The Friday Music News Bootleg

Welcome back to The Bootleg. Believe it or not, I don’t fit the stereotypical poppin’ fresh physique of the normal net writer. I battled weight issues as a kid (maxing out at 5’5″ and 175 pounds of corduroy-chafing chub-a-lub during the seventh grade). But, now I’m 6’0″ and hovering between 180 and 185.

I have no build to speak of, mind you, but for the last four years I’ve done my best to visit the gym semi-regularly. There aren’t any Hulk Hogan hopes for me, though, as I go primarily to cancel out the crap that I graze on throughout the workday. See, in my office, Famous Amos and The Frito Bandito have long since supplanted me as the corporate minority mascot.

A few days ago, I hit the gym for the first time in two weeks. And, to be truthful, I haven’t gone even “semi-regularly” in over two months. But with some newfound determination and eight ounces of crack in a can, I rolled into my local 24-Hour Fitness and jumped right into my usual routine.

First up”¦the treadmill. Armed with Volume 2 of my Best of Nate Dogg mixtape, I was ready for 20 minutes of running in place. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a Hispanic chick (in San Diego?!) with an obvious boob job (in California?!) just falling out of her top. And”¦if I’m not mistaken”¦she was giving me the eye.

Nah”¦it wasn’t like that. Hell, it couldn’t have been. My barber was unavailable for my weekly haircut last Saturday, which meant my bald fade was looking more like”¦well, I can’t really explain it. Go ask your black friend (everyone claims to have one) and he or she can articulate it better, I’m sure.

On top of that, my pencil-thin goatee looked like someone had been scribbling way outside the lines. Basically, if I had any jumpshot, whatsoever, I could’ve been mistaken for the unkempt Euro ballers who have stolen the NBA from the Black man, who apparently had the game on lay-a-way from whitey until missing a few payments in the last few years.

But, I digress”¦I huffed and puffed my way through my allotted treadmill time and immediately moved to one of the machines. Again, I see fake boob girl and this time, she’s approaching.

At this point, I’m half-past “Patrick Ewing, triple overtime” in the drenched-with-sweat department and closing in fast on “Nick Salemi, pretty much anytime”. I sit down on the bench, reach for the bar and realize that this woman is standing right next to me. I asked her if she wanted to work in (since she likely wouldn’t be burdened with changing the weight, when I got up), but she said she’d wait.

Like I need an audience to see just how wobbly and unevenly I can hold the bar.

This went on for two more “machine stations” before I finally managed to get her off my scent (no small feat). Looking back, perhaps some form of chivalry-cum-karma was in effect”¦because as I got home, I began to feel like hell. And not the good kind of hell that’s painted with such lovely imagery by your favorite metal band.

This was the bad kind of hell”¦where they were out of hot dogs, the cole slaw had chunks of pineapple and all the domestic potato salad had been replaced by the German variety. I was doubled-over in the shower and even paid an elongated homage to the porcelain god”¦all from about 45 minutes of gym time.

Now, you know why The Goodness never opted for the ‘physical challenge’ on Double Dare”¦

“I Took one of Those Home Pregnancy Tests from Aisle 11″¦”

“The ones on special?”

Our friends over at are reporting that Beyoncé Knowles is now an aunt. Her teenaged sister Solange gave birth to a baby boy earlier this week. Mother and child are said to be doing just”¦whoa, wait a minute. How long has it been since the 17-year-old Solange walked the aisle (or “jumped the broom”, for the four of you who get that)?

Hmm, according to CNN, their wedding was earlier this year, during the last weekend of February. And, at press time, my calendar currently says, “end of October” (next year, I’m spending the extra $1 and getting one with numbers).

Now, if I learned nothing else from my wife’s pregnancy, it’s that most of ’em are supposed to last 40 weeks. Of course, my kid was nine weeks premature, so it’s certainly possible that”¦oh, nick’a please.

There’s only one reason why a 17-year-old with a budding career and a famous name gets married. And, as young Dorothy Zbornak likely said to a still-withered Sophia Petrillo in one of those Golden Girls flashback episodes: “Ma, I’m in trouble.” Fortunately, for Solange, the baby’s college football playing paternal unit did right by her and agreed to get married.

The only remaining questions are how soon before they’re divorced and can the Knowles family hustle up enough hush money to keep the baby’s daddy quiet, while supplementing his eventual income at the next step of most college ballplayers’ careers: high school football conditioning coach.

I’m calling six months and “yes” in my pool.

Now, Let’s Imagine Her in the Sunbathing Scene from Swordfish

Remember that movie Monster’s Ball and the feculant stench feel-good scent that you couldn’t wash off even hours after it ended? Well, earlier this week, news broke that the original casting for the film included Sean Penn, Robert DeNiro and”¦in place of Halle Berry”¦Queen Latifah.

This all came to light in a recent interview with Latifah who cryptically claims that the reason it didn’t happen was because, “They couldn’t set it up”¦”

All things considered, I think it still worked out for the best. Though the flick was critically acclaimed, Halle Berry’s performance still managed to piss off some powerful portions of the population.

According to white folk, it was the first time an undeserving performer ever took home an Oscar or used their acceptance speech as a soapbox. Black people were up in arms at all the pretend racism and Halle’s several scenes of pretend soft-serve swirl with Billy Bob Thornton.

And yet, surprisingly, the good people of P.E.T.A. had nothing to say about the death of “Tyrell”, who was the housebroken buffalo hit by a car and killed sometime in the second act. Has anyone caught the Director’s Cut where Halle breaks open the boy’s belly and crawls inside for warmth until help arrives?

And, I thought these things smelled bad”¦on the outside!

I’ll Watch If He’s Fired (or Killed) at the End”¦

The reality show phenomenon known as The Apprentice is in talks with (snort) “rapper” Lil’ Jon for a guest spot in the next few weeks. Take this for what it’s worth, since all the rumors are coming from Jon’s camp and there are no specifics for what, exactly, the gold-toofed toad’s role would be.

Now, I do know that, on the heels of Omarosa, this show must be contractually obligated to have at least one evil Negro per season. In my mind, it’s high time my people come together in caucus to create the perfect Black reality show contestant. And, at the risk of sounding all cocky and embiggened”¦I nominate me.

I’m naturally non-threatening (sorry, Mathan), but with one blue bandana rag wrapped around my dome, I’ll be blending in with the other Raiders fans/gang members at the Oakland v. San Diego game this Sunday.

The conservative viewers will support me because I managed to fall into fatherhood on the farcical field of “family values”. While the liberal viewers were born to believe that backing the brutha will help them feel better about themselves.

In fact”¦with enough positive coverage and a Q-Rating that naturally connects with both Kaitlin and Q’ueeleesha, wouldn’t it be funny if I ran for President?

Of course, I’ll have to wait anywhere from 25 to 50 years”¦depending on how far Chris Rock and Head of State set the movement back. Proof that even Nate Dogg can’t save everything.

He Should Release Another Album”¦That’ll Kill His Career Faster

Has it really been 15 years since a young, jheri-curled Ice Cube scowled menacingly from underneath a black Los Angeles Kings Starter cap and told the world what he really thought of local law enforcement?

Today, Cube is one of those rare family-friendly faux gangstas and his Cube Vision entertainment imprint is branching out into”¦animation. He’s joined forces with Futurama co-creator David X. Cohen as executive producer for Grandmaster Freak & The Furious 15.

Sweet Lord, how I hoped I was making this up.

The show will focus on a teenager (Freak) and his baker’s dozen-plus-two crew in Englewood, New Jersey. And, if that premise doesn’t help push the pilot, then this item from the duo’s official press release is sure to seal the deal:

Grandmaster Freak and his crew will be cast with actors who can rap so that performances of new and old tracks can be part of every episode.

Musical numbers in every episode”¦rap musical numbers, at that.

Y’see”¦sh*t like this is why I’m so outspoken against geriatric rappers. They hang around for several years past their shelf life, living off their past, as if it gives them a pass in a world where their relevance has long since been revoked.

Respectfully, I offer up this rule of thumb for Cube, Chuck D, KRS-One and the rest: If you had a front row seat on the Freedom Train“¦it’s time to get outta the game. Oh, and say ‘hi’ to Ossie Davis for me at your next reunion.

Urr-shurr, Rewind It Back”¦

Remember a few years ago when R&B sensation Usher Raymond had a few film roles to fill the holes in his busy schedule? Well, it seems that one of those movies is just now seeing the light of day.

The New York Daily News and the San Francisco Chronicle are both reporting that a sex tape, made seven years ago, is slowly making the Internet rounds. Allegedly, the footage was shot backstage at an upscale nightclub and features the eagle-beaked brutha with two of, uh, New York’s finest.

And I’m not talking about the local hick cops who arrested The Mountie at MSG back in 1991, either.

Usher’s people aren’t commenting, which probably means the tape is real and the girls were legal, now get on with your lives. Personally, I never understood the allure of making a sex movie. Think about all the piles of pressure to perform”¦I mean, you really only get one take to get it right, y’know?

And, if you’re like me, you’ll need a quick nap and a number two from Taco Bell before you’re ready shoot each subsequent scene. Besides, have we learned nothing from an unwitting Ellen Griswold in National Lampoon’s European Vacation?

Sometimes The News Just Writes Itself

Before last Saturday Night, I couldn’t tell you one thing about Ashlee Simpson. I couldn’t name one of her songs, I couldn’t name her current album”¦hell, I wouldn’t have been able to spell her first name even if you spotted me both superfluous vowels at the end.

But, that all changed six short days ago when America made a shocking discovery during a taping of Saturday Night Live. Independent verification has confirmed that, yes”¦Jude Law’s career somehow managed to survive both Gattaca and Artificial Intelligence: AI.

Oh, and Ashlee Simpson is a lip-synching fraud”¦didn’t see that coming”¦news at 11.

Now, back to Jude”¦all the recent World Series interviews and late night talk show schmoozing can’t change the fact that three years ago, he was caught up in the brief “Haley Joel Osment” era of film, which mercifully ended with the bloated Pinocchio pretentiousness of A.I.

It began with his simpering star turn in The Sixth Sense. And, since we all know how hard it is to display more charisma than on-screen cadaver Bruce Willis (who was intentionally playing dead, this time), ol’ Haley managed to parlay that part into an Academy Award nomination.

From there, his handlers led him to Pay It Forward. This was the diabetes-inducing do-gooder flick that turned out to be the cinematic cement shoes on Helen Hunt’s film career. Maybe, now she’ll take Paul Reiser’s calls. Hell, after One Night at McCool’s they’re probably wearing similarly sized cinder blocks.

Nick’a Please
conceptualized by Nick Salemi

We’ve completed Disc One and Disc Two, which brings us to disc three of my compilation of East Coast Hip Hop from 1994 and 1995.

1. Kool G Rap feat. Nas, Fast Life
Two of Queens finest to ever pick up a mic, doin’ their thing. Included on Kool G Rap’s album, this is probably the best collaboration track Nas ever did. I think a lot of his collabos sound forced, but Fast Life sounds much more natural than say him and DMX.

The back and forth between the two of them in the third verse is ill. While rap was somewhat in the “gangsta” era, forgive them for content because the flow and beat on this one supercede any drugs/guns talk.

2. Notorious B.I.G. , One More Chance Remix
By the time this was hittin’, B.I.G. was being crowned “King of New York.” He already had Juicy and Big Poppa as established hits, this (along with the Junior Mafia album) was merely icing on the cake.

It’s also one of the more quotable songs in Hip Hop. Every word flows together (even the made up ones like “nathan”). If I recall correctly, I believe there was a 2nd remix that was also on the single.

3. Ol Dirty Bastard, Shimmy Shimmy Ya
ODB, crazy as hell, equals entertaining as hell. And remember: this was before we had to hear about the whole 33 kids and weekly arrests. At this point, he was considered crazy just for his work as an artist.

He definitely brought humor while at the same time making a pretty decent record, Return to the 36 Chambers, which had one of the best Hip Hop album covers ever. Pay no attention that it was the same verse three times (once backwards). You know you love sayin’:

“Shimmy Shimmy Ya, Shimmy Yeah, Shimmy Yay. Give me the mic so I can take it away”

4. Smif N’ Wessun , Bucktown
Once the horns hit at the beginning of the track, you knew you were about to hear the duo drop jewels on their new name for Brooklyn, home of the Originoo Gunn Clapaz. Originally released as a single long before their full-length album, Bucktown and the B-side Let’s Git it On, gave the Hip Hop world a taste of the next act from the Boot Camp Click and left their mark on unsuspecting heads.

5. Das EFX, Real Hip Hop Pete Rock Remix
This single, along with the B-side No Diggedy (long before we had to suffer through the Blackstreet song of the same name) announced that Das Efx was back. Written off after a very disappointing sophomore effort, where they, for the most part, abandoned their “iggedy” gimmick, they returned with a great album in Hold It Down.

They did re-instate the gimmick but not to a point where it got annoying as their lyrics and production were crazy. I prefer Pete Rock’s version to Premier’s, which was on the minimalist side, production-wise.

6. Method Man, Bring The Pain
This was Method Man’s first big cut off of Tical in 1994. Meth spits the grimiest he’s ever sounded and firmly announced him as the first breakout solo star of the Wu Tang Clan. I still don’t understand why even Meth himself refers to Tical “the worst of the Wu solo joints”.

Personally I love it, as the album had continuity that you don’t see often in Hip Hop and certainly didn’t see on his 2nd album, which included 30 minutes of skits. Bring the Pain is yet another one of the more quotable songs in all of Hip Hop and the title of the song itself has entered into pop culture language.

7. LL Cool J feat. Keith Murray/Prodigy/Fat Joe/Foxy Brown, I Shot Ya Remix
LL’s umpteenth comeback (yeah, I’m calling it that) featured some of the hottest acts of the time with guys who were feuding (Murray and Prodigy) on the same track. The sonic blast of the beat was hard to deny. This was also Foxy Brown’s first appearance, and in retrospect, her lyrics sound rather silly as she was about 16 at the time (To say nothing of LL saying “I Shot Ya”). Murray had some killer lines in this:

I’ll have to Norman Bate ya I love ta hate ya
Cause youse a freak by nature
Can’t wait to face ya, mutilate ya
Drink your style down straight wit no chaser

8. Nas, One Love
You can pretty much close your eyes and pick a track from Illmatic and come up with something good. One Love featured production, along with the hook from A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip and it’s an absolute masterpiece.

Nas sends shout outs to his incarcerated fam’ and assures that he’s holdin’ it down for them till they get back. He expresses the fear of himself getting caught up, too. One of the better combinations of storytelling and “state of the ghetto” tracks you’ll ever hear.

9. Common Sense, I Used To Love H.E.R.
Ok, so I know Chicago is the midwest and not East Coast, but I think we can all agree that this track is representative of the East Coast sound of the time. Common uses the analogy of his relationship with Hip Hop to one with a woman. Backpackers everywhere rejoiced. However, one guy didn’t like it so much, and that was Ice Cube. Common dropped lines like:

I wasn’t salty, she was with the boys in the hood…
Talkin about poppin glocks servin rocks and hittin switches
Now she’s a gangsta rollin with gangsta bitches

now she only f*cks with the funk.

You can see why Cube might of taken offense to this shot at the West Coast and it sparked the infamous feud between them.

10. AZ feat. Raekwon , Doe or Die Remix
A short song, but definitely hot back in the day and hard to find today. It made the rounds more on the vinyl and mixtape circuit than anything else. It was a totally different song than the original (which was solid in its own right) and definitely helped establish AZ even further. After a solid debut his follow-ups weren’t as nice and he was unable to recapture his success. But anytime he pops up on a track with Nas, its still straight goodness.

11. Boot Camp Click, Headz Ain’t Ready
One of my all-time favorite “crew tracks” ever. This one included everyone from the Boot Camp: Black Moon, Smif N Wessun, Heltah Skeltah and OGC (Originoo Gun Clappaz). Lyrically, you’d be hard pressed to find too many other posse cuts better than this one. Here’s Starang From OGC:

Headz Aint Ready got the Original Gunz and machetes
I pin that ass to the grass like I was Teddy
cuz brothas ain’t ready for the fros and the dreads
grab the glock and hitcha from ya toes to ya head

12. Notorious B.I.G., Warning
Who the f*ck is this?/
pagin me at 5:46 in the mornin/crack a dawnin
now I’m yawnin”¦
wipe the cold out my eye
see who’s this pagin’ me and why..

When those lyrics hit, people start rhyming along and would lose their minds when this came on at a party or the club. Warning, along with Unbelievable balanced nicely with the more radio-friendly songs that Biggie released from the Bad Boy hit machine.

13. Ill Al Scratch feat. Brian McKnight, I’ll Take Her
I’m sure you didn’t think Ill and Al Scratch would pop up again on this mix. Their second single was a straight jam for the ladies but maybe one of the least lame ways it’s ever been done. The opening blast when the song starts is pure gold.

Check the strings and beat. A then-unknown Brian McKnight on the hook makes this one hot, too. It is on more of the commercial side, but hey, back then there wasn’t as much commercial rap so it could still be considered hot without selling out for radio.

14. Redman, Rockafella
Redman’s first track off his Dare is a Darkside album is his R.I.P. to his boy, Rockafella. This is Doc at his absolute best and the little Chipmunk-like sped up version of Red’s voice that accompanies the intro, chorus and outro was as hysterical as it was spaced-out. As for the lyrics, who else could get away with saying any of the following:

“¦Bust like NBA Jams, and you can have Chicago
Catch the cargo, funky like a bag of Bravos,
or Yoo-hoo watch the birdie!!
While Red wreck your brains early
If rap was B-Ball, I’d have assists like James Worthy”¦

15. Shaq feat. The RZA and Method Man, No Hook
I know it sounds like sacrilege or (or shaq-rilege, as it were) to include a song on best of the mid-90s compilation featuring Shaq. However, have you ever heard this song? It’s off the charts gritty Wu production-wise and even Shaq doesn’t sound half-bad because he keeps it short and simple. The RZA is in his “screaming at the top of his lungs” mode and Meth does his raspy quick hit delivery here.

We don’t need no hooks.

16. Mobb Deep feat. Nas and Raekwon, Eye For An Eye
The hook on this is one of the more memorable from Mobb Deep’s Infamous album:

As time goes by, an eye for an eye
We in this together son your beef is mines
So long as the sun shines to light up the sky
We in this together son your beef is mines

Back in 1995, rappers didn’t phone in their guest appearances. This track is evidence as Mobb Deep, Nas and Raekwon could do no wrong separately, never mind killing verses on the same track together. What happened to songs like this?

17. Gangstarr , Code of the Streets
Did y’all honestly think I’d go through a whole CD without a track from DJ Premier? An underrated track on Gangstarr’s Hard to Earn , Guru’s monotone raspy voice beautifully lays down how he reps the Code of the Streets. Guru is always quick to school young’uns to the game. In terms of the production, the master Primo’s string samples are one of a kind. He simply has no equal.

18. Craig Mack, Makin’ Moves With Puff
I know it wasn’t a truly great song, but I loved Craig Mack’s brief run. And kids, you can point to this as the moment where Puffy said “Hey, Craig put my name in the title and I’m gonna dance around in the video and try and overshadow you because I’m have a sick need to be famous.”

Since then, we’ve found out Puffy is nothing but a wanna-be celebrity, and seems to care little about the careers of his artists on Bad Boy Records. This is what Suge Knight was referring to in his infamous award show speech.

Well, with three discs down, we’re nearing the completion of The Mixtape ReLoaded. Thanks for all the responses so far and tune in next week.

Get at me at

General Haberdashery

Fernandez has your exclusive recap from the Latin American MTV Video Music Awards. Jesus, someone should tell Widro that he doesn’t have to hand out reporting assignments based on race and ethnicity.

Sounds like someone could use a refresher in sensitivity training”¦the same course Wids made us take when he hired Gloomchen. (And we all know how well that took.)

And speaking of Hootie McBoob“¦won’t you join her in the wayback machine as she takes you on a trip to 1989. It was a time when a young Richard Grieco joined the cast of 21 Jump Street. A man named ‘Bo’ was the most popular athlete on the planet. And a bunch of a**holes from Boston were shoved down our collective throats. The more things change”¦

Mathan takes one of those Retrospecticus re-visiting of one magazine’s “10 Most Anticipated Albums of the 2004”. Let’s just hope that he doesn’t call me out for saying that Lloyd Banks would be the breakout star of ’04 in last year’s Bootleg Year-End Spectacular.

And, if I may”¦a pair of genre-related questions for my brothers in 3 Tha Friday.

Can TV Mathan explain why I continue to watch Lost week after week, despite the show’s glacial pacing and inconsistent character development?

Changing gears, can Movie Joe Reid explain why America is just now warming up to Jaime Foxx as an all-around entertainer, when he’s been releasing classy and quality music for over a decade?

Along with a film career that includes being the only watchable entity in Any Given Sunday and having Jon Voight steal his best supporting actor Oscar nod in Ali.

Eminem: Beyond The Encore

Beginning next week, your favorite writers from the IP Music Zone will begin a multi-part series on Slim Shady, leading up to the release of his fourth LP, Encore. I’ve taken the lead in coordinating everyone’s efforts and there’s going to be a whole lot to look forward to.

If you liked last year’s 2Pac: Countdown to Resurrection series, then you need to be here next week. And, this time, I’m bringing Jeff Fernandez, Mathan Erhardt, Will Cooling, Mike Eagle and Sweet Lady Gloomchen along for the ride.

We’re going Beyond next month, kids. But, you really should’ve come to expect that from us by now.

Life With the Bootleg Family

As if you couldn’t tell by your last trip to the mall”¦the holiday season is almost upon us! And since this is our first Christmas as a parents, Mrs. Bootleg and I are pretty much obligated to follow all the rules of Baby’s First Christmas.

Well”¦all except one.

Now, don’t get me wrong”¦Kid Cameron will be spoiled rotten with gifts that he can’t yet open or appreciate. He definitely will be passed around between loved ones, relatives and freeloaders like a cheap can of corn nog at previous All-Cameron family functions. And, of course, the whole thing will be captured on eight kinds of cameras.

But, I have to draw the line somewhere.

See, the wife is determined to get one of those cheeseball pictures of Jalen in the lap of a mall Santa.

Ah, nothing says holly and/or jolly better than a screaming Black child being held down by a jackbooted, bearded white man. I actually think this might’ve been a deleted scene in that 25th Anniversary Roots DVD that dropped a few years back.

Besides, I’d like to present ‘Exhibit A’ to help prove my point. A couple of weeks ago, the whole Cam Fam spent an afternoon at the San Diego Zoo. Their most popular animals are a pair of panda bears, currently on loan from the menu cover art of some of your finer Chinese restaurants.

They’ve even got employees dressing up as pandas, as if those who wait in line two hours to see the real thing actually need more cajoling. Anyways, my wife took the following picture.

On the right, you’ll see an enormous and upright “panda”. Oh, and that little boy on the left who’s pulling his hair out, drenched in terror sweat and looking for the back door to his stroller”¦well, you probably know who that is.

Will I have my part of Beyond the Encore completed on time? Help me get fired from IP and get at me this weekend on AOL or Yahoo IM: ajcameron13