411 Music's Friday News Bootleg 04.04.02

Welcome to the first post-birthday edition of The Bootleg. Holy Lord. I squeezed a lot of livin’ into last weekend. I learned a few things, as well. First, I know far too many pregnant women. The wife and I spent Monday tailgating at the Padres home opener with friends (a couple of them were women “with child”). They can’t drink, they complain non-stop and on a hot day like last Monday, they wear “pregnancy shorts”.

Second, I discovered the pain threshold for the tolerance of my crazy-ass family is about four hours. They came down to San Diego on Sunday for a late lunch and some free cake. Fortunately, they were gone before the Opening Night game between the Angels and Rangers on ESPN came on and I could watch in peace.

Finally, I learned that anyone who tells you it’s better to give than receive is a lousy, stinkin’ pinko commie. I scored a pretty nice haul for this last milestone birthday I ever plan to celebrate. The wife came through with tickets to watch the mighty Oakland A’s play the hated Giants at Pac Bell Park, along with plane and hotel privileges. She also got me a bottle of cognac, a contra-banned cigar and one of them snooty drinking glasses. Otherwise, it was an avalanche of gift cards to Best Buy, Borders and Barnes and Noble.

Oh, and a sincere thanks to all y’all who sent me a birthday shout out and/or a birthday e-card. Now, let’s get your weekend started off right with copious amounts of Bootleggery.

Buy My Album & Support Our Troops…Buy My Album

Now, Clint Black is married to Lisa Hartman, right? Well, Mr. Black has returned from his duties as fill-in counselor at Kamp Krusty to set up a fund for the benefit of families of fallen soldiers in the Middle East. All you have to do is buy a wonderfully tasteful T-Shirt from the Clint Black Foundation that advertises subtly mentions his new single I Raq & Roll. I’m sure his heart is in the right place, but that’s the worst song title I’ve ever heard. Please spare me the “you haven’t heard the song” retort, either. I didn’t think any title could beat Nelly’s Pimp Juice, but there you go.

For My Ten Readers Who Like Reggae…and Soccer

Here’s some news for everyone planning to spend his or her summer in Jamaica. Wayne Wonder, Sean Paul and Beenie Man will be performing at something called the Reggae Sumfest. This weeklong celebration takes place July 20 through July 26 in Montego Bay. In a lot of ways, reggae reminds me of soccer. There’s a group of people here in America who insist that reggae is “sweeping the nation” and “everyone loves it”, yet it can only achieve crossover status when a cat like Sean Paul completely abandons his roots and attempts to “popify” the genre. Or, in soccer’s case, when a chick takes off her jersey after scoring a goal. Hey, remember when the U.S. Women’s Team victory in 1999 was going to be the start of something big? Yeah, me neither.

Saliva Tour News

It’s just been confirmed by guitarist Chris Bibaldo that Saliva is hitting the road with rock fossils Kiss and Aerosmith. The only explanation I can think of is that Steven Tyler and Gene Simmons were hoping that Saliva can bring in the 18-24 groupie demographic, as opposed to the middle-aged, soccer mom market. Don’t act like you don’t know who I’m talking about. Those 40-year-old cows with the acid-washed jeans and too-small denim jackets proudly flaunting tattoos on their breasts, which sag proudly down to their waists.

You’re a Credit to Dementia!

Sometimes, the news just writes itself. ODB, a longtime member of the Wu-Tang Clan has been transferred to a mental institution in upstate New York. Mr. Bastard, who has also recorded under the name of Big Baby Jesus, has been locked down since 2000 on a drug charge. He was due to be released, however it was determined that he is considered “unsafe to return to the general public”. Seriously, is there anyone who didn’t see this day coming when ODB first broke onto the scene? There’s no word on how long he’ll be at Arkham Asylum, but he’ll fit in nicely with Harvey Dent, Pamela Isley and Edward Nygma.

Offspring Titles New Album

First there was Biggie versus Tupac. Next, there was Eminem versus Christina Aguilera. Now, it appears that music’s next great feud is shaping up to be Offspring versus Guns N’ Roses. The good little boys of Offspring reportedly plan to title their new album Chinese Democracy. Guns N’ Roses claim that it’s their title and have gone so far as to file a cease-and-desist order to block the jacking of said title. Offspring mouthpiece, Dexter Holland was actually quoted on the group’s website as retorting, and I quote, “You snooze, you lose”. I’m just glad I’ve got some fodder for the next person who sneers that the rap music industry is juvenile and immature. Which reminds me, when did Juvenile return to The Hot Boys? When did Immature become IMX?

Jill Scott to appear on Def Poetry

If you can somehow make it through Bill Maher’s uneven (yet, still decent) Politically Incorrect knockoff on HBO, then you’re in for a treat. Chubby (whoops, sorry ladies, I mean “voluptuous”) yet sweet poetic diva Jill Scott is slated for a cameo on Def Poetry Jam. The show airs tonight/Saturday morning at 12:30 am. Did you know that Jill Scott is produced by Jeffrey “DJ Jazzy Jeff” Townes? So, the next time Will Smith is flaunting his Oscar nomination, beautiful wife and untold millions, Jeff can say, “Yeah, but I’ve got Jill Scott!” Here’s some more fodder: Will Smith admitted that he turned down the leading role in 1999’s The Matrix.

Another Idol Ousted

I thought there was something a tad shifty about Corey Clark. He’s the latest American Idol hopeful to get the boot from the Fox show. When I first saw him, I thought he looked like a cross between Ludacris and Stoney Jackson. For those of you old enough to remember Stoney…that’s a pretty scary combination. It seems that my boy, Corey (allegedly) beat the hell out of his sister, resisted arrest and jaywalked. It seems a series of administrative snafus kept all of this from showing up on his Idol background check.

Lisa Marie, Michael and My Mom

After years and years of a self-imposed silence, Elvis’ little girl is now talking to every damn body. Last night, she poured her heart out to Diane Sawyer on one of those TV news magazine shows. Later this month, she’s slated to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone. You’d almost think she was using the public’s morbid curiosity surrounding her brief marriage to Michael Jackson to promote herself and/or a new album. Of course, you’d be right. She’s got a single out now called Lights Out. Shockingly, she paints Jackson as a weirdo, but claims to have loved him. I must admit, I am curious to see how she spins her brief fling with Nicholas Cage. Quick aside: A few years ago, my mom came down to visit me and we decided to catch a movie. I selected 8 MM, featuring the aforementioned Mr. Cage. I have never spent a more uncomfortable two hours in my life. Check that, the ride home was painful, too, as I had to explain the whole “snuff film” industry to her.

It’s Paul vs. The Pope…Yet Again

I am not making this up. Remember, in last week’s full and pouty edition of The Bootleg, I served up a tasty newsbit on Paul McCartney’s upcoming concert in Rome? Well, apparently representatives for his Holiness, Pope John Paul II are concerned that he will be kept awake by the evening show. McCartney’s people have offered to remove some of the louder cuts from the show, perhaps even going so far as to make it an all-acoustic performance. Personally, I don’t think The Pope has anyone to blame but his real estate agent. I’d like to think that the Century 21 guy would’ve disclosed the proximity of a concert venue to the Vatican by at least the second walk through.

Quick Hits

Look for a new album by rock and roll’s version of Jimmy Smits, Sammy Hagar, in May. It’s one of those career spanning “live” albums that seem to be popping up everywhere these days.

Bruce Springsteen’s May 29 show in Manchester, England has been cancelled. Officials point to a gaggle of concerned residents with really bad teeth who said last year’s concerts by Oasis in the same venue led to problems they don’t want to repeat.

Jay-Z is planning to release an anti-war track. I’m sure no new ground will be covered, but he does have an interesting sample in mind. He plans to use the theme from 1980s television show, Knight Rider as the beat. Personally, I’m waiting for his remix of the theme to Silver Spoons. Here we are…face to face…

After the spectacular failure of Glitter, no one thought Mariah Carey would get another chance to entertain us on the silver screen. With the return of the musical to the local multiplex, it appears that Ms. Carey is back in demand. She reportedly has a handful of offers to lend her pipes to Hollywood yet again.

General Haberdashery

Josh goes crazy with the italics in his review of Linkin Park’s new one.

Cody has an awesome rant on his hatred for the New York Yankees. I don’t agree with everything he says, but any mention of baseball gets haberdashed by me.

Junk Mail

I expected quite a bit of response to my listing of the top five rappers ever, but y’all shocked the hell outta me. The feedback was incredible, plentiful and (usually) intelligent even when y’all were disagreeing with me. First, however, Jared Stevens took me to task for my comments on Snoop’s 1996 Doggfather album:

In my opinion Snoop’s fan base did not move on in the three years it took him to get a new album out. They were there waiting for it, but he just did not deliver. Whether it was because his voice changed or he just got lazy, the album did not have the same sound as Doggystyle and essentially was not very good. Love the column. Peace

Excellent points, one and all, and I’m kicking myself for not saying the same thing myself. Now, onto last week’s list. I’ll just provide a sampling of some of the feedback and provide some closing thoughts at the end. For those of you who weren’t here last week, you can review the list by clicking c’here.

C’mon man you forgot about Rakim. I do agree with four of the five on this list but snoop dog? He’s got skills but Rakim was a pioneer in the rap game and the greatest MC to ever grace the mike. – Brandon P.

Can you please, please, please tell me how you left Dr. Dre and Eazy-E off of the Top 5 rappers list? Dre and Eazy are two of the pillars of rap. Putting in Nas and Snoop over these guys is pretty criminal, if you ask me. – Jeff M.

Excellent column. I gotta say I agree with your choice of Tupac Shakur as #1 rapper of all time. He was and still is so far ahead of everybody else in the game that it’s just not funny. Eminem would be number 2, for reasons you stated, and DMX would be number 4 for me. The best is yet to come from him. – Cory

Where was Ice Cube? I know his last few albums sucked, but he’s made classic sh!t.
“Good Day,” “You Know How We Do It,” “The N**** You Love to Hate,” “We Be
Clubbin” “Bop Gun,” “Check Yo Self,” plus his NWA work. – EazyV662

After tallying the input, both Rakim and Ice Cube finished atop the “You forgot so-and-so, you a$$hole!” list. I can’t possibly list all the other great (and not-so-great) rappers who received one or two votes, but only Eazy-E tallied enough to garner an honorable mention from you fine readers.

I also received a few “All of today’s rap sucks” letters. They asked that I give more attention to the pioneers of hip hop and to the rappers who aren’t burning up the retail charts, but still have something good to say. The last thing I’d ever do is piss on the impact of rap’s “legends”…so, I’ll let my man, Nick S. do it, instead.

I ask you to please delete any email you get stating that Rakim, Kool G Rap or Big Daddy Kane should be on that list-there seems to be this group out there pining for those days “when Rakim first dropped Eric B for Preisdent..” etc. Let’s be serious-people, remember Hammer and NWA? They were way ahead of their time but none of them ever got any better or changed with said times.

Once again, thanks for all your emails and angry 2-ways. This week’s question comes from that hotbed of hip hop, the campus of The University of Maine and John Lee:

I liked your list of the top rappers. What would you say are their best albums?

Sorry for the clip job on your note, John, but it’s getting late and the wife wants the computer.

1.) Tupac Shakur – I’m going against the grain and picking Makaveli over the more popular All Eyez on Me. Shakur gave his strongest lyrical effort on Makaveli and tempered his rage with some hauntingly effective religious undertones.

2.) Notorious B.I.G. – There’s not a whole lot to choose from in his catalog, but I’ll take Ready To Die over Life After Death. The former is wonderfully textured masterpiece that paints ghetto imagery that’s both cautiously optimistic and bitterly cynical.

3.) Eminem – A surprisingly easy call here. The Eminem Show is one of the best rap albums ever and proves that Slim still has a lot to say. His two previous releases, The Slim Shady LP and The Marshall Mathers LP are both solid albums, but slightly overrated by many.

4.) NasIllmatic. ‘Nuff said.

5.) Snoop Dogg – I still remember waiting for Doggystyle to drop in the fall of 1993. It’s one of the only times that an album truly lived up to the hype. Sadly, Snoop may have to wait a lifetime (or in hip hop: 15 years) before releasing another surefire classic.

Oakland A’s Update: Yesterday’s heartbreaking loss notwithstanding, our boys in green and gold have gotten off to a solid start. Tim Hudson looked great on Tuesday night and Barry Zito was pretty good the next night. It’s good to see some early production from Terrence Long who’s going to be one of the offensive keys to the season.

Good luck to all the men and women serving in the Middle East. Please hurry home.