Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Why be positive when you make fun of things: “This pic of Kanye and his smirk mob” edition.

(in order of ridiculousness)

I want everyone to get paid, and I want the music to be good. Otherwise, stop bothering me with PR monkey business. And um actually I do NOT HAVE TO respect your conglomerate, so stop trying to get me to do so.

G.O.O.D. is now part of Def Jam; without the foolish clothing choices above documented on film, this news would have no impact on my life. What exactly is the point of this venture, please? It appears to be a completely unnecessary partnership, since labels will be ghostville soon, very soon, probably by the end of this post, correct? Is this all just anticipatory PR for Watch the Throne, an album about which I cannot seem to care even a tiny bit? (Yes, probably). Will I ever tire of hearing about the time Russ bailed out Slick Rick? (NOPE). Will I always want to name a mixtape Rick Rubin's Dorm Room? (I will). If a pirate had a Def Jam shirt, would I be hard on his tip? (No doubt). And which one of the gentlemen above has dressed himself in the most ridiculous fashion? (See below).

5th-most ridiculous: Barry Weiss, Chairman & CEO of Island/Def Jam, probable industry shyster. MacKaye and El-P are good guys, but a girl can't trust anyone else who runs a label. (You know you gotta read the label. You gotta read the label. If you don't read the label, you might get poisoned. Tommy ain't my Boy, etc., etc.)

Jeans, button-up, blazer. Age-appropriate. There's nothing interesting or threatening about Barry's outfit. I mean, it's boring, and that's offensive, but he's certainly not trying too hard and I can appreciate that. He was dressed by the costumer at Law & Order: SVU from the 2001 episode where the hip label executive gets murdered (in a twist, it was the mild-mannered assistant who did it! NOT the label's star rapper with a history of petty crimes, like Benson and Stabler initially thought).

Chance that I would sleep with him based on his appearance in this photo: 1%. Barry and I don't have any of the same records and he wouldn't get my jokes. Plus he seems a little tightly wound. Barry's the type to have weird fetishes, but not because he really enjoys them; it's that he's dead inside and he's trying to use AB/DL to fill up the emptiness where feelings used to be. I am not the one to be used as a weekend sex pet for an older, pasty man with relationship baggage. Go home to your wife, Barry.

4. K. West, musical person, overall annoyance, attention-seeker. Good at his job but boring as fuck (see also: Kobe, Tiger, Dan Patrick, Beyonce, my mechanic).

Chance that I would let him see me naked based on his appearance in this photo: 6%. He's pouting; it's his signature face move and it does not make me want to take my clothes off. His priorities are fucked up; he spent more time selecting that jacket - Balmain? Comme des Garcons? - than he did selecting quality rappers for his label (please see #3, below). He's a little too meticulous with the instructions he gives his barber; though I like that the hairdo is tight & right, the goatee is just a romance killer. And he would not care to see me naked, anyway. Kanye's not gay or straight; he is truly so disinterested in anyone other than himself that he's sexless. Asexual I guess is the better term. The Morrissey of bitchy insecure rap - whatever that is in one word, that's what Kanye is. Still, I give him 6% rather than 0% because it would be cool to talk shop with him for a few minutes, maybe - the production stylings of Norman Whitfield, where is Teddy Riley, that sort of thing. Also, Kanye could really kind of do it to your ear canal back in the day, remember? When he first came out with his solo stuff? I listened to "Through the Wire" yesterday which was like self-punishment because I know it's only going to make me whine for 2004 Kanye. And that is, in fact, exactly what happened.

3. Big Sean, G.O.O.D. signee, boring rapper who won't be around next year, and person whose name appears to be misleading. Big Sean, he calls hisself. Kanye's about 5'8" ("Height can be anywhere from 5'4 - 5'9" is part of his casting decree for ladies in his videos; he doesn't want to look diminutive, ha), Swizz looks maybe 6'2"? 6'3"? Nice try with the moniker, Sean. Is this the kind of thing where really big guys get the nickname "Tiny"? And no, I haven't overlooked the belt, jacket, pinky ring, or Morris Day facial expression/hand pose combo. It's just that they speak for themselves. Analysis is unnecessary. (I tend to overdo it in posts, so I'm trying to calm down a little. This is me, evolving.)

Chance that I would eat a meal or get coffee with him based on his appearance in this photo: Initially? 14%. If he had worn that Red Wings hat like in the "My Last" video, because I love fans who actually wear the home team's gear? 18%.

Unfortunately, I cannot un-see this photo. Final odds, then? 0%.

2. Swizz Beatz, producer with some type of confusing Reebok affiliation that I can't get a handle on.

After winning the "most Zs in the game" contest back in '98, deciding to sport a bun/tiny braid combo, then marrying a famous lady for some promo, Swizzy has of late begun dressing like a Diamond store customer circa '07. This is still how most of the rad dudes in LA dress, making it impossible for me to respect them as people (even though they are rad). Some of them mix it up, throw in some tube socks or a nice button-up, but overall the simple beauty of a T and jeans combo has been foresaken by the gentlemen of this metropolis. Also hardly anybody can drive stick anymore; can you believe that? I will surely die celibate, my hips going to waste, clutching my precious records for warmth as I sit on my couch. ANYWAY, I know what you're thinking: that hat! But it's actually a plus for me. I did not care for the bobble-head look of 2002-2008 (this might've been a regional thing, however - not sure if other cities saw this trend). Swizzy's ill-fitting Reebok snapback of 2011 that reminds a girl of the ill-fitting head pieces of rap ghosts? SO TITE. It's also obviously a Len Bias tribute (super tight). But that shirt. EGAD. It's the shirt that shoots him to the top of the list. Presented without further commentary: FASHION ART MUSIC. (JESUS IS MY HOMEBOY was in the laundry pile)

Chance that I would make eye contact with him across a crowded room based on his appearance in this photo: 7%. He's married and chose to wear a shirt that says FASHION ART MUSIC by his own free will, but he has nice strong facial features. He's got an interesting look. And you have heard Civic bangers "Get It On the Floor" and "Drink N My 2 Step," have you not? Hell, for such achievements, Swizz gets a nice round 10%.

1. Kid Cooties, annoyance, recreational coke user who wants us to believe he's one step away from John Belush-ing his career and has tried to fold this into his overall identity as an artist to detract from the fact that he is so, so dull. Also, like all these little boys today running around with the name "Cody," time is not going to be kind to grown-ups who have "Kid" as part of their MC name.

Chance I would sl-ZERO FUCKING PERCENT. The jeans are fine; nothing wrong with a pair of jeans. Classic, understated. But the blazer over the t-shirt is stupid; either wear a suit or keep your kit casual. Commit one way or another, please. The Stones t-shirt is boring, and oh and look, it's the return of the fucking blond Jesus piece; if either of these items are worn in earnest, they are unacceptable. There is nothing acceptable about the notion that a pale-skinned Jesus actually existed, except for the fact that X-Clan and PRT made some good songs in response. And the only acceptable parts of the Rolling Stones are the Marianne Faithfull days (and the name Marianne Faithfull), Anita Pallenberg's unstoppable white-girl steezyness, the Gram Parsons stuff, Peter Tosh in that video, Full Metal Jacket's closing credits, and the first 40 seconds of "Can't You Hear Me Knocking." Even if both of Cudi's items are worn with ironic intentions they are unacceptable, as it is a fact that irony died in '08. And oh lord, Cudi's hat in the picture. I believe the god Mingus wrote a song suggesting that this trend die.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Listening to E-40's “My Shit Bang” on a Sunday drive through Los Angeles, and other rap joys of the past week.

Yesterday in the paper there was a review of a new collection of essays by Edward Hoagland.

“(He) is a writer who has spent more time observing with gratitude than opining, says reviewer Susan Salter Reynolds,

‘Life is moments,’ he writes, ‘day by day, not a chronometer or a contractual commitment by God. OH SHIT, TIME TO DO AN E-40 POST was of course my response to this. Moments like the song above coming on the radio, perfectly-timed and making my car's tinny speaker system seem like something ten times more expensive? Those kinds of moments, you mean? Basically I'd just like to take a moment say Thank you, LA Times book review, in conjunction with Power 106 programmers. It all came together perfectly. I read that Hoagland sentence, then got in the Civic and heard that E-40 and I drove off into the sunset. Which brings me to the week's first award -

1. Best Use of Bass (week of 06/12 - 06/19): “My Shit Bang, E-40.

For achievement in convincing me that my shit bang even in a 13-year-old Honda coupe, I had to start the list with the English Professor (I attend Baller U - class of 2014, cuddie). 40's also my Favorite Story-telling Cool Uncle and has a permanent spot on the List of Dudes Who I'd Like to Read the Phone Book to Me Out Loud.

My shit bang
My shit thrub
I'm a motherfucking beast
I'm a motherfucking hog
Pull up with the slump
Or should I say black truck soundin'
Like I got an alligator in the back

Paint wetter than melted ice
Rally and hockey stripes
burning rubber at every light
mean muggin' like fuck your life.

Best Use of Alligator. And, without a doubt, Best Use of Thrub. I'd also like to recognize 40 as having this week's Outstanding Non-Perfect Vocal Moment (the way he gets out of breath at 00:51, when he says hog - PERFECT; thanks for keeping it in the song, producer ToneBone from Los Angeles, CA).

2. Best Nonrap Appreciation that Translates Perfectly as a Rap Appreciation:

“The Magritte work that I always return to is The Treachery of Images, because we have it at the LA County Museum. It's a kind of touchstone of his. He's affirming the slipperiness, or as he calls it the treachery, of images, of language – that a word and an object have no necessary connection other than that we collectively assigned that word and that object to go together. I really appreciate his word play.

Is this me talking about 40, or Baldessari talking about Magritte in The Guardian? Aha, I have posed a difficult question, because it could be either. Except we didn't collectively assign “gouda to mean money or “elroy for cop - 40 did, and we just followed along because he's got that charisma. Signifiers and the signified can be a frustrating concept; it takes me back to my days as a co-ed. If my Lit 101 teacher had just used the example of an alligator to illustrate how the same thing that describes the knocking-ness of speakers can also describe a scaly thing that comes from a swamp, I would've had a much easier time with the whole concept of structuralism.

3. Best Hat; Most Blatant Display of Love for Eric Wright; Most Effective Pandering to Elderly Rap Fans; Best Use of Typeface; Best Use of Los Angeles Design Archetype When It Comes to Hats: Jeezy at the Hot 107.9 concert in Atlanta over the weekend. (That hat. LOOK AT THAT HAT, HOLY CHRIST). Outstanding Achievement by a Non-LA Resident in Making This Blogger Smile.

Normally I insist that a gentleman wear his hometown somewhere on his person. I do not care for fluid allegiances, dudes who forsake the home team because the division rival's got better colors. REP YOUR SET, PLEASE. Have a little conviction. And yet I do not have a problem with a Georgian wearing the name of a city to which he does not belong. I'm complex like that, I guess. Or just in a really good mood.

Jeezy also gets Best Historical Tie-In, as this week is the 40th anniversary of upstanding moral human being Richard Nixon's completely logical and well-planned “war on drugs. If Nixon were here today he'd argue that coke raps fund terrorism. I'm pretty sure he'd hate Palin, though, so he and I would at least have that in common.

Best Hat, Runner-Up: Casual in that J. Rawls video.

“Ha, look at that dude's funny-lookin stoic smiley-face on his hat! I don't know what it means but it's cuuuuute, I said to myself, before realizing I've gotten slightly off-course in my mp3 habits. Been listening to too many 20-year-old MCs and worshiping at the altar of Georgia rap. I need to get back to my cranky-old-90s-reminiscing Cali roots sometimes. Plus I just love a black-on-black fitted, thank you and good day.

4. Best Use of Weezy: Jay Wayne Jenkins having Dwayne Carter come on through to the live show to perform his verse, AKA Jeezy at the Hot 107.9 concert in Atlanta over the weekend - specifically, this moment in his set, which got him so many cool points. And have I mentioned that HAT?

The best BEST part of this whole thing is the fact that there is no Wayne introduction, no stopping the music for maximum drama, even though that would certainly be warranted since Wayne is the most hugest rock star in the galaxy (Internet) right now. Wayne just starts in. Unheard of! I screamed, out loud, sitting right here as I type this, when he came out on stage - literally, this eruption of pleasure from my throat the moment I saw Weezy, even though the video is called JEEZY BRINGS OUT LIL WAYNE HOT 107.9 B-DAY BASH. Weezy and I, we have our ups and downs; he's a man who sometimes falters (those pink shorts, working with Travis Barker, hanging out with Dirk, putting all those babies in women). But he knows how to redeem himself through sheer charisma. It translates to success and incredible likeability. That's how when he was 16 he bought his first Mercedes-Benz, somethingsomething thousand something and their girlfriends. You gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, you get the women (the blogging women, to scream in response to you showing up and kicking your verse on Internet video).

I love this moment so much, it's like I orchestrated the whole thing. I'm the puppeteer. I'm the Bill Graham of 2011 southern urban radio birthday shows. “Places, gentlemen, I said to them, “Readyyyy, annnnnnnd AMAZE THE CROWD. These radio station shows are so consistently dull, and the sound on the videos so consistently bad, that I don't hardly ever watch them. Once every 8-10 years, though, you get some magic. Like me with this website. I don't post nearly enough, but when I do, I pretty much come correct every time. (I'm the Terrence Malick of rap blogging.)

5. Best Set Claim: Jeezy in “I'm Ballin. (song #2 above)

Summer’s mine, winter too
I’m poppin’ bottles in the club, that’s what winners do.

40 balled outta control; Jeezy's just ballin. Just doin a lil ballin, that's all. You know. NBD. Gotta start small. 40's got 10 rap years and 50 lbs on Jeezy; don't wanna step on The Scrillfather's toes. Plus he'd make fun of a Compton hat on someone from Atlanta.

Jeezy bypassed repping a block/neighborhood/city/state and went straight to an entire season. “Keep your Hollygrove, your Cedar Block; I'm claiming an entire 3-month section of the calendar year,” he says, "Now who's fuckin with that.” (“PS: yeaaauuughhhh”)


6. Most Amusing/Stubborn Trend: What I like to call “brain raps. But not just brain raps - braggy, one-upping brain raps. This'll be the summer of rappers increasingly outdoing each other with descriptions of places a girl went down on them, if songs like “Racks on Racks” (YC: while talking on the phone), “Ballin (Jeezy: in the backseat of the Phantom), and “Session” (Tyler: while watching The Berrics - plus the giver is someone's parent, for which he earns extra credit) are any indication.

7. I got that Dilla, Premo, Swizzy flow.

Most Sacrilegious and Delusional; Most Infuriating to Anyone with Taste and Good Sense:

Most Incorrect too. Replace the “I” in that sentence with “T3,” “Guru,” or “DMX,” then come back and see me.

I find Wale to be so intensely unlikeable as a human being that it's hard for me to admit this next thing, BUT: I do like that N---s George Foreman grillin’/Shit I spit that rope-a-dope line. Everybody wanna hear a good Ali rap now and then; Wale knows. He's got some good sports references. I can appreciate that. He also gets points for using “geechy” in a song circa 2011. However, this does not detract from the fact that he just seems like such a rude person. He's the dude that says “AY. (pause) AY! as a flirtation technique when you walk by and when you don’t respond he calls you stuck up or goes psssshhhhh (which means “She's stuck up”). I'm speaking for all ladies with that one.

8. Best Closing Salutation: RZA in an interview by The Guardian.

It also gets the honor of Least Cynical Moment of the Week, and it slowed the world down for a sec and reminded me what’s really important. I have a tiny bit of a problem with the sentence that precedes his goodbye (RZA's need to announce that he's our collective daddy figure. It turns me off.) but I still find this quote amazingly comforting. RZA says Wu-Tang forever right before he walks away from you. What a freaking superhero. I imagine that having a conversation with him would result in me being so happy, my enthusiasm would make me lose control of my limbs and my ability to speak clearly. I'd want to go in for a hug but I'd lose my nerve. The result would be an awkward handshake/dap combo.

9. Best Use of Curren$y. Curren$y of the Week. Best Curren$y I Done Heard Since I Last Did a Curren$y Post: Curren$y, “You See It.”

Marvel at my stance at your girl
What she think, she can’t even respond

Cause her mind is now mine, fool

I ain’t lying, let’s just cross the couch

Sleeping with my shoes on just in case
I have
to wake up and be out
Once again it’s on

Mama bring my bong to the game room

With nothing but some panties on

And them Bape socks that I gave you

Never once on probation but your man’s on his papers

Spendin’ them, stackin’ them, feelin’ them

Wrappin’ em, lightin’ em, never passin’ em

That bong/panties part! Curren$y thinks he's bossed up, like I'm going to respond to an order to be a sex robot. STOP TELLING ME WHAT TO DO, CURREN$Y, but really I mean please continue telling me what to do please. The song as a whole is forgettable, lacking something I can really swoon over - like the fuzzy THC bass of “Montreux” and that drum pattern of “Success is My Cologne.” But this week's Best Curren$y has that nice power dynamic in its lyrical content. Bring my bong to the game room in just your chonies. Rakim's the soul controller; Curren$y's the mind controller (i.e., the soft-female-body-parts controller. That's how this soft female operates, anyway). Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go take my boyfriend his medicine, which he will need in order to get relaxed yet focused for his upcoming billiards game. He promised he'd read me some more of the phone book tonight (he's on “J” already!).

10. Best Use of Horns Since Trick Daddy's “Shut Up”: Big Sean & Kanye, “Marvin Gaye and Chardonnay.”

Kanye's not a Dude Who I'd Like to Read Me the Phone Book Out Loud (he'd go to the “Dick” section for last names and try to be funny, true to his 11-year-old boy tendencies). This week he has the honor of earning Best Impression of Waka by an 11-Year-Old Trapped in a Prissy Adult Male Chicagoan's Body. I should say Best Impression of Drumma Boy too, since that beat is so severely jacked I worry that Kanye has trouble sleeping at night. His conscience just terrorizes him. Anyway, the song is lazy and cliche-ridden, Kanye West is the least sexy person in music, and why the fuck would I listen to a song about listening to Marvin Gaye when I could just put I Want You on the hi-fi and lounge around in my panties and Bape socks. Duh.

Best Excuse for Me to Post My Marvin Gaye Denim Photo Series: Big Sean and Kanye West, “Marvin Gaye and Chardonnay.”

(I believe the expression is “Swagger on a Hundred Thousand Trillion," yes? Oh dear, no, it's "Oh excuse me miss I couldn't help but notice your clothing choices are informed by epic musical humans")

Let's Get It On (AKA “the denim-shirt session”) was recorded here. Jesus knows I don't go west of La Brea if I can help it, but I have made a special trip to honor Marvin. The ghosts are still around, I can feel 'em when I walk by.

Also if you are a Marlboro smoker you are that much closer to being like Marvin and maybe we should go on a date.

11. Remember when everyone used to say Nas’ shortcoming was picking post-Illmatic producers who couldn’t provide a good enough canvas on which to paint his verbal pictures? Yeah. I had a feeling you would. Me too.

The whole point of that sentence was to compare today with 10 years ago as I say “I’D LIKE THE INSTRO OF ‘NASTY’ FOR THIS WEEK's SECOND-FINEST* LOGAN-WALKING-DOWN-THE-STREET ANTHEM PLEASE.” No lyrics; just Salaam Remi. I can do without the lyrics, and it's a Nas song. Never thought I'd see the day. Today's world is an odd place. Nas can still read the phone book to me, though, in that sandpapery Queens drawl.

12. *Finest Logan-Walking-Down-the-Street-Anthem (week of 06/12 - 06/19); Outstanding Achievement in Animation: Buddy Leezle, “Drug Dealer” (via GrandGood). This one's such a delicious headphone banger, you'll see, though it might take a couple listens.

Do I automatically like a rap video if it's animated? Am I that easy? Other self-questions this week (i.e., things I stated, out loud, to myself in disbelief):

Lil B is on the next Weezy mixtape?,

Bob Mould is gay??, and

Battles wrote a song about this dude?

13. Juicy J, read me the phone book please! Also what does Anwar do exactly, other than be attractive, charismatic, and have perfect dreads? At least Waka puts out mixtapes and shows up on TMZ sometimes. Anyway, this week's Best Use of THAT SOUND: “Make It Happen,” Juicy J & Casey Veggies.

That liftoff sound. 00:26 - 00:30. What is that sound called? It's on every mixtape from the states of Georgia and Alabama. It's gotta have a name, right? Email me, somebody. I'll send you a dirty picture* as a big fat thank you.

*Not of me, but still. Be grateful.



Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cal Tjader, Hip Vibrations

“Every night before I go to sleep, find a ticket, win a lottery,
Scoop the pearls up from the sea, cash them in and buy you all the things you need.
Every night before I rest my head, see those dollar bills go swirling round my bed.
I know they're stolen, but I don't feel bad. I take that money, buy you things you never had.”

- Patti Smith, articulating my fantasy that one day someone other than me
will fund my record store adventures.

Cal and me, posing with things that are making us feel good while also killing us
(cigarettes and record buying, respectively).
Because life just plays little tricks on you like that sometimes.

Name: Cal Tjader, Hip Vibrations (Verve, 1967).

T’jay-der, definitely. Oh wait, no; it’s Chay-der, says Wiki. Swedish. This reminds me of my daily look at Stockholm Street Style, and how get a little sad that all those girls are wearing cute outfits I’d look like a complete hooker in because of body type.

Fashion’s biased against girls with hips and it’s not fair. Ah but the sadness doesn’t last long. I remember that having hips is the best possible female situation in life to have. Hips are really where it's at. Especially when they vibrate, you know.

Is this title acceptable? Yes! YES IT IS. It’s called Hip Vibrations. Hip is one word in the title and vibrations is the other. So, goodness gracious, I approve! If you are new to this blog, welcome, and yes I probably am a little too fond of photographing my hip area. This is my hustle and it's on repeat. But it's like when you're so good at something that it just comes easily, it's hard to cut down. Like with my Rawss hate; it's a natural skill that I like to show off. Also sewing, comedy, sex acts and spouting musical history on command (sometimes I combine those last two things). If what you want is music history without the hips I would direct you towards another record site, this one or maybe that one, as they are run by dudes who are, because evolutionary anatomy says they don't need them, hip-less. But I wish you'd stay. Pretty please.

The title track is the only one on this record that was a Cal original - the rest are covers of songs that were recent (at the time) pop hits (“Georgy Girl,” and “Windy” - a cute one, but inferior to “Along Comes Mary” when it comes to songs by The Association), or part of the Blue Note catalog (“Moanin,” “Sweet Honey Bee”). “Hip Vibrations,” ode to protruding roundness, became the album title and I'm not sure I'd be as fond of the album if it weren't for that fact. There's also the wacky theory that the name Hip Vibrations is in reference to Cal's instrument of choice - the vibraphone, a supremely unsexy piece of equipment. (You know what is sexy? That thing when singer/guitar players clutch the mic while holding the pick in the crook of their finger. I LOVE THAT SO MUCH and if you need me I'll be knee-deep in Google image search for the next few days.)


Entered my life: April 2010, Beat Swap Meet, sunny Los Angeles, California. $8.

Difficulty of finding, vinyl-wise (1-10 scale): 5? 6? Cal’s got beat-digger cachet because of all his breaks used by deities including Diamond D and Premier, and because he's got a funny name (Lalo Schifrin and Django Reinhardt are also in this club). Therefore, most of his stuff is hard to find in major metro areas. My hip-less competition (all dudes), you know how they are, they'll just snatch up anything with his name on it regardless of quality. I still have my secret digging spots in secret places, though. Oh and does anyone know of any record stores in San Antonio? I My uh friend will be going there and she needs some suggestions. So far all I know about the place is that Austin’s an hour away from where I'll be staying, I NEED TO GO TO THIS SHOW, YOU ALLLLLREADY KNOW (I don't care that it's happening tonight and there's no way I could make it in time), and the Republic of Texas' major exports are horrible presidents (other than LBJ - he was OK), terrific rappers, Selena, Buddy Holly, and the death penalty. It is also my understanding that only cattle and homosexuals come from there. I like both those things! I shall have a wonderful time.

Produced by: Esmond Edwards, a man of Jamaican stock who started as a photographer at Prestige. He worked his way up to producer, and actually headed Verve in '67 when Hip Vibrations came out; this was the same year Verve had the freaking Mothers of Invention on its roster which proves that America is the greatest country in the whole wide wor- Oh goddamn, I just saw that a 5-year-old might be charged with murder. Never mind! WE'RE AWFUL. Ace work, America!

You look at the name Esmond Edwards, and then you hear he's Jamaican, and of course you're like, Yep. Makes sense. Those Jamaicans always have fancy, royalty-sounding names. Barrington. Desmond. Esmond. Alton. Horace. Augustus. And...Vybz, obviously. (Obvz!) Edwards produced Ramsey Lewis, Eric Dolphy, Les McCann. He also produced a Jimmy Smith album called The Boss, which, if you're Jimmy Smith, is a highly accurate title. Edwards died before getting the opportunity to swing around to the other end of the spectrum and produce for a man known for his highly inaccurate titles (Teflon Don).

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

Ron Carter on bass - he played on Stanley Turrentine's Cherry, with the BDP drums n' horns!
On congas there was a gentleman by the name of RAY BARRETTO - he's one of my primary inspirations for lying to people and claiming I'm part Puerto Rican. It just feels right, and I can get away with it, so I'll keep doing it on occasion. Start anywhere you want in terms of getting familiar with Barretto's stuff, but please realize I was lucky enough to have been raised with Acid playing in the living room. And look how great I turned out. (Other than being terribly shy and underweight)

Herbie Hancock on piano. Sorry, never heard of him, but I do know he would go on to compose unstoppable Logan Walking Down the Street anthem “Chameleon.” The walk is glorious, cinematic, me lookin like Foxy Brown if she were more shy, less foxy, and thought about Rick Ross way too much.

Patti Brown on piano too; she also played for Quincy Jones. Mel Lewis on drums; he later did “Quiet Lady," a song that is about me (in my daydreams). Pete Rock thought it was gonna be smooth sailing when he started flipping it. Dilla reminded him to drop it on the one and then he turned to a buddy of his, Monsta Beatz (all good producers hang out together in my daydreams) and asked for a soda, but Monsta was annoyed and said Get it ya self.

Artwork by John Murello, who mostly did covers for Verve and Cotique musicians. I keep reading that Cotique fancied itself “the Blue Note of Latin soul" in the '60s and '70s, and I learned that the label fell down and died after putting out some records by young musicians that Fania was too old and crotchety to touch. (One day this same fate shall befall Maybach Music Group). Cal's Breeze from the East was one of Murello's designs, as was Johnny Colon's Boogaloo Blues with its camera-reflected-in-the-horn's-bell stylishness. The photo looks too good to have been a mistake! Murello also did THIS, a homoerotic tableau that pays tribute to the mighty Wonder Wheel at Coney Island:

Coney Island means The Warriors,

which of course means helpless pouty princess beauty/style icon Mercy,

who refused to wear a bra and I guess you can run around behaving that way if you're an A cup. I like it, that whole lush '70s style, the feathered hair and the lashes. Almost every Halloween I consider recreating her look - I have the big sad eyes of a helpless female and my lips are pretty OK in the pouty department - but I refuse to turn brunette because I have integrity or is it that I'm just hard-headed? Either way, I'm committed to my current hairdo. So once again I'll probably be pulling out the old St. Pauli girl getup in October.

Global events at the time of its release: It was 1967; “Baby I Love You” was climbing the charts and no doubt had a profound effect on a young Marty Scorsese (that scene in Goodfellas when Janice is showing all the other side-pieces the apartment Henry paid for). “Respect” was a huge one too, and sure it’s an OK song I guess, if a tiny bit overplayed, but residents of apt. 680 hold it in the highest of regards due to Prince Paul whipping it into some posse-cut finery on 3rd Bass’ “The Gas Face.” The star of the show? One Daniel Dumile, whose verse holds up still. Cash or credit for unleaded at Sunoco. Where is Doomsy? Did he die and the whole world is protecting my delicate psyche by keeping me in a bubble of ignorance? That's nice. I love you guys.

Breaks contained:

"Django" was used in Guru's "Lifesaver," a song title that would be pretentious if anyone else tried to get away with it. The line a thorn scrapes my heart when I see another life that's been torn apart is memorable but usually I just listen to his older songs when I need to hear tips from the master, reflections about life. If you're a sucka you need a bodyguard. If you're shining, beware of people who try to dull you. Some among us act wrong and sell their souls for mass appeal.

More later; I'll let those sink in for now.

Best YouTube comment (it's a draw):

Lifesaver og sample, RIP GURU - ndkone

Fucking great! - Sjoerd110

“I bet that girl would have sex with me. I think I'm gonna go ask her how her day is going” – every LAPD officer in a 10-mile radius of apt. 680. Come with me to get coffee downtown sometime; you'll see.

Sartorial accompaniment: $4 white tank over Cube-face tank*, red gym-ish shorts that are too short to wear outside apt. 680 and it’s a damn shame because they are the perfect shade of red and I wish you all could see them in real life. $7 shoes (!). Fawcett waves. My aesthetic is either “Laundry day” or “Girl you just saw at Payless who is a fan of LA music godfathers, and who also happens to be training for a marathon and just listened to some Jada* to get that heartrate going and for hairstyle inspiration.”


I love cornrows and Farrah Fawcett feathers

It's a message in a glass bottle, read the letter

Money in the bank membership Visa sweaters

And we ride or d-i-e together.

Fact of nerdy interest that excites me and might show up on Jeopardy! someday: Cal started with Fantasy, went to Verve, and returned to Fantasy. See, so who’s laughing at my “Dre WILL return to Death Row” theory NOW?

Suitable activities while listening:
Get that eyeliner and black glossy lash game even tighter than it currently is. Put hair into a juvenile style and practice looking naive, just like the young lady on Cal's Doxy. Halloween costume?

Other things about today:

- Jean Grae's next album is supposed to be called Cake or Death; the mixtape - Cookies or Comas. I love her, obviously, and both of these speak to me, since, just like Drake the fuzzy-haired Canadian grommet, all I care about is money and the city that I’m from. Current fantasy mixtape titles in apt. 680 include You Are the Father and While We’re Blamin Society, He’s at a Party with His Man (Guru shout! A little wordy, but still fresh if I don’t say so myself).


...but mostly I just wanted to post this pic. I believe in this pic. And really I don't believe in Jimmy as much as I believe in the instrumentals over which he "raps"(?) as crafted by Chink Santana and Girl Talk*. I need to walk down the street to both of them during one of the upcoming warm summer months.

* "Believe in Magic." This song! It’s… what is it? It’s cotton candy. It’s a pretty flower you picked for me that'll wilt by Saturday. Perishable, but fun and sweet while it lasts. It's summertime, c’mon. Lighten up. (I will try to take this advice as well). Or just go here and get it refreshingly Jimmy-free.


- S'GUCCI for the foreseeable future, but S'NOT "Gucci Gucci." Definitely not. My official stance on Kreayshawn is NO. She is generally harmless but still an awful rap carpetbagger like Drake the fuzzy-haired Canadian grommet. She has enthusiasm for rap; I have enthusiasm for rap. Maybe in real life we'd be friends? But the rule is that white girls in rap should either be Monica Lynch, disposable video bunnies, dead and in panties, or bikini-clad bloggers. That's all I got for now. I just might completely change my opinion about her tomorrow, though. I can't be trusted; I'm always tripping over my feelings that just leap outta me plus I'm kind of a bad person who secretly likes the very music she says she hates (every day I catch myself singing along to “I’m On One” in the car, even the fuck it part they had to edit out for radio. That grunt thing that Rawss does? It pleases me but I will deny this in public if asked. Also I’m positive Drake is not, in fact, “on one.” He doesn’t do anything his nutritionist and personal trainer don’t recommend.)

- Sing-along admission #2: “Town Called Malice,” which is not, unfortunately, an ode to a Thornton brother. Ah well.

- Harpers index comes with it, once again making me think about some of life's heavier aspects. Wow. Humans are really quite primal, aren't we? It's easy to forget that sometimes...

- So then all of a sudden this large-bodied piece of Detroit finery wanders in from the "Fuck My Car" video set/my daydreams, and asks me to straddle it. Because I'm a primal being, ruled by my senses, just an animal when you get down to it. I wanna just put the whole thing in between my skinny thighs somehow, even though physics says that's impossible. Hold it in my arms. Lounge in the backseat in some denim cutoffs while eating an ice cream cone. (Oh sorry! Still in daydreamland.)

The pretty thing is for sale, and above is the owner's description. We have all the Dyno papers/and receipts for the new owner's records will soon be a Lil B hook to chant, but until then there are at least 19 different Fantasy Mixtape Titles contained up there.

Custom Tuned and Dynoed.
505 Big Block.
Retard Booster. (personal fave)
Custom Yellow Top.
Knob Next to the Shifter.
It Ain't Dayton If You Got It. (groan; sorry!)

"Over $130,000 was spent building this vehicle," the blurb continues. "First the body was removed and a frame off restoration was performed. After the body had been restored, over $25,000 was spent on the fade away yellow-red paint and suede interior." Meanwhile, the median household income of my neighborhood is about $38,000/year so I'm a jerk for wanting this, correct? Can't help myself, though. Jean Grae knows what I mean. Cake Candy Paint or Death; Cookies Caddies or Comas.

- Listen before ya dumb ass say some stupid shit
And have my dog laying on your house on some Snoopy shit.

Loh-Soh on the Brooklyn Bridge with a quick and clever line. This makes it the second time I've praised a Charles Schulz rap this year.

- The universe is balanced.

You fakin’, n---a, I get it shakin’
I’ll shoot your wife at the dinner table like Taken
I did dirt since Krush Groove and Breakin
Now they got a Biggie movie, Pac comin’ next
You can suck my dick, you said The LOX ain’t the best
Now yell pause and no homo that*
And get a bullet in ya fitted where the logo at
Yeah, another one by the NE sign
Stab him in the face with the pen he signed
Now that’s that, turn your fitted to a snapback.

The same day I find out Drake made his 57th song about the difficulties of success and the struggle of keeping a female plaything, then turning around and complaining about the lack of emotional connection between himself and his kept female plaything, I hear this gorgeous, pissed-off verse from Styles P. When P gets going over a beat, I feel like P actually might have kilt somebody before. He's in love with death. It would be extra menacing if he added an "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust" at the end, just to really drive the manslaughter point home. In summation: cartoony violence, a sneaky *"shut up, Cam," and the phrase "doin dirt" (which I haven't heard in a long time)? I like it all, all of it. Thank you, universe. Please don't let them charge the 5-year-old with murder. Amen/goodnight.


Monday, June 6, 2011

“a robot singing E MO TION with touching persistence” (Chris Andrews, call me)

from The Paris Review, my Sunday-afternoon laundromat boyfriend.


Very Good Plus.

Aya is the landlady at my home, apt. 680. She did not give this to me because she has a crush on me and admires how I'm thicker than a Violent Femmes bassline; rather, she did it to "welcome me to the building." Also, I'm pretty sure she wants to take a shower with me. To welcome me to the building.

I take a photo of her gift, and almost caption it KEEPING IT 100 before I come to my senses. My god, that was a close one.

I sport a t-shirt tribute to my second-favorite human with a dollar sign in his name.
I wait and hope and wait for a Curren$y tribute song to Jason Terry.
Neither of these events seems as important to others as they are to me. Story of my life.

2 weeks ago: the new way for me to entertain myself becomes listening to Curren$y talk about different denominations of bills over an old soul record. Five dollars, one dollar, six dollars for a plate, a lady needed a dollar, but guess what, Curren$y didn't have a dollar, he had a $10 bill. WHATEVS DUDE JUST KEEP TALKING IN YOUR SYRUPY ACCENT WHILE I CLOSE MAH EYES AND LISTENNNNN.

The weeks fly by. I'm still thinking about him and his denominations-of-money story and that song over which he told the story. I cherish my gift certificate, worth a large denomination. I daydream at work about what I'm going to buy with it. There are so many choices. I also learn that Curren$y's an Alpha (hence the handsign). Nice hat, by the way. Hey, what does Ghosty call dudes who shop on Fairfax? SUPREME CLIENTELE. Unrelated: I also realize that only 1 letter separates dope friends from dope fiends. I wonder if I get an American flag bikini like I've been craving, is it a tribute to blind gross jingoism, or a nod to Jasper Johns. This is a typical daydream pattern for me while at work, thank you.

I find the song! You still with me?

Even better, I find the song in real life*!
(*online, in round black acetate form, suitable for purchase)

"New"/"still sealed"! This throws me off, as people using quotations for emphasis always does. It makes everything sound fake, or like a joke. Air quotes.

Wiz has a "sick flow."

I "don't" spend too much time pondering the poststructuralist use of language in rap songs.

Nice to meet you, Logan. I'm a cop, and I'd like to "help you find the person who broke into your car."
(have sex with you)

I also find that other record with the break for that other song online. I don't rap on beats; I spit pictures, Curren$y says. God I love him. It too is ready for purchase. And shipping. To apt. 680, where I live. Upstairs from the landlady who has a crush on me. Curren$y Currently the search is on for either, or both, Curren$y breaks. Gang, that settles it. I'll see you at Amoeba this weekend (after a shower with the manager).


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Communications 306: Images of Hip-Hop in Popular Media (“Kanye has a big budget & wears Céline so it's ok if he does it” edition)

Video-intro thing that art-school, clove-smoking Kanye can get away with but Soulja or Waka never could and why is that. (We need to discuss):

Communications 306 is a forum for the critical analysis of photographic and video images as a reflection of the cultural zeitgeist at large. The goal of this course is to facilitate the improvement of students' ability to deconstruct, organize, and critically think about communicative messages while becoming better equipped to articulate ideas. To that end, please turn in your papers (by the end of class today) providing a thorough explanation of the reasons for MCs to be in current possession of Pitchfork approval in order for them to pull off a "This Is An Art Piece" reminder before their videos play.

As a general rule, if you were poor not that long ago and your stuff is still played at Magic City, you are not a rapper whose work is fancy and you therefore would get laughed at by music site comment-section droogs if you tried to call your work art. Let's play the game! Who could successfully slide an ART PIECE visual intro past us without making us blink? Clipse, Doomsy, Curren$y, Drake (UGH): yes, definitely. Tyler & Hodge & the gang, yeah. Nickatina, no, but OutKast could for sure. No Trap-A-Holics, not a one. No Three 6, no 8ball/MJG. No Gucci (the exception to the rule; he's Pitchfork-approved but he's also a Trap-A-Holic til they put him in the ground, so he would get laughed off the Internet if he tried it.). Sometimes there's division even in the same crew! Nicki and Weezy, yes, but Baby, nope. Khaled, no. Toss-ups: E-40, Jeezy, Game, Gibbs, T.I. I could see it going either way with those guys.

I do like it, though - the little advisory. I need it to be splashed across apt. 680's wall for new visitors. I need it written on a little piece of paper and taped to my Civic's dashboard when 400 Degreez is in the CD changer and I have an un-with-it companion in the passenger's seat. I should also have it fastened to the top of my head so that it hangs down over my bangs when I walk down the street, as a reminder that the vulgarity of my hips should in no way be considered a negative message toward any groups of people (girls who lack hips, like every one of the girls in the "Monster" video*). My bodyform is a goddamn art piece and it shall be taken as such; it's not just some primitive vehicle for carnal pleasures. How dare you.

Even with the glorious presence of the Minaj verse, there's still no getting beyond the song itself, with Jay screaming LOVE as the thing that's his Achilles heel. Who approved that because it makes me cringe every time.