Posted: Monday, April 12, 2010 by Greg in

(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.