The Beef That Spawned a Joke
So I’ve been revisiting older columns lately and I’ve finally got to a rather infamous column; the one where I openly attacked a couple of fellow columnists, which created a minor firestorm (can you really have a “minor firestorm”?) It eventually led to an official decree from Widro, which actually became a popular part of the lamented Saturday Swindle Sheet.
What started the whole thing was that, being the guy that I am, I was reading some columns by my fellow columnists and I noticed a disturbing pattern; 50 Cent was being referred to in borderline racist terms. I quoted the columns and pointed out what I found offensive, in my next column.
A lot of back and forth and attempted justification for the terms ensued. Some of it happened in columns, some of it via email and other was posted directly in our super secret He-Man Woman Haters Club (the Staff Forum). It finally got to the point where Widro stepped in and laid down the law, a law which Jeff took complete advantage of by strictly adhering to every letter week after hilarious week.
With three years hindsight, it’d probably be a great thing for me to say that I’d handle everything differently and approach the writers privately, but it’d also be a lie. If I think things through, I over think and become paralyzed by indecision. I reacted impulsively and I’m glad that I did. What resulted was a discussion, out in the open about something that apparently some were ignorant about. The net result was positive and I make no apologies for that.
(For those interested in reading the little piece that caused quite a stir, it can be found over here in all it’s miss-formatted glory.)
LL Cool J Needs to Make a Decision
I was talking to my friend Jason last week and he informed me that LL Cool J’s new album was going to be produced by 50 Cent.
To which I responded “LL has another album coming out?” Y’see I’d just read a review of his latest album. The review was trying to be diplomatic, but when it stated that LL had guests on every track the implication was that LL was past his glory. In my mind I thought that this review’s implication was a solid decade tardy. But back to my conversation…
Jason said that LL planned on having fewer guests next time out, to which I responded; “Jason, that’s the best example of redundancy ever, I mean unless someone has come up with a concept for more than every.”
For a second I thought that he should retire and stick to movies. But then Jason and I went to IMDB to check out his acting credits (which is a fun game to play, with any actor.) Upon checking out his acting resume I posed the following question to my best friend; “would you rather have LL Cool J spend his time making mediocre movies or mediocre albums?”
It might not be the deepest question ever posed, but it does require some thought. If you’re dealing with an adequate (at best) result where should the focus be spend? Is there a true answer?
Yes, of course there is.
The answer is that LL should devote his time to making movies. My logic is that I can easily avoid any thing LL puts on the big screen (or even the little screen). But avoiding LL’s musical endeavors is a much more difficult task.
Sure I don’t have to buy his albums, but LL is always going to have enough talent to craft a single that radio (and women) will love. Thus I’d have to suffer through it should I ever be in a situation where radio was my only source for music.
Furthermore, that single is going to have a video. And given LL’s habit of appearing topless, oiled and licking his lips, that video is going to get airplay. And unlike a movie, which pops up when you hit the “guide” button on your remote, you never know when a video will get played so you never see it coming.
I could be watching Beyonce do her thing, and all of a sudden, BAM, there’s LL licking his lips in my direction. And that, my friend, is something that disrupts my sleep at night, and not in a good way.
And I don’t even know why making music is a priority for LL anymore; doesn’t he make more for a movie than he does for an album? Does he feel obligated to make more albums because he got that nifty microphone tattooed on his arm? Doesn’t he realize that if he continues down this path, he’ll be the first Hip Hop act to headline a show in Las Vegas…on the Strip (probably the Palms). Oh mark my words, LL will be the first, and it’ll happen within the next 20 years.
LL will put on a stage show that’s dynamic, riveting and, when one takes a gander at the white clumps nestled in his armpit, reminiscent of his Unplugged performance. He’ll probably have friends who pop up occasionally, I could see Hammer as a frequent guest. I’d imagine that if you had a hit song in the 90’s, the door would be open for you. For some reason I see Snoop signing on for a week of shows, in which ticket sales will go through the roof.
Now obviously LL’s catalogue isn’t that widely known (face it most folks only know the singles from 90’s) so he’d have to buttress it by playing well-known “rap-lite” songs that everyone loves. I see a clever Jump medley that combines both the House of Pain version and the Kris Kross version. I also see LL performing a completely ironic version of Skeelo’s I Wish (which will earn him rave reviews.)
And of course the show wouldn’t be complete without the requisite tribute to Pac ‘n’ B.I.G., though on the days where LL performs a matinee and a night show he’d only honor one per show.
My point is that I don’t want my colorfully imagined version of LL’s future come to pass, so he should stick to acting. Worst-case scenario in that field is that he goes the direct to video route or stars in a show for FOX that’s like a male (female?) version of Stacked where he’s required to lose his shirt at least once an episode.
Actually either way I’m happy.
So yesterday I went down by UNLV to pick up some albums. I needed to cop both The Eraser and The Avalanche, which were released this past Tuesday.
Now usually when I go to Big B’s or any record store I like to listen to what they’ve got playing. Sometimes it’s funny, like the time that I had Illinois pumping though my headphones and the same album was playing at the store. But this visit was just sad.
Apparently there’s a new guy at the store and he’s a fan of West Coast rap. As near as I can tell from overhearing his conversations he’s actually from Cali. Now the last time I was in there, he was bragging about how he’d been down with Hyphy from jump. It was at that point that I knew I’d not be taking any suggestions from that guy.
So this week I go in and I’m pumped to hear the aforementioned new releases. There’s nothing like that rush you get when you step into a store as you’re going to pick up an album that you’ve been looking forward to. It’s especially exhilarating when it’s an artist that you know that love, so you know you’re in store for a solid album.
Then I stepped into the store and heard Tupac.
Now many of you may have noticed that Tupac didn’t get a mention in my Dismantling Double Albums piece a few weeks back. That’s because not only do I not think that Tupac should have released an double albums, but that he didn’t have enough good songs to make up a decent album, in his entire catalogue.
So there I am, doing something I love, while being forced to hear something I hate. It was the most cruel torture I’d ever been subjected to. To make matters worse, they didn’t have The Eraser on display. So I had to ask for help.
Fortunately the West Coast Clown was too busy flirting with a girl, so I got help from a gent who looked to have the inside pulse (dig the branding) on indie rock. Unfortunately I was in the DVD section so he thought I was talking about the movie staring Arnold, not the album by Thom.
I cleared things up. He informed that he knew they had three copies, but he didn’t know where. Thus began the a journey I wasn’t sure I’d survive. I spent an epic fifteen minutes, listening to remixed Tupac, while this kindly dude searched everywhere for a single copy of the album.
To add insult to injury Cali dude offered this bit of help “yeah I put it away, it should be under Tom Waits.” How in the hell does a guy who confuses “Thom Yorke” with “Tom Waits” get a job in a record store? But I mean really, what would you expect from a Tupac fan?
Finally the album was located (apparently it was too small to fit in the security device to it was misfiled behind the counter) and I purchased it and made my leave.
The reason why it’s kismet is that Mike Eagle’s latest is addressing his thoughts on Tupac. I think the guy has some valid points, but longtime readers probably already know that.
I do think that he’s way off on B.I.G. though. But I’ll probably just drop him a line in private.
And that’s what we call “bringing things full circle.”
The aforementioned Mike Eagle is off the market, sorry ladies. But take comfort in knowing that you can read his work here, so in that regard you’ll always have some time with him.
Jeff has rested and returned with his latest wittily titled monthly column. It’s a superb read and some of his finest work. I’m envious.
Shawn has surgery in this future. He also writes an amazing column that’s full of feuds and vegetables.
Gloomchen has found a radio station that she not only digs but dissects.
Kyle’s latest has me on the straight and narrow.
Ian breaks my heart by informing that, while he is touring, Sufjan Stevens isn’t coming to Vegas. But apparently CBGB’s is, not that that’s a fair trade. Oh and he digs The Eraser as much as I do (the album, not the movie.)
Phil reports on a Kanye/Jamie Foxx tiff and hates on Scott Storch (which isn’t that undeserved.)
Five Other Albums I Picked Up Wednesday
1. Busta Rhymes – The Big Bang
2. John Coltrane – Blue Train (Rudy Van Gelder Edition)
3. Modest Mouse – The Lonesome Crowded West
4. The Alchemist – 1st Infantry (Instrumental Version)
5. Johnny Cash – American V: A Hundred Highways