So remember the time I wanted to post on this thing three times a week? Yeah, so do I. Then I started work on a show on NBC and now I haven't had the time to breathe. But just to make it clear, I DIDN'T die (contrary to one theory) and will hopefully have something up here soon. Hope ya'll are doing well.
Quick, name five major US cities. Go.
Without any bias, in the order in which they came to mind, my list is:
- New York City
- Los Angeles
Depending on where you are from, Chicago and Detroit could have ended up on that list as well. In this case, expanding the list would only strengthen the point I am going to make. Out of all the cities listed, and we will use all seven just because, only ONE doesn't even have a semi-respectable hip-hop scene. Name it.
If you guessed Boston, you've successful discovered my one gripe with the city I otherwise loved for all four years of my college life. Being a hip-hop fan in Boston was kind of like trying to go vegan when your father owns a cattle ranch. At some point, there really is no use trying anymore.
In all honesty, its pretty upsetting. I averaged a show/concert every three weeks in college, and only about three or four total were hip-hop. It's not that I missed some that came around, its just that there are none to begin with. Sure, there was enough pop-punk and post-hardcore shows to ALMOST compete with New Jersey (that's right, bitches) but there were still plenty of venues with open dates for a rapper or two to drop in for a quick set, they simply chose not to. And all the while, not one Boston-bred rapper was breaking into the mainstream.
I could never figure out why. Until now.
Let's revisit that list for a moment. New York and SoCal each have enough hip-hop history to start a museum. Miami has Pitbull and Plies, and Atlanta has always had Ludacris. Chicago has Kanye West, whether it wants to or not, and Eminem probably owns half of Detroit by now. Who does Boston get to claim, you ask? Sammy Fucking Adams.
You need to be kidding me with this shit. First of all, I don't care who you are, it is never OK to sample "Walking On Broken Glass" by Annie Lennox. Period. That's like Diddy doing a remix to Wham!. You just don't do it.
Second, I'm not sure who told Jason Mraz's little brother he could be an MC, but thats some bad advice right there. Sweet cardigan dude, I bet they love to hear you spit some bars after tennis practice. I always knew the Happy Days look would take over hip-hop sooner or later.
Third on my list of problems with this song is how this guy drags innocent victims down with him.
"Boston stand up, we got 'em!"Who's we? That's the kind of shit that keeps Boston from having a scene in the first place. This is the lyrical equivalent of having that drunk friend pick a fight at a college party and expecting EVERYONE he/she knows to throw down once it's on. I know a group of Boston rappers pushing mixtapes on a corner outside of a subway stop that wouldn't give this kid the time of day. Unless he bought a mixtape, of course.
I mean let's be honest. The beat is simple, the lyrics suck, the dude is corny, and things like this ensure Boston will never have a major mainstream rapper. The worst part of it all though? This guy just ruined my favorite beer forever. Title says it all. Now I gotta drink Harpoon until I supppress the memory of this. Thanks d-bag.
If you have read a single post I have ever written (or browsed/perused/glanced over, i'll settle for any of them) you have probably figured out I'm a pretty happy guy. To crack as many jokes as I do, I pretty much have to be. I like to consider myself 'easy going,' although a certain ex-girlfriend who shall remain nameless has gone as far as to say I'm "too insensitive" due to how little I let things bother me. Truth is, I just like to laugh, and any minute you're not smiling on this earth is pretty much a minute wasted. That, and I think that chick just loved misery.
So it should come as no surprise that I'm the kind of guy who has a touchdown dance for just about anything. In college I spent just as much time working on my outfit/goal celebrations as I did actually practicing soccer. (It was Division 3, it was all good.) But in most cases, this spills over to my everyday life. I land a huge paycheck? Walk it out. Get called in for a production job? Take it back to Harlem. Real talk, I could find a stray $20 in my jacket and I'm liable to pause, step, and do the reject. (Do the reject, do the do the reject).
I like to think I'm not alone on this. I really can't be, because there are actually WAY more extreme celebrations going on out there. This was only fully brought to my attention during a recent mid-day sober up session while watching awful daytime television. Enough so that I was prompted to make the following list, for your enjoyment:
THE TOP 5 THINGS PEOPLE CELEBRATE WAY TOO HARD ABOUT:
#5: GETTING TOLD TO "COME ON DOWN" ON THE PRICE IS RIGHT
I only first checked out Price Is Right because a good friend of mine from college happened to win a Malibu Hybrid on the show this past winter. Before that, I literally knew nothing about it. It was cool to see my girl on TV, but all I kept noticing was how much people lost their minds just to get called down. Really? You might literally be back off the stage in thirty seconds. Pump the brakes Betty Sue, you didn't win shit yet.
#4: TOTAL REQUEST LIVE
This one is more of a throwback than it is a current issue, although it still does apply to a multitude of live music video shows on TV (BET's 106 & Park). My only real memory of music videos actually being played on MTv is watching teenage girls out on the street go INSANE for about 2 seconds of facetime before and after commercials. Since it was broadcast from NYC, most of the year this involved standing in hail, rain, and/or snow. This always perplexed me. I've camped out in cold weather for Sox-Yankees tickets, but that at least had an (epic) payoff. But to have Carson Daily pseudo-glance at you? Really?
#3: THIS GUY
This is actually hilarious. I am not pretending for one moment that this doesn't get me to die laughing every time. Unfortunately, even if I did consider ping-pong to be an official sport (which I don't. I'm looking at you Olympic Committee) this is so far over the top even I would blush. And my latin-as-hell skin is physically incapable of doing so.
#2: WHEN YOUR 'JAM' COMES ON AT A PARTY/CLUB
For the first half of this school year, I was DJ'ing basement dance parties at my house almost weekly. On any given week, we'd have anywhere from 250-500 people come through. Even with these numbers, each party hit a bit of a lull before the drunk kicked in. Every DJ has that secret stash of songs that are 100% guaranteed going to get a party going, and I was no different. Legit, within the first three notes of this gem, every girl in the house would absolutely lose it. There is no hyperbole in that sentence. Abso-fucking-lutely lose it. iTunes, girls. Use it.
#1: FINDING OUT 'THE BABY ISN'T YOURS' ON MAURY
As awful as this is, I crack up every single time. The dances some of these guys pull out when the tests come back negative make my celebrations look like the Charleston. I mean, yeah I'm sure your stoked to not have an illegitimate child, but your SUPPOSED to not have an illegitimate child. You dodged a fucking bullet, you didn't hit the lottery (4:40 in). Next time just try NOT sleeping with the woman, then you can dance about your morals all day.
Just because the timing could not have been any more perfect from my last post:
Came home to one of my roommates, Whitey McNotblack, taking a girl back to the BatLoft. I am actually friends with this girl from back in Boston, which makes the situation all the more amusing. We hadn't seen each other for some time, so we did the quintessential 'omg, how you been, no way, roflcopter' thing. Then, however, the first thing he proceeds to tell me is that he "just got done telling her I would kick her ass at Mario Kart." Serious face, back again.
Ok, for the most part it seems my most regular readers on here happen to be girls (who kick ass) so I'm just throwing this out there: if a guy's pick-up game involved HIS ROOMMATE'S MARIO KART SKILLS, would you really hit that? Honestly? I would expect such antics to land me a one-way ticket on the NotLaid Express. And that train is never late.
Anyway, the Kart results were inevitable. Toad proceeded to commit 64-bit genocide on all things in his path. As per whether it landed him any, that has yet to be determined. But based on the fact that SouthPark is now their show-of-choice for couch-canoodling, I can expect this to go about as far as Emily's Reasons Why Not*.
But seriously, girls who read this, please. Tell me I'm not crazy.
*That reference might have been too obscure. That show was cancelled after one episode. Get it now? I'm saying she probably won't touch his penis. Glad we're on the same page.
Mario Kart 64 has always been a cornerstone of my existence. I don't know what specific date it was released to the public, but that day is pretty much on par with A) my college graduation and B) the first time I got laid, as far as momentous occasions in my life go. Dead serious. Look at me, this is my serious face.
Not many things have managed to stay prevalent in my life over as many years as Mario Kart has. In the beginning, it was just a game. I had zero comprehension of developed skill, and just played with whichever friends got dropped off by their various soccer moms that day. As I developed some solid fundamentals, races got more serious, and I permanently aligned myself with the obvious best character in the game: Toad. By the time I was a senior in high school, the Mushroom Cup might as well have been for an Olympic medal. There will be blood? You bet your ass there was.
One would think the reign ends there. FALSE. College introduced me to the only real drinking game worth playing: Kart 64 Drinking and Driving. The rules are simple: you have to finish a full beer before you cross the finish line. Only stipulation is you can't drink and drive at the same time. So to drink, you need to drop your controller. When you do that is up to you.
Take a moment to let that sink in. Now, get very mad at how many years of your life you haven't been playing this game. I know my count was 20 years. And I learned the game when I was only 19.
Recently however, my usual world-class performance has taken a bit of a slide. I blame it on boredom, really. I can execute almost any race in that game with lethal precision. Same slides, same turns, same 1st place results. So I experiment a bit, take a couple risks, and some don't pay off. Under normal circumstances, this would be no big deal. I know I'm good, and I have the record to prove that I (much like Toad) am the best. But that kind of complacency can only lead to my eventual demise. So me and my friends added a rule, just to add that extra motivation not to fail: Whenever ANY of us finished a race lower than fifth, we had to do the next race while listening to a Justin Bieber song.
There is no better motivation to succeed. PERIOD. Just try this for anything in your life you are looking to improve. "Every day I don't go for a run, that night I have to listen to the Justin Bieber CD all the way through while I'm on facebook." You will be Usain Bolt by the time Bieber hits puberty.
Am I the only person who thinks the kid bears a striking resemblance to Mr. Ed? I mean I had no problem with girls losing their shit over Justin Timberlake when *NSYNC first came out. No homo, the dude is good looking and can straight up sing. It makes sense. But this kid looks like a cross between Lucas from EarthBound and a Wallace & Gromit character.
Beyond that even, what is this kid even talking about? When I was his age, I was in love with one thing, and one thing only: Gushers. Couldn't get enough of that shit. It was years before I could even comprehend the obvious subliminal message in their "like an explosion in your mouth" slogan. (Bet your ass I do now.) But listening to a 14-year-old sing about love is kind of like listening to Emmanuel Lewis talk about a slam dunk. Or like listening to Jesse James talk about fidelity.
Justin Bieber is undoubtedly the biggest force in pop culture since the George Lopez show. (note: not force as in power, force as in 'even astroglide wouldn't get this to work right') Just watch the video for "One Time," which is actually the only song in history to be named after the amount of times it should be listened to in a lifetime.
I'm SO SURE Usher lets two white kids chill up in his house when he's not home. That's his mistress's job. And listening to The Bieber Kid talk "hood" is more awkward than the time Oprah said "bling." He talks like he knows he sounds ridiculous, but had no other choice. And I would love to meet the wardrobe stylists who worked on this shoot. "We need to make him more ghetto... I know, a generic hoodie and a hat! He might as well be on parole!" And I really can't say anything about his sweet "A-Town Down" ATL hand sign. Too much of me dies every time I see him do it.
I only have one conclusion about the entire situation: Usher just won a bet. In typical She's All That fashion, dude bet a friend he could turn ANY kid off YouTube into a star with the right catchy songs, and this kid got served up like Roger Federer did it. Prove me wrong.
The following entry is part of 20SB's blog swap. I was partnered up with Annie Kee from Boston, MA. 20SB obviously did this because us Boston kids are fucking awesome, and should only be allowed to interact with one another. Check out her blog here, she was dope enough to feature me as well.
So, I suffer from an inherent self-deprecation that sometimes makes making friends kind of hard.
Or keeping friends.
Or even understanding that I have friends.
Let me give you an example.
When I went to London, during the summer between my sophomore and junior years of college, a TOTALLY FAMOUS classmate of mine, Julia, also came. She was a year ahead of me and had been in EVERY play I saw at Berkeley.
She was gorgeous, talented, and HILARIOUS. And I was awe-struck.
We had a total blast with the group in London, although she had a roommate that she became very close with and I just assumed we weren’t as close as I thought we were. She spent a lot of time with some of the other TOTALLY FAMOUS people from the department, and I always thought it was because she just had to be a part of the theatre department glitterati.
When we returned to the States and I realized she was my next door neighbor, my negative assumptions continued. She spent time with the “beautiful people,” and I was just the girl in charge of the shoestring student theatre company that performed in a choral rehearsal hall.
Anyway, it took me months to realize we were actually friends because I was so busy being enamored of her.
(Now, she’s actually TOTALLY FAMOUS, doing lots of theatre work in LA. Go, Julia!)
Frankly, Facebook has exacerbated this problem.
I have a strict (stupid) policy about not friending people from my past lives.
It’s like, they understand that we have mutual friends, so they should friend me. If they don’t want to friend me, well, then I don’t want to be Facebook friends with them either!
When did I become a 7-year-old?
Anyway, in lieu of friending them, I do the Facebook stalk.
I am morbidly curious about what old school and camp friends are up to.
Because, of course, it’s got to be infinitely more exciting and significant than what I’m doing.
I like to look up the ones that always seemed much cooler than me. The ones I literally haven’t seen in 13 years.
I pore over pictures, check out relationship statuses, try to match these young men and women’s fit bodies (they’re all so fit!) and grown-up faces (when did we get old?) with the awkward 14-year-olds I once knew.
I envy most the ones who are still totally friends with each other.
The girls I went to summer camp and high school with, for instance, were all in each other weddings. Their Facebook pictures have captions like “Friends since the 2nd grade” and “Friends forever.”
They get together on weekends and sit in the park with boys and dogs. They travel to places like Colorado, to go on ski trips, and Vegas, to dance and gamble.
I have a lot of past lives, so this Facebook stalking takes up a lot of time.
It’s amazing I get anything done these days.
(As seen on my collaboration blog, Klean Up Your Act)
A month or two into living at my current apartment (and with a month left) I can see why people give me awkward stares about having an apartment in Downtown LA. To put it simply, this area has no fucking clue what it wants to be. On the same block as one another, there exists A) a low-income housing unit and B) a nightclub that I've seen three Bentleys and a Maserati outside of just this past week alone. Some buildings are going for the super-swank SoHo Luxury Loft effect, while others are just pumped to have windows that weren't broken yet. Makes no sense, at least not to me.
What my roommates failed to inform me of is that on the same day every month, my part of Downtown turns into this artsy mecca of youth expression. Its happened twice thus far, conveniently both on days when I really could have used the street parking outside my building. Basically, EVERY little shop or studio or open space in my neighborhood gets turned into a one-night open art gallery. At least ten square blocks get flooded with people checking out paintings, listening to music, getting a soy latte, etc. It would be kind of cool, if 60% of the people out there weren't complete toolbags desperately forcing themselves into a scene, but that's their issue not mine. The point is, this place gets crazy.
My second encounter with this came as I walked home from my car last night, and I was fortunate enough to come across a character I had met during my first experience with it. When I last saw him, he was being "interviewed" by some local student in my lobby. I do not know his name, but he was a pretty average looking 30 year old African-American guy, and my running nickname for him is MC Slash. Here is why.
MC Slash was very proud to proclaim for the camera that he lived on Skid Row. If you don't know, Skid Row is a long stretch of road downtown where many homeless people have congregated to form their own little commune. Like I have said before, I don't make fun of the homeless, and MC Slash is no exception. Because he ISN'T HOMELESS. According to him, he has a small apartment somewhere just outside the city, but chooses to live on Skid Row anyway. I'm sorry, come again? That's like buying a Ferrari, but deciding your just so much happier on your Vespa. Strike number one for MC Slash.
MC Slash then explained his allure to Skid Row. I was all about hearing his thoughts on this one, because there aren't too many things you could throw my way that would convince me to leave "a roof and four walls" on the bargaining table. As Slash proclaimed:
"Skid Row is my American Frontier, man. It's my horizon to chase. It's my 40 Acres and a Mule."
PAUSE. It's your what?! Congratulations asshole, you just insulted Fievel, Captain Jack Sparrow and General William Sherman all in one breath. Skid Row is not '40 acres and a mule'. A plot of land and a donkey-like mammal is '40 acres and a mule', Skid Row is a patch of concrete outside of El Pollo Loco. And the last time I checked, Skid Row has some pretty well defined boundaries. You're not exactly exploring any uncharted territory here, Columbus. Definite Strike Two.
But this guy truly became a clown-legend in my book when our little Barbara Walters-in-training asked him what he did to provide for himself. After taking a brief moment to compile the list in his head, his response was:
"What don't I do, shit. I'm a rapper slash songwriter. I'm an artist. I'm a clothing designer, see I got one of my shirts on now. I'm a stylist. Whatever you need man, I got you. I do it all."
It's most important to note that the shirt he "designed" was a blank white t-shirt with the words "To Live And Die In LA" printed in plain type across the front. I'm sorry, if I can recreate one of your "designs" using MS Paint in under 45 seconds, you are not a clothing designer. That would be like me going to H&M, buying every single blank white bra they have, putting my initials somewhere on each one and claiming to have discovered the secret Victoria's been keeping for son long. Lee McQueen would have slapped this man so hard, it's not even funny.
To recap, MC Slash is a rapper/songwriter/artist/clothing designer/stylist/anything else you can need. Oh, really? All that, and you still have time to foil the Joker's plans too Batman? At least Michael Jordan got the whole Basketball thing down pat first before he tacked Baseball on to his list. (Note: Welcome to the Space Jam.) I'm suprised this guy didn't apply a band-aid to a papercut and add 'Doctor' to that list too. Here's a thought: pick one and stick with it for a while homie, this isn't The Bachelor.
They say there are no Renaissance Men left in this world anymore. They are all sorely mistaken. MC Slash does it all. And he can't stop. Won't stop. Eh eh.