411 Music's Friday News Bootleg 04.25.03

Welcome to this very special edition of The Bootleg. Remember that “very special” episode of Diff’rent Strokes where Gary Coleman’s pal Dudley gets “touched” by Gordon Jump? Maybe you younger readers are more familiar with the “very special” episode of Saved by the Bell where Jessie gets addicted…to caffeine pills. Well, this week, we’re following the same theme…with a lot less drugs and molestation.

I’m back from last week’s business trek to Washington DC. If you haven’t been, get your ass out there. We were there for the whole week and still didn’t get to see everything. Please don’t get me started on the females, either. I thought livin’ here in San Diego had spoiled me, but y’all DC lay-days…damn. I love my wife and all, but I’m glad that everything that goes down on a business trip stays there.

I know I’m a few weeks late with this, but I have to send out a huge thank you to everyone who actually showed up to say ‘hey’ at The National in Orange two weeks ago. During the last edition of The Bootleg, I mentioned I’d be at a sports bar not far from Edison Field in Anaheim. I didn’t think in a million years that anyone would actually show up, but I’ll never underestimate y’all again. We filled a couple of their big ass booths and I didn’t hafta pay for one drink all evening. If you toss out the A’s horrible performance against the Angels, it was a great day.

Later today, I’m flyin’ up to Oakland to see my mighty A’s take on the hated Indians of Cleveland. I’m bringin’ The Bootleg to the Hard Rock Café in San Francisco immediately following the A’s game tonight, April 25. The evening will start there and end three or four bars later. I’ll be the skinny brutha wearing something from Eddie Bauer. I’m that cat by the bar toastin’ to tha good life, moved out tha hood right, you try to pull me back right?

Now, let’s see what kind of Bootlegged Goodness I can regurgitate for all you happy people…

What’s Six Feet Tall, 98 Pounds and Coming to Prime Time?!?

Everyone’s favorite diva/crack whore is heading to the small screen. Whitney Houston will co-star in the season finale of Fox-TV’s annoying remix of Beverly Hills 90210, Boston Public. Houston plays herself in a storyline that revolves around a high school senior who writes a letter to Whitney asking her to the prom. Will she accept the invite? Christ, are you stupid…of course she will. Hey, here’s an even bigger shock, Whitney will pimp perform her latest single Try It On My Own during the hour-long broadcast. One of my dawgs in Hollywood emailed me the final copy of the script and I’m surprised to see that after the prom sequence, there’s a scene in the auditorium where Whitney explains away the evils of crack by calling it a “cheap” drug and a drug for people who “can’t afford the better stuff”. Just say no, kids.

As if Having the Tigers Wasn’t Enough of a Blessing

If you’re in the Detroit area tomorrow, why not drop in on the Hip-Hop Summit being held at the Cobo Arena? Because I would hope all y’all have something better to do with your Saturdays than standing elbow deep in a sea of 12-year old girls squealing for Eminem like he’s some sort of Jeff Hardy or something. The tentative list of high profile invitees includes the aforementioned Mr. Mathers, Reverend Run from Run-DMC fame, Doug E. Fresh, Method Man, Redman and Cam’ron. Yes, Cam’ron. Aren’t we all just waiting to hear Cam’ron’s views on the state of hip hop? Jesus, he’s even bringing his “Diplomats” with him. If you’re not a fan of rap, this is the equivalent of Milli bringing Vanilli back from the dead and giving a filibuster on the state of rock music. It’s a public event (and free, to boot) and involves hip hop, so let me give those of you attending an idea of what to expect. All the rappers will show up four hours late and the highest profile guy (Em) won’t show at all. Even white folk can run on CPT, kids.

Lesbians and Porn

It seems that week after week, various writers on this site have something new to say about T.A.T.U. I’ll be honest…I had never heard of them until I started reading the work of Claire and others. I wanted to wait until they did something that really caught my eye before I debuted them in the Bootleg. Their little lesbian act is pretty passé here in California…hell, the wife and I went to a lesbian “commitment ceremony” a few months ago, but I digress. Now it seems the duo has put out a call for “the most beautiful, coolest, cleverest and youngest girls” to join them for a naked photo shoot. Nothing moves units faster than kiddie porn, I tells ya! Of course all the usual stuffed-shirt conservative groups (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, I’m looking in your direction) are calling it “an irresponsible publicity stunt”. I guess I’ve got to move to Russia, because here in America, we call it a crime…or one hell of a sorority party.

It’s The End of the World As We Know It

If you were one of the hundreds of cats standing in line for hours to meet Jay-Z and buy his signature line of athletic shoe, then I pray for the future of our once great country. Say it with me: Jay-freakin-Z has a shoe deal with Reebok. This must be the seventh sign that Demi Moore warned us all about in the heartwarming movie of the same name. The locusts can’t be far behind. Yes, it’s true. The man whose greatest “athletic” contribution was setting off the throwback jersey craze has a shoe deal with Reebok. What’s worse is that they’re selling out all over the country. OK, in the interest of full disclosure, I haven’t seen the shoe. I’m fairly certain it’s not as laughably bad a concept as Funkmaster Flex’s “driving shoe” which you rasslin’ fans see pimped every other quarter hour on Raw. Still, Deion Sanders and Shaquille O’Neal notwithstanding, music has done a fine job of keeping athletes off the mic. So stop buying his damn shoe, people! The more successful Jay is, the closer we get to the Ghostface Killah line of Keds.

If Anyone Needs Me, I’ll Be In The Bathroom…Combing My Hair

I had my token commentary on The Dixie Chicks all cued up and ready to go. We planned to cover the shocking story of the apparent end to their endorsement deal with Lipton Brisk Iced Tea. Then, I find an advance copy of the new Entertainment Weekly in my mailbox this week. The Dixie Chicks are on the cover. The Dixie Chicks are on the cover and naked. Their taut little bodies are scrawled with various pro and anti-free speech cliches, as well. Yep, three young white girls, dirty and nekkid, on the cover of a major mainstream magazine. Wouldn’t you know that this is the ONE year I didn’t wish for a million dollars after blowing out the candles on my birthday cake.

Oh, by the way, there’s an article buried somewhere inside that features an interview with the gals and their response to all the controversy their anti-Bush comments have created. Now, I’ve always considered Entertainment Weekly to be solely for morons who have trouble understanding People, but People has never featured three glistening yokels on their cover! They used to give a lot of cover shots to the fat chick from Wilson Phillips, but that’s been awhile.

I Knew Monie Love and She’s No Monie Love

Here’s something we genuinely need more of in our mundane day-to-day lives: more news on Foxy Brown. C’mon, y’all haven’t forgot Foxy, right? At the innocent age of 16, she dropped her debut album, Ill Na Na. That album went platinum, but her two follow up CDs were commercial and critical flops. Anyways, news broke this week that her fourth album, Ill Na Na 2: The Fever has been indefinitely postponed. Apparently, she’s pissed off because America’s plague, Puff Daddy, owns 50% percent of her contract and she wants out. She believes the postponement is directly tied to her desire to leave the label. Who says you can’t be a brain surgeon with a GED? The pork-faced diva also blames female rapper Eve for the break up of her romance with Kurupt. Hell, just move on to the next news item, this was as painful for me to type as it was for you to read.

He’s a Rockin’ Cablinasian

How come nobody told me about “Tiger Jam VI” (or TJ I, II, III, IV and V for that matter)? Tiger Jam is a benefit concert that raises cash for the Tiger Woods Foundation, a support group for tight-assed bruthas. He’s not just a client, y’know…Anyways, I guess there’s a musical slant in here somewhere and sure enough Bon Jovi answered the bell. I’m not sure if Bon Jovi is still a group or if Jon just dropped his first name, but whatever. The point is that Bon Jovi donated $20,000 the Foundation and help push the tally raised to over $1 million dollars. Wait, here’s the best part: Celebrities on had at the fund-raiser included Ray Romano, Kevin James, Marcus Allen, Lauren Holly and MC Hammer. Two B-Level sitcom stars, the former lover of Nicole Simpson, an actress whose career peaked at Dumb and Dumber and…Hammer. I really wish I had saved my Stoney Jackson joke for this week, but maybe I’ve got a Corey Haim and/or Corey Feldman one lying around somewhere.

So That’s Where Baby Rappers are Born

In a shameless attempt to curry favor with those who thought his last album was a horrid piece of dreck …and it was, Xzibit has announced a brand-new monthly showcase of unsigned hip hop talent called “Rhyme Night”. Beginning May 28, my old hometown of Los Angeles will be the home for unproven talent to show off their stuff on the mic. All prospective entrants need to bring their game to Sixteen-Fifty in dirty-as-hell Hollywood. Open auditions begin May 24 from noon to 4:00 PM. Let’s hope that Mr. X to tha Z makes a grip of money off of this venture. There’s a very real possibility that his career as a mainstream rapper has gone the way of ODB, Juvenile and Silkk tha Shocker.

Tupac Ain’t the Only Dead Artist Still Makin’ Music

Bob Marley fans rejoice. Damn it, I said rejoice! Marley’s family has apparently “just discovered” a catalog of cassette recordings by the legendary reggae star that were never released. The songs will need to be re-mastered, but expect a 2004 release for at least some of the material. Now, can someone out there explain to me how you can misplace something like this for 23 goddam years? This ain’t that orange and brown sweater that Grandma got you for Christmas, which just happens to find its way to back of your closet. You would almost think that the family was intentionally sitting on this treasure in the hopes of exploiting it to promote their own efforts. In unrelated news, Bob’s son Ziggy just released his debut album, Dragonfly.

Suge Knight, The Ghetto Pinocchio

Convicted felon and God-Fearin’ Gangsta, Suge Knight is in the news yet again. This week, he claimed that Nas shouldn’t have dared to appear on the same album as the late Tupac Shakur. For those of you who care, Pac and Nas briefly feuded in 1996 during Shakur’s “I hate the east coast, even though I was born out there” phase. Knight, who has previously claimed that he once rescued Tupac from drowning and that he owns an explicit sex tape of Jennifer Lopez, claims that Pac would have never worked with Nas.

Never mind that Suge sold Tupac’s Me and My Girlfriend to Jay-Z, whom Pac also feuded with in the mid-90s. Suge, who once begged a judge for his freedom by insisting he would never again allow the word “n#gga” to be used on a Death Row album, claims that Pac didn’t hate Jay-Z the same way he hated Nas. Why anyone continues to stick a microphone in the face of this caricature is beyond me.

From the Department of Shock and Awe

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. There was a rock concert in Chicago where the lead singer was drunk off his ass. Here’s something you surely haven’t heard…some of the patrons are suing to get their money back. Creed, who seems to provide the theme song for every pro wrestling PPV, are being sued by four fans who claim that lead singer Scott Stapp’s “condition” ruined the experience of having beer spilled on them by idiots, fighting three hours of traffic just to get out of the parking lot and listening to unintelligible wails over a substandard sound system.

Apparently, Mr. Stapp left the stage a few times, rolled around on the stage floor and allegedly passed out during Creed’s performance. The plaintiffs want their $60 back. See, it’s ignorant ‘ish like this that has turned our judicial system into a joke (well, this and the OJ Simpson/Rodney King verdicts). Here’s some unsolicited commentary: You won’t find a bible in a brothel and you won’t find sobriety at a concert. Thanks and drive through.

I Know You Can’t Get Enough of 50 Cent

There are schloads of news outta 50’s camp this week. First, plans continue to move forward for a tour co-headlined by Jay-Z. Contrary to some news on this site last week, he and 50 aren’t feuding and haven’t had any serious beef. There haven’t been many successful hip hop tours (Up in Smoke is probably the last one) and I don’t know if this one will work, either. The game has fallen back into a lot of the same themes that scare off concert promoters and keep away mainstream fans.

In other Fitty news, he’s decided to delay the release of his next album until February 2004. Personally, I think it would be in his best interests to strike while the iron is hot. Surely, Dr. Dre and Eminem have enough leftover beats to supply 50 with ten to twelve hot tracks. Let’s face it, 50 ain’t an outstanding lyricist and his charisma is a direct by-product of the production under him. Furthermore, 50’s fast and furious lifestyle could catch up to him sooner rather than later. It might sound morbid, but he should be out there making as much money as he can, as quickly as he can.

General Haberdashery

I haven’t had much time to peruse the music stuff here at The Mania. So, since a lot of you bastards want to know where all the rap reviews are, I present the worst crap I’ve covered in the last few months. New reviews are coming soon, kids, I promise.

This guy picked a fight with the hottest name in the game to try’n sell his sh!tty album.

This one was one of the most disappointing albums of last year.

The runaway choice for the worst album I’ve ever had to sit through for you people.

Junk Mail

I’m nothing but a dirty goat-mouthed liar. My inbox continues to swell and now I’m starting to get “Have you been fired from 411?” letters. I know I promised to catch up, but this has been a crazy month, so bear with me for another week or so.

What started out as some back-and-forth with a reader over one of Nas’ albums has taken on a life of its own. The latest from my man, Reggie, is below:

The most prominent problem I have personally with Eminem is the position he takes with some of rap’s past great figures: MC Hammer and Everlast/Vanilla Ice. On a recent documentary on MTV they asked Em his opinion on MC Hammer (although I believe he hasn’t been around long enough to be asked in the first place. Does he belong in the same company as Big Daddy Kane, Chuck D and Marley Marl?) His response is that he never liked nor appreciated what Hammer has done for rap and the Hip Hop culture. When asked to comment on the careers of other white rappers such as Vanilla Ice and Everlast he reponsed by saying he doesn’t belong in that class. What class does he belong to then? If he denies the line he truly is from then what is he trying to say, that he’s trying to be black?

How can he deny the road Hammer and the other mention rappers paved for him? No, you don’t have to like the music but you don’t have to make exclamations like “…I hated Hammer! I wouldn’t be caught dead with any of his CD!…” Those kind of comments make it apparent that he isn’t in it to make a contribution to Hip Hop, but that he is in the same class as Nelly, Master P and Juvenile: in it for the money and the fame. Where’s the statement there? Thankx again for your replies, I know you have many emails to return and I understand the amount of time it takes for you to respond.

Well, I think you’ve given me enough to talk about. Let’s start with the original angry white rapper. I like Eminem. He has improved his craft with each subsequent release and is showing real potential as the next great hip hop producer. Does he “belong” with the likes of hip hop’s all-time greats? If we’re talking longevity, absolutely not. If we’re talking pure skills, then you bet your ass he does.

I saw the same MTV piece (I believe it was a celebration of 20 years of hip hop on the network) and I too was dismayed at Em’s anti-Hammer comments. Unfortunately, they’re not unique. Before Slim Shady was the rapper you “loved to hate”, there was MC Hammer. Revisionist history has wiped out his contributions to the game and the role he played in taking rap to the suburbs (and to true retail success). Grudgingly, there are rappers out there who will give it up to Hammer, but few do so publicly. It’s almost as if they’re afraid of losing “cred” if they admit it.

I think the point of Em’s comments were that he wants to be judged on the content of his material, period. I just don’t understand why the hip hop community feels so threatened by this guy. Is he in the game for the money? Yeah, but aren’t we all? The success of Eminem isn’t the signal of the extinction of a culture, but rather the evolution. Hip Hop is in its fourth decade of existence and it ain’t goin’ nowhere. He’s as much a “threat” to the “blackness” of rap as Tiger Woods is to the “whiteness” of golf. In this game, Em is a minority and, like all of us, he needs to perform twice as well to get half the love.

Oakland A’s Update: Hopefully, my presence today and tomorrow can shake them out of their offensive woes. Tejada is swingin’ at everything, Dye looks lost, Chavez is hurting and the Mariners may not be dead after all. They’ve gotta sweep lowly Cleveland and start their next road trip with some momentum.

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