Friday, March 30, 2007


You're the bomb in so many ways and while the birthday wish on my blog is as genuine as actually showing up to your party this weekend, the miles get the better of me again. You came into our lives as a DJ, took care of us like a mother, talked like a sailor and married my best friend. In so many ways that cannot be counted, you kill. All the boys will be celebrating in your name this weekend. I'm going to name my steak "Wes," drown him sauce and eat him with a pile of pinto beans. Hooray for Sarah!
And in ankle injury news, a fella named Garbajosa broke his ankle while going for a block on a drive by the great Al Jefferson of the Celtics. The thing snapped like a twig and Garbajosa begins shouting, at which point, Al turns around, looks at the ankle, says, "Nah, dawg," and continues to walk away. Also, look at the reaction of the Raptor bench who collectively cringe and squirm at the sight of Garbajosa's injury. The trainer walks up and drapes a towel over it like a dead soldier. Great ankle injury footage. I hope this Garbajosa guy's alright.

Sorry for the shortage of updates of late. I've been so damn busy. I got sick, but I was so busy, I could only be sick for half a day. The rain in the Yellow just doesn't stop coming. We're supposed to get hit again today. The only thing that I find annoying about rain in the Yellow is not the rain itself, but that it prevents real news from getting coverage for about a week and a half later. Weather is weather. Tornadoes are news, but weather is weather. If it's going to rain, let me know that it will, but if it does, don't tell me it did. And if you do, don't do it for a week afterwards. Weather does not replace global or national news. The local news peeps are just too lazy to find the real dirt to report on. "Let's talk some more about the rain."

Go listen to some MF Doom and respect yourself.

Friday, March 23, 2007



Yep, we're mere days away from the start of the season so let's all come together in a few rousing moments of Yankee hate.

Let's start with this guy. Foul territory is always tricky. Especially tricky if you're a mindless, drunk Yankee fan. Watch this dude take one right on the cheekbone. Yowsa!

Then there's this lady who, to start, is way too ecstatic about her front row minor league tickets, but then again, she's a Yankee fan and she's excitable. Apparently she didn't read the signs in her territory that warned of screaming foul balls and, in her brief moment basking in the limelight WHAP! right in the melon. Oh the hilarity! At least she got a visit from the mascot out of it.

So begins another baseball season. Sox look good this year, but I fear the ramifications of putting over $100 million into a freaking pitcher, but whatever. I don't write the checks, I just complain about who's receiving them. Gonna be hard to imagine this team without the horse Trot Nixon. Dude defined "hustle." I'll be naming my first-born in his honor.

Even if my first-born is a female. She'll just have to deal with it.

On a completely unrelated note, let me tell you that I can punch holes in any music store's selection by the absence of four records: Wu Tang's first record, De La Soul is Dead, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back and, a record I've been listening to again for the past week, Jeru the Damaja's first record, The Sun Rises in the East. You can never find this album at retail yet it somehow scans 60-70 units a week which, notably, is twice what De La Soul is Dead scans on a weekly basis. While 60-70 units a week doesn't sound like a lot, those 60-70 units represent people who have lost tolerance for the chains not supporting the realness and those 60-70 units are like little daggers into the selection and inventory systems of bigbox retailers across the country which were designed, constructed and run on the premise that rap catalog doesn't sell. If retail supported rap like they continue to support jazz (a category who's top catalog title scans 1,600--Miles Davis' Kind of Blue), the music retail world would be a much better place. It's a bunch of old heads still running the game. Dude's need to stop frontin' and come clean.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Maybe it's because I have little understanding of what the television experience should truly accomplish that I watched such crap growing up and, at times, still do. Luckily, I have a fairly intensive work schedule that makes it impossible to miss a day of it and it's quiet easy for me to avoid daytime television, but I take one sickday and it's Maury Time!
What's always shocked me is that I always knew Maury was no Pulitzer Prize winner, but he, at the very least, is not retarded and is a grown human who seems to be fully functionable. Why on Earth does he put his name on such juvenile programming is beyond me. I can't figure it out. Take, for instance, the above show where a girl is deathly afraid of mustard and pickles and the title of the show is, "My Fear of Mustard and Pickles is Ruining My Life." Or another one of my favorites, "That's No Freak, That's My Child!" where they parade kids with some sort of birth defect around like zoo animals. Of course, there's Povich Paternity shows where, for about three straight years, they stuck to the formulaic, "You're My Baby's Father, Now Man Up!" theme. This is some incredibly dynamic programming, folks. And, it's for that reason, that I present:

This was quickly becoming the most popular Povich programming for a period of about a year and a half. In the show, they would take someone who had a horrible run at teenage life because they were overweight and typically it's a female. That female would then tell the producers they wanted to show someone who used to make fun of them that they've lost the weight and they're a lean, mean sex machine and ready to take on the world. But first, they need to bring some closure to their childhood by showing someone that, one, I'm hot and, two, you can't have me. The set up is completely scr3wed so, from the beginning, you know this ain't gon' end up that good. In an average circumstance, they bring out the guy-role first while the crowd boos him from backstage to his chair while he wonders, "Why in the hell are they booing me? What did I do now?" Unbeknownst to him, it's not what he did now, it's what he did some 15 years ago. He sits there and Maury just teases him like, "Do you know why you're here, Mark?" Mark keeps shaking his head while the studio audience continues to jeer at him and boo. They then show a picture of the girl playing the ugly duckling role from the high school yearbook to Mark. Maury will typically ask, "Do you know this person?" Now, the funniest circumstance is when Mark says, "No, I don't have a clue who that is." The funniest part is, he genuinely has no clue who this person is. Now, common sense would say, if you didn't know the picture of them in high school, you really ain't gonna recognize them now so, essentially, at this point, the gig is up and they'd be better off going to a commercial.

But they don't.

So after Maury has brought Mark in on why he's there, he negatively identifies the girl who is about to come out and confront him (which is just all kinds of weird), the girl (who we'll call Marsha) comes flying out of the back with vengeance in her eyes and payback on her mind. She comes out and sits down next to Mark and goes into an embarrassing monologue of how people picked on her in high school then she directs her attention to Mark and says, "You used to call me a fat ass and, once, you threw a chicken finger at me!" Mark continues to just think of a happy place because he thought he was showing up because someone had a secret crush, but rather found out that someone was out for revenge against him. Sometimes, the Mark-role will lose his tolerance with how incredibly stupid the show's subject is and he'll belt out in a "Dude, get over it!" type of comment which, really, is not a bad idea. Marsha's grudge indicates a girl who has had a difficult time moving on in life and she should really see a counselor. Mark was a punk in high school and Marsha's playing the part of the nuclear bomb out to destroy Mark's social life on television. Mark has a reason to be pissed off because Marsha's using Maury as a very public platform for redicule. It's unfair, really. And, in the end, Marsha saw no resolve and Mark can't get a date back home.

But it's such good television.


You know the scenario. Single parent, usually a mother, has no control of her child--usually a daughter. Daughter makes some completely over-the-top claim that she's like 12 years old and snorts cocaine and has sex with ten different partners everyday. Mother's wigging out and comes to Maury because it's cheaper than finding real help for a kid who just really has a bad mouth and a chip on her shoulder because her mother is an indolent nincompoop who has lost direction as a parent in her daughter's life. Oh, and no matter how hard the mother and daughter might try to hide it, they can't mask the fact that they were plucked right from the trailer park. The set up shows the kid backstage wagging her finger at the camera with this atrocious heavy rock music playing in the background to nail home the bad attitude. The kid stands on the projection screen behind her mother with her arms crossed, shaking her head and occassionally laughing as her mother weeps on the couch with Maury. They wheel the kid out and she hits the crowd with a barrage of obscenities and both middle fingers in the air. They ship her off to boot camp, someone yells at her for a month and then she loves her mother. It really works! I saw it on Maury!


Sometimes, Maury's forced to be the moral enforcer. I mean, someone's gotta do it. For about five straight years, Maury got stuck in the "paternity tests revealed" themes because, well, there's no shortage of subjects on this theme. For a while, I think the paternity test shows were really because his writers and producers had nothing else really to come up with. "Hell, Maury, let's just do another paternity test show. People love that crap!" So, the set up is simple: the woman has had sex with multiple partners and the man wants nothing to do with her, but she's had a child and she insists that it belongs to the man. And while the child sits in the lap of the mother sucking on his thumb, the man and the mother go back and forth about how sleazy this woman is and she needs to stop having sex with so many people and how he ain't the daddy of her ugly baby. Then, the cliffhanger, the tests are revealed. Either one, you have a negative test and the dude just goes off like he won the lottery or, two, it's a positive match and the guy denies it for a second like, "You said 99.9%?" then he completely one-eigthies and is like, "I love this woman and I plan on being a major role in this child's life," like the lines are just fed to him. Here's an example of when it comes back negative.

I also found this clip when I was searching of a man who thinks he is the baby's daddy when he's white and the child obviously is part black. Oh, the hilarity. Watch when they show their family picture and try to keep from laughing. Only a complete moron would be surprised by this paternity test. Well, it would make sense because he's validly a moron. You can hear people laughing in the studio audience because this man is a total tool.

I love how he goes into the typically, "Get away from me! I hate you!" garbage. Dude, you should hate yourself for being so clueless.


In Maury's tireless search for the next big thing in daytime television, he had a string of shows on gender-bending guests which are not-so closely analyzed by the audience and then the audience shouts their presumptions at the guests as the work the catwalk. My fascination is not the transexuals, it's the true-blooded females that are sprinkled throughout that are there to throw off the audience.

I mean, what if you were selected as one of the women to be amongst the not-so women. What would that say about you as a female? Like the producers approach you like, "Well, we'd like you to be featured on a show where the studio audience guesses whether or not you're actually a female." Do they come clean and say, "You look like a man." I mean, if they find you for this show, it would mean you either are a really ugly woman or you have male-like features. Either of which are not too complimentary, I can't think. They thing bring you out and then the audience yells, "Man! Man! Man!" at you. If that happened to me and I was a female, I'd be cracking some heads.

Here's a clue as to if it's a man or not: if they're named Cookie or Corona, chances are that ain't no female. It's just a general rule.

Sometimes (*always) Maury finds a way to go from somewhat-credible journalist to absolute childish ridiculousness. Like the time he featured guests who were afraid of certain foods including this man who was deathly afraid of peaches. I can somewhat sympathize because I hate the fruits, but I don't run away from them.

What this man's real problem is not peaches, but mental health. The rocking in his chair, the dazed look, the mouth he can't close, the stuttered and hurried speech. I think he could have some serious issues that only a psychologist could properly assess. Too bad for this man the producers of the show don't recognize his problems before confronting his fear by using his fear against him for the entertainment of the masses. Check out how they sensationalize this man's fear with the video of the peaches being smooshed and eaten by a person who can't chew with his mouth closed. Even if he's just an actor, he's a bad actor and would never land a real gig. And, I'm sorry, this dude trying to convince me that he's got a girlfriend is a stretch that not even Maury can accomplish. This man is a very lonely person. I guarantee you that.

I gotta get more sleep. These 4:00 mornings just ain't working for me.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Look, it's not any of our faults that the music industry decided to stifle the growth of music by not releasing anything of merit for the first three months of the year but instead tried and failed miserably by releasing a DEFINITIVE 200 around the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame which is far from definitive. For definitive music, just keep checking back to The Root Down. Those things are not our fault, but luckily for us, music as an artform cannot be contained for long and, wouldn't you know it, the releases are finally starting to flow.

Thank God.

I know anything that you might have done habitually for years can become a broken habit after not doing it for three months so I'm asking everyone to wake up and support some of these incredible artists releasing projects today and in the following weeks.

Some recommendations:
El-P's I'll Sleep When You're Dead
J-Dilla's Ruff Draft
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists's Living With the Living
Modest Mouse's We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank
Stephen Marley's Mind Control
Devin the Dude's Waitin to Inhale

Other 3/20 releases include projects from:
Baby Boy Da Prince
Insane Clown Posse
Joss Stone
Crime Mob
The Ponys
Marques Houston
Elliott Yamin (nah mean?)

Within the month, projects from these artists will release or have released:
Arcade Fire
Mary Chapin Carpenter
Ry Cooder
Son Volt
Amy Winehouse
Neil Young
Rich Boy
Kaiser Chiefs
Good Charlotte
Jennifer Lopez
Macy Gray
Lil Flip
Kings of Leon
Paul Wall
Static X
Shadows Fall
Avril Lavigne
Porcupine Tree
Rodney Carrington
Poison the Well
Academy Is

It's upto the buying public to wake up and dictate to the labels what to do. Otherwise, they won't listen and the industry will be impose their continued "subject to change" tactics in pricing, pushed street dates, dropped releases, artist roster consolidations and the dangerous pursuit towards new media which will ultimately condense your favorite artist into a space no larger than the end of a ballpoint pen. If you think your favorite artist deserves more space in this world, then speak up with your pocket book. I'm not asking you to buy more than one, however, if you feel so compelled, please do. If you don't find what you're looking for, tell someone in the store and make them feel really bad for not stocking the product. Even retailers are now scared to stock too deep on new releases and it's up to you all to take the power back.

And if you can't find anything worth buying from above, just default to the El-P because it's going to dominate the year-end lists without a doubt and you're going to end up owning it anyway.

Monday, March 19, 2007


Among the many things that aggravate me to no end because I'm a high-strung hater, people who park in their lawns certainly rivals the tops of the list. I'm not even sure what the foundation of my detest is on this one, but as a homeowner, I can tell you that if you want to absolutely half your property value, move in next to a dude who parks his car in his lawn and watch that value plummet!

In the Yellow, this unexplainable phenomenon is rampant. I'm not sure if it's relative percentage to those who own trucks (because it's predomenantly truck-owners that are the offenders), if it's an educational issue or if it's socio-economical, but parking ones vehicle in a lawn is something I put right below styrofoam and meth houses as the most ridiculously annoying and cripplingly devestative aspects of modern urban living. I can't stand it.

I was walking home the other day and I noticed a neighbor who, instead of using a perfectly functionable two-car driveway, he/she instead decided to veer the automobile into the lawn parallel to the front of the house. This is a real estate stink bomb with the localized impact of a landfill, airport, strip club or heavily secured cult compound.

Not only that, it bums people out. Children cry at the site of a vehicle parked in a lawn and that's a very fragile situation when children cry. When children cry, the very fabric that holds society together becomes frayed and begins to rapidly unravel. Just trust me on this.

I don't care if you're so cool that not even a driveway can contain your righteousness, park in the street or a nearby parking lot. If it's because your vehicle is too large for a standard driveway, you might want to consider trading in for a smaller automobile as it's the gas required to power your landcrusher that currently has launched us into the fifth year of a very ugly and very political war. I mean, if you choose to believe that.

Remember, concrete is carpet for your car. They appreciate the comfort of good slab of cement.

Saturday, March 17, 2007


The lead track of their last project finds Blackalicious going to, yet another, undiscovered dark corner of hip hop with this experiment of sound, melody, instrumentation and tempo. Gift of Gab at his finest.

Late-career Kane just freakin that beat with his signature smoothness. While "The Beef is On" might not normally be held amongst the greatest in Big Daddy songs, it's a gem from an emcee that pulls together the right beat (from "Atomic Dog"), the right Ice Cube sample on the break ("Once again, it's on!" from "The Nigga Ya Love to Hate") and the best flow in the game.

More typical bank-heist hip hop in which their robbery's botched, Thes One commits suicide and Double K goes out in a hail of bullets with the boys in blue. And if that ain't enough excitement, the beat will break necks.

Producer Edgar Farinas (aka Push Button Objects) brings together three emcees on this blazin' track. Vast spits, "I gotta t-shirt on the front it says 'I don't like you,'/On the back it says 'Stop cryin'/That was the first thing you saw before you started whining/Approaching the mic like you feared flyin'." Vintage Vast trash talking.

I wouldn't be considered the biggest fan of The Streets, but dude comes off nice on "Fit" as his self-talk battles a girlie who's playing hard to get--"Fit but, my gosh, don't you know it." Skinner doesn't rap, he just speaks and while sometimes annoying, over the pounding the guitar and drums, it works for me.

The Beatnuts doing what they do best--balancing almost perfectly their duties as emcees and as producers. Typical braggadocious trash-talking from JuJu and Les, but the stoned keys and grimey guitar butters off this beautiful track. No one better than da Nuts.

Before LL was the ultra-bulky, slick-headed, cable-ready rapper/actor, he was a swaggering womanizer, a smooth-talking punk who could snatch up yo lady with his cool smirk and shoulder shrug. The jumpsuits, the Kangol--it was the album Walking With a Panther and this song off the paramount album that made me the biggest fan of Cool J, not "Goin' Back to Cali" and "I'm That Type of Guy." I'd sit there with my Walkman playing, then rewinding, playing, then rewinding until ultimately the tape would wear thin and snap in two. Yeah, b'lee dat.

Taken from the last four minutes of ex-Company Flow DJ Mr. Len's debut record, this absolutely sikk ghost track bangs so freakin hard and Kice's flow over a beat built out of handclaps and geekazoid synths is insanity: "I expose heads in worse positions, tell their fans their panty size on my intermission, with them corny lines, ya' boys don't wanna listen." Kice spits trash with the best of 'em.

Mos Def's first solo set the independent world on fiyah! And this, the proper single released to varied formats was just downright buttah. Combining a beautiful Aretha Franklin sample with Mos' humorous accounts of a female chasin'. Hip hop just doesn't sound this nice anymore. And, yes, Mos Def really is an emcee, believe it or not.

Back when this album dropped (The Carnival), my boys and I just couldn't get enough of "Apocalypse." Wyclef details a world on fire, discrimination's running rampant and police violence leads to the shooting of an innocent boy. If that's the apocalypse, then you better run to meet the preacher man today. Ah, ten years ago things were so simple.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


The above picture is of a tike who goes by the name of John Wyrick. Not the greatest specimen of a Wyrick, but seems pretty harmless. I mean, I'd bring him in for lemonade. Maybe a forty. I bet he's got some good jokes if nothing else.

Well, tonight I'm walking home after a late meeting and, as I'm walking up on my house, I see someone speaking to my neighbor and her, being polite, has the most fantastically fake interested look on her face. I'm thinking, "I just need to disappear into my house because this freak's selling something and I don't wanna be talked to. I wanna be fed." So, I dart to my door, unlock and enter to my lovely wife awaiting my arrival. About three minutes later, I hear a knock at the door.

Damn it.

My lovely wife realizes my frustration and asks what was bothering me. I know it's already late because this dude saw me walk into my house. He's selling something and I'm not in the mood.

But, lucky for him, my lovely wife was. Now, my lovely wife's no sucka, but she's nice. There's a defined and clear difference there. The dude starts talking about what he's raising money for--some trip to the Bahamas and begins telling us all about our neighbors and how "friendly and non-violent" they are. I thought that was a most peculiar comment. I continue eating watching his every move around my lovely wife like a coy predator. He hands us some paperwork that has his "name."

I kid you not: MARCUS WYRICK. At least that was the name he was claiming today. He even said, "It's actually German and is pronounced "VI'dick." He was correct. Sucky thing is that now we were never gonna get rid of him because he sensed a connection. Don't get it twisted, though, I'm still in predator mode, licking the sauce off my fingers.

My lovely wife, being trained in the field of attentiveness and assistance, she's listening to every word this kid offers up. Even his story about how he's going to work for NASA in developing a three-storied robot to stomp on and obliterate drug lords. I'm not kidding. He's also on his way to the Air Force. Uh, what else? Oh yeah, he's smoking enough meth in one evening to throw an entire neighborhood into withdraws just from his presence. I still stand there just counting his lies.

About ten minutes later, he enters the sales pitch.

Magazines. Really expensive magazines. This is kinda embarrassing, but my lovely wife reads Readers' Digest and she asks what it would cost for a renewal of her current subscription. I say embarrassing because Readers' Digest is for old people--not because my lovely wife was asking for a price quote. He doesn't tell us, but he mentions that it goes towards a tax write-off (lie) and that tax write-off will get us back $31 in taxes (lie)--a whopping 70% return on a $44 investment and you get a magazine subscription (lie, lie, lie). I decided to lie back to him. I said that renewals usually only cost half of the individual cost of a magazine which would be $1.50 an issue or $18 a year. Why would we give $44 cash to this kid for a magazine when we could charge $18 to a credit card through Readers' Digest instead? I said that this household is not the type to give $44 to a door-to-door vendor. I don't know what that means, but I guess it sounded like it was more a matter of principle rather than money.

My math seemed to throw his meth-rotted mind into a tailspin. He then quickly moves from charming Wyrick to prick ready to move to the next "peaceful and non-violent residence." I told him to make his way.

The lesson is not for my lovely wife because she knows better and, in fact, said she was just waiting for an "out," that I was pleased to provide. I read about these kids online a few minutes later and, let me tell you, if you read what I read about these organizations, you'd offer them dinner and a place to lay low for the evening. Sometimes, if they don't meet their sales quota, they get beaten by multiple members of the crew. They're subjected to hard drugs, long hours and short pay. Marcus Wyrick, I hope you're doing well out there. You need to wake up and get out of there. They ain't no good.

I'm thinking that these can't be profitable operations. How many do you think they sell on one block? There can't be enough money in it to cover the gas from one town to the next plus hotel and food (even if it's only $10 a head a day). I hate to say it, but they'd be better off really breaking the law. Instead of scamming people for magazine subscriptions and making only 10% on every dollar made, be a drug dealer. There's no scam and instead of making $4 on $44, you could make $50 on $100.

No, I'm not advising to become a drug dealer, but that's as much sense as working for these dudes makes. And I don't know what drug dealer makes, but I gotta think it's more than 10% or no one would be doing it. And those that do it wouldn't be driving Navigators. That's all I'm saying.

Remember, be nice to Wyrick, but don't buy a magazine from them.


This week, Bobby Knight and my beloved Red Raiders were awarded a 10th seed in the NCAA Tournament (which makes March the greatest month of the year). They will face Boston College and, unfortunately, they will lose in the first round by the score of 57-46. They just don't have the team this year to compete. Yeah, I'm a hater, but that's what the good Lord put me on this earth to be. Nah, not hating, just doubting. I'm surprised they even made it in the tournament, really. You'll be seeing Bobby making a lot of these faces on Thursday.
Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame proving that they need to just create a Hip Hop Hall of Fame because it hardly makes sense. Sure, it's an honor, but wouldn't they be better served to just call it the Music Hall of Fame for accomplishments in modern music? Patti Smith was also inducted. And the only band more self-important than U2, R.E.M., was inducted which is cool because maybe this means I don't have to ever sit through another R.E.M. performance on television. Michael, you made it. Congrats. Now take a load off and stop performing you old, skinny hag. Speaking of Hall of Fame inductions, Van Halen turned out for their induction--all two of them and neither of them a Van Halen. Michael Anthony and Uncle Hagar came to accept their induction. Freaking embarrassing. I wonder when this band is going to realize that they were once important, but then blew it somewhere between Cherone and rehab. I'm sure no one was shocked that they didn't all show up because it's becoming a running joke. The Van Halen brothers, while great musicians, remain probably two of the most unnecessarily difficult band members in the world. Why would anyone want to play with these guys? Professionalism is having a band named after you inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and failing to appear while your brother comes out of the closet as a female in rehab. Check out Eddie.

Eddie's starting to look like another great Eddie of rock. Who needs rehab if it makes you look like an old woman? Wow, some ugly faces in there. Let's end this post with a genuinely peaceful looking fella with a white beard and a last name identical to mine. It's amazing who you can find just by searching your last name in Google. No, I don't know who he is, but I'm proud to share last names with him. The same can't be said for some people I found when searching my last name. So let's look at this man and say, "Yes, it's going to be a wonderful Tuesday."

Monday, March 12, 2007


8:00-8:45PM @ ZERO DEGREES:
Insane hip hop DJ who is full of tricks. Dude kills it.

10:00-11:00PM @ EXODUS
Duke's played with the Roots and is a fantastically entertaining songwriter.

1:00-wheneverAM @ VISIONS
Houston vet is sure to please. If you're in for militant spoken word, stay at Exodus for Saul Williams headlining.

7:30-9:00PM @ ANTONE'S
Legendary Stax Records is sure to please. I heard Booker T. and the MG's are there. That'd be hot.

8:00-8:30PM @ COPA
SPINNER T AND CROP DIGGIE representin', but only 30 minutes worth? Then stick around for...

8:30-9:15PM @ COPA
Dude's mad also have the option of seeing Sage Francis at 8:00PM at Emo's, but Emo's is just a mess at SXSW.

9:20-11:00PM @ SPIRO'S
Performers will include Loer Velocity, DJ Ese, Bisc1, Junk Science and year-end list alum Cool Calm Pete. Should be hot. Afterwards enjoy the bleeding eardrums courtesy of Houston's Swishahouse or...

Weird mix between Prince Paul and Tom Waits. He's from Canada--whaddya gon' do?

Veteran rhymeslayer, but not your run-of-the-mill hip hop set. Prepare yourself for the bizarre, but ultimately entertaining.

It's X-Clan. Of course, minus Professor X, but these dudes put out two seriously classic albums.

Crowd favorites. Dance like a hippy in the town that made it famous.

Heard this entire show was free. You gotta go if it's free. Hell, you gotta go if it costs an arm and your right foot.

9:30-10:15PM @ EMO'S MAIN ROOM
He needs to put on the show that he failed to in Denton. Dude owes it to Texas. Shouldn't be a problem because rest assured the crowd will be into it. It's Emo's.

10:15-11:00PM @ EMO'S MAIN ROOM
Rhymesayer alum promises to put on a blazing set here--one of four sets he's doing at SXSW. Insane.

11:00-12:00AM @ EMO'S MAIN ROOM
Best time to just sit back and watch all the smelly Austin kids go line for line with Aesop Rock's material.

12:00-1:00AM @ EMO'S MAIN ROOM
Sure to please as he's almost guaranteed to go heavy on the new material just days before it properly releases. He's in prizefighter form and will bring the house down.

12:45-1:15AM @ ZERO DEGREES
Duke, here's your 2Mex appearance. It's only 30 minutes long, but would be good to make your way there for Busdriver because he comes on at...

1:15-wheneverAM @ ZERO DEGREES
He'll blow your mind. I promise. Breath control, energy, excitement. Dude's f'real.

8:00-9:00PM @ EMO'S ANNEX
Funk. Heavy funk and I imagine there'd be cold beer somewhere around there, too.

9:00-10:15PM @ EMO'S ANNEX
Beautiful R&B. Great band. Sharon Jones will absolutely kill it.

See him put on an abbreviated, but killer set...again.

10:45-12:15AM @ THE PARISH
Hot turntable techniques. Kid Koala's one of the best.

1:00-wheneverAM @ FLAMINGO CANTINA
Dude, when you can finish off your SXSW experience with a legend like Lee Scratch Perry, things don't get much better.

That's it. Go hard or stay at home. I'm choosing to stay home.


So my lovely wife gives me a gift card to a large electronics retailer (to be fair, we'll call this retailer "Best Buy") so that I could purchase a car stereo. I located a fine Alpine stereo unit that I had my eyes on and approached a pimply-faced employee who hissed through his braces, "What kind of car do you want it installed in?"

"2004 Honda Civic," I reply.

"Okay, let me get with my installer and see if it'll require any additional parts."

Here's how these guys do it. They advertise a "free installation" which covers your labor charges (which is really nothing because these guys are not professionals--estimate your labor charge at about $35-$40) and then they start adding on all of these parts, harnesses, wires and, the silliest charge of all, a parts fee. I'm already paying for the parts themselves, but then there's an additional parts fee of $6. I guess this to pay for someone to open the box that contains the parts. Not really a labor cost, it's a parts fee.

So this twerp at "Best Buy" hops on a phone, turns his back to me and begins talking to a guy about five feet away on the other side of a window. They start moving their hands rapidly as if they're deep in a discussion about this difficult question. The installer looks in his computer and starts shaking his head, says something into his phone, hangs up and walks away. Pus-head whirls around and says, "He's not sure if it would require additional parts or not. Honda's a tricky, he says. We would have to get into the dash to see what we're working with before I could guarantee that we could get it installed." You would've thought that I brought in a Ferrari with an eight-track player in it.

Cooly, I return, "Has your installer never put a stereo into a Honda before? I didn't realize that Hondas were so rare." I then stare at him thinking that he'll pick up on my sarcasm and make a turn toward honesty as opposed to attempting to ring every freaking dollar out of me just to get a $200 stereo installed into a Honda.

"I'm sorry, sir. I'm just going by what the installer tells me. Did you want to drop your car off so we can look at it?"

"So you can rob me blind? No thanks, kid."

I walk up to the "customer service" desk and demand that they credit my wife's "Best Buy" account the amount of the gift card that was purchased and I'll take my business elsewhere.

"Okay, just a second, sir," says the man behind the counter. He makes no attempt to resolve the situation and asks no questions to help identify possible remedies to the situation. I try hard to be the bigger man and not completely explode at the situation and, lucky for this cat, I manage to quell my emotions and leave peacefully although I almost took a swing at the security "guard" who stands at the outdoor and always asks as you're leaving, "Find everything alright?"

"Yep, I came looking for mindless morons and tools of an evil soul-sucking corporation and found it without a problem. Thanks for asking, jerkoff."

"Find everything alright?" And if I didn't, would you help me? What would you do about it?

So I go down the road to a place that we'll call "Circuit City" and attempt to get the same thing done which any level-minded individual would've advised against. Nonetheless, I arrive and locate a kid who I had dealt with a weekend before when I was gathering information on some stereos. I tell him of my experiences at "Best Buy" and he laughs and says, "Yeah, that doesn't surprise me." I'm thinking, "Cool, now I'm getting somewhere."

I find a nice Pioneer stereo that I'm happy with, we go through the process of scheduling the same-day installation (remember, it's only worth about $35), the hit me without all their tricky parts fees and explain it'll be about two to three hours to complete. It's 11:00 in the morning. I say that's fine because we had some errands to run.

We run some errands and go home. Five hours later I've heard nothing from "Circuit City." I call them up and navigate their touch-tone phone menus. Someone picks up the phone in the stereo installation department and I ask if they're done with my Civic. "We're about to pull it in right now, it'll be done in an hour." It took twice the time I was quoted for them to even get it in the garage. Believe it or not, I'm not really pissed yet.


I go out there at 5:00 to pick up my car and, when approaching the back of the building I see my car sitting in what seems to be the same location that I had parked it before. I go up to the window and peek inside to see the same factory stereo that was there before or, in other words, they ain't even touched my car. I walk into the garage to find not a single automobile being worked on and an employee pulling in his truck to show off the hydraulics that he recently had installed. The lazy employees gather round and watch him lowering and bouncing his truck. I'm not so impressed.

"What the hell have you been doing all day?"

I'm met with blank faces. "I dropped off my car at 11:00 and there wasn't a single car here and I come back six hours later which is twice the time I was quoted at 11:00 and there's still not a single car here and my car hasn't been touched."

"We can get you in right now."

"Oh, don't rush to it on my account, dude. I gotta go anyway. I don't have any more time to invest in your same-day installation."

"Well, how does first thing in the morning sound?"

"Yeah, first thing in the morning, I'll be here."

We go back and forth a little longer and this guy picks up his clipboard and starts counting the automobiles they've apparently spent all day on. I drive around to the front to speak to a manager at which point, I'm approached by some loser with a nametag who sits there and just listens blankly to my rant. He asks what he can do for me and I say, "I don't know. What do you normally do in this sort of circumstance?" He then, tucks his tail and walks back to the managers office. He returns about two minutes later after talking to his manager (who we'll call "Joe") and says, "The most we can do is just reschedule you."

"Yeah, dude. Appreciate that, but I've been rescheduled all day and I've already taken care of the rescheduling myself. I got first thing in the morning."

"Well, that's the best we can do." This jerkoff couldn't even look me in the eye. He just kinda turned his side to me like he was about to walk off and avoided all eye contact. "You're a piece of work," I said.

I walk out.

I come back the next morning.

They pull me in and say they're going to get "right on it." Two and a half hours later, after I sit there watching and waiting for it to be done, they call me in to inspect their work at which point I see the new stereo sitting so deep in the console that it's hardly operable.

I tell him, "Dude, this ain't gonna work. I need you to fix this because I'm not taking this installation like this. This is not satisfactory."

He says he'll do what he can, but Hondas are a little difficult to work with (here's the Honda thing again). I ask him the same question I asked the guys at "Best Buy": "Is this the first Honda you've worked on? You mean to tell me you do the same shitty job on every Honda?"

I tell him I don't care how long it takes, but I want it done right.

It took only 15 more minutes and it was just right.

What happened to the customer service in this country? It's horrible. This was the worst service I've ever received and it was on a $300 purchase. When you're putting that kinda money down on a stereo and installation, are you asking to be treated like garbage? I don't expect red carpet, but I do expect a minimum of timely and complete installation.

You go anywhere in retail these days and it's like kids just don't wanna work. No one takes pride in their job. And the managers (like the manager at "Circuit City" and his assistant) would much rather not deal with upset customers because they'd rather avoid confrontation and hide in the back looking at their buddy's lowrider. Customers just aren't that fun. It's a job, dude, if you can't do it then go work construction.

I'm probably the easiest customer to get along with because I've worked retail and I realize the headaches, but when you piss me off, you've done wrong. Gotta get to work. Take care everyone.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


10 years ago, Biggie Smalls was shot and killed.
20 years ago, Iran accused Iraq of using chemical bombs in the Gulf War.
30 years ago, I was chosen to take over Elvis' legacy.

And I did.

Once I was born and made it past the crucial 5-month period, Elvis passed sadly, but gracefully.

You know, on a historic scale, March of 1977 was probably the worst month since Vietnam. A Bucharest earthquake killed 1,500 people. A dozen Muslims took over 3 buildings in Washington, DC and took 130 people hostage. One person was killed. The Tenerife air disaster in which two huge commercial jets would collide mid-flight would be the worst aviation accident ever killing 583 people. But, then again, "Three's Company" would make its debut in March of 1977. How tragic.

So here I am, 30 years old. Doesn't feel much different, honestly. Stubbornly, I've never really paid much attention to conventional wisdom or traditional grandfathery.

I don't know how much I should have invested at 30 years old.
I'm not entirely sure how close I should be to fatherhood at 30 years old.
No one ever explained the back aches to expect at 30 years old.

How long should me resume be at 30 years old?
Is 30 years old too old to slip in a hugely inappropriate joke in a formal circumstance?
At 30 years old, should I still be watching "The Real World" and "COPS"?
Is there a time when I'm expected to trade up to 4-door vehicle and have I already passed that at 30 years old?
Did I miss my cutoff for listening to hip hop?
At 30 years old, am I supposed to only listen to Steely Dan (which I am now) and use words like "effulgent" and "dazzling" to describe music instead of "slammin'" and "ill"?
If I was a 30 year old rapper, how many platinum records should I have?
If I was a 30 year old firefighter, how many lives should I have saved?
If I was a 30 year old surgeon, how many surgeries should I have performed?
If I was a 30 year old book, how many times should someone have read me in completion?
Jimi Hendrix died when he was 28 and I can't even play the guitar, should I be able to be?

Last night, after describing to my wife how, being the loser I am, I missed my own birthday celebration at work because I opted to work through my lunch break and then go home to let the dog out, I put in James Brown's In a Jungle Groove and just started dancing uncontrollably. When you dance to James Brown, it's important to dance with dress socks on a tile or finished wood floor. You can do some incredible moves in dress socks. Jay-Z says that 30 is the new 20. I don't know if I feel 20 again, but I definitely don't feel 30. Maybe it's the coffee. Maybe it's a steady diet of hip hop. Maybe it's the walks to work. Maybe it's The Root Down. I might not be able to dance like James Brown, but I still can shake what my good mama gave me. And I do.

James Brown must have been 40 years old when they recorded this video. Actually, I estimate he's mid-40s. I'll be rehearsing this routine for my 40th birthday. Check it. It's only a minute and a half and well worth the view. I'm going to load some Steely Dan onto my iPod and then wake up my lovely wife who, as always, has offered to make a breakfast casserole for my co-workers on my birthday. Here's my chance to redeem myself for yesterday. I think I'll join Jean Grae and, for my next 30 years, I'll work towards converting the wack.

Have a wonderful March 8th, folks.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Wear this to an industry event and shake some hands. Oh, the hilarity! Not just a good shirt, but a good idea.

Monday, March 05, 2007


Yep, it was a good day. I mean, considering. Considering it was a Monday. Considering I had insane amounts of work that managed to pile up over the weekend (what's the?). Considering the fact that, in t-minus 3 days, I'll be turning 30 years old and there's something inside of me that says that I should fear it, but I don't because I'm confident and careless when it comes to my age--I'm alive and that's all that matters, really. Considering I got all these ambitions for this next year, but first I have to get ahold of my finances and get my taxes filed. Considering that I'm the stupid nincompoop that dug myself into the daunting task of creating a list of 333 songs hip hop songs that I feel are worthy of mention and description. What messes do I get myself into? Considering that I came up with some slamming t-shirt designs and, despite thinking I had a perfect plan for manufacturing and distribution, I've yet to make any moves. Considering all these things, today was a good day because I recieved (stole) a promo copy of the new El-P record, I'll Sleep When You're Dead. I just put it in for an uninterrupted listen.

I stole it, but really borrowed it from my cubemate, David. He's on a killer mailing list from World's Fair. He received the whole nine--the prescription canister of sleeping pills, the logo pillow case, the sleeping mask and, the biggest prize of all, the music. And if having the music ain't sick enough, El-P does the promo-protective voiceovers himself saying every two minutes, "This promo copy belongs to David Riesenberg." Sick. Of course, the funniest part is that he mispronounces "Riesenberg" (/RI-sin-burg/ instead of the correct /REE-sin-burg/--those Jewish names are always a little tricky). He would've butchered my last name. Either way, this album is sick. Absolutely nuts.

Are trailer trash stupid because they live in a trailer or is it that they live in a trailer because they're stupid? Sometimes, I believe the first theory although most logic would suggest the latter. I just believe that a lack of economic resources necessary to living a prosperous, well-balanced and fully-functional life sometimes leads to temporary if not more permenant retardation. Just a random, but serious thought.

"Everything Must Go," the fourth track, is a different mix than the version I originally heard. I liked the original, but I gotta trust El's artistic vision. It's not bad, but I liked the bass line on the original.

"This promo copy belongs to David Riesenberg."

So yeah, I turn 30 in a few days. Crap, that reminds me, Angry Tim's birthday would be tomorrow. I gotta work on a birthday gift for that dude. Maybe a pat on the back and a "happy birthday, broham," would suffice. I'll make him an onion pie topped in spinach. That'd make him really happy. Turning 30 can't really be that bad. I mean, I've already lost my hair, my eyesight and partially my hearing. What more can they take from me at this stage in my life? Way I see it, it only goes up from here. I did, though, stare at my head shining in the rearview mirror the other day for an entire stoplight. I asked my lovely wife for an upgrade of the stereo system in Boggs the Honda and so we went to Circuit City the other day and I told the kid that I wanted to get a new face (stereo face, not my face), one that would operate my iPod (crack) directly and then I wanted a subwoofer to supplement the existing Bose factory speakers. Dude went off like freaking Rain Man--talking about how you could replace the face, but you can't just put in a sub without replacing the existing speakers or you're always going to have a muffled sound out of the regular speakers and speaker sets are sold in fours so two of mine would have to be deactivated or else I'd have to get another amp to support the extra speakers and there's a way we could use the existing amp, but it could take...SHUT UP, DUKE. I'm just doing some early information gathering. I ain't buying today. K-Mart doesn't suck. Circuit City does.

I was hoping to catch a horror flick on my birthday, but nothing good coming. My wife thought Ghost Rider was a horror movie based on the title. Not quite. How does Nick Cage make such horrible career moves sometimes. I could go on and on about Nick because the dude's a phenomenal actor, but just picks such bunk projects to put his energy and talents into. I don't get it. Raising Arizona, Leaving Las Vegas, Bringing Out the Dead (classic), Adaptation, The Weatherman, Lord of War, Matchstick Men...the dude's incredible and then he goes and does Ghost Rider. My apologies to all the comic book kids out there, but I heard it's horrible so my criticisms are not completely unsubstantiated.

Dude, this El-P...wowsers. Must listen to Fantastic Damage again before my second listen to I'll Sleep When You're Dead. I'll just lock myself in the Boom Boom Tomb to get a fully attentive listen to both.

Man, that lady gets the tasing of her life. "Taser, taser, taser, deploy!" When you hear those words, either you can turn around, face life with your chin up and take your tasing or, my choice, turn the opposite direction and run like hell! This girl goes down like a lead zeppelin. Another fine tasing courtesy of YOUTUBE.

"This promo copy belongs to David Riesenberg."

The list will continue probably next week with the next ten songs. It was a tough list to draw up simply because of the sheer size, but I'm quite proud of it. I can tell you this: the average age of the record is about April, 1996. I would've been 19 years old. Average age of the top 20 songs is June, 1991. That's more like it. The top 50? March of 1992. If you ain't even heard of hip hop until 1999, I wouldn't even bother with the list because you ain't gonna recognize a soul on it except for maybe Eminem, Dr. Dre and Ludacris.

I don't remember what I was listening to when I thought about coming up with the list, but I remember specifically thinking, "You know, there are great songs on horrible records that would whoop the ass of a good song on a great album." I made this list to basically evaluate the artistic accomplishment of the song instead of the masterwork. Some groups were really good at making songs, but made the worst albums. It's just a matter of fact. I think of the Beastie Boys almost immediately. Paul's Boutique is, without a doubt, one of my most favorite record, but I have a hard time finding a better song on that album than, well, you're just going to have to keep reading the lists for that. Licensed to Ill is a bad record overall. Popular favorite, yes, but a terrible record otherwise. But there's three songs on there that I can think of that killed it. And no, they are neither "Brass Monkey" or "Fight for Your Right to Party." Sometimes I think of Check Your Head the same way. Like the individual songs are somehow greater than the sum of its parts.

"This promo copy belongs to David Riesenberg."

Man, I wanna go see a horror movie on my birthday and The Hills Have Eyes 2 comes out two weeks later. How's that for timing? Oh well. It's just best to do it on my birthday because it's easily forgiven. I pull that stunt any other weekend and I'm a jerk for about three days.

Alright, gotta tuck in. Stay outta trailer parks, thirty ain't that old and the new El-P comes out March 20th. Don't be a sucka and cop it. Oh yeah, today my dog crapped again in obedience class. It was a little sad this time. Like he was embarrassed and it wasn't a very healthy looking movement. A tad runny. Tonight he learned how to cook pancakes, but kept dropping his utencils with his no-having-opposable-thumbs ass. We still love him, though.

Sunday, March 04, 2007


You gotta be a real Sage head to know this one from his early days of hustling and touring his ass off. This gem was yanked off of his Still Sick compilation series. The self-proclaimed "thinking man's thinking man," Sage's insane talent as an emcee is on full display here. New record coming out this year. Be on the lookout.

No-harm, no-foul chronicle of little-known Mighty Casey's exploits. For some reason, I'm thinking this is a purely fictional account, but notable nonetheless.
Ever since the first time I heard it, I liked this song. People fronted hard on Paul, but this song, to me, perfectly blended together the slow-and-low Houston rap sound and that sleazy, slobbery south-Texas summer heat.
Probably not the popular favorite from Dah Shinin', but this Boot Camp banger had that signature low-end thud and is the perfect East Coast record.
Non Phixion released recorded this single for the Defenders of the Underworld compilation on Battle Axe. This would be the first time I would actually hear Non Phixion on record and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Excellent material.

This rarity from the pre-Rawkus heyday finds gifted and horribly-overlooked Shabaam flowing nicely over Abbey Road-era Beatles. It's a beautiful thing. Shabaam' s still a name you'll only hear mentioned in circles of snobby elitists like myself.
I seriously thought the big break had arrived for the Cats when I first heard this record, but sadly, they're still rocking the independent circuit like true champs. This, the first single off their second full-length project, is as pure and slammin' as independent hip hop gets. Hardly typical.

The poor man's Redman, Thirstin's inability to thrive financially as a rapper leads to this account of a rapper on the heels of blowin', but just needing another month of free rent. Thirstin's a lo-life, yeah, but make no mistake: the dude spits heat. Classic Thirstin material here.
"IT'S THE..."
The Mission always managed to ride right below the radar of even the independent realm, but this beautifully-crafted song is the Mission in prime form with their refreshing-organic approach to hip hop production. Recommended for fans of the Roots--if you can find it, of course.
"The Ride" finds Stones Throw's Oh No bobbin' and weavin' and making a case for himself as a legitimate artist rising from the tall shadows of his heady labelmates. Incredible synth work rounds out this hardcore headnodder.

Friday, March 02, 2007


Being that I'm a fan of basketball, but my Celtics are the worst team in the league, I've directed much of my attention to the "local" Mavs who are on probably their meanest tear in the history of the franchise and, without a doubt, quickly on their way to a championship. Again, I'm drawn to the character they call "Dirk." This man is an incredible specimen that can bang the boards and then drop out and nail 30-footers. He's a beast, a monster, an absolute freak of nature and I marvel at his skills on the court. For that reason, I'm officially coining the word "Nowitzki'd" in hopes that one day it will become a term used in a Sportscenter broadcast and will be the catch-phrase of the league. To get "Nowitzki'd," is to get schooled, learned, taught a hard lesson with the sharp edge of the sword. "Nowitzki'd" is when you didn't "bring it," but it was "brought upon you." Some might say, let me see, "getting your ass kicked."

The man you see in the lower left hand corner just got Nowitzki'd. Look at that power in that dunk. Man, you just don't see that kind of fervor behind dunks anymore in the league. They're gonna have to reinforce the rims if he's gonna be coming down like that.
Here, Dirk Nowitzki'd himself at a bar back when the Mavs weren't the top team in the league. He ponders, at this moment, "Maybe coming to Dallas was the worst move ever." Glad things turned around for him.
My previous attempt at launching a term to fame on Sportscenter failed miserably. I think, due in large part, that I never blasted it up on The Root Down for a proper launch. Above you see Dirk getting "Ginob'lized" which means to get "owned by a person of much smaller stature."

Got on Myspace last night after my wife spent a couple of hours searching for people from high school. I decided to do the same. I really was just looking for people who put on weight or came out of the closet. I know that sounds cruel, but I'm in pretty close contact on a normal basis with most of my friends from high school. Found sweet Davona (I call her D.D. still) and Coby among a few others. Reminisced a little. It was a good experience for me. I haven't thought about alot of these people for a long time and shamefully admit that.

I was slightly disturbed, however, at a number of people who I'm convinced are fluffing their income amounts. One girl was quoting an annual income of larger than $225,000. Not all too coincidently, she was also single. In fact, I found anytime someone was quoting a abnormally large income, they were single. The married folks were pretty honest, it seemed.

Horrible tornado in Alabama. Even worse coverage of it by FoxNews. They're interviewing a student who was inside the high school in which seven of his classmates were killed. Dude asks the kid, "Were the students pretty much freaked out?"

Alright, gotta get to work. Holla.

Thursday, March 01, 2007


I just found out the most shocking thing this morning. Now, I don't know what's the normal length of time from death to burial, but she's been dead now for 21 days. That's just completely sick and abnormal.

And speaking of sick and abnormal, please find 10 minutes of your time to dedicate to this video. America's game shows are do freaking lame. The Japanese have the right idea. Please just take a mere 10 minutes of your day to watch this clip. You'll enjoy.