Monday, December 26, 2011

You will get a sentimental feeling when you hear...“No Diggity” into “Flava In Ya Ear”

  Last Christmas, I gave you my heart/But the very next day you gave it away, you JERK! This year, I’m giving you some peach Optimos and a picture of me in my new MG’s McLemore Avenue shirt. Don't fuck up again, please.

Future husband, please understand that the small of my back is a playground of good feelings for me. (There must be a billion nerve endings there, and I love them all.) I'd like you to be pro-choice, pro-union, and pro-Pro Tools and pro-Pro Keds. I’m surprisingly forgiving when it comes to the contents of other people’s record collections, but yours is no doubt fresh anyway, so the matter doesn’t need to be addressed further. I’d like you to be able to correctly use “screamo” and “sissy bounce” in a sentence, future husband, and I’d like you to understand that 72% of our time spent together will consist of riding in the car, listening to music (we live in LA), and responding with our hands and mouths to all bangers as we hear them. (Hands up high in ecstasy; our mouths singing along, and making out). Please kiss me and tell me It'll be OK when I talk about how I was born in the wrong era and should've been a teenage girl when David Ruffin was seducing teenage girls on the radio in 1966. Although I love my iPod, future husband, I'm in love with the radio--Power 106, where hiphop lives, and Hot 92.3, old school and today’s R&B, 93.5 KDAY, back in the day, of course the Whole Foods liberals on KCRW, and the nonstop oldies of K-EARTH 101, where you can often hear an old Wilson Pickett song called “Mustang Sally,” which, like 30% of Fabolous' songs, is about a lowdown, unappreciative woman who drives all over town in a pretty car that her man bought for her. Its lesser-known remix is a song called “Prius Logan,” about a music dork with hips and skinny legs who drives all over town, singing along with her car radio.

And now, in no particular order, The Best Songs I Heard on the Radio During My Drive Back to LA from Mom's House After Christmas.

1. “Two of Us,” The Beatles. 

Because: 1) Spector produced it.
Industry rule # 4,000-somethingorother is that the men with the most unfortunate combination of brain chemicals are always the ones who make the sweetest melodies. Hearing this one also satisfied my Spector hunger in the absence of Darlene Love's “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).” Fuck off, radio gods, for not playing Darlene Love. 

2) It’s the perfect BPM, the speed of a horse galloping. It's the musical approximation of riding next to your best friend of a hundred years with whom you are fighting. You're both sad and bitter, but the tightness in your chest says that the relationship is worth saving. You shared a good chunk of each other’s lives and you know you should talk about where things went wrong but what's the point, and dammit, there it is, you just forgave all her trespasses in the span of about 3½ minutes thanks to Spector and his 4 little elves playing instruments.

3) “You and me chasing paper, getting nowhere” sounds like a sweet line from a capable MC who is part of a duo, referencing the early days before they made any money from rapping. Maybe Bun & Pimp C? More likely: Mos & Talib since they seem more willing than UGK are to acknowledge there was actually a time that they weren’t rich.

4) the moments from 03:00 - 03:08. The bass outro, too. Paul is really just the worst with his schmaltzy lyrics and big stupid ego, but he's forgiven here. It turns out a Beatles block was happening on the station when this song ended, and the INSUFFERABLE “Long and Winding Road” came on instead of “Across the Universe,” like baby Jesus, the birthday boy, would have wanted. I glared at my car radio like it had eyes and/or a human brain capable of detecting hatred, then turned it to KCRW, where THIS pleased me because sometimes the radio gods aren't so bad after all:

2. “Christmas Day,” Desmond Dekker & the Aces. 

Oh goodness, these Jamaican singers and their voices filled with sweetness and light, yet punch-you-in-the-mouth masculinity at the same time (Barrington, Tenor Saw, Lord Creator)! My feelings about the island are always in conflict, as it is a land teeming with anti-gay sentiment and deeply-entrenched misogyny. Rastas also have that whole anti-oral sex thing, which makes them a people that cannot be liked or trusted. All this goes out the window for the moments that Desmond's voice is filling my car, though. It’s Christmas! And he's got his barrow in the marketplace! God bless us, every one!

3. “The Third Eye,” Roy Ayers.

Secrets of numbers, secrets of sound/Secrets of numbers, secrets of sound/Secrets of wisdom will be found/Baby, baby, baby, look to the sky/Seeking to find The Third Eye. Don't tell Roy, but I'm pretty sure Del found the Third Eye sometime in the late '80s. He turned it into one of the freshest icons in music and never looked back. Ah well. Like Del, Roy's yet another space cadet dreamboat who lives in the warm depths of my heart. And like Mos Def, Roy enjoys writing songs about the sky and about Brooklyn (“Mylifemylifemylifemylife in the sun-shiiiiine”; “We live in Brooklyn, baby” – Roy; “Brooklyn BK BK blunts, stars nighttime, beautiful lady, champion lover not ease up, ism/schism, NASDAQ, skyline, stars, stars” – Mos). A man named Doug Rhodes plays drums on the album from whence this song comes, which is an adorable musical joke made just for me by the universe - like someone named Bob Zildjian playing keys! I’d also like to point out that Roy’s from LA just like J-Swift, and I bet you only 2 or 3 degrees separate us, friends-wise, just like me and J-Swift. I’d like to meet J-Swift. I really would. Before a bad fate befell him (chemicals), he produced this group the Pharcyde, an excitable bunch of rapping goofballs - including their song “Passin’ Me By,” which samples Roy Ayers’ “The Third Eye.” It's true. (I read it on a blog.)

4. “Dream On, Dream On,” Ice Water Slim.

When I made it safely back to apt. 680 I could only find the version linked above, which, even while coursing into my ear canal through my precious, finely-crafted Sennheisers, sounds like it's playing on an AM radio a hundred yards away while I'm standing in a UPS warehouse. Yet the entire MMG squad makes their lousy material on million-dollar equipment - this is the universe's solemn reminder that sound quality will always trump sound quality.

A 1971 b-side produced by Johnny Otis, who was bosslike and from Vallejo just like E-40, this ain't nothin more than a melodic wail by a dude who dreams about a pretty lady. But it is a fact that, currently in the United States, the #1 R&B song is “Lotus Flower Bomb,” about grenade-shaped perfume bottles and lady-areas being like flowers. This fact offends me not only as a person who buys perfume, but as a human female and a resident of planet Earth. Ladies should not smell like explosions or wartime, and we have enough to worry about without Wale laying out rules about our nails and handbags and how tight our, um, flowers should be. I wanna be reminded of tightness, I'll watch Parliament live in '76 like I did on Christmas Day with my family all on the couch, marveling at the interplay of brass and woodwind and cocaine. 

5. “You And I,” Lady Gaga. 

We gotta a whole lotta money, but we still pay rent/'Cause you can't buy a house in heaven. The single greatest country banger that Prince Rogers Nelson never wrote (his version would be called “U & I,” of course), hearing this one satisfied my hunger for a Prince banger in the absence of "Another Lonely Christmas" (Of all the ones I dream about/U are the one that makes my love shout, see/U are the only one I care for). Because the Internet is for sharing embarrassing moments: I actually teared up in H&M last week when this came on. I was tired and overstimulated from all the other humans in the store breathing up my air, but also because of this song’s Prince-ian chords and overall lyrical content. It's been two years since I let you go/I couldn't listen to a joke or rock 'n' roll/Muscle cars drove a truck right through my heart/On my birthday you sang me "Heart of Gold"/With a guitar hummin' and no clothes/This time I'm not leaving without you. (PRINCE. It's so very, wonderfully Prince. I see you, Gaga. Also I'd like Prince to do a cover of “Heart of Gold,” turning a bittersweet song about the passage of time into a 16-minute-long burning plea by his guitar to get the ladies in the house to cry and take their dresses off). Master manipulator Gaga plays my girly emotional insides like a piano, and Queen was a really fucking great band, plus I got a really cute bikini at H&M. So shoutout to the combined efforts of producer Mutt Lange, the H&M speaker system engineers, and the people hired by the H&M corporate office to select the songs for the playlists. Non-shoutout to me, however, for a pop song making me get weepy, rather than the fact that I was buying from a company that sells cheap cotton items made by underpaid workers in Bangladesh (not the producer Bangladesh, which would be so dope). Tangential shoutout to Elliot Mazer, who produced both Harvest and Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death, displaying some real Rick-Rubin-esque range.

Gaga was on American Idol once and coached one of the kids to keep his mouth on the mic. “It's your girlfriend,” she told him, adding that it's also his money and telling him to “Make love to it,” which is the most sex-infused piece of technical advice I've ever heard. I love it. I love her. I am human and I have ears so of course I love this song. Gaga is a controversial choice, I get it, but there's no arguing with me on this. It's just like with Cameron Giles, Duke basketball, and Miracle Whip: you can't change my opinion about any of those things, either (I hate them). Therefore, I say we stick to less controversial topics, like the artistic merits of Lana Del Rey and the best way to restructure the BCS.

6. “Change the Game,” Jay-Z/Bleek/Beans, into “Mass Appeal,” Gangstarr. 

Yeah yeah, Jay. You. Will. Not. Lose. We hear you, Jay. Easy, tiger. Now please repeat after me - there's only one rule: RICK ROCK 4 EVS, 4 EVER & EVER. “Change” is one of the few Rick Rock productions with which I am not fully in love. Like “Can I Get A,” it is the very sound of Clinton Administration pop radio, shiny and hand-clap-py, so it's just dated and that's not the song's fault, but it NEEDS MORE SNARE AND/OR BASS, says my soul, which does not understand the limits of space and time and the notion of something being “dated.” My soul does not care. More bass, please. It's impossible to separate the song from its horrendous video, which features rappers not named DMX trying to convince me they ride motorbikes all around the city for fun (“NOPE” - my eyes, in response, just like back in September). But this one’ll always warm my heart. The boys all look happy and not beaten down by the industry, and Sigel Sigel in the house is fun and sing-song-y. It’s sweet that those 3 dudes could all be in the same room together at one point in history, which is really all a lady can ask for given the amount of crybaby-ness among rap professionals. I also like that it gives me an excuse to post the video of that time Robert Goulet spent the afternoon with Shawn and his coterie of ne'er-do-wells. The mix into “Mass Appeal” was nice, too, for this lady in 2011 driving her vehicle to her apartment in Los Angeles, years after these songs were made by dudes from New York and Massachusetts. “This ain't just a car,” K.R.I.T. says, “This my time machine.”

7. “Run Rudolph Run,” Chuck Berry. 

“It's dangerous, because it's slick and catchy” - US counterterrorism officials, regarding a popular song on YouTube (2011).

“It's dangerous, because it's slick and catchy and done by black men and it might make our daughters want to have sex” - white US grown-ups, mostly regarding rock & roll music, but really, all forms of good music (1954-present, & forever & ever).

Promo is promo, meaning promotion, people talking, records sold, i.e., MONEY, and even in the ‘50s labels knew what they were doing when it came to making their stars sound badder than they actually were. Teenagers and their allowance money were a powerful bloc. They were also sullen and disrespectful, and thought they were real badass, and therefore bought the 45s of men whom they believed to be tough. This was mostly because they fell for promo tactics. But Chuck Berry! I’m pretty sure Chuck was/is a truly depraved gentleman, a genuine dirty bird, the real deal, who served actual jail time due to his taste for sweet young things and, years later, with the barometer for what he found stimulating raised higher throughout his life, his taste for odd and really unsexy things. It might’ve been promo, but that’s a hell of a commitment to promo, right? Even though I strongly want “Run Rudolph Run” to be a critique of what were socially acceptable gifts for American children in the late '50s (the boy wants a guitar; the girl wants a doll), I am able to suspend this desire if I so choose. Just let it ride, Logan. This one’s just happy and Christmassy, it'll make you stop wondering What in the hell must've happened to Chuck when he was a kid to make him so fetish-y? and instead it'll make you think the much more pleasant How fucking hyped are you if you're Chuck Berry and Mos Def does his hair like that and plays you in a movie!* Plus you got the essential Marty McFly element, and all those reindeer names sound like they could be A$AP crew members - A$AP Comet, A$AP Donner, and most especially, A$AP Blitzen.

*Not quite as hyped as David Ruffin would be if he knew beautiful human specimen Leon played him in a movie, but still. Pretty hyped.

8. The Outfield, “Your Love.”  

OHHOLYFUCK, screamed my whole body when this came on, my inner Drunk White Girl showing all of a sudden. My hand could not physically move fast enough to the volume knob, and even though I didn't get to proclaim Josie's on a vacation far away (I caught the song halfway through the first verse), I still got to participate in some great sing-along parts (Stay the night but keep it un-der-cover) and savored the delicious wrongness of a song about a dude wanting to sleep with, and then sleeping with, someone other than his live-in lady. I have a fair amount of self-respect but even I would probably fall for I ain't got many friends left to talk to; may I please cry upon your shoulder? (aww!). The proper feminine response to this is a wide-eyed Would it help if I took my dress off?, which I have ON LOCK because I'm softhearted and have a compulsive need to soothe others. In closing: sorry if you were in the lane next to me on the freeway last night and I almost killed you with my swerving 4-wheeled piece of Japanese machinery.

The Internet and my brother tell me that the best outfielder was probably Rickey Henderson, whom I've heard of despite my lack of interest in the stupid sport of baseball, because my dad always liked the A's and because I always liked dudes who can self-promote in a verbally stylish fashion instead of a Kanyesian (“I'm 34 but inside I'm still a 13-year-old boy who is sad and mad that none of the pretty girls in class are looking at me”) fashion.

9. “No Diggity,” Blackstreet (I refuse to type BLACKstreet, because I am a grown-up), into “Flava In Ya Ear (remix),” Biggie Smalls & a bunch of people not named Biggie Smalls.

Perfect mix, whatsyourname who matched these two up on KDAY. They basically have the same BPM and I guess I never noticed it before. Hearing Craig Mack reminded me that I only drink the finest breast milks, and hearing Teddy Riley inspired me to proclaim "Finna bring back no diggity in twenty-twelve, along with vainglorious and honey dip” out loud to myself in my car. Let’s just skip over that unfortunate video with the puppets & Dre in a fucking Emmitt Smith jersey, and ignore Teddy’s sad attempt at hitting that note in “by no means avvv-raaaaage,” sounding so wobbly, like he’s crossing a stream and stepped on a rock that looked secure but, oh no, oopsie!, it’s loose! He might fall down! Shaky-voice! Let’s just focus on the greatness of this song, the story of a honey dip who drives a nice car and has dudes open all over town, probably because she is witty and knows a lot of musical trivia and has a blog in which she writes about Blackstreet and Bill Withers in equal measure. Let’s also focus on finding out why exactly Teddy moved his studio to Virginia in the early ‘90s. There must be a story there, right? TEDDY, WHAT HAPPENED? And did you know this hideous Clams beat completely boosts your '87 sound? And where is Timbaland? Just heard “Are You That Somebody” and it holds up so well.

Like me, the young lady in the song has all kinds of hustles and isn't satisfied with a man unless he makes tons of money. So if you are poor, you and I will never have sex or even go on a date. However, because I'm nice, I'm providing you with the criteria for getting hired by UPS. (Don't be mad!) Like being my lover, a job at UPS is no walk in the park (except, of course, when you and I go for actual walks in the actual park). “It may be fun and exciting, UPS warns, “but it’s also physical and fast-paced” (just like being my lover!). “Package Delivery Drivers must have excellent customer contact and driving skills, including the ability to operate a vehicle equipped with a manual transmission. Qualified applicants must have a valid driver’s license issued in the state that they live. This is a position that involves continual lifting, lowering, and maneuvering of large items,”  HEY-O, that sounds familiar, doesn't it? No? Last night, in the bedroom? Remember? PS, a physical exam is also required (for both jobs).

10. “Rhythm Changes,” The Counts. 

Unpleasant facts of life with which I must make peace include:

that there are actual human females who brag about giving their precious inner-thigh parts to charisma-free yet famous human males Fabolous and Juelz;

that Wiz Khalifa makes his living as a professional musician (side note: EAT A CHEESEBURGER, CAMERON);

that “Maneater” preceded “Part Time Lover” by 3 years, so it would appear Stevie boosted the bassline from Hall & Oates, not the other way around, WTF;

and finally: I have big fat trouble coming to terms with the fact that I live in the entertainment capital of the world, yet “Rhythm Changes” is not on a constant loop on at least 2 of the 4 R&B stations in this city. I only heard it on Christmas night because programmers were given a little more leeway than usual. I believe it was Minaj who said something like, “This song just remind me of/Everything radio deprive me of.”

11. Emilio Santiago, “Bananeira.”

Bananeira não sei/Bananeira será/Bananeira sei não/Isso é lá com você/Será no fundo do quintal/Quintal do seu olhar/Olhar do coração (“Banana tree, I don't know/Banana tree, maybe/Banana tree, I don't know/That's up to you/Maybe deep in the backyard/Backyard of your stare/The stare from the heart”). I mean, right? Exactly, Emilio! You nailed it!

Hypnotic and hip-friendly and more about the backing track than the lyrics, just like everything Jay Elect releases into the world, this is probably the best song about bananas since Dwayne Carter rapped over that one about being the best and fucking the world. This one also makes me forget about the banana trade in Brazil, an industry that's a symbol of the income disparity that's existed for hundreds of years. Bananas go bad really quickly, they can be racist, and their namesake spiders will kill you if you're not careful. But at least Afro-Brazilian men can sing silly songs about bananas while still retaining their masculinity (it helps if you, like Emilio Santiago, have a deep, Scott-Heron-esque tone to your voice). Huddled with my family on the couch on Christmas Eve, “Cosmic Slop” on the TV, I was reminded of the sad reality of Black American manhood needing to disguise itself in fluffy hats and diapers in order to be less threatening. Um...merry Christmas?


Monday, November 28, 2011

Making your way in the world today takes everything you've got.

Laid all out on the floor of apartment 680, I call this installation Ian Curtis Surrounded Mostly by Musical Black Men of the '70s, but its alternate name could be Logan Returns from a trip to Boston with a New Pile of Diamonds.

Luda's new dumbed-down flow, my mother telling me every day on the phone to cut my hair, the UC Davis campus police, and Anthony Bourdain are all current sources of irritation in apartment 680 - but Bourdain especially, because he is rude and overbearing and on the Travel Channel as I write this. He's got my dream job, though! That rude, overbearing Anthony Bourdain has my dreammmm job, traveling the world, getting paid, nerding out. The focus of my hungry curiosity is record stores, not open-air food markets in Phuket, but the getting-paid-to-travel-the-world-in-pursuit-of-local-delights hustle is still a hustle about which I need to be taught, so CALL ME, ANTHONY, master of this particular hustle! Teach me! And when we meet for our teaching session, don't look my body up and down like I have a feeling you will! Thanks! I hate you!

Until I have my meet-up with lanky, creepy Anthony, I'm on my own when it comes to travel in order to satisfy primal cravings (records, I mean--not crocodile skin softened in truffle oil, a Thai delicacy I just made up, or frog curry, an actual Thai delicacy). And I have no passport, so my choice of locations is restricted to the U.S., Puerto Rico, and assorted other commonwealths and territories with sketchy acquisition histories and tense racial-relations histories. Vacation days were calling me and the east coast seemed like a logical choice, so a few weeks ago I took my geeky ass to Boston, with no, um, reservations, and no shorts (October!). I did, however, bring cash, a super cute carry-on bag (thanks, Mom), and a record shopping list that has been, according to a very realistic dream I once had, blessed by the ghost of Christopher Wallace. I also brought my hips and an ethnically ambiguous face on the trip - two things that come in handy for a lady when she's traveling outside of her home region. (Hips ensure that straight men will be nice to you if you get lost, and the face straight from Denmark/Tunisia means you can pretend you don't speak English when a creepy straight man is being too nice to you).

I saw Fenway as per the legal requirement for tourists, I drank a lot of Dunkin' Donuts coffee, I went to M.I.T., I got a Charlie card and rode the T, so fun and exotic for a girl used to driving her car every day - the cool metal poles, smooth and shiny like the bald head of Keith Elam. But all that was just a collection of stops either on the way to or on the way back from RECORD STORES. I didn't spend too much money in total - around $200, I think - but I bought too many records to carry on the plane. I had to mail most of them back. Still...not too much money in total. Around...$230?

“FRAGILE FRAGILE FRAGILE.” I figured you'd prefer to see a bumblebee on top of a dolphin on top of a skateboard rather than my dumb old address.

I thought I needed scissors, because I'm an idiot. (All my brains are in my hips.)

I did not need scissors; there's a tab to grip and pull for ease of opening. Tight work, US Postal Service! AMERICA!


5 stores' worth, wrapped in some thin plastic and cardboard, safely arrived! USPS, you remain in good standing in my heart.

1. Nuggets, the 31-Year-Old Dustbin Where I Only Had Time to Buy 1 Item Before Being Dragged Away by My Traveling Companion.

“Step up in this motherfucker somethingsomething my hair.”

- Buddy Miles Express, Electric Church.

Just like how I have my reserved seat on the A$AP Crew Caravan and the Danny Brown Blunt Convoy, I'm a ticket holder on the Buddy Miles Express. Row 12, seat A. Choo-choo, baby, what more can I say. Buddy was friends with Jimi and, I just learned, the voice on this commercial, but first and foremost Buddy was a drummer just like his dad. I’m a nice person just like my mom, so I can relate, and also she passed on her hips to me, hips of course being the body part that so many soulful men wrote songs about. (Full circle!) This one's Logan-Walking-Down-the-Street-On-a-Hot-LA-Day Anthem: “Wrap It Up,” that time when Buddy took the Sam & Dave song and turned it into a plea for me to take my dress off. (A few years ago I remember the song was used in a department store commercial at Christmas time - wrap it up; I'll take it - proof that ad firms are too lazy to listen to lyrics. The song's about a man who wants to turn his woman's, uh, love into a box, with a pretty bow on top, an obvious sexy, nasty anatomy reference. “Bring you sweet things from my candy jar/'Cause you've got tricks you ain't never used/Give it, give it to me, it won't get abused.” Isn't this basically the same thing Danny promises in “I Will”? Aw, wait, I think it might get abused a tiny bit. SORRY, MOM.)

486 Commonwealth (“Comm”) Ave., Boston
Pros: Nice proprietors who didn't mind the impromptu photo shoot my traveling companion and I initiated and asked if we were from the nearby photography school. Acknowledging the store's quantity-over-quality inventory, they also wished us luck in finding “that rare Billy Idol 12-inch.”
Cons: Didn't find that rare Billy Idol 12-inch.

2. Cheapo: The One True King of R&B (sorry, Kells)

I can't believe they were able to get all four of them together for that photo on my shirt, since they basically wanted to stab each other in the stomach at this point as a band, right? Oh music industry!, you're just a big corporate picnic where dudes who hate each other have to smile together in photo ops to soothe the boss's anxiety and thereby ensure that everybody involved keeps making basketfuls of cash. Anyway, thoughts meander like a restless wind inside a letter box; they tumble blindly as they make their way across the universe, jai guru deva om, blahblah, mostly I'm trying to distract myself from the fact that I didn't buy the record I'm holding above even though it is called Music for the Sensual Woman and has a sad-eyed thick-haired blonde girl on the cover, because, well, I guess I'm into self-sabotage these days.

Of course I felt a lustful pull toward this section, as 2 of these 3 adjectives describe me
(email me if you must know).

STUN     NING. Stunning. Life-affirming. All I need day to day, along with some lovin and some ice cream, are some old George McCrae and Chi-Lites records over which to geek out. Seeking photographer to shoot me as a slutty ballerina gymnast, Tawny Kitaen style, on top of stacks like this.

- El Gran Combo, La Universidad de la Salsa. Bought because my hips were put here on Earth by god herself (Celia Cruz) to move rhythmically to Caribbean music. Also bought because this record was erroneously placed in the jazz section. Insane! This was no accident! I obviously had to go with the fate handed to me by record store gods. Entities outside of my control bind me sometimes, making me feel like the protagonist in horrible Power 106 earwig “Tony Montana.” “You leave me no choice,” excellent rapper Future says in the song, which is about having a decision already been made by the forces at play in the universe, and then living with the outcome of that decision, because you're just like that man with a Caribbean-bred stronghold technique. “Tony Montana. Tony Montana. Tony Montana.” I’ll talk about the time I bought an El Gran Combo record in Boston if/when I meet Bobbito, but until then I will sweep the floor and bake cookies to it at my apartment in an inappropriate outfit like Beyonce, “Mujer Celosa” sounding so good even though salsa songs about women always have that sexist virgin/whore motif.  

- The Chi-Lites, (For God's Sake) Give More Power to the People. Produced by lead singer Eugene Record (Eugene RECORD), this one of course has song titles like “Troubles A Comin” and “We Are Neighbors” because it was 1971. Couched in the middle, though, there's future-bankrupt-rapper blip-in-history-sample-source “Have You Seen Her.” How telling. In '72, the guys included their version of “Inner City Blues" on an album otherwise full of love songs, and in '73 they did a song called “We Need Order” on an album otherwise full of love songs. Later in '73, they came out with the Chi-Lites album, completely full of love songs. Every one was about marriage and regretting not asking that one lady to get married when you had the chance - none were about world peace or strife. The lesson here is to remember always, darlings, that we all need to get along as the children of Earth, but mostly we just need sweet sweet romantic love, preferably with a really long spoken intro while the bass and strings build in the background. Related: my parents are gone for the weekend so I'm having a party in the basement (dirty old couches and a single red light hanging from the ceiling! 1971 BACK! All 1971 everything!).

- Stylistics, Let’s Put It All Together. Yes, Stylistics! Let's do that! You had better fucking betcha by golly wowwww I'm ready to put it all together, especially since this record contains “Love is the Answer”* and was produced by Avco album chiefs named Hugo & Luigi, in their spare time, I mean, when they weren't trying to rescue Princess Toadstool from Bowser's castle.


- Archie Shepp, Fire Music. You can't deny that cover painting - guts laid out and spread around, messy and thick. It comes courtesy of Mel Cheren, a gay man drafted into the Army who, upon returning from service in 1970, promptly started working for a record label, encouraging its higher-ups to start releasing disco, and then founded Paradise Garage, which seems like the greatest and most subversive Fuck you and your army, America committed by a gay man in my great nation's history. This one also contains Shepp's "Malcolm, Malcolm, Semper Malcolm,"* about Mr. El-Shabazz, which is a reminder of the power of 3- and 4-word song titles in jazz. Next week maybe a Fetti affiliate will do a tribute/style-jacking of "In Walked Bud," only it'll be called "In Walked Flocka," and I'll be so pleased.

*This go harder than a herd of runnin' elephants. - my future husband, random YouTube commenter.

- Roberta Flack, Chapter 2. Predictability is my strong suit - I always buy a record with a pensive-looking lady face on the cover, which might indicate a personality trait of mine, some deep-seated shyness that Roberta and I both have, or that Laura Nyro and I or Nina Simone and I both have. Most likely I buy these things just so I'll have something to talk about with Lauryn if/when I meet her. Released in 1970, Chapter 2's pensive-face art design came courtesy of Ira Friedlander, whose Roberta-head-album-cover creativity apex was reached with Quiet Fire a year later. And although there aren't any rap breaks to speak of on it, King Curtis and Donny Hathaway make strong and graceful appearances like they always did on Roberta's albums; upon seeing this in the bins, it had to be mine. I love Roberta. It was, as they say, a wrap. (Predictability is my strong suit.)

- George McCrae, Rock Your Baby. Shockingly difficult to find, this was substituted for yearrrrs in apt. 680 by a ton of compilations with all the great singles from the album. I was ashamed and felt small, like my secret would one day be found out. Thanks to Cheapo Records, though, I now have the original album, complete with pensive George modeling his denim on the cover, leaning up against some wood, so bossed up I can't take it, denim on denim on denim, Levi's, classic, not like fucking Trues that all the cartoony major-label signees wear. “I Get Lifted” is obviously the rapdork-saliva-pumper on this album and it’s a fantastic bass-y slice of cake, a real sexy piece of work, but this means that the album’s opener, “Rock Your Baby” gets tragically overlooked (unless you are a resident of apt. 680). Bonus: George's powdery blue kit in the video shows up, years later, in Ghosty's Sonny Carson/slacks baby blue, knitted sharkskin line from “Murda Goons.” That's how music history works in my head, anyway.

- Ron Carter, A Song for You. Who's the best Isley? Marvin, because he played bass. Who was Kool & the Gang named for? KOOL, the bass player. What makes “Going Back to Cali” so fucking sexually exciting and fantast--OK GUYS YOU FEEL ME. But guys, who is the finest Mos Def doppelganger who plays bass and happens to be from my future life partner Danny Brown's city of Detroit? Why it's Ron “None of you can fuck with this, never, ever, not even in a hundred years; I smoke a pipe and have pretty lashes” Carter.

- Donny Hathaway, Come Back Charleston Blue soundtrack. Bought because I need every record with Donny's beautiful, doomed voice on it, and because I recognize “Little Ghetto Boy” (WEXLER!) in “Little Ghetto Boys” and “Lil' Ghetto Boy.” The sequel to Cotton Comes to Harlem, this album was co-produced by Quincy Jones (along with Donny) and has a 1-minute interlude called “Furniture Truck,” which would later serve as inspiration for Zaytoven's beats in tribute to mundane things (“Waffle House,” “Rubber Bands”) that take about 19 seconds to compose. Anyway, in 2012, the saga continues; I'd like you to please stay tuned for my Charleston Blue answer album Come Back Lil ½-Dead.

- Return to Forever, No Mystery. Chick Corea, Massachusetts-born, will make you feel like you can walk into the store and steal a nice pair of sharkskin slacks when this song's playing, a little thrill in your brain as you realize you're getting away with it. Plus it'll probably make your girlfriend take her dress off when you get home and put it on the hi-fi. And if your girlfriend's name is Logan, she'll start yammering on about it being an Eric B & Rakim break. Dog, you so lucky.

Cheapo Records
538 Mass. Ave., Cambridge

Pros: Large, cleanly laid out, well-lit. This is how record stores should be. Also, nice proprietors who recommended the Middle East for a good burger.
Cons: I live 3,000 miles from it. This is actually a Pro because it means I have enough money this month to pay my rent and buy a Balenciaga bag. Bonus Con: I just said "Balenciaga bag" like I'm Pusha's girlfriend, so I am pretty corny.

3. Looney Tunes: the Stupidly-Named Place Near Berklee Which Was Definitely Run By My Dad in a Previous Life.

- Nikki Giovanni, Truth is on its Way. Nikki, on being an alien from Michigan, in “Poem for Aretha”“Strangers pulling at you 'cause they love you. Nikki on being famous and lonely: Nobody mentions how it feels/To become a freak because you have talent.” Well, that did it. Cue me, forking over $16.

- Dr. John, Babylon, bought because, don't be silly, it's Dr. John! He's my pretend great-uncle and he's just the best. Also bought because Babylon system is the vampire - I know it, Bob knows it, and Dr. John knows it.

- Dr. John, Zu Zu Man, bought because Dr. John is still the finest, spookiest wheezy-voiced man out of N.O. (Sorry, Lil Wheezy). And because I was raised by music-loving heathens in a weed den, when I was 5 I knew about Dr. John before I knew about Dr. Teeth, his Muppet inspiration, despite the fact that I was a 5 year old child. Thanks, Pop.

Looney Tunes
1106 Boylston Street, Boston

Pros: Packed, unorganized, dark, no elbow room, great variety of genres. Thissss is how record stores should be.
Cons: Not the store's fault, but I hit it at the end of a lonnnnng day of walking and shivering so I was not in top form when it came to eyeing and choosing. I only got 3 records but if I had sat down for 10 minutes, eaten something, then returned, I'm sure I would've bought 8 more. And if I had the sense to put on a scarf? 12 more, I bet.

4. Weirdo, Tiny Like Lil B's Pants. Or Is It Dwayne Carter's Pants. Or Is It Tiny Like the Size of the Lyric-Writing Center in Khalifa's Brain. 

Oh well hello spiritual advisor Phil Spector, on the wall up there! How you doin, god.

It turns out I don't just love Boston because Mitt Robotney is no longer the overlord of Massachusetts, or because of Guru's accent ("He might be loose in the pahhhk/Or lurkin at the train station") or because the Pixies had a Purple Tape just like Rae! I love Boston because of tiny, tiny Weirdo Records, where I found some Turkish psych and a Dilla break and some demonic fuzz.

- Demon Fuzz, Afreaka! Bought because, OK, first of all, look at that cover. LOOK AT IT. Exactly. It's an Etsy project photographed by David Cronenberg upon returning from lunch with Nelson George! Now that you understand, the reasons for purchasing just get better: band members included men named Sleepy Jack Joseph, Clarance Brooms Crosdale, and Smokey Adams, who, if not jazz musicians, would've been Dungeon Family members, or supporting characters in Uptown Saturday Night, or, years later, guest MCs on Uptown Saturday Night. And the name Demon Fuzz had two meanings, according to Crosdale: “Devil’s children or bad policemen.” Either way: I APPROVE.

- Dorothy Ashby, The Rubaiyat of Dorothy Ashby. Fuckin rap music producers! Producers love this lady's records, you guys, probably because your favorite producer's favorite favorite producer Mr. Yancey (NO, NOT YOU, LUGER) made it mandatory to love her.

Original compositions inspired by the words of Omar Khayyam, it says on the cover of Dorothy's album. Khayyam, research tells me, was an 11th century Persian poet. The meaning of his poetry varies a little according to which middle-aged white man translated it, but overall his writing appears to be a collection of soothing statements that explain the world. We're here to enjoy each others' company in meadows while the sun shines, the poems say. Also there should be lots of wine. I don't care for wine, but I like words that soothe and the fact that Khayyam was a Sufi Muslim (just like Ghosty! EDIT: Ghostface is a Sunni Muslim. But, really, what's the difference). A rubaiyat, research tells me, is a collection of poetry - quatrains that generally follow the AABA or AAAA rhyme scheme. So obviously Wiz and any Dipset blockhead would excel at this form of artistic expression. Cat/hat/sat/bat, cat/cat/cat. On a mat.

- Turkish Freakout: Psych-Folk Singles, 1969-1980. It's a compilation, brand new, the work's already been done for me and that's cheating, but Christ, I'm not Madlib. Wait, I'm not Oh No. WAIT, they're both equally informed about Turkish psych and they both stack those Stones Throw dollars. I do not lead such a life of luxury. This lady's on a budget! All I can afford is my rent, some Balenciaga, and some not very rare, non-eBay, non-first-pressing records every now and then. Actual song title on the comp: “Uryam Geldin” (“I Came Naked”). Madlib probably speaks Turkish at this point and knew that already, but I'm not ashamed to say I went right to Google Translate for the assist.

- Sun Ra and his Arkestra, Sleeping Beauty. Just like a Mormon, I fetishize precious objects (gold in Mormons' case; records in mine) and store material provisions for the End Times (food and water in Mormons' case; records in mine). Nothing, nothing is more fetish-worthy than a handsome, musical man who was an actual space alien and brought messages from the other side; allow me to introduce you to my record collection full of bassists and MCs. Just like supreme fetish object Madlib, I do a tiny jump-up-and-down dance to myself when I find a stunning album in a store's bin. And just like Madlib scrawled “Door of the Cosmos” on the side of the cave he descends into en route to his underground bunker, I need to leave little messages for myself around my dwelling, reminders about the power of human potential, in order to do my best work (blogging). In keeping with this, on my fridge is a list of the 7 Tenets of Mindfulness Practice because I stress too much, and Sleeping Beauty is on display right when you walk into apt. 680, wordlessly telling me keep it spacey, life should be weird and spacey. Also, keep it based. Sun Ra was based before #based was a thing.

- Ennio Morricone, Le Professionel soundtrack. The MIT museum was lovely, a real nerd heaven,  despite the grouchy gift shop cashier and that fact that MIT almost spells out Romney's first name. It turns out the MIT's motto is Mens et Manus (“Mind and Hand”), a concise rendering of the philosophical intent of the school's founders. Promote education for practical application, they proposed. Yes, I heard about that from BDP once or ten times, MIT museum, you biters. Get your head and your hands to develop a solid working relationship seems like it would serve you well if you were a boxer, which Jean-Paul Belmondo started as before he was beautiful and young and pretentious in Breathless and then old-ish and weathered in Le Professionel. Mind and hand is also a good thing to remember when you're in front of your MPC making a powerful beat to which you'd like me to walk down the street in a dress, and it's a perfect thing to remember during amorous times on the couch or in the backseat.

Weirdo Records
844 Mass. Ave., Cambridge

Pros: Very sweet proprietor who found it comical I had 4 separate transactions (FOUR), because every time I thought I was done, I'd find another darling that had to come home with me. Ahaha. HA.
Cons: It really is tiny inside, and lack of space means you're at the mercy of your emotional state and the tricks of the universe when you visit (the universe might send in an annoying person who tells you “Mos Def just changed his name!” even though you don't really care and plus you already know this.)

5. Newbury Comics: the “I Realize It's a Boston Institution but Inside It Just Looks Like a Bunch of Red Sox Fans Took Over a Hot Topic.

“I can be smart when it's important, but most men don't like it.” - Lorelei Lee, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Musical space cadets from the future would've liked it, though, Lorelei! Should've been more willing to accept nontraditional romantic partners, mama.

Don't make me chase you, Sun Ra. (Even doves have pride.)

I should use my cervine face to get away with bad things all the time. Bank robbery, etc.

- Sun Ra and His Arkestra, Super-Sonic Jazz. “Super Blonde,” the liner notes say, “tells a happy story about a blonde who is just as super as someone else called super.” There's no mention of this super lady as a blonde who wears a Warner Bros. Films x screenprint machine collab t-shirt, but I'm a sucker for a happy story so I had to have it.

- Joy Division, Unknown Pleasures. Bought because I love depressed boys (but you knew that). I am a young, educated woman in a major city, so I am required to use the word "thrifted" to describe half my t-shirts and I have to love depressed boys. I am an awful, boring cliché on 2 legs. Sigh. Also bought because I can't find Closer - somewhere at my parents' house, maybe? - so I haven't been able to play any Joy Division when I clean the house in an inappropriate Beyonce outfit. And bought because “She's Lost Control” is my theme song in my darkest, baddest, most promiscuous moments, and in my bittersweet, heart-racing, body-moving, large-eyeball-pupiled moments, oh look, there I am, dancing alone in the corner at the Factory on Saturday night. Also bought because I didn't have it in my collection but I always knew I should, and now I do. Aw Ian. Welcome to the collection of musical ghosts that live in apt. 680. You've been placed between Christopher Wallace and Elliott Smith.

The trip winding down, I made a quick stop at Quincy Mahhket to try to make love to a not-feeling-it Red Auerbach, then mailed my records and returned home to my native sunny land. Bourdain doesn't have to worry about rent being due, but I do.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Things more interesting than popular music beefery and impending industry babies and Georgia rappers' appearances on terrible Dwayne Carter albums

Put the paper in the panties when you get that dance, goes the sign above the front door at apt. 680, just as a reminder when you enter. There's no basketball court here, unlike at King of Diamonds. There's a basketball court there, inside, which makes it an odd and wonderful part of the Miami naked-girl scene. There's a basketball court inside King of Diamonds, I said. Inside. This fact is thirty times more interesting to me in my life at the present time than anything Tyler says or does in, on, near, or around MTV because...hell, it's MTV. (I feel like people are kind of making fun of his mom for her emotional display, too, and I don't care for that. And did you hear there was some sort of dust-up between basic bitch Rawss and a thin white lady not named Logan?). The basketball court fact is more interesting than anything, really, at the present time in my life, other than wondering to myself Is Curren$y's leg healing appropriately?; does he need anything from me, perhaps a nice home-cooked meal and a round of Duke Nukem? and How in the world does Wayne keep his white Ts so clean and fresh? (He seems like a sweaty person).

I believe the phrase in Miami is Don't stop; get it, get it, correct? Anyway, I am too thin and awkward to be a nude dancing professional, but strippers and female rap bloggers are both regarded with a mixture of fear, patronization, and lust by males in our respective worlds so I feel like I'm an honorary nude dancing professional. Wayne - or, actually, the director of his video, with final approval by UMRG, all rights reserved - has some conflicting stripper feelings that this article sums up in a beautiful way. The only important thing that I would have included in the piece is the fact that the word hustle actually means "to shake to and fro." The word hustle actually means that. And still, dudes are upset at/lusting over/giving fatherly advice to ladies using what they have to git what they want.

Also, still unclear: Wayne's feelings about stripper librarians.

Just as odd and funny, but not quite as charming, is watching Internet boys discover Dwayne Carter's "recent" descent into terribleness. Energy levels are high in this regard, dudes just going crazy, dissecting all the bars, hating up a storm. I tell you it's some enthusiasm like I've never seen. They're also getting excited (in the opposite way) over Andre's verse on "Interlude," which is only remarkable by default (due to the terribleness of the rest of the album). Everyone, everyone, I say, Calm down. Andre is the coolest, a real swingin cat, but if you show your hand too soon, lap up anything he gives you, he'll lose his fire and then we'll be stuck with another 5-year absence. Every night he reads me the phone book while I look at him with my chin resting in my hand but you don't see me getting all excited. I just wait til he leaves, then I write about how much I like him in my diary, and listen to his "Walk It Out" verse like it's still oh-six.

Internet boy Andy Nosnitsky, you annoy frequently but you charm more frequently. And I have you to thank for informing me that Phesto has a Tumblr

• This photo of Bun B exists. SWANGIN, I hear his voice say in my head when I look at it. And as of tomorrow, Bun B Day exists. “Way to go Bun B, it will truly be a Trill Day in Houston!,” says the mayor's website, adorably. (The mayor apparently hasn't heard B's Population fifty thousand, only 3 high schools, but 8 sets of low-income housing critique, but I'm pretty sure B was talking about Port Arthur there anyway. A huge city like Houston's got to have way more than just 3 high schools, right?)

• #1 in sales/DLs at this moment: “I'm On One” (Khaled). Really, America? I didn't realize it was still mid-June. Best moment in the song, still: Khaled's Get em uuuup overlapping Stupid Jerkface Drake's I'm onnn one during the squiggly intro. The song is big dumb fun (still, even though it's no longer mid-June), and it's nice to see a Palestinian and a Jewish guy make some harmony together, quite literally. The other best moment is all moments not involving the image in my head of Rick Ross bending some poor lady over in the kitchen, Sweet Jesus. 
#1 at this moment in 1971 - “Spanish Harlem” (Aretha, age 29), produced by Jerry "MORE BASS" Wexler, AKA Production God For Whom I'd Convert to Judaism. Best part - piano at 01:44 (Aretha).

#1 in 2001 - “Fallin'” (Alicia, age 20), produced by Alicia (age 20!). Years later, these two ladies get cross-referenced in the Mos Def section of a certain bikini'd blogger's brain ("One Step Ahead" as a break, and the "You Don't Know My Name" video, SUH-WOOOON, DANTE, you give all shy, hardworking girls hope that dudes who don't look at us will one day look at us).

I'm not a Belieber, I'm a...uhh, JerryLieberber? Hearing the original "Spanish Harlem" in the Civic  yesterday right when I started the engine means that some sort of deity exists and he/she is a fan of pop radio just like me. Best part: the syllabic stressing, the satisfying way the words ride the beat, during the It is a special one, it's never seen the sun/It-only-comes-out-when-the-moon-is-on-the-run/And all the stars are gleeeaming part. Lieber's heroic feats outside of actual music making include he and Mike Stoller insisting on getting producer credit on all of their work - unprecedented in the '50s music industry. "Atlantic wanted to call us 'directors'," he said, "they said they were the producers because they put up the money." But Jerry and Mike sealed the deal, ensuring that many years later a bikini'd lady blogger would hold Mannie Fresh in high regard for actually making the stuff that provides the soundtrack for her hustle, rather than one Bryan Williams for bankrolling it. See also: RZA rather than Steve Rifkind.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Let the inappropriate emotional attachment to my fantasy football team begin!

Why yes, Hank Williams, jr. - I am ready for some football. SQUAD UP:

QB: Mark Sanchez, NY Jets

Pros: USC! Not Matt Leinart! Had pretty good numbers last season, and will maybe keep improving? Maybe? I'm also told that “with a few lucky bounces he could have a good (year),” which applies to me as well as every other human being in the universe. 
Con: He's from Mission Viejo, and people from Orange County cannot be trusted. People from East Orange, however, can always be trusted (to provide the world with at least 1 life-is-wonderful heartrate-increasing soundtrack banger). 
Team's best rap nods:  Aw, pumpkin! I'm so glad you asked!   
“JETLIFEJETLIFEJETLIFEJETLIFE, jet set/nothing less, jets fool, EAH, where haven't we been, lames catch feelings/we catch flights, jet life/it sucks to be you...” (fade out). “New York City respects my game like Mark Sanchez Joe Namath” - Monch. A quick Internet search also tells me that Bad Meets Evil has an actual Mark Sanchez line; however, I find all those songs so boring and therefore offensive to my ear canal that I cannot verify this information.

Backup QB, although who knows, I might start him: Eli Manning, NY Giants

Pros: 4,000 passing yards last year! Also, with Steve Smith gone, Eli will have the firm-yet-flexible hands of Hakeem Nicks, even more ready and willing to catch for him. teehee.
Cons: 4,000 25 interceptions last year! Just super goofy looking. At least he commits to it, though - Eli's not changing his style for anybody, which makes him the Danny “50 didn't like my pants” Brown of my fantasy team Personality boring like peanut butter & jelly on Wonder bread, Kanye's women issues, an Ikea couch, grown men Twit-scrapping, Jay Elec's voice. (I let these gentlemen into my heart and psyche every fall; a little charisma would be nice.)
Team's best rap nod: “I slam tracks like quarterback sacks from LT” - Deck. (Reference circa 1981-9, but it still counts) 

WR: Brandon Lloyd, Denver Broncos 

Pros: Pro Bowl-er; NFL's reception yards leader last year (1448). He and Kyle Orton are in sync like Curren$y and…Alc? (Spitta calls him “Al.” AWW.)
Con: Glamour shots.

Team's best rap nod(s): In a few sex raps over the years, there have been mentions of individuals “throwing” the “P” or the “D” “like Elway” (you'll have to figure it out, as I am a lady and I CAN’T TYPE THOSE WORDS, teehee! Hi Mom!) “Ice cubes in my pocket; too many drive Elway style. I got this.” - Curren$y. “I keep it real dirty, dirty, you know how I do/Purple and gold with the Lakers, the Broncos - the orange and blue” - “Air Force Ones” (click, grin, chair dance. 2002 pop radio magic.) I have it on good authority that Denver is just like Compton. 

WR: Dwayne Bowe, KC Chiefs

Pros: Pro Bowl-er Spells his first name correctly. Every time he's in Miami and sees D.Wade, Bowe's like What's up DwYYYYane, hahahaha. I like that. (Seems like Wade needs to be taken down a notch ego-wise, I'm just saying.)
Con: I'm an IRL Raider fan, and I fear that my IRL hatred of the Chiefs will result in me self-sabotaging when it comes to fantasy, purposely putting Bowe in some no-win situations. Why do I do the things that I do? What's going on in this head of mine? More complex than an almanac, that's me.
Team's best rap nod: “Watching the Chiefs blow 'em out/In between Arrowhead and Suave House, no doubt” - Andre Rison (ha) on an Eightball song. I should call this “team's only rap nod, outside of 'Queen's Gambit' (too easy), something by Tech N9ne (nope), or a fucking Mac Miller song (which I refuse to post on here, for ethical reasons).” And because the mourning of Jerry Lieber continues in apt. 680, “Kansas City” is appropriate for the listening in this case too. It's not-rap but it's got bass and movement, and that makes it perfect for the chopping and looping. I have daydreams of its future appearance as a rap break; won't somebody please use it?   
Quotable: This one girl was talking to me like she'd known me for years. 'Hey, D-Bowe, how's Grandma?' I'm like, 'How do you know my grandma?' - on ladies who are big, big NFL fans.

WR: Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia Eagles

Pro: NO CANCER! Fuck outta here, death!
Cons: Mysterious vomiting and night sweats not due to cancer or any other ailment; this man appears to be a bit of a delicate flower. Maclin's teammates must call him “J Mac,” yes? Sigh. Of course they do. And I'm sure he's fine with it. Points deducted for lack of creativity and overall predictability.
Team's rap nod(s): Well, Wayne's from Eagle Street of course. “My city is New Orleans/Baby, my street is Eagle.” Tons of McNabb and Vick mentions - “Stay running the rock just like I play quarterback for the Eagles - Randall, Donovan, to Michael” - Gibbs.

Backup WR: Plaxico Burress, Jets

Pros: • Built like PlasticMan (6'5", 232!!) like all receivers should be. Possibly has a Dwayne-Carter-esque just-out-the-pen hunger which would result in some prolific output. 
Cons: Will maybe have a Prodigy-esque just-out-the-pen hunger to overcompensate out of desperation which would result in some underwhelming performances (aw Prod. Sorry, buddy).

Rap nod(s): Oh Jesus Christ, too many. So many. (Game n' Weezers) 

Backup backup WR: Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers

Pros: “EHH” during the regular season, but “OOH” in the playoffs. Showed some fancy footwork in the Super Bowl too.
Con: I find it difficult to respect a grown man named “Jordy.” I might be able to reconcile this as the season progresses if he performs well...however:

in a shocking turn of events, it's possible that ownership could go with Chicago's Johnny Knox as a Possible Backup WR instead! He might get lost in the shuffle on a team that has Roy Williams and Devin Hester, but at least his name's not Jordy. It's an odd and powerful feeling, being a woman in LA with no team-ownership experience who suddenly finds herself able to put these guys in or take them out in a giant game of Fate, Destiny, and Met/Unmet Expectations. This must be what it's like to be Jerry Jones! Or RZA and GZA on the giant Clock of Life, taking breaks to play chess. 

Team's best rap nods (NO, not that Wayne song about being a cheesehead): “With a knapsack of green Supreme hats/Like I was sponsored up by the fucking Packers - Ty. “My belt got G's on it like a Packers helmet” – not-Nicki and not-Wayne so who cares, “Pass the Dutch.”



Pros: • Best running back ever to exist in the universe (1600 yards last season!). Here to save the world, or at least help a certain bathing-suited ladyblogger get the (fake) win every Sunday.
Con: Say his first name out loud.
Quotable: Understand the universe, you'll understand me.” Oh good lord. 
Team's best rap nod(s): None for the team specifically; I’m pretty sure the Texans have only existed in the league for like 6 months. For the city of Houston's rap nods, though, I suggest you visit the rap- and bathing-suit-appreciation blog HeightFiveSeven. Understand bass, you'll understand me. Understand hips, you'll understand me. 


RB: Shonnnnnnnn Greene, NY Jets

Pros: He's from a place called Sicklerville, so how could he not be a sick fucking overachiever on the field? (Logic's not my strong suit. Hips are.) Plus Tomlinson's getting old, so Greene will be able to shine like sunlight, like gold, like my wit and charm.
Connnnns: Obvious mom and dad issues, since they decided to spell his name that way. I see this manifesting itself as some distractedness on the field.

Backup RB: BenJarvus Green-Ellis, New England Patriots

Pros: 13 touchdown carries last season! Nickname: “The Law Firm.” LOVE IT.
Cons: The epic name “BenJarvus” carries no weight, no special meaning. It's not a family name or anything! - his mom just liked it. I can respect that, Mrs. Green, but it's still disappointing.
Team's best rap nod(s): Does this count? (It's my blog, so it counts):

TE: Owen Daniels, Texans

Pros: When healthy, he's good. When healthy (this hasn't happened since '08, though that season he did have over 800 yards). This stupid league makes me play a tight end every week instead of a fourth receiver (which would make me much happier), but Daniels is one of the best available.
Cons: See below.
Quotable: “That shuttle launch was pretty sweet.” He also enjoys reruns of Rob and Big, going to the gym, and staying positive - all important parts of his training regimen for the 2011 Boring-Personality-Off between himself and Eli Manning.

Backup TE: Aaron Hernandez, Patriots

Pros: Decent numbers last year, and he's so young that I believe he'll only improve from this point. Handles it like a grown man (“I'll get better”) when random dudes criticize him electronically. This type of maturity and non-bitchery is so unusual in the world as I know it; feels like dreamland.
Con: Fantasy football sites have informed me that, due to the Patriots having another good tight end in Rob Gronkowski, Aaron's stats will suffer “because the ball is spread around so much.” TEE HEE. 
Team's best rap nod, since, OK fine, “Patriotism” was kind of cheating: “I got the bomb; call me Tom Brady” - Ghosty, in that horrendous Rae song that makes me yell HOWWW does Khalil keep getting production jobs? Is it blackmail? He must have overtly homosexual photos of Dre or something. (And for the record, Ghost: I'm not going to call you anything but “sir,” “god,” “darling,” “dear,” “darling dear,” “Ironman,” “king,” or “Tony.” xoxo.)


K: Nate Kaeding, San Diego Chargers

Pros: Can consistently and adeptly use his foot to make a football sail through the air and land square between two goal posts. (I get this guy almost every year in fantasy. He’s solid if unspectacular, much like his rap equivalent...umm, Elzhi? Skyzoo? Royce? I don't know. Somebody help me here.)
Cons: Has the unfortunate appearance of a weakling. Is Nate anemic? He just looks super feeble; I kind of feel like I could black his eye out even though I have arms like Mr. Burns'.
Team's best rap nod: “I might charge through San Diego with the bolts on my shoulder/Rock the Trailblazer warm-up, 'cause Portland gets colder” - Fabolous. Nice to hear a song from Loso about menswear rather than yet another one about ladies' shoes and purses.

DEF: NY Giants

Pros: Lawrence “I breaks it down to the bone gristle” Taylor has a fondness for powdery stimulants and sex professionals, but nobody can dispute his skill as a player. His competitive spirit still permeates the Giants' defensive line to this day (in my head), though he hasn't played since the '90s. As far as the current roster goes, all I feel the need to say is PRINCE AMUKAMARA. Nigerians are good at everything.

Backup DEF: Detroit Lions

Pros: Other than Ndamukong Suh, I'm not sure. But Baltimore, Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Philly, and Chicago are all taken - what am I supposed to do, other than back this defense with love, affection, and a few prayers to the NFL gods on Saturday night before I lay my head down and go to sleep?
Team's best rap nods: “Looking like Barry Sanders/So Icey flex game” - Waka “A city full of Tommy Hearns thumpers/Grant Hill hoopers, Barry Sanders runners, stunners” - Royce. At first I was mad at various other Michigan rappers (ahem, GUILTY S.) for not mentioning their home team in verse, but then I realized that the Lions were terrrrrrrible during most of those guys' young-man-hood. You're forgiven, gentlemen. “Like chocolate candy you will break/Running back, Detroit Lions, with an ill fake” - Keith, in Ultramag's “Super Spellbound.”