The Friday Music News Bootleg

Welcome back to The Bootleg. Sorry about last week, kids, but between the Worst Fans feature I did for sports and the Worst Parent feature I was performing in real time while Kid Cameron’s daycare provider was on vacation, I was in no condition to turn out 10-12 pages of half-assed crap. Besides, in this zone, “crap” is the copyright of…

(Just keeping you on your toes, Mr. & Mrs. Music Zone Editors! Just keeping you on your toes.)

So, Mrs. Bootleg’s birthday was September 14. On the Saturday prior, I took the wife out to one of San Diego’s more pretentiously priced dining enclaves. Valet parking”¦food with a view”¦you know the routine. And, said routine starts with reservations.

About a week earlier, the wife refused to put up with any more of my procrastination towards her birthday celebration, so she made the reservation, herself. Seems simple enough, no? And, from my usual early-evening, post-work position of “couch”, I could hear her screw that up, while alternately setting back the Black race to the days of fighting to dine at the cafeteria counters with the white folk at Woolworth’s.

Mr. A’s is an institution around these parts and seven days of advance notice isn’t nearly enough time to score the prime reservation, uh, time. Or so I thought. Y’see, I could hear Mrs. Bootleg repeating every word that the restaurant scheduler was telling her, except in the form of a question:

“Is this Mr. A’s?”

“And, your name is Dennis?”

“You said I talk to you to make a reservation?”

Was there going to be a quiz during dessert or do the Scan-Trons come with our entrees?

From there, the wife was told that there were only two reservation times remaining for Saturday night: 6:15 PM and 8:00 PM.

Now, which one would you choose?

A-a-a-and, which one do you think my wife chose?

C’mon, kids, I can’t be alone here”¦who in the hell eats at 8 o’clock? It’s not like we’re talking T.G.I. Friday’s, where patrons will inexplicably wait until the wee hours for a table full of hard-to-find foodstuffs”¦like French fries, chicken fingers and ranch sauce for dipping.

But, before I could discuss my dissatisfaction with the dining time, Mrs. Bootleg opened her mouth, one more time:

“And, just so you know, it’s my birthday. (Pause) Oh, thank you! (Pause) No, we’ve never been there before, but we’re pretty excited about it. (Pause) Now, do I get a free dessert because it’s my birthday?”

Me: (Pause)

Jesus Christ, Sheniqua (not her real name), this ain’t Chuck E. Cheese! Who, over the age of eight, would ask that of any place, much less one where the side salads are $17? And, you know what they were thinking the second she got off the phone:

“We got two n*ggaz coming in on Saturday. You know where to sit ’em.”

OK, OK”¦the eating was excellent and the restaurant was resplendent, but why let the facts get in the way of bashing Mrs. Bootleg?

It’s a Goodness Tradition, don’t ya know?

It’s All About The Game”¦and How You Play It

Nine months ago, Interscope recording artist The Game was the name in Hip Hop.

His album (Documentary) was getting crazy pub and tons of buzz, his singles were getting copious club play and his freshman effort was supposed to ring in the renaissance of West Coast rap. How far has his star fallen?

Well, these days he’s essentially Dan Akroyd with the equivalent of crashing the We Are The World cause, version 2K5.

Earlier this week, Game announced that he’s “considering” the adoption of one of the unfortunate orphans from the Gulf Coast Region ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. Well, that’s just precious. How blessed we are that there are responsible bruthas out there, who are willing to relocate needy kiddies from the looting, shooting and collapsed infrastructure of New Orleans”¦and move ’em to Compton.

I love celebrities (yeah, yeah, but, for the sake of argument). Most of us “normals” only get to consider between bacon bits or croutons atop our Cobb salads. Guys like Game get to consider which displaced kid he can eternally corrupt.

Who else can pick out his heir out of thin air?

OK, anyone else think that was an awfully long way to go just to get to that heir/air line? Fine, you try’n find the humor in hurricane victims. When they’re not on camera offering up an enlightening indictment on the New Orleans education environment, they leave us nothing to work with.

And, Not One Oz Reference to be Found!

The anticipation for Lil’ Kim’s day of incarceration crested earlier this week when the festively plump federal prisoner reported to the Philadelphia Detention Center. Kim had no comment to the media throng camped outside of Oz, but in a prepared statement, she came off like the “I’m still better than you” bitch that we’ve all been rooting against:

“I have unfortunately been assigned to a federal detention center instead of a prison camp, as discussed, in the city of Philadelphia. I am not certain that this constitutes fair & equal treatment.”

C’mon, Kim”¦you’ve got to be kidding me. “Fair & equal treatment”? Is there really that much of a difference between the two women’s prisons? I’ve seen Cinemax enough to know that you’re all expected to bathe together in batches by the baker’s dozen.

And, despite enough on-screen steam to indicate that the water temperature must be 212 degrees, the only thing burning”¦is the inmates’ passion and yearning. Fortunately, if reality is faithful to film, there will only be two prison guards (one man, one woman) on duty, at all times, making the potential for escape into an inviting endeavor.

In fact, the guy guard will actually be on your side and attempt to assist with your prison break, until the girl guard catches you both. From there”¦well, I don’t wanna ruin it for you. I think it was called Hard Time and you can rent it from”¦wait, a minute.

Hard Time.

Now, I get it!

She’s Got L-e-e-e-e-e-e-gs! She Knows How to Use ‘Em!

See, what happens when I take two weeks off? White folk lose their damn minds.

Heather Mills McCartney has been targeting Jennifer Lopez and her ubiquitous booty for months due to J-Lo’s love of attire and accessories made of assorted animals. Tensions between the two reached the realm of ‘roid rage when Lopez proudly disclosed that she wore fake eyelashes made from mink in the video for her new single, Hold You Down.

Just last Tuesday, McCartney was part of a protest outside the New York offices of Jennifer’s clothing company, Sweetface. During an ensuing scrum with on-site security, McCartney”¦oh, come on, this can’t be true”¦McCartney lost her prosthetic leg?

Whoa, whoa, whoa”¦I thought September 19 was “Talk Like a Pirate Day”?

And, how in the hell do you lose a prosthetic leg? After the masses had dispersed, were there really that many assorted n’ unclaimed appendages left lying around? Or, should I be flashing back to the WWF match where Mad Dog Vachon’s wooden wicket was wielded as a weapon in the Shawn Michaels vs. Diesel duel? But, even then, Vachon got his leg back in the end.

Now, the cynics of the above syntax might argue that McCartney didn’t lose her leg, so much, as it just fell off in her struggle with security. But, my manipulation of the meaning got you people a wrestling reference and enough room to mention the importance of Mixmaster and Scrapper in the build-up of Devastator.

I would rather you just said, “Thank you” and went on your way.

This Can’t Be True II, Electric”¦uh, line?

Despite most definitely not receiving confirmation from our own Movie Joe Reid, I’m running with this story, anyway. Rapping runt of the litter, Lil’ Bow Wow has agreed to star in the third installment of the Fast and The Furious movie franchise.

Tentatively titled Fast and the Furious 3: Tokyo, the script reportedly is built around a 3-foot, 8-inch 18-year-old living with his military uncle in (according to the press release) “a Tokyo ghetto”. Oh, for the love of”¦

Anyways, the kid is all alone or homesick or something. And, I’m sure there’ll be several initial scenes where the very American man-boy Bow Wow (a la Mr. Baseball) has issues with acclimating to the Japanese culture. Y’know, the beds will be too small for him and the doorways will be too small for”¦hmmm, then again, maybe they’ll be j-u-u-u-u-u-st right.

Well, you can guess where it goes from here: kid discovers underground drag racing and wins the heart of the heretofore hard-to-get Asian chick.

This just can’t be true.

Are there that many acting careers suffering from an abject lack of call backs to fill up this farce? Well, whaddaya know”¦look at the roll call of co-stars. First, there’s Nickelodeon alumnus Kel Mitchell. You might remember him from the kid’s comedy team of Kenan & Kel.

That would be Kenan Thompson. Keep in mind that Kenan is considered “the funny one”.

And, then there’s Michael Beach. He’s the actor who’s alienated every Black woman who goes to the movies with his performance as the cheating scoundrel in Soul Food. He also alienated every Black Mathan with his performance as the cheating scoundrel with a taste for white women in Waiting to Exhale.

I think the most shocking development in this news story is that apparently Paul Walker is not available for this flick.

Sometimes the News Just Writes Itself

Last week, just four months after their Caribbean wedding, country music’s Kenny Chesney and anorexia’s Renee Zellweger announced plans to seek an annulment of their marriage.

This week, Chesney is commenting for the first time, citing “too much going on” in his life for the failure of their just-for-show nuptials. Apparently, it was a busy year and “husband” wasn’t on anyone’s appointment calendar. This is officially my new, second-favorite inexplicable explanation for the dissolution of one’s union.

So, what’s the number one excuse?

Why Renee Zellweger’s, of course, who, in court papers, lists “fraud” as the reason for the split. I am not making this up. Fraud?! In the country music industry? How was this storyline going to play out? Would Renee awaken one day to discover she had, in fact, married The Roadie?

Hey, by the way”¦is anyone else out there old enough to remember when country musicians could be called “crossover celebrities” in this country? Now, just hold on, Hicksville”¦hear me out.

25 years ago, Dolly Parton did 9 to 5“¦Kenny Rogers did Six Pack“¦and Jerry Reed did Smokey & the Bandit 2.

Hell, it was the early ’80s and the pop culture landscape was looking for fresh stereotypes after the passing of the “sassy Black neighbor” in 1979. Unfortunately, “urban cowboy” had barely begun before it was shoved aside by the token “tough-talking New York teenager”.

And, that’s how Jo Polniaczek and Samantha Miceli were made.

Nick’a Please
conceptualized by Nick Salemi

I’ve decided get on board to do album reviews in the new streamlined IP format. Although I’m not crazy about giving out numerical scores for album reviews, because, for the most part, if I’m not feelin’ an album, I’m not going to review it.

Anyways…

Little Brother, The Minstrel Show Review

The Inside Pulse:

For those who don’t know, North Carolina’s Little Brother has been around for a minute.

MCs Phonte and Big Pooh and the much-heralded producer 9th Wonder dropped The Listening a few years ago, which was revered as an underground classic. Which usually means it was of really high quality, but no one (“the masses”, folks, I’m not talking about everyone) bought it because they weren’t on Def Jam, Interscope, etc. and were not in heavy rotation on MTV and BET (more on that in a minute).

As we all know, whatever is in heavy rotation is usually crap anyway.

Even though LB has seen more attention as of late, they still seem to lack the notoriety one would think they need to be a huge success. That brings us to The Minstrel Show which, regardless of hype, remains one of Hip Hop’s most anticipated albums of the year. If you don’t know what the “minstrel show” refers to”¦go do your homework, kids. Phonte himself explains why he choose it in this interview.

Back to BET, who recently have (allegedly) refused to play the lead single on their network because it was deemed “too intelligent” for their audience. Now whether they used those words, exactly, is not entirely the point. The point is…the network is not playing the group’s music, and if you listen to the album you’ll know why. In addition to being a great album musically (clearly not a pre-requisite for airplay), the social commentary is absolutely scathing, but done in a way that it doesn’t come off forced like some of Kanye or Nas’ stuff, however well intended they may be.

And as far as the social commentary, I think you’ll figure out that while not referred to by name, it’s pretty clear BET is one of the targets.

Positives:
This is easily in the running for album of the year, in a year that Aaron Cameron has referred to as one of the “worst mainstream years in Hip Hop history”. While that may be true, a lot of real good stuff has slipped by, under the radar, for an outstanding year in hip-hop overall, and I would say LB qualifies. What the boys from NC bring is an all-out assault from beginning to end that is a masterpiece of Hip Hop. The Becoming has A Tribe Called Quest vibe while Watch Me has a Pete Rock type of sound to it. I say that as the highest compliment, as these guys are distinctive and stand out on their own, just as well. Say it Again is a great example of this. The network-“taboo” single Lovin’ It is a great track, where 9th tweaks a Stylistics sample into sheer goodness. Not that Chemistry with Buckshot was bad by any means, I really liked it, but 9th’s overall production on this disc seems to be more consistent. It also must be said (and has been by IP’s Mathan Erhardt) that the song/skit Cheatin’ may be one of THE funniest album skits of all time. It’s quite a parody of some of the ridiculous R&B nonsense you’ve been asked to swallow for the past few years. Mr. Biggs will never be the same.

Negatives:
Nothing worth mentioning. Sorry, I know it sounds like a cop-out but there’s nothing on there that’s half-assed or that tries to be too ambitious. They sum it pretty nicely on Not Enough”¦ “”¦dope beats, dope rhymes, this Hip Hop ain’t really that hard”¦”

Reason to Buy
Don’t ignorantly dismiss this as “mad rapper” bullsh*t. It’s as good an album as you’ll hear both lyrically and production-wise AND they have something to say that’s worth listening to without shoving it down your throat. That’s quite an amazing feat in this day and age. Fans of songs about tough guy death threats, Scarface quotes, cars and clothing beware…you may be offended. Shame on any network or radio station that chooses not to play them for political reasons, this album kills anything else out there right now.

Rating: 10

General Haberdashery: Babysitter Interview Edition

Next year, when Kid Cameron’s day-care provider takes her annual two week vacation, I’m planning to leave the boy with the only other men and women whom I’d trust with a wide-eyed Black baby:

Fernandez can show my boy slides from his next Slavic adventure. And, don’t believe Mathan or the Muslims, as pork is a prominent member of mealtime around our African-American abode, too, Jeff. Although, I warn you to learn from Curly in City Slickers who, as the script said, “ate bacon at every meal””¦and lived to be 102. But, because he died on screen, seasoned pig gets a bad rap.

Mathan mourns the late Joe Budden, celebrates The Minstrel Show and name drops Phil Watts. Y’know for a celibate brutha who doesn’t drink, doesn’t drive and can find something on the summer television schedule worth watching, he’s pretty damn cool. And based on the Sesame Street mixtape he made for Jalen last year (which still gets crazy play in our house), I think he’d be the bees-knees with our boy.

Gloomchen’s latest could teach my son so much and introduce the whole Cameron Family to the subject of “suicide watch”, someday. Depressing. You know what she needs to brighten her day? That’s right”¦more IMs from the men of IP. Nothing says “sunshine” like Matthew Michael in the morning.

KDP wraps up his first season with a look back at what he done wrote. He’s Canadian, so I don’t know if Kid Cam would pass through customs, or if I’d have to pay Kyle in that construction paper currency that imitates money up there.

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. The eternal timeliness of Joe continues as he recaps his “best of” awards for the films and performances of”¦1995. Marvel (marvel, I say!) at the number of times the word “Clueless” appears in that post. Oh, and be sure to check for his NFL picks”¦quite simply, the worst (in a good way), most unintentionally awful piece of prognostication abomination this side of the errant chimp or celebrity who’s asked for their Super Bowl picks one week before the big game.

Also, be sure to check out Joe over at The Film Experience. He mourned the absence of The Bootleg by no-showing his own damn column last week, but on 9/11, he posted a poignant piece in remembrance of Jim Carrey’s over-the-top tour de force performances in years past and Tea Leoni’s “bitchface”. There’s more, but the six-point font crashed my cornea.

And, lookee here! Joe’s also now appearing at Television Without Pity!. He’s recapping Prison Break, but foreshadows the NEXT great Reid/Cameron collaboration with a reference to G.I. Joe. I can’t tell you anymore than that.

A is for me.

M is TV Mathan. He longs for televised sodomy and breaking up Reunions and the highlight of his week was picking up a TV Guide. Oh, and be sure to look for my nonsensical nattering on old syndicated show, Small Wonder. A fresh batch of Math should be up within hours, so expect the Jack from Lost bashing to begin then!

Junk Mail

Lots n’ lots of love for the Black Actress Survivor segment that ran in the September 2 Bootleg. I don’t want to turn this portion into an all day oral for Aaron and Joe, so I’ll keep the comments brief and even throw in one of the few pieces of negativity on the topic:

Black Actress Survivor was the best bootleg feature since the first MFWNTAK. Much love to you and Joe and the lines about “She-Hulk” Angela Bassett and Jennifer Beals “tryin’ to pass” had people from two cubicles down coming over to see what I was laughing out loud over. I know that you’re black and Joe’s white, but where there any actresses that the other one used that caused either of you to go, “Who?” Great stuff, keep it up. Manuel S”¦

I asked Joe your question and he, shockingly, had never heard of Countess Vaughn. Keep in mind that Joe professes love for NBC’s 227, where she first appeared in the late ’80s, so I guess we know who else is “tryin’ to pass”, no? As for me, his use of Anna Deveare Smith still seems like a made-up name and I’m not convinced of her existence. Call me “anna-nogstic”. Or don’t. Umm, moving on”¦

===

So, what was this: two guys who think they’re funny by bashing Black women? Sometimes, I really don’t know where you’re coming from because you seem to celebrate and shit on the culture simultaneously. I’m just a longtime reader who was really disappointed. There are other, more deserving targets for your satire. Erica T”¦

Come on. You couldn’t have been reading THAT long if you don’t know what we do around here, by now. I’m not going to say that you missed the point of it all, but I encourage you to go back and find anything from B.A.S. that would qualify as bashing on the grounds of race or culture. Weight? Check. Looks? Check. Light-skinnedness? Umm”¦that was Joe. And, I’m as shocked as you are. You think you know someone”¦

===

“Paula Jai Parker’s 63 teeth?” A Rain Pryor reference? And, a shot comparing the Law and Order Lieutenant to Gregory Hines? Take a bow, guys. I’m eagerly awaiting your heel turns against Widro and Ashish, so you can take this act on the road. Maybe Jada Pinkett’s band can open for you. Wait, you guys used her already? What Black Actresses are left? LisaRaye? Maybe, the oldest daughter from The Bernie Mac Show?” Unsigned”¦

Other Black-tresses that Joe and I inadvertently omitted: Anna Marie Horsford (the mother from Friday), Kim Wayans (a/k/a the ugly one) and Steve Urkel’s girlfriend from Family Matters. I smell sequel!

===

Final verdict on Black Actress Survivor: shakey start, strong middle, terrific finish. I don’t know how you and Joe made it work, but damn it, it did. Credit for playing the humor aspect, while celebrating the wide range of underutilized talent that’s out there. Was this all the product of an extended IM session and, when it all came together, were there parts that were eventually edited out like in the 411/IP draft? Just want some behind the scenes sh*t, if you have the time. Mike P.

Well, you can probably blame me for the “shakey” (sic) start, since Joe and I conceived the concept, but Joe outlined the, well, outline. I had to play catch-up, just to keep up with him. Plus, the final two “weeks” (“the strong finish”) were written by Joe, so thanks for the backhanded praise, you bastard. Kidding. We basically alternated “weeks” and there was no editing, to speak of. The feedback was about 99% positive and, on an unrelated note, Mike”¦have you met Erica? You can read her email above”¦tell her the Black man who hates Black women sent you.

===

Life with the Bootleg Family

So, while the wife was at work and I was on daddy duty, I decided to take the boy to the Zoo. Correction: The World Famous San Diego Zoo! (Sorry, that’s what we’re commanded to call it to any potential tourists.)

Jalen pointed at a panda”¦called it “cat” and then passed out in his stroller.

He awoke an hour later, interrupting me mid-churro, so I took him to the children’s petting zoo. Now, Jalen’s at the age where anything unfamiliar frightens him to no end. And, as a parent, it’s my job to reassure him that “it’s OK”¦it’s just a goat”.

A goat from hell, that is.

Toddler Bootleg wanted nothing to do with any of the aging animals, despite my urging. With the boy on my right, I felt a tug on my T-shirt”¦from the left. Before I could brush aside my unknown assailant, I felt a sudden grab at my hand.

This sweet, kid-friendly farm animal had bit me.

It’s not like there was any pain, as this old goat was maybe a week away from becoming a voodoo sacrifice down in Haiti or a deliciously donated mystery meat meal for New Orleans evacuees.

Ever been bit by someone with dulled dentures?

It was like foreplay with Florence Henderson.

It’s good to be back. Same time next week? Get at me on AOL or Yahoo IM: ajcameron13!

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