Can I just say how happy I am that The Roots decided to make Star the next single from The Tipping Point? That song knocks. It’s the first track on the album (which has a shot at my album of the year), and it’s just dope. I was way pumped when I first saw the video a few weeks ago. It’s times like this that I wish the stereo in my room was working.
The Column Proper
Music is a pretty big part of my life. I can’t imagine going to work without listening to something. Every time I run an errand I make sure I’ve got a decent artist to listen to. I don’t even make the three-minute walk to check the mail without my headphones in. I’m like a courteous Radio Raheem.
But music hasn’t always been good to me. In fact music has traumatized me so much that I’ve had to alter my very appearance just to distance myself from it. I thought that when I moved to Las Vegas I would be able to put all that behind me, but I was terribly tragically wrong.
It all began in the mid 1990’s with the rise of Bone Thugs N Harmony. For those of you who think that Nelly put the Midwest on the map, let me remind you that the Midwest was sucking long before Cornelius was wearing band-aids on his face. Bone was a group discovered by the late Eazy E, (who also discovered Black Eyed Peas, furthering the argument that he contributed abosutely nothing positive to Hip Hop.)
Bone was a group of rappers who infused their rhymes with harmony, kind of like a gangsta barbershop quartet. The song that really broke them to a national audience was Thuggish Ruggish Bone. It was a song that showcased their unique flow (a cross between Twista and Nelly’s flows). It was a hit on The Box, a long extinct video channel.
What does this have to do with me? Well in 1993 after shaving my head for a year, I stopped shaving and let my hair grow. By the time that Bone dropped, my hair was pretty long. Since Bone was the new big thing, everywhere I went folks would sing “bone bone bone bone.” People constantly alluded to the fact that my hair was an homage to Bone, even though you really don’t grow hair down to your shoulders overnight. It’s more of a gradual thing. I tried to rock the cornrows, but the comparisons continued.
At the time I was listening to The Beatnuts, Gang Starr, Gravediggaz, Jeru, The Roots, and even Kurious. I wanted nothing to do with Bone. To me they were the bane of Hip Hop. So as a result I shaved my head again. It wasn’t like I was really attached to my hair; I grew it out of laziness. It wasn’t like I worked hard at growing it; I just stopped shaving it. But the fact that I had to shave my head to escape comparisons to trash really irked me. Of course it wouldn’t be the last time.
The next time I had to alter my appearance was when I was still in Baltimore. Now in order to fully grasp this I’m going to have to give a description of myself. My complexion is somewhere between Mariah Carey and “suspected terrorist.” I have what is commonly referred to in the Black community as “good hair.” I also keep my facial hair lined up.
When I got to Baltimore I realized that the baldie wasn’t going to do it. Those winters where harsh to a guy born and raised in the desert. So I went back to the curly fro look. (I also found that having braid length hair was a great way to meet girls. You simply ask if they can braid, and then you get to spend an hour and a half between their thighs, and if you’re lucky maybe some bonus time after that.)
Around this same time there was this cat from Across the Pond that MTV has hyping as the next big thing. His name; Craig David. Now I’m not going to lie and pretend that if dude committed a crime, the cop wouldn’t pull me up for a line up. But I don’t really think that we resemble each other that much.
Since I was at a Black school, and MTV was really playing everyone of one of this guys videos, I had to endure;
Girl: You know who you look like?
ME: (playing dumb) Who?
Girl: That one guy, he sings that one song.
ME: (eager to get it over with) Craig David?
Girl: Yeah, that’s him. You really favor him.
ME: (feigning flattery) Thanks, I’ve never heard that before.
I wouldn’t have minded if the guy wasn’t corny. It I looked like Nas, it would dope to be compared to him. If I looked like B.I.G”¦well that’s clearly not a good example. But what I mean is that if I were resembling someone who actually contributed something worthwhile to the musical landscape I could live with that. But I’m constantly being compared to herbs. I mean Craig David completely bastardized U2’s “One.”
What brings all this up? Well after trying to survive the Las Vegas summer with a head full of hair, I shaved it off in June. And I’m really digging that I can probably rock the baldie year round out here. Last weekend I stopped by Jack In The Box, for a snack. And the following took place just before I placed my order;
Cashier: You know who you look like, right?
ME: (not really paying attention, focusing on the menu) Huh? No who?
Cashier: Craig David. A bald Craig David.
I took the “compliment” partially because it reminded me of Baltimore, but mostly because I wasn’t too keen on the idea of her spitting in my food.
So there you have it. I have been a victim of wack music. But don’t dwell on my tragedy, read this stuff;
Aaron is still the fan’s official favorite for a few more weeks. Read his column and celebrate a year of Nick. If you get a chance drop him a line to inquire about his degree in mixology.
Jeff has Saturdays on lock. So much so that he’s been promoted to Weekly Pulse Status. He stands a good shot at taking the title away from Cam.
Gordi arrived at the party late, but has been making such a strong impression. His columns are distinct and a must read. I think the guys got a shot.
Tom’s stance on metal may put off some readers, but he’s a got plenty of info on names that will be huge. He’s got his eye on the future.
Now if I had to place money on the who would be the Music Staffer of the Year I’d put all of it on Gloomchen. She’s loved by the fans and contemporaries. But really, I live in Las Vegas, what do I know about placing bets?
Elsewhere on the Internets
Phil gives Madlib some props. I just got down with Lib as a result of Jeff’s insistence that he’s a genius. I whole-heartedly agree. Phil also hooked me up with some music as part of an exchange. I have yet to meet my end of the bargain due to “real world” events. This is my public Mea Culpa. Phil, I’m really trying to get it to you. I appreciate your patience.
Ari landed a music teaching gig. That has sitcom written all over it. I’m picturing Head of the Class with oboes.
Jim is good-er.
Double M is about to get his interview on.
Ian also digs Radiohead and tells a much better story of why and how.
Eric makes an appearance.
Five Other Albums That Could Get My Vote For Hip Hop Album Of The Year
1. The Pretty Toney Album
2. The Grind Date
4. Milk Me
5. Kiss of Death
Five Songs In Heavy Rotation Right Now
1. Modest Mouse – “Ocean Breathes Salty”
2. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Maps”
3. Interpol – “Evil”
4. Jim O’Rourke – “Good Times”
5. Ryan Adams – “English Girls Approximately”