411 Music's Friday News Bootleg 04.11.03

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Welcome to another edition of The Bootleg, kids. Just so you know, I’ll be on travel for my (real) job, so there may or may not “news-entertainment” from me next week. I fly from San Diego into Chicago and then on to Washington DC on Monday. I spend a week at our facility in Rockville, Maryland and then it’s back home on Friday, April 18. If anyone knows any good bars or restaurants in the area, let a brutha know. I’ve also gotta check the schedule and see if the Orioles are in town. There’s nothing quite like attending games while on a business trip. The company pays for everything…they just don’t know it. A couple of years ago, I saw a game at Coors Field in Denver against the Phillies. Nice little park, y’all have there.

Speaking of baseball, we’re taking the Bootleg on the road tomorrow night as a friend and I ditch the wives for an evening of baseball at Edison Field in Anaheim. My Oakland A’s take on the hated Angels and the most fair-weather, bandwagon-jumping, monkey-waving fans on the planet. My only hope is that the Angels will put their world titles on the line and not go the HHH route and continue to duck the green and gold. I’ll be on hand at The National Sports Bar & Grill in Orange tomorrow night before the game to talk music, baseball or whatever the hell else is on your mind. It’s not sanctioned by the 411Mania.com governing body, so just look for the slightly built brutha in the Oakland A’s “alternate” jersey.

Also, I’ve gotten requests from some of you to review your demo tapes here at 411Mania. I’m always willing to help new acts get their name out there. If there’s enough of a response, I’ll run it by our omnipotent webmasters and see if we can make a new column out of it. Just rap and R&B, though. Every other musical genre is pretty well covered (and covered very well) by the other writers here. Just drop me a line (addy is below).

Drink slowly from the Well of The Bootleg, kids…this might have to hold you for the next two weeks.

I Don’t Believe This For a Second, But It’s a Slow News Week

The always reputable Sun tabloid is reporting that Beyonce Knowles is now dating 50 Cent. While Ms. Knowles has shown a preference for ugly rappers in the past, I just have a hard time buying this. I’m sure Beyonce’s handlers gave her a little leeway during her fling with Jay-Z. Despite his chosen profession, Jigga is more caricature than legitimate thug. 50, on the other hand, proudly proclaims that he doesn’t leave the house without his bulletproof vest. Hey, maybe I’m wrong. It’s possible that Beyonce digs cats who look like Shabba Ranks, Seal and Willie McGee put together. If that’s the case, then I’ve still got a shot. Are you ready, B?

Where Will He Decide to Inappropriately Touch Young Boys Now?

It’s the end of an era, kids. Your friend and mine, Michael Jackson, has decided to sell his sprawling Neverland Ranch out here in California. He’s reportedly looking for upwards of $22 million, however realty experts think it will only bring in about half of that. The Ranch has everything you could hope for including it’s own lake, amusement rides, barns, stables and a private railway. Jackson hasn’t had much luck in the courts lately and a string of judicial losses has him on the hook for anywhere between $5 and $10 million bones to the respective plaintiffs. Speaking of outrageous costs, here in Cali a gallon of 87 octane gas averages $2.12/gallon, while a 1,200 square foot, 3 bedroom/2 bathroom home goes for between $300,000 and $330,000. At least we have the A’s.

Jennifer Lopez and Ja Rule Wish They Sounded This Good

All y’all remember 1994, right? OJ Simpson was in the news for something. The Montreal Expos (!) were the best team in baseball…before the strike. Me and Patrick Ewing were the last two fools rockin’ the flat-top haircut. Method Man and Mary J. Blige dropped the classic collabo You’re All I Need. Well, the two are headed back to the studio to record a joint for Mary’s new album Love and Life. Meth also has new album dropping this year Tical 0: The Prequel. I’m glad to see that her Super Bowl “performance” didn’t hurt Blige’s career a few years ago. She shared the mic with Nelly and Aerosmith and, despite being the most talented person on the stage, was relegated to shrieking the hook for Walk This Way.

If a Tree Falls in the Forest and No One Hears It…

Somebody call their agent. The wholesome young men of Godsmack are slated to appear on The Jimmy Kimmel Show tonight. Their third album, Faceless, came out this week and the promotional machine is cranked up to “media whore”. Hopefully, the band’s target audience has TiVO, because I can’t imagine too many of them staying at home on a Friday night for a show that airs after midnight in most markets. I haven’t caught Kimmel’s show since the first few weeks and it was pretty craptacular back in January/February when it debuted. The talk show format just isn’t Kimmel’s strength and he’s not nearly as funny as some of y’all make him out to be. Anyways, Godsmack goes on tour beginning May 22 in Mansfield, Mass.

The Month of Madonna

Madonna, that waffling anti-war/pro-soldier freak who recently pulled the plug on her anti-Bush video, will be in your face all this month. On Tuesday, April 22, she’s scheduled to appear on an hour-long live special on MTV. Later that day, she’s doing David Letterman and will appear on his show, too. The following day, it’s Live with Regis and the Skinny Little White Girl that Replaced Kathie Lee. Finally, Madonna makes her heavily hyped cameo on Will & Grace on April 24. All this is part of the mega promotional campaign for her latest album, American Life, due out on April 22.

You Can Hate Him Now

The man that brought us the shiny suits, copious amounts of sampling and the Born Again album is finding new and exciting ways to piss off the masses. No, he’s not making another album. Well, actually he is…but that’s not what this news bit is about. Apparently, his Diddyness has commandeered a townhouse for the filming of something called Making the Band 2. Apparently I missed MtB 1. Well, a resident of this Greenwich Village community is up in arms and has sent out a petition to kick Diddy on his Puffy lil’ ass. I guess the gist of the show is that P.D. puts together his own group or something (please, don’t correct me…I really don’t care). Can anyone name any act that Puffy has successfully led to a long and prosperous career? Biggie? Dead. The Lox? One album, then off the label. 112? Sued Puffy for their freedom. Craig Mack? Flava in Yo Ear, then flat on his ass.

Even “The World” Lasted Longer

When will these celebrities ever learn that the restaurant industry is a foul bitch goddess? Now that’s what I call segue! The eminently do-able Britney dipped her toes in the food service waters with miserable results. Nyla Restaurant opened in June of 2002 and, after just seven short months, has closed its doors. The story continues, however, as a slew of creditors are demanding their cheques. The good people at smokinggun.com report that the eatery filed for bankruptcy protection on April 2. Spears’ “Pinky Enterprises” is listed as the true owner of the failed enterprise. Among those looking for their ends are Con Edison of New York. Here in San Diego we have a handful of celeb restaurants, too. The former Charger of the same name owns “Seau’s”. The waitresses are hotter than the food, though. “Croce’s” is wildly popular, but the food is horrible and the night scene is mostly a gaggle of anorexic yaks lookin’ for a sugar daddy.

Maybe There’s Still Hope for Snoop and Suge

There’s a lot of hyperbole in hip hop, but never more so than when an artist leaves a label. Dre leaves Death Row!! Snoop leaves Death Row!! Nate Dogg leaves Death Row!! Hmm, maybe it’s just Death Row Records. Anyways, I’m obligated to elaborate on my item from last week, and it’s official: Juvenile has returned to Cash Money Records. Technically, he was never released from his contract with the label during his brief feud with CEO (sigh) “Baby”, so now his fans throughout New Orleans, Birmingham and Jackson can rejoice. The rest of us have jobs, so we’ll celebrate when we get off of work.

I Said it was a Slow News Week Didn’t I?

Bootleg favorites The Dixie Chicks have finally found some public support. The hard-working members of the Madison, Wisconsin City Council are looking to pass a resolution that calls for the Chicks music to be played during meeting breaks. In addition, the Council has extended an open invitation to the singing trio to receive the keys to the city as well as a safe haven to practice their free speech whenever they want. I know that these silly little “resolutions” happen in every City Council in the country, but they really do little to give politicians a good name, y’know? I wish I could waste my time at work kicking around music subjects. No, the irony isn’t lost on me, either.

Jewel, the Author

The next few months should be all Jewel, all the time. First, she has a book slated for release. The very misleading title is Revealing Jewel. I’ve seen an advance copy and there’s little to no skin shown anywhere. It’s more of a how-great-she-is piece written by her friends, family and a few celebrity contributors. Jewel will perform live on NBC’s The Today Show at the end of next month, which all coincides with the release of her new album in June.

Hey, speaking of which, anyone know whatever happened to Jewell? Y’all remember her…she was one of the original artists on Death Row Records. She sang the outro on F Wit Dre Day. She had a few singles on that Death Row specialty: the ghetto movie soundtrack. Then, she just disappeared. She popped up again on Snoop’s Top Dogg album, though. I mean if Danny Boy can return to the label can Jewell and CPO Boss Hogg be that far behind?

Run For Your Lives…I said RUN you little bastards!

You’ve been warned. Later this year, some of y’all are gonna go to your local mall. While you’re searching for that flashy pair of Gap khakis, the perfect smoothie, the latest issue of The Source or sneaking a peek at the Hot Dog on a Stick girls pumpin’ up and down on the lemonade maker (don’t act like I’m the only one), you’re likely to feel your ears bleeding. That’s because the American Idol mall tour is coming to a city near you. Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Indianapolis, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Antonio, San Diego (damn it!), and Washington, D.C. are the lucky cities that will play host. I can’t imagine why anyone would come to see the Idol rejects cover good songs by other artists, but then the whole Pokemon, Power Rangers and pogs crazes went over my head, too.

One More Reason to Hate Timberlake

Los Angeles has solidified its status as the most happenin’ place on earth as my old hometown (by way of Long Beach) proudly hosts the Kids’ Choice Awards (in Santa Monica)! Justin Timberlake, formerly of both Menudo and New Kids on the Block, will perform his latest single and give out an award or something. During the press junket this week, Timberlake actually fixed his mouth to say, “Hip Hop has become pop and that’s cool to see…”. Justin, dawg, let me holla at’cha for a second.

Just because you got down with Nelly on one of his sh!tty little albums doesn’t mean hip hop has gone pop. Just because no talents like Ashanti and Jennifer Lopez “sing” over rap samples from 10 years ago, that doesn’t mean that hip hop has gone pop. Just because Puff Daddy continues to take up space between Project Pat and Queen Latifah at the Sam Goody rap rack, that doesn’t mean that hip hop has gone pop.

Sure, like every musical genre, rap and hip hop have their non-threatening, milquetoast acts that have crossed over. However, for every Will Smith there are dozens of acts like Dead Prez who will never, ever be embraced by you and yours. So, keep sleepin’ with Britney, Janet and whichever other starchasers you can get in the sack, you little fake ass Donnie Wahlberg. You’re at 14 minutes 55 seconds and the clock is tickin’, son.

General Haberdashery

Yeah, I know I’ve been a little light on the reviews lately. I’m takin’ some CDs with me to DC, though. I should have plenty of time to crank out a few since I’m traveling with a 58 year old alcoholic grandmother of two and one of our goons from accounting. I don’t suppose Marriots have in-room wet bars? Anywho, allow me to pimp myself for a change.

Ice Cube’s re-release of Death Certificate is an all-time classic and I address some of the more controversial aspects of the album.

Speaking of controversy, I still get asked about this one. It’s the only review I ever wrote in which the rapper and his label sent me hate mail on.

My first review. Won’t you read it again for the first time?

Junk Mail

I’m also falling way behind on the mailbag. My apologies to everyone, since I make an effort to respond to everything I get. Hey, what else am I gonna do at work? Here’s a special treat for all y’all this week. While I try’n catch up, I’ll give you the best and worst of the “you suck” letters I get…occasionally.

From my review of Nas’ God’s Son, Carlos Jenkins writes:

Hi! I was just reading your review of this album, and it is very clear to me that you should not be reviewing albums – period. This is arguably one of nas’ best albums and shows his full range as an emcee. The last real n**** alive is one of (if not the best) tracks on this album.

I am a hip hop fan first – then I’m a nas fan. What that means is I simply give credit where its due whether I like the artist or not. The blueprint2 is definitely not a better album than god’s son, and for you to even mention that double cd in the same breath as 2pac’s is absolutely insane.

Don’t be so obvious about liking J more. If your gonna rate music like this, make sure you’re a hip hop fan first!

More from God’s Son as an MSN user borrows his mommy’s account and writes:

You are f*cking stupid dawg. I can, is a great son. a great message. thugs masion is good too. there’s no room for hate there. admire talent and leave your personal bullshit aside. if you’re a gay z lover that’s a different story. but to say that not a classic but almost a classic album by nas falls short, that’s simply retarded. the last real nigga alive. way too creative. superior rhyming. kills jay z. tha must hurt ya ass. doesnt it??? and the rest of the songs are great too, but i have no time to school you fool.

An AOL user with a shoe line and a clothing company in his user name (clever) has this to say – in its entirety:

bad review the best song on the cd is heaven you ain’t feeling his lyrics because you know of nothing that goes down in the hood get ya mind right kid nas is the king of the streets and the king of new york

Tucker Thorpe rebuts my review of 50’s independent joint, Guess Who’s Back:

you dont know wha the f*ck your talkin about quess whos back is one of the sickest albums i have ever heard you would be fool not to say so it is right up there with big l lifestyles of the poor and dangerous probally exceeding it 50 cent is the boss of hip hop next thing you know youll say that (50 shot ya ) is a trash track and we all know that that is shit it is one of the best

Keep that fan mail coming!

Oakland A’s Update: Miguel Tejada is really pressing, trying to pull everything out of the yard. He had a three hit game on Wednesday, so maybe he’s turning it around. Keith Foulke is infinitely more consistent than Billy Koch and should crack the 30 save mark. They’ve got Anaheim this weekend and Seattle next week on the road, so hopefully they can continue to play well.

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