The Friday Music News Bootleg

It is the year 2005. The treacherous Decepticons have conquered the Autobots’ home planet of Cybertron. But, from secret staging grounds on two of Cybertron’s moons, the valiant Autobots prepare to retake their homeland.

-The opening that was 20 years in the making!

Welcome back to The Bootleg. And a hale and hearty “Happy New Year” to everyone out there! While most of the college-aged members of my audience are probably still asleep and salivating right through their PS2 n’ booze-induced stupor…the rest of us rejoined the rat race this week.

Oh, and believe me when I say that this rat race was demonstrably more painful than the 2001 movie of the same name. I mean, seriously, did Central Casting congregate ’round the campfire and demand roles in this flick for the voices of Artie Ziff, Peggy Hill and the star of Theodore Rex?

Well, the same crew apparently put together the plot for my last few days, as well. It seems that a zillion dollar proposal opportunity was presented to our people just before the holiday break. Because I just happened to be the closest to the fax machine when it came through, the responsibility of this effort fell at my feet.

We’ve been over this before…once again, remember how The Leadership Matrix was passed from a dying Optimus Prime to a nearby Ultra Magnus? In the absence of due diligence, individual performance analysis and an Autobot vote of unanimity…Magnus won out based on proximity. Guess it’s a good thing he came to work that day.

Sadly, the same could not be said for me. And, for the second time in less than a month…I would meet my maker at a management meeting.

There would be four of us around the table on this day. For the first 45 minutes, I brought my basic box of bullsh*t to the boardroom. Y’know the routine…blankly nod when someone else finishes a sentence, stare at the same piece of paper the whole time and pretend to take copious notes and hope to hell that no one asks you for anything on or about anything

Right then, our estimator of finance finished her filibuster, turned to me and asked:

“What do you think, Aaron?”

Now, for the fellas…remember the first time your girl caught you in a lie? I mean, she had done her research, checked her facts and pretty much had checkmated your ass. She had you so good, that you were left stunned and speechless…the lies left to linger on the tip of your tongue.

Of course, as men in that situation (or in mine from the meeting) there is not a more memorable moment than when your mouth manages to make matters worse.

I made the mistake of taking too much time in my mind to craft my cock-and-bull response, so the estimator repeated the question to me…pretty much confirming to the room that I was not listening to her balance sheet speech or her request to hear me speak.

Eventually, I just started talking…ignoring the spontaneously combusting ball that was once my head. At the end, the Program Director looked square at me and said, “We can’t do that.” It’s been two days and I still can’t remember what “that” was, but considering the cacophony of crap coming outta my cakehole, his alternate response could’ve easily been, “Who the f*ck is Widro?”

Last Second Plug o’ Goodness: You still have a few more minutes to vote in the Inside Pulse Reader Awards. That’s one minute to register, if you haven’t already and one minute to vote. Since time is of the essence, just fill in the dots of the first name listed in each category…don’t worry, we’ll know who you meant.

The Line at Hardee’s Must’ve Been Crazy Long…

Finally, a reason to watch MTV since Remote Control went off the air. The network is currently filming the new season of Newlyweds with Jessica Simpson and her husbandry baggage. And, it seems the season premiere will start off with Jessica covered in hot…creamed…

…spinach?

With the cameras rolling, the couple dined at South Florida’s swank Smith & Wollensky restaurant. There were reportedly production problems all evening during dinner and the whole six-course catastrophe was capped off with a nervous server spilling gooey green goodness all over Jessica and her dress.

According to those in the know, Nick Lachey threw a hissy-fit and demanded that the entire staff apologize, and I quote:

“…in English, Pedro Cerrano, in English…!”

The whole scene was pretty ugly…not unlike the name of this restaurant. Smith & Wollensky? Well, surely the menu must be magnificent…

Onion rings? Pizza? Hash browns?

I guess we can assume that the name Wendy’s & Denny’s was taken.

She Likes Scotch! Scotch, Scotch, Scotch!

Hey, here’s one I haven’t dusted off in awhile…our old friend DUIana Ross is back in the news this week. She is reportedly at the confluence of a cosmetic controversy, as she has backed out of an agreement to pitch a line of MAC cosmetics in her name. And, the reason?

She didn’t like the names of the colors picked out for her collection. Although, in her defense names like “Broken Nose Capillaries Copper”, “Slurred Speech Peach” and “Embalm ‘Em Autumn” really don’t sound all that marketable.

And, I want to know who thought that this woman should be the face of any make-up marketing method? Hell, her most well received role in recent memory came when she actually took her make-up off.

Now, don’t tell Nas, but it’s no secret that Diana only dates white men. So, where’s all the rhubarb when Bonequeesha beds down with B-Rad? Well, I’m not sure if Billy Bob in Monster’s Ball was a fluke or phenomenon, but here are some tips for any White readers who want to date Black women.

Run.

That’s pretty much it.

Cicely Tyson Must Be Rolling Over In Her Grave…

We’re a little over a week away from Martin Luther King Day and just three weeks out from the beginning of Black History Month. With that in mind, I’m proud to announce that Sean “P. Diddy” Combs has been named BET.com’s “Person of the Year” for 2004.

Puff Daddy…Person of the Year.

The website credits his efforts on the Citizen Change non-partisan youth voting program that was such a raging success last fall. His work with continuing to maintain his Justin’s restaurants and Sean John clothing brand were also cited as deciding factors.

Who knew that soul food and $75 T-shirts had such sway with his supporters?

And who were the other finalists for the honor? Well, there was Oprah Winfrey, who was forced to buy back her Blackness at five cents on the dollar after Beloved. Bill Cosby, who spent the year Hayhursting over “the look of those teenagers”. Rev. Al Sharpton, who doesn’t need me to write a joke for him and Barak Obama.

Y’all remember Barak…? Democratic National Convention…real stirring speech…talk of a Presidential run down the line. Let’s hope that Barak saw that Eddie Murphy movie The Distinguished Gentleman. That’s the one where Murphy’s “Jeff Johnson” snuck his way into office because he shared his name with a white politician who died and fooled the voters by running a campaign without once showing his face.

“Shared his name with a white politician…?” So, what’s Plan B, Obama?

Well, It’s Kinda Music Related…

20-year-old hoops sensation Carmelo Anthony recently announced his engagement to 30-something MTV personality, La La Vasquez. OK, show of hands…save for any of my “urban” readers, how many of you have ever heard of “La La” before this story broke? And, I love how every headline refers to this 3:00 AM VJ as “MTV’s La La Vasquez…”. That’s actually akin to reading,

“In other news, the ABC Television Network’s Dog from Lost…”

Oh, and look at the happy couple. They seem so…disinterested. Trust me: a man and a woman don’t sit that close to each other at a game, unless they know there’s a camera nearby. Someone should’ve shoved Anthony so that he could’ve shared in La La’s blank stare.

For God’s sake, the man’s still wearing crooked caps and cornrows. That’s not to say that young bruthas can’t find sweet, sweet love. But, let’s face it…half the fun is going back out the next night to see if you can find it with her roommate, too.

It’s just my sincere hope that La La will be true to her man child and isn’t using her relationship with ‘Melo to get closer to his Nuggets’ teammate Handsome Marcus Camby. If that goes down, it’ll be the ugliest two sides of a love triangle since Jason Kidd and Jimmy Jackson feuded over the future Mrs. Cameron.

Maybe They Were Saying Boo-urns…Boo-urns!

College football fans were treated to a National Championship game that was already over before it ever got started. But, for those of you who stuck around at halftime, you were treated to a live performance by Ashlee Simpson, Kelly Clarkson and Trace Adkins.

And, for those of you who actually made it to the end of that, y’all were treated with a cascade of boos raining down upon Simpson, the featured act. Seems she tried to sing live during one of those over-produced, super-choreographed spectacles and…well, let’s just say she can’t blame her band for this one.

Adding insult to injury bitch can’t sing, television censors forced Simpson to change several of her song’s sexually suggestive lyrics. For example “French Maid” became “lemonade”. Wow, talk about seamless.

Of course, it’s easy to blame Janet Jackson’s right boob for all this FCC hysteria, but let’s face it…commercial TV has been an amoral morass for more years than I care to count. Don’t believe me? Well, then maybe you’ll believe the Parents’ Television Council.

Praise Allah that they’re hear to tell us…Billy Ray Cyrus, the actor = good…while the mincing pace of Will & Grace = bad. After reviewing the list, I think you’ll agree…it’s time somebody went back to Bible Camp and learned how to be more judgmental, no?

Sometimes The News Just Writes Itself

See what happens when 411’s Joe Reid takes the week off…? Stories like these slip right through the crackpipe. Snoop Dogg, who’s enjoying a little bit of a recording renaissance, has signed on for the sure-to-be direct-to-video by-way-of-UPN movie of the week Boss N Up.

Snoop plays “Corde”, described as a “successful street business man” in the press release. I’m thinking he’s either a drug dealer or one of those “will work for food” guys right on the freeway off ramp.

Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that Jason Giambi isn’t using the sign this week. Anyways, the all-star cast is rounded out by Lil’ Jon as a nightclub owner named “Sheriff” and female rapper Trina as a lawyer called “Dominique”.

See, it’s sh*t like this that causes those unreadable online roundtables to ignorantly paint all African-American movies with the same brush.

Fifteen years ago, Minister Farrakhan warned us about the evils of “White boys rappin’ and The Fat Boys actin'”, but we didn’t heed his spoken word. Sure, Vanilla Ice and Disorderlies seemed like quality entertainment at the time. But, then the Ninja Rap was released and a few years later…Buffy died.

If only Eminem had been paying attention during the recording of Lose Yourself or Big Pun had been watching during chicken-fried steak night at Sizzler.

Nick’a Please
conceptualized by Nick Salemi

R.I.P. R.U.L.E. (and this time stay gone)

Don’t call it a comeback / I been here for years…were the famous words uttered by LL Cool J. Before the Botox and surgery, LL spit those words to let everyone know he wasn’t about to fall off, as his rap career had reached about 5 years when Mama Said Knock You Out debuted. A rap career that spanned 5 years in rap in 1990 was about five times the average. But LL had cause to be concerned, as Hip Hop fans are probably the most fickle and unforgiving in all of music.

So LL is looked at the first mainstream rapper to effectively pimp the “I ain’t fallin’ off” angle as an entire album gimmick (and 14 years later, it’s safe to say he’s pretty much made it a career gimmick, although most agree he expired before the millennium).

But a current artist that, coincidentally, is on the same label as Mr. Smith, is trying to pull an “LL” and frankly no one is falling for his bullsh*t.

I am, of course, talking about everyone’s least favorite rapper, Ja Rule. Now hatin’ on Ja Rule is almost an involuntary reflex for most this point. So let me get this straight, if everyone hates him and he’s beyond relevant even in mainstream Hip Hop, why do I constantly have to hear about how he’s back? There are gunshots going off after his concerts? Not surprising.

Someone should check to see what the suicide rates are for cities where he performs the next morning.

This guy is so pathetic that he ends up looking like a guest artist on his own album. Obviously, it’s a calculated move on Murder Inc.’s part. Throw him on a cookie cutter track with R Kelly and Ashanti and hope no one notices. Imagine how bad your credibility is when teaming up with R Kelly makes you look better by comparison?

The other song in heavy rotation is his collaboration with Fat Joe and Jadakiss, New York. The only redeeming quality of the song is the fact that Kiss’ and Joe are on there. Ja simply fades into the background. And, Kiss and Joe seem to be doing it to spite 50 Cent. Whatever the case may be, the formula is the same and for some reason radio and video play both constantly while clearly no one is buying his album. And what’s up with Jada? I’m disappointed he’d appear with a no talent has been like Ja.

Here’s an extra verse for Why?:

Why the champ spit a verse for a chump? This is a championship bout
Keep teamin’ up with Ja / You gon’ knock yourself out

OK, had to vent there. But read Ja’s own quotes in a recent MTV news feature:

I was having fun confronting the fans that had turned on me. It started to create a friction… a very-needed friction.”

Does this sound like a confident artist to you? You think Irv Gotti hypnotizes him every morning ?

“Dawg heads are feelin’ the album.”

Are we far from him calling Dr, Phil and saying, “My fans abandoned me, what do I do?”

“MC J.R. (for anonymity) you go out there and be the best rapper you can be.”

The bottom line is this guy never had any real fans and he has no one to blame but himself. He disappeared after his initial buzz on Jigga’s Can I Get A and his own Holla Holla in ’98 and came back by making pop rap music for the radio.

THAT was his fan base. When those people grow tired of you, (to say nothing of the nail in the coffin Hail Mary remix track) say goodbye to your album sales. Then you have the balls to come back to Hip Hop like “where’s the love?” Nick’a Please!

Get at me at nicksalemi@yahoo.com

General Haberdashery

Jeff Fernandez runs down his birfday/Christmas/New Year’s celebrations. What happens when a man’s BAC approaches Randy Johnson’s career ERA?

Three Guinness pints, two shots of Jager and a pint of La-baaaaaaaaaaaaaaatt’s Blue! (Jeff’s drinks were included, but not limited to the preceding…)

Gloomchen’s latest column is an obvious (yet uncredited) dedication to that 1987 Robbie Dupree and Strike Force classic collabo. Don’t act like you don’t remember…

They pass you on the road with a smile and you have to look twice.
And you wonder to yourself, could a woman really look that ni-iice.
Mmm, Girls In Cars…I love Girls In Cars…Girls In Cars…

Mathan should be preparing his own 2004 Music Staffer of the Year victory speech. But, instead he’s making sure no album is left out of consideration for (almost) album of the year honors. Plus, he gives it up for the fallen members of 411. Wither Warren Woo?

Gordi takes you back 51 years. He drops a lot of names from those who were active in 1954, but oddly enough former WWE diva Sable wasn’t one of them. Maybe she was unable to get out of her 12th Grade Geometry class in time for the photo shoot.

An Unwrapped Present Left Under The Decaying Tree

J.A.M = the fourth in the line of short-lived novelty writing nicknames for a trio of Inside Pulse and 411 writers.

J is for Movie Joe Reid. He’s obviously still in mourning over his Buffalo Bills losing to 22 second stringers wearing Steelers jerseys last Sunday. But, he is spearheading 411 Movies’ Reader Awards.

Show your support by sending him an email with the words: “Spider-Man 2, Jaime Foxx, Uma Thurman and Ashish”. Just trust me on this one. Leonard, are you sitting on the pie…? “I sure hope so.”

A is for me.

M is for TV Mathan. Celebrate the life of Law & Order’s Lennie Brisco, play Mad Libs with reruns of Oz (“how ’bout ‘sodomy’?”) and laugh your ass off at his “skim Aaron Carter” line.

Junk Mail

It seems that some of you liked our take on the best and worst in Hip Hop for 2004:

MUCH love to Nick for the Royce The 5’9″ shout out for best of ’04. It’s good to know that y’all ain’t sleeping on his talent and mic skills. I’d like to see a review of his albums in The Bootleg if you or Nick ever get the time…E.J.

===

I gotta say that I pretty much agree with your worst singles of the year. I thought I was the only one that wasn’t feelin’ Kanye’s “Jesus Walks”. His heathen ass ain’t sliding into heaven based on 40 bars of fake bible preaching…B.P.

It seems that some of you didn’t like our take on the best and worst in Hip Hop for 2004:

Mobb Deep? Jadakiss? F*ckin’ Xzibit?!? Y’all have got to be kidding me. Commercial rap is done and you guys seem to be the last two people on earth to realize this. The fact that there wasn’t ONE mention of Madvilliany proves how little you know about the game…M.E.
===

So, you hate a song about Jesus that’s admittedly shaky on lyrics and a more than a little manipulative, but you love “Drop It Like It’s Hot” that features one hot verse and a decent beat. Yeah, that makes sense…S.L.

It seems that some of you liked last week’s Best of the Bootleg 2004 column:

Just wanted to say thanks to you for keeping us all entertained in 2004. The Best of piece was just as funny the second time around and I’m looking forward to you and Nick holding down Fridays all through 2005…J.P.

It seems that some of you hated last week’s Best of the Bootleg 2004 column:

I have NEVER seen someone more in love with sound of their own voice than you. A “Best Of” column? And you’ve been writing for how long? I bet the best part for you was getting to read your own work all over again. Sorry, but that’s pretty pompous…C.D.

Pompous? Well, I never…

Life With the Bootleg Family

I’ve never really understood all the New Year’ Eve hubbub.

A whole lotta people go out and drink…celebrating until the wee hours of the morning. Pretty much sums up my six-year sojourn through San Diego State U.

But, the rules change when there’s a wife and child involved. Back in the day, you’d go to the ends of the earth (a quiet suburb of ‘Parts Unknown’) for that one 12/31 party that combined the best of brews with a malty taste and back room misunderstandings of date rape.

Now, we’re worried about driving “too far” on New Year’s Eve. As if there’s some sort of collision-free cocoon within six city blocks of our house.

We ended up about a half-mile from home, our child in tow, with some friends who are also parents. And, for those of you who constantly misuse the word “ghetto”…allow me to help:

When people are bringing their kids to New Year’s Eve parties…well, let’s just say it’s only a matter of minutes until you guys are looking over your shoulders and shooting me and my kid with several “shushes” while you’re trying to watch Fat Albert.

And after several hours spent sipping the smoothest (straight-up) whiskey I’d ever savored…well, I can’t really remember. I know that Mrs. Bootleg was pissed, since she became the designated driver by default and lectured me for the entire ride home.

Lucky for me a dense fog rolled in right around midnight and, as a result, our .5 mile drive turned into about 20 minutes of the wife doing 2 mph and sticking her head out the window as if that would help her see the road.

She eventually abandoned me and my sour mash musk on the couch downstairs and called it a night. The following day, it was nothing but the stink-eye and the silent treatment from her. Apparently, she wanted me to think about what I’d done, which was not drive while drunk.

What did she want me to say…it’ll never happen again?

This week’s Bootleg is dedicated to the IP Staff Forums. Oh, what a week it has been. Get at me on AOL or Yahoo IM: ajcameron13

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