere from $7.50 to $12.00. Of course, cyber-diggers have no soul and will not be seeing me naked. In person, finding this record was probably a 5 before The Shining* came out. It's now a 7. Also in recent years, the term broads for ladies started showing up in rap and all of a sudden there was a glut of songs asking if I've ever seen a Chevy with butterfly doors (I have, dear).

Breaks contained:

“Hurry Up This Way Again”: Jay-Z, “Politics as Usual.” Years later, it would also show up on that Curren$y album, which proves that from '96 til 2010, Ski retained his love for Philly soul groups. Aw Ski. Me too, buddy.

*“Maybe It’s Love This Time”: Styles P, “Black Magic” but who cares because the breaks champ here is and will always be DILLLAAAA feat. Guilty & Madlib, “Baby”--still stopping me in my tracks, still, years later, and still making me enjoy delicious wordplay like The same day I met her, we backstage in the bathroom/She got a mouth like a vacuum/We them boys with the chains on our neck/Every five minutes we untanglin them. The first thing has nothing to do with the second thing--unless it's the chains that compel her to do it?--but still. It works.

Reason for this post on today of all days: I heard Dilla as bumper music on NPR's Morning Edition last Friday, unless it was just my brain getting all glitchy and daydreamy again while sitting in traffic-? Did anyone else hear it? The “Love Jones” instrumental?

Facts of nerdy interest that excite me and might show up on Jeopardy! someday:

Philadelphia rappers who have sampled The Stylistics: .....

Philadelphia rappers who have not, ever, sampled The Stylistics for some reason even though it’s a crime against humanity/music: Freeway, Beanie Sigel, the Roots, Bahamadia, Cassidy, Peedi, Gillie. Why. Whyyyy. It's hard for me to wrap my head around this.

Sartorial accompaniment: Pretty, soft, dark blue sleep thingie from H&M that was $10. Viscose/nylon. Wash with like colors, tumble dry low.

Suitable activities while listening: Get ready for church, then band practice.

OH WAIT, NO. What do you think, silly? I'm wearing a thin piece of viscose and nylon, so: lounging! That’s the only suitable activity! I lounged the heck out of this morning, drank tea, read the paper, then finally emerged from my bed around 1:30. Rise n’ grind, baby.

Life lessons, important messages contained:

Your body won't move if you can't feel the groove.
The god Leon Huff adds a Truth About Life to my bag.
Additionally, please keep in mind that If it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense, and If you shoot my dog, I'ma kill your cat. I would also argue that If that ain't good enough, you just ain't hood enough as well as If you ban us from your clubs, it's the right time, with the right mind. I think it would've been cute if they had tilted the heart in the logo, like a nod to Love Park. Aw.

Best YouTube comment:

There are lots of “Dilla dawwwwg”s and “Turn it up”s but I prefer the succinct, lovely, smile-inducing comment posted by TheJavierm7: bellisima.

Other notable things about today:

- OFWGKTA all over the place. It's a wonderful time to be alive and have ears, even though the ground is thick with perplexed and annoyed Pitchfork readers. OH SHIT, black kids and giggly rape fantasies! So of course this means people must make a commentary on what this says about ourselves and our taste for lyrics about rape fantasies. Listen, we all have our rape fantasies. WHO DOESN’T HAVE A RAPE FANTASY. But I’m not sure why we are analyzing our taste for Earl & crew’s emo rape fantasies said into microphones when John Boehner has actual power now and Sharron Angle almost got elected. I mean, why talk about Cholera outbreaks when there are depressed city kids talking about their emo rape fantasies, correct? Also, rap pundits are taking the crew more seriously than they take themselves and why is that. Everybody's acting like Kool Keith never said anything into a microphone before, or that there was never a combination of charm and comical exaggerated menace before, and why is that. We are acting like evil raps are outrageous and why is that. Tyler is laughing at all of you dummies, his post-postpost-rap raps circling around themselves and eating their own tails (Odd Future is a very very very big…thing of animals. We have unicorns, and these unicorns are very talented, and they don’t give a fuck.)

Murder rates go up in the summer, it ain't trickin if you got it, girls love taking Lil' B in their mouths because he looks like ____, and people love cuss words and evil in their music. This is news? NO, it's not news. And yet super annoying Zach at the Voice (sorry, Zach) and his
industry brethren feel the need to discuss their twinges of weird disgusted guilty feelings while listening to Odd Future's raps about fucking and evil and then opening it up to message board commenters, a critical mistake, to duke it out and deconstruct it. The visceral pleasure outweighs the intellectual outrage, which is true, except for the intellectual outrage part. I am supposed to be outraged at fuck raps, I guess. But the most outrageous (in a good way) and impressive things about these ruffians are that they are good at language, they have a female engineer (!) who produces sometimes too (!)*, and they are trying to orchestrate the fall of mustachioed horseman of the apocalypse Steve Harvey. I enthusiastically support their entire platform.

Men online talking about the reasons why we like what we like as it relates to the cultural zeitgeist at large. They are like my very unhip uncle who teaches Sociology classes at the community college part time. Armchair rap psychologists trying to explain my own tastes to me! How annoying! I'm in that “Fuck you, I love it” blissful haze, these boys on Fairfax have temporarily distracted from my commitment to Jet Life, and the cultural critics on message boards are no fun, and Tyler and crew just want you to have FUN. Time passes quickly. Fuck roots, state life, rape, write, repeat twice! (sigh; it just sounds silly when I say it)

My underage girlfriend Syd, above. There is a tragic dearth of female engineers/producers, obviously, but why? Our bodies are shaped like guitars; we should be owning studios and coaxing out great performances from our artists and letting beats ride.

- Gotta have a fantasy to go along with each song that speaks to me on LA radio. Today it was “Go Girl,” featuring me as a stripper with a heart of gold, costarring E-40 as my favorite patron, putting bills in my g string. The song's produced by C. Ballin but you'd swear it's Nitti.

- Kanye is still tryin to hit me with that ol’ wopty on the radio, rapping about his sexual exploits with wild bitches on “Hell of a Life,” as if I am going to believe him. Unless the whole song's a metaphor for the music industry or something, which is, just, ugh. Cliche city. I tell you, it's a good thing he's not an 18-year-old from LA, because then we would, of course, have to deconstruct his every verse and decide what our listening to it says about ourselves.

- Pacquiao! Maliit na tao na may malakas na kamao at isang malaking puso, sa tingin ko ikaw ay kahanga.

- “Pleasurable activities reduce stress” - Science, recently. Lounge around in my comfy bed on Sunday, listen to Messy Marv in the car, spread Nutella on toast; feels good. No stress, darling. Like how when I read MediaTakeout, I just feel so good knowing that Weezy punched Drake in his big stupid face, maybe?


Friday, November 12, 2010

Welcome 2 Zombieland, kids.

In 2005, the Six Flags theme park in New Orleans' Ninth Ward was closed for the approaching hurricane. It never reopened. The city of New Orleans allowed photographer Teddy Smith to shoot video footage of the abandoned park before its demolition in January 2011.

Johnny Jenkins, “I Walk on Gilded Splinters.” Because I needed a New Orleans song that was kind of weird and spooky to go along with the video, and even though I really wanted to post “Nolia Clap” and then maybe “New Orleans Based,” it wouldn't have been thematically appropriate. This song was written and originally done by weird jovial New Orleans spookmaster Dr. John, but this version is better--and this version's drums were used by Blackalicious in “A to G.”



Thursday, November 11, 2010

5 great things about today, besides the fact that “Soldier” will be in my head all day in honor of our nation's veterans.

Bandana tied, so mami join my troop/ Now every time she hear my name, she salute.” SIGH. Understated, '05-'06 Wayne was the greatest of all the Waynes.

Better be street if he lookin at me. Yep. Every good girl wants this. And somehow the fact that the line is sung over a Rich Harrison beat makes it 100 times more true. Unfortunately, if he is street he's probably not looking at me (I think it's my librarian/schoolteacher aura). It's more like “If he’s married he’s looking at me” and “If he wants to see me without my top off but doesn’t want to talk about the production finery on Two Sevens Clash, he's definitely looking at me.” On the other hand, I sometimes like it when boys disregard my brain and talk to me all bossy (“Roll somethin/you ain’t here just to be a bad bitch”*) so I am totally asking for this frustration and trouble. Can't have it both ways, Logan.

1. Lagerfeld’s living room, as shot by Todd Selby. Kanye's got his own Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and I've got mine, and here it is. Porn for an English major.

Karl's a hideous bitch of a man and doesn't like to touch or make out with girls, but oh goddd. The books. The couch, 5 miles long. I would offer increasingly degrading sexual favors to be able to lounge there.

2. Cee-Lo on Colbert, “Fox News.”

(“Didn’t see one politician that wasn’t corrupt
On the Fox News
And I got the blues
The poor get poorer, the rich get richer
Ain’t that some shit
I’m having pains in my chest because I’m so stressed
From the Fox News”)

3. Touchy-feely NBA teams are more likely to win. Touchy-feely NBA teams who are currently 8-0 and who show up in Curren$y verses are guaranteed to win.

Goose died tryin to fly a jet, word to Maverick/Doobie passes like Magic, lit the Forum up/'80s status*.

* Wiz & Curren$y (but you can skip Wiz's verse, and ignore the fact that the beat is that stupid Toto song), “Huey Newton.” Everybody in the room know/Rabies flow, dog, trill, Cujo.


4. Racial comedy! Harmless, and always hilarious.

“African-American Community Calls For New Black Nerd Archetype”

Hollywood Blasted For Failure To Portray Modern Dorks Of Color.

5. Afro Soul Descarga mix, via Sofrito UK.

Polyrhythmic percussion, Beatles covers, and ass shaking (TRACK #2--Sir Victor Uwaifo).



Tuesday, November 9, 2010

White girl side hustle opportunity I missed, #2

If my agent were doing his job I would've gotten the role of Girl #3 (the one who purloins some powder on the side) in Sheek's "Cocaine Traffic King" video, which

features an exceedingly clean kitchen,
and Styles P as a cartoony, completely non-threatening version of Nino Brown.

Basically the gig would consist of me wearing my hair down, wearing panties, trying not to cringe at lines like "(her) face in my crotch/eyes on my watch," and getting excited and yelling D-BLOCKKKK when the urge strikes. I already do all that, so I might as well get filmed and paid for it.

I'd ask P where he got that sweatshirt and brag about how the Raiders are going to be atop the AFC when this damn season is over. I'd stifle the question, "You're from Yonkers; how come you aren't wearing Jets gear?" And in my head, I'd play a spirited round of Dumbest Rap Names to pass the time on set (Sheek Louch, Red Cafe, Waka, CyHi da Prynce; Best Rap Name, though? Earl Sweatshirt).

OJ - "Washing Powder Money."



Sunday, November 7, 2010


“My problem lies in reconciling my gross habits with my net income.” - Errol Flynn

Harry n' me, each starting our respective days with one leg in front of the other.

Harry, straddling.
(I will not be posting a picture of me straddling.)

Name: Harry Nilsson, Nilsson Schmilsson (RCA Victor, 1971).

Is this title acceptable? No. It is dumb. But that was done on purpose, because Harry was just like, fuck it, I got Klaus Voorman coming into the studio in a minute, I don't have time for this.

Produced by: Richard Perry, master of ass-shaking '80s R&B (De Barge, “Rhythm of the Night”) and ass-shaking '80s mellow disco with wonderful chord progression and sisterly harmonies (Pointer Sisters, “Automatic”) plus some Captain Beefheart and Joni along the way.

Entered my life: When I entered life. It’s my dad’s record and therefore my record. The benefit of living with a bearded white man who hoards music is that he'll share it with you and talk incessantly about it. Since dad's the model for manliness according to child development theories, I grew up thinking that all men enjoy talking incessantly about music with me (alas, they don't).

Global events at the time of its release: It was November ’71; “Inner City Blues” was number one, and was the third and final single from What's Going On (only 3 singles from that whole album? WTF, Berry Gordy). This was also the beginning of Marvin's red-beanie-and-denim-shirt era, his uniform for talking less about bedroom arts and more about kids in coffins with American flags draped on them.

Difficulty of finding, vinyl-wise (1-10 scale): There was no difficulty in my home, since I just had to walk into the living room to get it, so it was a big fat 0. In the store it's a 1 or 2, I think. Nilsson’s not obscure.

Breaks contained: None! See, sometimes I surprise you. There are some beauties on other albums, though--“Me and My Arrow” was used by Blackalicious and the drums from “Rainmaker” are on the Beatnuts' “Straight Jacket,” a song that kills it based on its gibberish-y chorus (rappening is what's happening, keep your pockets flappening, hands clappening) and because it has Juju bragging that he pulls honeys with the hips. I haven't met him, but as someone with hips I can tell you that yeah, that's true.

Best YouTube comment:

whugivsafuk wins, for this:

This is the classic FATTEST ever bass line, Herbie Flowers going nuts...
Sample this shit.
(I will soon be having whugivsafuk's baby, as I cannot let a man with such appreciation for fat bass get away)

Facts of nerdy interest that excite me and might show up on Jeopardy! someday:

- Nilsson was from Bushwick. Just like Evil Dee and OC.

- “Jump Into the Fire”* plays during Henry Hill’s coke-y tailspin (the helicopter, the marinara sauce) at the end of Goodfellas.

- Nilsson did the score for Otto Preminger's Skidoo, a movie that everyone says is awful, and then at the end of their diatribe, everyone adds, “but the score is really good.” The end credits are funny because Nilsson sings them. Oh Harry.

- There's hardly any percussion on the album, but Harry makes it count on the few tracks that have some drums by allowing Jim Gordon to get loose and take it to the swamp and then bring it back home (not sure if I've mentioned it yet: “Jump Into the Fire”*). He was a session drummer who worked with Spector and was on Pet Sounds and a bunch of Zappa albums. He also killed his mom, but he was one of the DRUMMERS ON “APACHE” so all is forgiven.



Sartorial accompaniment: sweatshirt because it’s cold today, cutoff shorts because it’s not that cold, and affordable version of the stripper-librarian penny loafers I saw a while back, for getting coffee and going to the bookstore and being lazy. My aesthetic is “stripper librarian goes out for coffee and the new Granta,” because that is, in fact, exactly what happened today. I'm also hoping to get a hug at some point today, as I am feeling vulnerable and in need of support as a result of my inbox being flooded with messages from cranky young men--I often get accused of something called “flaunting it” (?), which I guess is just the pejorative version of “wearing clothes that fit my body properly,” ‘cause that’s really all I’m doing. Be nice, emailers.

Suitable activities while listening:

- Watch football, even though all the talk of running routes and pass protection and the Wildcat all starts to blend together. The Raiders are unstoppable and it's hard to remain calm about that.

- Read up on Weezers, who apparently was in jail recently (?). He's out now, though. Time for a Hornets game with dad!

Sports competitions. Stunting. Gucci scarves. Freedom. America.

- Suddenly remember El-P. Where is he. I miss him and I need him, desperately*. Everybody's talking at him, he don't hear a word they're saying/Only the echoes of his mind. Yet he manages to keep his acerbic sense of humor. And his avatar is a kitten!

*found him!

Go set the moral compass to something a little sacrilege
I’ll pirate jenny this whole town, black freighter your maggotness
Nobody sleeps tonight, 50 car alarm evening
Perpetual garbage truck annoying ice cream truck jingling
Hey young world, your clock just got donkey punched by aristocrats
maniac brainiac fist fucked in a dunce cap
Looking at it from space you can see the race is just one lap
Your tranquility now is just future anarchy unhatched
I want a new drug plus alternate reality
Some dimensional shiftiness hidden from all the cowardly

(“Sit Down, Man”)

Other notable things about today:

- Still listening to the Hit it and Quit It Halloween mix, stillllllll—“Rigor Mortis” into “Evil” into “Instant Death,” with some Blacula snippets stuffed in there too!! Release the beast, people. The only thing missing is something by the Gravediggaz.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Ronnie Laws, “Pressure Sensitive.”

“My problem lies in reconciling my gross habits with my net income.”
- Errol Flynn

Ronnie (L) and me, with the things that bring us joy, respectively.

Name: Ronnie Laws, Pressure Sensitive (Blue Note, 1975).

Is this title acceptable? Yes, because it can be construed in sort of a sexy way. We’re all animals, really, guided by our emotional tides, sensitive to pressure. My absolute favorite is the physical kind of pressure, though.

Produced by: Wayne Henderson, who also produced a little Roy Ayers (!) and a little Willie Bobo (!!).

Global events at the time of its release: THIS HAPPENED and nothing's more important. It turns out that NYC, as Horace Swaby discovered in 1975, is way wayyy east of the river Nile.

Gingham lapels!

Entered my life:
Don’t know exactly; can’t remember. Recently enough for me to buy it specifically because it has the Black Moon break on it, so…it had to have been in the last few years. I am a poor historian. Luckily, my enthusiasm for breaks and overall sunny demeanor make up for that. Amoeba; $5.99 (!).

Difficulty of finding, vinyl-wise (1-10 scale): 7.2. DUDE IT’S GOT THE BLACK MOON BREAK ON IT. AND I FOUND IT. Amoeba tried to throw me off by selling it for less than 10 bucks, but it is quite a treasure.

Breaks contained:

Lots, but “Tidal Wave" with its excellent '90s rap credentials*, is the biggie.

*Black Moon, “Who Got Da Props.”
Organized Konfusion, “Stress.”
Quasimoto, “Return of the Loop Digga.”

“Tell Me Something Good”
was used in “Shake Your Rump,” though.

Reason for this post on today of all days: I miss Black Moon in general, and Evil Dee in particular-?
(there’s no reason, I suppose)

Facts of nerdy interest that excite me and might show up on Jeopardy! someday:

- Mr. Laws was once a member of Earth Wind & Fire and handled woodwind duties on the most bangingest track on Last Days and Times, “Power.” I'm always saying this about every song, but this thing is a timeless walking-down-the-street-in-a-sundress fucking jam. I wish other people’s brains were flooded with this music like mine is; then maybe people would understand when I open my mouth.

- He wrote and co-produced “Very Special” by his sister Debra Laws, which is always on Art LaBoe. It's been used by Big Daddy Kane and some others--including Master P & Nas, together, on the same song, in “Where Do We Go from Here,” an awful thing from '99 that I could not believe actually happened when I heard about it. Anybody’ll do a song with anybody, whody.

Fully clothed. This one goes out to my mom, who likes me in this kind of attire and warns me I'm “attracting them for the wrong reasons” in my usual little pieces of swimming attire. BUT MOM, I say. Ain't no right or wrong, 'long as they're attracted.

Sartorial accompaniment: Inappropriately short shorts, fancy-lady white oxford shirt, and lace-up boots that were an unholy amount of money but they’ll last for years and years. My aesthetic is “Stripper librarian goes horseback riding.” My aesthetic is also Whatever Kool Keith Wants Me to Wear, I Wear (“Open your eyes, now you realize/Now put on thigh highs/
Tie your boots up tight/Very tight with all your might).

Suitable activities while listening:

- visit Massan’s place.

If these 3 lived on my block I’d go over with a fake-impossible-to-open jar of spaghetti sauce 3-4 nights a week and ask for help.

- Familiarize yourself with Scott Fujita: Saint, gentleman, linebacker, incredible human.

- Drink in (heh) the visual beauty of this, which somehow perfectly describes the appeal of water during hot discomfort. (The Big Picture)

Best YouTube comment:

I’m including a trio today, because all together they constitute an adorable conversation between 2 nerds with whom I should be hanging out.

BrokenExitProduct: (‘Tidal Wave’) was sampled In ‘Crooklyn Dodgers’.

dubbsway4life counters (correctly) with, Actually, ‘Crooklyn Dodgers’ sampled Black Moon's ‘Who Got The Props.’ Black Moon sampled ‘Tidal Wave.’ I think they were the first to sample it.

Bluefoxking @dubbsway4life: LOL, Sample chain. Aww. Call me, gentlemen!

Other notable things about today:

- That “Tangerine” remix, YES (other than Rawss' part, of course). Big Boi loves his stripper army and his friends do too. She don’t even walk; she wobble past, Fabolous says. Yes, darling. YES. When I was 19, rap songs had to be about Steve Biko or the socioeconomic factors at play regarding the sales of illegal narcotics by young men in big cities in order to convince me to buy the album. Now all I like are Nitti beats and Toomp beats and lyrics about licking and grabbing ass. I’m devolving, making sure only my most base and primal needs are met. I’d say “I hope it’s a phase,” except I’m a lot more fun to be around now than when I was 19. I hope it’s not a phase.

- “My wife with the hair of a wood fire/With the thoughts of heat lightning/With the waist of an hourglass/With the waist of an otter in the teeth of a tiger.” This could be a terrific Big Boi lyric, but it's Andre Breton. You're mixing up your female-body-loving wordsmiths. Big Boi is the one who said “You killing them of course/With the features of an angel and the bottom of a horse.”

-Today in LA driving/radio-listening adventures: Wiz isn't allowed to say “lesbian.” It's given that weird radio-friendly slurred (played backwards) effect, just like the word “fuck” or “gun” would be. Lesbianism is bad, per Clear Channel, but Kings of Leon can say “head while I’m driving,” and Lloyd can discuss his future rough takeover of that girl’s special place (“beat it I bet she’d let me”). That's some stupid arbitrariness, whody.

- Joell and his annoying nasally voice. Hmm. I usually like him, but in this new “Oh” song he says “I get at Twitter; I’m street to the 9th power.” Nope. No. I challenge that statement. The simple goodness of “I’ma come see you, and punch you in your face,” though: oh! Oh yes, that's what I need. More scrap raps & fewer computer raps, please. (And regarding life in general: more good posse cuts and pillow fights, please.)

- When is Yelawolf going to take a shower and wear a shirt that has sleeves. Thank you.

- Breton also said, “Words make love with one another,” and I can't think of a better way to end this post.