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?



raythedestroyer said...

you talking Life On Mars, you talking my language. I get real stoked whenever I hear a sample from solo Dexter Wansel. Shoutout to Wiz Khalifa's "Spotlight" & that Lil B song I cant remember the name of right now.

The OF rape fantasy discussions are kinda beyond boring because they dont go anywhere past "this makes me feel weird". It almost feels kind of selective to me considering that Gaspar Noe, Cannibal Corpse & Anthony Burgess have all peddled in this territory before (with varying degrees of mainstream acceptability) and it would seem that discussion wouldve been figured out by now.


Dart Adams said...

My take on oldhead bloggers' love and sudden interest in OFWGKTA is going up at sometime early this morning @ my site Bastard Swordsman. I would post a link but it might register as spam so I won't...