I recently helped copy-edit Brandon Perkins’ new digital novel Please Use Rear Exit. Getting the chance to break down and polish the syntax, word-choice and grammar was definitely an honor. Editing is also a great opportunity for some self-reflection, in that you’re not merely making sure things are spelled correctly, you’re also making sure ideas are conveyed clearly and dialogue is consistent. But enough about me and how I volunteer for projects and hence look like an altruist but am really stock-piling personal gain; scope Please Use Rear Exit. I interned with URB when Brandon was the senior editor there and his lauded stories on dudes like Lil Wayne and Dipset were huge inspirations for the way I write today.
I enjoy writing about rap music. I know that much. But from within that remarkably generalized statement, I think I just had an epiphany: Mobb Deep’s cold-as-ice front-man, Prodigy, may be my favorite rapper to write about. I’ve always been intrigued by his cold demeanor and overall misanthropy and his letters from prison have been some of the best meditations on rap music that I’ve heard in a while. Recently, I had a financial conundrum but my nebulous pondering found some succor in the philosophies of the Queensbridge-bred rapper.
Each of the past two Aprils, I have received complimentary tickets to Coachella through media connections. No cake tastes as good as free cake; believe that. Both years I’ve had an immensely good time and at the end of each weekend, when I realized I’d saved close to $300, I really felt like I’d pulled a fast one on the galaxy, or at least I busted through Los Angeles’ incestuous who-you-know cipher. However, in the currently asphyxiated economy, freebies have become more and more slim and there came a point when I accepted that my aura just wasn’t supernatural enough to outweigh a crippled economy. There would be no free passes this year. Nonetheless, the lineup for 2010’s Coachella is good–arguably the best in the past three years and a retreat to the desert sounded prime. However, the steep price-tag looming in my decision making process was like the berserk elephant in the room terrorizing everyone in its proximity looking for peanuts and a plane-ride back to Namibia.
I don’t remember exactly how the thought got into my head but I recall about two years ago when Prodigy was found guilty of weapon possession he insisted that he was framed. However, he subsequently stated that he had few-to-no qualms with being incarcerated stating that in his younger days, he carried out a copious amount of malevolent activity and got caught for virtually none of it. So, his logic was that being that he was never punished for things he did do, he was amicable with being punished for something that he did not do. This philosophy is a good way to look at things; it’s an averaging of life’s good and bad. Initially it was a humbling experience to accept the fact that my connections didn’t think me so amazing that they needed somehow overhaul their priorities to get me a ticket–it’s a bit egotistical, I know.
Now with Coachella, I began to muse on Prodigy’s logic; he took all of the crimes he did do and added them to a single crime that he (supposedly) did not do and divided it all up among the amount of jail time he’s being held accountable for. He has honorably deemed fraction a negligible amount of jail-time. I’d saved roughly $600 by eschewing paying a cent for tickets in 2008 and 2009. Therefore, I can deal with paying to go one year. So, because of Prodigy, I decided to bite the bullet.
I need to get back on IT. I’ve slipped. Pretension aside, I enjoy calling myself a writer; not because I like feeling smarter than other people but because, simply put, I enjoy writing; I enjoy interpreting the galaxy with my own love, hate, prejudices etc. But if I’m not writing, I don’t deserve to be called a writer. I want to deserve it, so that means, more stories, more interviews, more blogging, more Yelping. And I should have the rest of my life set an example: join a gym, run more and farther, learn Swedish. You know how it is.
One time I got a ticket for J-walking in Los Angeles, $150.
Shit Bureaucracy happens and I didn’t get the notice in the mail and therefore, I also got a failure-to-appear-charge, $750. Finally I got a court date and went in owing potentially close to a K. The judge essentially told me it was my own fault because I signed the ticket. Tired at this point from reviewing over 250 other cases, the judge flipped the page to read me my charges, but when he saw my charge, he rolled his eyes and said okay, Paul, plead guilty to J-Walking, pay $50 and you can go home. It was a sunny Santa Monica friday, I’ll always remember it. Dam-Funk’s “10 West” ,above, basically sums up how I felt.
I wrote this for URB.com and it’s one of my favorite pieces that I’ve ever jotted; unfortunately, their server has since been switched, hence eliminating the story. Luckily I saved everything and it’s up here. I also made it into the video, watch for that masked (not to mention handsome) robber leading his chronies out.
When I asked for reactions to the Giants resigning Bengie Molina for another year, a good amount of people were dismayed with the acquisition and their primary reason was the same: he’s slow as fuck. Fair enough. There’s no denying that he’s a tree-sloth, maybe even a tree-sloth among tree-sloths. However, in baseball there are certain allowances we make. Shortstop, for instance, is arguably the most grueling physical position. Therefore, so long as your shortstop defends well, you can turn the other cheek to them only hitting seven homeruns a season. Following the same logic, I feel like it’s a fairly reasonable allowance that we look past a slow catcher; they are crouching for half the game after-all. And, typically, we’re fine with a slow catcher who also hits single digit homeruns, so long as they call a good game. Sure, Bengie is slow as f, but in the three seasons he’s spent with offense-deficient Giants, he’s hit 19, 16 and 20 jacks, all from the catchers slot. I’ll take it.
I used to rap back in the day. My crew was Divine Intervention. We weren’t half-bad. We were also fairly prolific, considering we were all–more or less–in college, dropping two album Rap Day and Confused Feminists. And, if I do say so myself, I’d say we were fairly decent rappers–intelligent, charismatic, etc. If there was something we were missing it was a degree of gulliness. Anyway, I always felt like if we had stuck with it, we’d have sounded like Cam’Ron. “I got chicks hooter to hooter“
Coachella is on the esoteric tip this year and I dig it! I’d say day #1 is the best, I’ve never seen Jay-Z so seeing him would definitely allow a rap-nerd like me to scratch one off the bucket-list. I also have to imagine that the Gorillaz are going to doing something ridiculi.’
I’ve gone the past two years and I highly recommend it to anyone. Last year the two standouts for me were the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the Knux, both of whom were so good, I was sad that I didn’t know them in real life.
Would everyone chill the F out over Mark Mcguire? I mean, the Giants DID just sign Aubrey Huff to bat cleanup.
Really though, Brian Sabean is kind of like your mom at back-to-school sales: ten years ago, you asked her for some Phat Farm cuz those baggy and bergundy-tinged rags were the shit, and on the backs of Def Jam’s finest: DMX, Ludacris and Method Man. However, not Jay-Z; just like he wasn’t really on Def Jam, he didn’t really wear the official clothing of Def Jam. Anyway, now, a decade later, your mother comes home from Ross with copious amounts of Def Jam gear. C’est la vie. Scope Huff’s stats here.
I can’t complain too vehemently, he’s a career .282 hitter with 203 jacks, 62 of them coming in the past three years. I’ll be optimistic but that Phat Farm ish would have been hella fresh ten years ago.
Let’s get one thing clear, I am not a rap music tree-hugger. Fuck trees. I enjoy gully rap music and I fully endorse rappers who find their muse in the form of cars, cash and ridiculously aesthetically pleasing women. That being said, I think Gucci Mane sucks. Yes, his rhymes suck (on “Pretty Girls”, on which Mane’s featured alongside Wale, he rhymes “Gucci” with “Louis”–as in Vuitton) but I can typically forgive lackluster rhymes if they equip them with a fierce aura but whenever I hear Gucci, he sounds bored, like he’d rather be sleeping rather than rapping. Don’t do us any favors, Gucci.
However, Diplo recently grabbed Gucci’s Cold War Collection and tweaked it for the Free Gucci Mixtape. This tape is ill! When Diplo works with rapper–especially Southern ones–it’s all types of amazing. I wrote all about it once. However, I still think Gucci is sub-par. I’d say Free Gucci is certainly more indicative of Diplo’s ability to retroactively inject music with new feels and emotion. BRRRRRR