RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition. He does have an amazing PATREON, but also *normal* ARTIST WEBSITE too.

Wednesday, March 28

EWA100 - #69. Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five - White Lines (Don't Do It)

69. Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five - White Lines (Don't Do It) (Sugar Hill. 1983. 12-inch single)

Raven Mack: If I could knock one song off this list, it would be this one. The Furious Five sounded so corny any time it wasn't "The Message", and this song is just painfully stupid. I guess part of the problem is that, you know, drugs are pretty much known as being something that can fuck you up but also get you caught in some sketchy life situations. The whole concept of an anti-drug song, to me, seems pretty fuckin' stupid. I mean, if you don't already know that snorting something that you had to acquire illegally up into your nose to give you bursts of semi-euphoria might cause some sort of problems for you at some point, then Melle Mel's wack-ass weightlifter-powered couplets aren't gonna break through that block of a head you've got.
Seriously, the fact this song is on here is proof of how fuckin' east coast biased this panel was. Hell, Ruthless Records alone had two songs that could've easily took this spot: "It's Funky Enough" by The D.O.C. and "Supersonic" by J.J. Fad. I'd much rather be talking about either of those songs here than this "White Lines" crap. But hip hop dork thinking is Grandmaster Flash is a LEGEND and PIONEER so he must get his daps in over-abundance.
I love the fact someone can be considered a genius because they scraped a record back and forth while the needle was still on it. And if I ever got rich and could force people to do things for my personal amusement, I would totally make a record with Melle Mel as the main MC and Sen Dog as his hype man. That shit would be funny to me.

Mike Dikk: I have to disagree with the opinion that this song is cornier than “The Message”. I think both songs are equally corny, but both have their strong points. For instance, “White Lines” is the only song I know about that was originally about promoting drug use that switched into something against it. All they really did was tack on “Don’t Do It” in parenthesis, and I assume, add on that last verse. The first two verses are pretty vague and the chorus is obviously celebrating cocaine use. I’d bet these dudes were even high on coke when they wrote and recorded this song.
I’ve developed a new found love for this song from listening to it in preparation for this list. I never noticed that there’s a little sample of someone sniffing/snorting after the little bass parts. That alone makes this song great. I’m pretty surprised some southern group hasn’t ripped this beat off to once again make it pro-cocaine. If any southern rappers are reading this right now, consider this your hot tip to immediate super stardom.

Downloade: Grandmaster Flash & The Furious FIve - White Lines

Watch the video. Rang dang diggety danga dang.

Tuesday, March 27

EWA100 - #70. Das EFX - They Want EFX

70. Das EFX - They Want EFX (EastWest. 1992. From the LP Dead Serious)

Mike Dikk:
Das EFX were so ahead of their time. Not so much for their whole “diggety diggety doo doo” rhyme style, but for dropping like 53,000 retro pop culture references in one song. Something like that would sell BILLIONS today. Everyone is so retro obsessed with retro something or other now, and I bet you if Das got back together right now and their first comeback single was “They Want More EFX” and it was all like “I’m on a viggedy Vision Quest with Biggedy Buckaroo Bon-Zai, we spent the wiggedy Weekend At Bernies and shot miggedy Magnum P.I.” peoples heads would fucking EXPLODE.
There are several thousand television shows dedicated to reliving the 80’s so I know I’m right. Das EFX were doing that shit in song form 15 years ago. Some of the references in this song were painfully dated even for purposely retro pop culture references. That whole “They call me Puddin’ Tang” thing, my grandfather used to say that! I guess they couldn’t work in “Playing tiddelywinks with manhole covers” and “Rosie the Riveter” in there.
Its common knowledge that the Hit Squad in their prime were unfuckwithable, but what they don’t get credit for is their gimmicks. Much like old Rap-A-Lot acts, the Hit Squad dudes had these silly subtle gimmicks, like EPMD was from the Boondocks, and Redman was from The Bricks and Das was from The Sewer. I even think forgotten white rap group, THe Knuckleheadz were from some catchy locale. Actually yeah, they were from the ‘Burbs I believe.
My point it, that whole sewer thing really came across in the beats Erick Sermon hooked up for Das Efx. Their shit really sounded raw and dirty like a nasty sewer. Of course, I sometimes feel like I’m the only person who bought their entire album because I’ll sing “Looseys” pretty often and the only person who knows that song is my friend Jay. Everyone else looks at me like an asshole.
I guess it was kind of easy to write Das EFX off after a real gimmicky first single, but that entire record is classic to me. After that, they kind of went to shit though, but their really isn’t any early 90’s Erick Sermon stuff that’s garbage. Probably because he got to all of the good samples before other producers could, but that’s how it was back then.

Raven Mack: Das EFX were discovered by EPMD one block away from the freshman dorm I lived in once I went to college. In fact, Das EFX had got signed but not yet released an album, and would often be seen hanging around trying to get pussy in front of the dorm. The place they got discovered was a thugged out (like more thug than the worst thug you can think of) joint called Ivory's. It was pretty much common knowledge that you stood a good chance getting shot in there. Not punched or stabbed, but shot. It was also pretty much common knowledge if you were white, do not go there. I was talked by two white girls into trying to go there one time to see the Pharcyde when their Bizarre Ride album was out. This seemed a silly idea, because I kind of assumed the Pharcyde were gonna get beat up at Ivory's, as opposed to a different type of clientele showing up for the event. Sure enough, me and the two white girls, both of whom had an affection for black penis, yet also somehow an affection for me, while walking there, got about a block away before three dudes using the pay phone by the Hardee's pretty much laid out how I'd best turn around or I was gonna get fucked up. I'm sure the white chicks could've forged ahead and had a good time and used rhythmic methods to try and not create babies and the ensuing drama that comes with that, but they turned back with me. And we went back to the one chick's house and sat on the porch and drank double deuces of Mickey's and every time a pimped out car rode down that side street, we'd say, "They're going to Ivory's." It was good fun.
One of the grandest murders to happen outside of Ivory's was, once the closing of the club led to snarled traffic on Broad Street like it did every Friday and Saturday night, one evening a dude who was driving an all-pink BMW - no shit - jumped out and shot up a car in the next lane with an AK-47, killing all three dudes inside the car. Of course, with traffic snarled, the pink BMW was useless, so dude just left it behind and ran off into the night, and as far as I remember, never got caught. It was probably another year or so before local affluent influences like the college I had attended back then got the city to use bullshit liquor violations to seize the property, like they could basically do to any club ever, but choose to pick their spots, kind of like NFL referees calling holding penalties. So Ivory's closed.
But that's where Das EFX was discovered. And I could never tell those two dudes apart, both with the dreads and "bum stiggiddy bum" nonsense... I figured they were twins, to be honest. It was such a gimmicky flow they had, yet crazily enjoyable, but only for a few songs. And this is their penultimate song, even though most of them sounded similar. This has the crazy style of them dudes, but crossbred with the mainstream appeal of remembering it being on the radio. In fact, I got my wife one of them new-fangled Ipod Lacostes for Christmas, and she's been bugging me to do internet voodoo and get this song for that machine of hers. It epitomizes a time of her life, and if a stupid song where people unnecessarily add extra syllables to every word can epitomize anything at all to anyone, it is the American Dream. Word is bond, motherfuckers, the American Dream. Das EFX Dude A and Das EFX Dude B might have shorn their locks by now and gone into a regular world job of selling insurance or refinancing mortgages or whatever, but for a while there, both them guys got to travel to places and even if they hit a town they'd never been to before, this song preceded their arrival and strange women would cause ejaculations from them dudes' bozacks. That's pretty much the essence of rock-n-roll, which isn't really any different than hip hop when you break it down beyond generational barriers. One man's groupie is another man's full steezie.

Download: Das EFX - They Want EFX

Watch the video:

Sunday, March 25

EWA100 - #71. Positive K - I Got A Man

71. Positive K - I Got A Man (4th & Broadway. 1992. From the LP The Skills Dat Pay Da Bills)

Raven Mack: "I Got A Man" is one of those songs that proves science is not the penultimate form of analysis of life matter, because if you break down this track into it's lyrical components, it's pretty simple and kinda stupid. If you break down the beat, it's basic part-club part-boombap early '90s pop rap soundtrack. And Positive K, if you break him down, is just some pussy-houndin' smooth brother who is probably looking the same to this day, driving around in a Bonneville drinking Icehouse double deuces with his co-workers at some sort of shipping facility. But you put it all together, science be damned, and this is a track that I guarantee you if you threw on at a party - whether that party was metrosexual thirtysomethings or hippie girls with dreadlocks or grown black folks who wear prescription sunglasses with fake gold emblems - someone is gonna be all like "Awww shit, I remember this song" and either shake their hands or their ass, depending on how much sexual rhythm they were born with naturally. When we were coming up with this list, we made some criteria about what constituted a jam, in that it shoud've been a single of some sort that got notoriety from regular people and not just the ultra-sub-culture of hip hop uber-dork, had there been an internet for that type of uber-dork to thrive upon back in the earlier days of hip hop. "I Got A Man" is probably the best example of the Jam in this list thus far, because it's nothing but a Jam. Stupid lyrics, basic beat, obscure rapper you could've replaced with 75 other rappers of the time, but it all came together perfectly on this song, to stand the test of time and bring back those fine memories of when we were younger and not married with kids and riding to the babysitter's house, trying to pretend we're not half-drunk.
And plus, this song is basically about pussy. I know it's not kosher in this politically correct time to admit it or objectify it, and I don't really think of it as objectification, but vagina is a strong force in the mind of a man. Our hidden molecular structure tells us we need to put our penis in the vagina as much as possible, and this is all for survival of the fittest cell memory that our scientific mind can't even understand and tries to psycho-analyze into guilty non-existence. But it's there. Every dude you've ever met wants to have sex with vagina as many times as his body is able to do it, as often as possible, and often times with as many vaginas as possible. If a dude doesn't feel that way, legitimately and he's not just lying to not piss off his girlfriend who caught him looking at some other girl walking by, then that dude is just chemically imbalanced by our modern society and he's probably gay or has a furry fetish or some odd shit that doesn't make babies.

Mike Dikk: This was a last minute nomination that I didn’t think would actually make the final list because it’s one of those songs I always thought I was one of the few people man enough to admit in public that I like it. It’s pretty corny, but basic enough where anyone can get into it.
This is really a male version of Positive K’s only other claim to fame, MC Lyte’s “I’m Not Havin’ It”. I could never figure out if the “girl” on this track was him with a very convincing voice changing device or if it was just an unaccredited female. Either way, this song is where Positive K’s brilliance was completely tapped out. Even at the time when this song was new, it was fairly obvious Positive K would never be heard from again as soon as the song faded out.
Since the story of Positive K and “I Got a Man” isn’t really that exciting, I figured I’d get into some other stuff to spice it up. I think all people who successfully do artistic things fall into one of three categories. The first and most common would be the type who never does anything too incredible, but is always consistent at being fairly decent. This is the category I would fall into if I was actually successful at what I do. It’s the reason why authors like Stephen King and Anne Rice stay relevant and always have their books in supermarkets. They won’t knock you on your ass with what they do, but its decent enough where some goober from the Midwest can get into it and make themselves feel intelligent for a few minutes.
The second type would be a person whose whole output is pretty shitty, except for a couple things that they put all their time and energy into that ended up coming out brilliant. This is the category Positive K is in. I seriously doubt anyone still owns Positive K’s one and only LP, but I bet an entire shitload of people have the “I Got A Man” mp3 on their ipods, and I bet a few others have “I’m Not Havin’ It” on there, too.
The third would be the one-in-a-billion type who is brilliant at everything they do. I can’t really think of anyone that fall in this category, because I hate the Beatles and Prince and Michael Jordan even had some bad days. I guess Biggie could almost count since he died before he could really start sucking.
I think the best part of “I Got A Man” is how he gives up chasing the girl once she tells him her man buys her things, and that is a request Positive K simply can’t fill. It was an early glimpse into the weird dichotomy of rap music. You can spend lots of your rap money on your number one lady, but never any rap money on a girl you want to fuck that you think is a slut, unless she’s a stripper. Then it’s ok to throw money at her, but not necessarily fuck her. Just about every rap song regarding girls has followed this formula since forever. Clipse have recently tried to flip the script with their song “Dirty Money”, and I’m surprised the hipster fruits that hang off their nuts didn’t manage to write 15,000 words about the genius of this song. Hell, they probably did. “Dirty Money” is about spending all that crazy money they made selling crack on sluts. Not to get off on a completely different subject that has nothing to do with Positive K, but I find it funny that all these rappers sell crack and have no problem incriminating themselves by rapping about it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m white, so I’m predisposed to like The Clipse, but until one of these asshole rappers actually get caught selling crack and have their music used against them like what happened to Project Pat for his gun charges, I do not believe any of them. Until then, Project Pat is the realest dude rapping.

Download: Positive K - I Got A Man

The internet has left Positive K behind, so no official music video. Instead you get some fat man performance art lip synching video. It's about Buddha trying to take a nun from Jesus. This shit is kind of weird.

Thursday, March 22

EWA100 - #72. A Tribe Called Quest - Award Tour

72. A Tribe Called Quest - Award Tour (Jive. 1993. From the LP Midnight Marauders)

Mike Dikk: I remember buying the cassingle of this when it first came out. Kids have it easy these days. I wish I grew up in a time where buying cassingles wasn’t even an option. Microsoft Word doesn’t even recognize “cassingle” as a word! It’s a completely obsolete music format just like the 8 track.
Tribe was coming off a bonafide classic album and this was their first single to the follow up. Since very few rappers or rap groups ever come out with two classic albums, I thought this would be great, but not essential. I was definitely wrong though. Midnight Marauders was another classic album. It wasn’t as dusty and raw sounding as Low End Theory, but they used the extra money in their recording budget to their advantage. Plus Phife Dog managed to learn how to passably rap on this record and it was quite a surprise for me.
I listened the fuck out of this song, along with the entire record. I was still young and full of glee at the time, and my idea of a fun time was playing Super Mario Kart and drinking Snapples. I still thought drugs and alcohol were gross and I had no social skills so talking to girls was completely out of the question. All I needed was A Tribe Called Quest, Wu Tang Clan, my SNES, my bedroom located in my mother’s basement and some Snapple god dammit.
Sadly, this is still the kind of lifestyle a lot of internet personalities lead, and it’s really weird to me. I mean, after a while I stopped being 15 and I discovered girls and stuff. Sometimes I do think discovering girls made things a lot more complicated and I wish being in a basement bedroom with a bunch of cassingles and an SNES is all I would need to keep my mind right, but then I snap out of it. Now I know what I really need is some weed, mp3s, a PS2 and a comfortable couch in my low rent apartment to be happy. Oh, and A Tribe Called Quest helps too.

Raven Mack: Dre and Wu Tang had already come out by this point, so I was not into all that hippie rap. And by this point I had developed a weird pet peeve against whispering rappers, of which I'd say Q-Tip is probably the godfather of. Something about hearing people whispering makes me want to slice their ears off with a 14-inch Rambo knife, so that they don't feel the need to over-use their aural senses anymore and can talk like fuckin' regular people at a normal decibel. So when someone does this on a musical track, on purpose, it seems extra annoying to me. And to be fair, I doubt Q-Tip is actually whispering like a Bahamadia or whichever of the Yin Yang Twins is the annoying whispering one on that stripper love song (HA! I know, which one?), he's probably just got a really stupid voice to start with. But whatever, I'm sure it's gotten him far more white sugarwalls than I could ever dream of even looking at if I became an obsessive compulsive porn collector with autographed glossies of my favorite "starlets".
However, even though I did not get into the Tribe like every other white person who has ever loved rap music did, one thing about this song got me sprung - the infectious beat. (NOTE: I have a personal challenge to myself that if I can drop two stupid and over-used clichéd phrases or terms withint a five word span, I allow myself fifteen bucks to go buy two "mixtapes" at the Cherry Avenue Barber Shop; thus the usage of "sprung" and "infectious beat" so close together. I probably, without this personal goal, kept the "sprung" part and overthought a clever synonym for "infectious" because seriously, that term's played out like a music critic's homosexuality.) I think this falls into the period of my life where me and my boy Boogie Brown shared a house with a straight edge punk and a crazy guy, both of which hardly hung out at the house because one dude was crazy and the other hated the lifestyle me and Boogie Brown had developed at the crib. Namely, we smoked a lot of pot, listened to a lot of rap, played with the new Super Nintendo we had bought with pot money because we also sold pot. It was good times. And we'd blow tons of money on 12-inch singles every week. Man, like 1991 through 1994 was such a great period for hip hop when it came to singles. People were throwing in unreleased B-sides, bonus remixes, instrumentals for the original plus remix... good times for a hip hop head with said head full of reefer smoke. Me and Brown would get stuck on certain instrumentals like mad. "Award Tour" was one of the long-time members of that ever-evolving list. Another was "L.I. Groove" who I can't even remember the song was done by. But the instrumental is awesome. I miss those days, not only the lack of personal attachment to responsibility on my part, but hip hop's part as well. It was such a carefree music that was just starting to become the completely marketable form it would develop into, where it was just starting to be rapping Colonel Sanders cartoon characters in commercials and shit, and R&B hadn't completely become a watered-down hip hop yet. This was hip hop's teen years, where it was hitting maturity, which unfortunately means it had to sell-out to get a job.
And yeah, Phife got to be quite entertaining at this point, because you knew he had the potential to really suck because of his past, but he didn't anymore, yet his style was still kind of oddball, coming at you like a left-handed knuckleballer, and it a fun foil to Q-Tip's hippie girl vagina hair-dampening vocals.
It's funny, because this list has made me miss a lot of the old ways shit was done, but actually just thinking about this instrumental and that time period probably filled me with more sad reflection upon hip hop than any other point in this list thus far. I would think the internet would agree that the bling thug coke pop child's nursery rhyme rap is pretty shitty, but for me, a lot of the internet-tingling indie shit - though an alternative to the mainstream - a lot of it is very similar and lacks anything to set it apart from everything else just like it. It's as if just setting yourself apart from the mainstream is good enough, so you have this big mass of shitty mainstream shit that's close enough to being the same for me not to care, and this harder-to-unearth big mass of shitty underground shit that's close enough to being the same for me not to care. And even the "experimental" shit is usually experimenting in similar ways to other shit. It makes me sad, but probably shouldn't, because it means that one, I'm probably out of touch, and two, I won't be spending all my money on the material acquisition of music, which is good because I'm pretty lazy when it comes to self-employment and I need to spend what money I have on a new bike for my kid's birthday.
And that brings up something else that's been in my mind lately. I mean, I've been thinking how there needs to be rap music for grown folks, as hip hop's come that far, following the early '90s being the teen years. You can't just say a music form is only for the youth, or you lose out on so many creative options that come with age. But then you hear crap like Jay-Z's "thirty is the new twenty" or whatever the fuck it is, and Nas's better than Jay-Z but still kind of weak "waaah, whatever happened to obscure rap dude who's 12-inch I loved in 1989? How come he's not got a platinum medallion, we should totally start up a retired rappers pension plan like the NBA" nonsense. Is that what grown folks' hip hop is gonna be? Because I was kinda hoping for something more along the lines of Big Daddy Kane cleverly singing the praises of soul food buffets or Kool G. Rap just being Kool G. Rap at age 40 on a record, not shit like that. Hell, I'd settle for more grown folks shit like Brand Nubian's The Foundation record. But probably all I'll get is like weird reunion tours with overpriced tickets where they perform all their old songs and everybody's happy to get a retro-buzz topped off with $7 beers. I should probably just stay in my camper behind the house, turn on the red light, drink some red-eyes, smoke a little bowl, and listen to instrumentals on my shitty Numark.

Download: A Tribe Called Quest - Award Tour

Watch the video:

Wednesday, March 21

EWA100 - #73. 3rd Bass - The Gas Face

73. 3rd Bass (feat. Zev Luv X) - The Gas Face (Def Jam. 1989. From the LP The Cactus Album)

Raven Mack:
This has been a terribly hard blurb for me try and write because I absolutely detest everything about MC Serch, almost to a comical level... like he could resurrect Syd Barrett and Sun Ra and have them playing some weird free form jazz shit for some crazy unknown collective of hungry MCs who were half Wu Tang and half Freestyle Fellowship to just rip verses over, and I'd still hate Serch. And I guess this makes me feel uncomfortable because of the whole Expert Whiteboy Analysis trait of wanting to out-down other whiteboys, of which Serch seems to be the kind, and maybe I'm playa hating on that. But also, and this may even be seen as unconsciously racist on my part by some dumbfucks, I thought he looked stupid with his high top fade. I mean what the fuck? He's a Jewish dude. I can understand being down with black culture and shit, but there is a limit to that, and at some point you might want to add the spices of your own heritage to the melting pot. What little I actually got to see of the White Rapper Show just reinforced this hatred inside of me for Serch.
Serch often would claim he was the best white rapper ever, and this also struck me as odd because he wasn't even the best white rapper in his own group. And I've never felt the hatred for Pete Nice. I used to bump his first solo album like mad. (It should probably be noted when they split up because of the clichéd artistic differences, DJ Daddy Rich - the black dude in 3rd Bass - went with Pete Nice.) So any dislike I have of this song is probably completely related to my hardly justifiable detest of MC Serch. Sure, I saw the video on the MTV back in the days, and it seemed kinda corny, doing a gasface. And yeah, they were not as stupid as MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice, as they were quick to make sure you knew, but still, not being the dumbest kid in special ed doesn't make you a Rhodes Scholar.
And I guess I shouldn't hate on it for being a corny song, because this was a corny time in rap, and were it not for such goofy sixth grade gimmickry in abundance, Wu Tang or Illmatic would not have been such a fresh shower of grime in the midst of this commercial crap masquerading as art.

Mike Dikk: As far as I’m concerned, the two 3rd base LP’s are a solid 4 mics each (based on The Source’s legendary 5 mic scale of course). Hell, the beats alone could have gotten these 4 mics. The Pete Nice solo is somewhere around the 3 and a half mic range and that MC Serch record just sucked a dick.
With that out of the way, "The Gas Face" was a great song at the time. I still to this day like 3rd Base, but there were a lot of fists that were kidneys deep into this song to make sure it was a hit. First off, 3rd Base was signed/created by Russell Simmons to replace the Beastie Boys who had just left Def Jam. The idea for the song was thought up by Zev Luv X, bka MF Doom, aka Doom. The beat was hooked up by Prince Paul, who at the time, was coming off of 3 Feet High and Rising and was fucking untouchable, and lastly, the beat wasn’t even meant for 3rd Base. It was originally supposed to be used by Eric B. & Rakim (self correction: This is more than likely wrong. More reliable sources say it was actually the "Steppin' to the A.M." beat that was offered to Eric B. & Rakim first.), but they passed on it. Simply put, there was no fucking way this song was going to fail. You could get two of the worst white rappers ever and they wouldn’t fuck this up, even if they were from Serch’s White Rapper Show talent pool. Jon Boy and Persia could be all over this track forgetting their lines every 8 seconds and saying something Eminem said 6 years ago and it wouldn’t matter.
I know it sounds like I’m trying to defend my love for this song by making excuses as to why it’s so good, but that’s not the case. I already said I thought 3rd Base’s entire output (outside of the Serch record) is dope, but I do realize 3rd Bass was more than two white faces and one black DJ that stood in the back, and no amount of MC Serch Jew Fro To High Top Fade jackassery can stop me from liking the great music that they helped make along with Russell Simmons and the rest of Def Jam’s staff.
Speaking of Serch, a lot of people question his legitimacy, even more so because of this White Rapper Show bullshit. The fact that every time his name is scrolled across the screen, “Hip Hop Icon” scrolls right under it doesn’t help his case. Pete Nice on the other hand has completely denounced Hip Hop and lives a quiet life in Cooperstown, NY running a baseball museum.
Now, I don’t know how much the average baseball museum owner makes, but I doubt his pockets are that fat, and he’s probably had to switch over from those fat Cuban cigars to Black ‘N Milds. I also imagine he’s gained some weight in his old age and has one of those dirty stubble beards and oily skin where it always looks like you just ate an entire pizza that anyone involved in baseball cards gets after a while. He may even be so fat that he needs one of his pimp ass walking sticks to actually walk, and not just to pimp.
I bet every day he goes home to his modest house, which I imagine is mostly brown tones for some reason, and smoke stained from the Black ‘N Milds, and he sits down in a heavily worn in La-Z-Boy recliner with a plate of fish sticks and vegges out in front of the TV. The TV, of course, is the wood paneled kind with knobs, to match the smoke stained brown tone motif. He probably settles in on some music station to reminisce about old times but only finds complete garbage rap and feels justified in leaving the hip hop business behind. I also bet that not too long ago, he flipped (or turned the knob) to VH1 and saw Serch’s goofy ass with a bunch of white kid rappers in tow and he got so fucking pissed he threw his fish sticks to the ground in disgust and hurled a sealed complete set 89 Donruss Box from the pile of card sets he was using as a makeshift dinner tray right at the TV with enough strength to crack the screen on that fucker.

Download: 3rd Bass - The Gas Face BONUS DOWNLOAD: KMD - Gasface Refill

Watch the video:

Monday, March 19

EWA100 - #74. Dr. Dre - Nuthin' But A "G" Thang

74. Dr. Dre (feat. Snoop Doggy Dogg) - Nuthin' But A "G" Thang (Death Row/Interscope. 1992. From the LP The Chronic)

Mike Dikk: The fact that this track didn’t even make it into the top 50 is a glaring oversight on our part. I know when you make these “all time” lists, even one like ours where the official criteria gets kind of foggy, there’s some stuff that gets neglected. Maybe it was because we didn’t have anyone from the west coast on our EWA staff, or maybe we just kept missing it on the list since this was all done over a message board, so I doubt a lot of real deep concentration went into some of it.
This is a very, very important song especially to any Expert Whiteboy out there. Sit down for a minute because I have a story to tell…
This single came out right before I moved out of the bonafide ‘hood to a nicer, mixed-class town. It was the very end of '91. The term “wigger” wasn’t widely used at the time. I didn’t consider myself a wigger, but I pretty much was one. It wasn’t intentional. I was from an environment where everyone was into rap music. I never experienced real suburban life before. There was a short time when I was in 4th grade I lived in another white trash town, but I was too young at the time to really know the differences between race and class.
When I transferred to the new, more racially balanced high school, I was kind of unique. There weren’t many other “wiggers” in school, if any. It was the dying days of seeing actual living young Hessians attending school, and most of the white kids were fine with their Guido/Preppie hybrid look. That’s still a popular look to this day, but that’s not the point.
Most white kids in school weren’t into rap yet. Some dabbled a little, but I don’t think very many considered rap music as their first choice genre. I remember this one kid in science class that was into rap, but it was more of on the DL. We’d have a grand old time chatting it up about whoever was popular at the moment, but outside of him, there weren’t really any other Expert Whiteboys in my school I could turn to for good conversation.
One day I was in drafting class, and I think I had the case to the “G Thang” single on my desk or something, and a group of white guido/preppies came up to me and asked me where I got it from. Keep in mind, this was before the full LP came out, and the song was just gaining steam. I told them I got it from the record store. I mean, that’s where I got it from. It never dawned on me that some people might not even know where to buy non-Will Smith rap music from. Their interest in Dr. Dre should have clued me in right then and there that there was going to be a drastic change in popular music tastes real soon, but I didn’t have the Expert Whiteboy foresight I now possess today.
Sometime after, the LP came out, and I don’t know how many copies it actually sold, but if I were to guess by how many cars, houses, boomboxes, walkmen and radio stations were playing “G Thang” by then, I’d say it sold around 10 billion copies. I was still splitting time between my new town and the ‘hood, and it was EVERYWHERE. It was a big deal back then to be a west coast rapper that broke on the east coast as well. The song not only accomplished that, but it did it to every other part of the country too, and then trumped anything else to date by converting non-rap kids as well. This is the first song to unify the suburbs and the ghetto. Some could cite N.W.A as doing the same thing, but that was more of a novelty because they said "fuck" a lot. Then there’s Public Enemy, but like we already stated, most non-whites stopped liking PE once white people made it public knowledge that they were trying to Fight The Power.
There’s no doubt in my mind that “G Thang” was the real catalyst behind everyone on earth liking rap music. Obviously, it helped that there was a lot of quality shit released soon after, specifically, the Wu Tang album, which basically solidified the white person’s interest in The Rap.
By sophomore year, I would change my “look” drastically. By that time, I realized not everyone wore two-tone denim jeans with matching jackets. Then of course, the same guido/preppies who made fun of me for being a wigger became the wiggers making fun of me for not being one.
“The Chronic” is an album that’s on a higher level than any other Gangsta Rap album ever made. The only things that come close to it are Ice Cube’s first two LP’s. Together, those three LP’s are proof that N.W.A’s post-N.W.A output is better than anything N.W.A. actually did.
You may not realize it dear reader, but you have “Nuthin But a G Thang” to thank for this entire list. Without it, there would be no internet rap geeks to clown on, and that’s science fact.

Raven Mack: I'd have to say Mike is right about this blowing up everywhere. I was buying singles every Tuesday when the new shit came out at Willie's in downtown Richmond, and me and my man Boogie Brown were usually the only two white dudes ever in there. I took a friend once and he got all white and tried to write a check for some reggae and they wouldn't take a check and he came out all shocked towards me, and I was like, "Dude, this is a ghetto ass record store; you can't write a check at places like this." I was in college at the time this came out, living in a shit-ass $200 a month apartment with a heroin junkie and unemployable indie rocker and some dude who never got out of bed till like four in the afternoon and that was only to go buy potato wedges at the ghetto gas station next door. And I had the single when it first came out, because I bought everything back then, and the sound was crazy, I was stoked for the whole album. I've still got that 12-inch single and probably play the instrumental or freestyle versions of "Nuthin' But A 'G' Thang" at least once every couple of weeks. I would buy singles because of all the extra shit, which nobody does anymore - no remixes or alternate versions, just explicit version/radio version and maybe an instrumental if the producer isn't too much of a self-important prick to think some nobody's gonna jack his beat for a shitty R&B song. But Dre's singles off The Chronic all had freestyle versions and bonus songs and shit. Sadly, the only one I have left is this one.
Anyways, like Mike said, it blew up everywhere. College kids started freestyling when like a year earlier I really could not find more than like two dudes - black or white - to freestyle with. And when I'd sit on my shitty porch at that $200 apartment, there was this ghetto celeb dude in Richmond (at least in Randolph) at the time who had a semi-pimped stationwagon with the back window rolled down and he had two big box speakers sort of pointed out to the world and he'd ride around bumping shit. Very often, I'd sit on my porch and you could hear The Chronic a few blocks away and then dude would drive by. It was everywhere, all over the TV all over the streets all over all things that I knew Dre would never have a chance to make anything nearly so great again, because you can't blow the fuck up that much and somehow piece your hunger back together. You end up doing shit like having string sections on songs with ballroom dancing scenes in your video.
And yeah, it's retarded that this song is so low. I think it's because we did this on the internet with dudes who use the internet a lot, because the one thing about the internet is it always feels like it's smarter than it really is in actuality - that whole information superhighway ego thing going on - and folks who feel like they're smart tend to not allow themselves very basic sensory stimulation, which is what gangsta-ized rapping is pretty much based on. A song about shooting motherfuckers or stabbing a big ass with your penis cannot be liked by smart folks unless it has some weird metaphor involved or a grand finale moral to the song that hopefully will make crazy ghetto negroes less likely to victimize smart folks. But really, as someone who has always enjoyed crazy lines by MCs, "gettin' funky on the mic like an old batch of collard greens" is probably in my personal all-time top five lines. But I guess smart folks probably don't hook up pots full of collard greens too much either and they don't even know about apple cider vinegar.
And Mike's right, this list and Expert Whiteboy Analysts probably indirectly came from this explosion around this song, and man, buying singles every Tuesday was great because that was, for me, the greatest period of hip hop where there were so many different styles of things that were so great at the time, and it's like that bright explosion and things are so hot for a while, and I always told myself it was cyclical and eventually something new would blow up and make things hot again but now we're fifteen years deep into the hip hop burning down dimmer and dimmer into fake chrome ashes and synthetic diamond dust, and I don't know if there's gonna be a hunger-based power force to rejuvenate the hip hop world anymore. It always ends up being some smarmy dork shit the internet jocks, but lacks that power punch musically or lyrically that you find on "G Thang". You don't have to be brilliant with your words or some sort of post-modern symphonic musical collage-master, because shit that slams just slams without explanation. Which is also why Expert Whiteboy Analysis is so fuckin' stupid, because it attempts to explain the unexplainable, using self-science.
Fuck it, I'm just gonna get high and ride around in my car listening to The Chronic all afternoon.

Download: Dr. Dre - Nuthin' But A "G" Thang

Watch the video:

EWA100 - #75. Jeru The Damaja - Come Clean

75. Jeru The Damaja - Come Clean (Payday. 1994. From the LP The Sun Rises In The East)

Raven Mack: I would put this beat, along with the one to "Brooklyn Zoo", as the two greatest beats for me personally ever in the history of all things rappitty. And this one - so commonly referred to as sounding like Chinese water torture - could not have been a more perfect beat to not only complement but perfectly highlight Jeru's staggered self-scientific, big-words-you-don't-know-the-meaning-of, pseudo-sage flow. The more you listen to Jeru's other stuff, the more you realize this was the perfect storm of a Premier beat with a different-sounding rapper, and not him being the newest superfly big-headed lyricist like he was thought of at the time.

Still, there's no reason for me to haterize all over Jeru's career, because when it comes to pinnacle achievements, "Come Clean" is a far greater, completely uncomparable greatest hit, than 99% of any other MC could ever hope for. There's so many lines in this song that to this day I love and want to sample, especially "control the mic like Fidel Castro". That's probably one of my most favoritest lines ever, and when it comes to be a stupid nerd about something, that's what I'd be a stupid nerd about.
Two funny things that I write about three weeks after writing that original part there. One, Mike told me this sounded like proto-Neptunes beat, and that makes me sad sad sad. Also, we actually scratched that "control the mic" line the other weekend recording, and the DJ dude had this new bullshit program where you can sample shit into your robot and then he's got two robot records that the sounds come through and he can scratch that like a real record, but it's some shit that you just said. Well, we didn't have the CD of that anywhere, but I had an old mixtape I made with "Come Clean" under the passenger seat of my car, so we plugged in a shitty fifteen dollar boombox and played the tape through that into a mic for dude to put onto his robot scratch machine. The point of that story is no matter how much technological bullshit you have to make something sound crystal clear, a piece of shit like me is gonna wreck it all up somehow so that it still sounds rusty and dented and abrasive. It's in my DNA.

Mike Dikk: This is the first, but probably not the last time I’ll disagree with Raven on this list. I stand by the fact that the “Chinese water torture” sample sounds more like a proto-Neptunes Caribbean xylophone thing. Of course it’s not nearly as annoying as most Neptunes songs, but I think the beats to “D Original”, “Can’t Stop The Prophet” and even “Ya Playin Yourself” are better than this one. They aren’t as original, and if I was really high, I’d probably appreciate the “Come Clean” beat more, but I’m stone sober right now, so it’s not doing it for me. I know it's like hip-hop sacrilege to dis someone like Jeru and Premo, and I know this beat is pretty legendary, but I can't really help if it's my least favorite out of all the "big" Premo beats that he did for Jeru.
Raven is right about the lyrical part though. Jeru really came with it on this track and is definitely a major lyrical highlight of his somewhat short career. Yes, I realize he had a record in like 2003, but that doesn't count. On his first two records he seems pretty pissed off about mainstream rap music and that wasn't even during the worst of it, so I don't know if he voluntarily decided to go really underground and lay very low, or if people were sour because of his very blatant dissing or historical rap figures, or if it was just record label bullshit. I guess there’s always a chance that he ate too much faggot flambé too.

Download: Jeru The Damaja - Come Clean

Watch the video:

Thursday, March 15

EWA100 - #76. Ol' Dirty Bastard - Brooklyn Zoo

76. Ol' Dirty Bastard - Brooklyn Zoo (Elektra. 1995. From the LP Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version)

Mike Dikk: I’m one of those people that reads a lot of dumb hip hop tidbits that no normal person needs to know. Unfortunately, I get a lot of the information jumbled up since the internet is all about old hip hop secrets and gossip these days. From what I sort of remember, ODB was either signed to Elektra before the Wu Tang album even came out or before it really blew up. Either way, if the Wu Tang album bombed (yeah right), there is no fucking way I could imagine a record company giving ODB that much creative control to record and release Return to the 36 Chambers the way it was. “Brooklyn Zoo” was one of the only things on the record that could be considered a real song, so it became a single by default. Don’t get me wrong, it’s one of the best Wu Tang related songs ever. It reminds you that ODB is actually a pretty dope rapper and not just some larger than life cartoon character that modern day media portrayed him as. The thing is, the LP as a whole is a lot more impressive. The way things are with the Record Biz these days, I highly doubt you’ll ever hear something like this by a “rapper” again.
If you’re not a Wu-Tang historian, Wu-Tang’s 36 Chambers was released. The first solo Wu release was the Method Man’s album which wasn’t a far departure from 36 Chambers. Shortly after, Return to the 36 Chambers was released, and I definitely didn’t understand what the fuck was going on when I first heard it. Now I’m old and smarmy enough to realize it’s brilliant, but when you’re a teenager with a barely existent income, you don’t really want to buy a tape and hear some dude do the “Remember when we used to see who could do this the longest?” skit for a few minutes followed by a purposely bad R&B spoof.
I’m really glad I got to experience this record while it was new and ODB was still alive. I was barely alive in the '70s, so I missed out on music’s true experimental era. There isn’t a lot of major label releases you’ll find from the '90s that make you say “Wow, this dude is fucking crazy!”, let alone a rap release. Rap is all about being serious. So when you get a chance to experience some dude doing a “I’m crazy and I’m on welfare and I don’t give a fuck” gimmick, you better cherish it motherfucker, because it won’t come along too often. R.I.P ODB. You truly were one of a kind despite the fact that you got a little too crazy right before you died and made a lot of shit music in your last days. We can all forgive you because you gave us singles like “Brooklyn Zoo”, “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” and “Got Your Money”, but most importantly, you gave us the postmodern masterpiece, “Return to the 36 Chambers”

Raven Mack: I have always thought in words and wrote rhymes in my head, and there's this sort of mutant hybrid beat that always bops along in my head. This song is etched deep in my brain because the first time I heard it, it shattered all that shit I thought I knew. Even after the first Wu album, this shattered all that shit too. It was such a fucked-up yet sick beat, and ODB's style is the same. I was a huge Wu-mark back then, probably up until Wu-Tang Forever came out and sucked, and the Ol' Dirty Bastard was my favorite by far back then, not only for his own crazy style, but when you heard the paranoid bugged out fuckers from Sunz of Man and Killa Army, you knew they had been hanging out with ODB most likely and not some pimped out Ghost or Raekwon or cyber-intelligent GZA or RZA.
I'm not one to give a fuck when a celebrity dies because it's just a celebrity you don't know. Like if some great famous rapper or wrestler or writer or something dies, I don't sit around and be all sad about it and bust out that dude's shit and reminisce on how I materially purchased dead dude's consumer output and got a little bit of joy out of my money, instead of the usual wasting of it like with most bullshit you buy. But when ODB died, it really wasn't any different, though I did give it a second thought, thinking maybe the CIA did kill him. Lifting a car to save a trapped baby, stealing shoes in Va. Beach when he had a platinum record, arriving onstage at Hammerstein while on the run from the law, getting reapprehended in a Burger King parking lot in Philly, many children by many women, crack addictions and jail time... the Ol' Dirty Bastard is the closest thing to a hero I've probably had in my adult life.
There was some public access video show called Karamel's Video Jamz back in the day in Richmond, and he used to play an alternate "Brooklyn Zoo" video that was like a kung fu movie with sub-titles and cars blowing up and shit. That was some good shit that I've never seen since. I'm sure it's on stupid youtube, but seriously, did the Ol' Dirty Bastard get as awesome as he was sitting around on his fuckin' ass looking up stupid shit on youtube? Fuck no.

Download: Ol' Dirty Bastard - Brooklyn Zoo

Watch the normal video:

Or the funnier version:

Wednesday, March 14

EWA100 - #77. Cypress Hill - How I Could Just Kill A Man

77. Cypress Hill - How I Could Just Kill A Man (Ruffhouse/Columbia. 1991. From the LP Cypress Hill)

Raven Mack: Cypress Hill hit right when your average college kid was ready to embrace full-on party time hip hop, and what could be more acceptable to a college kid than a multi-cultural crew (one whitey, one brownie, and one blackie - as nobody really knew Sen Dog was actually a dark Mexican at that point) rapping about doing drugs over top of beats that sounded like some dude dropped acid while trying to pretend to be The Bomb Squad with a stack of George Clinton-based records? The production on this record - Muggs crazy beats combined with the rock-ish mixing that Joe "The Butcher" Nicolo was doing back then (haha, I'm a total nerd for knowing that shit, because he actually mixed some crazy weird rock-rap hybrid shit that was perfect for getting high and listening to real loud, like this and "Another Sign" by Schoolly D, but it lacked all that "Hey, we're a rock band and we rap and wear Adidas and have cornrows ARRGGHHH!" nonsense of later more rap-rocky rap-rock) - the production was insane. And this single makes the list probably more because it's the bigger single off this first album than any other, and all their later albums either just got too schticky or were paler versions of this album. I don't know what it is about the one album wonder nature of hip hop... I've always kinda figured it's like you're hungry when you're starting out, for real hungry, not the bullshit catchphrase everybody uses now about "I gotta eat, mane", and you're trying to talk somebody into taking you to the Chinese buffet so you can eat like a pig bitch and not be hungry again for like two days. That's your first album. After one album, and you work on your second, it's like you just ate the Chinese buffet yesterday, but it was good and you'd like to eat like that again, especially because you wanted to get some of those bacon-wrapped cheese potato things, but they didn't have any, so you're trying to talk somebody into taking you again, so you try, but you're swagger ain't as desperate today. If you make it to a third album, it's like you just ate the Chinese buffet yesterday and today for lunch and somebody's going up there for dinner and asks if you wanna come along - most of the time, you're not even trying to talk a good game, you're just going through the motions at that point. That's how the rap music is like the Chinese buffet.
Seriously, this is still one of those great great tapes that I get embarrassed to play too often because I remember some of the dudes back in the day who ended up being all about some Cypress Hill, and I don't want to be associated with those dudes in anybody's mind who might pass by while I'm playing that shit. They had a good formula - white dude making stoner beats, mexican who's gangstaness is softened by funny nasal voice and his penchant for smoking the weed, and a third dude who yelled shit really loud to drive the key points home in case you were too high and not paying close enough attention to what was being said. BEING SAID!

Mike Dikk: In the “Jump Around” write up, I alluded to being pretty obsessed with Cypress Hill. That was no joke. This was the first thing I bought in actual Compact Disc format. When I first saw the video for “How I Could Just Kill A Man”, I thought it was the greatest song ever written. It was so dirty sounding and very unlike anything else at the time. I missed that first video they had because they never really played it on YO! MTV Raps, but I probably wouldn’t have been as into them if I saw that one first. I even bought that “The Phunky Cypress Hill Shit” crewneck sweatshirt that they wear in the video and would routinely get kicked out of class for wearing it in school. I’d also draw that skull logo all over my schoolbooks and any other blank surface I could find.
At the time, I thought the rest of the CD was pretty spot on perfect too. I revisited it not too long ago (I still own that same copy that I first bought, which is quite a personal feat), and it’s definitely not as good as I thought it was when I was 13. There’s still some classic shit to be found on the CD, but stuff like the spanglish song doesn’t hold up anymore.
Oddly enough, I wasn’t even into smoking weed at all back then. I was naïve to the point where I didn’t even realize most of the songs were about smoking weed. I just liked the crazy sounding beats and B-Real’s wacky nasal voice.
By the time I was on my third or fourth Spencer’s Gifts bought Cypress Hill shirt is when the second LP came out. I was still too young to be enthralled with all the Frat Boy anthems on there, and the watered down versions of songs from the first LP weren’t any better. It sucks being bitter and jaded by age 15. Not too long after buying it, I traded or sold the tape (yeah, I bought the first one on CD, but was still regularly buying most hip hop on tape when Black Sunday came out) to a friend of mine. If I knew it would only get worse for Cypress Hill after Black Sunday, I might have held onto it. I think the third LP was straight up strictly for the Frat Boy set, and the 4th one was their laughable return to hardcore rapping. There was a remix CD released between the 3rd and 4th LPs that’s worth a listen if you can find it in a bargain bin somewhere. Sadly, their discography tells me they released like 5 more albums I was basically unaware of. Those early singles though, including the B-Real/Beastie Boys “So Watcha Want” remix are still untouchable. I’m still not sure how they went from being this bastard child of Boom Bap and Gangsta Rap to some kind of college party group. I was just too young at the time to really grasp that concept, and I probably called them sellout assholes or something else teenagers say when they’re favorite music stars betray them, but I imagine it was a conscious decision to change their style up a bit. Perhaps there were mad date rapes by white hats at their concerts and they saw a lucrative market in it. If there’s a White Boy Hip Hop Heaven, I’d like to think Cypress Hill would be up there still as hungry as they were during their first record, but at the same time goofy enough to be doing retarded songs with Funkdoobiest and Boo-Yaa Tribe.

Download: Cypress Hill - How I Could Just Kill A Man

Watch the video:

Tuesday, March 13

EWA100 - #78. Pharoahe Monch - Simon Says

78. Pharoahe Monch - Simon Says (Rawkus. 1999. From the LP Internal Affairs)

Mike Dikk: "Dun nuh nunuh….GET THE FUCK UP!" I still can’t get over the fact that Pharoahe Monch had a bonafide mainstream hit with one of the most memorable choruses and samples ever and then completely disappears from MTV just like that. He’s still there in spirit though, since they still use the Simon Says Intro or "Dun nuh nunuh" part anytime the shit’s about to pop off on one of their dumb reality shows.
I’m not a complete retard and I know Monch has some serious underground clout, and I think the reason he never had a proper followup was because of record label bullshit, but even Craig Mack had a remix. Oh wait, there is a "Simon Says" remix. I guess he really did achieve complete mainstream hip hop one hit wonder status then.
All joking aside, this is a vicious song, and I think any decent person could listen to the beat on a loop forever, which is probably why the remix is like 38 minutes long. It’s just kind of odd when someone with so much underground clout with a big hit fell off when Mos Def has been living off of Black Star fame for the past six years. Monch is due to release a new record within the next few months, but I don’t think it will have the success "Simon Says" did, but hopefully enough people outside of the internet dorkery underground remember him, so he can make the money he probably never saw from "Simon Says".

Raven Mack: I lived in a trailer once with a dude who was starting middle linebacker at a Division III ultra-white school, and all he was about was the gangsta shit. He'd lift weights outside and drink forties of Private Stock that I bought for him and when we freestyled, he'd freestyle all fast like southern rap, which I never could get my tongue around at that point in life. The only non-gangsta shit that my roommate liked, for some odd reason, was Organized Konfusion. He played them all the time, because I was simultaneously on that Rawkus shit and on the Illuminati-paranoid Wu-Tang B-level shit (Killa Army, Sunz of Man, etc.), and I guess he thought this was our only common ground. He would explain to me over and over how brilliant Organized Konfusion was, which was far less annoying than the internet explaining it to me, because the internet never explained it to me while we played dice at the kitchen table with some frilly girls from Sweet Briar College on the way over. Of course, I was beyond college, workingman, and none of those frilly girls with fatty pockets would look twice in my direction, because we lived in a trailer and I was a drunkard housepainter, not a cute crazy rich kid in college.
Pharoahe Monch seemed like he was gonna blow up large, MTV-style, but his skills have always been about the same, which is above average, but who the fuck cares about skills? This song is all about that beat, which if you ever heard in an actual club, it vibrates your ribcage and makes you want to drink beer and try to touch titties before the night is out. I don't even remember what the fuck Monch rhymes about - could've been about deciphering hieroglyphics or breaking down the human genome, but all that song does is get me hyped the fuck up. Punch your grandma in the face, steal her handicap-accessible minivan and drive it off a cliff, jumping out the door right before you hit the edge, all with a double-sized blunt in your mouth and two high gravity double deuces clanking around in your jacket pocket type hyped the fuck up.

Download: Pharoahe Monch - Simon Says BONUS MATERIAL: Simon Says (Remix. Feat. Lady Luck, Redman, Method Man, Shabaam Sahdeeq and Busta Rhymes)

Watch the video:

EWA100 - #79. LL Cool J - The Boomin' System

79. LL Cool J - The Boomin' System (Def Jam/Columbia. 1990. From the LP Mama Said Knock You Out)

Raven Mack: LL, at this point, had been known as the old school legend, and still at a relatively young age, and this was one of a number of updated repackagings he did of himself. I remember riding around in my boy Rob's mom's Hyundai Accel, drinking Miller Genuine Drafts like fools, smoking stank-ass ghetto buds drizzled with rum, and pumping this song. LL had made the transition from '80s mic hero to still-relevant in the '90s. And this, for me, is one of my favorite non-'80s LL tracks, because unlike him knocking out people's mamas or trying to crush the sugarwalls, it's not him pretending to be Luke Cage Powerman or Big Daddy Sweet Dick; it's just a simple-assed song about playing music real fuckin' loud, which at the heart of hip hop, just like rock-n-roll, is the whole fuckin' point. Because sometimes you just need the loud catharsis of escaping all the ass-kicking and pussy-waxing and the hardly-acknowledged stresses that come with both.

Mike Dikk: I really have nothing creative to add to this except I’ve never heard of putting rum on weed. Does that even do anything outside of make a mess? I remember one time when I was young and dumb and first found out codeine could fuck you up something proper, I dipped some weed in that and it didn’t do anything except stain the rolling papers. Maybe it just gives the weed a nice aroma.
Mama Said Knock You Out was such a good record. I remember even back then people were writing LL off, but he came with it on that record. Unfortunately, that was the last time he really came with it and that was 17 years ago now. I used to think LL was so bad ass. My friend Kenny’s sister had this giant door size poster of LL in all of his Troop gear back in the day and I wanted to grow up and be just as cool as LL was. Now it’s just kind of embarrassing that he’s still making records when he doesn’t really need to.
I know this is completely unrelated, but I need to fit it in somewhere in this list. Remember the video for “Jingling Video”? Specifically the part where he’s talking to his manager on the phone and LL hangs up the phone so hard that it hurts his manager’s ear? Then later on in the video, the manager is wearing a bandage on his ear. That’s one of the greatest music video moments of all time for me. Better yet, remember in Krush Groove when a very young LL comes into the audition room after being told there would be no more auditioning? Then Jam Master Jay reaches into his pants for a gun, but LL is not phased. Then he’s all like “BOX!” and goes the fuck off with the rappin’. Jesus Christ, what an awesome scene. To sum up, LL Cool J 1990 and earlier = so fucking good. LL after 1990 = not so much.

Download: LL Cool J - The Boomin' System

The video isn't on Youtube so here's the aformentioned clip from Krush Groove:

Friday, March 9

EWA100 - #80. Kool Moe Dee - Wild Wild West

80. Kool Moe Dee - Wild Wild West (Jive. 1987. From the LP How Ya Like Me Now)

Mike Dikk: I don’t think I need to point out that any rap song made about the wild west or cowboys is only good in the same way a person might find Weekend At Bernie’s good. In this song, the Wild West is more of a metaphor for the ‘hood, but it doesn’t matter. This song is ridiculous and Kool Moe Dee always looked ridiculous to me. Even when rappers were wearing battle armor and go go boots, those elderly person sunglasses still ranked higher on my Ridiculous Fashion Statement scale, not to mention the pillbox leather hat.
Kool Moe Dee was a really good rapper when all other rappers still sucked and rapped “cat” with “fat” on the regular. Unfortunately, he lived off that fame for a while and even got people well into the 1990s believing he was some amazing lyricist. I’m not even sure how there was any doubt who won the entire LL/Moe Dee battle. Even at that point in time, LL was light years ahead of Moe Dee. I’m sure some old people might disagree with me, but I am still (barely) young enough to stick my middle finger in the face of elders and ignorantly disrespect the past.

Raven Mack: You know, I never dug Kool Moe Dee, even back then. And as an adult dork into the history of the hipping hopple, I downloaded that freestyle shit, or heard it on a mixtape or something, and yeah, it was great for that time period. But seriously, what the fuck is wrong with Kool Moe Dee. I have a hard time remembering he's alive, since he's been obscure for so damned long, and also whenever I see one of those "Heaven Needed a Driver - R.I.P. #3" camouflage Dale Earnhardt t-shirts on some redneck dude at the flea market, I usually immediately conjure up an image of actual dead Dale Earnhardt and Kool Moe Dee up in heaven, having a fistfight, because heaven only has one pair of all-white heaven-style blu-blockers or weedeater sunglasses or whatever the fuck those two dudes had wrapped around their faces.
Also, yeah, wild west and black urban culture... people keep trying to come with that theme and it always comes off stupid. There was that black western with Big Daddy Kane by one of them Van Peebles dudes, and even Sadat X had that "Black Cowboy" song which was okay, I guess, but probably because that was when hip hop was starting to get stained with the bling-bling shiny suit syndrome of Bad Boy-ism. And the parallel is kinda stupid, the thinking being, "Yo, lots of people have guns and shoot them... I KNOW! IT'S JUST LIKE THE WILD WEST!" I think in the real wild west, most people had scabies and typhus and a mess of chores. I guess in 1987, that was mad clever though. And I guess if people thought a loud guy in a leather fez with Stihl protective eyewear on was clever, the wild west metaphor for urban life was like Shakespeare on acid.

Download: Kool Moe Dee - Wild Wild West

The actual video isn't on Youtube, so here's Kool Moe Dee performing the song on Soul Train:

Wednesday, March 7

EWA100 - #81. Public Enemy - Fight The Power

81. Public Enemy - Fight The Power (Def Jam/Columbia. 1990. From the LP Fear Of A Black Planet)

Raven Mack: I am a pop culture contrarian at heart, and I will readily admit two things regarding this so-called Public Enemy right off the bat. Number one, I think It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back is one of the best, maybe even the best, hip hop album ever, changing a lot of people's approach to the sound which made room for a lot of the epileptic seizure-inducing beats you hear from indie camps. And number two, I have not liked shit from P.E. ever since. Fear of a Black Planet is probably only good in my mind for giving great parody material for the title of that Fear of a Black Hat movie, starring Chino XL and that dude who plays for the Kansas City Chiefs in that one candy bar commercial. When the Black Planet CD landed - and being this is on the internet, this will get shit all over as being completely made up self-important bullshit - the only people I remember listening to it in my high school were white kids. No shit. By this point, more heritage-abandoning rednecks had already taken to wearing big clock necklaces, and the middle class kiddies had been pre-conditioned by Spin and Rolling Stone by this point to accept Public Enemy as second Jesus, but with verbal bombs and fake Black Panthers and shit. There was one kid who was all about this tape, and this song, and you know what that kid does now? He's a fuckin' pastor in South Carolina, at what I would assume to be an affluent white people's church. I guess you could say that means Public Enemy spread their message, but if the message gets completely lost as a message and is nothing more than a brief means of expressing average teenage rebellion, then what's the point.
Besides, I saw Chuck D speak one time, and man, a legend died in my eyes that night. Dude was straight capitalist motherfucker talking about business this and marketing that, and it just put a shiny used car salesman undercoating charge over his whole revolutionary schtick.
And the song itself is funny, because I would assume most people figure Elvis Presley was a racist. I don't know this to be true or not; I just know he was marketed as rock-n-roll, previously mostly what black folks did best, and made a ton of money. I think any simple-assed white kid who had all that money, drugs, and pussy thrown at him would've done the same. In fact, any black kid or brown kid or any kid would've done the same. He's just stupid Elvis. Who the fuck cares if he took rock-n-roll away from black people? Have you heard black people trying to do rock-n-roll in the last thirty years or so? Unless your Mick Collins, you ain't really hitting on too much.
It's just grandstanding, to make money and be fake concerned about your people so that you can get wealthy and have ironic old metal sign advertisements with Aunt Jemima Sambo characters on your bathroom wall. Except those people wouldn't listen to Public Enemy, nor the white people who used to listen to it. But this song is one of those critic-happy sign-of-the-times ditties that is supposed to personify the stupid shit going down, when in actuality this song is "Market the Fighting of the Power to Momentarily Feel Good About My Contributions to Society, All the While Making Money Like Elvis". Fuck a Chuck D.
Flavor Flav is awesome though. His show was more of a Aunt Jemima Sambo character than a thousand upper middle class bathrooms of black lawyers and gay white couples (they seem to like that Aunt Jemima shit too, I guess relating the struggle to share penises as something akin to not being able to vote and getting, you know, murdered for being dark-skinned) could ever have. Gold teeth, screwing white women who hardly know him, all while chewing on a piece of fried chicken... Flav turned out so much more subversive than Chuck D.

Mike Dikk: I feel like anything I write after Raven’s synopsis is going to pale in comparison. I feel basically the same way he does, and I noticed the same thing with how only white people bought this tape. I even remember the news talking about it. This record was a lot more mainstream than your average revolutionary white guilt college dorm soulja would have you believe. It was a real big deal back then for 4 million white people to buy a rap record.
I really never understood white guilt. I would love to be rich, and I think if I grew up rich, I would be proud of being rich. Sometimes I guess white guilt is charming. Like when someone from a well off family decides to “slum it” like the DIY punk/hardcore kids. The ones dumpster diving while their families beautiful suburban home in a quiet cul de sac is like ten miles away. Personally, I wouldn’t want to spend the best years of my life digging around in garbage to try and be down with lower class culture to prove to some imaginary social group that I don’t need money and oppressive things like deodorant to live my life. Well, until times get tough. Then you use that credit card your parents gave you for emergencies. Fucking fuckers. Either way, I find shit like that cute.
On the other hand, there’s a lot of kids who would normally never listen to rap that will exclusively listen to the most militant pro-black rap they can find. To this day, I still don’t understand that. How does listening to a bunch of music meant to uplift black people going to make your white ass anymore righteous? I bet when Public Enemy was actually relevant, the same types of people thought Young Black Teenagers was an insulting name, but the group was created by Public Enemy.
I don’t hate this song or anything, and everything BEFORE “Fear of a Black Planet” is fucking great, and you can’t dismiss The Bomb Squad. It’s real obvious why metal kids got into Public Enemy. The beats were so fucking heavy and frantic. What I do hate is that Public Enemy basically started this whole white guilt self righteous asshole hip hop movement. It’s not quite as in vogue as it used to be, but it’s still there. Honestly, this whole topic gets me really upset at how fucking stupid some people are. I’d rather not get into how much I hate Flavor of Love and it’s offspring, so I’ll just end it here.

Download: Public Enemy - Fight The Power

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Monday, March 5

EWA100 - #82 Whodini - Friends

82. Whodini - Friends (Jive. 1984. From the LP Escape)

Mike Dikk: 1986 is pretty much my cut off date when it comes to rap I actively listen to. I know you’re supposed to respect the old school and all that bullshit, but a lot of that stuff is horrendously dated and just corny. Whodini never really bothered me though. They were living and making music within their respective time frame. Most of the other pioneering rap groups were either relying on old disco records or using electro laser sounds to emulate the fantastic science fiction future we were all supposed to be living in by 2000. Every hit Whodini has sounds exactly like the year it was recorded in. They are the epitome of '80s retro, and I’m very surprised they don’t get more love from the ironic hipster set. The only song I can think of that out-Whodini’s Whodini is Timex Social Club’s “Rumours”. Even more so if you own the actual single and have that badass album cover. Outside of that, Whodini really stands alone when it comes to retro rap. There’s tons of bad rock and new wave shit that screams '80s, and I’m not saying pre-1986 rap doesn’t scream '80s too, but it’s in a completely different way. For example, if you were watching the movie Mannequin, a Whodini song in the background wouldn’t even register, but I’m sure if there was some Afrika Bambaata on, it would stick out like a sore thumb.
If you’re young and you’ve never heard Whodini before, you really don’t need to unless you’re the type of kid who gets real hyped when they play A-Ha “Take on Me” at '80s night. If you are that type of kid though, “Friends” is the perfect song for you.

Raven Mack: Mike will speak in the next listing of self-righteous white guilt white people who love militant rap music more than anything, and I grew up with a good friend who turned out that way - even started a black awareness club at his stupid private school some rich dude who was probably molesting him sent him to, even though there was maybe two black dudes at that school, and both of them were Nigerian or some shit like that from the emails. Well, that kid and me fell apart, because... well, it's a long story that involves saying people had AIDS when they didn't and fat hippie girlfriends of his trying to suck my dick in front of him too obviously and him getting knocked across his mom's front porch and shit, plus he's an alcoholic scumbag who did the ultimate in "I'm gonna get my scumbag piece of shit life together" and got a realtor's license. Well, his older brother lives in the same general area I do, and we bump into each other all the time, and we were bullshitting one day for like an hour in a parking lot where we crossed paths, and he told me how Pete (that scumbag dude) had turned into extra piece of shit, how this dude (the older brother) had finally discovered the joys of Lynyrd Skynyrd, because growing up in Farmville, Virginia, he just associated that music with the types of dude who wanted to kick his ass for not being proudly ignorant. But he told me about some party he was at back then, and I started running with the party crowd when I was like 12, but I ran with the more delinquent crowd and this dude rolled with the preppier crowd. But he was telling me about this one dude Eric's party, and Eric was our local version of the stereotypical jock quarterback nemesis for the misfit skater kid in every '80s movie, except he wasn't the quarterback because our school had actual black people to play all the important sports, so he was probablylike captain of the tennis team or something. Well Eric had this party and they had a DJ, and all these kids were there partying, including the dude who was relaying this story to me, and there was this projects dude who was the Kingpin Crazed Negro High School Drug Dealer of that dude's day, though they usually shifted every couple of years. I came up during the Derek and Timmy Marshall days, not this other dude he spoke of who I can't even remember. But anyways, gangsta ghetto dude rolls into this party, dressed in a white suit, and all the prep kids are nervous as fuck and kinda freaking out, but too white to be like, "Hey brah, you're not supposed to be here," so dude just strolls his way up to the DJ spot and starts digging through the records, and the DJ even clears out, according to the story I was told. So everybody's kinda freaking out, and ghetto thug project dude who probably has seven thousand guns and wants to rape them all - at least this is probably what they were thinking, fuckin' punk ass prep kids - he pulls out a record and puts it on the turntable and puts the needle to it. Out comes "FRIENDS! HOW MANY OF US HAVE THEM? FRIENDS! ONES WE CAN DEPEND ON?" and dude is all smiling and dancing and all the tension is broken and whatever he came there to do, which I would assume was to either get some white pussy or sell some whiteboys some ghetto weed, it all happened and nobody got hurt and everybody had a great time. That dude telling me that story makes me love "Friends", even though it, like most all old old school rap other than three songs, sounds like Millie Jackson got pregnant by Kraftwerk on top of a drum machine with only 8 pre-sets.

Download: Whodini - Friends

Watch a live performance from Rap Mania. If I recall correctly, this was a Pay Per View special that I watched back in the day.