RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition who publishes zines & physical books & electronic books & music & photography & digital art & just generally whatever feels necessary to survive this deluded earth thru Rojonekku Word Fighting Arts survival systems (Version 69, establish 14 Feb 1973). Comments encouraged.

Tuesday, July 31

EWA100 - #28. Boogie Down Productions - The Bridge is Over



#28: Boogie Down Productions - The Bridge Is Over (B-Boy. 1987. From the LP Criminal Minded)

Mike Dikk: In order to relate to all you nerds out there, I will use a nerd comparison here. That piano bit in “The Bridge is Over” is just like Darth Vader’s Imperial Death March. Once you hear it, you know it’s on. It’s a simple melody ingrained into every aging hip hoppers head, more classic than Shell Toe Adidas and Gazelles.
I’m not so sure that this song translates well to the younger generation. The song’s subject is about a rap beef people stopped caring about a long time ago and KRS uses that faux Jamaican patois flow that isn’t at all new or fresh anymore. At the same time, I feel all the best stuff is usually something that involves a good idea, but also revolves around a simple approach. I mean, I mainly don’t care about hip hop made before 1988, and this song enters slightly below my imaginary cutoff date, but I don’t like most of the other stuff because it’s all kinds of corny.
Let me bust it for you. There have been around ten billion video games made over the last five hundred years. Personally, I prefer things like Madden and lately I’ve been addicted to MLB: The Show 07, along with some Marvel Superheroes game where you do all kinds of wacky shit and have to solve clues and press multiple button combinations in order to shoot lightning from your face. Now I’m sure there are a ton of other people out there that find those games fun, but you could take all of those people and let them have babies with each other for 50 years until all the babies of the babies became horrendous freaks of incest with fingers growing out of their eye sockets and tongues for toes, and that still wouldn’t add up to the amount of people who’ve played and enjoyed Tetris or Pac-Man
Both aren’t my favorite games by far, but you can’t knock their hustle. There is no one out there who can’t have a good time playing Tetris, which is a game where you fit blocks together in a uniform pattern, so that makes it almost a derivative of those Shape-In-Hole tests you give to two year olds to make sure they aren’t retarded (yet). Pac-Man is a game that takes place in a simple maze, and your only real objective is to not get eaten by a ghost. Again, real simple shit.
I don’t want to get off track too far here, but my point is, if simple shit is done right, it’s going to outlast complicated flashy shit every time. There are a few other songs on this list that fall into that category but we haven’t gotten to them and I don’t want to blow my load. There is nothing complicated going on in “The Bridge is Over”. The drum pattern is: KICK KICK SNARE/SNARE KICK SNARE, with hardly any changes. I don’t know how to play the piano, but I don’t imagine it would take me too long to learn that melody. Still though, this song sounds as good as it did the day I first heard it. “The Bridge is Over” is the difference between “Classic” and “Dated”. While most of the stuff from that time period sounds dated, this song is a classic. I doubt that was intentional, since this song was initially used as a cheap attention getter, but that’s how it turned out in the end.

Raven Mack: First time my little country boy ass went to the big city of New York was in 1988 (I was fifteen, for the record), and this tape had been in constant rotation amongst my circle of young upwardly mobile drug-dabbling delinquents by that point. The one thing I remember riding into NYC on the charter bus my public school locked down for the trip was that the scenery - all the crazy clustered chaos that a large congestion of humanity like New York City will deliver - it looked like Criminal Minded sounded. Seriously. Maybe I was a chump ass kid thinking that, and I didn't really tell anybody else I thought that because being a music faggot who thought up stupid shit like that was not necessarily, nor should it ever be, something to be proud of and share, except on the anonymous internet. That field trip we stayed at the YMCA (small southern town public school class for sure) and I remember me and this other dude sneaking off on the last day to blow all our money on bongs and swords in Times Square to smuggle back to Farmville, VA, to sell at a nice mark-up, and some dude actually called us aside to try and sell us crack. (My folks gave me $300 for the trip, which at the time I didn't think much of, but knowing my family and the times, that was probably their life savings, and I came back with no money left, not telling them about the bongs and swords, which I sold and pocketed the money, although I think I eventually gave my dad one of the bongs a year or two later.)
And no matter how weird hip hop music gets, it is something that was born in New York. I am not from New York, nor do I even attempt to speak for it. Shit, I'd prefer to never go back again, because even though most anything awesome you can think of is going on somewhere in NYC, at the same time the most fucked up shit imagineable is going on there too - dudes having Barbie dolls pulled from their ass to simulate birth in S&M clubs and shit. But when you hear a pure New York song like "The Bridge Is Over", there is no denying it's hip hopness. No denying it. And right now, everybody's on this "the south sucks" kick, which it does, but it's pop rap and pop rap has always sucked. But instead of having actual roots-oriented hip hop coming out, dudes are throwing "the New NYC Anthem" bullshit songs at the wall hoping it sticks so they can be the savior of NYC. And all of it sucks. Because it's not New York (again, I'm speaking out my ass here).
I remember reading some shit a year or two back where someone was talking about how Dipset sounded like New York City, perfectly encapsulating the vibe, and all that did was make me think I was glad I had gone to NYC back in '88 and not in '05 or whatever. I had heard things had been cleaned up and Disneyfied sterilized homogenized, but if Dipset sounded like New York City looked... fuck, I can probably do without.
The great thing about this song, too, is the Hip Hop Lives CD that came out this year, where Marley Marl and KRS came together for a nice trip down nostalgia lane, and there was mention of how this beef was allowed to happen, which created KRS's career. But at the same time, this shit really just made MC Shan obsolete. Not eventually, but immediately. And I guess if KRS gets Shan onto a Sprite commercial in the mid-'90s and then there's mention of him again nowadays, it's all good, but seriously, he destroyed Shan.
Also, as a final note of internet rap nerd dorkery, I'll just tell you, the tape this comes off of is probably, to me, the greatest pure hip hop record that was ever made. I have never dorked out and doodled on scrap paper my penultimate list of the Ten Must-Have Desert Island Hip Hop Records and not had this drawn in on the first draft.

Download: BDP - The Bridge is Over

I never knew this had a "real" music video. Here it is, and it looks to be around 400 years old:

The Confederate Mack zine - issue 45


Here is issue 45 of my The Confederate Mack zine (R.I.P.), in pdf form for you to scope the fuck out. I actually looked through this one, so I can tell you this went down during election time in 2004, because it has my 12-pack Election Coverage, which is probably one of the funniest shits I ever did in my zine in the last few years. I actually lost some friends over that stuff, because I wasn't sucking John Kerry's dick like everybody who cared about the earth and people and killing unborn babies and shit like that was supposed to.
DL it, check it, and post commentations if you feel like it. I ain't got shit going on around this blog too much so it makes me feel like I'm not a complete fucking loser if somebody posts a comment. But then I see it's one of the same fools who always post comments.

MNZ: Wrestling Observer Newsletter July 5, July 10, July 19, July 23, and July 30, 2007

I got back into the dork matrix to get bootleg copies of this shit (thanks David Bixenspan!), and we’ll just call this set of wrestle dork newsletters the Chris Benoit brouhaha, because it’s mostly about dude flipping out and fucking up his fam, and then the dorks-who-love wrestling fall-out. The thing, to be honest, I don’t think one person in real world life has even mentioned this Chris Benoit thing at all, except to be like, “Yo, that dude was fucked up.” Wrestling dorks thinking it will somehow cause some giant reaction to wrestling being full of twisted drug addicts and sexual perverts is really just them trying to feel better about wasting all their waking time on grown me pretending to fight each other. Nobody really cares. The Congress just asked for some drug record shit, but that’s just stupid shit that’ll blow over. Nobody’s gonna study concussed brains or steroids use or any dumb science shit like that due to wrestling, mostly because it’s still wrestling. It’s for retards and children and rural dimwits (like myself), not to be analyzed and studied as some sort of unappreciated art.
I think what drove this all home for me was when this wrestler dude John Kronus died, who I loved because he did stupid shit and would bleed a whole lot, well he died from in all likelihood a drug overdose. And it came to light that he was a mental half-wit, who couldn’t even sign contracts and shit like that on his own, so his original tag team partner did it for him, then bolted on dude because he got sick of his simpleton ways. The professional wrestling gave this mental half-wit John Kronus a steady job for a while where he got to travel, got free drugs, and would be able to publicly do the retarded shit he wanted to do, for a cheering audience. You can’t clean up a shady industry that rolls like that. And why would you want to? Fuck having drug-free long-full-life homos on my TV screen pretending to fight each other. Pro wrestling is only awesome when it is completely retarded and has crazy fuckers acting evil so that drunk fuckers who act good can fight them inside of contraptions and everybody bleeds and we all yell at the shit we’re watching and it’s all good. Drug-free wrestling would probably be as exciting as strike-era scab football. I mean, if they do anything to the wrestlers, I would say it be required of them to use recreational drugs on top of the steroids because dudes who only use steroids alone, to look muscular, those dudes are fucking weird and could probably use some weed or hydrocodone or psilocybin or something to open them up to not being such a homo for themselves.

MNZ: Mass Appeal #46


This was a rather ho-hum issue of Mass Appeal, but it’s one of my favorite mags going right now, and even a shitty issue of it is going to have two or three things better than most other cutting edge graffiti artist old school where are they now hero indie rap loving hip hop magazines.

Wednesday, July 25

EWA100 - #29. Run-D.M.C. - Sucker MC's



29. Run-D.M.C. - Sucker M.C.s (Krush Groove 1) (Profile. 1984. From the LP Run-D.M.C.)

Raven Mack: Here is what I originally wrote: "Run-DMC, for me, is like what Mike said about Illmatic - there's no real distinguishing their shit completely. I mean, when they were on top of things in the mid-'80s, there was nobody even close to them, so all the big ass songs they had from then sort of blend together in my mind as just them destroying everything else that was out there.
Seriously though, Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons were on some hip hop illuminati bullshit back then. I mean, I don't know if Rubin was even around yet or had anything to do with Run-DMC, who were two more than competent MCs already, spicing their shit with some rock guitar cuts and just generally fucking the world up, being to that point hip hop was on some synthesized perfect beat bullshit.
It's sad that two dudes couldn't wear matching porkpie hats and victimize imaginary MCs lyrically any more in the rappitty music. I mean, even that "Down With the King" comeback in the early '90s was kinda dated sounding and halfway pathetic, but another fifteen years later? Run-DMC style is obsolete, regardless of how much sentimentality R.I.P. Jammaster Jay thoughts can give you. I read an article about old NFL players who are living off like $12,000 a year now, all crippled and shit, and it makes me wonder what happens to old rappers? I mean, you know the DMC dude is paid because he's Russell Simmons' brother, so they're probably doing yoga together on black sand beaches in high-priced coves Hawaii-way. But what about Reverend Run?
Also, I have never seen Krush Groove. Some may think this makes me not properly educated to be speaking on some Run-DMC, or even old school hip hop in general, but I prefer to think it makes me someone who's not a fag who watched a lot of stupid ass movies. I'd probably watch it nowadays, but it's even stupider-looking to be renting a fuckin' Krush Groove VHS from the sun-faded videotape section at the back end of the video store than it would've been to be some chump-ass kid sitting there watching that shit back in the day. So I'll let it slide."
Then Mike called me on having the dudes mixed up and being full of shit on a couple of matters, and I was gonna do a third part to the blurb, but that would destroy the format we've stuck to all the way through on this endless jaunt down memory lane, so I decided to just rewind a couple paragraphs and come completely clean...
I could give half a fuck about Run-DMC. Seriously. When I was like 12, "You Be Illin'" was hilarious, and that Christmas song is funny in my mind, but every year when the local indie station plays it, the only part I like is the first two lines where "Hollis, Queens" rhymes with "collard greens". And now that I'm an old rap nerd, I know you're supposed to allow Run and DMC's dicks double penetrate my hip hop elevated mind, but I just don't get into them. I like that bell-heavy breakbeat from that one joint that every DJ ever has sense enough to use to this day, and I like to use my children's names in place of Mary to say "Gypsy Gypsy, why you buggin'?" when my kids won't pick up their damn Polly Pockets all over the kitchen floor. But I don't give a fuck about Run-DMC. This song could be replaced with any of like eight other songs by them, so we could have our token Run-DMC-we're-not-completely-oblivious-to-common-rap-dork-consensus-opinion song on the list.

Mike Dikk: Raven’s write up is filled with so many falsehoods and blasphemies, I’m not sure if he’s for real or if it’s some kind of joke I don’t get. First of all, I am around six years younger than Raven, so I came up on rap the same time Def Jam was coming up and getting popular, so I missed the initial wave of stuff like Grandmaster Flash and all those groups with 3s, 4s and 5s in their name. So I’m coming from a whole different perspective when it comes to Run D.M.C., and they were actually one of my least favorite groups when I got into rap music, mainly because of the annoying “Walk This Way” song. Def Jam originated that concept of making a corny radio-friendly single to lure the masses into buying the album. Those are the songs that always stick out for me when I think of Run DMC, and it makes me subconsciously hate them.
Secondly, Rubin was definitely around during the creation of Run D.M.C. I highly doubt they would have had so many guitar noises if it wasn’t for him, since that’s kind of like his trademark. Well, now his trademark is looking like a fat slob in UGG boots and sweatpants and trying to resurrect the careers of has-been acts.
Also, Run is Russell’s brother. If you watch his reality TV show, you’ll see he is very well off. I assume Russell and Run own Run DMC’s publishing. Anytime you catch an interview with DMC, he’s looking real broke on some anonymous basketball court somewhere in Queens. It always makes me feel sorry for him. I’m not sure if he secretly has a ton of money and he chooses not to show it, or if the Simmons brothers really fucked him over. I know he had a drug problem for a while, but who doesn’t?
If it’s any indication by the circumstances of his death, Jam Master Jay was keeping it gully even into his twilight years, so I imagine he wasn’t exactly well off either. Regardless, when you are the second most universally known rap group of all time (behind the Beastie Boys), there is no reason you should be looking poor on television or getting involved in shady alleged drug deals and ending up murdered. So if the Simmons brothers really did walk away (or, Walk This Way) with all the money from Run DMC and they couldn’t kick back a chunk of dough to the other guys, then they are quite possibly the biggest douchebags in rap music.
Lastly, not seeing Krush Groove? That’s just weird. I’m not the type to hype up all those old rap movies. In fact, I think Wild Style kind of sucks and that’s usually the most celebrated one. I do think Krush Groove is a lot better than any of those other movies (besides Disorderlies) though. It’s like $6 at the Wal-Marts, so you should do yourself a favor and check it out, Raven.
Okay, now we can move onto the song. When I listened to this to get in preparation of writing this (which was now around six years ago), I assumed it would be one of the many Run DMC songs I don’t really remember. The only time I hear Run DMC is by accident. I would never, ever listen to them on purpose. I was surprised to find out that I knew DMC’s verse word for word, which made me remember that when I was very young (like single digits, not 15), me and my friend Kenny would dress up like rappers and “perform” this song for his family. I got seven notches more gay just by admitting that.
Speaking of performing Run DMC songs, when I was in 6th grade, my class had to do this mandatory talent show thing for Christmas. My teacher, who was pretty young, thought it would be cute if we did an act to “Christmas in Hollis” by Run DMC. Basically, two kids would pretend to be Run DMC and lip synch the words, while the rest of us stood behind them and held up pictures we drew and colored ourselves to coincide with the words being said in the song. There was an INXS video at the time that used a gimmick somewhat like this and my teacher, being a total fruit, thought it was a cool idea.
I’d like to say this was some kind of pivotal mortifying moment of my life, but it wasn’t. I remember not liking the clothes my mom bought me for the show. It was some kind of velour striped turtle neck and husky boy jeans. I also remember this one girl who was from one of those black French speaking countries and could barely speak English, had to draw Snow White for one of her signs, and she made Snow White black. Even though 80% of my class was black, they still thought she was really weird for doing that. That concludes the story of my life with Run DMC.

************
At some point, Raven went back and rewrote some of his shit because I called him out as being possibly only an Intermediate Whiteboy instead of an Expert Whiteboy, so if some of my stuff I said doesn't make sense now, it's all his fault. While I'm here, I'd also like to add that I recently saw Michael Ian Black and Michael Schowalter do some stand up comedy live and in person. Michael Schowalter did this whole bit using old pictures from when he was a kid. He said he grew up in a pretty well-off family and then went to summer camp and got into rap music. The pictures showed his drastic change from dork clothes to sideways hats and big shirts. He then said, "We would listen to all the classics by such groups as Run D.M.C. and... Run D.M.C.". This doesn't really have anything to do with anything, but I just thought it was funny.

Download: Run-D.M.C. - Sucker MC's

There's a real video for this, but I'm putting up a "Live Performance" from Graffiti Rock where they "battle" Kool Moe Dee & Special K (Treacherous 3) after the song.


Monday, July 23

EWA100 - #30. Ultramagnetic MC's - Poppa Large (East Coast Mix)



#30: Ultramagnetic MCs - Poppa Large (East Coast Mix) (Mercury. 1992. From the LP Funk Your Head Up)

Mike Dikk: I’ve put "Poppa Large" on more mixtapes than any other song ever. If I go back and look at my tracklists for all the mixtapes I’ve made various people, it really shows my lack of creativity when it comes to that sort of stuff. A lot of people are under the impression that I make really great mixtapes, but the truth is, I’ve mentally cataloged a small handful of songs that everyone I know should like, and I put those songs on everything I make. I put this song on tapes (actually, CDs now) for people who don’t even like rap music, because if you don’t like "Poppa Large", you’re not human.
Ultramag gets a lot of praise on the internet these days. Their whole catalog is openly celebrated and it floats through the internet’s illegal download canals popping boners worldwide. I know it’s blasphemy to say, but you can throw out the rest of Ultramag’s catalog and I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it. Sure, it was all ahead of it’s time at the time, but it’s now very dated and somewhat irrelevant, except for this song.
This song single-handedly paved the way for Kool Keith’s amazing post-UMC output. He worked the same style of rapid-fire crazy man rhymes into all of his best solo projects. It’s been well documented that this song was conceived through the influence of cocaine, and if you’ve done coke before, you know it gives you this enormous feeling of self-worth and false brilliance. At some point you sober up, and you realize everything you said while you were high was bullshit and you’re still the same sack of shit loser you were before. "Poppa Large" was a cocaine high at its full realization. It’s everything cocaine is supposed to be to everyone who uses it, but very rarely does a person actually achieve their goal of creativity and brilliance beyond their normal output level, but Keith beat the odds and hit a grand slam.
To top it off, you can’t find another video that fits the mood of a song as perfectly as the video to "Poppa Large". Keith is running around grimy locales in a straightjacket and birdcage on his head, and Bono sunglasses way before Bono even rocked them. Spitting schizophrenic syllables like one of those demons from anime movies that have a hundred dicks that shoot out of their chest, except instead of dicks, Keith has words and couplets spurting from every pore of his body and raping any nearby bug-eyed schoolgirl verbally. “Pick ‘em up, eat ‘em up, Pick ‘em up, beat ‘em up. Pick ‘em up, pimplehead. Pick ‘em up, picky. I roll wit globs and I cum real sticky.” That shit looks simplistic and silly on paper, but Keith works it into a frenzy until you are absolutely convinced he’s the best fucking rapper on the planet. A lot of people will say Rakim or Wu or Nas, or BIG, but to me, this is the most quotable rap song ever made, and it’s way more quotable than that Big Lebowski movie and morons all over the country have Big Lebowski parties where they dress up like the characters and smoke joints and watch the movie for the 900th time. Why aren’t there "Poppa Large" parties? Fuck, I’m not fat enough (yet) to get the lyrics to an entire rap song tattooed on me, but if I had to do such a thing, it would be this song, and I’d make sure to get the “cum real sticky” part right above my junk, because that would be cute.

Raven Mack: At one point, I still considered myself stylish enough and good-looking enough to be cool, so I didn't fuck with retarded shit. And now, it's not so much I'm not stylish or good-looking so much as I'm old so my style and looks is dated and makes the Lil Mamas with their cum-glazed lip gloss roll their eyes at me instead of give a second lascivious look. So I sorta missed out on a lot of the Ultramagnetic love the first time around because they were in that kook genre of hip hop where you had to be hardcore or weird to get into it. Still, "Poppa Large" filtered into my too-cool world, and good lord, of course Kool Keith did, because I am a white dude. Around 1996, I think it was standard Whiteboy Talking Points Bulletin Point #3 to jock Kool Keith as the greatest rapper to ever breath oxygen on earth or elsewhere maybe.
Kool Keith for me, at this point, creates conflict. I have thoroughly enjoyed some of his solo shit (probably my favorite, oddly and contrarian enough, would be the tape of Mathew), and some of it is just what it is - stupid weird shit that's weird for the sake of being weird. However, my enjoyment of Kool Keith is so far outweighed by giant fucking doofuses living every aspect of their life in ironic comedy explaining to me how great Kool Keith is, it's hard for me to even give half a fuck about him. I am sure, when we were compiling this list about four years ago when we started, I probably never voted for this "Poppa Large" track because of that. Even though it's a great fucking song. Mike's right - Keith is dialed in on this one like few rappers have ever gotten themselves dialed in for a track. I also am glad this list forced me to rediscover this song, although because of my aforementioned Kool Keith personal conflict, I can only enjoy it during completely solo private moments.
(Also, don't be the cuntface who tells me, "Hey, if you like something, you should just like it because fuck all those other people." Yeah right. When the poorly-complexioned chubster comic book geek who is mad cool on dark corners of internet forumland starts wearing t-shirts of some shit you like, you know it's time to leave that shit behind. Guilt by association, and regardless of how good something is, you don't need to get yourself all associated with faggots. Of course, that's more of my too-cool attitude coming through again, but fuck it; it got me this far, I'll take it to the grave.)

Download: Ultramagnetic MC's - Poppa Large (East Coast Mix)

Watch the video:


Friday, July 20

MNZ: Vice Magazine Volume 14 Number 7


This was the best issue of Vice I’ve ever seen, because it was mostly just photos being it’s their photo issue, and some of it wasn’t mad gay like most Vice shit. Pics of Salvadoran gangbangers’ goofy clown tattoos and Mexican murder mag shots is good enough stuff. But then it got into the creepy Vice sexual aesthetic shit, where scrawny chicks are pissing in toilets. The weirdest thing was the face and ass match shit they had in the back where it had like six or seven chicks’ faces and their asses and you were supposed to try and match it. There was not one decent ass amidst all the chicks. Vice has this weird attraction to little girls who are sexual, with straight line figures. That shit freaks me out. Then again, everything freaks me out. I should not be on the internet at all; I should be on Zoloft. (That’s fucked up Microsoft world automatically capitalized that shit… oh shit, it did it with Microsoft too. Hold up, let me see something… illuminati... no, it didn’t do that one. Trying to keep it underground... silent weapons for quiet wars.)

Thursday, July 19

PP: Part Thirteen


Plywood window on house, plus garbage window on car. Ahh, Richmond's notorious Jeff Davis Highway corridor, will you ever cease to impress me visually? One time, looking for houses, I looked near this area at a place which is the only house I've ever looked at to rent that had actual bulletholes in the door. Of course, I didn't rent it. A little further down got taken over by Mexicans, and used to be a pretty nice type of Mexican immigrant locale when the Mexican invasion was newer to this part of the south, but now it's overrun with those younger grimy Mexicans who grew up on gangsta rap and like to chop each other with machetes. Used to be a great ass joint called El Pollo Loco there, which didn't even have normal Mexican restaurant shit like you always see, but you'd go in and order a steak and it'd come out with peppers and onions and salsa and sour cream and some heated homemade burrito shells with a bowl of pintos. That place was tight, but every time I went, it was like I was raiding an indio village for copper or some shit. I guess that comes with being a stupid gringo though.

Slow rolling blur style. This photo was taken on Spring Street in Oregon Hill in Richmond, Virginia, about half a block from the house where we had my oldest kid. I used to love Oregon Hill. It was this scummy white trash neighborhood where all the older folks were like Merle Haggard songs and all the kids were more Paul Wall than Paul Wall, just broker because they didn't hook up with a China-dude to sell jewelry to rappers, and at first, we were outsiders - stupid college kids moving into the neighborhood and fucking up the natural ambiance of people doing crack in alleys and having regular fistfights at the main intersection, just for the tradition of it. But once we had a kid, we were more accepted and the teenage hoochie mamas even knew our daughter's name and would give her ghetto barbie dolls where the head would fall off when you actually played with it. About the time we moved out, more financially astute outsider white people moved into the neighborhood and attempted to gentrify it, which made property taxes go up, running out some of the locals whose families had been there for three or four generations, and then no one actually bought the gentrified townhouses because, dude, it's in scummy Oregon Hill, so they are mostly abandoned and that has brought in outsider crackhead influences, thus making the place even scummier than before. Thanks well-to-do white people, for ruining yet another perfectly fine thing.

The smiley face sign is not actually attached to the truck, but this truck sits at an abandoned car wash place in Buckingham County, and I've always wondered why the fuck that sign was there. Like what type of business in the middle of a rural backwards county in central Virginia where the best opportunity awaiting you is to either leave or work at the Food Lion would need a giant smiley face sign? The fact somebody is attempting to sell a late model pick-up painted pink, including pink grill, pink camper shell, and pink rims just adds to the weirdness. Of course, this is within half an hour of my home and on the way to where I grew up, which probably explains to you fake ass internet strangers partially why I'm so retarded.

Oh Fulton Hill in Richmond's seedy east end, why must you hide your true flavor? You can tell from the gold-tone paint and the nice wire rims that this is a sweet ride, but didn't dude hear that Richboy song? He should've thrown some dubs on this thing. Relatedly, I was riding around the day I took this through Fulton Hill and there was a crazy awesome ghetto fab Cadillac outside a barber shop and I did a loop thinking about popping out and taking a Polaroid of it, but if you know anything about ghetto barber shops, usually there's a whole lot more than cut hair going on in those joints, so I figured it would be best to avoid terrible car chases and potential beatdowns over a stupid Polaroid.

MNZ: Ozone June 2007


Ozone ripped me off on a $10 subscription, and I wasn’t gonna buy that shit forever again, but then I saw a copy at the grocery store (Ozone’s distribution system is reflicted as shit; like you can’t find it at most bookstores but it’ll show up in a pharmacy all of a sudden or at 7-Eleven or some oddball shit) and had to get it, because Ozone is probably the most unintentionally hilarious shit to ever hit glossy pages. Seriously. They have a Top 25 Moments in Southern Hip Hop History article, which was probably made up by two people the night before the magazine was supposed to hit the printers. At least I hope it was, because that shit was stupider than fuck. Lil Flip vs. T.I. was one of them moments, because it showed how southern rappers could have serious beef in hip hop grand stage. Hunh? Also, DJ Drama getting busted was on there, too. Didn’t that happen like 3 months ago? And don’t DJs realize that their shit has always been illegal which is why you never sold at places like Best Buy or Tower? You sold your mixes at mom-and-pop stores or those type of record stores that were more a front for selling crack vials and glass bongs in the back room. I mean, I understand wanting to make more money, but taking legitimate business steps to make more money through your illegitimate business endeavors? I’m not gonna be too sad when legitimate cop eyeballs find your shit out and bust you.
Anyways, Julia Beverly is the homely looking chick who runs Ozone, wearing her signature white t-shirt and ugly stick-beaten grin. And I can only assume from the seven thousand pages of candid snapshots of the southern semi-famous, that she must be fucking T.J. Chapman. Most everybody else in those stupid pics, I might have heard of somewhere else, but I’ve never seen that dude mentioned anywhere but in Ozone, and he’s got ads and articles and 19 pictures and whatever. Fuck Ozone. Still, once or twice a year, it’s totally worth the money for laughter and myspace page mental bookmarking.
Also, while looking for a pic of the cover to include, came across this retarded page on their website, which looks to be just the entire June 2007 issue as jpgs if you wanted to peruse the shit in the comfort of the interwebz.

PP: Part Twelve


I like the way old polished black cars have that weird shine when you take a picture of them. This is a sweet car, and sometimes I wish it became stylish to not customize anything and black quarterbacks and cornrowed point guards with arm socks and unintelligible cocaine rappers all just drove stocked out swank old cars like this. Also, an enjoyable for me aspect of some of these stupid Polaroids is it could've been forty years ago, except in this one there's that rusting late '80s Dodge van in the background to confuse you. Plus the picture's not all scratched up yet.

This scene was on the side of 33 heading into West Virginia, and I know I should've broke into the house and snooped around, it being obviously abandoned, because I bet there was some awesome stupid shit I could've took back to Richmond and made a killing selling to retro vintage stores. In fact, that'd be a good business, except if I ended up riding through country roads in West Virginia as a business, all I'd do is drink beer. And anyways, I have my own business - being a stupid housepainter - and I blew off that own job in central Virginia to go cruising around West Virginia one day to take Polaroids of dilapidated shit for no reason.

I am a fan of the Dodge trucks, and this was at a farm we camped at a month or so back with a bunch of other folks, a lot of whom annoyed the shit out of me, so I would wander off into the woods by myself and sleep in a tree while pretending to read Tu Fu. I'm mad homo like that sometimes. Anyways, this was the truck dude who owned the farm stuck all his trashbags in the back of, and when it was fulled up, he'd drive the truck to the roadside dumpsters down the road. I hope to one day reach a point in life where I have an old pick-up truck barely peeking out of a ragged shed owned solely to keep one type of thing in.

I really enjoy how this car looks like a zombie monster evil car from North Carolina during 1980s horror slasher flick heyday, but it got killed by sexy starlet who ended up being one of the hot daughters on Just The Ten Of Us. It looks, though, that it could be resurrected at any point, which afears me, since it's less than twenty minutes from my home. Although I guess if I have to die, being murdered by an inhumane monster car in tarheel blue highlighted by rust would be one of the better ways.

Miller High Life Light


AFFORDABILITY: Shit is mad cheap, but you know this. I hate the stupid long and skinny 12-pack boxes, and usually avoid them completely, but I was feeling like getting down with this brand again, which used to be at one point my second most-drank flavor of pisswater. 5 out of 5.
DESTROYABILITY: Again, it’s cheap beer so if you drink a bunch, you’ll get drunk. Except you have to drink a whole lot of Miller High Life Light. I can burn through a 12-pack just sitting around. 2 out of 5.
LABEL AESTHETIC: I am a big fan of how swank the High Life cowboy whore slut sitting on the crescent moon looks with the silver background as opposed to the gold background of regular High Life. One time, I cut up a can of Miller High Life Light with some snips and made myself a homemade “platinum” grill, and cut my gums all up shaping that shit, which, the bloody teeth looked even cooler than the fake grill, bleeding just enough to hit the gaps in my teeth but not cover the enamel so it looked like I’d been eating old lady organs after Suge Knight gave me some PCP and turned me loose on the city to learn what gangsta was all about. 5 out of 5.
CORPORATE MASTER: Miller Brewing Company, which would be the big evil except Budweiser exists. So they are Democratic fucks to Bud’s Republicanism. Fuck a Miller Brewing Company. 1 out of 5.
OVERALL AMBIANCE: It is enjoyable overall, but like I said, I have to drink a ton of them to get a buzz. Perhaps this is a sign I should not drink so much, but to that perhaps I say fuck you. If I have to live without drinking, I’d rather die. I just wish I could die quick instead of the normal alcoholic lingering effects of failed livers or kidneys or whatever, all bed-ridden and eyeballs turning yellow. That shit’s terrible to see. 3 out of 5.
TOTAL RATING: 3 & 1/5 STARS!

MNZ: Stop Smiling Issue 31


Last issue of this mag was really good, and this one is also really really good, so they are tricking me into saving the subscription card, which will then piss me off because they’ll switch into some stupid assed theme issues that none I will like at all. This one is called an Ode to the South, and has some great shit about the old Stax Record label. Learning about how Booker T and the MGs came together, and how those two white dudes in that group (who were also in the Blues Brother movie, which has the greatest sound of bricks clinking ever in movie history) got hooked up with that noise. Plus, it talks on Otis Redding, who has only recently upon me finding a couple of tapes I thought I had lost, surpassed secular Al Green as my favorite smooth lovin’ shit. I have waited forever to remember to review this shit, so it’s probably not on your local newsstand anymore, so your loss. You missed it again, chump.

Wednesday, July 18

EWA100 - #31. Gang Starr feat. Nice and Smooth - DWYCK



31: Gang Starr (feat. Nice and Smooth) - DWYCK (Chrysalis/Noo Trybe. 1994. From the LP Hard To Earn)

Raven Mack: This actually came out as a B-side single from the Daily Operation album, and was the crazy party song of all-time. Guru was always the knowledge supreme gifted unlimited mic genius (at least back then), but you throw in goofy old Nice-n-Smooth and it just loosened the whole joint up. In fact, Guru sounds almost uptight and rigid compared to the other two verses, and Premo beats are great for getting all loose and party vibed to. That's probably why this song is still such a classic, because Gang Starr were sorta all about hip hop being serious business no jokes allowed, and then this song comes out with retard party lyrics and Guru passing on trademark wisdom rhymes for things like "lemonade was a popular drink and it still is". Smooth B makes this song though, and ties it all together, almost as if it was a showcase for him. First off, Greg Nice does that echo-ey half-hearted yelling rapper deals, and you get into it. Then Guru comes along and refrains from educating you and does silly similes and metaphors like the aforementioned lemonade line, and it's fun, but like I said, he sounds sorta rigid still. But then Smooth B just comes in and tears it up and outright makes it time to open your double deuce and turn the volume up on the car stereo and ride around drunk as fuck in your mom's Ford Escort stationwagon.
I have this on 12-inch vinyl, and the "Take It Personal" side is probably hardly touched, but this is one of like four singles I have, on the B-side with "DWYCK", that I've played so many damn times the grooves are getting worn out, and I should probably seek out another copy to have, but that would involve dealing with record collector types, and those dudes want nothing more than to charge me a ton of money for one single. Like if a record costs more than it costs me to feed my family of four for a week - and that's eating good food too and not just ramen noodles and a ten pound bag of potatoes all week - then I ain't down. I'll just have to wear my copy away till the grooves turn white.

Mike Dikk: This is my all time favorite summer jam, and Raven is right, there isn’t a song that conveys the party vibe as well as DWYCK. I could give a shit about Rapper’s Delight and It Takes Two and all that other supposed party rap nonsense. DWYCK is the real deal.
I did some fact checking, and this was first buried on the “Ex Girl to the Next Girl” 12” as a third feature, then got the entire B side to itself on the “Take it Personal” 12” which is when I bought it I believe, on cassette though. Then it finally was released as it’s own single a couple years later. I could be wrong on this, but I swear the video came out when it was still a B-Side on “Take it Personal” because I remember being flabbergasted that a dope song with its own music video wasn’t even on a full length record, no less the greatest Gang Starr song ever recorded. I guess some could argue with me on that one, but do you see any other Gang Starr songs on this list?
As hard it is to believe, Gang Starr never scored a platinum plaque. Of course DJ Premier has been on countless Platinum selling albums, so he has at least a few walls filled up, but I have to wonder if Guru ever got jealous and if that’s what lead to the breakup of Gang Starr. They were the one rap group I imagined would stay together until time froze. I’m sure somewhere down the road, they’ll get back together, but it has to bug Guru that their most memorable song (You can challenge me on this if you want, but this was on three different 12”s IN A ROW, and it’s the one Gang Starr song all white people know) is really more of a showcase for Nice And Smooth than it is for Guru. I know Guru is supposed to be one of the Rillest dudes alive, but stuff like that has to chip away at your ego. Especially when you factor in all the knowledgeable shit he has said over the years and I will ALWAYS initially associate him with the “Lemonade” line, which is most likely the dumbest thing he’s ever said in a rap song.
As Expert Whiteboy Analysists, we are supposed to like the real cerebral shit, but every once in a while you have to push the deep thinking aside and get dumb like the rest of the population. If you say your favorite Gang Starr song is anything other than DWYCK, you’re lying to yourself.

Download: Gang Starr - DWYCK

Watch the video.

The Confederate Mack zine - issue 44


Just got issues 44 through 52 in pdf format from the dude who prints them up for me, but I have to finagle and resize that bullshit to normal 8.5 x 11 instead of crazy print format nonsense. So I'll probably get around to putting one a week or so up, maybe. I really loved doing a zine for so long, but having to pay for printing kinda ruins doing a zine. But here's issue 44, which is from some point in time a couple years back or maybe even more that will probably become obvious as you read it if you even bother downloading it.
The Confederate Mack zine #44

Monday, July 16

EWA100 - #32. Nas - It Ain't Hard To Tell



32. Nas - It Ain't Hard To Tell (Columbia. 1994. From the LP Illmatic)

Mike Dikk: It’s unfair to narrow down Illmatic to one song. It’s a record that needs to be listened to as a whole, and there really isn’t any song on the entire record that’s better or worse than any other. You can argue with me until you’re blue in the face, but there isn’t a better album recorded by a solo rapper than Illmatic. It is technical perfection. Nas comes off as very obsessive compulsive to the point where he made sure every single syllable flowed smoothly. There isn’t a misstep to be found, and for someone like me, a person who lives his life in permanent general disarray, a technically flawless album is an amazing feat. I have a hard time trying to figure out how to do simple every day things, like clean my bedroom, and when it comes to my own writing, I’m pushing it if I go past a second draft. Nas on the other hand easily went through hundreds of drafts to reach this level.
In recent interview, Nas said that Illmatic represents his life from age 0 to 18, and he was basically writing it for all of those years. It definitely shows, and it makes it a lot easier to digest that his other albums never lived up to Illmatic. He had an 18 year head start for his debut and trying to squeeze that kind of brilliance into a three year burst isn’t going to happen.
“It Ain’t Hard To Tell” was the first single off Illmatic, which is why it’s on this list. It was the default go-to single, but as I already said, it’s by no means better than any other song on the record. I remember Nas had some hype building up from a couple guest spots with Main Source and MC Serch, but back in those pre-internet days, EVERYONE had hype building up after doing a guest verse.
When this single dropped, I was working with my uncle at this local chain video store called Videoplus. It was a real shady operation. The owner not only got busted renting out bootleg videotapes, but a couple years later he got busted AGAIN for scalping tickets from his own Ticketmaster machine. I learned that all those FBI warnings before videotapes were bullshit since he stays in business long after getting busted, and I also built my initial videotape collection by stealing/borrowing kung fu and horror movies from any Videoplus chain store I happened to be “working” at for the day. Since the owner was a sketchy individual, I didn’t really have to worry about getting caught stealing tapes.
One day while working with my uncle, he was telling me about this song he heard on Hot 97 and how he wanted to know who it was because the song mentions Sly Stallone and Cobra, and my uncle is a crazy Sylvester Stallone fan to the point that he needs to own anything he’s done or even anything where he’s mentioned. It didn’t take that long for Hot 97 to replay the song, and I recognized the voice and told him it was Nasty Nas and how I read in The Source that he was supposed to be the next big thing in rap music.
Shortly after, the issue of The Source came out that gave Illmatic the perfect five mic rating. It was a milestone for me too, because it was the first issue of The Source I bought that had an actual perfect five mic rating in it. I don’t know if I insisted that my uncle buy the CD or if he bought it on his own, but I know he got it not too long after the review came out and I had him make me a copy.
Now I won’t lie to you. It’s not like I listened to the tape and the heavens parted and angels came down with harps and danced around my dirty basement bedroom while I had a thirty minute orgasm with cum shots perfectly in sync to the kick drums on the record. In fact, I didn’t really understand why it got five mics when the Wu Tang record went completely overlooked and The Chronic didn’t even get five mics. It literally took me years to finally digest the tape and wrap my head around it and figure out why it was the most perfect rap album in the history of music. I think if I never became such an over analytical prick, I would have never comprehended it, and only people who are truly over analytical can really love music. Well, ANYONE can love music, but not to a point where it’s all you think about and all you want to do. Illmatic is for those types who take pride in dissecting everything and nitpicking over any minute mistake that can be found. It’s not a record that you can be on the fence about, and if you say you don’t like Illmatic, you’re credibility as a music lover is destroyed.
I can praise the Illmatic album ad nausea, which is good and all, but it’s not a good “singles” record, which is why “Ain’t Hard To Tell” is in the 30s and not say, number 2. If this list was full length albums, I would have had it no lower than number 2. If you single out one song, in this case “Ain’t Hard To Tell”, I’d say the 32 spot is a pretty fair ranking, but at the same time, you could put the nine songs on Illmatic against any other artist from ANY genre’s nine songs from a single album and Nas will come out on top every single time.

Raven Mack: You know, I will get overly analytical as well. As I've gotten older and dorkier (due to being home all the time from having a family - if you are young and solo and wasting your time online obsessing over stupid shit like hip hop, that's not a good move - pussy is so much better when fresh), and as hip hop has become less and less artistic in an album-oriented way, I've started fine-combing the concepts of albums. And Mike is right, this album is one perfect cohesive unit, which is amazing because it was one of the first major releases to feature a slew of hired gun producers, which is commonplace nowadays. Nowadays, you can tell it's a bunch of different producers, because the overall offering has no cohesion or connection between songs. That's not the case with Illmatic. Every beat is variations on the same, and every song is tightened up completely lyrically.
This song was the one we chose, because it was the single, thus the video that showed up on BET and hyped everybody the fuck up to run out and get Illmatic. I had heard the Main Source song featuring Nasty Nas, and had read all the Source hype engineered by Serch to get everybody in a tizzy for Nas, but none of that really fired me up to go cop the album (although to be honest, at that point in my life I was dropping $100 every Tuesday when new releases came out on new 12-inch singles and full-length tapes, so I would've bought it regardless). This song did however. It was one of those songs where every turn of phrase you could see being a DJ cut for a future song. Every fuckin' one. (This is also why I always thought that Jay-Z line about "you made it a hot line, I made it a hot song" was a pretty big cop-out on Jay-Z's part, and why I never took him serious as a challenger to Nas' pedestal, even before "Ether" came out and silenced any chitter chatter otherwise.)
I never did get the 12-inch for this song though, and to this day that bums me out. I sold off my "Life's a Bitch" single years ago, and still have the "If I Ruled The World" single, the first one off Nas second and far less intricately detailed full-length release, which I still play fairly often, and every time I do, I can still visualize seeing the "Ain't Hard To Tell" single in the racks at Willie's Records on Broad Street, downtown Richmond, and me passing it by.
A lot of what Nas talked about in that one interview Mike mentions (I read it, too) shows you why so many MCs suffer from a sophomore slump. You have all these lines developing in your head for years and years that you tighten down to polysyllabic perfection, and then you get a deal and throw them all down to a recorded offering and they're gone. That's it. You sort of do your best with what new experiences you have afterwards for a few albums (like Nas did), and then you get nostalgic yourself for that initial raw hunger and the perfection you were cultivating back then (which Nas has done as well). But you can never recapture that. It's gone. You have to grow and do other things and accept the changes and still try to find a way to get your metaphorical dick hard like it was that first time. I could count on maybe half of one hand rap albums I consider better than Illmatic, but Nas has never come close to achieving something even halfway as good. He's mostly been running on the fumes of this record his whole career, and when you consider how he's still held so prominently within the hip hop, that shows you how insanely great this shit was back then, and now, and probably forever. Or at least until as long as humans and their recorded sound pattern rhythms are a part of forever

Download: Nas - It Ain't Hard To Tell

Watch the video.

Wednesday, July 11

EWA100 - #33. U.T.F.O. - Roxanne, Roxanne



33. U.T.F.O. - Roxanne, Roxanne (Select. 1984. From the LP U.T.F.O.)

Raven Mack: This was right as I was first discovering the rap music, which had been decried by the more racist members of my family tree as jungle catcalls and nonsense jibberish for the most part. But this song was part of the Roxanne fad that spread through rap music like herpes for a year or so. And to be honest, I don't remember shit about the whole battle of the Roxannes, and what started or what ended up happening or anything. I know Shan had Roxanne Shante, and there was the Real Roxanne, and there was this song by U.T.F.O.
Personally, I have always thought of "Friends" as the penultimate U.T.F.O. song, and I think that's on here on this list somewhere, but it's been so long we've been writing about this shit that we listed out over a year ago, I can't be sure. Which also means, there's no way I know all the Roxanne War of '84 details.
All I know is this song is mighty dated sounding. Still, it fills me with nostalgic giddiness, remembering going to the roller skating rink and trying to slow song hold hands with little girls (which was okay back then, because I was a little dude), just starting to realize it was cool to kiss a girl, but not yet having understood the complexities of vaginal penetration. Those were simpler times.
Now I am old and have children with more on the way, sitting around listening to invisible versions of "Roxanne Roxanne" on a robot I paid a lot of money that's staring at me with it's retarded square face right now. I should punch the shit out of it, stomp it when it falls over, and go outside and play some records through the speakers I have in the back yard that I cover with house wrap scraps when not in use to protect from the weather, but I won't. I'll sit right here, accumulating invisible music that will never fill me with nostalgia like "Roxanne Roxanne", because the older more complex me never allows me the time to actually enjoy any of it.

Mike Dikk: That Roxanne feud was the most confusing thing ever in hip hop. If I understand it correctly, U.T.F.O. made this song above, and then the Roxanne from the Juice Crew made a dis record because that’s all lady rappers were good for back then. Since the Roxanne in U.T.F.O.’s song was technically fictional (?? I think? I don't know.), they had to find a girl to become Roxanne for an answer back record (Again, this could be my own made up bullshit). Also, as far as I know, the Roxanne from The Police song had nothing to do with this.
After the initial records, I think everyone stopped caring, but I believe they went on for a while. Then like ten years later one or both of the Roxannes made a comeback to dis all the new lady rappers while neglecting to realize that no one on earth cares about ladies rapping. It was something I never paid much attention to, and this track is all most non-nerds remember from that whole ordeal.
This is one of those songs like “Rumours” or “Friends” (which is not a U.T.F.O. song like Raven said it was; he be smokin’ mad krills though, so I’ll overlook the obvious mistake) where it’s so in your face '80s sounding that it’s hard to hype up to the young folks, but all the older folks will swear this is real deal hip hop and everything else is garbage. I am fortunately in the middle somewhere so I can appreciate more modern music and at the same time, respect all this grandpa music that dudes are bumping on their Hover-Rounds. Songs like this make me think of jheri curls and the smells associated with them, which is never a good thing.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a cute roller rink story to coincide with Ravens. I’d request “Walk Like an Egyptian” when I went to the roller rink because that’s how I was rolling back when I was nine. Sometimes I’d switch it up with “The Final Countdown” or The Fat Boys, but they never played The Fat Boys because that particular roller rink did not carry rap music. That roller rink is also where my initial hatred for AC/DC came from and I can proudly say I still hate AC/DC, but now more for all the horrible “Back in Black” mash ups I’ve heard over the last ten years. Anyway, the Roxanne song came out when I was around six and I was entirely too busy eating crayons to listen to music. Plus, to this day, I still prefer The Police’s “Roxanne” to this one, and once we make our follow up “Top 100 Jamz By Uncomfortably Gay Looking Duos" (they were really a trio though) list, I’m sure the rankings will show as much.

Download: UTFO - Roxanne, Roxanne

I assume this was an official video back in the day, but I am not a senior citizen, so I'm not sure. Anyway watch the video, but....


...I recommend watching the video to UTFO's "Beats & Rhymes" because it is about a trillion times better. Fuck it, this is probably the greatest rap music video ever:



Tuesday, July 10

Tecate


AFFORDABILITY: Tecate 12-packs used to be like $10 apiece, but recently I guess Food Lion started getting coyotes to sneak in shipments of Tecate along with the seven thousand Mexicans wandering their grocery store aisles on a Sunday afternoon in every small southern town from Virginia to Oklahoma, because it’s down to like $8 a 12-pack, which isn’t Old Milwaukee cheap, but puts it a rung below Budweiser and Coors, but not quite as self-disturbing to actually buy. 4 out of 5.
DESTROYABILITY: All cheap beer gets you drunk, so it’s the actual taste allowing you to slam it faster that actually gets you drunk that matters. I do not at all mind the taste of Tecate. One night, I was at the hipster burrito joint that kicked my wife out for breastfeeding, and the bar dude put a slice of lime in the can of Tecate, so sometimes when I’m feeling extra gay, I do that shit too, pretending it’s a real Mexican beer deserving of special treatment. 4 out of 5.
LABEL AESTHETIC: Proud indio label, but modernized, so there’s a robotic eagle of some sorts and the font is all Mexicali looking but popped sideways like it should be on a race car. The 12-pack boxes are where it’s at though, because the one I bought today has all the logos from what I’m assuming is Mexico’s primero liga de futbol. Also, in probably the greatest piece of cheap beer packaging awesomeness going today, the bar code is shaped like the eagle on the can. 5 out of 5.
CORPORATE MASTER: Imported by some fake named company from White Plains, New York, which is the same place I think all massly found foreign beer shit like Beck’s and Corona and all is imported from. So it’s some sort of shady shit. Still, it’s not outright Adolph Anheuser. 3 out of 5.
OVERALL AMBIANCE: From the aforementioned encounter with Tecate at the hipster burrito joint, and previous sightings in other places, it is painfully obvious that Tecate is like Super PBR. PBR as a stupid hipster beer has become so prevalent that even pseudo-hipsters at fag colleges that don’t even have arts programs or music clubs drink PBR. So for the hardcore ironic hipster, who doesn’t want to be associated with second-rate hipsters, Tecate is a nice alternative to PBR to separate yourself from the riff-raff of black-rimmed glasses and Modest Mouse or Drive-by Truckers appreciation (that musical reference is dated a few years, because I think both of them are major label now, meaning hipster doofuses are into something newer and more obscure – which insinuates regular society doesn’t understand it – and I’m out of the loop on that one; I don’t frequent hipster dives so much anymore, mostly because I usually end up wanting to fight people but no one will fight so I go piss in the manager’s office or some stupid passive aggressive shit like that). Combine the drinking of Tecate with the ironic unexpected wearing of a lucha libre mask and you have hipster band practice in the bassist’s basement euphoria. 2 out of 5.
TOTAL RATING: 3 & 3/5 STARS!

Genesee Cream Ale


AFFORDABILITY: There is no doubting the cost-efficiency of Genesee Cream Ale. You can get a 30-pack, even in Virginia, for just over ten bucks. I bought this 30-pack, delusional in my memories of it, thinking about a party at my boy Michael’s house where he had some fancy-assed microkeg, and me and the only two other dudes still hanging by the fire were drinking from a warm 30-pack of Genesee because we didn’t feel like walking to the keg across the field. Another funny story involving Genesee and Michael, who is one of those high-end dread dudes who only smokes good weed and only drinks good beer, is one day I was filling up our drinking water jugs from this roadside spring, and he drove by, so he pulled over and kicked it. Back road, nowhere to most people, and another truck stops on the pull-off. It’s this dude J.T. who grew up with my folks and lives nearby and is always good for paranoid conspiracy diatribes mixed with country humor. We’re sitting there bullshitting and J.T.’s all like, “Man, I got the best beer you can get in the back of the truck. Y’all want one?” I’m not one to turn down beer on the side of the road, and Michael reluctantly accepted as well. J.T. goes to the truck bed and comes back with three cans of Genesee. That shit was funny, because Michael felt obligated to drink it, but I know he was like, “Fuck this cheap shit.” I think J.T. bragged on that day on the affordability of the 30-pack as well. 5 out of 5.
DESTROYABILITY: Genesee will get you drunk in abundance, but it’s hard to drink in abundance. It goes right up there with Milwaukee’s Best and Ice beers as things that only college kids and lifelong alcoholics will drink regularly. For regular humans, the consumption amount needed for drunkenness combined with the swill taste can be hard to stomach. 3 out of 5.
LABEL AESTHETIC: Big cursive softball jerseys saying “Cream Ale” is pretty swank, and the green, gold and silver with red highlights is fairly pimp. I also enjoy how the can brags it is an “Award Winning Classic – Flavor of a fine ale and the smoothness of a premium lager.” There is nothing fine or premium about a 30-pack of Genesee, and the only way you’d ever consider it smooth is you, like me, liked to pretend when rappers are always rapping about drinking Hennessey, they’re actually saying Genesee. 3 out of 5.
CORPORATE MASTER: It claims to be its own deal, the Genesee Brewing Company from Rochester, New York, but to be distributed all the way down here, they’re probably tapped into some bullshit. Still, it seems to be its own entity, and with a name like Genesee, I can only assume that organized crime is involved somehow. 4 out of 5.
OVERALL AMBIANCE: Genesee is one of those beers that’s fun to pretend is good, but it fucking sucks. Tastes terrible, has the after-taste of headaches, and fulfills that promise the next day when you force yourself to drink enough to actually get drunk. Memories can’t outweigh that. 1 out of 5.
OVERALL RATING: 3 & 1/5 STARS!

Killian's Irish Red


AFFORDABILITY: I got the stupid Killian’s Irish Red because I was trying to diversify the rut of drinking habits I’d found myself in. I seemed to remember somebody I used to hang with had this stuff all the time, and it not being completely disagreeable, so I got a 12-pack in the bottles. It moves itself into that “nice section of the beer aisle” price-wise, but is one of the lower end destroyers of your credit limit within that little part of the beer aisle. 4 out of 5.
DESTROYABILITY: It doesn’t seem to actually get me drunk, because it tastes like an ass that’s been left out in the sun too long, so I can’t drink it fast enough to get anything more than a hazy head just confused enough to be pissed I’m drinking sun-warmed ass water. Also, this reminds me of my five-point scale, nothing has to do with taste. On one hand, this may seem amusing, but on the other hand, if you’re drinking for taste, drink some fucking lemonade or ginger ale or something. Beer is for drunkards. 1 out of 5.
LABEL AESTHETIC: Nice creepy horse with an outer glow embossment, and letters look like they’d belong well on a race car. Plus, red and black and white are heavenly colors, although the red here is more burgundy toned death note than heavenly red. 4 out of 5.
CORPORATE MASTER: Says it’s from some scumbag place in Ireland, brewed under authority of some mick lawyering, but the address says Golden, Colorado, which means stupid Coors. Coors would be the most evil beer company in America if there was no Anheuser-Busch, meaning Coors is kinda like the Democratic Party. It’s better than the only other major alternative, but it’s still a piece of shit. Why do Coors and Budweiser cost so much too? I mean swill beer is swill beer, and basically you just pay for large advertising budgets with your extra two dollars per 12-pack. 1 out of 5.
OVERALL AMBIANCE: I do not enjoy this Killian’s experience, and this 12-pack actually sat in the back of my fridge for a couple weeks, relegated to the realm of being used in recipes for beer bread (where a can or bottle of beer is used as the yeast). There is still a can of Icehouse in the back of my fridge from like six months ago for that same reason. Still, I got bored enough this week to drink most of the rest of the 12-pack of Killian’s, even though I only did so to give me an excuse to buy a for-real want-to-drink 12-pack. 2 out of 5.
TOTAL RATING: 2 & 2/5 STARS!

Monday, July 9

EWA100 - #34. Craig Mack - Flava In Ya Ear



34. Craig Mack - Flava In Ya Ear (Bad Boy. 1994. From the LP Funk Da World)

Mike Dikk: When this song first hit, there was no fucking way I would have believed Craig Mack would become one hit wonder. He’s possibly the most memorable one hit wonder, but a one hit wonder none the less.
Craig Mack was a very ugly young man whose fifteen minutes of fame was almost literal. This single sounded like the fucking future when it dropped. The beat was almost otherworldly and Craig had the rhymes and flow to match it every step of the way. It was without a doubt the most popular song in my high school for a solid month. It was one of those songs with an infinite shelf life that would more than likely spark a very long and healthy career.
Unfortunately for Craig, there was another very gifted ugly young man on his own record label by the name of Biggie Smalls. The same time “Flava in Ya Ear” dropped, so did “Juicy” (or was it “Big Poppa”? Either way...), and “Flava” was definitely the favorite right out of the gate, but B.I.G. ended up building a legacy and Craig’s career basically lasted only until the end of the fadeout on his “Flava” remix video.
It’s quite ironic that not only did B.I.G. appear as the first rapper on CRAIG’S OWN REMIX, and for the most part, kill Craig on his own shit, but it’s where he spat the “U.P.S. is hirin’” line. Since then, I’ve always imagined all has been rappers working at this mythical U.P.S. somewhere in Brooklyn that strictly employs washed up rappers. Where do bad folks go when they die? They go to that U.P.S. up in Bed Stuy.
I knew something was rotten when Craig’s follow up to one of the most gigantic hit songs in rap history was a fucking remix of that song. That was like an internal alarm telling me not to bother with buying the full length, because you only put out a remix as your second single if the rest of the album is garbage. In all honesty, I have no idea if the rest of the album was garbage. I’ve never heard it.
Supposedly, Craig didn’t want to get with the new Bad Boy program, which meant cleaning up his image and making pop style radio hits. I used to wholeheartedly believe that, but I don’t really know anymore. I mean, it sounds really believable, since for the most part, Biggie’s Life After Death is overflowing with steaming shitpiles of pop rap, and so was everything else on Bad Boy for most of the years following, but at the same time, I’ve never heard anyone talk about any other Craig Mack songs. Surely if the case of his career going sour was solely based on not wanting to “sell out”, it meant that the rest of his album was off the charts and it didn’t matter what label was backing him, right?
I don’t know the truth. All I know is that “Flava in Ya Ear” is a tremendous fucking song, and even though it’s pretty highly ranked on here, it’s probably still too low. If you heard it for the first time right now, you might not think so, because it sounds like any other great song from the time period, but this song was seriously on some completely new I Need To Wear My Most Expensive Sunday Clothes When I Listen To This Because It’s So Fresh shit. It’s just a real shame that this was seemingly all Craig had in him. In closing, the original “Flava in Ya Ear” track was around 3 minutes and 35 seconds and the remix was about 4:45, so I guess you could even say Craig’s fifteen minutes was really only 8:15.

Raven Mack: The whole rise of Bad Boy and Mr. Diddy Combs has always intrigued me, because, for the most part, all they've made is some butt ass pop rap bullshit. Even when Puff Dilly was talent scout at Uptown, he was coming with the commercialized light skin lover man Heavy D and his boyz, as well as I think Mary J. maybe or some other schmucky shit that I probably didn't listen to because back then I was on some "Yo, fuck that R&B bullshit" knowledge, which clear channel aural monosodium glutamate has seemingly starved out of me in recent years. But Puffy Dad came through with Craig Mack and Biggie there for the one-two punch to put Bad Boy on the map. Biggie's two was a knockout though and everybody forgot Craig on the one.
Mike's right... I remember when this shit came out and back then everybody was super-syllabic filling every segment of a measure of music, with very standard A/A/B/B styles that were considered ingenius when you through two or three extra As into the middle of the line. Then along comes Craig Mack, like a retarded crack baby, stuttering his way through nonsense words and phrases, yet somehow still holding it all together on the punch points of the beat, and declaring this was the brand new flavor. Who the fuck wasn't gonna believe that? He was from the future, and in the future it was obvious everybody got mad blunted and had battery acid thrown in their faces at birth.
I vaguely remember a second non-remix Craig Mack single off that initial Bad Boy offering, and it being a very glossy Hype Williams-looking video, since Bad Boy had blown the fuck up, but the song was shitty, because it was that same futuristic shit, which had already been played out. See, as a modern mortal, when I think of futuristic shit, it's always evolving, because it's ahead of my time, so it's going to dazzle me with seven thousand different mad flavors for my ear. When it only has one, I assume it is not actually someone from the future, but some ugly redboned dude who caught lightning in a bottle for one track.
Still, I was always proud of Craig Mack for not walking around in shiny suits and shit like Bad Boy got into. But also, he might've saved us from so many monotone deliveries that Puffy forced at us over the following years. Or he could've at least still been around to ghostwrite some good shit for Puffy to say out loud on tracks when he moved into full on self-promotion. I have often wished that Craig Mack came back and killed Puffy in some weird vengeful glory, and I barely remember reading a story a while back about Craig trying to confront Puffy about something (this could all be retarded memory though), and of course, this has twisted around in my mind to some story of Puffy in a house with big cement walls and security cameras like Scarface, sitting there being gay, and Craig Mack scales the walls like an urban commando ninja, and he makes it into the house, but right as he's about to get into the main hallway upstairs where P. Diddy is laying low, in the dark, wearing sunglasses and a shiny suit, three big ass super-dark security guards - like big enough to snatch up Tiny Lister a foot off the ground - grab Craig, and he's all yelling about getting Puffy, who just sits there at his desk, looking at the security screens smiling at the image of Craig getting hauled away, and then Mase's head pops up from under desk, peeks at the camera and smiles back at Diddy and then goes back under the desk out of sight. I don't think that's how the story actually went, but that's how I remember reading it in the paper or magazine or wherever I think I read that.


Download: Craig Mack - Flava In Ya Ear AND Craig Mack - Flava In Ya Ear (REMIX feat. Notorious B.I.G., LL Cool J, Rampage & Busta Rhymes)

Watch the video:


...and the REMIX video:

Sunday, July 8

PP: Part Eleven


I briefly dabbled with moving pictures from the window of my truck. They all look really blurry and stupid like this. I like this one though because it’s a pulpwood truck, and where I grew up in Farmville, Virginia, a great insult was to call someone else’s father a pulpwood cutter. This would always lead to hurt feelings and fisticuffs. In my adulthood, I have discovered this insult was only known in my home area and everybody else has no idea what it even means, and those who have only a half-understanding will go, “You mean, like a logger?”

Rusty old car from automobile’s bygone era from company I don’t think even makes even vacuums anymore. Also, it looks like it wants to eat me. I learned that from ‘80s horror movies.

This is DJ Rah-bee’s spare parts car for his functioning Tercel. It is sort of settled down like that because he got it because the original owner pissed off a bunch of fratboys or wrestlers or some shit at a bar, so they flipped his car over while he was still inside, only for him to come out two hours later and find it like that. So Rah-bee bought it. He additionally crushed it because he had to take the exhaust pipe off to put on another vehicle this weekend, and to make it easier to get to, attached it to a 4-wheel drive with a logging chain and jerked it upside down again. Then he sorta smashed it into place back behind his house like this, with the only real damage being we had to pound his passenger side fender back out on the 4-wheel drive with a sledgehammer.

An Impala with low profile tires and wire rims in front of a dilapidated building is always an awesome visual in my world. I wish there was shit like this everywhere.

PP: Part Ten


A motherfuckin’ lounger getting ready to get painted, sans chrome bumper and headlight trim. The front end of this car reminds me of someone really really ultra-aware from the use of cheap methamphetamines. It is one of my favorite Polaroids thus far in this project.

This was in the same parking lot as the previous one, and already rimmed up. I guess the proper order for car pimpdom is get your rims, then get your paint right. I would figure a car with a nice paint job riding on some bullshit would look better than a fucked up car on some expensive ass rims, but I, of course, am far from big pimpin’. I drive a stupid Nissan truck with those front ends that look like they are made of iron and could drive through cinderblocks, except it’s all plastic and if a baby just learning to walk in one of those walker/stroller things rolled by and smacked at it too hard, it’d all crumble and cost me $5000 to fix.

Rusty old church buses are closer to Heaven than any church that has abandoned them in the tall grasses by the junkyard could ever understand. Jesus died so dudes like me could store our extra shit that really shouldn’t be left laying around the house (or shed) inside of rides like this.

I like how there’s a woodpile covered with a tarp on the pick-up trucks bed. All too often, with haphazard woodpiles, the wetness of the ground will rot out the bottom pieces of wood, or it’ll have weird ass wood beetles and shit that creep out your kids when you fill the woodbox in the house with those pieces and crazy-assed little Damnation Alley bugs are walking all over the living room floor. This guy figured out how to solve all this though. Props to him.

PP: Part Nine


Boogie Brown the Prospector’s old namesake Dodge outside his house, all full of scrap wood. Old trucks are tougher than shit. One night Brown fell asleep and flipped this thing twice and all it got was that one dent visible and crushed the camper shell on top, but he luckily landed on his wheels and just started it back up and drove home after he slid all the broken cassette shells and empty soda bottles and shit off his lap.

Rims like this remind me of the Dukes of Hazzard. I have never bought anything off that deepdiscountdvd place, but I almost got the entire collection of Dukes shit since me and my kids love to watch that shit. Luckily, I came to my senses and realized blowing like $250 on a TV series collection is hella stupid, especially when I could probably just steal the shit off the internet.

When did powder blue stop being a pimp ass color? Used to powder blue cars, tuxes, everything. Everything’s got to be so hard nowadays. This was parked behind a gas station beside a Chinese buffet me and Brown super destroyed while fighting hungover feelings. The Chinese buffet is a gamble in such situations, because you may feel like a million bucks afterwards and ready for more destroying of alcohol, especially if you properly complement the buffet with an ice cold Dr. Pepper. But you also stand the chance of feeling sicker than fuck and having to go throw-up in the bathroom, like I did. I couldn’t resist a couple more cheese-stuffed mushrooms after vomiting though.

This was from the demo derby in Harrisonburg. Big scruffy redneck dude in a battered little pussy mobile looked hilarious to me, and the Polaroid button sorta jammed when I tried to take the picture, giving it this fuzzed out effect. He wasn’t really going that fast.

MNZ: Harper's Magazine July 2007


Big dork nerd story was undercover expose of corrupt lobbyists. Wow, shocking. Also, another pictorial about New Orleans. I think one of every three freelance photographers has helped document the tragic consequences of living in a giant impoverished sinkhole. Thanks. This pictorial was cool enough though because it was just recovered photos found amidst the muck and how they got all artsily fucked up. I would’ve wanted more pics and less blah blah blah about New Orleans though. I knew a dude who went down there to help with the clean-up, for financial reasons, right afterwards. He told me about seeing bodies and shit and how the National Guard had warned anybody found taking shit would be shot. Then he showed me all the cool voodoo shit he looted, and told me about the bayou teenager who talked about how good fresh alligator was and how you had to tie it up and take it home and slaughter it right by the grill because alligator meat is best directly from the body like that.

MNZ: XXL July 2007

I had never bought a copy of this thing before, because usually the magazines that are most prominently featured on grocery store shelves next to Beat and shit like that, I don’t know, I feel like I’m better than, which is of course stupid. Still, I felt just as stupid actually buying a copy, mostly for the “What’s the Problem With Houston?” piece, and not so much for the T.I. cover story. I do not understand the T.I. phenomenon at all. Dude seems mediocre, and his image of a cockeyed stocking hat and alter-ego in suit seems even hokier to me. I did bump that “Rubber Band Man” song back in the day, but beyond that, he seemed like one of a thousand dudes and I guess he must’ve sucked some strategic Jew dick to get to his spot as the King of the South.
Anyways, you probably already know this, but XXL is basically Spin magazine but just about hip hop – very PR-release sounding articles, boring interviews that just tell you what you already wanted to hear and nothing more or less. The intro where the editor dude bragged on how they were the best rap mag was funny to me, because I think basically every rap magazine’s intro nowadays talk about how they’re the best rap magazine going, with a couple of semi-veiled shots at the closest competition, from each individual editor’s delusional viewpoint. There was a giant indie vs. major article which just reinforced to me how every rapper is actually poor and also that there are far more than my previous guesstimate of five million aspiring rap superstars out there. I’d put it at like seven million now, with an additional three million undiscovered super-producers. The Houston thing was okay, and it’s hard to hate Paul Wall or Mike Jones because they both seem like such regular dudes who are just stoked to be doing what they’re doing. Slim Thug, on the other hand, always comes across as this Menace II Society-style character from the South, always mean-mugging and talking up his boss status and how he has thangs and no one could take them thangs even if they wanted them thangs and so on.
The best thing in this issue was the Joell Ortiz feature though. I slept on that dude’s CD a few months back when Mike Dikk was hyping it in the EWA 25, but since discovered him a bit more through the bootleg stand mixtape I got plus a couple more tracks that showed up on other things I got a hold of. I dig some Joell Ortiz, not only as throwback rapper with his head in the here-and-now, but also he seems like a genuine dude just into hip hop because he’s into it, as opposed to the crazy posturing and gimmickry, which has done just as much to kill rap sales in recent years as anything else. Too many rappers took on this WWE-mentality where they’re supposed to play a part and that’s all that people wanted. But that’s not all that people want; we want some shit that sounds real. I guess. It’s not like Joell Ortiz tore up the album charts, but I guess Dre already had him signed to Aftermath and cherry-picked the top few songs off The Brick (Bodega Chronicles) for next year’s Aftermath Ortiz release. So yeah, I guess if I’m feeling like I might have the flu and have to stop off for a couple lemons and some ginger root for tea, an XXL is not the worst thing to pick up at the Food Lion to thumb through as illness courses through my body as I lay on the couch hoping the antenna’s not too fuzzy to at least catch a Simpsons rerun at 11.