Welcome back to The Bootleg. As is tradition, I like to use the introduction to share a personal story from the week that was. Now, it’s rare that my life gets bumped out of my own column, but for this week”¦I have to make an exception.
See, this week it rained. As in, it rained in California. That is to say, it rained in California for the first time in six months.
That’s right, Florida”¦you can take your hurricanes, along with their resulting death and destruction, and shuffle back to Shady Pines with Sophia, Shaq and Sonny Crockett. For the last five days, California has incurred nature’s wrath and, like show business, she’s a hideous bitch goddess.
Since Wednesday, October 20, I’ve joined the rest of my state (and our local-Emmy Award winning news anchors) on Storm Watch 2004. The italics are theirs, not mine. I’ve chosen to omit their requisite bold, underline and 20-point font that can be found in the rain-related headlines of any So. Cal. News affiliates.
And, if I can be serious for a moment”¦this savage storm has led to three deaths, along with countless mudslides, floods, sinkholes and snarled traffic.
However, when all was said and done, this was the most telling statistic:
As in two inches of rain.
Don’t believe me? Read for yourself.
Yet, everyday for the past week, all the local newscasts have led off with someone “on the scene”, dressed in one of those banana-bright yellow ponchos and rain hat that no one over the age of five would be caught dead in anymore, telling us that the “worst is yet to come”.
In my state, that means drivers might have to actually turn their windshield wipers on, instead of keeping them in that convenient “intermittent” position. Hell, if it wasn’t for bird sh*t or the occasional dead bug, I don’t know if most of us would even know how to turn the damn things on.
Well, the good news is that California can expect a mild and dry weekend, while we pull ourselves out of the muck and mire. However, most reports indicate that another storm is on its way down from Alaska and could reach California by early next week.
Heaven help us all if this one brings 2 Ã‚Â½, 2 Ã‚Â¾ or”¦three inches of rain with it. Has no one even thought to consult with experts like Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal?
According to The Goodness, they know their disasters”¦or haven’t you seen The Alamo or Bubble Boy?
Funny Movie-Related News on a Friday”¦For the First Time!
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a rapper has signed on to co-star in a movie based entirely on 1993’s Carlito’s Way. Now, I know what you’re thinking”¦and this time, we’re not talking about one of those low-quality direct-to-video releases that sits somewhere between From Dusk Till Dawn 4, The Substitute 5 and The Village.
Sean “P. Diddy” Combs has agreed to appear in Carlito’s Way: The Beginning, the prequel to the hit movie from over a decade ago. Jay Hernandez, who can be currently seen in Friday Night Lights and Ladder 49 will play the young Carlito Brigante, taking the mantle from Al Pacino.
Personally, I’m not sure what’s a sadder cinematic commentary”¦that guys like Pacino and Robert DeNiro can continue to find work as stereotypical gangsters more than 20 years since The Godfather or that Joe Pesci wasn’t able to copycat their careers.
After his Oscar-winning turn in Goodfellas, we all thought that he’d actually be able to someday survive a mob movie until the end. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be, as he couldn’t make it through the three hours of Casino. Although, in all fairness, neither could I.
And when Lethal Weapon 4 (a/k/a “The one with Chris Rock”) is the most recent role on your resume”¦well, let’s just say it makes 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag look like Gone Fishin’ by comparison.
Fear of a Red Sonja
Brigitte Nielsen and rapper Flava Flav are allegedly an item. In equally disturbing news, the pair have negotiated a deal for their own reality series, debuting next year, called Strange Love.
It’ll reportedly pick up where their curious coupling on The Surreal Life leaves off. OK”¦I thought the deal was that Surreal would dust off some C-list entertainers for a few weeks and parade them around like aging circus freaks. We’d point, we’d laugh, and we’d point some more. But, this wasn’t part of the agreement.
And if all of us are truly allotted 15 minutes of fame in our lifetimes, it kind of makes you wonder who Brigitte and Flav had to kill in order to score all these overtime minutes. My theory is that instead of going after anonymous men and women who had yet to realize their brush with the bright lights, the pair preferred to target those who had only used up a portion of their 15 minutes before returning to obscurity.
Sure, it may not seem like much, but six minutes of Ricky Martin here, three minutes of Max Headroom there, twelve minutes of Minnie Driver and 14 minutes, 30 seconds of Sam Horn sure adds up once their corpses are counted.
They Dress Funny”¦That’s It, That’s Their Entire Gimmick, People!
Our friends at HBO are reportedly furious with the members of Outkast, as their made-for-cable movie seems to have lost its way. With rumors that shooting is weeks behind schedule and the original budget has already been blown out of the water, there seems to be some serious discussions that involve pulling the plug altogether.
Personally, I’d like to know who green lit this project in the first place. An HBO movie starring Andre 3000 and Big Boi? Can we assume that The Wire gave their written approval for not one, but two Black actors to appear on HBO programming other than their show?
And, let’s be honest”¦when you get right down to it, if this Outkast movie ever gets completed, it’ll rank towards the bottom of cable TV’s exclusive “street credibility scale”, anyway. From where I sit, it’s already a few notches behind the coffee house claptrap of Def Poetry Jam and only slightly less authentic than Da Ali G Show.
Speaking of which, does HBO really refer to this guy as a “British comedic genius” on their website? Wow”¦high praise for the clown prince of cockney comics. A quick Google search for others produced names like Mr. Bean, Mr. Belvedere and Steve Coogan.
Elite company, indeed”¦and I think I speak for everyone when I say that if we could send them all back”¦you’d better believe we would.
Well, the ones who aren’t dead.
Starring KRS-One as Mookie Wilson
Orthopedic divas, Salt-N-Pepa, are following a less-than-familiar formula for the usual standard of Hip Hop Has-Beens. Instead of making inappropriate comments about the reactions of African-Americans in the wake of the 9/11 tragedies or feuding with a New York tabloid, the pair are developing a television pilot that’s reportedly based on their lives.
Whoa, there, heifers”¦two sassy Black women in the same show? Having been married to one for almost two years, trust me when I say that one is all that anyone should be forced to take.
And, unless UPN is planning to create an eighth day of urban comedy on their schedule, I can’t see anyone picking this up. Besides”¦let’s be honest here. Salt-N-Pepa’s lives can be summed up thusly: had some hits in the ’80s, before finally making a name for themselves in 1993 and, almost immediately, fading into oblivion.
That’s not a sitcom”¦that’s the Lenny Dykstra Story.
Sometimes the News Just Writes Itself
A brand new Eminem track found its way onto the Internet this week. The cut, entitled Mosh, is targeted at President Bush and the ongoing war in Iraq. Even Em’s staunchest supporters must admit that the song isn’t very good.
Of course, many of the pre-teens who love him weren’t even born during our first invasion of Iraq nearly 15 years ago. If they were around, then they’d already have heard lyrics like these:
Strap him with an AK-47″¦let him go fight his own war
No more blood for oil, we got our own battles to fight on our own soil
Now, I’m willing to look the other way when it comes to grifting the gimmick of Public Enemy. We can all agree that abuse of the elderly equals hilarity, no? It’s this whole “Eminem, Voice of the People” thing that’s really pinchin’ my sac.
Last I heard, Marshall Mathers was a 30-something, rich, white male. Isn’t he the enemy? Have we learned nothing from eight seasons of Michael “Meathead” Stivic’s steaming loads of liberal guilt trips every evening on Nick at Nite?
Speaking of which, has anyone else noticed that The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air has found a new home on Nick at Nite? Hey, why not buy the rights to all of those African-American sitcoms from the early ’90s?
That was when everyone wore an “X” cap and Negroes sold! Who among us hasn’t been missing the LL Cool J/Debbie Allen driven In The House? Check out a young Vivica A. Fox and an employed Duane Martin in reruns of Out All Night.
I even hear that syndicators are willing to throw in the entire Jay Leggett era of In Living Color at no extra cost. Act now!
conceptualized by Nick Salemi
If you were around last week, you’ll remember I was dissecting the “anatomy of a mixtape” for a 4-disc set that I compiled, featuring East Coast Hip Hop from 1994 and 1995.
This week, we’re on the Mixtape ReLoaded, Disc Two“¦
1. Mobb Deep, Shook Ones Part II
Do I even need to get into this one? No doubt that this is one of Hip Hop’s greatest tracks of all time and definitely the anthem for the East Coast when it dropped. It definitely holds up over time, as well. After this song hit, everyone was waiting for the full-length album to come out. In the meantime, we kept bumpin’ this. Mobb is one of the few that are still around and still dropping classic after classic.
This was what started it all.
2. GZA feat. Inspektah Deck, Cold World
GZA’s Liquid Swords album had so many good songs, it’s hard to pick just a few. However, this was an easy choice. The Wu-Tang Clan could do no wrong. If I recall correctly, 1995 was, at one point, referred to as the “Year of the Wu”. The Genius and Deck’s description of urban life in this song is vivid and did so as only the Wu could. There was a remix released later on, featuring D’Angelo on the hook that really added nothing to the song.
3. Black Moon – Buck ‘Em Down Remix
The Beatminerz production was a more laid back (and sample driven), as was Buckshot’s flow for the remix. He abandoned his normal style for more of a sing-songy one, but I always felt it was superior to the album version. It was no surprise that this was a hard to find track even back then, but was since released on a compilation album. It’s really sad that the label and copyright problems killed the momentum of the entire Bootcamp Click.
4. Method Man/Mary J. Blige, All I Need Puff Daddy Remix
Meth’s huge breakout single earned the Wu’s first big solo star a Grammy. The original on Meth’s seminal Tical was a’ight, but the RZA remix with Mary J was what went over big. However, for some reason, the Puff Daddy version seems to be the one that survives today. I don’t know if it’s the Biggie sample or the beat but I like this one the best, too. There were a couple of different lyrics in this version that I loathed (Valentine’s day cards and birthday wishes”¦ugh) but either way, you can’t argue it’s an all-time great.
5. Craig Mack/ B.I.G./LL/Rampage/Busta Rhymes, Flava In Ya Ear Remix
Bad Boy’s first star is often forgotten. Mack’s original Flava in Ya Ear was undeniably an anthem in the fall of 1994. In a trend that still continues, as soon as Diddy found something better, he tossed him aside and put all his energies into Biggie (and himself). Not that he shouldn’t have, but damn give Craig a lil’ respect, man. The remix was just as hot as it was historic, as it further cemented BIG, saved LL’s dying career (peep the songs LL dropped afterwards that referenced his verse) and established Busta as a must have on any collabo’ track.
6. The Roots, Proceed
Before they became their own genre of Hip Hop, Illadelph’s favorite Hip Hop group was making a name for themselves in 1994 with Proceed. This track had a Tribe Called Quest type of vibe and they were compared to them initially, but Black Thought and company proved they were one of the more original groups of all time after it was all said and done. I’ve always been a big fan of these two bars:
I can make Conan and the Titans clash
And I can make Metallica and Guns N Roses thrash
7. Real Live, Real Live Sh*t
Now I know that unless you were around back then and a huge Hip Hop fan you don’t remember this one. This was pretty much their only hit song but, the production was off the hook and I’m surprised no one has recycled this beat again. The lyrics are kind of by the numbers with a couple of good lines here and there, but the song basically revolves around the Nas sample from It Ain’t Hard to Tell:
I leave em froze / like’ her-on’ in your nose
Speaking of which”¦
8. Nas, It Ain’t Hard To Tell
I thought it would be interesting to put the original song right after the one that sampled it. One of Nasir Jones’ gems off of Illmatic, his unbelievable flow over the sped-up sample of Michael Jackson’s Human Nature is Nas at his finest, or most illmatic, as it were. In addition to Real Live Sh*t, lyrics from this track also found their way on to songs by Jeru the Damaja and Method Man (Invasion and Half Man-Half Amazing)
9. Keith Murray, The Most Beautifullest Thing In This World
The Def Squad’s wordsmith invented his own word on his debut single. Erick Sermon and his always under-rated production are solid on this, too. Lyrically, Keith absolutely slayed MCs on this one.
No matter what race, creed, color, him or her
I comes cleaner than Jeru, and Damage an amateur
As chronical facial disorders occur
I’ll assassinate your character’s caliber
10. B.I.G., Who Shot Ya?
Was it about 2Pac? Pac thought so. There’s no direct mention of him in the song, but it definitely fueled the fire of the supposed East Coast-West Coast war (which was primarily Bad Boy-Death Row). Since it wasn’t released on Ready to Die, but instead shortly afterwards, many thought Pac was right. That aside, lyrically and production wise, it was one of his best. It was originally included as a B-side to the single for Big Poppa and has since been available on subsequent Bad Boy releases. As Frank White would say:
Clip to Tec, respect I demand it
Slip and break the, 11th Commandment
Thou shalt not f*ck with raw C-Poppa
Feel a thousand deaths when I drop ya
11. KRS One, MCs Act Like They Don’t Know
KRS-One and DJ Premier together is about as pure of raw Hip Hop as you can get. In my opinion, it was one of KRS One’s best songs, and although I am not much of a fan of his body of work as a solo artist, this one really destroyed weak cats that were out at the time. Released late in 1995, and with a hook that samples himself (a Premier trait), KRS One reminded everyone he wasn’t goin’ anywhere.
12. Mic Geronimo, Sh*t’s Real
The little known Mic Geronimo hit the Hip Hop world with his first big single Masta IC in ’95 which included a B-side track, Time to Build, which unbelievably featured Jay Z, DMX and Ja Rule long before any of them were stars. Gifted lyrically and flow-wise, Mic always sounded kind of like a “Rakim-lite” to me. I prefer this song to Masta IC (even the edited It’s Real version) as the hook, beat and his rhymes overall were superior.
13. Wu Tang Clan, Wu Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthin’ To Fuck With
Criminally short, the RZA, Inspectah Deck and Method Man rip the basic production and prove that sometimes, less is more. The hook is pretty much the most memorable point of the song, and make up for RZA’s shout outs and the end. Note: AJC reminded me that a good example of how well this one has held up was Dave Chappelle using it during his infamous Wu-Tang Financial skit on his show this past year.
(And yes Aaron, I know my people are trying to ruin that show but I’m doing my best to stop them.)
14. Jeru The Damaja, D’Original
The Guru sample was sick”¦ Dirty Rotten-Rotten Scoundrels. Premier should send me a shout out for all the love I giving him here. Jeru followed up Come Clean with this hard-hitting jewel and the offbeat piano sample made this yet another (no pun intended) original sounding song from to the Brooklyn rapper who spit the following:
When I come through I clog up your sewer
Peep the maneuver, drop the ill manure
So bring Mr. Clean, Drano, and Roto Rooter
15. Junior M.A.F.I.A., Get Money
Biggie and Lil’ Kim’s first duet together. How sweet! By the time this was released, we were at the “anything BIG touches turns to gold” point. Chris and Kim spit one verse each that I think we can all relate to. I mean who hasn’t gotten mad at their girlfriend for sending Federal agents to their house or had an argument with their boyfriend that led to them pointing guns at each other John Woo style and subsequently sent a Hallmark card sayin “I apologize?” Kidding aside, I can’t front on this song.
16. Redman, Funkorama
The Funk Doctor blazes some of his best lyrics here in 2 verses of goodness. Often forgotten, as it was released as a single off of Erick Sermon’s Insomnia compilation album. Yeah, I know”¦I don’t have it either. Thanks to the wonders of music sharing, I was able to find one of my favorite Redman songs ever, after years of only owning it on tape, without having to pay $18 for a crappy CD with one good song on it. Reggie’s in full movie-reference mode here”¦
I swing funk like nunchukas my game’s death /
That’s cool when I blind fools like Kareem Abdul.
17. Naughty By Nature, Feel Me Flow
Definite jam when it hit but I recall not feelin’ Naughty at this point. I sold the CD back within a few weeks of buying it. Maybe it was the fact that this was played ad nauseum on both MTV and BET at the time. Anyway, in retrospect, when compiling the CD, I thought it should be included because over time it still is a decent song and I like it much more now.
18. Group Home, Livin’ Proof
Welcome to the “How did these guys get Premier to produce a song for them” hall of fame. As you can figure out by the previous statement, the Primo-laced production is 5-star for sure. Not to take away from the lyrics, but compared to the production, they fall a little short. This song got a lot of airplay when it came out and the Wu scratches and samples probably had a lot to do with it. Group Home never had anything better than this, but hey it’s a lot more than most get. However, it obviously is quintessential mid 90s East Coast Hip Hop.
Hey, we’re halfway done! Next week is disc 3.
Questions, comments? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
General Haberdashery (Jeopardy Edition)
The Answer Is”¦
This Hispanic Male celebrates faux holidays such as “Sweetest Day” and “Bosses’ Day”, while sharing a tale of being stuck in first gear of the flu season.
This net-writing chick might be the only person alive still using the word “honky” and lets you in on what metal heads and community colleges have in common.
This rabble-rousing resident of Sin City puts a Hip Hop spin on the Presidential Election. Think of him as Bulworth: The Watchable Version. He also chimes in on the Eminem/Jacko controversy. And a Bayside Tigers reference(!), as well.
This 411 staple recently returned to the music zone after a far-too-long absence. He’s the original “double M” and always brings an all-encompassing read for his fans.
As always, we wrap things up with a little 3 Tha Friday action, as TV Mathan mixes Del Taco with Arrested Development with Smallville with a TV dilemma involving a blank screen that he doesn’t seem to resolve. Next week, perhaps?
Finally, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, the official movie guy of The Goodness, returns with his short-form review of Team America, his eulogy for his beloved New York Yankees and the single most subtly stupendous shot that anyone has ever taken at Inside Pulse.
You are so off our Corporate Kwanzaa Card list, mister.
Anytime the old mailbag overflows like it did after last week’s column, I’ve gotta give it up to all the readers out there. I was unable to respond to most of you, as I spent the week at an offsite training course for my real-life job, but while I try to catch up, please accept this universal, one-size-fits-all thank you for both your quick notes and your long letters.
Tell your boy Nick that his Making of the Mixtape segment was one of the best things I’ve ever read in The Goodness. It was just cool to read someone who not only knows his shit, but writes like a grown man and doesn’t talk down to his readers. I remember the mid-90s scene and Nick represented it like he should. J.P.
OK, OK”¦I gotta come clean. There was a lot of love for part one of Nick’s series last week, which certainly didn’t hurt my inbox numbers. However, all praise for that should be sent to Nick, himself, right here. His email address is always included as part of his segment.
I don’t usually write to net guys, but I’ve been reading the bootleg for a minute and just wanted to say that, even though I normally enjoy your work, I think you’re straight wrong on the whole Steve Harvey/Eminem thing. Harvey has credibility in the Black Community and his words carry a lot of weight with us. And your line comparing Harvey to Julia Roberts was borderline offensive and just plain tasteless. K.B
Umm, can I assume that when you say you’ve been reading me for “a minute” that you’re being literal and not using it in the slang sense of “a long time”? Besides, in the Hall of Leadership (African-American Wing), I doubt we’ll be seeing the Steve (Hightower) Harvey exhibit next to Martin Luther King’s.
Now, if crime-ridden streets in major urban areas suddenly start renaming themselves “Steve Harvey Boulevard”, then the connection between the two will become that much clearer.
I was reading the column as usual, and I noticed Jessica Simpson referred to ‘white girl booty’ a few weeks back. Now I can’t speak for the west coast, or for most of the east coast for that matter, but I’ve noticed the trend of white chicks with fat asses lately. I credit it to the hormones in milk, Jennifer Lopez and the fact that brothers love fat asses, and for some reason, people find interracial dating a trendy thing. R.B.
I, too, have seen more than a few white girls with back lately. Your theories (particularly the milk hormones one) make some sense. As for me…I blame soccer. It’s the most popular sport in America for girls under 17 and many of them start out so young, that by the time you and I see them…they’ve been running up and down the field for 9 or 10 years. Thus resulting in thicker legs, hips and asses.
These women, along with their unathletic snack cake-eating sisters, have been pushing the ass scale up in recent years, while the anorexic stick figure women that we know and love really haven’t been disappearing.
They’ve just all been signed up by The WB Network and sprinkled across their prime time dramas.
Life With the Bootleg Family
No matter how many parenting books a new father may read, there’s nothing that can quite prepare him for every parents worst nightmare and eventual hilarious anecdote/column fodder.
A couple of days ago, a weary, sleep-deprived Bootleg writer stumbled downstairs for some early morning quality time with his only son. Jalen smiled broadly when I looked down on him, flashing a pair of lonely teeth sprouting out from his baby gums.
Mrs. Bootleg was already in the kitchen preparing a bottle, so I thought I’d assist with a diaper change. Not only would it score me a point with the wife, but everyone knows that the first change of the day is always pee-based. The poo doesn’t debut until after the first feeding.
I sat Jalen on the couch, turned to pull a diaper out of his bag”¦when I heard a sound. It was an odd noise”¦like someone dropping a baby off of a couch and into a coffee table.
I turned to find Kid Cameron on the floor and our remote control caddy obliterated. I pried Jalen from this sea of Sony channel changers and began making sure there was no visible
evidence bruises or bleeding.
Fortunately, he was fine. Mrs. Bootleg, on the other hand, was a little shaken by the whole thing. She interrogated me at the scene and, throughout the day, we spoke several more times. Each time, she’d ask the same questions (“How long were your eyes off him?”, “How did he land?”, etc.)
Finally, I just told her that our son wouldn’t even make the list of the names of little Black people, who live in our house, who I’d like to throw through a coffee table.
That list is already filled.
On November 1, the Music Zone Goes Beyond. Find out what’s up, get at me on AOL or Yahoo IM: ajcameron13