Sunday, May 29, 2011

Oh Word: “ranking the performances on that ‘Racks’ remix that's 12 goddamn minutes long” edition

I guess I didn't realize that just ‘cause you promised em a spot on your song means you better find a way to fit em ALL on your song. From the “Fuck off; I love it” collection, this one fascinates and entertains me because of its odd mix - 17 DEEP! - of terrible rappers and fantastic ones. Nickatina, KRS, Earl S. and Lil' ½ Dead were all too busy, I guess.

Ranking the performances on the “Racks on Racks” remix, in order of lyrical strength and overall auditory enjoyment. LEH'GO:

17. Wiz “15 Minutes” Khalifa

Racks on, racks off, see that blonde stripper, my hat’s off
Lookin’ at my Rollie, ’bout thirty grand what that cost
Smoke like I’m in Cali, fuck takin’ flight, I blast off
N---s talkin’ tattoos, we should have a tat-off...
Way back in 2004, I told ‘em it was a wrap
Now my life ain’t my life no more, I told you, n---a, it’s a wrap

Like Drake, this young man's voice has the appeal of a foghorn and he clearly needs to see an audiologist. When you are pitchy on the microphone and you are not singing, that's a problem - and not in a good way, like ooooh this Random Axe is gonna be a problem. I mean, an actual problem, like a hearing issue. Rhyming wrap with wrap, saying “racks on/racks off” (makes no sense), that “tat-off” line, and his amateurish cadence throughout which sounds how I would sound if I got on the mic (i.e., bad, just bad); the whole thing is an exercise in delivery-inadequacy and poor storytelling. How bout a cheeseburger-off instead, Wiz? Did you know Dylan wrote a song about you? (Wiz is very thin, that's all I'm saying)

16. Ace Hood

I’m that n---a in fact (in fact), paper tall as Shaq (oh boy)
Blood, Sweat, and Tears, it’ll be on your local Wal-Mart rack

IF YOU THINK I AM SPENDING MY MONEY TO SUPPORT SAM WALTON’S HIDEOUS CHAIN OF ANTI-UNION DISCRIMINATORY INDENTURED SERVITUDE DUNGEONS YOU MUST BE OUT YOUR DAMN MIND. It's hard to top Wiz in terms of wackness, but a freaking Wal-Mart mention is going to ensure a spot for you at the top of the list.

15. B.o.B

Call me Bobby Ray, but it’s not two names
Flyin’ through the city, all-black, Bruce Wayne...
As a kid, I was struck by lightning, it’s no wonder I’m electrifying
Fuck a brainstorm, I’ll fuck around and cause a power outage
And it ain’t no rivals, if it was, it’d be no survivors
Just gimme a hour, I’ll light it up like an Eiffel Tower

Sigh. OK. I really did try to approach this activity without prejudice even though I strongly dislike this particular individual. After listening with a clear head and an open heart, though, it turns out this guy is an annoying doofus! What's all that garbage about lightning? Why is someone other than Eddy Grant trying to talk to me about electricity? Who encouraged him to enter into battles that are completely unwinnable? His delusion is not cute; it’s irritating. And his voice sounds like Tyrone Biggums’ at the start of his verse. And his style of dress makes him look like he works at Barneys*. And sorry, but “Bobby” and “Ray” are 2 names. And he appears to have some sort of weather symbol tattooed onto his wrist area, which I never noticed before. I should've been making fun of it, and it's sad I missed out on doing so all these months.


Wiz and his tat-off are waiting for you, Bobby.

14. Wale

Racks on racks on racks, I’m tryna smash and not call back
My name Wale, you so silly, wet my willie, might call you a cab
Yeah, ridin’ around wit’ that reefer scent, ridin’ around with Ms. Reece and them
When I’m in the groove, I can freak a tune, I’m smoother than alopecia skin
I shows out, like dope when I put that flow down
Like soap when I put my clothes on, I’m jokin’, but I be Foamed out
And all she want is more bags, but all I want is more 1s
I told her “Bring that money back” like all them racks is Nordstrom’s, whooaaa

Let's say I had a friend named “Blonde Patti Smith” who I kept trying to get you to like. Man I just did this siiiiiick track with Blonde Patti. I really push her in your face. She's my sidekick at every party and I keep suggesting we have ciphers and then I just toss the mic to her so she can get loose. Me and Blonde Patti are going on tour; have you listened to her new mixtape yet? You would hate that. It's annoying. Wale doesn't understand this concept.

Fresh from putting on a suit and standing next to Rawss behind a rented Bentley, Wale lays down yet another verse about wearing Nikes and not calling girls. What a G. Using the word smash is extra hard too, or so says my cousin in 8th grade. I would caution my fellow ladies against accepting a date invitation from Wale - he's a grown man who uses the word smash - although if you're a woman who thinks sleeping with Wale is a good idea, you are impaired and you probably say smash for the act of lovemaking too, so maybe you kind of deserve what you get. Another terrible thing I can't ignore: the way he says “WHOOAAA” at the end of his own verse and everybody hates that as much as I do, right? Oops, pow, surprise! And finally, “alopecia skin” is gross. I understand the analogy and I guess it's kind of clever-? But it's still gross and he never brings nothin new to the table and that's how he solidified the #14 spot. Can't ride the “No Hands” gravy train forever, lazybones.

13. Trae

I’m the hood if you wondered where I’m at
In the back of a Chevy that’s all black...
Couple of whi-whips that I ride like yachts
A couple of haters lookin’, I’m knowin’ them n---s hot
And tell ‘em that I don’t give a damn
Hard as a motherfucker, tell ‘em I was HAM

I'm pretty confident nobody was wondering where Trae was at. Thanks for the update, though, buddy. He's on the track by default - I think it's likely he was offered a chance to hop on and contribute a verse only in an attempt by the label to make the geographic representation less lopsided (MCs from Georgia on the “Racks” remix: 5. MCs from Texas: 3, including Trae). Scarface is currently otherwise engaged, Pimp C is unavailable, and Devin just flat-out said no when they asked him to get on, so Trae, you're up.


12. Twista

Everybody wanna hate because I’m on, blowin’ head back, bottles by the zone
Twista finna get up on the track and spit it the way I do simp-a-ly because I like this song
When I step up out the Maserati car, gotta pull it, pull it, pull it, pull it from the jar
Then I blow, I’ma close out the par’, with some killers and everybody know who we are

I don’t know, I guess I’m not impressed by machine-gun delivery anymore. It’s cute for a while and then it just gets old and gimmick-y, plus it’s really hard to rap along with in the car and that's a bummer.

11. Big Sean

I got single bitches tryin’, married bitches lyin’
I take ‘em to the crib and leave our future in a condom
I wake up fresher than these motherfuckers as is
Look inside my closet, that shit look like it’s Raks Fifth...
I’m at the altar sayin’ my vows to this Benjamin Franklin power
You buy her a house, I won’t buy her a vowel, you fell in love, and I fell in her mouth

That condom line. Ugh. I hate myself for saying so, but it really is kind of amusing. (I didn’t say “Verses on the ‘Racks’ remix ranked according to level of female-friendliness and unbridled romance”; I'm ranking them on lyrical strength and overall enjoyment.) When did everyone start saying LEH’GO in their songs and At what point is the jump-on-my-remix madness going to end are the 2 primary questions this song elicits inside of me, but hearing Sean on any song brings up the question Which other MC named Big is going to battle him - Boi, K.R.I.T., L (even from the grave, he could take Sean), Smalls (even from the grave), Noyd, Mike, Pooh? In other opposing-forces news, this track's producer is Sonny Digital, and Kool Keith was an Analog Brother. Feels like there's a cage match between those two I should be planning.

10. Dose

Got Activist in my Sprite, Benjamins in my Robins
Franck Muller wit’ flooded ice, but I still got my brightness
In the fast lane, gettin’ slow brain in a 2012 Maserati
I’m kickin’, pimpin’, like Liu Kang, my coupe smokin’ like Friday
Puffin’ on that garlic, sick off all the Marley
Inked up on my hands and arms, got Def Jam in my pocket

I'm sorry, but WHO? I’m not familiar. “Dose”? Unless he's a new golfwanger or the next big thing in YMCMB or endorsed by Doomsy, why am I hearing about him? Is he Dose One’s son? Who the heck is he and did I mention this song's got SEVENTEEN DUDES on it? Fuckin thing is 12 minutes long as a result and in Ramones terms that's like 22 or 23 songs. So much filler makes my tummy hurt. This verse should've been edited out but it taught me that “garlic” is a term for weed and that there is a brand of jeans called Robin's; nothing more, nothing less.


We got racks on racks on racks (she got)
Racks on racks on racks (they got)
Racks on racks on racks...
All around the globe, bein’ on TV
Everywhere you look, you see YC
Hatin’-ass n---s just wishin’ they were me
Way too big for my ma’fuckin’ jeans
I’m so fly I don’t even got wings

Ranked right in the middle of the list for a reason, this is an unremarkable verse that, like Dose's, I neither hate nor love. It's stupid (“I'm so fly I don't even got wings”) but I don't care enough to get mad at it. Yawn. Wake me up when we get to Bun B’s part. YC's responsible for that monster hook, though, and I do like the inclusiveness of his sentiment. It really is a glorious sing-along Power 106 beast. Racks: he got, she got, they got, we all got. Gimme my cut, please.

8. Cory Gunz

Young Money, Cash Money so strong, keep scorin’, I’ma bring it on home
Those Xans and the lean cause zones, somethin’ tan with a mean jawbone...
Goin’ for the grips every day ’til the grave
I be worried about chips, you be worried about the Lay’s

I don't care if you follow it up with Gunz; the name Cory will never be intimidating - though if your real name is Peter Pankey jr., I can't criticize you for adopting a firearm-related alias in an attempt to make yourself seem badder. This one gets a pretty high spot on the list by default (he's simply not as weak as Wale or Wiz), though that “chips/Lay's” line is sort of cute and helped get him to #8. Plus I love the blatant truth-telling contained in his verse (Young Money Cash Money really is so strong at the moment) as well as the blatant pandering to Soulja.

7. Yo Gotti

Gotta front me a brick, that ain’t nothin’ to you
Just ran through a ticket, there ain’t nothin’ to do
Yeah, I love these streets like I love the booth
Mr. Cocaine Music, I’m 100 proof
Got white on white on white, ice on ice on ice
And when I’m in the club it look like lights on lights on lights

Um, Jeezy is Mr. Cocaine Music, just for the record. Glad to see Yo Gotti's still alive, though. For me, it's all about the voice with him. Honestly I can't think of one memorable thing he's said on a track but I can tell you everything is said in a nice gravelly Memphis twang.

6. Cory Mo

Catch me in the city with the trunk on crack
Top dropped down, black on black
Fistful of wood, twisted for the good
Check my bank account, got racks on racks
Look around, fool, got a wall full of plaques
Platinum and gold, you gots to love that
Posted up just like a thumbtack
Better hide ya ho, ’cause she bound to get snatched
H-Town, Texas to ATL
She got a fat ass, she prolly know me well
Keep it on the low, never kiss and tell
True player, Cory Mo cold as hell

Two Corys on one song! Name the last time that happened! CM's got a deep, fatherly voice and uses the world “cold” as an adjective like an old man who's seen some stuff, or like Drexl Spivey; I appreciate both of these things about him. Last time I remember hearing cold, Jay-Z said it right before he asked me to 2-way him. Bring it back in songs, please! Also Cory's name is fun and bouncy, making it appropriate for a cool (cold!) intro. If I were a boxing announcer or the host of a mixtape I'd introduce Cory with a cute rhyme, like Cory Mo with the classic flow. I lack the grasp of technical language to describe the rhythmic rapid beauty of his style, but it's textbook Texan. Cold Cory Mo with the Texan flow.

5. Waka Flocka Flame

I got racks on top of racks, stacks on top of stacks
Bands on top of bands, got me fuckin her and her friends
Bad boys don’t do papers, that was just for my haters...
Got a bad bitch from the U.K.
She do everything I say
Go crazy when she hear my music
She got “Grove St.” on replay

This is just pure magic (FLOCKA!) despite the presence of Auto-Tune. All of apt. 680 was stunned by yet another nuanced, sophisticated performance by Flocka (Flocka!) on the remix. Listening to him is a proven heartrate-increasor. Nobody can outdo him, spirit-wise. Flocka is Flocka's biggest fan and that kind of self-confidence is contagious. I get dressed and do my hair to the sweet sounds of Benjamin Flocka, then I walk down the street like I'm a bad bitch from the UK and can't nobody tell me nothin.

4. CyHi Da Prynce

Got racks on racks on racks, y’all rap so wack on wax
Purple by the pound, that’s that Flacco, haaaa
I make big plays, I got big chips
Blue money like six Crips
Switch gears like stick shifts...
Pull triggers like hamstrings
Boy, I’m doin’ my damn thing
Big blood with them bricks, pimp
Get off a key like I can’t sing
Got the seven on me like big jersey
Ridin’ round, and this bitch dirty
I’m the best, hands down, they nicknamed me 6:30

In a stunning moment of self-alienation, I found that I actually enjoyed this. Joe Flacco is someone I can never get in my Fantasy draft, but he wears purple for the Ravens and I like when there are cute NFL references in rap music (usually only people like GZA and Monch attempt this). Cy's verse ranked so highly because he mixes up his cadence style and his fast delivery resembles that of every Texas rapper since '98*. Why does he have to spell his name like that, though. Why.

3. Young Jeezy

Young, if it’s convertible, then how is it a hardtop?
(then Jeezy makes a car-screech sound, love it)
Bitch, I hit one button, my roof open like a hard spot
Make me throw my diamonds up, bitch, my life was hard knock
Had so much kush and Ciroc, bitch, I think my heart stop
Every night’s a weekend, every day’s a Friday night
You ain’t seen nothin’ yet, bitch, this just my Friday ice
’87, brick fare, yeah, I’m talkin’ thirty racks
All I sold is hundos, where the fuck my twenties at?

First of all: YEEEEEAAAAAUUUUUGGGGHHHHH. I'd also like to add CTE, baby; we all we got. Additionally: Jeezy took a break from mentoring youngsters in the business of cocaine to write a confusing verse about days of the week. If every day is a Friday night, that means you are up and about like you would be during 12 - 4 AM on Friday, going places and doing things, hugging girls, shaking hands. You therefore sleep/recover during the other hours, which, if my overthinking is correct, would be actual PM hours. This is the schedule that Ben Franklin would've recommended; the Snowman keeps it healthy, wealthy, and wise. Jeezy's continued presence in rap is also helping to offset all the damage B.o.B. is doing to the reputation of the state of Georgia.

2. Nelly

Yeah, they call me Country Grammar, my brother out the slammer
I’m crimson color painted, you can call that Alabama
I’m not from Alabama, but check out how I roll tide
He might have the same whip, but check out how I roll mine
Y’all n---s ain’t no stars, y’all only in it for the cars
The sky is your limit, mayne, and mine somewhere ’bout Mars...
I ride wit’ them boys in the middle of the map
St. Louis, Detroit, Chi-town, Nap
Down to the Dirty, back up through the trap
But the money don’t stack, man, money overlap
Yeah, y’all better watch it, mayne, right here we lock and load
Two things is for certain, mayne, and one thing is fa sho’
Got a house on hundred acres, I’ve never seen my neighbors
A chick in ATL, and from Buckhead to Decatur

A younger me had a meannnn crush on Nells but this verse was ranked based completely on ear-canal enjoyment rather than any romantic feelings. I can be objective sometimes! First of all, how can you not LOVE a dude who starts his verse talking about how happy he is to have his little brother back? Right?? It makes you forget that he just said “They call me Country Grammar” (which they do not actually do). His brother got out a year ago, too, which makes it that much more touching - Nelly is still on that high of being reunited with him. The joy hasn't faded and he's gonna let the world know through the majesty of song. Whatta guy.

Nelly has suffered the unfortunate curse of pop radio stardom wherein his talent is wasted on songs they play at H&M. I pray he either starts hanging out on Fairfax to get people interested in him again, or gets really filthy on a mixtape so H&M loses interest completely. Or, you know, he could pull a Luda move and simultaneously be popular and non-wack. This verse is a good start. “Check out how I roll tide” is clever, even though Nelly should be a Mizzou fan, obviously. I hate it when people abandon sports allegiances for the sake of being cool, or because another team's got a fresher colorway for their fitted. “I ride with them boys in the middle of the map”: also clever. Geography raps are too rare. Blatantly calling out his colleagues on this same track - “y'all only in it for the cars (WIZ stop acting like you don't see me looking at you)” - is a move of bravery and integrity. And “Two things is for certain mayne and one thing is fa sho” is just pure language-rhythm heaven; I will be reciting this verse in the Civic all over LA this summer.

1. Bun B

*Bun B, I’m a underground king (kang)
In the candy-painted car on swing (swang)
With the top on drop and the trunk on pop
Boy, you can’t tell me a damn thang...
Yeah, I rep that P-A-T
One hundred, yeah, that’s me
If you don’t recognize, you gon’ see
I’m a straight-up trill OG
In a black-on-black-on-black
Cadillac, like a Mack on clacks
Try to jack and I will attack
It’s a fact that I ain’t givin’ up my stacks like that

LOVE. LOVELOVE. Bout time a grown man showed up. Chunk the deuce, get throwed, somthingsomething candypaintwoodgrainVogues, breakin sketti, go hard annnnd don't forget to ride foreign all the livelong day.


Friday, May 27, 2011

Ronnie Foster, Two Headed Freap.

“Take away love and our earth is a tomb.”

- Robert Browning, regarding my emotional ties to apt. 680's record collection.

“Starin at your domepiece very strong.”

(that's what me and Ronnie are doing here, in tandem)

Name: Ronnie Foster, Two Headed Freap (Blue Note, 1972).

Is this title acceptable? No, because I don’t get it. I mean, really. What in the hell?

“Fusion,” an unacceptable musical term, surfaces whenever I do a post about a '60s/'70s jazz record because if it was at all popular in its day, it'll be categorized as fusion jazz by Amazon and/or Oliver Wang. Stay away from fusion when it comes to restaurant food and when it comes to music in general, that's my advice - unless it's 2005 and you're in the Gobi Tent and Z-Trip's doing that Outkast x Tool thing he used to do, everyone screaming and happy in their sweaty skin. Thick-basslined songs with southernplayalistic MCs laid on top will change the world! was the entire audience's one collective thought that glorious night. We were synched-up, linked-up, and ready to impeach the president. ANYWAY, Two Headed Freap is a bad title. You know what a good title is? Damn Right I Am Somebody. Everybody Loves the Sunshine. In the Court of the Crimson King. An Arrow Through the Bitch. Rust Never Sleeps. Maggot Brain. Supreme Clientele (sentimental pick). Teflon Don. HAR. J/K.

As always, I come up and say I don’t wanna talk about Rawss and then all I do is talk about Rawss. Ronnie Foster was frequently dismissed by jazz purists during the peak of his career in the first half of the '70's. Translated to more modern terms, this is the same relationship I have with 60% of present-day rappers. So maybe in a couple decades I’ll look back and realize I was too hard on World’s Most Competent Rapper and Not-At-All-Poacher-of-Identities, Rick Ross? Not that there’s such a thing as a “rap purist” anymore. I mean, there’s me, but I’m the only one who bothers to attend the monthly meetings. There are always snacks, plus we save a little time at the end of each session to discuss beat biters and swag jackers! You should come!

Produced by: George Butler, your go-to guy on the boards in the '60s and '70s if you really loved the craft of jazz that you had tirelessly practiced, but you were also aware that hardly anybody bought jazz records and this fact worried you. Butler merged traditional jazz - diluting it, say annoying purists - with popular stuff at the time. This behavior does not make him one of my favorites but my parents didn't raise a hater, you know? Far be it from me to criticize. Everybody gotta eat. Make moneymoney make moneymoneymon-ayyyy, George.

Additional personnel who make me sigh with desire and yet somehow fulfillment of desire at the same time:

Mr. Foster himself played the synth on the second/last Roberta Flack/Donny Hathaway album, and organ for George Benson and Stevie Wonder. He also played on Grant Green’s Alive!, which contains “Down Here on the Ground.” Hey, I know that one! So do you!


Arranger Wade Marcus played horns plus did some arranging for The Blackbyrds. Bassist Gordon Edwards shows up on albums by Rufus Thomas, JB, Weldon Irvine, John Lennon. He's also on a bunch of Galt Macdermot’s records, including The Nucleus (with “Bedroom,” as heard on The Beatnuts' “Uncivilized”). George Duvivier was also on bass (“double bass,” says the Internet - when everybody knows you're supposed to say it the way my dad and Mingus say it - “upright” or “stand-up”). Duvivier played on everybody’s records, most importantly for this post, however, is his presence on Wade Marcus’ A New Era - the drums on "Spinning Wheel" have been used in rap, but nothing related is YouTube-link-able. Gene Bertoncini, on guitar, also played on Hubert Laws’ Afro Classic; “Passacaglia in C Minor” –> Goodie Mob’s “Dirty South” (video filled with stereotypes; you have been warned). He also played Grover Washington’s All the King’s Horses. Great album title.

And in the category of photography we have

Al Vandenberg! How come nobody told me about him before?

Entered my life: May 1 (?), 2011. Amoeba. $10.98. I had been looking for a while. I'm grateful, like Oprah says I'm supposed to be. I'm working on finding my spirit and feeling the blessings. I can't seem to shake my anger over the fact that I still can’t find that stupid Jaggerz album, though.

Difficulty of finding, vinyl-wise (1-10 scale): 3.7. It's not difficult at all, I just discovered! “In a world where carpenters get resurrected,” said Lenny Bruce, “anything is fucking possible.”

If you had asked me a month ago I would've rated it an 8. As of May 2011, Amoeba's buyer stopped playing games with me and added like 10 copies to the store's inventory. After a hundred tries, it was just there one day. Christians, I want to believe you when you say there is some meaning to life, some Big Plan, but my record-searching adventures in the big city tell me otherwise. I looked for Two Headed Freap for yearrrrssss, I swear, and then one day it appears in the bin, no fanfare or confetti? Complete randomness, that's all life is. Why bother. Luckily there are things like joy, basslines, hugs, kittens, Mitch Hedburg footage and ice cream to convince me to stay in the game. Reading David Foster Wallace* helps a whole hell of a lot and that's been true for me since around the time my hips started coming in. He is a proven mood-lifter if you are a sensitive, dreamy and awkward individual prone to bouts of fuck this. Ah but that's all of us; I just remembered.

*“I like the fans’ sound at night. Do you? It’s like somebody big far away goes like: it’sOKit’sOKit’sOKit’sOK, over and over. From very far away.”
Infinite Jest)

Breaks contained:

Ooh doggie, I am so glad you asked—when I say “Electric,” you say “Relaxation.”

Real quick:
Midnight Marauders was mastered by Tom Coyne. (Researching who mastered what, album-wise, is my new thing. Mastererers add depth and punch. I love em. I'm kind of over producers at the moment). Coyne mastered every rap album in the '90s and, more importantly in the current world of popular song, Adele's 21 with super Civic banger “Rolling in the Deep.” That one, like “Still Not a Player,” (c'mon, click! It's been a while since you let some Pun into your brain) is something Clear Channel plays pretty frequently while I'm out driving in order to remind me that it controls my emotional landscape. Goddamn you, pop radio.

Stretch out your legs, lemme make you bawl. “Electric” was a song from the ‘90s - an obvious fact because it mentions ladies of color, who do not find themselves mentioned so much in present-day rap songs (unless they're yellow-bones, which I'm hoping I can get away with saying). It's hard to imagine 50 or Gucci (or even Pusha, sadly) saying I like em brown, yellow, Puerto Rican or Haitian. Well, maybe the yellow part. Obviously white ladies dominate current rap music as accessories du jour, at least the songs with tinny video-game effects, but every time I start to get a big head about that I remember that we're held in high regard not for our character or beauty but for our willingness to let our apartments be stash spots. This would provide a great segue if I were hoping to open a discussion about standards of feminine beauty, gender politics, and the female body as commodity, but word to god, hon, I don't get down like that. That's why dream hampton exists.

The line “See, I'm not the type to kid to have my biz in the streets” is also a dead giveaway that the song comes from an historic time—because of course nowadays, everybody’s got their goddamn biz in the streets (Twitter being the new Streets), and I don’t care for that. Also I'm not sure how confident I am in Phife's claim that he's from the Zulu Nation - just 'cause you hang out with em doesn't make you one of em. (Like me with Rollin 60s last summer)

Best YouTube comment:


- Young Jeezy OOPS, “zoisgoulandris.”

Reason for this post on today of all days: I found it at the store, completely randomly (my speech to Christians to start this post, remember?) and realized it was on my Intended Posts Lists. I do too many about '90s rap breaks. I'm getting sick of myself and the categories to which I confine my work. Reign in Blood's up next just to throw people off.

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

- Foster recorded Live at Montreux for Blue Note in July of 1973, OH WHUT, now would be a perfect time to sit here and swoon over Curren$y’s “Montreux.”

a) “The Montreux Jazz Festival was originally held at the old Montreux Casino, which burned down in December 1971 during Frank Zappa's performance. ('Smoke on the Water' by Deep Purple tells that story).” - Wiki

b) “Real songs are about deals with the devil, far-off lands, and where you'd find smoke in relation to water.” - Otto Mann, The Simpsons

c) “I'd never heard the song before. Everything I want to use, I just use. Either I try to get it cleared or get sued later. Rock artists should have no beef if we sample them, 'cause they stole all our fathers' shit.” - Curmudgeonly forefather KRS-One, regarding the use of “Smoke on the Water” in “Ya Slippin.” He catches a lot of heat for being an old grouch, but he happens to be right about things 90% of the time, especially when wielding an unstoppable emotion-based argument like this one. I also happen to love grouches so I'll always be his cheerleader.

Sartorial accompaniment:

Boots, jeans, cropped shirt. My aesthetic is “songstress who's the next big thing in country music,” or maybe “an extra in The Devil’s Rejects or if I were more annoying and covered in polo field grime, “Coachella escapee.” Put me in whichever category you like, just don't forget to have “Rumble” playing when I put on this getup and walk down the street. It's perfect.

The white-balance problem, I know. My hair looks red and it's not in real life; my jeans look Matisse blue here, but really they're not. Not sure what I did wrong. I had my camera settings on SATURATE!! for some reason…although secretly I believe that because I am so full of life force and spirit that photos of me automatically come out extra-vivid. I can explain the shirt too - it's got a generic picture of a headdress because I enjoy cultural appropriation. It’s also a tribute to the cranial adornments of the prophet RAMMELZZEE, who, I don’t know if you heard or not, is currently directing his spaceship toward apt. 680's launching pad, coming for me in what will surely be my own personal Rapture. See you chumps later. Enjoy Earth.

Bonus headwear:

Gulf-area parade headdress wearer in that new Bonnie Prince video (“There is No God”),
which contains funny anatomy words! Just watch it; trust me.

Life lessons, important messages contained:

- You got your “I love you; do you love me” fare, standard; song titles include “Drowning In The Sea Of Love,” “Let's Stay Together,” “Don't Knock My Love.” Then there are the titles that sound delicious - “Chunky,” “Mystic Brew,” and, um, “Kentucky Fried Chicken”? These titles are all ironic and that's disappointing. There's no guts in Two Headed Freap, no spice, no taste, really. I'm glad I own it now because of the Tribe connection of course, but I need meat and this thing's mostly gristle. Actual KFC, on the other hand, is like heaven. I know they're mean to the chickens; I was a vegetarian for 8 or 9 years so I paid some dues. Now please leave me alone with my bucket. KFC is like heaven in my mouth....crispy, fatty heavennnnnnllllllhhhhmmmmnom nomnomnom.

- If you are going to plead with someone Don't Knock My Love, your name should be Wilson Pickett. If you are going to Drown in the Sea of Love, it should probably be Joe Simon's sea, because Premo will take his skiff out into those waters and scoop some into his bucket and bring it back to D&D to flip it and bounce it into some steezy goodness. You'll realize that the wackness is, in fact, spreadin like the plague (Rawss, Wiz, everyone in YMCMB not named Wayne or Baby or Nicki) and tonight you'll write in your diary Guru is the only one who understands meeeee.

Suitable activities while listening:

There's a lot of Rawss in this post for whatever reason. So I'm taking all the images of that awful Hangover movie and imagining a Zach-Rawss hybrid. That could be funny, right? Somebody do that, please. After all, Rawss is an actor just like Zach! Tryin to be fly, ridin high on the jet-set/With juvenile rhymes makin fake-ass death threats.

Other notable things about today:

- I walk around the club, fuck everybody/And all my n---s got that Heat; I feel like Pat Riley. Another day, another Little Wheezy big fat hit song. They play him so much on Power 106 I think he's dead 2 or 3 times a week. An MC should write a bar or two about that to illustrate his ubiquity. Hear me so much on the radio you'd think I died.

I WALK AROUND THE CLUB, he says, FUCK EVERYBODY. Worth repeating; I love it. Dr. Carter and I have similar frustration-tolerance levels. (Dear Weez, try reading some DF Wallace; it helps during the sad times). Anyway, the line is no “cousin of death” (Nas) or “real Gs move in silence” (Weezy) or “punchline punchline sex act blah blah” (Weezy again) but it sure makes me smile, its minimalist angry beauty comforting me as I make my way around the metropolis. I'm waiting for the remix in which Dwayne voices my frustration at the DMV, the line at Walgreens, dudes who street-harass on Sunset (honking then bravely driving away like real men). Fuck everybody, he'll say over a tinny video-game beat. I can't get away with such language in real life because I am boring and proper, so once again, a Louisiana MC acts as my mouthpiece. Thanks, whoadie.

- Dennis Coffey mix over at Hit It and Quit It! “Cloud Nine” into “Sugar Man” into “I Want You” into “Garden of the Moon” into “It's a Shame,” into me collapsing into a puddle of exhausted sweet lustful good feeling on the couch in apt. 680.

- Cobain almost played Rocky Dennis Lance the Jesus-haired, bathrobed pharmacist in Pulp Fiction. Tarantino is an idea-stealer almost at the level of Rawss, but it is his childlike enthusiasm for cinema that makes me not hate him. I like people who are excited about stuff. The 3 minutes of heaven known as the “Little Green Bag” scene makes him epically non-hateworthy, too.

- Jen Brill is a jerk because she is rich (parental-rich, not hard-work-rich) and has this photograph in her NYC apartment that only a jerk could afford. I'm guessing this is the original photo because she was/is(?) having intercourse with Uncle Terry. I can soothe myself over the lack of this photo in apt. 680, however, by reminding myself that at least I do not have to have intercourse with Uncle Terry. ADVANTAGE: LOGAN.

- People keep drinking the Wiz Kool-Aid, a disgusting substance that tastes like swishers, unsubstantiated hype, and sweaty gross Chuck Taylors. And I just discovered that now, for the low low price of $30, you can become a Taylor Gang member! Join the movement, yall! Wiz Khalifa: shattering my notions of all that wackness could possibly be since 2009.

- Bob Dylan was born 70 years ago this week and that means everyone’s been digging around for some new piece of information about him. Why hello there, heroin! Bout time you showed up in his story! 15-year-old me would have been fascinated by the drug news, but as a grown-up I am strangely non-opinionated about this. It does kind of make me want to have sex with Bob a tiny bit, though, I think? That’s bad, right? (I throb for the self-destructive rather than the “upstanding who drive sensible Japanese sedans and pay their bills on time” and those who “call me when they say they will.” Sorry, Mom).

- Rolling Stone has decided that these are the best 10 Dylan songs, which on the Meaningless Scale is exactly like stopping me on the street and saying Hey Logan! Did you hear the checkout lady at Vons says she knows the 10 best Dylan songs? Anyway, this list contains no “Love Minus Zero” and no “Positively 4th St,” so pay it no mind.

- Syd, my beatmaking girlfriend in that group of rowdy Fairfax boys, started making beats after her dad gave her a laptop with GarageBand on it (no link because I couldn't find one, but believe me when I tell you I read this in Nylon mag at lunch today). Man I love her. I just really do. She might not be like some raven at my window with a broken wing, but I still love her so much. My dad gave me about a thousand records but all I did was grow up and become a music blogger and part-time Internet bikini model. Didn't John Mayer write a song about this exact thing?

- I'd like to see this No Wave doc, then go to tea with the young lady who made it so we can discuss whether John Lurie or Richard Edson would be the fastest at getting us out of our dresses. The contest takes place in 1983-5, of course, when they both were in their prime tortured/beautiful years. The checkout lady at Vons picked Lurie, for the record.

- Rock Paper Photo. Go there, please. They have lovely Al Green, Billy Preston, and Peter Tosh photos that greedy old photographers have been tight-fisted with until now. Now they're free for viewing, although I'm sure the photographers are hoping you'll purchase rather than ogle. You got Muddy Waters showing some lapels under a white vest (those are the only clothes he owned), Miles at the gym, Herbie under an umbrella, Richard Hell and Elvis Costello backstage doing the closest thing to broing down before the term bro came to be, and oh look, there's Chet Baker looking dopesick of course. The site also has the long-sought-after photographic series from the “I Get Around” video shoot - Tupac, Highly Amused in Hanes (Also Please Take Note of the Beck's, Smile, Blunt, and Girbaud and Fila tees as Accessories), 1993, by Chi Modu.

Plus here's Marvin lookin out the back window, making eye contact with all the people trying to breathe in the exhaust fumes of the Detroit Swagger Express.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

“Women lust over my lyrics like basketball players”: the 10 most romantic things Kool Keith's ever said.

I ASS said the bumper sticker I saw today while out driving - except, can you believe it, the heart was upside-down, like an ass! It looked just like a nice, curvy bottom! Teehee. It was a message just for me. Religious types say God works in mysterious ways; I just say Well, there it is - a sign that it's time for me to finally do this Kool Keith post.

What's that you say? A girl with high self-esteem and several Women's Studies courses under her belt should know better? A porno-fiend caped rap crusader will only make me cry into my Hello Kitty blanket? He'll eventually find the hips of another woman to get enveloped in, so I should move on? Oh dear, I'm sorry, I'm sure you have valid points but Keith just arrived and I can't hear you over the sounds of our vigorous lovemaking. He's good to me. He doesn't charge me for twice-daily pelvic exams. He wears a cape (rad), and doesn't name-drop even though he is friends with Ced Gee and Doomsy (SO RAD). And he's dependable - Keith's bread and (sexy) butter is brag-raps, conquest-raps, songs about spanking and biting, tales of headstands and whipped cream, lube and rope, Silly String, stripper shoes, librarian shoes, insisting he gets to be both the cowboy and the Indian when we play cowboys & Indians, insisting I ride the mechanical bull while eating frosting out of the can without a spoon, and for putting his left leg in and shaking it all about. He also goes, um, deep when it comes to romance, but nobody seems to notice. He's not known for his emotional-connection raps. After years of listening to him and obsessing, though, I'm telling you: Keith wants to make sweet, tender love to me until the sun comes up, and watch this, I can prove it:

1. You’re blonde and weird; let’s get naked, dollface. You're Dutch/Argentinean, yes? Or wait, no - Persian/Irish? I love you. - “Break U Off,” Diesel Truckers (2004).

Don't get me wrong now, I like 'em blonde with long hair
They call me Suavere, I like her underwear
She don't mind posin, she don't even care
I like her atmosphere, plus she's out there
The type of girl to break out, yo we outta here
House and closets, model with a lot of gear
She love to clown and pose, spread 'em on the chair
Talk on the rooftop, when she wanna feel some air...
With a see-through nightgown, she got to be Spanish
Brassiere, baby come over here
The mamacita, lick the ice off her back when I freak her
She look Brazilian sometime, her face look unique-a.

Long blonde hair with an ethnically ambiguous face? UH OF COURSE THIS SONG’S ABOUT ME so it had to start the list. Indulge me, please. She's (meaning me, the romantic lead) blonde, “plus she's out there,” meaning she might just be the type to have a pic of Harold Rhodes for her laptop background and a blog in which she obsesses over rap lyrics. It would also help if she had an absurdly feminine body shape, but this combination of qualities is just impossible to find in an actual human lady. You're dreamin, kid.

Blonde girls are like unusual, highlighted birds to Keith. I get it. He's from the Bronx; blondes are probably rare there. Keith was apparently so smitten he had to take to the microphone and count the ways he loves his fair-haired oddball baby doll space cadet(te?), including her ability to make love to the camera. It is a common theme in sex songs. The big thing on the radio right now is “Double Dip,” an awful/catchy song about repeat coitus. When you texted that pic of your backside to me, the dude says, My reply was like, “Give that right to me.” Points for straighforwardness, sir, but none for romance, originality, or mastery of words that rhyme with “me” (there are about a thousand, for the record). It is boring. Just a boring series of words over an awful/catchy beat. By contrast, Keith somehow makes “spread 'em on the chair” sound fresh and witty, like no other young lady in history thought to pose nakedly for her man, to put her leg like that, open her mouth a little, yes love, just like that - gorgeous! (snap, snap). The fact that he asked me to wear a Hello Kitty onesie and some thigh-highs just before I mounted the mechanical bull and started posing? Just part of the romance, baby.

Basically just a list of all the things he likes about his lady, “Break U Off,” also gets a nod for the lines “Tastes so good, her body like Krispy Kreme” (yum!) and “I love your sweet eyelashes” (aww).

2. Your body! 36-23-JesusChrist.“Telephone Girlfriend,” The Lost Masters (2003)

Answer the phone, honey
You lay on my chest like Max Julien, Cleopatra status
Coke bottle shape, Miss Nubian
Watch your sheer nightgown in the bathroom light
With camel toe showin, I can tell you tight
Loose jeans don't work, my job is to convert.

Never in mah life have I heard an MC who pays such close attention to a woman's sleeping and lounging garments. Keith does this over and over in his verses - descriptions of cotton and lace, silk, that satin thong in “Sexy Girl.” He loves drapey, soft things on skin, and he'll tell you about it over a beat. How sweet. This verse made Top 10 because of that attention to detail, and because of his appreciation of a nightgown, an old-timey garment that your grandma wore, as opposed to one of those lace bodystockings from AA or a corset or something.

I could do without that stupid camel toe part, but the reference to Cleopatra Jones is dope and means Keith clearly likes watching girls with unusual first names who accentuate the waist and wear tight shirts. I also believe Keith has stated his fondness for a mean WHR more creatively in other songs (“Business lady with the Anita Baker haircut and a Coke bottle body” - “I'm Dangerous”), but any lyric about a mean WHR is clearly a lyric about me so it gets a spot on this list. (I'm easy)

3. I like to hear your voice sometimes - not just type messages to you on my phone's tiny keyboard. - “How Sexy,” Dr. Dooom 2 (2008)

I met you, wanted me to buy porno
girl you had it in your hormones
Last night before you talked to me on the phone
I asked you twice to bite my ice cream cone
C'mon be serious-
this ain't typin a few words back and forth like kids; we grown.

“We've seen each other naked,” says every girl in the world, including the girl whose blog you are currently reading, “can we sometimes talk, please? Hear each other's voices?”

I saw a funny bumper sticker about ass! And I made cupcakes, do you want one? I had a dream that I had a kitten! What do you think French Montana and Push Montana talk about at the annual Montana Family Picnic? That new Jeezy n' Freddie has a lower BPM than I normally like but man when I hear it in the Civic it makes me wanna get back in the narcotics game, like the “Black Betty”/airport scene in Blow! They're having a Dudes Who Will Not be Seeing Logan Naked conference on stage at the Meadowlands! (well, except for Waka. I believe “He could get it” is the expression-?). 9th Wonder adds “Member of the Universal Zulu Nation” to his self-intro (“Producer/teacher/rapper…”); is that true?? Does he still adhere to the 15 Beliefs, or is he a detractor? There's a human who calls himself “Black Cobain,” the fuck is that about! They play Frank Ocean on Power 106; is this dope, or a sign of the apocalypse? Dude oh my god Spader simply killed it on The Office! That story about Pyrex is so interesting, and it's a perfect mix of rap music and science, my two greatest loves! I got ____ and ____ at Amoeba today, and then I brought them home and laid them on my floor and rolled around nakedly on them! Wait, why'd your phone go to voicemail again? Hey boy, let's talk, cuz WE GROWN. I mean, aren't we?

It's not that I'm chatty; it's that the world is amazing. I think about some dope, weird, silly, dumb stuff and I want to lay it on you in actual conversations once in a while. Actually, I think about all kinds of nice stuff I wanna lay on you, conversationally and otherwise. RAWR.

4. You're not boring, even when we're doing boring things. - “Telephone Girlfriend” again

In the living room, on the couch and sofa
Mature female, you act older
No problem at all when I walk with you to the mall
Circle the parking lot, you park and hot (? I think)
At night you booty call, we order things from Pink Dot.

Same song, different romantic scenario. Romance doesn't have to be dinner upstairs at El Cid (though the empanadas are so SO good) or getting flowers at work; it's living-room lounging, buying dumb stuff together at CVS on Tuesday after work, then you rolling your eyes during one of my Power 106 dorkout sessions while sitting in traffic (“Racks on racks on racks, LEH'GO”). If the person you’re with is fun even when you’re doing the most mundane things, you’ve got it - a magical, perfect coupling, a lovely picture of relationship beauty - and you should hold onto it. See also: the person you're with embellishing life accomplishments just to make you smile (“First man from New York City housing to have his face on a $30 bill”), and that person also somehow being more interesting than the NBA playoffs (“I turned the Lakers off, you can't stop my afterparty/A fifth of vodka and latex, drink your Bacardi” - “Regular Girl”).

This track also includes massaging, a thing that is both a classically romantic gesture and a thing that dudes are deliciously skilled at because they have more upper-body strength than women. It's science. “Baby oil on your toes while you get wet to my flows” gets an honorable mention as well, simply because I love it. Hi Mom!

Until he says “I love your purple onesie” or “Darling you look spectacular when we're in apt. 680 and you poke your hip out like that,” I will have to settle for “I see a packed house in different color bodysuits” (“Don’t Crush It”) as the best lyric Keith wrote with me in mind. That cover model, by the way, is Spantaneeus Xtasy. She has starred in Crimson Thighs, Butt-nanza, and The Boobcage 2, which is poorly made and does a terrible disservice to the first Boobcage (don't even bother with it, I'm serious).

5. Wack rappers be quiet. The world is wondrous and so strange and I'd like to tell you about it with my patented colorful and stylish narrative technique. – “Plastic World,” Sex Style (1997)

As I do see...(??) wack beer commercials
Some rappers are bought and puppeteered like the Ninja Turtles
From Manhattan I heat up, yo light up Times Square

I make noise like open high hats on your cheap snare

No promotional shows, girls wear cornrows

People with hooded sweaters on crack keep me on my toes

I walk with straw hats, fake glasses in the projects
Bring my ghost image so tense on the line of scrimmage

Playing my numbers, waiting for the 5 to come

Spaghetti out the window, people acting dumb
Fire hazards wake the neighbors, your family's nosy

I come and go as I please on blockhead MCs

You bought new sneakers, no car, scrambling on the corner

I'm not the star you are, the city's fallen far

By mechanism, you're on my tip

Stay off my penis, you've duplicated me for years.

Go weird or go home, that's what I always say. Keith lost that nice bouncy “Poppa Large” flow somewhere along the way - spring of '95, I believe it was - and goddammit if he didn't made up for it with lyrics like these. References to a drum kit, terrible MCs who are inexplicably successful, and the weirdos prowling the city: this song is romantic because to a lady English major, interesting, well-written rhymes are the sweet love-nectar of life. Also, good storytellers are the highest form of human. Good storytellers get women naked, if they storytell in a way that is romantic yet non-corny (a tricky mix). Sex Style was dope stuff, late-'90s weird-hop, streamofconsciousness-sex-hop, and Keith had no challengers, really (except RA, maybe? at times? Slick Rick and Too $hort, no - they ruled the '80s sexrap industry but mostly they put out plain old intercourse verses, free from BDSM and mechanical bulls and other Keith-ish weirdisms). Just wait til 2009, though, when a scrappy young buck from the Bay will stroll in and announce he's Paris Hilton and his chain look like lightning - he'll polarize the Internet! Anyway, Keith is the rap Trav Bickle, describing NYC as cluttered and greasy and sin-filled, but instead of making me recoil in disgust when he talks about how dirty it is, it makes me want to go there. (This also serves as a metaphor for our sexual life together.) Oh and “stay off my penis” is just funny; no two ways about it*. Romance cannot survive without some humor thrown in.

*I should do a post about mentions of penis in lyrics over the years; seems like a good use of my time but I have a feeling I'll just keep putting it off. I should also listen to more Gang Gang Dance and finally read The Executioner's Song but that is probably not happening either.

6. Brokest rapper you know (hi Sean P!) - “Let Me Talk to You,” Masters of Illusion (2000)

I respect you for going with me to Burger King, riding with me in my lil jalopy. Stickin by me, through thick and thin. Goin to White Castle and stuff...ridin around in like a little '65 Chevy. Can't afford them Benzes, we can only fantasize.

We forget Keith’s a real person sometimes because of his superb, otherworldly brain, the fact that he was so spacey Thelonious stopped taking his phone calls and he got kicked out of both the Cosmic Echoes and the Arkestra*, and the fact that his overall demeanor is like that of an alien doing an impression of Al Goldstein doing an impression of a dude asking for change in front of the 99Cents store at Willoughby and La Brea. But if Keith’s cut, he bleeds. He likes waffles for breakfast (oh god Keith me too! Me TOO we are meant to be togetherrrrr). He turns up “Owner of a Lonely Heart” when it comes on the car radio for a life-is-wonderful rockout sesh just like everybody else. And he likes his partner to appreciate him for more than his money, because he is huuuuman and he needs to be looooved/just like everybody else doessssss. Keith likes playing games but only the sexy kind, and if you are a lowdown dirty female thinking that you can manipulate him into catching feelings and paying your student loan bill, well, you will probably get a mean-spirited rap song written about you. He wrote groupie-decimating “Dolly and the Rat Trap,” remember. We're all aware that when the feelings are real and the love is true, cash is often a nice supplement to a romantic relationship (thanks, Jay-Z and Fabolous songs from 10 years ago!). But when cash becomes so terribly important that romance needs it in order to stay alive, why, that's not romance at all! Love don't live here anymore!, say all the other songs by Jay-Z and Fabolous.

Again, the details of a sexy courtship are what Keith is so good at, uh, nailing (har) - “Bringing extra underwear to the picnic,” “Drinkin cups of tea by the fireplace,” the importance of doing certain things to her in certain places with care and enthusiasm (I cannot describe these actions or these places here, as I am a lady). And reciprocity, darling: “When a woman loves a man,” he says, “she'll clean the grime off your feet.” This is true. And when a man loves a woman, he makes a cute cartoon video to accompany one of his most romantic songs. PS, Keith! Benzes are cornball and I like you better without one. I'd rather bob my head in a ragtop (preferably a monkey-green one*) any damn way.

* This is something I just made up and found amusing. So it stays in the post.

7. I did this for you, and that for you, because I’m a nice person. Oh and did I mention I have a Seville?“Supergalactic Lover,” Black Elvis/Lost in Space (1999)

Diamond rings with roses, I put pearls in your noses
Put you in heels, paid your school loans and tons of bills
I ripped eight thousand threw a stack up in the fireplace
You couldn't believe it, your mom was there with a sad face...
I walked in with cape, with jewels on, you know I'm the captain
Outside by the Cadillac three brothers rappin, soundin wack and
I kept on steppin, legend status, you know my rep and
I see you at 8, turn your pager off, don't be late...
Supergalactic lover
Comin from the projects on the hill
Supergalactic lover
*In my monkey-green ragtop Seville

“Darling let me tackle that Chase bill for you, and here’s some Phillip Lim stripper-librarian heels in a pretty oxblood color. I'll pick you up at 8:01 PST in my Detroit-made sedan.”

“OH NO, I couldn’t possib—AW DAMN. WELL, OKAY KEITH, if you insist.”

I can pay my own way but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the offer - even though a supergalactic lover will always take a back seat to a superman lover in my heart.

The student loan hustle is one of the greatest ever concocted by the federal government. What a pain. I need relief. I'm willing to accept cash aid as a form of this relief. I also like pretty, overpriced shoes. And it's my dream to be able to stop my days of worryation. And I like Cadillacs. And even though I do not even give a tiny bit of a fuck that Thom Yorke sometimes shows up and spazzes out at the Low End Theory, because he is boring and because it's not the year 1997, '98, or '99, I do give a big huge fuck about everything Keith still does even though it's not '97 or 8 or 9. The captain put spaceship pictures up on the wall and paid my student loan balance, so if he tells me to turn my pager off, I'm doing it. Being bossed around by someone with more money than you adds an interesting power dynamic to a relationship, and can manifest itself in some pretty intense ways in the bedroom. Or, um, so I am told? (Hi again, Mom!). This one also contains the best mention of “ragtop” since “Bombs Over Baghdad.”

8. ROAD TRIP. - “I Want You to Be,” Lost Masters, Vol. 2 (2005)

You made me who I am now, my mind is under all different types
of enjoyin weather in the deep relation
Your feelings are ready for elevation
I need you now to meet me at the station
I need you nowww to meet me at the station

You gotta be there on time...
I can't think no more, I cry to myself by the bed
I can't sit by the sink no more
Your perfume lingers in my room with the overjoy and pain
I think about you even when it doesn't rain

People who don't like road trips are soulless, like Republicans and Serato users. Jot that down. Remember it always.

There's lots of “let's run away together” in Avett Brothers songs, Band of Horses songs. Fleet Foxes. Bon Iver. Elliott Smith. My Morning Blitzen Trapper Drive-By ugghhh too tired to finish the list. I have numerous bearded boyfriends with albums full of white girl swoon-y road trip classics. And then there are songs that just make you feel like running away with someone when you hear them (Flying Burrito Brothers, The Band, Bill Callahan, Cass McCombs, side A of Anodyne). You'll notice that there are no rap groups, or individual MCs, among the musical persons I just named. Keith steps up in this case, though, courting me by tapping into my deeply feminine need to leave it all behind. Even though this song has some horrible singing and Keith kind of phones it in lyrically - lazy cliches about riding horses, analogies about love being like a car or like the road on which you're driving a car, and he even rhymes wife and life (a wack '80s R&B move, a lazy cliche) - in the end he saves the day with the “let's run away together” lazy cliche. Because it works, that's why. Responsibility and the daily grind are not romantic (grinding daily, however: very romantic). The whole getting-the-you-know-what-outta-Dodge/Echo Park life plan is a cliche for a reason, people: the laydeez love it. I am a lady, and I'm telling you it's a fact.

That “I can't sit by the sink no more” line is so sad and touching too. Shit just got really real; DAMN. (All her lady-things are there, you see. Her lotions and perfumes. Brings back memories for the kid. Aw Keith.)

9. Your face appeals to me, as does your commitment to your education. Also I have a rescue fantasy. – “Fine Girls,” Black Elvis/Lost in Space (1999)

I like your pretty eyes
Tell me where you get your hair done, your face so clear
With fourteen carat diamonds in your ear
He beat you up, I'll eat you up, reheat you up
Come fix your life, make you my wife, improve in time
No wine and dine, don't waste my time, mature your mind...
You're that fine girl from high school, college graduate
Lady always on my mind, girl can you imagine it?...
Come here girl, I wanna talk to you
I wanna tell you a lot of things

“Come here girl, I wanna talk to you” is standard game kicked at the bar/club/grocery store/DMV (or so I've heard about and seen in movies; dudes don't talk to me, unless they're at Amoeba, over 55, and looking for that same Mighty Diamonds record as me and keep bumping into my ass in the aisle. Or unless they're married. Or a cop). But when it comes to Keith and that Bronx lilt of his, such a line is extraordinary and not at all standard. I wanna tualk to you. He's so specific about what he likes about this particular lady, too - the eyes, the nice skin, the college degree. This song is like his version of “Ice Cream” but without the part complimenting the girl's rude, crabby demeanor. Keith likes 'em sweet. It all ventures into cliche territory, and because it's Keith he's still able to triumph, showing up at my door with some In-N-Out, a nice handwritten note, and something water-based in order to reduce friction between body parts. Horoscopes are a big collection of cliches too, but that doesn't mean they don't make me feel good (today for Aries: “The one who recognizes that there is something special in you will capture your heart.” AWW).

10. No means YES. - “Sexual Intruder,” Personal Album (2004)

I had to honor Personal Album somewhere in this post just on the strength of its song titles (“I Do What I Want”; “A Black Kid Who Think He’s White”; “Girl Wanna Kill Herself”). I would not have been able to live with myself otherwise.

Lead singer up front, you feel me like The Temptations
The way I gave you the world
Send you to learn about the (M)oments, on a thousand vacations
With you sick in the hospital, I bought you the flowers
They were (B)lack (I)vory, they made you cry with heavy (E)motions
Your back and night was rubbed down professional
with sweet cucumber lotion, with all my time and devotion
You cried about the bills your ex-man had left you with
Throwin rocks into the ocean
I heard your (W)hispers all the way to my ear, on a foggy night
You walkin with one of your Pomeranians, 3 Dog Nights
With Pitts comin you was in shock
I couldn't let 3 dogs fight (I couldn't let 3 dogs fight)...
Waitin in the emergency room for your mild concussions
You knew your heart always and forever
Through the (H)eatwave, your body was rushin

You had to get to your own apartment, you didn't want to say with your cousin
Your mom always fussin, takin a train from the Grand (Graham) Central Station
When I was on stage, nothin could stop you from faintin
Grabbin my hand on the spot, you was scared under the shy (Chi) lights (Lites)
With apple bottoms on, jeans fittin tight
Beggin me to put on your direct light, in love like a sex slave
Sippin red Alize under the purple light, sexual intruder
Sexual intruder, I'm your sexual intruder...

Weird-hop! Can't get enough! This song is a big collection of WTF, but sometimes you need that in a relationship. Boredom kills, you know; keep me guessing and I'll be yours forever. The whole storyline Keith lays out here, for example - huh? Was she attacked by dogs? Is her medical prognosis good? Did she and Keith do it in her hospital bed? I'll be thinking about all that later (I'll probably call you, since a text can't capture the raw emotion), but for now I want to swoon over the fact that KEITH MAKES CUTE PUNS OUT OF OLD R&B GROUP NAMES. It's romantic when someone uses a song to talk to you - in this case, Heatwave's “Always and Forever.” I can't believe Keith really flipped it and bounced it like that; I mean, it really is just like a dream to me that somehow came true, and I know tomorrow will still be the same, because Keith and I? We've got a life of love that won't ever change, and every day (I'm hoping) he'll love me his own special way. Keith's mention of the Temps' lead singer speaks to me as well, for I believe my feelings about the god David Ruffin are well-documented. Cloud Nine-era Temptations were fantastic. Puzzle People, yes of course. Psychedelic Shack, great. I like it all. But c'mon - nothing beats coked-up-Ruffin-era Temptations in my book/heart/soul.

Back to the song. Keith calls himself an intruder, and there's a clear element of Keith as the bawss here (because sweetheart that's what you signed up for as soon as you replied to that first MySpace message from him), but this song tells the story of a relationship between two willing grown-ups. He wants to dominate but not shame you, plus you can agree on a safe word ahead of time! A fulfilling erotic life can often involve expressions of submission, consensual use of restraint, intense sensory stimulation, and fantasy role-play. Or, if you're still just 19 or 20: it more frequently involves staring, fantasizing, daydreaming, trying to distract yourself from daydreaming, writing rap songs, and being mad at the girl while also wanting her to put on a sundress and run away with you (“Usually I just stalk you and masturbate” - Ty). The power differential between Keith and his lady is only a pretend one, and besides, he could never scare anybody - he's got this innocence to him that's always there, even though he says rectum a thousand times on his albums. Sometimes it seems like Keith's talking sexy when he's really just trying to battle (“I roll wit globs and I come real sticky”), but for the most part he keeps it pretty straightforward (“Take Off Your Clothes”; “Take Off Your Panties”; “Girl Let Me Touch You”) and a lady has to respect that. Plus that lascivious, good-natured way about him, coupled with an NY borough accent, sorta makes him the Tracy Morgan of rap-?

The Temptations, “Since I Lost My Baby.” Written by Smokey R.!


Bonus romance:

11. Kindness, hand-holding, compliments, etc. - “Let Me Talk to You” again

My name is Keith
We got some nice things for the ladies...
Go get the ladies some flowers and stuff
Other people don't love them like we do. We care.

Gentlemen, your crew is soft, Keith says. You take the industry too seriously. You live at home with your mom. You're wearing a cheap suit from Men's Wearhouse and I do NOT like the way you look. But your life's biggest tragedy, he says, is that you don't love your girl like you should. Start, immediately. Tell her (nicely) to kneel down to her kitten bowl, for starters, then shout sexy girl a bunch of times. Does she look sexy eating popcorn? Tell her! Take a lesson from the captain. (With your bitch ass.)