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.

Monday, April 30

EWA100 - #52. Public Enemy - Night of the Living Baseheads

52. Public Enemy - Night Of The Living Baseheads (Def Jam/Columbia. 1988. From the LP It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back)

Mike Dikk: All of my early memories of Public Enemy are jumbled into this big ball of media controversy. I remember things like Do The Right Thing becoming a breakthrough movie for Spike Lee simultaneously with “Fight The Power” becoming a breakthrough song for PE. I remember watching “Welcome to the Terrordome” for the first time in this video store I spent a lot of time at after school in 6th and 7th grade. I remember Professer Griff being kicked out of PE for hating Jews (at the time, I was still kind of unclear what a Jew was), and also hating jewelry because it was obviously made by Jews since the first three letters in jewelry are JEW. I remember white people being afraid that such a pro-black album like Fear of A Black Planet sold millions of copies. I remember “I got a letter from the government, the other day...”
Remembering “Night of the Living Baseheads” is a bit trickier for me. I know I saw it sometime shortly after “Fight The Power” broke. It was one of the few rap videos to get regular airplay on MTV and then after that, they’d show every PE video ever made in order to capitalize on PE’s rising stardom. I know I wasn’t even aware of “Night of the Living Baseheads” when I first saw it because I thought it was clearly superior to “Fight The Power” and I wondered why they didn’t play this video instead of “Fight The Power”. Honestly, I didn’t even see that video very many times after that.
I’m not even sure how “Fight The Power” became their breakthrough video. Did it take mainstream media that long to notice how fucking angry these dudes were? They certainly had an arguably angrier back catalog. Maybe that’s what the problem was. Until “Fight The Power”, PE was too angry and the beats were too insane.
I don’t believe that bullshit though. “Fight The Power” had a monumental movie backing it up, and “Night of the Living Baseheads” had nothing, outside of speaking the truth about the crack epidemic. You have to wonder if Flav was thinking, “Man, Chuck needs to chill. This crack shit is dope,” during the recording of this song.
This is definitely my favorite PE song. The Bomb Squad transformed a simple horn sample into a crazy seizure inducing alarm that conjures up all these visions in my head of 1966 style Batman being stuck on a sinking ship, scrambling around and fighting The Penguin’s henchmen with all those colorful action bubbles popping up all over the place.
I know I’m not supposed to be thinking about wacky antics while listening to such a grim slab of street reality, but that’s how my mind works because I am at heart, a dorky goofball. This song may not personally make you think of men in tights, but in my world, it’s one of the highest compliments I can pay to a song.

Raven Mack: I'm from a completely different place on this one, as I can't forget this shit. Like I said in the long-winded intro way back in 2004 when we started this list, my high school was about half-and-half, and plus it had all sorts of racial guilt and shit hanging over it for having shut down the school systems back in the '60s. But our high school dances were always DJed by crazy mad hip hop DJs of the semi-local variety, with names like Blue Thunder and Sam the Beast (Sam even had a regional hit with a go-go influenced song called "Gucci Time" at one point). Farmville is a crazy retarded place, full of talent and hope, but nothing but hopelessness and dead dreams to meet that. Lady of Rage is from there. Fever's, the club in town, is mentioned for hosting weekend parties on the Richmond stations because it's notorious.
Well, I dabbled in all cultures most of my life, getting down with stickweeds of ghetto smoke as well as burning bowls with the prep kids. I like to keep my options open. So I'd go to the school dances, mostly because it was pretty dark and lawless and we'd drink grain alcohol mixed with grape Kool-Aid, and I'd get all fucked up and try to dip my finger in a young vagina, usually only to get more drunk than have adolescent sexual thrills.
Usually, they'd have the dances in the cafeteria with all the shit cleared out, but I remember they had one one time in the actual gym, because you had phys ed teachers checking your shoes upon entrance to make sure you wouldn't fuck up the floors. It might've been Sam the Beast that night, because he was the guy they brought in for the heavyweight school dances, but they threw on the "Night of the Living Baseheads" megamix, and I was probably higher than fuck or drunker than fuck or mesmerized by young pussy, but something was up, and that shit cracked my cranium. I mean, I had heard the original version, but the crazy remix just fucked me up. And they played that shit at a school dance. (You stupid fuckin' kids with your chicken noodle dance bullshit, and your goddamned white t-shirts dragging behind you like a ballgown. And don't you know wearing two earrings means you're a fag?)
I ended up getting the full length PE Nation of Millions tape because this dude Evil Ed who was my main man had quit school at 16 and was working with some slum-ass white dude named Doug from nearby Cumberland, and we rode around one Friday night listening to music and getting high. I found Nation of Millions on the floor under the backseat and asked to pop it in, and whiteboy Doug was all like, "Man, we can't play that shit, that shit's old. The brothers will laugh our ass out the parking lot," while we were cruising. It's funny to remember with retro-minded internerd whiteboy blog upload culture that there was a time where if you weren't listening to the brand new shit, you were a fuckin' herb. But Doug didn't even want that tape, so I asked could I have it, and he said yeah, because it was some old shit. I've still got that exact same tape, although I lost the cover a few years back when I decided I didn't need to keep tape covers or cases anymore and only the shell itself and dumped them all into a couple big grocery bags.
But it is funny, I think some of my resentment of the whole Fear Of A Black Planet era PE is because Nation of Millions is a far superior Black Planet-style record, yet every redneck kid in shop class was jocking "Welcome To The Terrordome" like it was the newest shit that was ever new. The beats on Nation are far more insane, and the lyrics are far more revolutionary, so thinking about white dudes who used the word "nigger" to me regularly reciting the lyrics to "Terrordome" kind of negates any greatness that album might've held. It's more like a Uncle Tom Farrakhan shuck-and-jive routine in my memory bank.
Of course, I'm a white dude typing into the blogosphere about stupid shit about what PE record is more revolutionary. I always get on Chuck D for being a sell-out bitch, but look at me, sitting here typing words on a screen. And I don't even get paid. This is a stupid fuckin' world, and it makes you realize why people like crack.

Public Enemy - Night of the Living Baseheads

Watch the video:

Thursday, April 26

MNZ: Wrestling Observer April 4, 2007

This was the issue that recapped Allen Coage’s life in a few thousand uncomfortable words, and basically – in my opinion – the Wrestling Observer is useless unless it’s some long-winded recounting of some dude’s life in wrestling, with all the crazy local angles that are missing from today (or at least maybe the crazy local crowds are missing). That Meltzer dude should offer a subscription service just for obits. I guess he sells obit books, but who the fuck wants to wait around for a book to come out. If Dusty Rhodes dies tomorrow, I want to read about him riding a donkey into a bar with guns drawn in like two weeks, not two years.

PP: Part 2

I am a big fan of old schoolbuses getting all rusty with people putting their extra shit inside of it. I told myself, which is why the numbers are three digits, I was gonna do a thousand Polaroids, and I could probably dedicate 250 of those to old schoolbuses, but that would get boring as fuck. Not like this won't anyways, but fuck it, this is for my enjoyment. I'm just forcing you to look at the shit once in a while. I know it'd be better if it was Polaroids of big naked titties, but you get plenty of that on the intrawebs... there's not nearly enough loungin' pictures of old shitty vehicles.

This is actually my neighbor across the road's truck, and it's a limited edition thing from the '70s or some shit. I looked it up, because it has glistening letters that say "BEAU JAMES" on the bed, and there was a redneck Tennessee wrestler named Beau James, and to this day I do not know why that name is significant enough to warrant a wrestler and truck, but it is. Anyways, this truck was my neighbor's pride, and it sat in his front yard, and then one night the other neighbor on the opposite side of my goat field's kid, who was probably about 20, came home drunk and swerved in the curb and ran into their front yard and smashed the truck. All sorts of rural neighborhood drama ensued, with the law being called, even though drunk kid could see his own front porch from where he wrecked and had promised to pay for the damage, and his own dad, who had moved out from home because of domestic disputes, was a volunteer ambulance dude, so he got called to the scene, and I was standing in the road in my flannel pajama pants and nothing else trying to get the dudes to cut off all their flashing lights because we didn't have curtains and it was gonna wake up the baby.
Now, the baby is grown to 3, the neighbor's kid lives in the basement and blasts David Allan Coe and we have a mutual respect for each other because we have shared beers at the local ran-down pub, and the neighbors across the street are sort of uptight but good enough folks but I don't think they understand you shouldn't fuck with the neighbors in the country, even if that means not calling the law when they drunkenly wreck into your car. I guess for some folks - for better or worse, I'd consider myself part of that "some" - wrecking into somebody's car drunk is just something that's gonna happen every now and then.

I turned around to go look at this ragged work van by a gravel road by railroad tracks because ragged work vans are awesome. I often imagine I would look more appropriate in one, but then I try to manifest myself towards success and eliminate that possibility from reality. When I got to this van, the weird drippy FBI-analysis-needing handwriting with the soapstick tripped me out. Looks like the guy was in the middle of a two-day sleepless binge of some sorts, had accidentally shot himself with his natural right hand, so scribbled the shit shakily with his left hand, bragging on a "new motor" in this piece of shit. I'm sure that's the guy's value of himself in life as well, that he's all fucked-up and weird, but his heart if brand new and pure and perfect.

This was a few miles before that last one, and I basically liked it because much like being a fan of shitty old vehicles, I'm a big fan of shitty old motels. My dream artfag gig would be to just have someone pay for me to ride shitty regular roads (meaning no interstates) and stay in hotels that were probably the greatest places ever in 1962, but once interstates came along (stupid Eisenhower!), they became irrelevant and left to gradually decline. The Countryside Motel actually is now shut down, which I had never noticed before. Of course, this just made me want to break in to see what was left inside, but the restaurant next door looked to be some sort of weird church now and I felt like old ladies were peeking out the windows at me, so I figured I'd better not snoop, break, and enter in case the law had been called.

EWA100 - #53. Black Sheep - The Choice is Yours

53. Black Sheep - The Choice Is Yours (Mercury. 1991. From the LP A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing)

Raven Mack: It took me a long time to get up for writing about this song, not because I never liked it, because I still own the Black Sheep tape and it sits solidly in my grocery bag full of old cassettes, but when I thought back on Black Sheep when they blew up, I remembered I didn’t rock out to them forever, because they were white girl music.
Now, I am a white guy, so I’m not hating on white girls. I love white girls as much as anybody, for the obvious reasons, but when it comes to hip hop, white girls take up a different space than white guys. (This does not mean those white girls who become impregnated with blackness and start rocking the too-tight ponytail and big hoop earrings and talk like they grew up in Brooklyn even though the last nine generations of their family has lived just outside of Raleigh, North Carolina; this is more about those forever-white white girls who will eventually live happily married to a white guy and drive a soccer mom starter car – usually a Subaru of some sort – to go out and get organic things to put inside the family’s bellies.) But there’s a certain watered-down acceptability of hip hop for white girls. I mean, white guys can see the inherent beauty in smoking too much weed, drinking Beam, and swerving through the night while blasting Ice Cube’s Amerikkka’s Most Wanted. White girls don’t see the goodness in that shit… it’s all too assaulting. They like happier more laid-back rap, tolerating sex talk so long as it’s not too explicit, and very little gun talk. Native Tongues, Good Life Health Food Café, Black Star type shit. Hell, it’s only because of white girls that anyone on earth would even consider G. Love & Special Sauce a form of rap music. Basically, white girl rap has to go good with Bob Marley.
Well, in my memory bank, I remember white girls being mad into Black Sheep, that was acceptable rap music for them. I guess that’s why I don’t retroflect kindly back at Black Sheep. Though this song was EVERYWHERE when it was big. Everywhere. But I only seem to remember the white girls.
This also could stem from me having just started college when this came out, and the prospect of mining crazy amounts of white girl sugar walls was there, but I was never motivated enough to carve a thousand notches on the headboard. And I’m sure Dres got crazy white girl sugar walls at that point, so perhaps there’s some playa hatred on my part involved. But probably not, because I never gave a fuck about other people getting more ass than me. I think it’s more just the whole white girl stigma I’ve put in my head, because rap music for me is about getting loud and getting crazy and getting chinky-eyed and, from my experiences, the injection of a white girl’s mentality into your life is usually a shackle upon that type of carefree recklessness. Chicks tend to care about shit so much that they don’t ignore it, whereas I care about things, but when presented with a choice to get loose as fuck without regard for my own well-being or future financial stability, it easily overwhelms my ability to care about shit I’m supposed to do.
So I’ve talked very little about the song itself… basically, if you’re a white chick, you’re gonna love this song if you’ve never heard it. But you’ve already heard it. I bet you’ve even done the running man while listening to it.

Mike Dikk: I always assumed that I would hate this song fifteen years after its release, but I don’t. For some reason, I thought it would replace “The Electric Slide” at weddings and like-minded functions, but it never got to that. I still think that by the time I’m in my 40s, it will be a wedding staple. It’s kind of like that whole Camp Lo “Luchini” scenario I wrote about. I’ll be forever programmed to love this song as time passes me by.
Though I’ve listened to “The Choice is Yours” nearly 15 million times in my life, I have one vivid memory related to it that sticks out more than others. I don’t mean to cheapen it, but the same vivid memory could be used for Fu Schnickens “La Schmoove” too, but that didn’t make the list, even though I nominated it. People be hatin’ on Fu Schnickens, so I was alone on that one.
When I was in 8th grade, I still lived in a poor city. We didn’t have middle schools like normal towns for some weird reason. Instead, all schools were K-8. So when you finished 8th grade it was a big deal because you were in the same fucking school for nine years of your life and you were finally done with it.
Our 8th grade graduation trip was basically supposed to be as important as a high school senior’s prom. Our regular year-end field trips would usually be to Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey, but for 8th grade, we went to this place called Holiday Hills. It was like a resort for preteens. I’m not sure if this is like a common thing or if it was exclusive to my area, but I still think a resort for preteens is a weird thing. I’m sure you could rent the place for family reunions or something, but I know it was mainly used for kids.
Now that I’m thinking about it, maybe it was for kids who lived in cities who didn’t have grass and stuff, because that’s basically what it was. A bunch of grassy fields designated for specific sports, then trails and stuff. The whole place was swarming with 13- and 14-year-olds from all different city schools in the surrounding area and very few adult supervisors.
I don’t think many of the kids participated in any actual activities. We all just kind of walked around bullshitting with each other and trying to meet girls from other schools. I did meet a girl there. We went on a hayride together. Then I gave her my number and she never called me. THAT BITCH.
Anyway, this song, along with “La Schmoove” and a few other megahits of the moment were being blasted from every walkman and boombox in the vicinity. This is also when I had my solid red Etonics which are probably number two on my All-Time Favorite Sneakers I’ve owned list. I know right now, “Etonics” conjures up pictures of old ladies in ugly walking shows, but for a short time, Etonics were the shit, and every kid had a different solid color of Etonics. I don’t know why I liked the red ones so much, because my favorite color has always been blue, and most of my designer fad sneakers at that time were always blue if that was a choice... but I digress.
There was this Pavilion in the middle of the whole field/resort/nature trail thing, where I think you ate hot dogs and hung out if you were an inside kid like me. There was a stage off to the corner of it, and I remember a group of girls from my school in jumpers with one strap unbuttoned and loud House shirts doing an elaborate Fly Girls/Def Comedy Jam style dance to this song while everyone watched. For some reason, that memory sticks out in my mind the most when I randomly hear “The Choice is Yours”, which is still quite often. It’s still a staple on Old School Throwback Urban Jamz Radio segments, and it kind of sucks when they play it, because the two bit DJ will always extend the “Engine Engine, Number 9” part out for entirely too long.
It’s no secret that I kind of hate nature. I’m really comfortable around concrete and gloom and dirty grey buildings, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that was a really great day in my life. Being outside in the sun basically unsupervised meeting kids from all over the state without having to worry about the traditional downers of city life was a pretty unique experience to me and most of my friends, so it meant a lot to me. At that point, it was probably the greatest day of my life, but since then I’ve grown up and managed to do a lot of things on my volition that would qualify as great days. Still though, a lot of those great days I’ve had in my grown up years were doing Inside Kid things. Very few, if any, have to do with being at a crazy country resort for city kids and watching my fellow classmates get down to “The Choice is Yours” and going on hayrides with girls from distant schools. It totally made up for getting forced into playing Knuckles with the scary kids on the bus ride up.

Download: Black Sheep - The Choice is Yours

Watch the video:

Tuesday, April 24

EWA100 - #54. Dr. Dre - Deep Cover

54. Dr. Dre (feat. Snoop Doggy Dogg) - Deep Cover (Epic/Solar/Triple X. 1992. From the LP Deep Cover Soundtrack)

Mike Dikk: This was the song that introduced the world to a young man full of piss and vinegar by the name of Snoop Doggy Dogg. It also introduced us to Dr. Dre: Solo Artist. I didn’t really know what to expect from Dr. Dre at that point in time. Mainly because I was like 13 and didn’t really think deeply about stuff like if Dr. Dre would be better on his own or if he’d fade into obscurity. I mostly thought about comic books and how I was probably going to die a virgin because I was kind of fat and had acne.
It’s hard to think back to those times. I don’t mean the whole dying a virgin thing, that’s just dumb. No one dies a virgin, unless you’re my friend Jew Jay who is like the most socially awkward man on the face of the earth. I meant back to a time when Snoop’s flow was totally mesmerizing. The way he wove his way through the beat with his low key tone, even sort of doing this breathy whisper thing to emphasize certain lines like a thugged out Sade. Even from this one song alone, you could tell the sky was the limit for this dude, and it was. He’s like 30 albums deep into a career and still as relevant to teenagers as he was when I was a teenager. I may not like him all that much anymore, but he’s a true entertainer, and you have to respect that.
Not only was the rapping A++ Would Buy Again material, but this beat is easily in my top ten all time favorite beats. I know there have been literally millions of written orgasms ejaculated all over The Chronic, but this is still my favorite Dre beat ever. I know it would end up being a bad idea in the long run, but I really think this beat should be brought back once a year for some kind of all star posse cut. Like the five best rappers of that given year get to rap over it. When it came out, I listened to it on repeat for days. Now it’s kind of hard to do that because I know they’re only rapping about a really bad movie. At that time I still hadn’t seen Deep Cover, and I wish I never did. I will say this was the only song ever to encourage me to watch a movie though, so I hope Dre and Snoop got royalties on the box office sales.
Speaking of which, that was just an amazing time for rap music intertwined with movies as a whole. There were a ton of soundtracks coming out full of original five-star rap music. It’s hard for me to choose the best rap soundtrack of all time. I’d probably end up going with Juice, but this remains the all-time best rap song specifically written for a movie. Unless you’re into Will Smith. He had that Wild, Wild West jam that was pretty hot. So yeah, either Dre & Snoop’s “Deep Cover” or Will Smith’s “Wild West Summertime Just Don’t Understand Men In Black” song is the greatest soundtrack rap song of all time. I’m sticking with Dre and Snoop myself, but maybe I’m tougher than you and you don’t get down that way.

Raven Mack: This was some serious shit. That beat is out of control and it is weird to think how Snoop was this AMAZING RETARDED UNHEARD OF DISCOVERY back then, which when combined with Dre on his new jack gangsta beatmaking without the sneaky shadow of that Jerry Heller dude's devil-horned hand in his pockets, it was a double dropkick that propelled both to the point they're at now, where they can half-heartedly mail in shit on the regular, cash a fat paycheck, and still somehow not sound as stupid as about half of the people who are young and fresh trying to do the shit with whatever passion they might have.
In the process of writing these blurbs, which have taken months that you don't see in reading them, because me and Mike both suffer from about a thousand different obsessions, not to mention real life triflings, I am amazed that "G Thang" is so far below this. And I'm also amazed that this is so low. There's a serious west coast bias on this list, which we tried to avoid, but I guess it turns out it was expert east coast whiteboy analysis in the long run. I mean, "Jus Lyke Compton" isn't even on this list either, and J.J. Fad's "Supersonic" never even got a sniff of the nominations list I don't think. Fuckin' stupid.
It's also funny thinking back to "Deep Cover" days about Snoop being all skinny and short-haired, basically looking Pete Rock's Long Beach angle-faced cousin, and now, you never see Snoop without a big shit-eating grin on his face. This is because he is rich, and high. Most of us in life hit that point where we decide those two things are a fork and we must choose one or the other, but he steamrolled right into having it all. I don't know what Dre does now since I don't think anyone ever sees him. I usually just imagine he sits around like a Mormon in a big mansion somewhere, with his eldest black wife, who always cooks Sunday dinner, and he's got himself like two other white wives, but they are the eldest wife, so if it comes down to going to the Grammys or some shit, black wife is the one who gets the plus-one designation. And Dre just kind of kicks it, with a staff of four or five people seeking out talent for him, which means they get hundreds and hundreds of files of dudes hooking up beats who want to hook up with The Dr. Dre, and they each sort through the crap and bring Dre like three or four songs a week, so Dre takes those songs and picks what five or six each week he wants to steal from unsuspecting passionate young production wizards spending their idle hours all night long poking buttons on their G5s, and maybe Dre will rearrange this or that and maybe add a string section part since string sections equal pop success all throughout the history of pop music, and he sits back and gets paid, having learned well the lessons Jerry Heller taught him the hard way. It'd be nice to hear him and Snoop have some passion again like this shit though.

Download: Dr. Dre - Deep Cover

Watch the video:

PP: Part 1

A long time ago, this was one of my uncle's cars. He wrecked it, left it in the woods behind my house to hide it from the cops, and it later became a parts source for my other uncle. We used it as a CD cover for S.E.P. because I love hanging out back there in the woods near that fucked-up car. I actually built a unabomber shack back there, but never lived in it. One of my sisters did briefly, and now the other has it with the door open for her 37 cats to live in.

This was just a lounging wrecked-up truck for sale on the side of 29. The Polaroid came out all blurry too and shit, because when I stop to go in someone's yard or something, I always expect to get shot, so I probably rush it a bit. That doesn't turn out well because a Polaroid is only about two degrees better than using an oatmeal container pinhole camera.

I've seen this pimping ass vehicle up on a hill for a while, and it always intrigues me, even more so than donks, when a dude decides to pay for rims and a paint job and chrome and shit for a shitty Chevrolet stationwagon. There's a couple like this within 45 minutes of where I live, and it always makes me feel good inside to see bullshit like this happening. Fuck whatever Scott Storch drives.

This was the first stupid Polaroid I took, of a busted-up old fire truck in a junk yard. I would imagine most of the pictures are just going to end up being junk cars because for some reason I love that shit. When I'm rich, one of the things I plan on doing is having a junkyard with old fucked-up looking cars that I specifically buy to create some warped feng shui junkyard to walk around in and feel good with all the rust and oil stains and shit. Perhaps this comes from growing up around too many junk cars, or perhaps fuck you I like it you stupid bitch.

Monday, April 23

EWA100 - #55. MC Lyte - Lyte as a Rock

55. MC Lyte - Lyte As A Rock (First Priority. 1988. From the LP Lyte As A Rock)

Raven Mack: I'll be honest... I didn't even remember this song when we did this list (which means I never voted for it, but in our group think system, it ended up this high). I downloaded it for the purpose of pretending I know what the fuck I'm talking about right here, and it's a decent enough song I guess. It definitely shows why MC Lyte was like the only serious female MC for the first 20 years of hip hop. Anybody else (Roxannes, Latifah, I guess Salt-n-Pepa) just sort of moved through as a gimmick. But Lyte was a serious MC, like a dude. That's probably why folks thought she was a dyke and she had to start making songs like that "I wanna a ruffneck" track.
But I can't act like this is the greatest song or anything, because this isn't even close, even upon heavy inspection, close to what I'd consider the greatest MC Lyte song ever. That would be one of her earliest singles, "10% Dis", which my boy Paul - or more likely his older brother - had on 7-inch way back in the day, like when the only rap we knew of was from the shitty AM radio station on Saturday nights out of Farmville that usually just played funk gospel the rest of the week. I saw some bullshit pre-packaged blogosphere-ready collection of "dis" songs the other day on the enter-web, and it didn't even have this track. Shit, I don't even know who she was dissing. In my convoluted mind, I know she was related to Audio Two, and MC Shy D was on that same label too, and Shy D was Miami's original rapper, so I think in the back of my alcohol-ravaged and drug-damaged head, I've always thunk Lyte was from Miami and she was probably dissing Trina.
So yeah, MC Lyte... she wasn't just a woman rapper, she was a for-real rapper... like probably about the 1,079th best rapper ever. Maybe she should've dressed to show off her breasts a little better or something.

Mike Dikk: Anything having to do with ladies doing stuff is always a touchy subject for me to write about, because I’m missing the regular PC filter most people have in their brains that stop them from saying sexist shit. I really don’t mean it, at least I don’t think I mean it, but it just comes out whether I like it or not.
This is also a weird one for me because I’m usually on the side of most other male rap fans that think lady rappers suck or are just too busy rapping about their vaginas for me to relate. I was ready to fluff my way through this one to avoid confrontation, but then I thought about how MC Lyte had a whole gang of songs better than this one. THEN, that got me all confused, because maybe this really is the best MC Lyte song, but I’m too sexist to see that because I like her manlier songs more. Finally, I came to the conclusion that I’m not sexist because I like more than one MC Lyte song and I can recognize them if they were played and to ignore the fact that in the beginning of this song when Milk D is talking, I always thought it was MC Lyte because they have the same voice, possibly because MC Lyte is secretly a dude or even freakier, Milk D is really MC Lyte and that’s why no one’s heard from Milk D in quite a while, kind of like how Michael Jackson and LaToya Jackson have never been in the same place at the same time.
Listen here fucker. I am not a sexist. Sometimes I just think dudes are better at things than ladies. I’ve owned the Hoes With Attitude record, which taught me what a Kotex was, thus making me closer and able to relate to the female species. I also bought that Boss tape the day it came out because that “Deeper” song was the shit, though deep down I wished a man used the beat and not a fake lady gangsta rapper. Nevermind that. I am not a sexist. I just wish “Cha Cha Cha” or “Cappucino” or a number of other MC Lyte songs were chosen so I could talk about how much I loved them like the non-sexist I am. FUCK MAN, WOULD A SEXIST EVEN KNOW TITLES TO MC LYTE SONGS?!?! I THINK NOT.

Download: MC Lyte - Lyte as a Rock

The only video link to this song on Youtube doesn't allow embedding, so here is a clip of "The Hip Hop All Stars" on The Arsenio Hall Show. I believe MC Lyte is in there somewhere.

Saturday, April 21

EWA100 - #56. Ice Cube - It Was A Good Day

56. Ice Cube - It Was A Good Day (Priority. 1992. From the LP The Predator)

Mike Dikk:
In an extreme act of typical Expert Whiteboy know-it-all hoity-toityness, I tried my damndest to get “Steady Mobbin’” on this list over “It Was A Good Day”. Content-wise, it’s basically the same damn song to me, except one is more angry than happy, though I can see how this could have been viewed as a subtle way for me to prove how Rilly Rill I am by not bowing down to the single that would propel Ice Cube to mainstream status.
Truthfully though, I understand that if you were to randomly hear an old Ice Cube song, it would most likely be “It Was A Good Day” because it was his one real universal hit (for good reason), but on a personal level, I would most likely end up listening to “Steady Mobbin’” over “It Was A Good Day” because I never listen to the record “It Was A Good Day” was on because it kind of sucks, especially compared to the first two.
See, it wasn’t because of me trying to prove my Rillness, it was because sometimes I get caught up in the fact that I spend most of my time alone on a computer chair not speaking out loud, confined in an office or a bedroom. I tend to forget other people exist because I get so caught up in what I’m doing and depending on the circumstances, like if the specific thing I’m doing really sucks, I’ll zone out to pass the time and forget other people exist on purpose. I’m not saying this in an oppressive way like how, say, a Raven Mack would say it. I’ve grown pretty comfortable in my secure little fantasy land probably because I’ve spent my entire life in cold climates and harsh areas where I don’t really want to go outside too often. Then you add on that, just like everyone else on earth, I have/had issues like my name was Jonathan Davis, and you can understand that my mentality is more “Steady Mobbin’” than “It Was A Good Day”.
In the end, I kind of woke up and put aside thing like how The Predator is a shitty record I never listen to and that cold weather gets to me too much though I tell myself it’s not because I’m mental, but because every single thing you fucking look at in the winter will mention seasonal depression and blah blah blah. Then once I kicked my own self in the ass, I realized that even if I think “Steady Mobbin’” is a great song, I wish I had more reason to listen to “It Was A Good Day” than “Steady Mobbin”. I can’t separate “It Was a Good Day” from nice weather and being happy, even though if you asked some egghead music journalist to wax poetic about “It Was A Good Day”, he would say some shit how the music and tone is in stark contrast to the hardcore reality of the The Hood and all that other happy horseshit, but none of that is my concern.
“It Was A Good Day” reminds me of times before the internet sucking up my soul, and full time jobs and debt and bills, and rapidly getting older and fatter. Times when I could get dressed, go outside and sit on a stoop and play Crazy 8s all day and find the fun in that. Sometimes I try and relive that kind of childish nonsense, but sitting on the stoop isn’t fun anymore, and playing Crazy 8s is even less fun because your senses are constantly being attacked and raped by newer, better technology and I can’t appreciate shit like chilling in the park on an uncharacteristically nice day smoking a joint because I’ve grown content with wanting and needing and consuming every new and exciting thing thrown at me. Though deep down I wish I could erase all this mess and go back to enjoying all the stuff “It Was a Good Day” represents to me, but it’s kind of hard to up and change your lifestyle because you feel like a jerkoff for embracing it. Jesus, this got a bit too heavy for a lighthearted music piece, but it was quite cathartic for me. Thank you, EWA.

Raven Mack: I mostly heard this track on the BET hit video machine, because I also had pegged The Predator as a shitty album, when compared to Ice Cube’s first two. Shit, Amerikkka’s Most Wanted is one of the most underrated albums in hip hop ever, because people don’t fellate upon that like it’s an all-time classic like I feel they should.
This is a great feel-good song though, yet one that got so mainstream that Keith Olbermann used to say on ESPN Sportscenter “messed around and got a triple double”. Now, Keith Olbermann preaches incessantly while wearing a suit about how other dudes who wear suits are not preaching incessantly enough about the right things. That is why Ice Cube is making family movies. He has been assimilated, incorporated, and totally evaporated from his days sporting a jheri curl underneath a hockey team baseball hat.
Man, if I had a dollar for every time in my life I heard a white person say, “and I didn’t even have to use my AK…” in an ironic comedic manner on a beautiful sunny day, I’d have enough money to buy a Greyhound ticket to California, to stand around hoping I’d see the Goodyear blimp say “Raven Mack’s a pimp”, only to end up getting robbed by a pack of teenage homosexual prostitutes.
I remember at the end of this video, there was that change in pace where all the helicopters and cop cars and shit showed up at Cube’s house as he pulled home in his Impala, and I guess that was to be continued in the next episode, but I never gave a shit to see his next video, so I’ve always assumed it was actually a police department led by Common in a funny argyle cop hat that looked like something Rollo from Good Times would wear, and Cube ran in the house and WC and Mack 10 saved him by shooting hard lyrics out the windows for a while, until Common got a beep on his beeper about a thematic down-low party before people knew what down-low really meant to black men, so he split with all the cops, and finally Cube could come back outside, and just in time for him to have a big ol’ yard sale where he could sell his soul to a couple of old Jew dudes who slap-stuck him into some family comedies to squeeze big money out of a small budget flick. Sad thing is, I bet they were country club buddies with Jerry Heller, and Cube never even knew it.

Download: Ice Cube - It Was A Good Day

Watch the video:

Thursday, April 19

PP: Polaroid Project

So after looking at some of Dash Snow's NYC hedonism polaroids, it caused me to dig out my stupid Polaroid camera to start a project, which I promise to annoy you with in the coming months. Basically, the Polaroid camera is a great piece of shit thing because you're just stuck with whatever happens and you click it and know you just wasted over a buck on a blurry pic of your dog eating trash or some shit. So I like that, because for the most part, I'm stuck with everything in my life.
I figured the best theme would be cars or moving rideable machines, which is the theme I chose. I kept my stupid Polaroid in the truck today, and took a few pics, and never got shot just yet. Mostly, it's kinda cool because it gives me an excuse to ask some dude why he pimped out a stationwagon, or why there's a dump truck flipped over in the creek behind his house. Mostly, it also makes me nervous because living where I do, where asking questions and bothering people is frowned upon, I expect to get shot over this fairly certainly before July.
I'll start posting up pics in four-packs later this weekend though, if I remember.

(MFMT) Redneck Hippie LPs

(MFMT = Music Format Mini-Tourney)
So what I like to do, to keep my music random to an extent, but without the modern convenience of one of those robot-randomizer beatpod brain cancer machines, is take a stack of records or singles or tapes or whatever – sixteen to be exact – and have a dorkfest drunken double elimination musical elimination battle, just to put certain themes in heavy rotation, and to put certain personal favorites within those themes to test head-to-head to see what’s really the shit that fires up my stupid soulless innards a little.
I pulled out sixteen LPs that I would put in the category of redneck hippie LPs, because I was raised by redneck hippies, who were too ruffian and foul-ideared to be accepted by the trustafarian future IRA recipients of America style hippie, but also too longhaired and open-minded (like sharing a joint with a black dude… ewwww!) to be accepted by the Easy Rider (movie not magazine) style rednecks. I limited any and all artists to only one album in this thing, and I also limited it to studio albums. They went one most recently unplayed side vs. one most recently unplayed side, one-on-one, and the thing took shape like a softball tournament. I sat around drinking beer and listening to this shit and drawing pictures of a comic book idea I’ve been kicking around of rebel Islamic women who unsheathe their bodies to reveal large naked breast packed with explosives that blow up American executives in high-priced Dubai whore clubs. I need to doodle because I’m still working out the kinks in the story. Anyways, here’s the sixteen records and how they fared (I’ll only write-up the top five, because fuck the losers)…

#1: Black Oak Arkansas by Black Oak Arkansas
I never discovered Black Oak Arkansas until a few years back and they quickly became a favorite of mine – bunch of weird longhaired freaks grown in deep Arkansas redneck land making a rock band. This, their first album, is some good good shit. The intro to “Lord Have Mercy On My Soul” is one of the best trippy Jesus complex hippie freak-outs to start a song that probably ever got done, and probably got missed by those who enjoyed that type of shit back then because the hippie fucks stuck to their standard Cali-based acid acts and some shitheel ragtag pack of twangy dudes looking for some hot ass to poke probably didn’t go over so well. And the “When Electricity Came To Arkansas” freak-out rock jam at the end of side B is probably the second best ever, only bested by Alice Cooper’s “Black Juju”. I know this is the internet and you’re only supposed to like brand new shit that no one’s ever heard of, but this record is fuckin’ awesomer than shit, and if you get it on CD or digitized download, it won’t sound right, because it’s supposed to sound slightly fucked-up and scratchy and that makes you want to drink beer. Crisp digital sounds will just make you want to eat pills and masturbate to anime porn.

#2: Tejas by ZZ Top
I feel sorry for people who identify ZZ Top solely with early MTV electronically polished fool’s gems like “Sharp Dressed Man” and “Legs”, because when you get back into their early records from the mid-‘70s, there’s hardly a band that’s existed that’s got a bigger and better pure rock-n-roll catalog. Billy Gibbons has started getting secret props as a true motherfuckin’ rocker in recent years amongst degenerate stoner rock fans, but not nearly enough. Like, if I get one of those cheesy mail order t-shirt things for some reason to one of my fake names that subscribes to magazines, there’s never Billy Gibbons face black t-shirts with some ominous yet good-timed font saying ZZ Top. It’s always a stupid car with little cyber-blings and shit. Anyways, early on in my discovery of hazy, fucked-up ZZ Top, their ZZ Top’s First Album or Rio Grande Mud would’ve been the best ever, but in recent years the pure beauty of Tejas has made that my favorite ZZ Top record. “Arrested For Driving While Blind” and “Ten Dollar Man” have all the self-destructive zen observations of the best of Lynyrd Skynyrd, but somehow Billy Gibbons’ style makes it mellower, even if it’s not really mellow. Then you get to “Asleep In The Desert”, which has recently entered the small list of Songs To Play At My Funeral. If you don’t know 1970s ZZ Top, you should learn about it. If all you know about 1970s ZZ Top is Tres Hombres, you’ve hardly scratched the fuckin’ surface and haven’t gotten close to the best shit yet, so keep digging.

#3: Fire On The Mountain by The Charlie Daniels Band
I will be contrarian here for a minute… There are many who feel the penultimate stereotypical redneck anthem is “Freebird” by Skynyrd. And there are many who feel the penultimate Charlie Daniels song is “Devil Went Down To Georgia”. I am here to say that neither of those statements, though consensus opinion, are necessarily true, at least when it come to for-real dirtbag back roads rednecks. Maybe if you sampled a pack of Starbucks patrons in university towns about these subjects, those would come out on top. But I’m here to tell you amongst the for-real shithead grease monkey drywall dust doublewide dreamy-eyed good ole shot liver redneck, “Long Haired Country Boy” is THE motherfuckin’ anthem. And you throw in other feel-good-about-your-lot-in-life tracks like “Trudy” and “Feeling Free”, and what you’ve got is something to play on a Sunday afternoon through the shitty speaker holding the kitchen window open while you sit at the homemade picnic table smoking a homegrown joint.

#4: Dreaming My Dreams by Waylon Jennings
The process of elimination of these musical tourneys is interesting, because I’d have never picked out a Waylon record to finish highly, because a lot of times I feel Waylon Jennings is one of those great-ass things in theory and story, but in execution, sometimes it’s kinda hit or miss with him. The whole country rock thing sounds a little forced and not too smooth all the time. But I was digging this record a lot, and it made me want to find more shit that Cowboy Jack Clement had a hand in producing, because this was far more raw yet unmuddled than a lot of Jennings’ shit I’d listened to. (That’s in regards to studio albums, not his Greatest Hits record, which is a pretty good starter collection.) It’s funny I wouldn’t be like some giant Waylon Jennings fan being my favorite dog I ever had was named Waylon, but that was only because I was living with a stupid hippie bitch at the time who hated the redneck influences in my life, but she probably didn’t even know who the fuck Waylon Jennings was because he’d never guested on any Wailers songs or opened for the Dead, so I named our dog we got together Waylon in a real pussy passive aggressive move, but sometimes as a man, you have to do pussy things to stay good with the pussy. However, usually pussy like that isn’t worth the trouble.

#5: It’ll Shine When It Shines by The Ozark Mountain Daredevils
I got turned onto all these artists by my folks, and they actually had the CDB record, but I gave that back I think and the copy I have now is mine, but this is the one on this top five that is actually their record that was part of my massive music-jacking during the years after their separation, when my mom didn’t really like music and my dad didn’t really like having possessions. Nowadays, my mom will pitch a bitch and act like every record I own that is any good is actually her’s, but she’s usually wrong. This is a great record, and nothing else I’ve ever found by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils has come close (although who can deny the wonderful joy you feel hearing “If You Wanna Get To Heaven”, imagining Jesco tapdancing on plywood beside some railroad tyes?). I would call this the perfect blending of redneck and hippie because their’s nature themes and the lyrics are lazy as fuck a lot of times, not trying to do much of nothing more than watch the sun go across the sky, out in the middle of nowhere. “Jackie Blue” was actually a decent hit for this group, but the B side set of “Walkin’ Down The Road”, “What’s Happened In My Life”, “It Probably Always Will”, “Lowland”, “Tidal Wave”, and “It’ll Shine When It Shines” is one of the best laid back and wasted album sides that ever got made. I was talking to my boy Embryo the other week about how nowadays with only CDs and ipods and shit, people won’t remember that a release had two separate sides that often times could each have their own separate feel. I think one reason people aren’t as able to make good full-length albums anymore is because the hit mentality is even stronger in the digital age than it probably was before, because it used to be only pop music was hit-oriented, or something with a bunch of stations following that format like country or soul, but now when people download a lot of shit, and oftentimes just by the song, even super-shitty high-specific sub-genres can work for just that one “hit”, at least on their relative scale.
THE REST OF THE FIELD - #6: Workingman’s Dead by The Grateful Dead (only studio album they have that I like, very bluegrassy), #7: David Allan Coe Rides Again by David Allan Coe, #8: You Don’t Mess Around With Jim by Jim Croce (one summer while Greyhounding around American, I must’ve sang “Walkin’ Back To Georgia” like three thousand times), #9: Shotgun Willie by Willie Nelson, #10: Gimme Back My Bullets by Lynyrd Skynyrd (my oldest kid got her name from “Roll Gypsy Roll”, although that can actually be blamed on my wife more than me, believe it or not), #11: Grand Funk by Grand Funk Railroad, #12: Carney by Leon Russell (Haha mom, this IS your record), #13: A Friend In California by Merle Haggard, #14: Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid Soundtrack by Bob Dylan, #15: Whiskey Bent And Hell Bound by Hank Williams Jr., #16: Northern Lights, Southern Cross by The Band

EWA100 - #57. Biz Markie - Just A Friend

57. Biz Markie - Just A Friend (Cold Chillin'. 1989. From the LP The Biz Never Sleeps)

Raven Mack: There's a lot of things out there that make me embarrassed to being born an American, which I of course had no choice in, things like American Idols and Anna Nicole Smith and the way Jeff Gordon talks and how people on TV use the word "blogosphere" when it gets near election time, not to mention the creepy shit like porn obsessions and dudes who like to wear diapers or be forced to watch their wives have sex with other dudes against their will. It's easy to see why a machismo-soaked third world country would want to blow us apart with the effeminate leading men we have on our TV programs, which we force-beam around the world because we are the leaders of the free world - which means commercials for shit you should buy, not some grand philosophical idealogy. And when I get hung up on the major media or look at crappy music magazines with shit like Puff Daddy pretending he's tough and sexy or Fallout Boy looking cuter than most girls I've ever fucked, it fills me with a hate too and were I to believe in some sort of mythical god-figure like Muhammad or God or whoever, I would want them to throw all these fucks off the mountain too, to not clutter my view not so much with their perversions against decent living, because I don't care about that so much, but just to not clutter my view with their unloungingness. My basic philosophical mantra is we should all be able to chill, and shit like that makes it too uncomfortable to chill, or it creates sub-cultures of little identity-less basketcases who latch onto that as their identity.
However, when I remove myself from mass media and the molasses crawl of suburban sprawl, cars stalled out at endless red lights in front of chain stores with branded logos I can get on credit, I remember things like junkyards full of wrecked cars and old ladies frying up chicken and people like Biz Markie. It makes me sort of proud to have been accidentally born where I by chance was born, because no other country has such large stacks of junk cars or Biz Markie, and if they have old ladies frying up chicken, those old ladies don't talk in a way I find understandable. But seriously, Biz Markie is like the biggest, ugliest dude you could ever meet, but he's a goofy fuck who has carved a steady cashflow for himself.
"Just A Friend" is like the most shining example of Mr. Markie at his most Bizness. This is one of those songs - maybe one of only like two or three that I can think of - that when you hear it, not only do you want to sing along but you want to yell along as loud as you can, obnoxiously but in a good-natured way. It brings you happiness inside. If we could export material culture like "Just A Friend" but filter it into local dialects, I think the world would think so much higher of us Americans as opposed to knowing us as the land of double penetrations and Jessica Simpson's stretched tarpaulin face.

Mike Dikk: If there were to be one of those Myspace-styled dumbass surveys personalized to be exclusively about me, one of the questions could be: What song is Mike most likely to hand drum on a table?. The answer, of course, is “Just A Friend”. It’s kind of a trick question though, since it’s the only song I can competently air drum and still sing along to outside of “We Will Rock You” by Queen, which doesn’t count because you’d have to be brain dead to not do that. Like Raven said, this song was made to be yelled to anytime you hear it, or in my case, if you feel the need to air drum on a table, which hasn’t really hit me since high school when I was chilling with Boyz II Men and they needed something to acapella to.
The video to this song was also a very important first for me. It was the first video where I saw an article of clothing blurred out. The article was Biz’s Nike sweatshirt that he’s wearing on the park bench, which is only blurred out in the scenes where it’s really noticeable. I never understood what that was all about, but I imagined that maybe instead of NIKE it said FUCK or maybe there were titties discreetly drawn in there somewhere. I guess Biz and co. just didn’t want to risk getting sued or something, since this took place in the days before sneaker companies looked at rap music as a highly lucrative investment. As we all know, now every rap video ever has something blurred out in it, because all those rappers are always up to no good, showing the ladies inhumanly jiggling their asses and rolling marijuana cigarettes right in the videos. Why can’t they wait until after the video is over?
Also, the extended version of the song features Biz and his crew telling mama jokes at the beginning which was easily my favorite hobby at the time. I was really banking on telling mama jokes becoming a legit sport so I could be a millionaire by now. You may know the foreigner from That '70s Show hosts a show on MTV now called “YO MOMMA”, which features possibly the worst mother jokes ever to be told in the history of comedy, and the sad fact is I’m most likely too old, fat, and ugly to be chosen on that show and clean up. Though I think the winners only get $100 and a steak dinner, and I also heard that most of the people on that show are actors with agents and shit, which kind of defeats the whole purpose of me wanting to participate.
Annnnyhoo, If there was ever a song to universally bring dudes scorned by trifling bitches together, and let them laugh about the whole thing, it’s this song. Unfortunately, I think most people view Biz as a loveable loser getting shot down because he’s an ugly fucker, and not because women are trifling bitches and play that “Just A Friend” card with everyone, not just ugly fuckers.

Download: Biz Markie - Just A Friend

Watch the video:

Wednesday, April 18

EWA100 - #58. De La Soul - Me, Myself & I

58. De La Soul - Me, Myself & I (Tommy Boy. 1989. From the LP 3 Feet High And Rising)

Mike Dikk: I tend to read a lot of lists pertaining to music. Hell, I tend to make a lot of lists pertaining to music. It’s just what I do. I’m only capable of writing well in blurbs because of this whole I WANT MY MTV A.D.D. generation I’m a part of that makes my brain stupid. Anyway, if you’re like me and you read a lot of lists in bigger, mainstream magazines, specifically about hip hop, you’ll notice a lot of them are made solely to put either 3 Feet High And Rising or Paul’s Boutique in the top spot. Some more progressive lists will even throw DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing in there too, depending on the criteria. Any average moron can tell you what these three records have in common. They all rely heavily (in Entroducing’s case, completely) on samples. In fact, 3 Feet High... and Paul’s Boutique came out a mere eight weeks apart from each other. Both records shared similar ideas and Paul’s Boutique was supposedly recorded and finished before 3 Feet High..., but De La Soul beat them to the punch and got most of the initial acclaim for their sampling technique while most people panned Paul’s Boutique until years later.

Even though all three albums share a gigantic common bond, 3 Feet High And Rising stuck out the most to me. Simply because it’s the only record out of the three that I “Got” when it was initially released. Like most people, I wasn’t too keen on Paul’s Boutique when it first came out because it didn’t sound like Licensed To Ill and I was too young to understand that sometimes musicians had to evolve. Even to this day, I don’t think that record is as great as everyone makes it out to be. Yes, it’s good, but it’s mostly good because it sounds so unique and it’s something that can’t ever be legally duplicated. Endtroducing, on the other hand, I think is a phenomenal album and one of the all-time greatest records of any genre, but it took me at least three years to wrap my head around it. I didn’t understand what the fuck was going on when I first heard it. It was supposed to be a hip hop record but there were no lyrics and the songs were well over six minutes long. There was no way to logically dance to it or even rhythmically nod your head.
However, 3 Feet High... hooked me from the beginning. It was the first time I actually cared about the how the music was made. Before then, you could have told me that there was some super computer hidden in the Swiss Alps that generated beats from old James Brown records and randomly handed them out to people interested in rapping, and I would have believed you. Once I heard this record that was not only using a billion samples per song, but some were even recognizable to me and my novice ears, I had to get to the bottom of it. It’s why I’m such a big fan of Prince Paul to this day. When this record was blowing up, Prince Paul was interviewed on BET I believe, and they asked him how he came up with such weird shit for the record. He said that there were beats everywhere and you had to look hard to find them. He then threw some Mickey Mouse Club 45 on a turntable and played it backward, and sure enough, there was a beat.
There are very few records I care to physically own. This is one of them, just because it means so much to me, and it kind of led the way to me being a smart ass know-it-all music nerd, on top of providing me a soundtrack to 6th grade. In all honesty, I like De La Soul and all, but this record was more about Prince Paul than De La. The whole hippie Daisy Age vibe never phased me because I wasn’t paying attention to the lyrics. Also, Hip Hop as a whole was in such a creative and experimental stage at that point in time that every rap record sounded different from one another. It was many years later that I found out this record kind of sparked the whole dorm room rap movement that we all know and love today.
The song “Me, Myself and I” really holds no significance to me though, outside of being the first De La song I heard and being their most well-known single from that record. I could have chosen any number of songs from the record to take this spot, or an even higher one if I had my way, but it makes everything easy and uniform when you pick the big single that everyone knows.

Raven Mack: I bought the 3 Feet High And Rising tape at a truck stop back when truck stops were infamous for selling bootleg tapes. Oddly enough, I think I got Paul’s Boutique at the same spot. 3 Feet High And Rising was great shit when I was in high school, because with my predominantly black school where thuggishness was a badge of honor with too many people, the potential to get your ass kicked over something stupider than the white dude stepping on the peanut-faced dude’s shoes in Do The Right Thing was always there. So 3 Feet High And Rising sort of caused certain more goofy-natured potential-thug brothers to adopt that puffy crooked hair style and wear goofy necklaces, although nobody I remembered really got full-on into the stupid shirts and shit too. It toned down the potential for violence, ever so slightly.
I never disliked 3 Feet High And Rising until I went to college and was forced to realize there were completely clueless white kids who had only grown up around other white kids and only hung out with other white kids and would only know other white people and were predestined to have white kids running around white cul-de-sacs driving white SUVs and voting for white people to keep things smooth and interest-laden for their collective white futures, and I guess I was tripping on the acid at a party full of those kids (seriously, it may be hard to believe, but growing up a piece of shit white kid in a piece of shit half-black/half-white piece of shit part of rural Virginia, I had no idea that shit existed) and watching them be them and this one dude played 3 Feet High And Rising like seven times that night and it all just made me sick to tripped-out stomach.
I also feel that everything De La has done, studio album-wise, since then, has been overrated as misunderstood genius music. I’m not saying it sucks, but it’s definitely music that holier-than-thou know-it-alls are apt to get up in arms and act like it’s the best shit ever and you’re ignorant for not making a separate playlist for it on your ipod, even though you don’t even have an ipod.
As for this song being here instead of any other De La song, I think back to the single-oriented nature of a lot of the black kids I grew up around. They didn’t go collecting records like white kids did really, or if they did, they didn’t keep old shit forever, which is probably a good personal habit. But this was the big single off that album, and were you to have an old school throwback show on Sunday afternoons blaring over some loudspeakers up in the trees at whatever public park in your city that folks go to to wax their cars and Armor All the tires, this De La Soul song would get more people to go “OH SHIT!” than any other song off 3 Feet High And Rising. And that is the essence of the Hip Hop Jam basically – if twenty years later it can create that nostalgic euphoria in random collections of people. I know this list is listed upon the internet where it’s more important to highlight your misunderstood genius status and make a list of the best 100 songs ever and have like German-released EPs by The Artifacts and England-only b-sides to Paris singles and shit, but all that doesn’t mean a goddamned thing on a Sunday afternoon to Mr. Old School Dude cleaning his Cutlass up just right at the park with a pint of gin in a cooler in the trunk.

Download: De La Soul - Me, Myself & I

Watch the video:

BONUS VIDEO! Here's a 7 minute documentary/short type thing that acted as an introduction to De La Soul. This is where I saw the thing with Prince Paul playing a Mickey Mouse record. He doesn't actually play it backwards though. That was just my retarded memory kicking in.

MNZ: Wresting Observer April 2, 2007

This was the issue getting all serious and delirious about the merger between the UFC and Pride. You know, MMA could be the next big thing, and it's a ton of fun to drink beer and watch, but I know of far too many wresting dork fags who have gotten into MMA as the cool alternative to being a wrestling dork fag in recent years. And if you are a dork fag, just because you move from wrestling to MMA (or anime or graphic novels or whatever), it doesn't remove you from being a dork fag. And if I knew I could go to a bar and stand around drinking beer watching MMA and it was gonna be with some regular dudes and all, I'd be down. But I'm afraid if I went, it'd just be dork fags, and then some regular dude I knew would walk past and look in the window and see me hanging out with a bunch of dork fags and it'd be like when Grady saw Rollo and Lamont come out the gay movies in that one episode of Sanford & Son. I ain't trying to go out like that.
Also, this issue talked of Tito Ortiz boxing match, and made mention of Tito Ortiz and Jenna Jameson being a couple. Hard to believe how much of a bad ass Tito Ortiz was like five years ago. Now he's a washed-up fuckface, and his girlfriend is a skeleton with skin (according to recent pictures) who's fucked a million dudes. When Jenna Jameson still looked halfway decent, she was acceptable enough to overlook her career choice of having dicks stuffed inside of her, but now that she looks like The Cryptkeeper's little sister in a dress, it'd be hard to accept that shit, even for novelty's sake.
I bet there's a bunch of wrestling dork fags who would love to eat other dudes' cum out of Jenna Jameson's snatch though, and maybe MMA is sorta fixed and her relationship with Tito Ortiz is just a front to draw more wrestling fans to MMA.

MNZ: New York January 15, 2007

I have learned not to get New York magazine out the free bin at the library, because I am old enough to feel good about who I am, which is not a full of shit city fuck. (Of course, I realize the hypocrisy, because I am a full of shit semi-rural fuck, and far more self-aware than most semi-rural fucks.) New York magazine has entered the realm of mags that I flip through to see if there's an interesting article before I take a free copy of. But I took this one, because the cover story about NYC's new bohemian artists intrigued me.
This one guy, Dash Snow, who's name sounds made up, is some sort of Neil Cassady type, or so this article paints him out to be. His art consists of Polaroids of his fucked-up lifestyle, and pieces that are clippings of New York Post headlines about corrupt cops that he masturbates across. This, in itself, would be enough for me to judge him as full of shit (though I'm a sucker for Polaroid projects, I do admit, so not completely so), but on top of this he is some sort of disavowed heir to some super-rich art collector family. This means, no matter how hard he has been disavowed or clipped his family's tethers, he still comes from shitty rich people. Which means his Bohemian bullshit is like my kids putting on play clothes from the play clothes bin to pretend they're princesses.
You can't shake your lost in life, no matter how hard you try. You might be able to move a couple steps up the ladder and hope your offspring do the same, but you can't shake the tethers of your birth position. And some fucking fruity rich kid, even if he is slumming it up in NYC doing coke off other dudes' dicks and shit, can't jump far enough to escape the fat comfortable branches of his family tree. Fuck a Dash Snow. I bet his real name is far more stupid than that.

MNZ: Down Magazine Spring 07

Down Magazine's cover says in standard downloadable graffiti font that it is "dedicated to south (behind Mike Jones' head) & culture". I would bet it says "ern hip hop" behind his head, but who knows? We are in some shitty times in rap music. On the table of contents page, I was immediately forced with something I hate in rap thug style now, and that was Mike Jones having "ICE AGE" tattooed on his hand, facing out for others to see. Were I to get something tattooed on my hand in cursive handwriting, I would almost definitely get it tattooed to read easily to my eyeballs, because seriously, fuck the world.
Anyways, much like the entire shitty rap mag genre (Ozone, Murder Dog, so on and so forth), there's tons of noteworthy shit to remark upon, but I told myself I'd only comment on one thing or so per magazine for this faggot blog, so I will limit myself to the Devin the Dude interview, where he's sitting beside a volcano vaporizer, which was when I first finally understood why his album is called Waitin' to Inhale. In the interview, which was early before final mixing was done, the song Devin talked up was that "Almighty Dollar" song, which has become my favorite by far off that CD. Yet the ad in the mag hypes up the standard hired guns tracks of "What A Job" (featuring two really famous fuckers in Dre - the weird gay one not the doctoral one - and Snoop) and that girl lost gone bad song (featuring two really flavor of the month rappers in Bun B - who is awesome - and Lil Wayne - who is the rap Sanjaya). Still, a funny magazine and unlike Murder Dog and Ozone, whoever does this has not purposely broken the spell check on their laptop yet.

Tuesday, April 17

EWA100 - #59. Redman - Time 4 Sum Aksion

#59: Redman - Time 4 Sum Aksion (Def Jam. 1992. From the LP Whut? Thee Album)

Raven Mack:
CRAZY HYPE! DRINK DRINK DRINK, STOMP IN BIG BOOTS THROUGH CITY NIGHT TIME HYPE! HYPER-AGGRO ROCK-N-ROLL, YET BLACK DUDE IS COMICAL MAKING HIM LESS SCARY TO WHITE FOLKS' EARS HYPE! Seriously, this is one of the greatest songs ever to adrenalize to and get stoked up to whoop ass metaphorically. And Redman comes across as one of the best guys ever in hip hop, with songs like this and "Supaman Lover" (which I always loved, over-analysis-wise, because he's a superhero who just flew across the city, but he has to take the back steps of the projects because the elevator was broke; you've gotta be extra-retarded to think up shit like that), and then you see him just act a fool through his career and have dollar boxes and his gold record leaned against the wall behind the couch his cousin is sleeping on on MTV's Cribs, and you just know Redman is straight up Redman all day everyday. So that just makes you feel good about the dude, so not only does "Time 4 Sum Aksion" get you all stoked-up, but you feel good about it, which is what coffee would be like if it was stronger and punk ass shoppes didn't rip you off on some beanwater in a cup and if it didn't taste like ass. And plus, Redman doesn't eat up your stomach and make you shit.
Back when I was making like three mixtapes a week, I think I used this song forever on tapes, doing that Cypress Hill song leading into this line and then jumping into this one, but I was a dual tape deck mixmaster with the pause button, stop, pull the tape back a touch of a turn so the sounds would blend and not have that harsh stop button sound. And sometimes, you could jump into the Black Sheep song at the end, but they were so soft-sounding coming after Red getting all crackbaby on the tape for the three-and-a-half minutes previously.

Mike Dikk: This is the best non-EPMD beat Erick Sermon ever hooked up. It’s not even up for debate. He did his best job to channel the Bomb Squad to form this amalgamation of pleasurable and intense sounds. It’s like an aural equivalent of putting a plastic bag over your head before you cum or punching yourself in the dick or whatever else weird pervos do to get off. It completely sold the whole rap Incredible Hulk gimmick Redman was doing on this record.
Since this whole list is about being Da Rillest of Da Rill, it goes without saying that Redman is one of, if not the realest dude out there. He’s the kind of guy who would turn down an industry party because he just bought Madden and wants to go play it with his boys. I know that whole Cribs thing was cool and all, and I’ve always wondered if at least some of it (especially the cousin sleeping on the floor thing) was a little exaggerated for the cameras, then I think of all the other wacky stuff Redman has been rumored to do and all the retarded shit he’s come up with to rap about, and it clears any doubt in my head. I’d like to share some of those rumors for the people who may not have heard about them or read them in something else more popular.
I can’t remember if it was for his sitcom (which I never actually saw, and sometimes think it was a big hoax, but he mentions it in that “Greedy Bitches” song, so I guess it was real) or for How High, but supposedly Redman was pissed that they expected him to wear clothes from the wardrobe department and he wanted to wear his own clothes. I wish there was some reality television show following him around when that went down. I’m not sure if he ended up getting his way and got to wear his own clothes, but something tells me he did. That’s just one of those admirable kinds of things the everyman can look up to and give a glimmer of hope that if you ever accidentally become famous or hit the lotto, you can still be down to earth enough to only feel comfortable in your own clothes.
There was also a rumor that I definitely didn’t read anywhere reputable that Redman rolled up into Queens alone, without a gun or any other kind of scary weapon and punked out Mobb Deep and their whole crew because of the little beef they had with Def Squad for a minute. Again, I can only believe this because it’s Redman, and I wouldn’t fuck with Redman no way, no how. Back to the Cribs thing, any dude who has been rapping since I was in 8th grade has enough money to live in a suburb somewhere. If that dude is content living in a shitty, barely furnished house in a terrible part of New Jersey, he is most definitely content with fucking you and your boys up with his fists and Timberlands.
Lastly, this isn’t so much of a rumor, but when I first found out about entire blogs dedicated to the hip hop, I read some story about how the author was on a plane with Redman around the time his first LP was out. He had the toilet paper up his nose and everything. That’s not the best part though. He was sitting on the plane with his walkman on rapping along to his own record. Someone who can do that without it being an ego thing is clear from being talked badly about. I’ll admit to not being that into Redman’s last... several... records, but I never look at it as his fault. I’m just not too into the beats. The dude is still rapping like he rapped from day one way back when I had the red and black lumberjack, with the hat to match. If you can’t respect that, better yet, if you can’t appreciate that, then we can’t be friends.

Download: Redman - Time 4 Sum Aksion

Watch the video:

EWA100 - #60. Diamond D - Best Kept Secret

60. Diamond and the Psychotic Neurotics - Best Kept Secret (Mercury. 1992. From the LP Stunts, Blunts And Hip Hop)

Mike Dikk: I’ve been sitting on this blurb for a while now because I can’t think of anything that sensational to write about this song. Don’t get me wrong, you can count me as a fan, but this record came out during a time where the ratio of good records to terrible records was exceptionally higher than any other time in hip hop. So much so, that the album was kind of lost in the shuffle until recently when the good ol’ internet resurrected it and dubbed it a lost classic.
Rapping-wise, Diamond wasn’t going to set your ass on fire, but with Diamond, it was definitely more about the beats. The beats are total boner mania on the whole damn thing, and it’s hilarious to think one of the biggest complaints about it at the time was the length. There were just too many songs! Now I would give an appendage for a hip hop CD with this much quality music on it. Actually, that’s a lie. As much as I like music, I enjoy my limbs a lot more.
“Best Kept Secret” was the lead single (I think so; if not, perhaps a nerd can correct me) and it was definitely the standout of the record along with “Sally Got A One Track Mind”. I remember it was a staple on mixtapes back then. Not like homemade ones, but actual DJ mixtapes when those existed. Outside of that, the only thing at all interesting that I can say here is that I was in the city (for those of you not from the northeast, “The City” always means “New York City”) this weekend with my roommate, and he was wearing an Ultimate Force sweatshirt, which I guess Ultimate Force had printed up a year or so ago for a reunion that may or may not have happened. Anyway, some stylish looking grubby bum told him that it was a very eye-catching sweatshirt, mainly due to the neon orange highlights on it, not because he was an Ultimate Force/Diamond D fan. Of course I could be wrong. Maybe bums know more dumb shit about rap music than us normal people with computers.

Raven Mack: I can’t front… I know I’m an old head and you have to put forth this know-it-all level of comprehension of your chosen field of dorkery when you dabble in the internet or even zine world, but I completely slept on Diamond the first time around. I guess Mike’s right, that was a heavy time for good hip hop – so much so that I was probably immersed into some individual branch of it at the time this first Diamond LP rolled out. It’s the consumer mentality to wrap yourself up in the fabric of a specific flavor of something, so you can feel like some misunderstood genius (internet and zines are full of those types) because I know so much about something so little. It’s how a dude who collects action figures moves onto being an anime dork moves onto eventually owning the soundtrack to Hair in nineteen different languages.
My man Born King used to speak highly of Diamond, though we’d usually just listen to some shitty rock-n-roll when sitting on the couch out front of his apartment building playing huvna. But it was around that time that I found myself non-unemployed for a good steady year or so, which is pretty amazing considering how much of a drunkard and unmotivated I was back then, and since I was sharing a trailer with a dude at $200 a month, I had mad extra spending loot. So of course, I got back into hitting the record store every Friday, buying up all the shit that even looked interesting. This was probably the last flourish that hip hop had, with Rawkus first jumping off, me copping the first MF Doom single without even knowing the story at that point of who he was or what he’d become, and I got the first single off of Diamond’s second as-yet-unreleased LP. That single was bonkers. Back then, since I did a lot of driving, I’d make a 100-minute mixtape every Sunday afternoon, like clockwork, so new shit from Friday had a chance to get listened to to make the tape, and the best shit from previous weeks would be on there. The stupid kid in the first trailer in the trailer park was selling dubs of my mixes and shit too at his stupid faggot richboy college, even though I wasn’t really mixing anything, just doing dual deck cuts and moving the tape back a touch of a finger turn so there were no hard popping cuts… straight up retard science, but still, retard science is a major influence in hip hop (“power from the streetlights made the streets dark…”). Immediately, I bought up all the new Diamond that came out, including that second LP, and I know Diamond gets not much love as an MC, but he’s got that perfect laid back flow that’s definitely brought up in that “party people” era, but more grown folks sounding.
Once time passed and buying records at the record store no longer became part of my life, and I had internet so you could just ask somebody to steal something for you if you couldn’t steal it yourself, I got the back catalog of Diamond, and yeah, he’s always been awesome. This song is great, but no greater than almost every other Diamond song. I guess this was the famous one or something from back when I was looking in a different direction.
I also remember reading in The Source way back that Diamond, who was originally Diamond D, had to drop the D because some whiteboy rapper had trademarked that name. I never saw a whiteboy rapper named Diamond D, although I often get Milkbone images in my head when I try to remember if I ever heard of him. I bet that fucker runs a Foot Locker or something now, that old trademarking-assed whiteboy called Diamond D. He probably just goes by Doug nowadays, and poor Diamond has just accepted being just Diamond. It’s one of those instances where bullshit legal matters gets in the way of what’s right. The law is here to protect business interests, not the Rill Shit.

Download: Diamond D - Best Kept Secret

Watch the video:

Thursday, April 12

MNZ: Atlantis Rising May/June 2007

They offer up a free subscription to someone who doesn’t live within 100 miles of you with a paid subscription, and this is the last issue of my free subscription that someone gave me. This is all new age hokey nonsense, with flashy covers and no substance. Promises of secret sects and genetic freaks from the cover usually result in nothing much if at all and a ton of stupid DVD ads. In fact, in a whole issue of getting this thing, only two good things have ever came from it… Once, I met a dude named Stephen Buener because I was painting a house and he told the people I had a good aura and the house wanted me to paint it, and it was all true. And secondly, I used a couple issues of this during visits from the mother-in-law to occupy her schizophrenic-tendencied mind long enough to not bother me with the same shit she bothered me with about two hours earlier.