Saturday, June 27, 2009
For those who don't know, or aren't all that familiar with the Houston hip-hop scene, June 27 is the name of a legendary Screw freestyle session and mixtape. June 27 was also the birthday of D-Moe, one of the couple handful of local artists from the Screwed Up Click to flow over the 35-minute track.
Hard to believe, but this really means something in H-Town. Even today. I can't explain it to you. You simply had to be there.
Here's Part 1:
Also, here's Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.
Growing up - I can't lie - I was not a big fan of Screw. In fact, I openly mocked the music and its fans - which included most of my friends at the time. I was more of an East Coast hip-hop head: Biggie, Nas, Wu, The Roots, Mobb Deep, KRS, Jeru, etc. By comparison, I thought Screw and the SUC were unsophisticated and primitive, music for morons.
But I'd like to think I'm much more diplomatic than that today. If anything, the music has earned a permanent spot in my heart: I remember hanging out with my boys, listening to this very track and taking our turns in the cipher. And I was awful - almost every verse started with "I'm coming through..." and I'm sure I made some mention of niggas or candy paint.
Those were the days.
In the end, Screw was impossible to escape. And I'm glad he didn't let me get away. Continue Reading »
Then it occurred to us both - at damn near the same time, once again - that Michael Jackson was almost certainly influenced by the rumble scene between the Sharks and the Jets in "The West Side Story."
You could see it, over and over again, in his music videos. "Beat It," of course. "Bad." "Smooth Criminal." It's apparent that Michael really, really liked his gang fights to have pocketknives, bandannas, a step, step ball change, kick and a spin.
But I'd never heard him say anything like that before. In fact, I could not ever really remember him talking much about his musical influences.
Which was sad to me.
Of all the things we lost when Jackson died Thursday afternoon, I think we'll come to regret never hearing much talk from him about his art and the forces behind it - and I'm not talking about Joe Jackson or Quincy Jones.
Now, maybe I need to read Moon Walk. Maybe I missed some Motown TV special that came on when I was too young to care. And it's plainly obvious that James Brown was someone that Jackson clearly modeled his career after at a young age.
But in a time where we can hear Zane Cook talk about his motivation on a special feature of the "Employee of the Month" DVD, it seems odd that there's not an exhaustive archive of Jackson really digging into his catalogue for the cameras.
Why the loafers and the army outfits? Where did "shamone" and "hooooooooo!" and the original pop-and-lock come from? Who got his feet tapping and head bobbing when he was rocking a 'fro?
Does anyone know the answers to these questions? And if you do, could you please send them my way? Continue Reading »
Friday, June 26, 2009
Here's a list of my five favorite hip-hop joints that include samples from Jackson's unparalleled catalogue:
1. It Ain't Hard to Tell by Nas. Jackson sample: Human Nature. A couple of classics from a pair of artists who were, in a sense, pioneers of their genre. Obviously, Nas ain't touching Mike on a number of levels. But nonetheless, Nas has built quite a legacy in hip hop. This was the song that pretty much launched his career and turned Illmatic into a classic.
2. It's All About the Benjamins by Puffy, Biggie, The Lox and Lil' Kim. Jackson sample: It's Great to Be Here. If you're wondering where the sample comes in, it's the last verse of the song. Biggie's verse. And he kills it. As usual.
3. OPP by Naughty by Nature. Jackson sample: ABC. "OPP" is a song that has held up well over the years. Nothing feels dated about it.
4. You Ain't a Killer by Big Pun. Jackson sample: With a Child's Heart. The first Pun single that I ever heard. I was a fan from jump.
5. Breakadawn by De La Soul. Jackson sample: I Can't Help It. One of my favorite hip-hop acts rhyming over my absolute favorite Michael Jackson song. Both songs put me totally at peace.
Honorable mentions: All That I Got is You by Ghostface (Maybe Tomorrow); Izzo (H.O.V.A.) by Jay-Z (I Want You Back); Hey Lover by LL Cool J and Boyz II Men (The Lady in My Life). Continue Reading »
Thursday, June 25, 2009
He was 50.
What a sad, sad, sad week for Hollywood. Death in 3s: Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and now the great Gloved One.
Post-script: Though there will be more later, I had to mention this ... Off the Wall > Thriller. Continue Reading »
All that to say, I'm not surprised that any of this happened.
If you made it through that entire video, I'll bring the Pepto over to your home myself.
Thanks (I guess) to MetropolitanMagnolia and Crazy as a Road Lizard. Continue Reading »
Obama is almost literally driving the Republicans insane.
Here's a list of other things Obama is to blame for here. I heard he also won't leave Britney aloooooone. Continue Reading »
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
That means you, Mark Sanford.
Even the notoriously staid AP is looking at the South Carolina governor's bizarre explanation a little sideways:
Maybe this is much ado about nothing. But I doubt it. And I'm not alone. His explanation doesn't add up. It doesn't make sense.
He declined to give any additional details about what he did other than to say he was alone and that he drove along the coastline.
Trying to drive along the coast could frustrate a weekend visitor to Argentina. In Buenos Aires, the Avenida Costanera is the only coastal road, and it's less than two miles long. Reaching coastal resorts to the south requires a drive of nearly four hours on an inland highway with views of endless cattle ranches. To the north is a river delta of islands reached only by boat.
Also, I think Ta-Nehisi has this right: this reeks of amateur hour.
"There are a lot of pretenders out there who don't understand that this really is the big leagues. This just strikes me as the sort of thing that pro can't do. This isn't the college game anymore."Not that I think Sanford was a serious contender to the throne anyway. He was bound to be exposed as a lightweight. Might as well happen now instead of the fall of '11.
But the thing to watch for is what happens from here. There's no way that this story simply goes away. Speculation about what happened and with whom is already underway. Continue Reading »
That's racism we can believe in.
Nixon worried that greater access to abortions would foster “permissiveness,” and said that “it breaks the family.” But he also saw a need for abortion in some cases —like interracial pregnancies, he said.
“There are times when an abortion is necessary. I know that. When you have a black and a white,” he told an aide, before adding, “Or a rape.”
Even more difficult to fathom - at least for a kid who never fell asleep before I could hear "Heeere's Johnny!" - is the fact that they're both gone after McMahon died Tuesday morning following a struggle with a number of illnesses. He was 86.
May he rest in eternal peace.
That said, McMahon's death got me to thinking about something a colleague of mine wrote in a thoughtful obit of sorts yesterday:
In many ways, he helped Carson be a better Carson: serving as the ready butt to a joke when the action got slow and pitching products for sponsors so the host didn't have to lower himself.
For a guy willing to stand next to the brightest spotlight, it was a pretty sweet gig.
To honor these honorable men and to validate my list, why not force a hearty chuckle over the crickets? Think of the team.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Continue Reading »
Monday, June 22, 2009
So far, the first lady has chosen to be a food bank volunteer with an outsize entourage and an education activist with the largest soapbox imaginable. But Michelle Obama also fills a role that is not of her choosing but that may, in fact, be the most influential: She serves as a symbol of middle-class progress, feminist achievement, affirmative action success and individual style.
And she has done all this on the world stage . . . while being black.
Your Monday Random Ass Roundup has been posted over at PostBourgie. Check it out.
In this week's edition of the roundup, we discuss marital fail, President Obama's struggles with LGBTQ issues, the possibility of Mayor Brad Pitt, surfing the "fatosphere," and once again revisit the Black Mamba.
Enjoy. Continue Reading »
Sunday, June 21, 2009
1. The Foundation by Xzibit
2. Bridging the Gap by Nas and Olu Dara.
3. Papa Was A Rolling Stone by The Temptations - this song seems a bit cliche for the list but, upon closer listen, is one of the most thoughtfully written songs that I've ever heard in my life.
4. Be a Father to Your Child by Ed O.G. & Da Bulldogs.
5. Something by Eddie and Gerald Levert. You choose.
Bonus track: 6. What U See is What U Get by Xzibit. Not the song. But the video. Continue Reading »
I mean, really?
It reminded me of Chris Rock's classic riff during his "Bigger & Blacker" comedy set in 1999 about the diminshed importance - relative to mothers, of course - of the traditional father.
[The real daddies] Make your world a better, safer place, and what does daddy get? The big piece of chicken. That's all daddy gets is the big piece of chicken.