Welcome back to The Bootleg. A few columns ago, I mentioned that no one can truly call themselves a “net writer” until they’ve referenced Clerks, The Simpsons and/or Office Space in their work.
Of course, anyone can quote liberally (if not always correctly) from any of the aforementioned and weave it into their work. The reward is instant credibility with a cynical, fickle fanbase who, given the opportunity, would turn on you faster than TV viewers against Bart Simpson’s “I Didn’t Do It” gimmick.
Did you catch that? Yeah, it’s pretty much proof positive that not every Simpsons reference is a keeper.
In actuality, this is an obvious Office Space moment. However, no line from the movie could completely capture the essence of my obligatory intro better than a slice of real life from “Cubicle Central”.
Late last week, I rolled into work and was immediately met at the door by my boss. He led me into his slightly-larger-than-my cubicle and asked about my progress with contract closeouts.
For the uninitiated, closeouts are an administrative ass rape, but the end result is usually a cool little influx of funding, when it’s all said and done. And, really”¦who among us doesn’t want to fatten the pockets of their British-owned Defense Contractor Conglomerate?
I let my boss know that not only was I going to meet my individual goal for contract closeouts”¦I was gonna blow it out of the water by nearly doubling it.
“Yeah, I know. You need to just chill with that.”, the boss replied.
For the sake of imagery, my boss is a 5’9″ pear of a man, with a cul-de-sac for a hairline. He’s north of 40 and just south of 50, yet has a preference for played-out street slang like “Da Bomb”, “Dawg” and (I sh*t you not) “Whoomp, There It Is”.
It’s like working on the set of House Party 3 for fifty hours a week.
Anyways, I wasn’t so shocked by his use of “chill” as I was by what he’d say next:
“If you close out too many contracts this year, management is going to set the bar higher in ’05.”
OK, let’s recap”¦Aaron exceeds his individual goal. Aaron makes money for the company. Aaron do bad. This whole thing seemed like a really bad episode of UPN’s short-lived Dilbert series, which, of course, could’ve been any of them.
Who’d have thought that a show with the “voice talents” of Daniel Stern and Kathy Griffin would make me long for The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer or Homeboys in Outer Space?
The Goodness”¦think of it as your online version of UPN’s current Monday Night Lineup. (Show of hands”¦who got that without clicking the link? Liar.)
Tastes Like Irrelevance
50 Cent continues to diversify his interests with a series of non-music business decisions. This week, it was announced that 50 has purchased an interest in Glaceau, a beverage company that specializes in a product called “Vitamin Water”.
In fact, Mr. Cent has announced plans to release a grape-flavored drink, under the company’s banner, called “Formula 50”. I’m told that for maximum flavor results, one should shove the beverage down one’s throat liberally for several months. And, I’m far from a cold drink connoisseur, but this sounds an awful lot like that Propel “Fitness Water”.
You mean you haven’t had one? Here”¦let me save you two bucks. Remember your last trip to the movies? Maybe you bought a medium Sprite for $4.50 or a large for “just a quarter more”.
After four or five hours, just as Frodo was about to slay Widro, you reached for that room temperature twist of lemon-lime only to find a flat, sickeningly sweet H2O hybrid its place. That’s Propel.
Brought to you by the good people at Gatorade, who recently created a commercial “thanking” Mia Hamm for her impact on the sports world. Apparently, she got 12-year-old girls to play soccer and freed them from the shackles of their Easy Bake Ovens. Hey, when’s that WUSA season start?
“So, Who Wants a Pre-Flight Cookie? Fig Newton? Hydrox?”
Prince is premiering a new video next week for his latest single, Cinnamon Girl. Mixed in with this obvious ode to the light-skinned girl is a kernel of controversy. Keisha Castle-Hughes has been cast as an Arab-American woman who fights back against anti-Arab backlash.
Reportedly, the video includes a dream sequence where Hughes’ character sets off a bomb in an airport. Now, I’m not sure who’s actually advising the Pride of Paisley Park, these days, but hasn’t Prince learned anything from his first failed attempt to send a message to the airline industry?
Now, if that little middle-aged mocha man really wants to take a stand on an aspect of air travel, might I suggest he begins with”¦the male flight attendant. Am I alone in feeling ambiguously awkward when “Tommy” offers up “warm nuts”?
And, by keeping quiet on this sensitive subject, it led to the first man at the MAC counter and, lamentably, Mr. Tony Miceli. Ah, maybe I’m talking out of turn here. Tony was a fine male influence on Jonathan, wasn’t he?
Make ‘Em Say Stoooooooooooooop
Rapper Master P is clinging to the last few strings of his hoop dreams by signing a contract with the Long Beach Jam, an independent league team based in my Southern California hometown.
Until this year, the team was best known for signing 42-year-old Dennis Rodman to a one-year contract in 2003. And based on P’s current name value, that’s probably what they’re still best known for. Hey, just wondering”¦how many of y’all put Rodman at the top of your Dark Horse Dead Pools a few years back?
The recent AP and Coach’s Polls still have “late ’80s professional wrestlers” ranked number one, but The Worm has moved from the “also receiving votes” section into the top 25. Seriously”¦look at this man. Can you possibly imagine him at 70? 60? 50?
See, kids”¦that ties right into the unspoken evil of Generation X: old age. Just visit any strip club while the sun’s still up, look onstage and you’ll see that tattoos and piercings don’t age well. For all the parents out there wondering with this “self-mutilation” madness will melt away, check back in a generation or two.
80-year-old men with barbed wire on their broken-down biceps or women with a velvety rose mixed in with their varicose veins might be the dandiest deterrent of them all.
Where My Dogs At?
Jay-Z has run afoul of our friends at The Humane Society. They’ve set their sights on Jigga’s 99 Problems video that includes scenes of pit bulls fighting in a crude urban setting. John Goodwin, an investigator for THS, had this to say:
Jay-Z’s just another rapper caught up in the blood rapture.
Now, work with me on this one, kids. Try reading that line in the monotone flow of Nas. Is it too late to start writing the sequel to Ether? Unfortunately, Goodwin couldn’t leave well enough alone and stepped back to the mic for this gem:
(The video is) an irresponsible tribute to a cruel and illegal practice that represents one of the most serious threats to the safety of our inner city residents.
Oh yeah”¦that’s why no one wants to roam Martin Luther King Boulevard after dark. It’s not the stray bullets, it’s the drive-by biting. It’s not the turf wars of rival gangs, it’s “Rex” humping your leg.
Seriously, this whole pit bull phenomenon is just another “Black Thing”, that, I’ll admit, I just don’t get. As of now, it joins crunk music, Stephen A. Smith and obscure, yet edible pig parts on the short list.
And white folk, you have your own explaining to do. You can start with cargo shorts, carrot-raisin salad and those commercials for Mentos.
Jumbo Shrimp and Virtual Sex”¦Notice A Trend?
G-Unit’s Lloyd Banks is taking his act to DVD. Groupie Luv should be available in time for Christmas. And those of you thinking that ol’ Saint Nick (or the patron Saint of Kwanzaa, Saint Reggie) will be slipping a double disc of concert footage or music videos into your stocking”¦well, think again.
This is actually an “interactive” project, according to the press release, which gives the viewer the opportunity to select from dozens of women “to fantasize over”. In a released statement, Banks provided what is, quite possibly, the quote of the year:
It’s gonna be great, it will seem like you will be the one having sex.
Uh, no it won’t, Lloyd. See”¦you’re either eating a sandwich or you’re not. You’re either reading a book or you’re not. In fact, there is probably not another activity in existence that’s farther away from having sex”¦than not having sex.
Seriously, is there anyone on earth with a looser grip on reality and perspective than an unattractive brutha with money? Oh yeah, Scottie Pippen“¦she loves you for your personality. Come on, Chris Rock“¦I’m sure she’d be sleeping with you, regardless.
Hey now, David Ortiz“¦I bet you don’t have to beg for”¦no, wait”¦he probably does.
Sometimes The News Just Writes Itself
Another week”¦another new feud for Eminem. This time it’s country-fried comedian Steve Harvey who Em has pissed off. On the morning drive-time radio show that Harvey hosts in Los Angeles, he recently expressed outrage that Slim Shady had targeted Michael Jackson’s legal woes for parody in the Just Lose It video.
Harvey articulated his stance, during an in-studio call-in from Jacko, by declaring that Em had “lost his ghetto pass”. Furthermore, Harvey equated the Jackson diss with a shot against the Black Community as a whole.
I”¦have”¦no words”¦but, Lord knows, I’ll try.
First off, when did Steve Harvey become a beacon for the Black Community? If thick lips and a $3,000/day clothing allowance were the only criteria, then couldn’t we get Julia Roberts to lead us?
This brutha should be grateful that his little-watched WB talent show is still on the air and the only thing keeping any PAX programming from reaching 113th place in the Nielsens.
As for Michael Jackson”¦you can’t break out the Blackness unless you wear it year-round. When you treat your identity like your best set of church clothes (worn only on Easter, Christmas and court dates)”¦well, let’s just say you won’t be inappropriately touching that little boy called “credibility” anytime soon.
conceptualized by Nick Salemi
I have been a fan of hip-hop as long as I can remember. During that time, I have equally been a fan of making mixtapes, or in 2004, mix-CDs. (I know it doesn’t have the same ring.) A little over a year ago, fed up with the crap that was currently passing for hip-hop, I set out to make a comprehensive mix of songs from my favorite era, which was around 1994-95 (give or take a song or two).
This is what I deemed to be the best in East Coast hip-hop during that time. (The West had their own mix, too, although much of it was Death Row or Death Row affiliated.)
Long-time readers of the Bootleg might remember AJC shilling it for me a year ago before Nicka Please was “official” and I just appeared sporadically. I’ve moved several copies since then and even today people still ask me for it.
To make this collection of almost 80 songs, I went back through all my CDs and old tapes that I made with the intention to pull off the best of the best. With a couple of additions and subtractions and a Redux edition over the past year, I think I’ve finally got it right.
Since it is quite a bit of material to cover, I am going to go through each of the four CDs separately for the next few weeks to try and capture the feel of what was going on in East Coast hip-hop during that time. (And if any of you stick around after a few weeks, I’m working on a 5th disc, let me know if you think I left anything off.)
Ladies and gentlemen, the Mixtape ReLoaded Volume 1, Disc 1:
1. Wu Tang Clan, C.R.E.A.M.
Maybe the Wu’s best song off of an unquestionably classic album. Yeah, I know the album came out a little earlier but it (this track specifically) started to really catch fire in 94. Method Man, Raekwon and Inspektah Deck spit lyrics so memorable, that multiple samples of it spawned separate songs over the years.
2. Jeru the Damaja, Come Clean
More classic goodness. Jeru was laced with one of DJ Premier of Gangstarr’s most innovative beats ever. The unforgettable Onyx sample : “Uh-oh /heads up/ cause we droppin’ some sh*t” and bizarre pipe-banging-like beat definitely caught your ear. Jeru’s fierce lyricism made his case that the Sun Rises in the East, as his album title boasted, and definitely went against the mainstream hip-hop of the time (G-Funk era anyone?).
3. Nas, The World Is Yours
One of the singles off what many consider to be the greatest hip-hop album of all time. You could make a song for almost every song on Nas’ Illmatic, but this definitely stands out. Pete Rock’s piano loops and drums come hard like always and combined with Nasty Nas’ vocals is pure gold.
I’m out for presidents to represent me- Say what?
I’m out for presidents to represent me- Say what
I’m out for dead presidents to represent me.
Hell, Jay Z made his debut with a sample of that and we all know how that turned out.
4. Notorious B.I.G., Juicy
Christopher Wallace’s first big crossover hit. An undeniable anthem for any hip-hop fan. To put it in the proper perspective, when kids like me were chanting:..“Super Nintendo/ Sega Genesis/ when I was dead broke man I couldn’t picture this”“¦while playing Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis, you know you’ve got a huge crossover hit on your hands.
5. Black Moon, How Many MCs?
Without question they are one of the forgotten staples of the East Coast’s mid-90s resurgence. Buckshot gets no love these days but has always been a favorite of mine. What the hell am I supposed to do with all of these left over vinyl singles? Anyway, the signature Bootcamp/Beatminerz sound definitely is in its’ full glory here. It’s one of the tracks that can actually be found on their Enta Tha Stage album as opposed to the gaggle of remixes and extra tracks they dropped around that time (which you’ll be seeing more of on the other three discs).
6. Gangstarr- Mass Appeal
Guru and Premier have that magic together and Mass Appeal is one of Gangstarr’s greatest tracks of all time. Tell em’ Guru”¦
I represent set up sh*t like a tent boy
You’re paranoid cause you’re a son like Elroy
And you’d be happy as hell to get a record deal
Maybe your soul you’d sell to have mass appeal
Well, it’s nice to hear a hip hop artist denounce commercial rap 10 years ago, still make true non-commercial hip hop since then, and still be relevant.
7. Raekwon, Incarcerated Scarfaces
I can’t believe I made it 5 songs before another Wu track appeared. This was Raekwon’s solo track from Only Built For Cuban Linx, and without any assistance from Ghostface or any other Clan members and holds he it down just fine. The beat on this one is insane. Countless MCs have tried to make their mark with freestyles over this now famous beat over the years since it came out. None of them bring it like the Chef did.
8. AZ, Sugar Hill
Remember AZ, who first debuted on Nas’ Illmatic? His first CD had this banger as its lead single, establishing him as one of the lyricists of his time when he debuted. The R&B hook takes nothing away from the song as this was before that combo of rap/R&B that’s watered down with endless, lame radio-friendly R&B/rap combinations
9. Mad Skillz, The Nod Factor
Back in 95, the little known Mad Skillz of VA (now just Skillz) was all over mixtapes with The Nod Factor, and he ripped the mic with a flow and punchlines as good as anyone from that time. I’d say it’s so good that even today, it could be released as a single and still be relevant. And due to the amount of heads that slept on him 10 years ago, I bet those not in the know wouldn’t be able to tell the difference if they heard it on the radio tomorrow.
10. Das EFX, Microphone Master
Microphone Master was one of the singles off of Das’ third (and very good) album Hold it Down. This album came after the split up of the Hit Squad (who, you ask?) crew that included (in addition to Das) Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith of EPMD and Redman. Erick and Red went one way, (Def Squad), Parrish and Das the other. [this song was eventually remixed and featured Mobb Deep, who were also feuding with the Def Squad at the time]
Oh yeah, the song itself”¦I always loved the line:
These 20 MCs/ please I never heard of some
We need to murder some like Colin Ferguson
11. Ill and Al Scratch, Where My Homiez?
Where my homiez?/ Creepin’ through the hood!
Where my homiez?/ Up to no good!
This catchy hook chanted by heads in 94 was created by the duo known as Ill and Al Scratch. Who? Ill and Al Scratch, the hip-hop duo that had it on lock for a minute, but then lost the keys. The chorus and “Come around my way” part is what everyone remembers, but I always thought the first two bars were the hottest part about it.
From the fiery pits of hell it’s the rap rebel
10 years underground sub-level with the devil
12. Redman, Can’t Wait
Reggie Noble has been my favorite of mine for years. This was about the least bizarre song off Redman’s 2nd CD Dare Iz a Darkside, but it still works for me. Red went off on a strange place for this album but I’ll be damned if it wasn’t some of his best work. Can’t Wait has some of Red’s funniest and tightest lines (waste n*ggas like toxic / wet like goulashes) He definitely spent a lot of time watching TV and movies as his pop references range from 21 Jump Street to 90210 to Charlie’s Angels to the Terminator to Star Wars. I wonder if he ever thought he’d have his own sitcom.
13. Lost Boyz, Jeeps, Lex Coups, Beamaz & Benz
The Lost Boyz were also one of the main cats that brought fire back to the East Coast during this time. Frustratingly, they had label problems and didn’t drop an album for about a year after they debuted. So in turn, much like Black Moon, if you wanted to get their songs it was maxi-tape singles and vinyl. This is my all-time favorite song from the LB Fam from another of my favorite hip-hop acts of the mid-90s.
14. Masta Ace, The INC Ride
Pretty smoothed out for an East Coast beat. Even though Masta Ace goes through a laundry list of cars in the song that you should play the INC Ride in, I’m not sure he had me in mind in 1995 in my ’89 Jeep Cherokee bumpin’ to this track When listening, keep this line in mind”¦
Punks be all up on it like a Charlotte Hornet
but they full of Chicago Bull-sh*t cause they don’t want it
15. Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Brooklyn Zoo
This was before he became the cartoon caricature of himself that is now, when he was just considered a “regular” nutball. Some heads were surprised when ODB was the 2nd Clan member to drop a solo joint after Enter the 36 Chambers (with Meth being the first) but this is easily my favorite solo track from Russell Jones. Way before he announced Baby I Got Your Money or was a Ghetto (pop) Superstar he came the rawest he ever did on this track. I even liked the clean version because only ODB could make it better by coming up with a nonsensical noise instead of a curse:
Without a doubt I never been tooken [sic] out
by a NUH who couldn’t figga
Yo by a NUH who couldn’t figga”¦etc
16. Junior MAFIA, Player’s Anthem
Biggie was so hot in 95, he was one of the first to have had a offshoot group of his less talented friends, which we all know included two Lils’, Kim and Cease. At one point in the Summer of 1995, you couldn’t turn on NYC’s Hot 97 and not hear this song or One More Chance. This particular version is the remix that was released as a single. It has a little more of a jazzed up background beat than the version on the Junior MAFIA album Conspiracy. Trust me, this version was quite hard to find for awhile 9 years later, even with the advent of music downloading.
17. Onyx, Last Dayz
Onyx was MIA for a couple of years after their huge breakout album Bacdafucup. This song finds Onyx speaking on the hopelessness of America’s inner cities. This was quite a detour from Slam and Throw Ya Gunz on their first album. Not surprisingly, it didn’t sell as well. Either way, the hook is on point and the haunting beat and vocal sample make this one of their better songs that you might have forgotten.
18. Fugees, Nappy Heads Remix
Contrary to popular belief, Lauryn Hill’s cover of Killing Me Softly was not the first song from the Fugees. (How that qualifies as a hip-hop song still baffles me. Wyclef saying “One time”¦two time”?..Nicka please!) The Score wasn’t even their first album. The Fugees really hit the hip-hop scene with this track. The beat on this one is beyond hot and don’t be surprised if you hear Diddy jack it for one of his generic R&B crooners sometime soon. I can’t believe he’s waited this long.
Well, if you actually read this in its entirety, I hope it was fun for y’all and helped to remember one of hip-hop’s golden eras. Check me in the next Bootleg for Round 2 with Disc 2. Until then”¦
The Inside Pulse Staff Forums.
Five simple words that have brought so much joy into my life and fodder for this very column. Unfortunately, it’s been next to impossible to incorporate most of the comments.
Everyone’s just so damn”¦respectful. New ideas are encouraged, future projects are discussed”¦hell, even Matthew Michael is treated with the occasional dab of decency.
For example”¦earlier this week, a music columnist suggested that the staff “grade” each of the other members of the music staff. Now, I know that most of you probably feel that, oh say”¦Fernandez is the only one worth keeping around (with an addendum to retain Mathan a few posts later), but I thought this was a great, constructive idea.
And now”¦the Inside Pulse Music Two-Month Progress Reports
Fernandez is always willing to accept new challenges and, last week, incorporated his column into the “Daily Pulse” lineup. His weekly links section shows how well he plays with others. Influences include “Alien Sex Fiend”, which may or may not indicate a preference for Earth Girls Are Easy.
Gloomchen is an excellent multi-tasker. She appears in Jeff’s column above, supplies several reviews and pens her own piece every Tuesday. Popular and well liked by others, she might be the one music writer whose name is pimped in the most non-music columns. She’s the old friend who spills her heart out to you on the phone, then leaves you wanting for more.
Tommy D is exceedingly pro-active and in your face. He’s akin to a white Poochie the Dog. This week he looks ahead to the most anticipated metal releases for the rest of year and even bleeds into 2005.
Mathan is always clean and well groomed. However, he does suffer from occasional bouts of irritation and aggravation, usually when Bone Thugs or Craig David are discussed. To his credit, his sense of humor shines”¦particularly with the “Mariah Carey/suspected terrorist” line. Always a delight.
As always, we wrap things up with a little 3 Tha Friday action, as TV Mathan breaks down those unedited, uncensored music videos that you can only find on”¦ah, just read his damn column and find out
Finally, T.J. Houshmandzadeh remains the official Movie Guy of The Goodness. Look for his new column, later today, which will likely include a 1,000-word opener on the greatness of Houston Texans’ QB David Carr and at least one reference to Boo. Only two more wins and his fantasy football team will have a winning record!
I don’t know what’s up with you and MSD @411, but darts are being thrown. Now if you really want to put the nail in his coffin, call him out for plagiarism. Y’see MSD is a fan of Ego Trip’s Book of Rap Lists. It’s a great book, but he’s straight biting. His “15 Disses You Might Have Missed” (in his latest column) is just 15 of the “52 Disses You Might Have Missed” from pages 249-250 of that tome.
Now I bet when you have to write a weekly column the grind can be relentless, but plagiarizing for filler? That’s just low and sad. It’s kind of a prime example of what’s (happened) since you left.
Well, keep up the good work. I can’t wait until the next Bootleg.
Well, you’re absolutely right that it can be a chore to crank out columns week after week. But, all the bus transfers, library computer access cards and government assistance checks in the world would never force me to lift the work of someone else and claim it as my own.
Sure, I use good amounts of movie and TV quotes, but those are meant for the fans of the show to relate to and laugh at. If you don’t watch the show, then you probably don’t get the joke and, more importantly, no one’s ever deceived or misled.
He and I use many of the same sites for our news items, as well. He prefers to lift them word-for-word in his column, while I take the story’s lead and try my best to turn it into something better.
Either way, I think I’ve held my own pretty well against Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Borders. But with all the books on their shelves and all their comfortable couches specifically created for the corpulent curvature of the unemployed ass, it’s only a matter of time before he’s “sampling” from the works of Maya Angelou in an attempt to be me.
Stealin’ other people’s work / then claimin’ ‘get at me, dawg?’
Spendin’ too much time with microfiche and the card catalog
Looks like you the one that put your sh*t out in haste
Son this ain’t beef / commence with your cut and paste
This is the absolute last word I have to say on this “feud”. I’d like to think my readers and I pulled his card, but based on the above, it probably wasn’t his to begin with.
Life With the Bootleg Family
This past Monday, Kid Cameron’s day care provider wasn’t available. Apparently, Columbus Day is one of the “holidays” that these people take off every year. It’s good to know that there are at least a handful of adults who can join the K thru 6 kids and your local mailman in getting the day off.
As you can probably guess, that left me (and me alone) on baby patrol for the day.
We already covered that ground a few Bootlegs ago, but this day had a new twist: a 7:00 AM optometrist’s appointment for the child.
The wife loaded up two backpacks (she calls them “diaper bags””¦I refuse) full of baby supplies and handed me a page and a half of the most intricate instructions and directions you’ll ever read:
“”¦in the parking structure, make sure you take that third speed bump no faster than 5 MPH. Jalen doesn’t like to be jostled.”
I used to hate those people that impinged upon the integrity of the carpool lane with their baby seats in tow, but since I was running late”¦Christ, could someone just sell me one of those “Baby on Board” car signs and get it over with?
We still managed to be about 15 minutes late, which wasn’t nearly as egregious as what would follow:
Receptionist: “Is Jalen on any current medications?”
Me: “Uhh, I’m not really”¦Wait, I think he’s taking something”¦for something.”
Receptionist: “Are you sure you’re his father?”
Ugh. Well, we were quickly shooed into an office, ostensibly so the lady at the desk could call CPS. A doctor quickly joined us, held up a small Winnie the Pooh figure in Jalen’s face, shined a light in the child’s eyes and told us he was done.
The whole thing took two minutes and, for my troubles, I got to shell out $20 for the co-pay on my way out the door. There should seriously be a law that says if one of those hilarious orangutans from all those movies in the late ’70s/early ’80s can perform the doctor’s “procedure”, the co-pay shouldn’t apply.
Call it the Any Which Way You Can Plan.
The IP Music Zone takes you “Beyond” in just a few weeks. Find out what’s up, get at me on AOL or Yahoo IM: ajcameron13