The Friday Music News Bootleg

OK”¦just so you know this IS a new edition of the Goodness. Everything except the traditional non-music Bootleg opening, that is. I’m six hours past my deadline AND a couple of readers responded to last week’s “Aaron gets bit by a goat” story with their memories of the OTHER time I was attacked by a harmless animal. So, here a classic intro from February 2004. If you want the NEW, just scroll down to the news:

Welcome back to The Bootleg. We have something of a tradition in the Cameron Household. Every Friday morning, the wife asks me how long I was up working on this column, the night before”¦and then she asks me what I wrote about her.

The answer to the first question usually falls between 9:00 and 11:00 PM, although I managed to set a personal record when I was still typing at 1:40 AM last Friday morning. If only I was this dedicated to my paying job. Anyways, the wife usually finds out the answer to the second question on her own, as she’ll scan my work for any embarrassing mention of her name.

She’s been such a good sport throughout the last year, that I thought I’d repay her loyalty as my punching bag with a shameful tale of my own.

Last Saturday, Mrs. Bootleg was discharged from the hospital. It was her first day outdoors in two weeks so, of course, she spent most of it inside Stately Cameron Manor. In the evening, we drove down to the hospital to visit Baby Cameron in the ICU, grabbed dinner and came back home.

I ended up crashing in bed, while the wife jumped on the computer and began to upload dozens of baby pictures from the kid’s first week on earth. Around 2:00 AM, she comes running into the bedroom to inform me that our cat had brought yet another mouse into the house.

This wasn’t the first rodent he had invited home, so I fetched my mouse-hunting gloves and went downstairs. After 15 minutes of back-and-forth, triple threat action between mouse vs. cat vs. Aaron, I snagged the mouse by his tail. On my way to the front door, the lil’ bastard shanked me with his razor-sharp teeth. That’s right”¦he bit me.

Mrs. Bootleg, who is swimming in postpartum hormones, demanded that I go to Urgent Care and get a tetanus shot, immediately. I held off until the sun came up, but at 8:00 AM, there I was, amongst a phalanx of phlegm-filled kids and their unshaven mothers in the waiting room.

I filled out the necessary forms and squeezed out my last remaining drops of manhood when I filled in “bit by a mouse” in the space marked “What’s your emergency?” Then, as if to punish me for wasting Doctor’s valuable time, I was led back to a small little patient room and made to wait nearly two hours before I received my shot.

Oh, and I discovered a new regulation on California’s books. It seems that whenever you receive medical care for an animal bite, you have to fill out and submit an Animal Attack Report. Imagine my pride, as I answered questions like:

Animal: mouse
Animal’s Weight (approx): less than 1 pound
Location Where Attack Took Place: My Living Room

That form is now on file with the state of California’s Department of Animal Control, while I wonder if a neutered bitch such as myself can still be a positive male role model for my son.

Now, more than ever”¦I need my fix of Goodness.

Hey, Aaron, Do You Have Any Tupac News For Us?

With the summer movie season a distant memory, all of the cinematic savants have congregated in the lobby of the “second-guess multiplex” in an attempt to solve the mystery of the slumping summer sales.

Heh”¦that kinda sounds like an Encyclopedia Brown short story. Now, if I know my readership demographics, you guys probably have two questions: First, “Who is Encyclopedia Brown?” Well, he’s only the most famous boy-detective, this side of Benjamin Bratt, whose analytical antics have entertained generations.

Oh, and the second question is “What’s an encyclopedia?”

Believe it or not, there was once a singular source of reference you could hit before the advent of the internet. And, if you opened up the “S” volume, right before “signs of the apocalypse”, you’d find “Shakur, Tupac”.

This item can only be described as an attempt to be the first bomb at the box office of 2006. Y’see, everyone’s favorite no-longer-newsworthy Negro wrote a screenplay during his brief bid at Clinton Correctional Facility in 1995. Ten years later, the rights to Live 2 Tell have been bought by an independent outfit with designs on bringing the tale to the big screen.

So, let’s recap”¦rapper has a screenplay”¦who can guess the plot? OK, I hear “stolen from The Godfather” and “stolen from Carlito’s Way“, but this one is about a criminal (a drug kingpin, natch) who wants out of the business.

Yes”¦it does appear that rappers are now borrowing the plot from this movie. Hmm, it might’ve been funnier if I’d found a way to fit in a reference to this flick in this news item.

That’s “shoot” like shooting a movie”¦ah, forget it.

Jokes About AIDS Are Never Funny! (Case in Point)

Conscious rapper Common has joined forces with broadcast conglomerate Viacom as part of The Know Is Spreading AIDS-awareness campaign. The goal of this public service effort is to “normalize” HIV/AIDS testing as part of one’s routine health care.

Common, who lost an uncle to this insidious illness, has contributed four spoken word compositions to the project. The PSAs began airing on Tuesday across the Viacom family of networks (most notably CBS, UPN, MTV and Comedy Central).

Now, while we commend Viacom for their vision in bringing Common’s inherent credibility alongside this important PSA campaign, it’s obvious that they missed the boat by not bringing back the voice of the most relevant rapper in the AIDS awareness war. Oh”¦you’ve already forgotten a little year I like to call “1996”?

The Macarena was sweeping the country”¦or, on its way out, depending on which day during the week of May 20 you’re talking about. And, Coolio was more than the reality show surplus “celebrity” star that he’s become today. Show of hands: Who remembers his video for Too Hot, the pro-protection paean to high school and college kids?

Behind his laughable lyrics and a cornball Kool & The Gang sample, the video showed several short scenes of men and women who didn’t practice safe sex as just disappearing from the screen”¦never to be seen again. Y’know, now that I think about it, it does sound a lot like college life, doesn’t it, guys?

(Sorry, Kaitlin”¦is ten years too late to call you “tomorrow”?)

Return to Oz (Hey, It’s Been a Week”¦)

To all of you who insist that I’ve been kicking Lil’ Kim while she’s down (must”¦resist”¦cow tipping quip), let’s offer up some good news straight from the horse’s mouth.

What? It’s not my fault that phrase is apropos in more than one way”¦

Anyways, there have been all sorts of erroneous reports on Kim’s first few days of her federally-instituted stay. So, through her attorney, Kim released a statement that read, in part:

“I want all my friends, family and fans to know that I am in good spirits and I will be fine. Contrary to the rumors, I am in general population at FDC and I have adjusted to the facility and to my fellow inmates who are all cool people.”

Holy sh*t, Kim is in “Gen. Pop.”? Isn’t that, like, on the outskirts of Oz? I mean, how did Jiggy Walker, Tug Daniels and Pimp Curtis Bennett make it in, but Kim is kept out? Does Corrections Officer Pepa fill the show’s token role of thick-necked ho?

The rest of Kim’s statement is a thinly-concealed commercial for her new album, The Naked Truth, which was released this week, so let’s continue picking apart the first part. Can anyone else except an inmate call those who are incarcerated “cool people”? And, all this time, I thought Oz was exaggerating the cliquish concept of cell life. Apparently, it is like high school, with significantly more sodomy.

This, in turn, means that “prison becoming The Boy Scouts” is a better analogy.

Um, see”¦because of the sodomy.



The Jefferson D’Arcy Syndrome

Last month’s Suge Knight shooting showed us the lowest common denominator of Hip Hop culture”¦eventually. This week, Knight’s Death Row Records website debuted a new track called Who Shot Suge? The label’s latest signee, Petey Pablo, spits:

” I heard that Suge got shot(I heard that Suge got shot)/(but where)/
out in Miami in Kanye’s spot/(but who shot him?)
there’s a couple of name and things, folks talking/
but the real investigation’s just startin'”

That right, kids”¦the label that introduced the world to Snoop Dogg and provided a prolifically productive safe haven for Tupac and Dr. Dre (yeah, yeah, but it reads better than “Danny Boy and The Lady of Rage“) has turned to Petey Pablo as their main mouthpiece.

Y’all know, Petey, right? He’s that gold-toofed fool (wait, I’ll narrow it down) who dropped Freak-A-Leek a few years back. And, he’s going to be Death Row’s return to glory?

Quick quiz: What do journeyman actor Ted McGinley and our old friend Petey have in common?

That’s right, both men were brought on board to save ships that have long since sank. In 1980, Opie opts out, McGinley comes in”¦Happy Days dies. In 1984, he joins ABC’s long-running Love Boat show, only to watch it dry up like Isaac’s curl two years later. Finally, in 1991, McGinley’s character marries Marcy D’Arcy on Married”¦With Children and goes on to enjoy a six-year stint on the super-popular Fox series.


Hey, that’s two out of three. You mean to tell me I get no points for the “sinking ship”/Love Boat thing?

To hell with you, then.

Can’t Get Enough of That Wonderful Duff

Hilary Duff has been named the spokesperson for the California School Nutrition Association and will begin appearing in public service announcements this weekend. Hilary (with one “L” and a smiley face over the “I”) will be speaking on behalf of the Association’s Stay Fit. Eat Right. Looking Good, California! campaign.

Duff will also”¦wait a minute.

Jesus Christ, that can’t be the name. Just a thought, but when the title of your program has one, two, three”¦four punctuation marks, it might be a little long. And, who thought Hilary Duff would be the right voice to whip my state into shape? If we’ve learned nothing else from 2005’s tabloid TV shows, it’s that skinny white girls are gross or on blow.

Besides, according to my calendar, it’s time, once again for the once-every-six-years celebration of “real” women. “Real”, of course, is the ubiquitous euphemism for big girls.

Now, hold on, kids”¦I’m not making fun or ’em or anything. It’s just that I’ve heard all I ever wanna hear from “The Dove Girls“, in my lifetime. All this, after it took us years to put Camryn Manheim behind us. Real women have curves”¦we get it, already.

And, by the age of 43, enjoy your diabetes and that darn trick knee.

Sometimes the News Just Writes Itself

Bone Thugs N Harmony are still around. Someone tell Salemi I owe him a Shasta. And, if they keep giving me material like this, I might have to give them all my spare change the next time they wanna wash my windshield at the intersection.

Try to follow along here: BTNH member Layzie Bone (the light-skinned one with the blown-out ‘fro) is currently resting comfortably after an assault from a fan nearly severed a finger. It all began with a cancelled Bone Thugs show. A lack of proper permits kept the crew from performing any of their high-speed polysyllabic gibberish, so they took their tired act to another venue across town.

Afterwards, Layzie and his wife (why do they have to be Black with names like that?) were in their hotel room, when one of ’em decided to invite some fans up. ‘K”¦let’s stop right here. Everyone knows that when there are more than two people in one hotel room, one of two things is going down: either a college roommate road trip or Layzie Bone’s b*tch.

And, sure enough, the evening ended with someone’s appendage nearly bitten off.

Who amongst us hasn’t been there, before? Anyways, the fan who savored the flavor of Layzie Bone’s finger was reportedly pissed over the earlier concert cancellation. During the alleged assault, the unnamed assailant reportedly bit down to the (wait for it)”¦bone, before he was detained by the other BTNH bruthas, pending police arrival.

At this point in time, there’s no truth to the rumor that the fan was, in fact, Phil Collins”¦who would certainly have a motive.

Nick’a Please
conceptualized by Nick Salemi

OK”¦a long intro, which I get to do since this isn’t an official “stand alone” review.

Last week I reviewed Little Brother’s Minstrel Show and gave it a 10. From the feedback I’ve read, most agreed that it was a really good album but, that I may have gone overboard with the 10 rating.

If you read the intro last week, I wrote that I hated ratings. I won’t review anything that is bad, because I don’t want to trash CDs in reviews, as while it can be funny, it’s usually counter productive. However I have a hard time distinguishing among what constitutes a 9, 9.5 or 10.

Anyway, I struggled with giving the disc a 9 or 10 but in the end I just really liked the whole album so I gave it a 10, and I still feel that way. A lot of people said “yeah, it’s great but how could you put it among Illmatic, Ready to Die, Moment of Truth, Chronic, Only Built For Cuban Linx, Liquid Swords, etc…”

Let’s just say I noticed a theme. I agree all those are bona fide classics and, if you also notice, they’re almost all from the mid 90s, an era I’m as guilty as anyone for (over?..NEVER!) praising.

Have you noticed not many people ever mention anything as a classic since then? Truthfully, there hasn’t been much in this decade that people consider one…maybe that’s something AJC and I will spout off on, soon.

So that begs the question, is it possible or even relevant to compare something that comes out today with something from back then? Even some of those albums weren’t hailed as classics upon release. Sure, back THEN the Source’s mic rating scale made you more apt to see something as legit, but Hip Hop fans, however criticized we are, have never accepted being told what to like, even more so now that corporate America has part of Hip Hop in a cobra clutch.

Fans as a collective decide if it’s a classic.

To be fair I’m NOT putting The Minstrel Show in with them…yet. Lagging sales show that this album is not reaching many people and over the “long run” that might be a problem that sees it put into the troublesome “greatest albums no one’s ever heard” category.

Also, I couldn’t possibly put a CD that’s been out for few weeks in a class of music that’s been out for 10 years. So for now, since I usually review something within a few weeks of its release, let’s say a 10 is the “highest recommendation I can give for a new album” and over time we all can figure out if its’ a classic or not.

Onto this week’s review:

AZ, AWOL Review

The Inside Pulse: AZ came onto the scene back in the (oh God, not already!!) mid 90s east coast renaissance, appearing on Nas’ revered classic Illmatic, (note: if irony ever made a sound I think I just heard it) lending his smooth flow to Life’s A Bitch. He debuted with his solo joint Doe or Die with some success and went on to join the infamous Firm, everyone’s favorite Hip Hop piñata.

Well, he’s made a couple of good albums since then, most notably Aziatic, a great slept-on album ( Does this now qualify as the quickest turnaround time ever from my intro or what?) but, initially delayed and finally scrapped his planned follow up Last Call, due to multiple release date hold ups and rampant (ahem) bootlegging. While some of those tracks appear as bonus cuts, AZ is finally back from being AWOL with uh”¦AWOL.

Positives: AZ has always been a talented MC with a flow and voice that is undeniably his own. Even with that being said, he was in Nas’ shadow for what seems like an eternity, even though he’s ten times as talented as most other MCs who get put on by more notable artists. Aziatic finally set him apart (even though Nas did make a guest appearance) and this album further proves he’s his own man. New York, featuring Raekwon and Ghostface, will surely make you forget about the last Hip Hop song with that title, as the three MCs destroy the beat with superb lyrics and timing. City of Gods is a more smoothed out song that will remind you of AZ’s back in the day hit, Sugarhill. The DJ Premier produced The Come Up is awesome and sounds like AZ went into a time machine with Primo. It’s too bad it took them this long to collaborate. Still Alive is his “club track” and doesn’t disappoint for what it is, with Mr. Cruz ripping up a spaced-out beat that interestingly is more like a Jay Z / Timbaland song than anything Nas has ever done. The title track is solid with a rapid fire delivery over string samples and Bedtime Story sounds like a 90 second hook which seems odd, but it works pretty well. Last but not least, The Magic Hour featuring CL Smooth is a blowout sick track, with AZ and a reinvigorated CL flowin over one of the most Pete Rock-esque non-Pete Rock tracks you’ll ever hear.

Negatives: I’m not a huge fan of Bounty Hunter and Envious does nothing to endear me to him or AZ. Throughout the disc, some of the production here and there sounds a little too much like Kanye, with the chipmunk vocal samples and I was a little annoyed that the three bonus cuts are all lumped into one ten minute track, but not so much that it detracts from the whole album..

Reason to Buy: A Hip Hop veteran still bringin the heat over ten tears later, for sure. Six surefire hot tracks, with very little in the way of filler, although there’s some of that in there. The Premier and CL Smooth cuts alone should satisfy longtime fans while City of Gods, Still Alive and AWOL should cater to newbies.

Rating: 7.5

General Haberdashery: Search for Mike Eagle Edition

It’s been more than two weeks since Open Mike ran afoul of IP Music’s Editorial Lords and he hasn’t been heard from since. Curiously, Warren Woo has been missing even longer than that, but I’m kind of liking having Fridays to myself again. So, Warren can stay AWO(O)L.

Mathan has a tale of the tape between Little Brother and Lil’ Kim, but no Mike Eagle. And, not to get off track of my own link gimmick, but look for my reviews of the new Little Brother and Lil’ Kim albums in the next week or so. Sorry”¦back to the search.

Gloomchen talks cavities and The Grateful Dead. But, Mike’s got a dental plan and a more positive, up with people perspective on life. Hmm”¦obviously, he’s not a natural fit here, so we’ll keep on lookin’.

Trevor might be getting us closer to finding Mike. He’s got a link to the pilot episode of Everybody Hates Chris along with a Kanye West reference. Sounds militant”¦we must be getting warmer.

Shawn and I had an extended IM session last week. We ended up covering several of the subjects that he riffed on, already. But his column comes with pictures. None of Mike Eagle”¦which is a good thing, since this ill-fated fun with links is thankfully over.

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 destroys Charlize Theron for her performance on Arrested Development this week. And, speaking of television, you can Reid Joe (that never gets old) over at 411, where they’re finishing up their “411 100” greatest TV shows. Look how his individual “top three” scores for Freaks and Geeks and, ugh, Monday Night Raw skewed everything.

Also, be sure to check out Joe over at The Film Experience. Find out the latest on Harrison Ford next film role and that status of Hollywood Homicide II. Also, there are naked pictures of Rosario Dawson and Catherine Zeta-Jones. No membership required!

And, lookee here! Joe’s also now appearing at Television Without Pity!. Well, he was”¦but, that Prison Break recap is by someone else. But, Joe told me that he was”¦Well, then”¦maybe someone should tell Mr. Reid that lies make baby Jesus cry.

A is for me.

M is TV Mathan. He’s back to bashing Lost and praising Arrested Development and The Office. In other news, he’s got some behind-the-scenes dirt from one of the thirty-three IP zones he writes for. But, you’ll have to IM him personally for that. Dish, Mathan, dish!

Junk Mail: Rain Check Edition

It’s 6:00 AM on Friday morning (that’s today, for you real time rapscallions), so if I have any hope of getting this column up, then something has to suffer. Next week, look for some high-quality reader hate mail directed towards Aaron and Nick’s CD reviews. Always a good read.

Oh, and before I forget: a lot of you sent in some kick ass comments, welcoming me and Nick back after our two week suspensi”¦uh, “unscheduled vacation”. I’m pretty much half-past pathetic when it’s come to responding to reader feedback over the last few months, so I just wanted to say THANKS, sincerely, on behalf of Salemi and myself to everyone who gets their Friday fix right here, every week.

Next Week: The Camerons get some home remodeling”¦and hilarity ensues! Also, which member of the Bootleg Family needs braces and a retainer? It’s not me, the boy or the cat! Uh oh, Mrs. Bootleg!

My baseball team was eliminated this week and my football team is 0-3! Mock me on Yahoo or AOL IM: ajcameron13!