Sunday, September 30, 2007


What a slammin' weekend. It started, a rarity for me, right at 5PM on Friday. Imagine that.

For once, also, I'm able to drive an hour and forty minutes to see an Atmosphere show. That's usually about five to six hours at a minimum. Am I there? Hell yeah, I am. After a huge burger at the Pour House with Tim, Mick, Cody, Mayhem, Tij, Danny and Lee, we booked toward the venue. Jake's is a crap bar. It really is. It's like 50,000 square-foot ashtray with $2 beer and a fry-o-later. To be there pains me, but whatever, it's Atmosphere. Next time, I want an outdoor show, though.

We show up at about 9PM and there's a line wrapping around the front of the building. I'm thinking there's no way that these kids are there to see Atmosphere. Then I see all the stoner kids in their skate gear and the teenage girls dressed in hardly nothing--yep, it's an Atmosphere show. Lucky for me, there were enough fratboys to balance out the crowd. Either way, Lubbock turned out like a muddah. Making me proud.

We bounce inside to enjoy a few beers. I'd be keeping my eyes on the TVs for baseball scores. Turns out that the Cubs won their division (clinching a playoff spot). About ten minutes later, the Sox won against the Twins and, only moments later, Angry Tim's Orioles beat the Spanks in the 10th inning to seal the AL East for the Red Sox. Manny's got the right's time to get the grill ready for the playoffs.

Need to email Mike to congratulate him on the Cubbies win. Whatever. Onward.

Anyhow, we're sitting there in Jake's. Marco shows up. David and Chrissy were there. Lee was hitting on some blonde girl who was absolutely trashed. She wanted to get backstage (yeah, a groupie) not knowing that Jake's has no backstage, but rather a line of pool tables where you can find Slug leaning and talking to a scattering of people--crew, fans, local rappers. He leans back cooly just taking in the scene. Ant walks by smoking cigarettes, taking bottles of beer to the crew three at a time. The place begins to swell full of people. Yeah, we got a party.

I missed most of Grayskul's set talking to Ryan Hicks...good to see him again. He let us know of the after party down in Tech Terrace where he'd be performing. Ryan, I genuinely wanted to go, but I wasn't in charge of travel. Spoke to Slug who let me know he had a new EP out and two more to come before releasing an all-new full length record. I commented, "Man, you're working your ass off."

"I'm just not lazy," he replied. Ha. Girls began to swarm Slug as he sat shyly to himself. A couple of them looked like bait for the new Chris Hansen special, "How to Catch an Underground Rapper."

Mac Lethal freaking killed it. Must listen to the advance again. He had that whole place rocking. Of course, Lubbock's a pretty green hip hop audience. They respond very loudly to "fast rapping," the f-word and any mention of cops. They'll grow with more practice. Either way, it was a nice night to be onstage because you were the newest thing in town that night. I heard the promoter talking to Slug. Slug asked him, "So, did you get Aesop?" Apparently, Danny was right about Aesop maybe playing Lubbock. We'll see.

After Mac Lethal, Tij and I made our way to the front. It was hotter than hell in there and the smelly college kids were shoulder to shoulder up in there. As uncomfortable as it was, my view of Atmosphere in Lubbock was not going to be obstructed by some drunk moron and his girlfriend. Tij just needed to get up there because he stands maybe five feet tall tops and he wouldn't have been able to see the stage lights from the back, much less Atmosphere themselves. Some powertripping punkass bouncer was pushing kids around up front during the freaking soundcheck because he was trying to keep the ramp to the stage clear for Atmosphere. He started maddogging me like I was about to bust. Whatta chump. Dude's been watching too much UFC and needs a girlfriend. Thanks for bumming everyone out, moron. It ain't like you're protecting DMX, dun.

Some girl right next to me was staring at Slug just on the other side of the doorway panting the words, "I can't believe he's right there." Wow. They do exist.

Atmosphere came on with a full band. I knew this was going to be a treat. They launch right into the new material and, to my surprise, the whole front fifteen feet were almost lyric for lyric the whole time. In Lubbock, TX, no less. I guess these kids have supported. The band was pretty tightly wrapped. They replaced breakbeats with rock riffs and DJ scratches with guitar solos. Part of me really enjoyed it, but I'm a dat/emcee kinda guy at times. I wouldn't mind just watching Slug and Ant bring it down with a mic, a dat and two turntables. The crowd reacted well to the combination. Last I heard Atmosphere with a live band (in Denton) it was less rock and more "live band playing breakbeats." This was much more of a rock set. Refreshing.

Of course, Slug takes off his sweatshirt and the place goes up in flames. I don't know why a rapper taking off his sweatshirt to reveal a t-shirt underneath gets such a rise from audiences, but it never fails. It's funny because you knew that Slug wasn't going to finish his set in that sweatshirt. I mean, he only made it one song into his set and it was coming off. You wear it so you can take it off. Emceeing 101.

After hitting off with about thirty minutes of new material, Slug launches into some lesser-known stuff to kinda test the crowd including one of my personal favorites, "Summer Song." I began bouncing around after coming up for air (and bathroom). Saw Sam out by the merch table. Talked briefly. Again, Sam, sorry I missed the after party. It just wasn't happening. Altogether Atmosphere brought it down. A few members fell back and Slug remained for the encore which was really just, "We're gonna stay out here and do just a little extra for you." Nice we didn't have to plead for an encore. I always thought that was so retahded.

Apparently, Lee almost got in a fight with some dude who was accusing him of trying to pick up his woman. I can't lie, I did want to see some fighting. Not necessarily someone from our crew, but you know, it's like Elton John said, "Saturday night's alright for fighting." Just sometimes it's a Friday instead. Jiujitsu Danny was always ready for action.

Cody was doing the running man out by the merch table. Mayhem claimed he got bounced, but I never found out why. Everyone had a story, but I just went to an Atmosphere show.

Woke up the next morning next to Danny watching cartoons. Felt awesome. Needed some mexican to kickstart the morning. We went to Joel's for eggs, salsa, beans and hashbrowns. That did it. Drove home and slept for about three hours. Woke up feeling even awesomer. Sorry I didn't post yesterday, but I wasn't worth much.

Woke up this morning at 5AM to make the haul down to Midland for Brobro's first sermon as a preacherman. He spoke of the blind man Bartamaeus. Homie, you wrecked it today. Had more mexican. The sauce was hot. My insides are now gelatin and I crap water. Sorry. You can't fight fire with gasoline.

Gotta get ready for the work week. Holla atch boy.

Friday, September 28, 2007


Yeah, I'm a sucka. I'm suceptible to fandom, sometimes obsession. It's not idolization, but it's an appreciation. And I travel far and wide to see these guys. It started back in, uh, 1999 when I bought a CD called Anticon: Music for the Advancement of Hip Hop. On that CD was a track by an individual named "Slug" called "Nothing But Sunshine!" I continued putting that song on every mixtape I could cram it on and played it for every set of ears that I could. I would quickly find that this "Slug" was a member of a crew called Atmosphere from Minnesota.

Eager to find more, but unable to do so. I scoured the internet looking for live performances so I could see Slug or Atmosphere in person. First time I would see Atmosphere would be in Austin at Emo's--a hip hop hot spot in Austin. I believe it was 2001. That night, the fan was born.

I would do everything I could to locate their music and, in 2002, with the assistance of Fat Beats, they would release their first properly distributed record, God Loves Ugly. I remember that my store didn't even receive a copy, in fact, no one in my town did. I had to special order it. It was my goal as a music buyer that no one would ever have to special order an Atmosphere release. I know it sounds corny, but it's true. I felt strongly that Atmosphere was the type of hip hop that more people needed to hear and I was going to facilitate that.

Once I found a desk up at corporate, I began the search for the first two Atmosphere records through Rhymesayers Entertainment: Lucy Ford and Overcast. Rhymesayers still had no distribution at that time. I remember asking distributor after distributor for Atmosphere records and having to clarify that they weren't "relaxation" records. I first found their product through an outfit out of Kansas City called Harvest Media (now no longer in business) and then I brought it in through Super D out on the West Coast. Sales were moderate, but nothing huge. I figured, though, that selling one out of 100 was a success.

It would be not much longer when I would see Seven's Travel show up in a Navarre book. Now, they got that proper distribution. Minneapolis-based Navarre would be the perfect match for Atmosphere and Rhymesayers being hometown boys. Their catalog and other Rhymesayer artists would soon become available through Navarre and, almost overnight, Lucy Ford was showing up in Best Buy.

I would continue to see Atmosphere any chance I could. I've seen them in Dallas twice. Denton once (dope show). Albuquerque once. Santa Fe once. Austin thrice. And now, for the first time, I'll be able to spare myself the four hour road trip (or more) and, instead, I'll be heading just down the road to my hometown of Lubbock for an Atmosphere show tonight at Jakes.

Why it's taken so long for them to come to Lubbock, I'm not sure. Will they ever come back? Well, I suppose we'll know after tonight. But I'll be there and I'm coming with a squad--Danny, Lee, Tim, Mick, Cody, Mayhem, TJ, David, Chrissy, Sam--aw yeah. It's on. Elders and Harley, I guess we'll catch a show some other time.

Atmosphere. In Lubbock. Tonight. Doors at 8PM. If you're within three hours of Lubbock, you have no excuse. I know this because there's nothing exciting within three hours of Lubbock.

Don't be a punk. Go listen to some Atmosphere today.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Looks like Chamillionaire Lil-Flipped himself out of the rap game and Paul Wall gets the last laugh. Once a daring duo from H-Town to rivals and now to forgot-about-the-whole-thing, Paul Wall and Chamillionaire parted ways a few years back. Paul Wall went on to moderate success with his first major label record and Chamillionaire blew up like Nagasaki. Dude was everywhere. Paul made steady appearances here and there, but still had that stigma of the next big white rapper (see also Bubba Sparxxx, Lil Wyte, etc.). Second record, Paul Wall titled it Get Money, Stay True. With almost no publicity or radio play, Paul did 92,000 units. Apparently, his buddy Chamillionaire didn't take notice and released a completely vulgar-free hip hop record. Noble, but the rap industry don't give away any peace prizes. Well, Chamillionaire's follow-up to his major label debut pinched off a measley 79,161 units first week. Good, yes. But after you scan platinum plus on your debut and then you're outsold by Reba McEntire and Barry Manilow cover record on your sophomore outing, you've officially entered the J-Kwon Circuit. Here are the numbers:

The People's Champ
Release to date: 852,006
Get Money, Stay True
First week sales: 92,340
The Sound of Revenge
Release to date: 1,312,663
Ultimate Victory
First week sales: 79,332
Chamillionaire acts like we're not trying to sell records here. It'd be like Weinerschnitzel replacing every hot dog on their menu with turd-covered donuts. Whether Chamillionaire likes to believe it or not, kids generally buy hip hop records because of their perceived danger. It's the vulgarity, the violence, the jewels, the women, the lifestyle. The notion of a platinum hip hop artist making (reportedly under his own will) a Wal-Mart/soccer mom approved hip hop record is laughable. Chamillionaire, get that money, but stay true. It worked for ya' boy, Pauly.

Friday, September 21, 2007


The "hype man" has always been an essential element to the hip hop show. I mean, let's face it, the emcee has simply too much to do when it comes to spitting his lines live on stage. Studio work has become just a game of punch-ins, but live, dudes run outta energy fast! For that reason, the hype man has become a common figure in live hip hop shows. Sometimes they're mad corny and annoying, while at other times, they fit perfect with the set, do their job and everyone has a good time. The difference between a good hype man and a bad one, though, is like night and day. I'll explain.

The best hype men are like good drummers: their contributions to the performance are evident, but not overpowering. They simply be. They don't under-be or over-be, they just do their thing. Firstly, let's look at an example of a really bad hype man. This would be MF Doom's (eh, not really Doom) hype man at Rock the Bells. Perhaps you heard that he sent an imposter to do the shows for him while he worked in the studio. Slick, but not slick enough for 1:21 of this video where "Doom" pulls the mic away from the face but magically projects his voice still through the mic. Amazing. Let's say, however, that it is Doom. Watch the hype man here. He's horrible. Just watch and then we'll teach, learn and discuss.

Firstly, this moron takes the job description a little too literally in his ability to "hype" the crowd up. What he does is instantly makes himself an object of blistering annoyance. No one likes being bossed around and especially when you shell out good money to see the performance. Despite that, ol' boy, just yells at these cats. "C'mon, c'mon, c'mon! Clap with me, c'mon, c'mon. Keep 'em up! Keep 'em up!" What the hell!? I'm clapping, but then you want me to throw them up in the air? Do you want me to clap my hands above my head? Perhaps you should be more explicit in your instructions. Then he litters the entire performance with Ric Flair "whoos!" and "yeahs!" I also don't understand the "up" and then "down" instruction. Why, at any show, would you instruct the audience to put their hands down. It ain't cute--it's stupid. And it makes absolutely no sense at all. And, under no circumstances, do you grunt, yell or bark over the emcee coming out of a chorus. Second verse, ol' boy is louder than "Doom" and he's saying nothing. This is a performance I would skip. Whatta nightmare. My head hurts just watching it.

Now, watch a real vet do it. Eyedea from Rhymesayers camp (in white shirt here) executes a perfect "hyping" with the "back-and-forth" technique, here using, "When I say 'atmos', ya'll say 'sphere,'" and then ducks out, quickly retreating the "last word" technique where you, essentially, only recite the rhyming words or phrases. It keeps the emcee (here Slug from Atmosphere) stay on track and also allows him the necessary moment to catch his breath. Eyedea also provides all the over-the-top hand and arm movements that might be difficult for Slug to sometimes achieve considering his intricate lyrics. Then at about the sixth minute, during the common medley portion of the show, Eyedea is provided his opportunity to shine. He moves only when permitted to by Slug. He also helps in the transition between songs with head-bobbing and the "hook arm" movement which basically begs the crowd to "get wit it" or "c'mon."

Eyedea's a vet. In fact, also notable is Crescent Moon of Oddjobs who, in the earlier touring career of Atmosphere, was a mainstay on the Rhymesayers stage. Along with all of the basic movements (featuring one of the very greatest "hook arms" in the game--dude could get 5,000 heads to bounce to "Blowin' in the Wind" with his hook), he also posesses incredible facial expressions--most typically the "That's so dope. I can't believe it, can you?" look. See below to the left of Jimmy Kimmel. He positions himself next to the emcee and during a portion of the set, he acts "stunned" or "shocked" by his counterparts abilities and then gives the same look to the crowd at which point the crowd will react with a similiar "whoa." Crescent, you the best.There are a few names that are synonomous with the words "hype man." First is the obvious Flavor Flav of Public Enemy. Certainly, you're familiar with him and his exploits. And then, one that can never be overlooked is the great Sen Dog of Cypress Hill. He's the perfect compliment to B-Real's flow. What you'll see in the following video is Cypress setting up their superhit, "Hits from the Bong." At this point in the program, they invite a patron from the audience to come up and do just that with Cypress Hill. They're in Amsterdam so to suggest that anyone needs any additional mind-altering drugs is a little silly, but regardless, it's ritual at a Cypress Hill show. They invite up a kid named "Ryan"--obviously American because of his coarse language, his baggy drawers and his swagger--making us proud overseas. Thanks, Ryan. An interesting occurance happens when Eric Bobo, son to the great percussionist Willie Bobo, brings out "King Arthur," and B-Real brings out Ryan. Ryan begins bouncing around the stage acting like a stoned-out moron and, after making his very suitable and appropriate introduction, Sen Dog puts him in his place. You'll hear Sen Dog say very audibly, "Yo, buttcheeks!" Sen is remembering the very important rule of never letting anyone upstage yo boy on stage. So he resorts to insultive and abusive behavior to degrade the guest and then you'll later see Sen toss the kid back into the crowd--discarding him like a piece of garbage. And Sen rocks a chorus like no one else. Dude is a beast of a hype man and not a guy you want to mess with.

So, kiddies, what did we learn today? Well, there's four simple rules that act as the foundation for a good hype man. They are this:

1) Know your role. No one's there to see you. They might cheer when they see you, but that's only because they think you're the head emcee (unless you're Sen Dog and Eyedea, of course). You want to get the crowd going, but not run them off. You will need to become an annoyance because, then, it gives the head emcee value as the "hero" coming to save the crowd from your atrocious stage presence. Take about three minutes of time to welcome the crowd, do a little "back-and-forth" with them to make sure they're blood is pumping, introduce head emcee and then disappear into the background.

2) You help with respiration. Know the material being recited so you can step in and take phrase or two to help yo boy with breathing. Emceeing is hard business and you don't have the bulk of the material so, sit back, watch him and know when to come in. If you stand back and watch him do the whole song, he's gonna fall flat on his face and die from suffocation. You don't want that because the riot will come for you.

3) The crowd is you're job. Whether it's tossing "Ryan's" off the stage and getting them away from away from the commodity, hooking them in with your charisma and wildy arm motions or distributing free goods into the crowd (CDs, t-shirts, water), you have the unfortunate job of manning the crowd. It can be 50 people or 5,000, but they are you're duty. You keep them happy so they can, in turn, enjoy your set. If they're not feeling it, you might have to go into recovery mode and begin juggling, but it's your responsibility.

4) Never move in front of or yell over the lead. It's the performance equivalent of the "block." You're "Goose" to his "Maverick." You sit back and facilitate his experience. Make sure your boy is hooking up with the ladies, making the connections with crowd, selling the albums and t-shirts, but never move in front of him on stage and never interrupt him mid-lyric, unless of course, he invites you to. Remember "wingman."

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Remember this?Well, after suffering for the last two weeks with my contacts and no glasses, I finally decided to go out to the (you're not going to believe this) the mall to find me a new pair of glasses. My contacts work fine, it's just that in order to get new prescription glasses, you need a prescription from under a year old. So, first things first, my lovely wife books me at the optometrist's office right next door to a glasses store. I won't disclose the name of the establishment, but let's just say it rhymes with "Mine's Faster." The name of the doctor was Dr. "Goldstick." I'm not kidding. Of course, he spelled it without apostrophes.

He was a goofy man. Kinda like half Mr. Rogers and half Ralph Nader. I didn't care because I was there for one thing and it was going to cost me $50. That's an eye examination on the way to handing me a prescription that I would then walk next doors to the glasses store and have filled. I already had the frames picked out. They nice, b'lee dat.

The whole optometrist office was a circus which was topped off with the receptionist mumbling weird, non-descript languages while laughing nervously. And there was no music to speak of. Maybe that was the problem. It was just me and the dimwitted receptionist talking about Amarillo. Sweet glory! Then she ushered me to the back where I waited in one of those uncomfortable thrones of pleather and metal. I kept thinking, "Why am I waiting back here by myself. I was much more comfortable in the receptionist area." I waited for fifteen minutes. Maybe I made her nervous and she just wanted to get rid of me.

I remained patiently until Goldstick entered the room. He noticed where I worked and began complimenting me on the stores and started telling me how he likes to read. "I don't read at all," I remarked. He continued. My eye examination lasted probably thirty minutes. I got so tired of saying "yes" and "no", "one" and "two" that I was starting to suspect that Goldstick was just playing with me. At the end, ol' boy tried to tell me that I had developed an astigmatism. Slight, but definitely an astigmatism. He then said, "Well, I got your prescription ready and I also have some of your contacts in the back."

"Uh, I don't need contacts. I just came for a new glasses prescription."

"But it's more economical to just get your contact prescription and I have those here for you to take with you."

"I don't need new contacts."

"Well, I think your contacts are definitely in need of replacement."

"I disagree. I've worn hard contacts for 13 years and have only ever had two pairs. The pair before these I wore for nine years. I don't wear the soft contacts that you were going to give me anyway."

"Oh, well yeah. If you wear hard contacts, you don't need those. I'll just rip up the contact prescription."


"Now, if you can just come into the other room, I think it'd be wise to go ahead and test for glaucoma."

"What? There's no history of glaucoma at all in my family. Is it really necessary?"

"Oh, it only takes three minutes and costs only $20."

"I don't want that test, but thank you. I just want a glasses prescription."

"Are you sure?"

"Positive. Thanks. If I ever reconsider, I'll come here first."

Dude was trying to upsell me on a glaucoma test. Now, I didn't just graduate from high school. I don't want the $20 glaucoma test so that I can sleep well tonight reading the words on the inside of my eyes: "Thank goodness I don't have glaucoma like Kirby Puckett." My lovely wife said, "Well, you wanted economical." True. I should've gone to my regular doctor. Oh well.

I head next door to Thigh Crafters and go to the frames I had my eye on only to find they were absent. Just my luck. I'm real particular about glasses frames and the style and model I had set my sight on were gone. I wait for the girl behind the desk to stop talking to some dude in lab. I love how they refer to it as the lab. I'm not really fooled that anything scientific goes on back there. It's just some kid out of college tightening screws on glasses frames. Okay, maybe that's not true, but I'm convinced that everything in the mall is absolutely fake. It's like a booth at the carnival.

Look! Real optometrists melting and sculpting your lenses from glass with heat matched only by that of molten lava from the earth's core!

They're not real. It's all fake.

Despite that, real frames from a fake store were half off along with half off of lenses. So, there I stood waiting to be noticed--which is hard when you're my frame. Finally, I just walk up to the counter and politely tap on the counter. She approaches me. We do a little back and forth about the frames and then I just start drilling her on when she's getting more back in, who will call me and how will they know what frame I'm looking for without a model number? Where do you get a model number? Do you have a browseable catalot that has images? Can I look at it? She begins moving with a small sense of urgency, but at least I have her attention at this point.

We find the frames in a catalog and she explains to me that (mathematicians, get your pencils ready) she's going combine the cost of the frame and the lenses and then take 50% off because I'll actually save money that way.

"How does that work?"

"It just works. Trust me. Like I take $200 for the lenses and $160 for the frames, we'll add that together and then take half of that and it comes to half of $360 which is $180."

Or, for those scoring at home, if you do the two separate halving before adding them together, it miraculously adds up to the same thing.

$200 x .50 = $100
$180 x .50 = $80
$80 + $100 = $180

But, I gave her the satisfaction of thinking she saved me money so that I could be on my merry way. Purchasing almost anything at the mall makes me uneasy. It's the same uneasiness you might get riding the ferris wheel at the parking lot, cash-only carnival that's only in town for two days. For some reason, I think something horrible's gonna happen and there'll be no accountability. Maybe it's paranoia on my end, but I just don't trust them.

But that's it. An optometrist that thinks I have glaucoma and a clerk who thinks that she's saving me money simply in the order of two different calculations. I don't have glaucoma and she saved me nothing.

Buyer beware. Now, let's see if it takes a furniture-store turnaround to get my glasses. Hip hop ain't dead, but customer service certainly is.


Friday, September 14, 2007


Thank Clint for somehow tracking this beauty. It's the Rock-a-Fire Explosion from Showbiz Pizza Place back in the day performing Huey's "Pop, Lock and Drop It." Some dude rigged the whole thing in his house which, as Clint comments, "pretty much makes this guy the best person to ever live." Sox down by one in the ninth after leading by five in the eighth. Told you this wasn't gonna be easy. Varitek's up with no outs and Drew on. Have a good evening.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


So, after a successful surgery, Tux is no longer a man. In fact, he never really got to enjoy the wonders of manhood. We just cut 'em off before he got there. The last thing we need is another Tux out there somewhere. We got confirmation that the surgery went well and he was "just waking up." Man, imagine the terror of waking up and seeing that your testicles are missing. That dude's gonna raise some hell tonight. Ain't no dog in those cages gonna get a wink of sleep tonight. We'll get him back in time for Sox and Spanks tomorrow night at 6PM Central. Spanks are throwing "Child-Bearing Hips" Pettitte and the Sox are giving Dicey-K the ball. Should be interesting.

My prediction is the Spanks will take the first game and the Sox will take the remaining two. We'll end the weekend up 7 games and all but secure the AL East as ours. I wouldn't be a Sox fan if I didn't say so. Trust me, it ain't gonna be easy.
Sheryl, thanks for the Kanye promo. At first listen, well, I'll put it how I put it to Jacko in an email I just sent: "Yeah, the new Kanye will take a few listens. Certainly less appeal to the casual 'I don’t normally listen to hip hop but..' listener. It’s more of a street record with the exception of 'Stronger'…it’s not deep with singles and I fear for him that what he doesn’t sell off the first week, he probably won’t sell in the future unlike his past releases. I wouldn’t write it off too quickly…'Flashing Lights' is the track that brings particular interest to me at this point…"
So this case of the black woman that was tortured by six back woods white folk in West Virginia is quite compelling to me. I don't know if you're familiar with the crime, but apparently, six people in West Virginia kidnapped, raped, tortured and held captive a 23-year old black woman for a week before authorities went to the house and discovered her running toward the door screaming, "Help me!" Now, in West Virginia, if it's defined as a "hate crime," it's punishable only up to ten years in prison. So, the legal team is pursuing a combination of charges to hopefully lock these people up for a much longer time. I'm wondering, though, could we not make it a "hate crime" and just let 'em rot in prison? Now, I'm no lawyer and certainly my assessment might be flawed, but, let's just say this: it's more than coincidence that there were six white people (two of which are 40+ females, what the?) and one young black female. And that, while "her captors choked her with a cable cord, stabbed her in the leg" they called "her a racial epithet, poured hot water over her, made her drink from a toilet and beat her." On top of that, they raped her and kept her captive in a shed out back. Now, I'm completely unfamiliar with torture prosecutions and even more unfamiliar with what is defined as a "hate crime," but man, if you're going to take anyone's story, wouldn't it be the victim who had to endure it for an entire week? This is some horrible stuff, folks. I normally don't get too wound up over stuff like this, but to not, at least, suspect it as a "hate crime," just baffles me to no end. Whatever. If these people get out of this with anything less than multiple hate crime, kidnapping, rape and torture charges that will lock them away from free life for good, there's injustice in West Virginia. That's all I'm saying.
Roundhouse put a sting on tonight to hopefully lock down a spot in the playoffs. We beat Big Stix (crafty spelling there) 20-6. "That's not a win, that's a whooping," says my lovely wife. Indeed. One bad whooping. And there was family there to witness it too. Geez, I hate doing that to a family, but it's my job...kicking mad ass, that is.
That Percee P is hot to death. Coming soon on Stones Throw. Don't be a punk. Love your neighbor.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Next week, Chamillionaire will release his sophomore major label record, Ultimate Victory, next Tuesday. About a month ago, Chamillionaire announced that the record would be "clean" or free of explicit lyrics and, even more of a feat, free of the dreaded N-word. He insists that this change is not in response to the Don Imus backlash, but rather is a matter morals and principles.

If this was any other industry I might believe that.

In fact, it would make more sense if he did it in response to the Imus fiasco. Instead, Chamillionaire cited it was live performances that sparked the change when he would look out into the audience and see a sea of white kids rapping along (you know the kids--rap hands) saying,“I was like, ’You know what? I’m not going to say the N-word on this one because when I go back on the road, and I start performing, I don’t want them to be saying it, like me teaching them.'”

Don't flatter yourself, Cammy.

When you enter the urban radio realm, you immediately inherit (whether you want to or not) an army of white hip hop listeners. They're just that though--listeners. They really have nothing else invested in you except the purchase of a CD. And, these days, that's stretching it. If Chamillionaire was smart, he'd be more careful about the audience he latches onto. At the end of it, he's turning his back on his core street audience, he's turning off the pop listener who relies on occassional explicit material to validate their hip hop listening experience and, what's left, is the concerned mothers and politicians who aren't even buying records. He can be Jesse Jackson's right-hand rapper. Maybe Tipper Gore can cite Chamillionaire in a speech about clean hip hop.

To say this is "going out on a limb" is an incredible understatement.

I wouldn't say that just because a record has explicit lyrics that it's hip hop, however, hip hop is sometimes defined by its explicit lyrical content. If that's true, like Shaggy, Will Smith and Hammer before him, is this new Chamillionaire record actually hip hop?

This is just the next step downward in what has been one of the lousiest five-year string of hip hop releases. The whole game has just lost it's course. What Chamillionaire has failed to realize is that "positivity" in hip hop and that moral high ground that he so badly strives for is not defined by the absence of explicit lyrics, but rather the presence of positivity. It's not addition by subtraction. You have to genuinely believe in what you do. Is Chamillionaire's "clean" content more positive than, say, Common, Mos Def and the Roots because these artists' content includes explicit lyrics? Is simply cleaning up the lyrical content enough?

It's my personal opinion that Chamillionaire is both confused and horribly misinformed. I don't believe him. I'm not convinced. Let's just say that, subconciously, the Don Imus situation impacted Chamillionaire and he made the decision at that point to change the direction of his content and, even more important, compromise his artistic vision in order to produce a product that could perceivably appeal to a larger audience--is that such a stretch for an industry that's on a steep downtrend? To create affirmative and "positive" hip hop that's safe for the Wal-Mart customer?

Only time will tell whether or not the move pays off for Chamillionaire, but I'm predicting it backfires. We'll see, I suppose, once first week numbers are in and we put them up against the projections. One more cup of joe. It's Tuesday. Go listen to Cypress Hill's first record.

Monday, September 10, 2007


As is the tale of my life these days, one week ends and goes completely unaccounted for just as another one starts. But luckily for you, ol' boy has enough presence to at least drop a line to give you a run down. Yeah, you're still waiting on a few promised posts and I'll hope to nail them out this week, but for now, you're just gonna get it raw.

The VMA's officially sucked. I don't understand the Britney performance at all. I wasn't going to say she looked "out-of-shape" because I don't normally say that about women, but I read it this morning so I'll simply quote it: "she looked out of shape." Just another Jive trainwreck. I apparently missed Tommy Lee and Kid Rock fighting in the audience over Pamela Anderson. And that was a highlight. Justin brought it down with a few performances though. At least someone knows how to capitalize on the exposure. Otherwise, this award show was garbage and, the best part is that this was supposed to be the rejuvenated VMA's. Whatever. It sucked.

September 11th is nearing again. Still haven't found Bin Laden.

The next hurricane/tropical storm will be named "Humberto." I guess we ran out of "H" names.

Kanye and Fiddy drop this week. I don't really care who wins at this point. I'm just hoping they both scan about 600,000 each so retail can get a much needed boost. At the VMA's last night they appeared on stage and acted like they hated each other, but no one believes it. This is purely a marketing scheme and is indicative of an industry that has lost its way and is confused about how to sell the next hit. This ploy is the most childish and laughable attempt to sell records short of faking their own deaths. You'd wish the albums would sell on their own individual artistic merit, but c'mon, this is hip hop. I'm sure the Kanye will have something to offer. Not sure about the Fiddy. Haven't heard either yet.

How awesome is this story: we ordered a coffee table/trunk thingy from Sofa Mart about three months ago as part of our anniversary (fifth anniversary=wood) and had yet to receive it. My lovely wife decides to call out of the blue this weekend to see if it had arrived. "Yep, it's here," says some fella on the other end of the line. Which begs the obvious question, "How long had it been there without us being contacted?" Whatever, I'm not going to get bent out of shape over it. We'll just go pick it up. So we go out there and pull up to the docks out back. There's about three dudes walking about at about quarter-to-half speed throwing empty boxes and glaring meanly at cars pulling up. My lovely wife volunteers to hop out and ask these guys where our coffee table/trunk thingy is. She stands up there for about five minutes before anyone even speaks to her at which point they just point to another door on the back of the building and then get back to work. Another few minutes later, the door opens and a man silently walks out of the door, opens up a bay door, brings a large box to the end of the dock and just stands there right in front of us and doesn't say a word. I'm thinking, "Hey Rain Man, do you want me to pull up or something?" Instead, I just blurt out to him rudely because, well, I see this as an unsalvageable experience: "Dude, you want me to back up?" to which he replies, "Yeah." I do so and then help him slide it into the back of my lovely wife's Toyota. We close the door and drive off. Look, I'm not asking for a shoulder rub or a hot cup of coffee, but why am I being punished? Because I spent a couple hundred of dollars at your second-rate furniture store and waited patiently for three months for you to deliver a product and then had to call ourselves to find out it had been in for two weeks? Yeah, I guess you're right, I really deserve to be mistreated. Customer service is officially dead. Just expect to do it yourself.

Oprah's backing Obama.

I just read that Kanye, upset over the fact that he didn't get to perform on the main stage at the VMA's but instead performed in a suite, said that he'd "never return to MTV." Alright, Kanye. Alright.

Tucker's getting his marbles taken off this week. Yeah, he will officially become a woman on Friday. Anyone that wants to leave condolences and concern in the comment section, I'll see that they get to him.

Please don't take my testicles.

Friday, September 07, 2007


Yeah, my favorites. Richard Marx and Kenny Loggins. These dudes cranked out the hits like, uh, "Danger Zone" and...uh...I don't know...all those Richard Marx songs from the roller rink. Yeah, these guys got all the ladies. More on my hell week tomorrow morning. Just topped off a Shiner and am ready for a nice nap.

Oh, Sox have been given a magic number to win their division. It's still pretty high, but just worth noting that the Sox actually have a magic number. It currently stands at 15 games. Rory, I'll miss having you over next weekend for Sox and Spanks at Fenway. The beer will be cold. I'll have Harley stand in in your absence.

Monday, September 03, 2007


Tourism is just hard to work with fashionably. As if I don't have a hard enough time with standing out in crowds with tall, balding and bearded, you hang cameras around my neck and it just screams, "Shank me, take everything on me and then dump me in the Charles River." That's Boston in the background. The above picture was taken on our whale watching expedition. More on that later.

After spending much of Thursday on a plane, train, tram, bus or potty, we arrive at Logan Airport in Boston. I was delirious my lovely travel mate (my lovely wife) also, but she hit the ground running--in serious vacation mode--with a smile plastered to her face and a bounce in her step. Onward to baggage claim. That's where we met this little lady. I thought I didn't wear "tourism" well. This woman, with her cankles, fanny pack and dark socks with white shoes made her a dead giveaway for "tourist." That is, until we heard her speak and much to our horror, she was a local. And, not only that, her accent was horrible. It was grading. It almost had a corrosive effect on my hearing. Here, I stare her down trying to will her not to speak again. My lovely wife captured this from afar. I'm telling you, that fanny pack was like a suitcase that was packed to accomodate a family of four for a ten-day camping excursion. I really worried that she was going to hurt her back hauling that thing around.
We hit the train which, in Boston, really smells like old shoes. I hated it at first, but later I would wonder if it would be possible to bottle that smell. I would think there's an application for such a scent.
We arrive at our hotel, the Sheraton, right in the middle of the heart of Boston--the Back Bay. That is, after stumbling around for a while with our mouths open and our heads turned to the sky like the tourists we were. We're really lucky we didn't get pick-pocketed. Really lucky. After checking in, we head up to the 21st floor because, well, we're pimps. Well, I'm a pimp and my lovely wife is the payables department. No, seriously, we had the best seat in the house. 21st floor at the Back Bay Sheraton will get you this view. Click on it to get a better idea. This is a little manual panoramic so take it easy. You get the idea.
Everything was close. Including the Summer Shack which my lovely wife really wanted to get some grub at. Seafood. I'm not a huge fan, but it's Boston and it seemed rather obligatory. First I had to take out my contacts because, from all the traveling, my eyes were on "fiyah." I open up my toiletries (really, who calls it that anymore?) case to find this.

How awesome. Okay, first major setback of the trip. I mean, I rely on those glasses. It's not like I only use them for the morning paper and the evening news. Crap. I desperately try to see what kinda magic I can work with them in this state, but to no avail.
I mean, the look I'm actually fond of. It's kinda a Slick Rick thing. The only problem is when I would run like either from the cops or for a train nearing departure, the stupid things, uh, thing wouldn't even stay on my face. Plan B time. I'll just wear contacts the whole time. I mean, what was I to do at this point?
Summer Shack was fine dining. I can't remember what I had beyond the three tall Harpoon IPA's. They were cold, tall and fantastic. Not sure if they're as good as the Goosehead from Chi-town, but damn tasty. Afterwards, we'd go to Newbury Comics where I'd pick up the following:

Blockhead Uncle Tony's Coloring Book
Edan Spring Your Tape Deck
Oh No The Disrupt Chronicles Vol. 2
DJ Mayonnaise Still Alive
A Red Sox bumper sticker

Then, we'd head to Wally's to catch some Berklee students playing live jazz. Good band. They went headlong into some Herbie Hancock. It was dope. Had a few Sam Adams there. Went down smooth.
Yankees completed the sweep on Thursday night--cutting our lead down to only 5 games. A little close for comfort. We needed this series to be big against the Horrioles. No exceptions. We needed to win it. At this point, Wakefield's on rest, Manny's oblique has sidelined him. We're bringing up some rookies to fill in.
We got up the next morning ready for our excursion on a duck tour which would take us, on an amphibious vehicle through the city and then onto the Charles River. Just remember to leak it before you go. This ain't no short ride and, if you run into traffic downtown, it's gonna be a while. Good tour.
We'd also go up the way to Harvard where we'd eat fancy pizza with all the smart kids and I'd track down the man himself for a picture.Later, I'd pay a visit to the wonderful folks at Dude, I was in heaven. I'd pick up the following here:

J Rocc Yo! MTV Raps Mix
Peanut Butter Wolf 666 Mix
De La Soul Buhloone Mindstate vinyl
De La Soul "Daisy Age" tee (dope)
Quasimoto "Public Enemy" tee (dope, dope)
a couple of samplers they were giving out
I went back to the hotel and put on that De La shirt which was just hella nice and my lovely wife and I decided we'd go town to Fenway district and catch the game on the big screen at the famed Cask 'N Flagon. It sits right in the shadows of the Green Monstah and would be my resting place this night.If I lived in this town, this is probably where'd I'd be every game night. They had televisions for every stall in the pissah and for every sink where hopefully patrons and cooks alike would wash. They had about twenty viewable televisions from my vantage point--a table where I'd order a Reuben and a couple of cool ones.
My lovely wife would also partake. Refreshing to share a cold one with my lovely wife over a Sox game. I know that sounds really white trash, but let me tell you, I'm thankful I have a wife that's not too good to enjoy a room temp beer and some of the best baseball the league has to offer.
Afterwards, I'd stumble into the street and get closer to Fenway Park than I ever have before. I mean, it was right there and so was I. Incredible. Surreal almost.This is what you do when you're around Fenway Park. You just kinda become a zombie and question what it is you're suppose to do when you're actually there. It's hard to put into words except maybe, "I peed my pants a dark yellow." I don't even know what that means. In a few days, I'd actually breach the gates and experience the inside.
The De La Soul shirt was a huge hit too. Dudes all night were like, "De La Soul, alright!" Except for one dude who just translated it (and incorrectly), "Yeah, 'from the heart.' I like that! Cool shirt." Soul does not mean "heart." It means "soul." He got the "de la" part right, though.
My lovely wife had arranged for a whale watching expedition as previoulsy mentioned. Not a bad idea at all. I mean, I've seen humpbacks on the tele. Would love to have the opportunity to see one in person. We make way for the Aquarium Stop that next morning train out and arrive with plenty of time to spare on the waterfront. It was beautiful morning. The sun gleamed brightly off the water. We'd depart soon onto Boston Harbor and then further out into the Atlantic Ocean. I was feeling like a champ with my Wuddie and my hot coffee.
Before we'd even make it out to our destination, about an hour and a half out at sea, the waters would get way rough on my ass. I mean, the whole ship was rocking like crazy. I have a seat somewhere where the movement was, at least, perceptively minimalized. Or so I thought. I really started to feel like I was going to projectile vomit and I'm not too proud to vomit all over the place. I mean, when I vomit I roar like a lion. I advertise it. It's just my genetic makeup really. But I really didn't feel like soiling this experience by chunking so I sat as my tongue began to salivitate, sitting nervously. My lovely wife would check on me periodically, "Are you doin' alright?" I would just nod my head. That was until the kid next to me, who was sitting in his mother's lap, would began heaving little handfuls of vomit literally into his mother's hand. I turned to catch a glimpse of this act. Then I darted. I stumbled. I was ready to let loose now. I dash down to the lower level barely clearing the steps and then leglock it to the back bathrooms both of which were locked. I nervously sit down on nearby table and then basically fall backwards on my back just hoping that my nausea would pass. My lovely wife would come to my side. The boat continued to move like crazy underneath me. It wasn't going to stop.

We make out to deep waters where the whales are and the boat movement has now, believe it or not, worsened. I hear the tour guide exclaim, "Look at those beautiful whales over there!" I sit up quickly lauching my insides up to the back of my throat. My lovely wife tells me, "Stay down. People are puking everywhere. You don't wanna see this." The tone in her voice, one of advisoral, cautiously guiding me to the next square was a tone I have never heard from her. It was like she stared Lucifer himself in the eyes and said, "Turn back, youngblood. You don't want none of this." It really reminded me of that scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark when Harrison told old lady to keep her eyes closed when they opened the Ark and, because they kept their eyes closed unlike all the Nazis who turned out, they didn't have their faces melt off. My lovely wife knew if I sat up and looked around, puke would be iminent and quick. I hear a nearby ShopVac turn on. An assistant was vacuuming up vomit.

I looked over the bench I was laying in, sweaty and panicked and hurried, "Did you need any Ginger Ale?" I nodded. He brought it. I drank it. Laid back down.

We'd end up seeing humpbacks. It wouldn't last long because I couldn't stay up for long without almost puking my brains out. But I tried. My lovely wife would end up getting nausiated as well, but no puke from her either. The cruise back would be much improved. A local man would sum it up as my lovely wife would overhear with the words, "I go up on da top level and der's people pukin' all ova da tables and I'm like, 'I gotta get da _u_k outta here!'" Indeed. And we did.

We'd go up the way to the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston which was dope as hell. It was a nice opportunity to let our stomachs settle down as well before packing food into them. We'd make our way into the downtown area to go by Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall--it's a shopping district.

We'd hit Boston Common, the Frog Pond, the Old State House, Freedom Trail. All dat. In just one big swoop. We'll have to go back sometime and see more of it. Boston's just drenched in history. It's really quite incredible.

That's Samuel Adams's grave right there. Just off of Tremont Street. Pretty amazing. A passerby found greater amazement in the fact that he was buried there. "Wow, 1803. I just can't believe that there's a dude...buried...under the ground...right there." Yeah, usually the premis of a cementary. Tool.

Then there's George Washington in the Boston Common area.
The Old State House--situated right in the downtown area.
My lovely wife and a passing cargo ship going out to see.

That night, we'd head back to the hotel to get ready for our night out on the town only to find that rookie Clay Buckholz would be taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning versus the Orioles. I sat down and watched attentively along with my lovely wife. Clay would end up completing the no-hitter becoming the second player in history to pitch a no-hitter in his first two games and the first Red Sox rookie to throw one. Additionally, he would help propel the Sox ahead, keeping pace with the Yankees who also won. Missed that game by one day. Damn.

That next morning, the whole city was abuzz with the no-hitter and I was finally ready to completely my long journey to Fenway Park. We arrived early for the tour.
The tour began in the right field grandstand, then moved through the luxury boxes, the .406 Club. It was in the restaurant that I'd make my way the Red Sox Hall of Fame.And a large, wall-sized photo of the 2004 World Series ball that was held hostage by our, then, first baseman. My lovely wife found it quite peculiar the resemblance between it and my balding head and captured this shot.We'd then climb to the top of the Green Monstah. These seats are by lottery only and, if you're selected, your minimum and maximum purchase is four seats. The seats are $150 each. Best view in the house and rated Hardest Ticket to Get in All of Professional Sports. I enjoyed the view for only $12. Suckas.It's an incredible ballpark. Like the city, it's just crawling with the ghosts of the past. From the old scoreboard, to the red seat in right field, to Pesky Pole. It really is amazing.The seats you see above are almost 90 years old and, believe me, they're made for a human about five feet tall max and constructed of just wood and metal. They're absolutely punishing on the body. I mean, my ass was too wide to fit in with out wiggling into it. I've never had to complain about that.Our tour guide was this rad old man named Steve. I think he said he had been doing the tours for thirty years now. I think he has been telling some of those jokes for thirty years now, but they still got a few chuckles. My lovely wife wanted him to sit next to us during the game. I wanted to take him home with us and keep him as a pet.The dude even had a championship ring from the 2004 series. Ownership had given rings to various members of the organization and this dude had one. The thing made it hard for him to even lift his freaking hand it was so big.After the tour would conclude, we'd dump out into the Back Bay and begin our search for breakfast. Look, in Boston, just for future reference, everyone except the Sox take off Labor Day. No restaurant is open. And, just in case you're not totally convinced, call ahead and see before walking to these destinations.

We ended up boomeranging right back to the ballpark and enjoyed fried chicken from Popeyes before the game. We made our way down Yawkee Way and took in, briefly, the festivities, but I was more interested in finding my way down to our seats. We entered the park and meandered through the concourse area before dumping out in our section which was only six rows up from the field. Wally the Green Monster would greet us to our seat.
I squeezed my ass into the seat, turned my legs to the left toward home plate, leaned forward slightly to I could see past Pesky Pole (who, Johnny Pesky, was actually in attendance that day) and held that position for the next four hours. Yeah, it was uncomfortable, but it was a sunny day at Fenway with cold beer and the Sox were winning.
We found ourselves nestled right between a drunk and jolly fan who, I'm pretty convinced, was still working off the beers he had last night when Clay through his no-hitter. Dude was schnockled. Here he is yelling rally cries to nearby fans who are not as responsive. See the man in blue.And, in front of us, was the sober and mean fan. He had a thing for JD Drew and just let the Sox right fielder have it any chance he could. Dude was just downright mean.I kept score the old fashion way just to make sure I still had it.
And, of course, we sang "Sweet Caroline" during the 8th inning stretch--it's probably the only time that it is appropriate to sing Neil Diamond, in my book.
We'd end up cheering the Sox to victory and, more importantly, as all fans in Fenway were well aware of, the Yankees lost which means that we gained a game on them climbing our lead back up to six games. Of course, the guys who ran the JumboTron couldn't avoid running highlights of the Yankee game which included a home run sailing over an out-stretched glove of Johnny Damon over the outfield fence. Miss you, Johnny. Wait, no we don't.
See the above picture, middle of the frame at the lowest frame of the first row of scores. Yep, Yankees lost. Ah, the delight as "Dirty Water" echoed throughout the stadium as we did our victory dances. In fact, one of the two Red Sox actually came by and we gave each other a hearty handshake of victory.
Made the long trip home which included a TSA alert on the runway to check every bag that had already been loaded. Awesome. That was a 45 minute setback, but nothing that couldn't be cured by a Boston Kreme donut from Dunkin Donuts. Oh, how glorious.
Sox won and Yankees lost and, more importantly, cash hound Roger Clemens went out with elbow issues and will miss another start and Mike Mussina got roughed up as he came into relieve Roger. Man, two birds with one stone. Sox lead is up to seven now. Not impossible, but now the Yanks are clinging with all they have to the Wild Card. It'll be nice for them to feel what's it like for once. I'm glad to see that Roger's working out for them. Much in the way that Johnny Damon, Alan Embree, Mike Myers and Doug Minwhatever have. Yankee Stadium, where Red Sox players go to end their careers.

That's it. There's more to come as I sort through it, but in a nutshell, that's the Boston trip. Gotta get ready for work. Be good, folks. Nice to be back on.