"Great Day" (Madvillain, Madvillainy)

Happy long weekend; hope you're all doing well, and frankly, I hope you're not reading my blog today or tomorrow: get some sun, burgers, and booty, please. It's your American duty. I'm only posting because I have a completely free moment alone in Matthew's country house up in the CT woods, alone in a house holding 13 people for something wonderful and inexplicable called The Life Party. I could tell you more. But not online.

Today was a good day, tomorrow will be a good day. ("The sun will rise, the sun will set, and I will have lunch," said former Red Sox GM Lou Gorman, in a statement I read as a aphorism for the beauty of life's consistencies...and the joy of lunch.) And it was a good day when I wrote the following, originally posted on the SNR Isthmus. It's an homage to a song you should recognize quickly. If you don't, well, I totally came up with this idea on my own. Totally.


just waking up in the morning, gotta thank Ra
sun is shining, drank a lot but don't feel off
no construction 'cross the street
landlord turned off the heat
and Cup O' Joes didn't charge for the breakfast meat
got my Canadian bacon on like John Candy
found a dope job listing on Mandy's
last night the Yankees got beat hard
plus the New York Post headline reads A-Fraud
I gotta go 'cause I got me a Diamond Back
kids stole the back wheel...but the back wheel was flat
B's bike hooked me with tires and rims
black cherry on black two-tone trim
and everything is alright
Got a call from my ex, but then my network went out of sight (g'yeah.)
roll to McCarren just heeding the call
which one of you little kids want to play wiffleball?
get me on the field and I'm Barry Bonds
sent Jimmy, Timmy, and Pablo crying to their moms
freakin' hall-of-fame game like Clemente
I gotta say, today was a good day.

(Cue Isley Brothers sample.)


Songs of the Week: Sample Meets Source, Vol. 1

A memory of seeing a young man learn the nature of hip-hop late in life:

(And the young man weren't me. Of course. I've been a man since age 13.)

So...it's like Spring '01. I'm in an awful Yale production of Blues For Mister Charlie. (Note to anyone thinking of producing this archaic and horribly didactic James Baldwin play: have yourself a reread of Go Tell It On The Mountain and spare us.) An actor, very funny guy, is listening to "Between The Sheets" by the Isley Brothers, one of the best seduction songs of the 1980s. It also essentially IS the music of one of the best seduction songs of the 1990s, Biggie's "Big Poppa."

And our young actor, only half-joking, exclaims, "I hate rap music!"

In this recurring feature, I hope to go a little past that, in investigating fairly obvious samples and their sources. For the record, though, I go more with the Stetsasonic train of thought on this. Kick it, Daddy-O:

Tell the truth, James Brown was old
'Til Eric and Rakim came out with "I Got Soul"
Rap brings back old R&B
And if we would not, people could've forgot

For example, Deniece Williams. Now I know that the singer of "Let's Hear It For The Boy" from Footloose (?!) has a great debut record, backed by members of the elements known as Earth, Wind, and Fire.

I know this because I first heard "Free."

I know that because, children, when I was a wee lad of 13, in a day when Hot 97 was actually worth listening to, as what I had no idea was a hip-hop golden age slowly wound down its last days of apples and honey, I fell in love with a song by a Queens emcee who never would quite rise to this level again, mainly because of the fantastic track, sampling (yup, you've got it) "Free." The song for radio purposes was "It's Real" by Mic Geronimo. The unnecessary non-radio title was "Shit's Real."

I think that's enough backstory. Have a great weekend, y'all, and let these two hits of musical sunshine light the way if you're somehow in a bad mood. The summertime of your life approaches.

1) Deniece Williams, "Free," from This Is Niecy

2) Mic Geronimo, "Shit's Real," from The Natural

Sample v.s. Source: No winner. I love both these songs. But only one of them gave me a line to sample in one of my songs. (I'll give you a hint which: it involves a bridge I live near.)

"Life" (Sly and the Family Stone, Life)

Off to the country for a multi-day extravaganza of the inexplicable...my favorite kind of -explicable...currently entitled The Life Party. I might have more to say about this later, but I'm not creating anything on a computer for the next five days, so go read lindsayism.com or some bullshit; shop's closed, children.

Well, almost.

Update courtesy of J. Lasko's tip:

Yard Work, the excellent scattershot Baseball Tonight parody site I mentioned, lives!

And Fire Joe Morgan is almost just as good.

Oh, and just for the hell of it...well, here's a guy with my hip-hop aesthetic. Except of course that I rock the wannabe upper-class white hip-hop thing. It's been getting better ever since I hired Jerome Benton. Jerome, where my monocle at?

(PS- Songs of the week to be posted later today.)


"Givin' It Up Is Givin' It Up" (Patrice Rushen, whose pre-"Forget Me Nots" tracks are really growing on me)

Hello, my name is Josh Drimmer, and I haven't finished a Su Doku puzzle in a month.

(Applause from the Puzzles Anonymous crowd.)

Crosswords never much grabbed me, word searches shouldn't be done by anyone above the age of 11 (I have to mute laughter every time I see a 40-year-old doing one on the subway...read a book! Even Mildred Pierced!), but Su Doku, the crack cocaine of puzzles, had me for a moment. Then I came out of a fairly deep depression. Seriously. If you're interested in life, you're never bored, and if you're rarely bored, love what you do and carry a notebook everywhere, you don't do Su Doku. 'Least I don't.

So, I'm with the anti-Su Doku campaign. And as such, I have to again say: fuck ESPN for trying to latch onto the craze, especially in attempting to graft baseball to it.

And it ain't much of a graft. Nine numbers= Su Doku. Nine players/positions= "Baseball Su Doku." Quoth Jamie Foxx in Jarhead, "Hoo-rah."

Excellence makes Wack irrelevant, as Sensational said, but when Wack is irrelevant, it's double-irrelevant.

I miss the old ESPN. Matter of fact, I won't take out my aesthetic (and yes, overblown...also, really not that heavy) anger on ESPN.

Disney, you're on the beef list. Disney cartoon characters have always been inferior to the Warner Bros. characters, even if they ruined the singing frog with all that "It's the DOUBLE-YOU-BEEEEEE!!!" promo bullshit. And most of all, Michael Eisner. I know you're not affiliated anymore, but I watched five minutes of your wack-ass TV show the other day. I want five...no, twenty minutes of my life back. I also want you to pay for the laser eye surgery I need after the retinal burn it gave me. My lawyers will be in touch.


"Pump Me Up" by Melle Mel and the Furious Five

Fuck ESPN. I don't care about Barry Bonds' "accomplishments" anymore, and their overattentiveness to his chase of 715* not only bored me and wasted my Baseball Tonight viewing time, it is, as we know, an artificially inflated milestone, pun and implication intended.


Page 2 is ESPN's salvation even as they seemingly try to pump up the Bonds on Bonds ratings (why do I suspect this isn't exactly reaching Sopranos-esque critical mass? oh yeah, because it isn't) with the attention. Check this out: it's the most nuanced exploration of the truth of Bonds' accomplishments I've read, and big up to Patrick Hruby for doing some solid research and linking it together nicely.

Oh, and if you baseball obsessives have never seen the sadly-now-defunct Yard Work, well, take this opportunity: there's some hilarious parody of ESPN's worst writers/commentators: I especially enjoy the Skip Bayless columns, because Bayless should be indicted for war crimes against the English language and they do a scarily good job in matching his ignorance, word for meaningless word. Criminally underread website, if the lack of comments is any indicator, not that it really is, since people are too lazy to comment most of the time. And I'm too lazy to follow that sentence up with another sentence after...this...one.


Songs of the Week, #1 and #2

Okay, so this whole song of the week thing, like much of this blog, has been an itinerant thing. But for the moment, at least, I'm trying to get it back up to speed. So here we go.

Song 1:
"Return of the Crooklyn Dodgers"
by the Crooklyn Dodgers '95 (Chubb Rock, O.C., Jeru The Damaja, DJ Premier)
(Clockers OST)

This song took my 14-year-old breath away the first time I heard it, leading me to spend way too much on an imported cassette single of it (imported from the US of A...this is my dark Mexican past we're talking about here) and play it until it was warped in the middle, so somewhere around the middle of playing the tape on either side, the other side of the tape would play, warped and reversed. Kinda like a chopped and screwed track come to think of it.

I've never since heard a triangle used on a track. The cello is dope too. I'm not being ironic about the use of the word "dope": this is one of the greatest DJ Premier productions ever, and as anyone who knows their hip-hop knows, DJ Premier is one of the all-time great producers, so that's really saying something.

And the verses, uniformly framed around the crack trade and how it nearly ruined Brooklyn (inspired by Clockers, the movie it was composed for), are all excellent, although O.C. (of "Time's Up" renown...and not much more) comes off vanilla in comparison to Chubb Rock's classic fat man voice spinning up his ridiculous crack cocaine genesis theory (although, yeah, fuck Barbara Walters! um, I guess) and Jeru The Damaja at the top of his game. Example, paraphrased in my post of a few minutes ago:

Excuse me while I light my spliff but some choose to sip
so bullets hit brains, when bottles hit lips.

Devastating track. In the best way.

Song 2:
"Doobie Ashtray (Chopped And Screwed)"
by Devin the Dude
(Chopped Up [Swisha House])

Actually, this was song of the week #1 awhile back, but I misposted it, so it didn't get out there. The original should be heard as a point of comparison, but man, this is my favorite chopped/screwed song ever, and the inspiration for a song I'm working on for the upcoming Orlean Cooper LP The Cards Don't Lie, currently titled "Dropped and Screwed." Reducing a song about being fucked up, sad, and without weed to the speed of Chris Dudley is ingenious. It's also a pretty funny song. Devin is a god of perversity.

"O-H-I-O" (Ohio Players, Angel)

Notes from Oberlin, OH, where I visited my friend Kat before she graduates.

1) I like this place. Liberal, friendly, nice campus, renowned music conservatory (am I the only one who thinks of cellists being protected like sparrows when I hear that phrase? eh, probably), far lower cost-of-living, etc. It's small, and it's probably a good thing I didn't go to school in a place this secluded, but it wouldn't've been too bad either. And some cool people were brought up in Ohioian (sp?) academic places like this.

2) If I was in college again, I would fucking rule. It. I mean, I do rule, but...well, y'know. I think I've been practicing too much honesty in actually telling people I graduated school nigh on three years ago. But the intention of the trip wasn't to go all sketchy-super-senior and attempt to reenact College Girls Gone Wild Vols 1-3,025, so perhaps honesty is good.

3) On second thought...man, I fucked that one up.

4) Stores in Oberlin, and there aren't very many, all clustered around College and Main Street, all sell more than one thing, and it's pretty awesome. The ice cream place, for example, is also a liquor store. Won't someone please think of the children?! (Or won't someone please think of merging the liquor and ice cream elements? Mmm...vanilla ice cream + sloe gin = crazy delicious.

5) The train from New York to Cleveland was an enjoyable 10 hours spent reading, watching Blazing Saddles for the first time, a long overdue experience, and not spending nearly enough time in the cafe car, as a bunch of people, including one girl claiming to have snagged a role on a show with the WB, got real drunk and slowly conversationally deteriorated into...well, you, dear reader, have seen drunken stupid people, be they stupid before bullshit hit brains when bottles hit lips or not. The black dudes laughing and playing hearts said I shoulda tried to get some head in a bathroom, but I had already taken a sleeping pill prior to entering the car, and it did take its effects. Plus, I've totally stopped getting oral sex from random women on Amtrak. There's a story there, but...oh, wait, there is no story there. I'll invent one later.

6) Drinking the leftover Jim Bean a David Bowie cover band (called The David Bowie Cover Band) left behind after practicing in the basement of the joint I'm staying at, on the front porch, smoking a stolen Camel, watching the rain fall...it goes on my top 100 moments of solitude. Way too many of that top 100 involve alcohol, but the top 10 are all playing with He-Man figures and shit. (At age 6-7-8. Mainly.)

7) Cavs-Pistons Game 6 tonight will be awesome to watch with tonight amongst people who really care: it is sorta the biggest game in Cleveland Cavaliers history. As Thirst, my favorite corporate mascot (the little guy in the Sprite ads who's all like, "Back off, LeBron, it's mine!"...ask me some time and I'll do a mean impression for you), might say, "Back off Rasheed, the Eastern Conference is mine!"


"I'm Still #1" (Boogie Down Productions, By Any Means Necessary)

#2: Bryant Park
Set-up nicely for a lunch break to those mass unfortunates working in Midtown (I've been one of you...and might be one of you again soon, oh poor souls), but better still for "freelancers" (or the "unemployable") like me, free Internet, located near the place where WetLAB's rough draft show is going up in a few hours, and it's very, very nice now that the rain stopped falling.

Grade: A

#17: Kim's (at Astor Place)
A copy of Diamonds and Pearls on vinyl yesterday: $2. A copy of a Sensational album: $1.

Actual cash value of said pieces of miscellaneous inessential music: $5. ($6 for the Diamonds and Pearls, -$1 for the Sensational, not because I don't sometimes like his bizarre combination of not quite beats and not quite rhymes, but because it seems as though his shit is sold exclusively in dollar bins these days.)

Grade: B+
Damage to Wallet: Incomplete

#34: Read Cafe, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (Bedford, N. 8th)
$2 beer at 5 p.m. is good; especially since it's Harpoon in three delicious varieties served in nice long mugs off the tap. Effects of attempting to drink and read or write: devastating. I can't drink in the afternoons anymore it seems. Ah, bright college days.

Grade: B

#78: Bright College Days
Shoulda played less Smash Bros. (Junior year, Cameron Leader-Picone's Nintendo 64), Super Smash Bros. (Senior year, Brandon Reynolds' GameCube), GoldenEye (Freshman year, ?'s N64), and roles in bad plays (Brother, a lame production of Six Characters In Search Of An Author, Tim, Everybody Has Lots and Lots of Sex [an unfortunate student-written production with a deviously deceptive title: no one has much sex in it, kinda like Yale]). Good times, but they get further and further away.

Grade: A-

#99: Ex-girlfriend before last ex-girlfriend before last before last
Had a nice pair of...legs.

Grade: B- (mediocre personality)

#4,080: Industry Rule #4,080
Record company people are shady.

Grade: CREDIT (on Cr/D/Fail scale. Rule is still true.)


"What's Beef?" (Notorious B.I.G., Life After Death double LP...though it'd've been a better single)

(originally posted on The SNR Isthmus)

What's beef? As defined by prominent wordsmith Biggie Smalls aka The Notorious B.I.G., beef is when you need two gats to go to sleep. No such problem for me; I sleep well with a wiffleball bat near my bed, or the maple bat when my roommate's threatening to put toothpaste in my ear while I sleep.

In a loose sense of the word, though (and not the sense that applies to beef tenderloins, the double beef burger, or, God help us, beefaroni), I got beef. Pounds of it. Carcasses, even. Here's my beef list as currently constituted:

the EasyInternet Cafe in Times Square (you bitches owe me $2)

the New York Daily News (y'all owe me like $250 from an article I wrote for you in 2003. seriously. gimme the loot or, um, I'll keep buying the Post?)

Dan McCoy (ongoing, but on a low simmer)

Andy Rooney (you know what I don't like, Andy? you.)

Mickey Rooney

Kanye West (it's complicated. y'know that song "Gold Digger"? My verse got cut from it, only because I'm a better rapper than Kanye. But so are you, you, and you.)

2Pac (possibly squashed. depends on status of Cuba rumors.)

Hormel Chili

the "city" of Bridgeport, CT (barred from entering? I didn't want to enter anyway.)

Kelly Ripa

Western Beef

Beef Helper (y'all got nothing on Chicken Helper.)

Ray Kroc (posthumous beef.)

Alexander Pope (stop entering my dreams all satirically and shit, ya dead English poet. I don't care what lock got raped, and The Dunciad sucked.)

Paper clips

Cigarette taxes

Your sister



"We Can Make It Better" (Kanye West f/ Talib Kweli, Q-Tip, Common & Rhymefest)

Well, we can. And we will if/when we re-record it into an album...especially the line on the last song where I say "self" twice in "self-sedating." But for now, we'll just improve our means of delivering Orlean Cooper's Supervillain v. Petty Thief EP. This is zipped rather than whatever fucked-up file form the last was. It's imperfect still, but enjoy.


"For The Children Like The ODB" (Orlean Cooper, Supervillain v. Petty Thief EP)

It's been a long time...I shouldn't have left you without a strong beat to step to. Well, here's five strong beats to step to, courtesy of the amazing MF DOOM and the nicely-mixed box set of his Special Herbs releases, one which, if you can find it (it is a special item), is wholly worthwile, esp. since it contains a whole disc of KMD instrumentals, mainly from Black Bastards.

But...here's what's interesting. These five beats are an EP. By me. Well, not me, but a dude who shares my voice and my perspective on many issues, if he seems to take many of these perspectives further than me. If you're wondering where his name, Orlean Cooper, came from, well, it isn't entirely related to D.B. Cooper. I'll tell you that much.

Money talks, bullshit walks. I'm not walking, but I don't have that much money, so I'll stop talking. Please, download this first EP, entitled Supervillain v. Petty Thief (reason: DOOM is a true super villain, Orlean Cooper is, well, lesser), post on the comments when the link runs out (it's for a zipped version of this, btw), and enjoy.

1. Guayaquil
2. Verbal Like Kint
3. Orlean's Lament
4. For The Children Like The ODB
5. What A Fool Believes '06

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