The Friday Music News Bootleg

A quick shout out to ‘Version 2.0’ before we begin. Hope you’re in good health, kid. I need all the readers I can get.

Welcome back to The Bootleg. Next Tuesday, November 9, me and the wife will celebrate our second wedding anniversary. Of course, she’ll be doing most of the celebrating as my job is sending me out to Washington D.C. all next week. And you know what that means”¦

The “primetime” Sportscenter will start at 11:00 PM, instead of 8:00. No outdoor malls to speak of. And women who’ve stopped shaving their legs until the first spring thaw.

Now, I’m flying out on Sunday, so it’s likely that this column will be the closest thing to an anniversary gift that the wife will get until I return. And, there’s no telling how long Chili’s will hold our reservations if my return flight is delayed.

So, what better time to drop all the Bootleg Bravado and dedicate this week’s Goodness intro to Mrs. Bootleg?

Truth be told, I have never, ever met anyone who didn’t like my wife from the moment they met her.

No lie, no exaggeration, no hyperbole”¦She’s the type of person who can be standing in line behind you at Bed, Bath & Beyond and before you know it, the two of you are exchanging phone numbers. I know this is true, because that’s exactly how my wife got a recipe for a Thanksgiving turkey she’s made for the last two years. Kick ass poultry from a complete stranger.

At only four feet, eight inches tall, it won’t be much longer before Jalen cedes the title of “the littlest Cameron” to his own mother. And her diminutive height and popularity with others makes for the occasional awkward moment.

For instance, y’know those guys who just can’t shake another woman’s hand, but have to come in for that peck on the cheek? Well, with my wife, they have to reach down so low that they’ve really got no place for that one free hand. Normally, it would go on a woman’s arm or the back of her shoulder. With Mrs. Bootleg, guys get caught in between and invariably end up touching her boob.

And since wives are really just roommates you can’t escape, I’m sure everyone can relate to those live-in burdens who leave nothing but a “swallow” or a “bite” behind in the refrigerator. Y’know, like a “swallow” of juice in the carton or a “bite” of lasagna in the casserole pan.

That’s my wife. She won’t wash a dish to save her life and will tell you, with a straight face, that the reason she left so little behind was because she was full and couldn’t eat/drink anymore.

But, there’s no one else who’d willingly play the role of single mother every Thursday night while I’m trying to make music news funny. And, like clockwork, every Friday morning, when I stumble downstairs for the teaspoon of Life Cereal that she left me, the first thing she’ll ask is how the Bootleg turned out.

Then she asks what I wrote about her.

I’ll turn to the kitchen sink and fill the milk carton with tap water to get as much of the remaining moo residue as I can for my breakfast. Then, I’ll then turn to her, smile and say the same thing I do every week:

“Nuthin’ but Goodness.”

We’re Laughing At You”¦

VH1 is bringing back The Surreal Life for a fourth season and mannish female MC, Da Brat, is filling the token rapper role, so ably played in the past by MC Hammer, Vanilla Ice and, most notably, Flava Flav.

She’ll be joining former WW(androgyn)E star, Chyna, Christopher “Peter Brady” Knight, that Mini-Me guy from Austin Powers and former reality show star Adrianne Curry, who signed on before we could get her for Inside Pulse Television.

Y’know, with all the crazy things that you can bet on in the Las Vegas sports books, I think it’s high time we start the early estimates for the show’s eventual season five casting call. How about Bronson Pinchot in the role of former sitcom star?

He could have a Meego reunion with Jonathan Lipnicki as the awkward “100 years since Jerry Maguire” moppet.

Of course, color = conflict, so we’ll sell the season premiere on: “Who stole Bill Bellamy’s Chap-Stick?” Toss in some sexual tension with all the Fly Girls from In Living Color who didn’t go on to become a can’t-sing-can’t-act home wrecker and you’ve got ratings gold, baby.

I’m Sure Steve Guttenberg Can Relate

The University of North Carolina-Charlotte has created a class for the spring semester called Examining American Idol Through Musical Critique. Students will analyze each week’s performers and, for the final, write a paper about who should win. Remember, people”¦these students are the future of this country.

Now, if you really wanna challenge these kids, have them research what the hell happened to co-host Brian Dunkleman after the first season. Sure, the obvious answer is “eaten by Ruben Studdard”, but how long could he had survived while lodged in Studdard’s gullet?

And besides, if we must bring Fox broadcasting into the college curriculum, couldn’t it be a show that we can all relate to? You know I’m talkin’ about Cops.

Possible test questions abound, such as”¦”Why can’t most of these (alleged) criminals seem to afford a $10 T-shirt?”; “Has anyone who’s tried to run ever actually escaped?” and, finally”¦”What was up with Proctor in those Police Academy movies?”

I mean, I can buy the whole “wacky cops” thing to a point, but this guy’s continued displays of incompetence, beginning with the first sequel in 1985, should’ve resulted in immediate unemployment”¦not four more years. Uh, movies, I meant four more movies. Yeah.

Waiting To Exhale 2: Sistas Unite!

The producers of Monster’s Ball are currently casting their latest indie flick called Ladies Night. Its plot is shamelessly described as “a group of women who spend a ‘Sex in the City’ night on the town in Philadelphia”.

Now, before these hacks get sued, you should probably know that there’s a long list of ladies lining up for roles in this film. The most prominent names include Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, Missy Elliott, Alicia Keys, Macy Gray, Eve and Patti LaBelle.

Quite the list, no? And, it’s good to see such”¦wait a minute.

Did someone make a phone call and demand every living Black woman in music show up to audition? Yes, Mathan, we’re gonna include Mariah with the group just to piss you off. And, I don’t know about the rest of you, but scrolling a few lines back, the word “Sex” appears uncomfortably close to the names Missy Elliott and Macy Gray.

Did you ever hear anyone say that they would’ve liked Honey a whole lot more with less Jessica Alba and an extra helping of Missy? As for Macy”¦well, would you wanna sleep with her?

And, she was just a little too convincing in Training Day, if you know what I mean.

Vote or Die (a/k/a Great News for Jeff Fernandez!)

The New York Daily News broke an exclusive story earlier this week that detailed this shocking development: Apparently, there is hypocrisy in Hip Hop. Sean “P. Diddy” Combs and his self-serving Vote or Die campaign enlisted the help of several of his peers over the past few months.

Now, we’re hearing that not everyone who shared the stage with Sean actually got out and voted last Tuesday. The tabloid specifically names rapper Ludacris and trust-fund trick, Paris Hilton as two who didn’t practice what they preached. Of course, the rag also cites VoD spokesthug 50 Cent as not voting, conveniently ignoring that whole “convicted felon” chestnut for the sake of sensationalism.

Personally, I voted”¦but, far be it for me to lay the guilt trip on those who didn’t. Just remember”¦it wasn’t too long ago when a certain candidate and his supporters got a little too full of themselves. They were so certain of victory that everyone thought the election was in the bag and their vote wouldn’t matter. And, I don’t think I have to tell you how the Martin Prince Presidency turned out?

Christ, they’ve all been in the fourth grade for fifteen years.

Sometimes The News Just Writes Itself

Earlier this week, Lil’ Kim was scheduled to visit the campus of Syracuse University. Now, before everyone assumes that the back-fatted rapper simply thought “college” was where they make “collagen”, just hear me out. It seems that English students at Syracuse are enrolling in Hip Hop Eshu: Queen Bitch 101, The Life & Times of Lil’ Kim.

I am not making this up.

The class offers students the chance to “examine the cultural impact of Kim’s sexuality in mainstream culture”. Considering the cost of higher education these days, I’d imagine a ride along with the Vice Squad would yield the same results. Ooh, and you might get to meet one of those Law & Order: SVU cops at some point during the night. Hopefully, it’s the hot one with the butch-cut and hexagon-shaped head.

Anyways, it gets better, as we’re told that Kim’s lyrics are being analyzed as “literary text” in this class. And, I can tell y’all right now, even if the bookstore was offering full-price buyback, I’d never resell a book with words like:

I used to be scared of the dick/Now I throw lips to the shit”¦
Take it in the butt/Yeah, yeaahh whuuut”¦
, “Big Momma Thang”, 1996

Hotter than a Pop Tart fresh out of the toaster
N!ggaz do anything for a Lil’ Kim poster
, “How Many Licks”, 2000

You know the Queen show love when I’m up in the club
I like to play with my coochie when I’m up in the tub
, “Hold It Now”, 2003

And, nothing says “sexuality” better than toaster pastries and suppositories. For shame, Syracuse. Somewhere, Derrick Coleman is rolling over in his piano crate. I wish they had never invented fried cheese.

Nick’a Please
conceptualized by Nick Salemi

We’ve been at it for a month as we go into week four of the “anatomy of a mixtape”, featuring some of the East Coast’s greatest tracks from 1994 and 1995. If you missed any of the previous three, check out Disc One, Disc Two and Disc Three.

And as for Disc 4:

1. Notorious B.I.G., Big Poppa
A trip into Biggie’s “playa” persona, this was his second big hit due to the memorable lyrics and the equally memorable Isley Brothers’ sample. Although people tend to forget, this is partly what caused a backlash against BIG (other than 2Pac, obviously that was its own entity) back in late 95 and in 96 by groups like the Roots and even his fellow Brooklyn brethren Heltah Skeltah/OGC and Jeru the Damaja.

Check out the videos back then from those groups and interviews with them or BIG and you’ll see what I mean.

2. Method Man feat Redman, How High Remix
One of my all time favorite tracks. Produced by Erick Sermon, this was dropped in the summer of 95 and was absolutely crazy. The “Fly, Robin Fly” version was what actually came out as the single but a different, longer version came out as part of the soundtrack to The Show.

Back then, Meth and Red’s first track left heads waitin’ for an EP or LP with both of them, but other than a track here or there they’d have to wait until they dropped Blackout in 1999. The beat for the remix was better, but I’ll take the longer verses on the original any day.

Who knew they’d have a movie named after it and their own TV show, albeit short-lived. (Hey, I watched!)

3. Lost Boyz, Lifestyles of the Rich and Shameless
The song that put the Lost Boyz on the map. There were several remixes of the song, but the original was on fire at the time. Storytelling hip-hop about the ills of the trife life set to the beat of 80s synthesizers never sounded so good. I wonder if anyone’s ever written that previous sentence before. Anyway, Mr. Cheeks and Freaky Tah represent Queens just fine here.

4. Jay-Z, Dead Presidents
Dead Presidents was Jay Z’s intro into the big time in late 95. Before he was Iceberg Slim, Jigga, Hova or any of the other nicknames he’s given himself. He started to take off with this track that featured an off the hook sample from Nas’ The World Is Yours.. The lyrics in the original version were different than the one that ended up on Reasonable Doubt (known as Dead Presidents II) which both featured Shawn Carter at his best lyrically. I agree it was a classic, but enough already with the after-the-fact whining of how it should have went triple platinum.

If it should have, it would have.

5. Black Moon, I Got’cha Open Remix
Buckshot + Beatminerz = sick beat and flow, guaranteed. And you can also guarantee that it will be a remix and not the original. If I sound like I’ve been repeating this it’s because I have been. The horns that are featured on the remix make for a much more complex production than the original. Buckshot lets you in on what the deal is in case you haven’t heard yet:

I’m coming to you from the underground, with a thunder sound
#1 question, “Yo how can I be down?”

6. AZ feat. Nas, Mo Money Mo Murder Homicide
AZ should have Nas around more often because when the two of them collaborate, it’s almost always hot. The cinematic sounding string background for this song was chilling and the back and forth between the two showed a chemistry that didn’t exist between some actual groups at the time. Although they did refer to this as the beginning of the (gasp) Firm, don’t let it scare you.

7. Raekwon feat. Method Man, Ghostface Killah and Cappadonna, Ice Cream
You know you used to say “French Vanilla, Butter Pecan, Chocolate Deluxe” and not know what the f*$ you were talking about when it first came out. This was dropped as part of Raekwon’s solo album, and blew the f up. Rae and Ghost ripped it with Meth on the hook. And just when you think you finally know everyone in the Clan, they enlist Cappadonna. And before he started driving cabs, he knew something about a hot guest verse.

8. Junior M.A.F.I.A., Gettin Money (The Get Money Remix)
The remix of JM’s Get Money featured BIG, Kim and Lil Cease. While the original was Biggie and Lil Kim spittin a verse each that amounted to an NRA lover’s quarrel, this one kind of goes nowhere. Cease mumbles his way through the first verse, Kim does her hollow act, rapping only about clothes cars and guns. However, you had to love BIG singing the chorus. Absolutely hysterical and his one-liners were always ridiculous.

9. GZA/Method Man, Shadowboxin
Although it’s the GZA’s song, you gotta give it up for one of Meth’s greatest verses of all time. Don’t take my word for it:

My third eye seen it coming / Before it happen
You know about them f*cking Staten / kids they smashin
Everything huh in any shape form or fashion

Don’t front on the GZA though. How bout these two classic bars?

I slayed MC’s back in the rec room era
My style broke motherf*ckin backs like Ken Patera

For a hot sec, it was Wu’s World and we were just tryin to live in it.

10. Crooklyn Dodgers, Crooklyn
Three of Crooklyn’s finest blessed the single to the soundtracks of one of Spike Lee’s joints. Buckshot, Masta Ace and Special Ed do their best reppin for their slice of the five boroughs. Special Ed was fallin behind the new generation at this point but he and Masta Ace still spit some nice lyrics along with Black Moon’s Buckshot over this superb beat.

The Polo Grounds may be gone and Crooklyn the movie definitely is forgotten, but don’t sleep on this track.

11. Mobb Deep, Survival of the Fittest
We livin this till the day that we die survival of the fit only the strong survive

As I remember, Mobb Deep became “automatically untouchable” as fast as anyone else in the game at that time. And by that, I don’t mean being anointed so by lame articles in The Source and Vibe proclaiming them as artists “that keep it real the most”, whatever the hell that meant.

Untouchable in terms of whatever they released was hot. Unreleased mixtape, freestyle, soundtrack it didn’t matter. The second single following Shook Ones has some of their more famous lines.

12. Jeru The Damaja, You Can’t Stop The Prophet Remix
While Premier produced Jeru’s entire The Sun Rises In The East album, one might think it would go against all forces of hip-hop nature for someone to try and remix any of the songs. Well, the only producer who can pull it off is none other than Pete Rock, king of the remix (f*ck you know who).

The lyrics stayed the same but Pete gave the song a whole different soulful feel than Premier’s more disjointed choppy style. This is also a prized possession and a rare find on CD these days.

13. Blahzay Blahzay, Danger
When the East is in the House / Oh My God / Danger!

You have to love the way they mixed samples from Jeru, Q-Tip and ODB for the hook. A one hit wonder, Blahzay Blahzay, blazed this anthem in late 1995. There was a Premier remix that was popular but this pretty much was perfect as it was.

How’s this for useless trivia, if anyone recalls, the Syracuse hoops team, led by John Wallace, went to the NCAA Finals (only to lose to Kentucky) the following spring with their own personal remix, “When the ‘Cuse is in the House”.

14. Keith Murray, Get Lifted Remix
The Def Squad’s hitman had his own ode to special herbs and spices. The version that appeared on his debut album was missing the little “People makes the world go round, lay back hypnotized with the funky sound” hook that was on the single.

However, even that one wasn’t as hot as the Erick Sermon Remix version that was on the vinyl and CD single. The same sample on the remix was also used by the little known Left Coast act the BUMS around the time for their song Elevation. The beat sampled here is the smoothest one on this whole set of songs.

15. Gravediggaz, Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide
Let’s get something straight. There was never any genre of rap called “horrorcore”, although some people might have you to believe that. (For real horror check Nelly’s latest two albums) This group (a side project for the Wu Tang Clan’s RZA and uber-producer Prince Paul) and Flatlinerz (don’t get me started) were it. Period. This track though, is east coast goodness many have forgotten.

16. Black Moon, Reality
Black Moon’s most underrated and sought after track, Reality dropped as a B-Side to the already mention I Got Cha Opin Remix. I’m quite sure it doesn’t exist on CD in commercial form anywhere. It’s not even on their Diggin In Da Vaults CD that was compiled to cover all the remixes and unreleased material.

That’s why I had to find it and bring it to you as part of the mixtape. Buckshot slows down his flow much like the string sample to produce one of the illest soundest songs you’ll ever hear.

17. Nas, NY State of Mind
Maybe the greatest combination of Nas and DJ Premier ever. The dark, brooding production matched perfectly with the flow and content of the lyrics. It’s best I let you just read Nas’ words”¦

It drops deep as it does in my breath
I never sleep, cause sleep is the cousin of death
Beyond the walls of intelligence, life is defined
I think of crime when I’m in a New York state of mind

18. Craig Mack, Get Down

Haaaaaaa bwoy / Mackalicious with the phat funk flav? What ? Huh? If any part of this phrase sounds vaguely familiar, you may have been a fan of hip hop in 1994. I had to give Craig Mack a little more respect here as he did have another single that was loved by hip-hop heads from east to west.

Get Down was the follow up to Flava In Your Ear and did hold its own. Unfortunately, after this song died down, Craig was kind of caught in Biggie and Puffy’s shadow.

Whew, we’ve finally finished it off! Or have we? While writing this column over the past four weeks, other songs have crossed my own mind, some that I remembered on my own and some that you guys have suggested. As a result, I’ve managed to assemble yet another disc.

I ‘d love to keep it going for another week. Holla at me and Aaron. THEN y’all can tell me what I forgot! Either way, thanks for all the love from everyone who’s written in about this.

Get at me at

General Haberdashery (Trick or Treat Edition)

It’s nothing but treats, here, kids! Fernandez kills off 50 Cent. He shaves Johnny Damon. And, for all you carbon blobs based in Sector 7G, Jeff has GOLDBERG on his Late Night Jukebox Feature! Complete with piped-in cheers, chants and extended ring entrance.

So, that must leave the tricks. And far be it for me to negate the advances of Sweet Lady Gloomchen and the women’s net writers movement. This week, she takes y’all back to high school”¦which, curiously, was the theme for her Halloween costume this year.

(Sorry, it’s standard procedure for the lone net chick to get slobbered over by all of her male co-writers. I’m told that Claire Flynn Boyle has actually drowned.)

Mathan puts on the remnants of his 411 Black mask to discuss the continuing evolution of Hip Hop. He also inadvertently stole my idea for links this week and digs the Señorita scene in Sin City. Um, were there any reasons he moved to Vegas that didn’t involve women?

And, finally”¦a little 3 The Friday:

TV Mathan calls out campaign ads and last week’s “What I Watched” segment covers Iowa living and kids who stand up for themselves.

Movie Joe Reid says:

You think she hasn’t shared a bath with a baby-faced fella about four feet tall with no sexual inclination towards her whatsoever before? She was married after all.

Find out who he’s mocking, so you can come to his defense.

Life With the Bootleg Family

Picture Day.

When we were in elementary school, it meant pulling on your best Sears Toughskins jeans, washing up and somehow putting a part in your mini-afro.

Hey, you try growing up Black in the ’80s, mister.

When you’re the father of an almost nine-month-old child, picture day is pretty much everyday. Including last Sunday, when The Cam Fam piled into the Honda (as if 2 ½ people could fit in my Saturn) and drove to one of those “studios” that specializes baby photography.

You’ll remember that last Sunday was Halloween and all of the employees were dressed up in full costume. Speaking of which, Jalen was also playing the part, as he wore a black cat outfit purchased by his Godmother. And for those interested, I’m currently accepting applications for her eventual replacement.

Now, I haven’t been a father for that long, but I do know that infants generally don’t react well to large people in scary masks. The lady behind the camera looked like a cross between a mime and the evil version of Doink the Clown. Jalen started crying at around 12:10 PM and didn’t stop until the wife found someone else to take his pictures.

Fortunately a short little Asian guy dressed up in a vest and derby (Nate Dogg-san, perhaps) was able to complete the session. Including the time it took to develop the pics, the whole thing took about three hours.

Three hours for pictures and with none of the usual finger printing and processing that comes with your standard mug shots. Not even the bag of Mrs. Fields “nibblers” that the wife bought me for being a good boy could make me sit through that again.

And, besides”¦after all this time, you’d think she’d know that if we’re going to share, the oatmeal raisin are mine and the cinnamon sugar are hers. It’s like sucking on sweet sand dollars when she eats all of mine.

I’m in search of Smilowitz all next week in D.C. Get at me when I return on AOL or Yahoo IM: ajcameron13