The Friday Music News Bootleg

Welcome back to The Bootleg. I’ve got this…well, I guess she’s a friend. Met her last year, while out-of-town. It was a Saturday summer night in one of America’s most electric and eclectic cities.

Now, before y’all give me that look, just know that I freely acknowledge and advertise (by request only) that I’m “off the market”. And, when you’re married with child…well, let’s just say your prospects for a semblance of social success fall somewhere between those people who spend hours making signs to take with them to WWE TV tapings and pretty much all the sign-free fans in the arena that same night.

Anyways, as I was saying…I was out with some friends and she was out with some friends. Our paths crossed for no more than 30 minutes of conversation and libations. But, at the time, I was somewhere between hours four and five of the liquification of my liver.

And, my defenses were down.

Remember the planet that Unicron eats in the first five seconds of Transformers: The Movie? Down like that. Remember the fictitious military port that gets Pearl Harbored in the last five seconds of that big-budget Ben Affleck blockbuster? Down like that. Remember Brandy? Down like that.

See…this out-of-town woman asked me for my number.

Without thinking…I scrawled my cell phone number on the back of a small square of paper I found in my wallet. The magnitude of this mental mistake hit home a few days later when an unrecognizable number came up on caller ID.

Suspicious, I let it roll to voice mail…a few minutes later, the puzzle pieces of the previous weekend were plucked from under the proverbial…well, wherever it is that lost puzzle pieces end up. Just, work with me here.

Now, I know that Mrs. Bootleg wouldn’t trip off of something like this. On the contrary, she’d either consider it comedy…or kill me. And have we all forgotten that I married a Black woman? Hell, ten years ago, bruthas everywhere were turning on their TVs and asking how Andre Rison got off so easily.

Sometimes self-preservation supercedes sensitivity. So, I decided to ignore this unwanted woman. No phone pick-ups, no returning her calls, no…

“Hey, my work phone is ringing. It must be one of our Government customers, since the phone number on the display has the same area code and first three digits as my on-base contacts.”

And, who do you think was on the other end of that call? That would be the one to my direct office line from the comfort of my cubicle. It seems that small square of paper from my wallet was actually a business card. Work number…fax number…email…last name.

This all went down several months ago. After a short while, the calls and correspondence had ceased. How? It’s all in the ignore, baby. Just like on AOL IM…I right-clicked on this trick and…

Hey, Aaron…

It’s been a few months and I haven’t heard from you. I heard about all the storms in California this week and I just wanted to make sure you were OK!
-The “Other” Woman, 01.12.05

I just hope she doesn’t read The Goodness…

Amerikkka’s Most Corporate

Has Ice Cube sold out? Have those early ’90s images of Raiders caps and jheri curls been replaced with “business class” and “down with the swirl?” For his new movie Are We There Yet, Cube and studio executives struck a sweetheart deal with the Lincoln Navigator luxury line of SUVs.

In fact, it’s estimated that nearly 75% of the movie scenes will take place in and around the vehicle that transports Cube’s character and the two lil’ brats left in his care from Portland, Oregon to Vancouver, BC. A studio spokesperson cites the “urban” and “mainstream” appeal of the movie as a “tailor-made match for the dual audiences of the Navigator brand”.

OK, first things first…can we assume that Ice Cube wasn’t exactly the uh, “first” choice for this lead role? Portland to Vancouver? The last time a Black man made that road trip was during the 2000-2001 NBA season. And, Cube’s doing this in a tricked-out SUV? Alternate film title: You Fit The Description… And, did I miss the moment when Ice Cube went “mainstream”?

I hear the Koreans go crazy for him.

Are Dan & Dave Available for the Ad Campaign?

These days, everything Pharrell Williams touches turns to gold platinum. So, when news broke early last year that he had plans for a line of brightly-colored kicks called Ice Cream (shoes so true to their brand that they’d literally come in a cylindrical “quart-like carton”)…well, let’s just say there weren’t too many doubters.

Twelve months later, Williams is suing Reebok…the perpetually second-place shoe company tasked with manufacturing both his footwear brand and “Billionaire Boys Club” apparel line. According to documents, Williams is claiming that Reebok has “failed to produce products that satisfied his approval standards.”

OK…can I assume that Pharrell is funneling his “fashion” to the same demographic that wears fresh-off-the-rack ball caps cocked down to the side and wears XXXL blue jeans down by the side of their c*cks?

And, what the hell was Williams thinking to begin with? I mean, Reebok hasn’t been relevant in retail since Dee Brown’s slam-dunk contest/shoe commercial in 1991, when he “pumped up” before every dunk. Hey, just for kicks (HA!), let’s see how far that famous flight of footwear took Dee.

Hmmm…maybe he should’ve worn Pumas.

We’re Long Overdue for an Oz Reference

The resident R&B sensation (from five years ago) found his way back in the news this week. D’Angelo was arrested on January 11 and charged with drunk driving and possession of a controlled substance during a traffic stop in Richmond, Virginia.

And, with his infamous Untitled video now sixty months and several six-piece buckets behind us, it’s time to focus on the latest naked man to make the news. The Fox Network recently rejected a potential Super Bowl ad that was to feature the butt-ass nekkid backside of 84-year-old Mickey Rooney.

For that, I say…thank you.

Those of you in support of this senior citizen and his sagging, jagged ass crack obviously haven’t sat through any episodes of Oz. I had no problem with the language, the themes, the sodomy or the sixth season. But, I feared the day when either Agamemnon Busmalis or Bob Rebadow would act up.

That meant “the hole” and it also meant, if I couldn’t find the remote in time, a gratuitous shot of their craggy, mole-covered cans. It was like some sort of bizarre blackhead Braille.

We Left Kevin Home Alone…And He’s Only 23!

The ongoing Michael Jackson drama took a few more twists and turns this week, when it was revealed that former child star Macaulay Culkin would not be testifying on behalf of Jacko. That comes as a shock to those of us who’d have thought Culkin would appreciate the screen time.

One of the British tabloids is reporting that Culkin initially agreed to serve as a character witness for his friend, but once Mac’s manager caught wind of the possibility, he advised Culkin against it.

It’s just too bad that his advisors couldn’t have forced their will fourteen years earlier. And, to think…in all this time, every armchair psychiatrist in America has attempted to ascertain the exact moment that Macaulay lost his way.

Ah, but those of us in the know remember it well. It wasn’t The Good Son or My Girl…hell, he dies at the end of both movies, leaving viewers (well, me) happy, but hollow. In actuality, the beginning of the end occurred sometime during the filming of this scene.

And, yet you people cheer for John Cena?

Sometimes The News Just Writes Itself

Mr. Blackwell has returned with his annual worst dressed list for 2004. To the surprise of no one, the music world is well represented with Lindsay Lohan, Jessica n’ Ashlee Simpson, and Courtney Love all finishing near the top.

Can anyone tell me why we’re subjected to this guy at the start of every year? When he comes out of the closet and sees his own shadow, does that mean six more weeks of unsolicited statements on the “style” of stars? Just so you know, he’s to blame for the red carpet career continuation of Joan and Melissa Rivers.

Thanks E! Network.

And, isn’t it about time that E! became known for something positive, unlike the 23 hours and 30 minutes a day that Brooke Burke is not on the air? Hell, up to this point their all-time alumnus list is led by Greg Kinnear who, I’m told, threw a hissy-fit after he was unpeeled from Matt Damon at the conclusion of filming Stuck on You.

With production on Kinnear’s next movie (Dear God…Is This As Good As It Gets?) currently on hold, he just wanted a little day player work on Ocean’s Twelve or one of those roach coach breakfast burritos from the set of The Bourne Supremacy.

If only Franka could front him a five-spot.

Nick’a Please
conceptualized by Nick Salemi

We received a little criticism last week for our year-end albums of the year feature. That’s fine, but one reader’s comments bothered me:

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.

Apparently we know nothing about Hip Hop because we left out Madvilliany.

Hey, I’ve heard Madvilliany and that’s why it wasn’t listed. Thanks for administering the litmus test of “not mentioning that album” shows “how little we know about the game.” Is it OK if I just don’t like it?

Obviously, columns like these elicit differing opinions and that’s the point. But spare me the “you don’t know sh*t cause you didn’t include what I liked”. Madvilliany? Yes, it’s different and innovative, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the album of the year.

I realize many people liked that album, but to me it wasn’t even the best “non-mainstream” Hip Hop album of the year. I liked the joints by Royce the 5’9, Masta Ace, Jedi Mind Tricks and Masta Killa better.

I’m certainly not going to pick it because it’s chic to do so. I also don’t understand how guys like Jadakiss who have spent years paying dues have to be dismissed now because they’re considered “mainstream”. I HATE his song with Mariah, but it doesn’t mean all of a sudden he’s “done”.

I realize the guy is not gonna live off of “hot freestyles” for the rest of his life and had to do it, so I don’t hate him for it because of what else he’s done over the years. He’s already dropped numerous guest verses or mixtape tracks that have made up for it.

I’d also have to say that Havoc and the Alchemist’s production on Amerika’s Nightmare album is pretty far from commercial as well, but even more than that, it’s of high quality, which is why we chose it.

The bottom line is that it’s the age-old “underground vs. mainstream” debate that plagues rap artists. Once they’re successful, they’re immediately abandoned, and sometimes rightly so when they really do become wack. It’s not always the case, though. I think people often lose perspective if you’re a fan of Hip Hop as to what really is mainstream or not.

Believe it or not, most people do NOT know who Ghostface is outside of rap. A fan of Hip Hop could say he was already a huge star and he’s on Hip Hop’s biggest label. But think about this, in 2004 he released a critically acclaimed album that didn’t sell as well as it should have (whatever that means) as it flew under the radar. Does that make him non-mainstream now?

Christ, it’s a never-ending circle. When did Hip Hop become Amway?

I think if you’ve read the column for any length of time, you know we give plenty of time to both. I think enough people hate on Hip Hop as a whole for there to be too much division within. There’s enough room for all. Aaron and I take our title of “last two to know that mainstream Hip Hop is over” seriously.

Next week’s column: Fabolous, Hip Hop Visionary.

Get at me at nicksalemi@yahoo.com

General Haberdashery

The Inside Pulse 2004 Writers’ Awards are posted for your perusal. See if you can find which albums I wrote blurbs for…that I never actually listened to. Oh, and my apologies for The Beasties Boys winning any rap-related award. Yeesh.

At least the readers got that best rap award thing right…oh, wait…you guys didn’t, either.

Thanks to everyone who voted over on our reader forums for this year’s awards and my sincere and humble thanks to those who voted for me as 2004 Music Staffer of the Year. Hey, since I split time between Inside Pulse and Directory Assistance this year, does that make me the first ever undisputed and unified writer of the year award winner? Chris Jericho says, “YES!”

Seriously, though…I’m glad I can make your Fridays a little more fun and I hope you’ll keep checkin’ for me each and every week. And an extra special shout-out to m’man, Nick, who helps hold this all together with his own segment…as well as with all the one-liners I liberally steal from him and our IM conversations.

Jeff Fernandez keeps it short n’ sweet, while setting a new personal record for tardiness. But, he’s got some pics of hot chicks and news on 17-year-old Aaron Carter’s problems with his Cadillac Escalade. But, wait until you find out how the two are inexplicably linked!

Gloomchen is not a fan of Nightwish, but I bet she’d like Nightwing, if she gave him a chance. Read her take on “typical” metal fans, fluffy bunnies and her love affair…with Liz Phair.

Mathan dishes on roommates past and present…professes passion for Fiona Apple and Lisa Bonet…and links Lenny Kravitz with the Republican Party. Welcome b(l)ack, Conspiracy Mathan!

Gordi calls his tastes very old and unpopular, while dialing the way-back machine to 1904. Sounds a lot like a guy who writes for another…wait, that’s Joe Reid’s running joke.

A little something for the sports fan in your life:

Part I :: Part II :: Part III

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 now officially 411 for life as this week’s column features an errant boob. Well, besides Joe, that is. His Top Ten in ’04 list changes…again, while the merits of Mrs. Garrett and Florida Evans are mixed in with the movies.

Show your support for my boy in their reader awards by sending him an email with the words: “Spider-Man 2, Jaime Foxx, Uma Thurman and Joe Reid”. I’m told he was still waiting for something…anything from Nick and Mathan.

A is for me.

M is for TV Mathan. He says, “Save The Wire“, “Praise PTI” and “I love Lost!” Oh, speaking of which…if anyone’s interested I’ve actually solved Lost, after watching the 01.12.05 episode.

Junk Mail

You’re the rap guy on IP, so I’ll ask you…who’ll sell more records in ’05: The Game or 50 Cent?…P.J.

50…and it won’t be close. Although, I’m not feelin’ either single that’s dropped from his sophomore album so far. Candy Shop isn’t nearly as awful as Disco Inferno, but the early returns aren’t good and Curtis might not match half the sales of his Get Rich or Die Trying debut LP.

===

I’m really liking your Hall of Fame feature over in Sports. Since it sounds like you’re a hardcore fan like myself, what’s the best game you’ve ever seen live?…D.C.

Sorry for cutting your letter short…I’ll fire off a longer response directly to you. Live? From a historical perspective, I was there when Rickey Henderson broke the all-time runs scored record in 2001, as well as when he tied that record the night before. A few days later, I saw Rickey get his 3,000th hit on the same day that Tony Gwynn played his last game.

But, the best live game I’ve ever seen would have to be Game #1 of the 2000 ALDS up in Oakland. The A’s beat the Yanks in an electric atmosphere. Not sure how that series turned out, though.

===

Happy New Year to both you and Nick! Love your work…blah blah blah…Just wanted to say that the Ja Rule piece (from last week) was long overdue. The guy is all kinds of ass. And did you see that he’s in that new movie Assault on Precinct 13 (or something) with Laurence Fishburne? Christ, make it stop….J.L.

C’mon, where ya been? Nick had that Ja Rule Movie analysis nearly a year ago.

Life With the Bootleg Family

I do most of the cooking in the Cameron Kitchen.

It’s not that my wife doesn’t know her way around a wire whisk…in fact, she’s a great cook. It’s just that Baby Bootleg requires so much food and attention after work, that it’s best if Mrs. Bootleg and I have clearly defined roles when it comes to child rearing versus grilling and searing.

Earlier this week, I went to one of those obnoxious organic grocery stores. Here in California, we have no problem paying three times the big-chain supermarket price for meat that’s hand-massaged and sans Mad Cow or pesticide-free produce that’s picked by the hands of legal aliens.

This store also just happens to be the only one nearby that carries all the fixins I need for my Linguini Creole…a Cameron Family Favorite. I got what I needed and even threw one of those pre-made cheesecakes (white chocolate raspberry) into the hemp-sewn shopping cart for dessert.

On the flip side of the coin, the wife handled dinner duties the week before.

Neither one of us have had much time to fill the fridge, so we’ve been cooking (and shopping) on a one-meal-at-a-time approach. Oh, and did I mention that a friend of the wife was recently admitted to the hospital?

That meant me on post-work baby-wipe duty doody, while the wife visited her friend. And, do you think she so much as super-sized anything home for me during that entire week? Hell, I’d even take Taco Bell and something from their “I’m Full” menu. If only so I could savor that long-forgotten sensation from something the wife served up.

Oh, the wife ate. Her and her friend shared hospital sandwiches served on antiseptically sanitary stainless steel trays every night. I kept my mouth shut for the first three nights, since I know how much this time together meant to them both.

But, by Wednesday, my mealtime menu for the week had consisted of:

Monday: Two slices of leftover Garlic cheese bread…
Tuesday: Two bowls of Wheaties…
Wednesday: Pillsbury Apple Toaster Strudel and a bag of Baked Lays

Sure, I could’ve picked something up after work and before I got home or gone up the street after Mrs. Bootleg came back empty-handed. But, as you’ll see when y’all get married…the greatest might is often wielded from spite.

While I had lost three pounds in three nights…I had gained valuable shame points to be shoveled upon her at a subsequent date. And, that’s the secret of a successful marriage.

It’s 12 more months of insufferable “Staffer of the Year” sarcasm. Don’t blame me…blame yourselves. (And, thanks again!) Get at me on AOL or Yahoo IM: ajcameron13

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