Thursday, January 29, 2009
Serious, check out the break at the end of this here. Dude's had it. Totally random, I know, but I needed a break from seven hours of Paul's Boutique. Man, what I do for you kiddies. This ish makes me wanna kiss myself like James Brown. Lordy!
I love how they bleep out the expletives, but don't find anything objectionable about Mike D taking a bong hit in the back of the car. Man, if that video doesn't make you just wanna jump on a mountain right now, I don't know what'll do it for you.
The Wu mix has been tapped a record 1,222 times and counting. Impressive. It got a slow start until one of my Lesson brethren threw it up on the Soul Assassins' sight and then it just blew up. I think he's the one that's calling me DJ j3. I'm certainly not that, but it's a compliment nonetheless. Thanks for throwing me up on the site. While I'd like to attribute all of those hits to the traffic on The Root Down, I know I ain't getting 1,200 people visiting this puppy.
Keep y'head up, kids. It's Thursday. I love you.
Monday, January 26, 2009
I'm lucky there's not a Krispy Kreme in town or else I'd binge for three weeks. Speaking of, I learned the other day how to do screenprinting. Totally possible. It's just a matter of time and temperature. Just too cold up here to host this operation in the garage. The "Boycott Donut Stop" shirt is soon to production. We'll do a limited run of about twenty shirts just to prove it can be done and I can cross it off my resolutions list. Then we'll look for the next project. I'm thinking canvases like Andy Warhol.
Seriously, this Paul's Boutique is going to be madness. I'm listening to Sweet's "Ballroom Blitz" which, yes, is sampled in "Hey Ladies." Don't know if it'll make the final cut because "Hey Ladies" samples close to twelve different songs, but I've got it if I need it.
Think I'll give up colas for February. I still haven't had a single cola yet this year. My lovely wife suggested I ease back into sugars by having one cola and then kicking it for a month. Not a bad idea. Not really wanting a cola however. Just ketchup. I'm thinking about giving up breads, chips and tortillas for February.
My lovely wife, as some of you might know, got me poppin' on Facebook. I'm not totally impressed except for its ability to locate old friends (and notably a few old stalkers). I'll probably just use it to direct people to The Root Down. My lovely wife acted like everyone who is anyone has a Facebook page and I needed to get with it. This coming from the girl that still reads books. Seriously, who still reads books, right? Geez. So Myspace is out and Facebook is in. Got it.
Blogspot still rules all.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have a freaking theme song that they played when getting off of their team jet. That's the most gangsta thing I've ever seen. Guess I'm going for the Steelers this weekend.
Two New York papers have given us an early glimpse into Joe Torre's new tell-all book, The Yankee Years. In his book Joe Torre says that Yankee players would call Alex Rodriguez “A-Fraud” and that A-Rod had a “"Single White Female"-like obsession with Derek Jeter. Haha. Just over a year removed from the team and he's already taking swings. Dude couldn't wait to come clean.
I bet the Yankees are just throwing money at this team so they can finally win a championship, prove that signing A-Rod was a good move and panned out as they had expected (back in 2004...a signing that has given them diminishing returns ever since), trade him off and have Tex take over third base duties. The last thing Jeter needs is another superfan. A sad conclusion to what should have been the most dynamic duo the game has ever seen.
Springsteen's gotta new record coming out today and I don't care. I'm sorry. I liked Springsteen when we were calling him Bob Dylan.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
New Birth "Honeybee"
Wu Tang Clan "Clan in Da Front"
Black Ivory "I Keep Asking You Questions"
The Sweet Inspirations "Why Marry"
Ghostface Killah "Box in Hand (Unreleased)"
Wu Tang Clan "M.E.T.H.O.D. Man"
Willie Mitchell "Groovin'"
GZA "Liquid Swords"
Gladys Knight "The Way We Were"
Ol' Dirty Bastard "Baby C'mon (Instrumental)"
Ol' Dirty Bastard "Shimmy Shimmy Ya"
Ol' Dirty Bastard "Cuttin' Headz"
Wu Tang Clan "Bring Da Ruckus"
The Charmells "As Long as I've Got You"
Gravediggaz "1-800-Suicide (Acapella)"
Al Green "Gotta Find a New World"
Ghostface Killah "Iron Maiden"
Ol' Dirty Bastard "Hippa to Da Hoppa (Instrumental)"
Gravediggaz "2 Cups of Blood"
Ghostface Killah "Daytona 500"
Bob James "Nautilus"
Wu Tang Clan "7th Chamber (Part II) (Intro)"
Raekwon "Ice Cream"
Method Man "I Get My Thang In Action"
Gravediggaz "Constant Elevation"
Allan Toussaint "Louie"
GZA "4th Chamber"
Wendy Rene "After Laughter (Comes Tears)"
Wu Tang Clan "Tearz"
Ol' Dirty Bastard "Brooklyn Zoo"
Eugene McDaniels "Jagger the Dagger"
Gravediggaz "Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide"
Al Green "You Ought to Be With Me"
Ghostface Killah "260"
Wu Tang Clan "Da Mystery of Chessboxin'"
Ol' Dirty Bastard "Protect Ya Neck II: The Zoo"
Wu Tang Clan "7th Chamber"
Raekwon "Incarcerated Scarfaces"
GZA "Duel of the Iron Mic"
Wu Tang Clan "Ain't Nuttin' to _uc_ Wit"
You've been Wu'd, fool. Comments and criticisms not only welcomed, but encouraged so speak ya' clout.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
During my ten minute phone call to the ticket ordering service, I heard Tucker puking in the kitchen and then I go in there to check on him and see Jackson humping him. What a sense of timing those two have. Gotta get them to the dog park today to blow off some steam.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Enjoy some Funkadelic today. Conceptualizing a tribute to Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique which is 20 years old this year. Capitol is reissuing it as some super expensive and expansive piece when, let's be real, if they really wanted to do everyone a favor, reissue it and keep it in the $9.99 range. All their going to do is to adjust the levels so you can actually hear it. Waiting twenty years for a proper recording of one of the finest hip hop records ever and then asking us to pay a 20 year old price is played. Just listening to The Incredible Bongo Band's "Last Bongo in Belgium" (off of Bongo Rock--inspiration behind The Root Down Bongo Tee) as sampled in "Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun"--geez, Paul's kills.
Red Sox tickets go on sale Saturday at 9AM. Guess where I'll be. Yep, right here with guns a-blazing. Looking to plan a trip to the northeast to do Boston and New York. A trip that will include a fly-by the corner where the cover of Paul's Boutique was originally photographed on the Lower East Side. Then to the brownstone buildings where the cover of Physical Graffiti was photographed. I'll try to avoid making it a trip where I just go visit places where famous album art was photographed. Oh yeah, the cover of Freewheelin' Bob Dylan was shot down in Greenwich Village. Yes, I am sick.
Celtics are starting to win again. They put it to the Heat last night on the road. Tonight, it's the Orlando Magic. We'll see if they're truly back.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Inaugural (that's like totally the buzz word today...what's going on?) slalom will take place on the front side of Wolf Creek on the last day of February. I'll be taking with me three others, presumably on boards. I've yet to establish a Roundhouse Board Team. I bet I'd have more members. Oh well, the right path is not always the most popular.
Former President George W. made his first stop out of D.C. today in Midland, Texas. That's a big splash in a small pool. Wonder if Bro Bro got stuck behind that motorcade. He said that tomorrow morning, he'll wake up, make some coffee for Laura, read the paper, go for a jog, head to the fishing hole to do some fishing and then come back to the ranch and call some friends and catch up. Not much of a departure from what he's been doing for the last eight years.
Sorry, that was just too easy. Maybe a little unfair. Ups to W. Don't know what his legacy will be. We'll probably only know over time. Same with Obama. At least Kanye will be happy. A happy Kanye is a happy industry. Gimme another record, Kanye. And one that doesn't suck.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
So, last night, started out watching Future Boots who were killing Sublime covers and, while I've never been too hot on Sublime, it was enjoyable. Got a call from the homestead about this kid, Cody Jasper, that I once saw play bass at some smokey bar here in the Yellow. He was really young, but he was really good. My lovely wife said to be home at 10:00 so we could head up the way to the Golden Light to see him kill it. When we walked in, there was about twenty people with their eyes pasted on the stage. There they were...the Shade.
Cody was a towering sight. Grinning and swaying feverishly as his guitar sang soft lullabies and, even, screamed bloody murder...sometimes at the same time. His presence was that of a vet--road weary, heart broken and calloused, but at the most subtle of moments, his boyish innocence/mischief would dimly surface as he would address the crowd between songs. But when he played, his guitar scorched and his voice split the smokey cellar and pinned listeners to the back wall. The bassist Sam, with his John Paul Jones locks and John Entwhistle chops, was a perfect match for Cody's fiery furvor. Tay, the small but insistent drummer, pounded all night with the heart of Animal and the precision of Buddy Rich. With probably no more than 20 years experience between them, it was obvious I was seeing something special.
Their sound is Black Keys, Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, SRV, Harry Nillsson "Jump into the Fire," Woody Guthrie, Albert King, Ziggy Stardust, a tornado ripping across the open plains, Jack White, violence, war, heartbreak, Merle Haggard, David Gilmour, a kid banging on his first drum kit, Willie Bobo, Johnny Rotten, a sleepy town on the High Plains, a crackhead on the Sunset Strip, John Fogerty, Jim Morrison, Eddie Hazel and Otis Redding.
I encourage you to seek out the Shade. They're mad nice.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Last night, I broke down and said that I had to have a burger. Problem is that I can't have a burger with ketchup which is probably the most punishing omission I'm enduring at this point because I absolutely love ketchup. So, instead, I drown everything in ranch. Yeah, that's like saying, "This month, no liquor! So pass the heroin!" Certainly wasn't a guiltless meal. Before we left, I looked in the fridge because I wanted to smuggle and old bottle of organic ketchup into the restaurant thinking that there wasn't anything wrong with "organic sugar" which was listed as the fourth ingredient. Then I was thinking, "What in the hell is organic sugar and can I have it?" Then I looked at the rest of the ingredients and it was just like any other bottle of ketchup except every ingredient had "organic" in front of it. Organic tomatoes. Organic vinegar. I'm confused. I was going to take it until my lovely wife put her foot down and told me I could not bring my own condiments into an eating establishment. Party pooper.
We had been looking at this house because, well, we get tired of everything except ourselves every two years. It's this house that overlooks a golf course and sits on a plot of land that's 115 feet wide and 200 feet deep. It's gigantic. Hardwood floors in everyroom, beautiful fireplace, two-door garage, wonderful deck in the back, new fence, right price. Only problem was the traffic. We sat in front of the house one day at 3:00PM and counted 34 cars in a five minute period. We went back at 9:00PM and counted 11 cars in another five minute period. Not totally dissuaded, I told my lovely wife that, "By bedtime, this street is probably a ghostly quiet." We thought, if we can deal with the traffic, this would be the perfect home to start a family in. We started looking at it on Sunday, dreamt about it all week and started calling our realtor until, yesterday, my lovely wife found an article on the front of the freaking paper that said the city was going to break ground next week on widening the road this house sat on from two lanes to twice the width and including a left turn lane. Yes, honey, I believe in signs. Sometimes I'm horrible at analogies. Late in the day, I just get really lazy with analogies. I don't want to think them through--they just come out. I was talking about how relieved I was that we found that out so we could close the door on that house and be happy with what we have and not be so pushy to move and widening that road certainly removed it from my mind. I said, "It's like you have an ex-girlfriend that you're kinda thinking of going back to and then you find out she's become a prostitute and you're like, BOOM, done with that relationship." It's the best I could do at 8:00 last night.
If I have to see the guy in Minneapolis hammer a nail into a board with a banana again, I'm gonna lose it. Maybe you all didn't catch that one.
Angry Tim blessed us with this beauty. I'm not a huge Creed fan, but seriously, these dudes killed it in this performance. Trust me on this one. Just trust me. Check out this performance by formerly the most hated band in the world, Creed. They're back and doing it hawdcore.
Too $hort wishes you a happy weekend. Don't stop rappin', kiddies. Don't stop rappin'.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
O'Jays "For the Love of Money"
Gucci Crew II "All About the Money"
Dismasters "Small Time Hustler"
Lightning Rod "Sport"
Geto Boys "I Ain't With Being Broke"
The Kinks "Sunny Afternoon"
Junior Parker "Taxman"
Notorious B.I.G. "Respect"
Puff Daddy "All About the Benjamins"
Jackson Five "It's Great to Be Here"
Jay-Z "Money Ain't a Thang"
Pete Rock and CL Smooth "Good Life (Group Home Mix)"
Funkadelic "Funky Dollar Bill"
Hossam Ramzy "Khusara Khusara"
Jay-Z "Big Pimpin'"
Gil Scott Heron "Pardon Our Analysis (snip)"
John Lee Hooker "War is Over (Goodbye California)"
The Stooges "Money"
Beastie Boys "Super Disco Breakin' (chorus) (Kidda Remix)"
Eric B and Rakim "Paid in Full"
Beatles "Baby, You're a Rich Man"
Audio Two "Top Billin'"
Audio Two "I Get the Papers"
London Posse "Money Mad"
Pink Floyd "Money"
Showbiz and AG "Fat Pockets"
Clipse "Mr. Me Too"
Buddy Baker "Sing Song"
Beatnuts "Off the Books"
Clash "Straight to Hell"
M.I.A. "Paper Planes"
Jay-Z "Dead Presidents II"
J-Zone "I'm --ckin' Up the Money"
Wu Tang Clan "C.R.E.A.M."
Jimmy Spicer "Money (Dollar Bill, Ya'll)"
Dexter Wansel "A New Beginning"
The Lox "Money, Power, Respect"
The Lox "Get This $"
Gangstarr "All 4 the Ca$h"
MF Grimm & Kool G Rap "Money on My Brain"
Zhiggie "Rakin' in the Dough"
J Rock "Root of All Evil"
Ed OG & The Bulldogs "Gotta Have Money"
James Brown "I Got Money"
Apache "Make Money"
MC Breed & 2Pac "Gotta Get Mine"
Lil Wayne "A Milli"
James Brown "For the Love of Money (Live in Zaire)"
Hip hop's love for money has existed since the Genesis. It was born out of the burning projects of South Bronx by poor kids with nothing better to do, just trying to get up and get ahead. From the Fifth Ward of Houston, the mean streets of Compton, West Philly, Englewood, Jersey...when labels started handing out the cash, the love affair was born and hip hop was a means to the luxuries of life which, to that point, were unrealized. Money is to hip hop as cheap beer is to country music. They're practically inseparable.
And it ain't just hip hop that has a love affair with money. Hip hop only magnifies and exaggerates everyone's greed and paper chase. When you see Lil Wayne on TV waving his cash around like Kleenexes, it's only a parody, an ideal. But that fantasy has so deeply embedded itself in our minds and spirits that glamour and fortune ultimately underlies everything decision we make in this modern world. Oblivious to troubles of the world and shamelessly driven by the almighty dollar, the American Hunger is that of excess. It's not enough to shove plates of pasta, shrimp and lightly salted steamed veggies down, we want the chocolate cake that's stacked up to our chins and dripping with syrup too. Hip hop's only the soundtrack. Extortion, embezzlement, fraud, tax evasion. Amazing what money is worth sometimes. It's just dyed paper.
So, for that reason as well as the approaching Tax Season, I started conceptualizing a mix which would bring together as many different cultural connotations dealing with money. We're no rappers. We're the common man. We gotta do our own taxes (of course, Clint's services are always available too). Needless to say, hip hop offered many songs that fit the bill, but I wanted to cross genres and pull from a few different origins. Songs qualified by either expressing the recognition that you have no money, the dangers of having it, the desire to have it, the celebration of having more than you know what to do with. It's that time of year where we have to come clean, air out our dirty pocketbooks, fully disclose everything to the big bad IRS. What we foolishly spent, what we managed to save, what we gave to charities (hopefully you remembered to give to a charity, greedy punk). It's time to audit your household, your wife, your husband, your kids, your dogs. Taxman's coming to town and he wants what he's owed. If you've been a good kid, he might even put a quarter under your pillow. So, as Uncle Sam is pickpocketing your earnings and using it to make another politician fat, The Root Down invites you to enjoy the sounds of MUSIC TO FILE YOUR TAXES TO.
Click the cover art at the top or click THIS RIGHT HERE. It's John Lee Hooker, Scarface, Bob Barker, Gil Scott Heron, Junior Parker's covering a Beatles classic, the Kinks, the Geto Boys just trying to not be broke, a cautious J Rock warning, Ed OG's observations of women paperchasing, Lil Wayne stacking cash all the way to a Grammy nomination, Iggy Pop, Apache, Puff Daddy and Zhiggie all getting theirs. Enjoy. And watch for the z-share thongs and bikinis.
Home sick again today. Feel worse today than I did yesterday. My chest feels like someone punched me all night. Watching "Gangland" and learning all about the Hell's Angels. Greatest show on television without question.
Monday, January 12, 2009
On the way, I make a remark of, "If I see one cowboy hat there, I'm overdressed." No threats, just making my opinion clear. I've said similiar things before so it came of no surprise to my lovely wife, but the root of the comment are my unwritten and, normally, unspoken rules to fine dining. Since I am, by nature, painfully frugal and shamelessly honest, I tend to be overly speculative of these expenditures. So, to help me keep my ground and remain anchored during the experience, I present to you, my FIVE RULES TO FINE DINING. Oh yeah, if you're wondering, I had the shrimp with spicy cream cheese wrapped in bacon, two sirloin medallions, on a bed of spicy risotto and sauteed veggies. As opposed to the picture above, mine didn't look like some animal threw it up on the plate. It was presented quite esquisitely.
IF I SEE A COWBOY HAT, I'M OVERDRESSED
This applies more to the Yellow than to most regions. In fact, you go to Santa Fe or Taos, eclectic mountain folk find a way to make a cowboy hat look sexy and vogue. Not around here though. The cowboy hat is usually covered in dust and manure particles. And the sweat in the bands of those things can be smelled from over twenty feet away. Cowfolk, ranch hands or grits that just wear the cowboy hat like part of a costume feel a weird and evident sense of entitlement to wearing their hats. Their hats are like dreads to a Rastafarian and they take incredible pride in their hats. You've seen them worn in weddings (which is such a silly look...dude, stop, f'real), funerals, church and, yes, in fine restaurants. The cowboy hat, though, is a definitively casual look and any establishment that permits someone to wear their sweaty somebrero can not expect me to adhere to any sort of dress code or standard. Not that I will show up in a Red Sox ballcap and shorts, but I can.
SALT AND PEPPER AS YOU PLEASE
Look, not every plate is the greatest plate ever made. I know most fine restaurants put these miniature shakers on the table the size of thimbles as a not-so-subtle way of saying, "We don't make a bad entree so you shouldn't need alot of salt and pepper," like the salt and pepper represent a the red and green grading pens of a third grade teacher. Go to the barbecue joint across the streets and they put a freaking half-gallon of salt and pepper on the table. There's a correlation there. The more you spend, the smaller the salt and pepper shakers. Look, I'm the one paying through the nose for my meal so, if you don't mind, I'm going to salt and pepper it to my likeness. I don't care whose feelings I hurt. I don't mind if someone gets a complex watching me put the pepper on like a dry rub, I pay you for the meat and, if you don't get it just right, then I pepper it as I like. It's nothing personal.
PASS THE HEINZ 57, BRO
If there's anything more insulting to a chef than the liberal use of salt and pepper, it's drowning your meat in some saucy Heinz product. My preference is ol' 57 or, for fries, ketchup. Now, I don't drown it, but I'll use it as I see fit. I like my sauces. I like my salsas. I like flavor and while some meats taste "gamey," they still need a little help above just blackening the crap out of it. Bottoms up on the A1 or the Heinz! I love asking for it after the waiter/waitress asks if everything's alright like, "Yep, everything's great, but I need some A1." Then he looks at you like you just slammed on his moms. It's customary, homie. I do this at every meal. Of course, ketchup has sugar in it so no red stuff for me until February.
IF THE STEAK IS UNDERCOOKED, LET IT SLIDE
It ain't gonna kill you, but sending stuff back to the kitchen is more of a chore than it's worth and it tends to ruffle more feathers here than at most restaurants. I saw a lady the other night that, not only sent it back, but broadcasted her displeasure by throwing her hands in front of her, pushing the plate away and waving her hands saying, "No, no, no, no, no!" Lay off the wine, woman. Suck it up and put it back. It's not that bad. The danger you risk here is not the same as Taco Bell where they're gonna lace it with saliva, but it's a sacrifice in service. This is my payback for the free-will request on seasoning and sauce--I won't complain about the entree itself. I know it seems backwards, but look, unless it's making an attempt to crawl off the plate, there's nothing that a little salt and pepper can't help push down. Your experience altogether will be much more fulfilling. The governor can get away with it. Common man will pay for it with diminishing returns in service and still be expected to pay up come tip time because of the nature of the establishment. Just eat, homegrown.
IF I HEAR ONE OF CARLIN'S SEVEN WORDS, I CAN DO ANYTHING I WANT
You know, the dignified and the rich are weird folk. They try the damnedest to be so pure and wholesome, but within the first two minutes of sitting down, I had to throw a penalty flag on the table next to me for this woman's flagrant language. She's tanked and carrying on about God knows what and then just starts spewing obscenities. Not that I'm especially sensitive to such language, but that's like climbing to the top of the mountains for the view and then a moose taking a dump right in front of you. And, the first violation, means that I'm licensed to do whatever I please. Again, not that I would, but I can. If I wanted, I could take off my shirt and lay belly down on the table. If I wanted I could stand up, fart and yell, "Now that's how you get er done!" I won't be the first, but won't be the last either.
I'm at home sick this morning. I blame my lovely wife who is a petri dish for colds and flus being that she works around kids. I'm careful and have an immune system of steel. Whatever this garbage is, slid in through the smallest crack in my immune system. Can't breathe my nose without making little snot bubbles. Guess that's what I'll spend my day doing.
Thursday, January 08, 2009
Saturday, January 03, 2009
- In processed foods, if SUGAR is in the top five ingredients, I cannot eat it.
- If, by it's very definition, it's a SWEET, I cannot eat it. Candy, brownies, ice cream. Yes, even if it's sugar-free, I cannot eat it.
- When out to eat, I will avoid anything SWEET, but will not go past the menu. I will not ask, "Is this cooked with sugar?" and be that guy that no one wants to help.
- Yes, corn syrup is a sugar.
- Only acceptable sugars are those that are naturally existent: honey, fruits...uh...honey and fruits.
- I do it for a month.
- Oh yeah, I can have beer when I please, but wine is a no-no.
I'd say that the withdrawls have been difficult, but not unbearable. Ask my lovely wife and she might answer differently. I haven't taken a swing at anyone yet, but I've considered it. On New Year's Eve, we went to this dessert/burger joint and I got a double portion of chocolate cake, ice cream and like a freaking Close-Encounters mound of whipped cream (afterwards, George would advise me to go into it gradually--so much for that). I shovelled it back and damn-near finished the whole thing off. I figured I'd be able to store those sugars back for a while, but when I awoke on New Year's Day, like a fiend, I was scrambling through the pantry for anything that met my qualifications. I ended up eating eggs with Louisiana hot sauce. I can drink coffee, tea, freshly-squeezed juices or water. "Snacks" are apples or peanuts. It really sucks that I didn't do more research before diving into it, though. I can't have ketchup, peanut butter, salsa, apple juice, Sunny D, cereal, Kool Aid...forget cookies and sodas...I can't even have peanut butter. Yep, I signed up for this. Even sicker, I'm thinking about doing it until my birthday in March.
Additionally, I'm walking four miles a day. I really have been doing that anyway for the past, let's say, four years. Only difference is that, with the addition of a pedometer (gangsta!) I'm ensuring that I do that many miles a day. No cokes yet this new year, but with no sugar, that kinda takes care of itself.
Getting a little better at shuffling cards. Last night I was getting tips to which I replied, "I gotta whole year to figure this out. I'm in no rush to completing my list tonight."
I did, however, begin eating mushrooms. Not the psychedelic kind, folks. Just the kinda that come in salads, spaghetti and some meat dishes. I'm really indifferent to them at this point. I'm not blown away by them and can't really see what the big deal is. It's like cauliflower or olives. You never hear anyone say, "Damn it, Linda, that was some good cauliflower."
For those who only want more mixes, I'll get to that. The one I'm preparing right now that, I'm hoping, will be my masterwork. It'll be my Chinese Democracy, my Quadrophenia. There's no working title at this point, but it's being referred to as the "Money Mix" for now. It's tentative release date is mid-March...earlier if possible...timing with the Tax Season. I'm taking a queue from Chip Davis at Mannheim Steamroller. Pop music is overrated. Just make sure you attach yourself to a holiday or annual occassion and they'll always need your music. I figured, hell, tax season happens every year and I've yet to hear a Tax Season Mix so let's do it. God knows there's enough music about money. The original concept was that the music can fall into one of three different categories--the recognition that you have no money, the ambition to obtain money or the celebration of having so much money you don't know what to do with it. But then, I thought, where does "Taxman" fall in? Where does Pink Floyd's "Money" go? So we just opened up to anything appropriate. Geto Boys' "I Ain't With Being Broke," Funkadelic's "Funky Dollar Bill," Eric B and Rakim's "Paid in Full," John Lee Hooker's "War is Over," Beatles' "Baby, You're a Rich Man," Cool C's "The Glamorous Life," Madvillain's "Pearls," and then, of course, Audio Two's "I Get the Papers." I'll make it about two hours long so you have plenty of material to listen to while filing your taxes.
Well, Texas Tech got their asses whooped in the Cotton Bowl. Don't really know what else to say about that except that it sucks. This team was number two in the nation, lost to OU and then with into a nosedive. Ugh.
Here's to next season.
Marley and Me is nothing but a movie designed leave every member in the audience curled into a ball in their chair crying their eyes out. It's like the story doesn't even really mean anything except that it draws an unbreakable attachment to Marley and then you have to watch him die slowly for the last thirty minutes of the film. Oops: spoiler alert! It was excrutiating. I think the film maker should be slapped for as long as I got emotionally exposed during the end of that movie. Like two hundred people just line up and just lay into him with their best backhand for, uh, let's call it 40 minutes. It was brutal, this cat next to me was doing the subtle wipe-a-tear-off-your-cheek-but-make-it-look-like-an-itch move. You're not fooling anyone, duke.
I think crying in a movie should come as natural reaction to emotional content of a film, but the emotional outpouring shouldn't be forced. Near the end, I was like, "Not the musical montage! No! I can't take anymore!"
The mountains are covered in snow...end of February can't come soon enough.
Thursday, January 01, 2009
Straight from the stable of the great 45 King comes Lakim Shabazz in his earliest recording. The beat's one part Hall and Oates, another part James Brown, another part corny house music, but it all works. Lakim would go on to a rather forgettable career save a couple of solid full lengths. His affiliations with Five Percenters dominated his recordings and, his two full lengths are monumental in the surge of Five Percent hip hop. Just check out the threads! "Pure Righteousness," the lead single from the album of the same name is just that--pure righteousness.
Another 45 King gem, Latifah (the "Queen" still used only occasionally), came onto the scene as a confident, driven and sasssy 18 year-old and blazed competition with this banger. I always hated the chorus, but the verses are insanity. Man, what was I doing at 18 years old? Oh yeah, I was working at Dairy Queen pushing hamburgers and Blizzards out of the drive thru. I can tell you this, I wasn't dropping 12"'s with legendary producers nor was I signed to freaking Tommy Boy. Latifah was nice, though and "Wrath of My Madness" is a proof that before all this Hollywood crap happened to her and she started poppin' up in Loreal commercials, the girl was a rhymeslayer and had more flow than dudes ten years her senior. Don't get it twisted, girl dropped gems. These are like those cafeteria raps: "So release all your shyness, call me your highness and dare to feel the wrath of my madness." Word 'em up. You don't want that.
History will show that Ice-T's second record, Power, wasn't his masterwork, but it certainly holds its own as a key moment in T's rise to infamy as well as critical acclaim. So often, T's recordings have been dismissed as "gangsta rap" when, in reality, they're primarily cautionary tales of the dangers of the street game. Perfect example is "I'm Your Pusher" which describes the harmful effects of prolonged drug use while using his music as a metaphor for cane. As crafty and as responsible as "Pusher" is, there's "Girls L.G.B.N.A.F." which shamelessly invites girls to take their clothes off and have reckless sex with T. Deep album cuts like "Grand Larceny" and the Edwin Starr-driven "High Rollers" help solidify this record on the list. His sophomore record, like most, is an improvement on his debut, but unlike his comrades, he wouldn't peak until his fourth record. That's 1991, homie. Come back in 2010.
Philly on the map! Tuff Crew was the City of Brotherly Love's first true crew. Their breakneck delivery coupled by their sheer musicianship and understanding of hip hop's context is evident. From the getgo, their recordings were always much more complete and accomplished. Danger Zone, the Crew's second record, shows monumental growth from their first outing just a year earlier and, like T, doesn't even reflect their creative peak. "Open Field Attack" and "My Parta Town" lead the way with their balance of both lyric and the turntable wizardry of DJ Too Tuff. Don't sleep. Tuff Crew were the real deal.
CHILL ROB G
MC Shan is the very meaning of "swaggah." Dude just had it. Once again under the careful ear of the great Marley Marl, Born to Be Wild is Shan at his very finest. And that's saying a lot considering that he broke the market with Down By Law. With cuts like the title cut, "I Pioneered This" (geez, talk about claiming your own) and "Juice Crew Law" (who didn't sample "Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved" in 1988?), Born to Be Wild is among the finer and deeper albums of 1988. Sure, it won't be mentioned alongside the top albums on this list, but there's no mistaking Shan's place on this chart and his notch in history. We'll forgive Shan, however, for producing "Informer." Geez, bro. Why?
Girls, I got 'em locked? C'mon, guys, you're fooling no one with them high-top fades. All that aside, Girls I Got 'Em Locked is a decent offering from the short-lived duo. Driven by the title cut, the party-anthem "Super Nova" and the corny but dope "Girls Act Stupid-ly" (mainly dope because of it's prominent Commodores sample), Girls, like Rob Base and EZ Rock is predominantly a party record, but can't be entirely discredited simply for being a party record because it's damn good too. It's drips breakbeats and is always worth of party mix consideration. Super Nova Cee and Casa Nova would sphinctor off one more EP before falling off forever, but their finest moments on this full length cemented their place in one of hip hop's greatest years. Golden Era Classic!
This is that b-boy ish right here. Every track on this beast will pack the parquet with toprockers in seconds. The Masters of Ceremony, featuring the talents of a still-young Grand Puba Maxwell, were a potent crew of sound ninjas who were simply on point. Their sound and compositions were exact and perfectly produced. Dynamite is a funk-filled masterpiece which borrows from all of the best (Mandrill, JBs, Parliament, Wilson Pickett's "Engine Number Nine") and rocks harder than almost any other crew record from 1988. Geez, how many dudes were in Masters of Ceremony? I'm counting six on the cover. I don't know if there's limitations on how many "masters" can be in one crew. Fellas, you can't all be masters. You're nice, but not that nice. If you were so nice, you would've managed to record more than one record. Despite that, Dynamite's slammin'. Definitely worth coppin'.
Go Stetsa! In Full Gear is a snapshot of one of hip hop's greatest groups at their crest (not to be confused by groups at their crust). Orchestrated primarily by the great Prince Paul before he started producing De La Soul records and making serious cash (the rest produced by tastefully as well by Daddy-O), In Full Gear is a fun-loving record that boogies and backspins for well over an hour and satisfies with every listen. Driven commerically by the housey and extremely timely "Talkin' All That Jazz," this misstep was corrected with bangers like "This is It, Ya'll," "Rollin' Wit Rush," and the beatbox anthem "Stet Troop '88." The greatest aspect of this recording is the opportunity to hear a young Prince Paul make final adjustments to his game before hitting a four-year stride beginning only a year later with De La Soul's 3 Feet High and Rising. Puffy white jacket not included.
Frozen Explosion was practically D.O.A. back in 1988, but this rare banger, is a turntable anthem. Almost every record back in the day had at least one turntable feature on it. Frozen Explosion's "Mac Knife" highlights the talents of the DJ by the same name. While he probably won't get mentioned on any DJ lists, "Mac Knife" is a kitchen-sink assault of breaks and samples. (I think I hear Prince's "Starfish and Coffee" in there!) When you think of cats like Mac Knife hiding in every crew, it certainly makes your respect the lost art of the DJ. Here's a crew that will probably be noted for nothing else in hip hop, but save "Mac Knife" because this track is straight illin'.
Man, when this is your #13, you betta step it up for the rest of the list. I'll do my best. This, the debut of arguably one of the finest emcees ever, Long Live the Kane drips with Kane's smooth yet fiery delivery and offers up classic after classic. "Ain't No Half Steppin'," "Raw," "Set it Off" and the Mister Cee feature "Master Plan," Long Live is official. From the top of "rappers steppin' to me, they wanna get some," the now-legendary verses flow from the mouth of Kane with little effort and optimum effectiveness. It's an essential record for any kid wanting the infalliable hip hop collection. Not only that, plenty of deaf morons have sold it back over the years so you can find it cheap and plenty. Their misunderstanding and shortcomings are your gain. Go get it.
Maybe a surprise at #13, JVC Force with their debut Doin' Damage is as good a listen as you'll get from debut artists for the year. Definitively 88, it's 100-120-beats-per-minute pacing and marvelous sample selection and usage pours on the charm. What's great about Damage is the pure innocence captured in the recording. Just three dudes ready to get down. There's very little trickery or gimmicks--just straight forward b-boy anthems and party raps. While, in the context of 25-plus years of hip hop, JVC would easily end up in the pile of throwaways, but 88 was their year and this is a well-earned place among the greats. And thanks to the guys at Traffic who reissued this beauty (along with many other from this list).
STRAIGHT OUT THE JUNGLE
Before the Native Tongues were the Native Tongues, there were the Jungle Brothers. And this, their debut, was like the constitution of what would become the Native Tongue Crew. It's blending of party vibes, consciousness, gentleness and, even at times, animal sounds (yep) set it apart. Their soulful yet mindful approach to their compositions was certainly a step in another direction. While so many were focused on trash talk and one-upping the next man, Jungle Brothers spoke of unity, positivity and didn't dumb down material for the masses. Straight Out the Jungle is among the more significant recordings in hip hop's history in the way that it took the current path (at the time) of hip hop and redirected it only subtly. It wasn't a huge departure, but it was noticeable. I love this freaking record. Without Jungle, De La might have not had any place in the market. It was instrumental in carving out a small corner of the marketplace for like-minded hip hop artists who didn't rhyme about the constant and tiresome objectifying of women, drugs, crime and cops. Dope record.
One of the earliest recordings on the now famed and historic Rap-a-Lot Records out of Houston, Def IV's Nice and Hard is an interesting piece because it really has no fit in what is known or believed to be true of Houston hip hop. These dudes danced, rocked the party, smiled, flexed and sampled KC and the Sunshine Band. Regardless of the origin, though, Def IV rocked it either way. Dripping in excitability and uncontainable energy, Def IV prove that not only the east coast can get down. It's interesting too in the way that with the nation being divided into regional sounds and sensitivities, the Def IV were fine with just emulating what had already proven to be successful. If someone said to me, "Check this out, it sounds like EPMD and Kane," I'd most likely reply with, "Dope, I like EPMD." This record is really surprisingly dope. I encourage the hunt. It's quite rewarding.
Anyone that ever heard those early NWA recordings knew that the "Most Likely to Succeed" Award was split between two honorees: Cube and Eazy. Eazy was first to blow when he stepped off to drop his first solo record and, without question, his most impressive outing. Eazy's wisecrackin' but tough as nails delivery made him an instant magnetism for attention. Eazy Duz It is an absolute beast that features a kid quite ready for the jumpoff. His abilities as an emcee are only overshadowed by this veteran-like confidence over a track. It's like he never has any question what to say, when to say it and how to say it. Eazy's an old pro. Listen to "Nobody Move," "Eazy-er Said Than Dunn" and "I'mma Break It Down," and his technical and stylistic understanding of the responsilities of a emcees are far beyond his years on this recording and the quality of the record (while shamelessly violent and excessively sex-obsessed), is on a new level for gangsta rap records.
The day I have a kid that grows to the age of, say, five or six (that's an arbitrary number, really), he gets this on wax and is forced to listen to it daily. There's a few reasons why. Firstly, it's content, for the most part, is void of any real explicit content (except for an embarrassing slip-up from a live recording by Fresh Prince where he jokingly begs for "all the homeboys that got AIDS be quiet!") and it's still def as hell. It just oozes with coolness. Fresh Prince's agility and pure talent as an emcee is on full display. Safe to say that his accomplishments on this record annihilate any of his later work under his God-given name. The second reasons why I would let my kid have this at such an early (yet purely arbitrary age), is that it represents the blueprint for all quality (Golden Er or otherwise) hip hop recordings where the DJ is as much of a star as the emcee. It's a perfect balance maintained from track to track. Jazzy Jeff, unlike most other hip hop records, doesn't get just one track to flex on, he flexes on almost four or five tracks almost solely and if he doesn't get his own spot, he's killing it between almost every lyric. Very little hip hop records come close to adhering to such a balance between players and maybe it would only be possible by these two. Such is communicated in the title of the record: "He's the DJ, I'm the rapper." I still jam this record because it's so freakin dope.
As heavy as 1988 was with classic recordings, very few left as much of a deep impression on the game as the last three recordings starting with Ultramagnetic MCs Critical Beatdown. Led by the searing delivery of Kool Keith's prose in his first full length appearance and the spectacular production of almost always underrated Ced Gee, Critical Beatdown is almost an encyclopedic guide to Golden Era hip hop. Tracks like "Ego Trippin'," Give the Drummer Some" and "Funky" are instantly recognizable to even new heads because of their deep influence on future hip hop. It's so often cited because it's so representative of a time and a place in hip hop's history and, while, it would never get a mention outside of the hip hop community, what it did from the inside is difficult to capture in here. All the ingredients that made a great record are tripled by Ultramagnetic on Beatdown. It took almost almost three years to make which, back then, was an entire career. Hell, it still is. And such would become problematic for Ultramagnetic then taking close to four years for a follow-up. That lapse back in 1988 meant your career and, essentially, the same was true for Ultramagnetic. By the time their second record dropped in 1992 on Mercury, they were long forgotten. There was a slight resurgence when they joined Wild Pitch to release their Four Horsemen, but nothing would come close to the original: Critical Beatdown.
STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON
If you saw this album cover in 1988, pretty safe to say that not only your year was about to take a wild turn, but you might be affected for the rest of your life. A brutal assault of street prose and bruising production, Straight Outta Compton was the record that mainstream media loved to hate and kept parents up all night wondering why little Bobby won't dropped the F-bomb at dinner. If "gangsta" had a "pop" record, this was it. And that's certainly not to discredit the album, but it's true of its path to middle-America. With no radio play (c'mon, really? NWA?) and very little attention initially, it started poppin' up like little street gangs in every city in America. Next thing you know, it was on and "F--- tha Police" was hitting anthemic levels while deep album cuts like "If It Ain't Ruff," "Dopeman" (which makes its second appearance on record here as a remix) and "Gangsta Gangsta" solidified the crew as one of significant talent and that there was no gimmick here. Dude's could really rock a record. Unfortunately for NWA, the song that was the biggest depature from theme would also be the biggest song on the record, "Express Yourself." There's no real fit for the positivity and optimism of "Express Yourself" on Straight Outta Compton, but that aside, it still is an incredible song. Think about what comes together on this record...it's the first time the country heard Eazy-E, Dr. Dre and Ice Cube and they're all on the same record. It's the first time that people really became afraid of hip hop and its uses as a weapon, it's ability to express displeasure with social ailments that surrounded you, it's ability to represent your neighborhood with bullish pride. Straight Outta Compton is not only essential from a hip hop aspect, it's required for its influence on popular music and inner city cultures.
IT TAKES A NATION OF MILLIONS TO HOLD US BACK
When PE hit the market in 1987 with Yo! Bum Rush the Show, they were still a little ahead of their time and their debut would become largely forgotten. But, when a year later, they returned with their sophomore effort, everything flaw was fixed, every emotion was intensified, every sample and break was cut with unprecedented precision and PE turned up every track to full blast so that, this time out, they would rattle heads from New York to LA. While I'm still a bigger fan of their next record, Nation of Millions (or simply Nation as it's commonly referred to as) is as complete and as satisfying as any hip hop record from prior to 1990 as you'll find (many would contest that it's the best hip hop record ever recorded). It took everything that was right about hip hop and its culture to that point and crammed it into this small explosive space for a listen that is as jarring and discomforting as anything up to that point. For years, the Bomb Squad's production has driven and inspired producers, boggled diggers and frustrated heads to giving up and taking that day job. Chuck's furious verses revolutionized the emcee to less shotcalling and more of a ministry--using the mic to voice dismay and, what's more, drive effective action. I'm listening to this record right now and it's almost too much for one sitting. It's just incredibly effective in all ways. It's as much a metal record as it is a hip hop record. The samples are used with blinding dexterity, Chuck's language and words are presented with such urgency and panic. If there was an musical equivalent to, say, an air raid alarm, this is it. "Night of the Living Baseheads," "Black Steel," "She Watches Channel Zero?!," "Show 'Em Whatcha Got," "Rebel Without a Pause," "Louder Than a Bomb" and (geez, how could I forget) "Don't Believe the Hype," good Lord, man. That's as good as a Public Enemy greatest hits collection! Get up from your seat, you lazy ass, and go directly to the store and buy this right now. It'll get your head straight.