Saturday, June 16, 2007


You know, I was waiting for that last boom to send off one of my favorite recurring columns on The Root Down. To properly send off "Popular Culture's Complete Misrepresentation of Hip Hop," I needed something that required very little explanation, something that people who knew would see the abomination immediately. I needed something, an image, a person, an occurance that took hip hop and just completely mocked and almost erased years of artistry and accomplishment in one low moment in history.

Ladies and gentlemen, I'm proud (but really not) to say that I found what I was looking for. I found it on the long road through Arizona as we stopped off at a Love's Truck Stop. It's funny that a place that brings me such sadness would be called "Love's." Everytime I go in there, I go through a lesser but still intense Wal-Mart panic attack. It starts with the loss of feeling in my fingertips. Usually, I'm just waiting for that trucker to come out with his toiletry kit in one hand and bath towel in the other smelling like toothpaste and shampoo because this is when I typically start losing feeling below my knees. On any given trip to Love's, I'm quite near having to crawl back out to the car because it just freaks me out. And, as a germiphobe, truck stops in general can send me into a tailspin. Knowing this, it's difficult for me to be surprised or awestruck at Love's anymore. Until this week...

It was like the first time you saw Ronald McDonald rapping. It was like when I saw Wu-Wear on the clearance racks at TJ Maxx. It was like when I got my copy of the MC Stephen Hawking rap record. It was like watching Ja Rule win a Grammy. I'm going to give Russell and S. Carter the benefit of the doubt like a case of merchandise fell off a truck and ended up on the wall at this location only. I mean, they're so cheap that you gotta think something shady's going on. But gaze at the sadness in this photo. Either you'll laugh until you cry or cry until you curl into a fetal position cramping from dehydration. Rod, maybe you can explain this one for me.

So, in celebration (or in memory) of the great hip hop clothing lines, I'm taking the power back with the new design (available, as always, at We need to get hip hop out of the truck stops and back to the streets. The hip hop clothing game has gotten straight outta control and we gotta get it back from the powers that be (Wil, I'm looking to you, homie). And I'm introducing this design at the lowest price possible meaning I don't get but a penny from everyone sold. In fact, I'm going to reduce the prices storewide so now's the time to pick up your official The Root Down product. Wil, if you can get me shirts pressed for even cheaper, holla atcha boy. Here it is, folks, the GANGSTA! GANGSTA! design for all you real heads.

And, of course, on the back:

It's an Ice Cube morning. Predator on vinyl. You know my steez. I'm not sure if you can find a better way to start a day than with Ice Cube's Predator. I'll do some more research and get back to you.

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