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Posts from June 2004

Monday Mutterings VI: And It's Deep, Too

Richard Pryor, Motherfucker!

Slow day in the "meme blog" world, I could only find one decent meme today (see below). Also, I'm still in mourning over the death of Ray Charles, it's still a shock to me that's he's gone. Even columnist Darrell Smith can't believe it. Ray Charles was too good to die.

I also caught most of Ronald Reagan's funeral last Friday. It wasn't hard to miss, it was on every TV network, all day and night -- what a spectacle. Homeboy's send off was HUUUUUUGE! I think it was too much. Now there's a campaign to put Ronald Reagan's likeness on a coin or currency, possibly the $10 or $20 bill.

But I like veteran music journalist/editor Gail Mitchell's suggestion:

Anyone for putting Ray Charles on a $20 bill? Actually, the 50-cent piece might be more appropriate. One of [Ray's] most famous lines, from "Let the Good Times Roll" (off his classic The Genius album) was: "Don't let no female play me cheap, I got 50 cents more than I'm gonna keep."

Amen. I like to see Ray on the $20 bill. I'm tired of seeing Andrew Jackson's mug on the greenback. It's time for a change. (Get it?) Are you with me? Holla, at cha boy!

Moving along, music critic/blogger EJ has posted his "Music of the Millenium" list. Check it out. Some very interesting selections.

And if you haven't heard by now, African-American film critic Elvis Mitchell has left New York Times to pursue more loftier writing gigs. It's a damn shame too, because he was the best film critic they ever had at that newspaper.

But don't worry, it looks like Elvis is on a fast track for a big payday.

Apparently, there's a bidding war over his proposal for a book about comedian Richard Pryor between several prominent New York-area book publishers.

"The proposal is unusual," says one editor who has seen it. It is nonlinear and suggests that the book will be part cultural history of America, part tour of the comedy world, part dishy anecdotes about Pryor, including one in which the comedian's scatological language made New Yorker writer Lillian Ross not just blush, but faint."
An insider believes that Elvis can nabbed $500,000 for the book.

But Richard Pryor thinks Elvis Mitchell is on some bullshit.

According to New York Post's Page Six, Richard plans on writing a follow-up book to his 1995's biography Pryor Convictions. The veteran comedian, who is suffering from multiple sclerosis, describes the book as a continuation of his memoirs, this time, detailing his experience with MS and "tapping recently unearthed diary entries that mine his colorful childhood."

Richard can't understand how Elvis would be able to write a book about him since the film critic was too busy to pen the liner notes to his nine-CD retrospective boxed-set, . . . And It's Deep Too. The notes were subsequently written by novelist/playwright Walter Mosley. "I don't know [bleep] about Mitchell, but if he's writing a book about me, I figured I'd write one about him," Richard joked. "If he can get half a million dollars for writing all about me, when the mother[bleeper] has never even met me, imagine how much I'm gonna get for writing all about me, when I am me!"

No disrespect Richard, but Elvis doesn't necessarily have to meet you to write about your life and career. It would be nice, but not totally necessary. But I think Elvis' book is more on how Richard's comedy influence pop culture; it's not an autobiography.

As for me, there's nothing going on with my uneventful life except for the job and my bills. I'm trying to get ready for the summer. It looks like it's gonna be another scorcher!

From Unconscious Mutterings:

  1. Colorblind:: Ray Charles -- R.I.P. I love you, man!
  2. Shallow:: stuck-up, pretty bitches act real . . .
  3. Erotica:: Black Tail magazine (Ha! Ha!); Penthouse Letters
  4. Figment:: Imagination
  5. Eviction:: Move out
  6. Composed:: Song
  7. Chill:: Ice Cream
  8. Girl:: Boy
  9. California:: La La Land; Hot
  10. Bond:: My twin brother and I


Ray On My Mind

Soul Man Ray Charles

"Another great singer, another great soul person has gone away. He was one of the great 20th century songwriters. What he did changed music."
-- Daryl Hall (of Hall & Oats) on the musical legacy of late soul/blues legend Ray Charles

Ray Charles (1930-2004)

Excuse me for saying this, but I didn't see this coming. The news of the death of soul/blues pianist-crooner Ray Charles hit me like a ton of bricks yesterday afternoon. I'm still in shock by it all.

While America is in mourning today over the passing of our late former President Ronald Reagan, let us not forget a true American hero, Ray Charles.

Yeah, Ronnie helped bring down the Berlin wall, but Ray was instrumental in tearing down the racial divide between African-Americans and white Americans with his music. He helped white people love soul music. In short, he brought the races together with his music.

Ray wasn't just a wise-old bluesman; he also was a humanitarian.

Ray Charles will be forever missed. Thankfully, his music will last forever.

BlogCritics founder/journalist Eric Olsen pays tribute to the soul man who embraced all forms of American music.

Rest in Peace, Ray.


Millennium Love Below

OutKast's Hip-Hop Masterpiece

Man, I need to stop biting:

I copped this music list from David via his hella-hot blog I'm So Sinsurr. Someone challenged him to create a list of his twenty favorite albums of the 2000s (millennium), so far.

So, you know I had to do one.

I used a cheat sheet with my picks -- my selection was compiled with the help of my year-end lists from the Village Voice's annual Pazz & Jop polls in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003.

So without further ado, here's my "Favorites of the 2000s" list:

20. The Roots -- Phrenology (MCA) [2002]
19. Jean Grae -- Attack of the Attacking Things (Third Music) [2001]
18. Jurassic Five -- Quality Control (Interscope) [2000]
17. Van Hunt -- Van Hunt (Capitol) [2004]
16. Nas -- God's Son (Columbia/Sony) [2002]
15. Jill Scott -- Who is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds, Vol. 1 (Hidden Beach/Sony) [2000]
14. Murs -- 3:19--9th Edition (Def Jux) [2004]
13. Kem -- Kemistry (Motown) [2003]
12. Eminem -- The Marshal Mathers LP (Aftermath/Interscope) [2000]
11. Scarface -- The Fix (Def Jam) [2002]
10. OutKast -- Stankonia (Laface/Artista) [2000]
09. Donnie -- The Colored Section (Motown) [2003]
08. Ms. Dynamite -- A Little Deeper (Interscope) [2003]
07. Ghostface -- The Pretty Toney Album (Def Jam) [2004]
06. Kanye West -- College Dropout (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam) [2004]
05. Jay-Z -- The Blueprint (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam) [2001]
04. Little Brother -- The Listening (ABB Recordings) [2003]
03. The Avalanches -- Since I Left You (Sire/Modular) [2001]
02. Cannibal Ox -- Cold Vein (Def Jux) [2001]
01. OutKast -- Speakerboxx/The Love Below (LaFace/Arista) [2003]

This list represents my tastes in mostly two music genres -- hip-hop and R&B. Just for the record, I also listen to rock, jazz and reggae music. But the majority of my listening time is devoted to hip-hop and R&B, because of my day job as a full-time urban music writer. I was going to add some rock, jazz and reggae albums onto the list but that would require me to sift through my vast music collection and recall certain CDs. That would take forever -- I have so many CDs, so little time.

As for the list:

OutKast made the list twice, which shouldn't be a surprise to anyone -- Andre 3000 and Big Boi have consistently released quality work since 1994. I bookend the top 10 with both of their CDs -- Stankonia and Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. Two great recordings. Respect their shit, man.

Cannibal Ox followed in second place with their classic CD Cold Vein. I'm still blown away by the production (props to juxie El-P) and the introspective, truth-serum rhymes of street poets Vast-Aire and Vordul. Cold Vein is an all-time classic.

In the third spot are The Avalanches. They are an Aussie turntablist/band -- think the Ex-cutioners meets the Roots. Their CD Since I Left You is considered a Zeitgeist album -- a collection that pushes the spirit of hip-hop -- in this case, turntablism -- into forward-thinking realms. Remember DJ Shadow's 1996 CD Entroducing . . . ? That's a Zeitgeist album. Entroducing . . . still, to this day, is considered an all-time classic that trendscended hip-hop. Since I Left You is the Entroducing . . . of the millennium. It is an awesome sonic achievement.

Some would probably disagree with my inclusion of Kanye West's debut CD College Dropout on the list. But mark my words; ten years from now, Kanye's disc will be considered a great album. I think College Dropout will hold up over the years. Kanye is experiencing an over saturation right now -- both with video and radio airplay -- and he's having a love/hate relationship with his fans because of it. But that's the nature of the business. When you are hot, you are hot. Don't hate the playa, hate the game. More power to Kanye!

And the Roots' CD Phrenology -- their misunderstood and least favorite album amongst fans -- is on my list. Honestly, I really liked the recording and the band's adventurous musicianship that was displayed on the disc. It's not a classic like Do You Want More?!!!??! or the equally brilliant Things Fall Apart, but it's a noteworthy recording nonetheless. Plus, any band or artist(s) that decides to challenge the state of hip-hop/rap music gets props in my book -- misunderstood or not.

Speaking of misunderstood, MF Doom often gets misunderstood with his left-field style of hip-hop. His latest CD under a new alias Madvillian titled Madvillainy is getting mad props for it's inventiveness and fun. I like how veteran beatmaker Pete Rock described Madvillian's sound in the June/July issue of Complex magazine:

"This shit is dumb underground. It's just a little under the railroad tracks under Harriett Tubman. It's cool, [but] nowadays, you got to make shit understandable. This shit here -- you in your own world."
I actually think that this is a complement. It's funny as hell, but I think Pete gave Madvillian props. Anyway, Madvillian is definitely in his own world and thanks to studio wizard Madlib's jazzy, orchestral productions, Madvillainy is A-grade hip-hop; one of the best producer-rapper collaborations in quite some time.

I say all this because some may wondered why Madvilliany is not on my list? While I enjoyed Madvilliany, I fell in love with the rapper-producer tandem of Murs and 9th Wonder. Their tag-team effort on 3:16--9th Edition also needs to be recognized, as well. It's a quality hip-hop effort featuring Murs' descriptive story-telling rhymes and 9th's soul-stirring beats. It's the sleeper disc of 2004, and it's being overshadowed by the critical raves of Madvilliany. But I'm not mad. 3:16 is great indie rap.

In R&B, only the soulful stuff graces my list. The usual suspects are there -- Jill Scott, Donnie and Kem. This year, Van Hunt's self-titled CD is the only R&B/soul disc ringing in my ears right now. Yeah, Usher is the man right now, but his disc Confessions had too many peaks and valleys for me. The first five joints on Confessions are great, but the rest of collection sounds like medicore R&B.

I was able to get my hands on some of Usher's unreleased joints that were left on the cutting room floor. Oddly enough, the tracks Usher cut sound better than the ones he kept on the finished product.

Enough of my blabbering. The year is not over yet.


5 CDs from 2003
4 CDs from 2004 (thus far . . .)
4 CDs from 2001
4 CDs from 2000
3 CDs from 2002

10 male artists
7 groups*
3 female artists
* (two or more members; OutKast is mentioned twice)

7 East Coast Artists
(The Roots, Jean Grae, Jill Scott, Ghostface, Nas, Cannibal Ox and Jay-Z)
4 Southern Artists (OutKast*, Scarface, Little Brother and Donnie)
3 Midwesterns (Kem, Eminem and Kanye West)
3 West Coast Artists (Jurassic Five, Van Hunt and Murs)
2 Overseas Artists (Ms. Dynamite and The Avalanches)

* OutKast is mentioned twice on the list

4 CDs from Def Jam (as a distributor)
3 CDs from Interscope Records (as a distributor)
2 CDs from Sony Music (as a distributor)
2 CDs from Arista (as a distributor)
2 CDs from Def Jux
2 CDs from Motown
1 CDs from MCA
1 CD from Sire/Modular
1 CD from Capitol
1 CD from ABB Recordings
1 CD from Third Music


Monday Meme Mutterings V

Driving on the highway

The following meme is dedicated to Saucy Dame. Keep your head up, honey, you'll get your driver's license soon. Persistent pays off!

From Sunday Brunch:

An Auto-biography:

1. Who taught you how to drive?
My mother. I drove her nuts.

2. How old were you when you got your driver's license?
I was late bloomer. I got my driver's license when I was 18 years old.

3. What kind of vehicle(s) do you own?
I own a 2004 Metrocar(d) with the black stripe on the bottom. And a 2004 Timberland(s). **

4. Is it an automatic or stick shift?
The Metrocar(d) is an automatic, but you must keep up with the monthly payments.
The Timberland(s) is a stick -- Occasionally, I have to stick my foot in somebody's ass.

5. Do you keep the inside of your vehicle sparkly clean, fairly clean or pretty much messy?
I keep the Timberlands clean whenever I can, unless some crusty nigga steps on them with his dirty sneakers.

** A Metrocard is a New York City subway pass. I have a driver's license, but I don't own a car. I ride the subway to work, ya dig? And my Timberlands keep me moving when I'm not on the train. I'm keeping it ghetto up in this piece. Ha!

From Unconscious Mutterings:

  1. Charity:: Starts at home
  2. Scale:: weight
  3. Jennifer Lopez:: Dumb beeeootch!
  4. Coercion:: False accusation
  5. Meter:: Parking
  6. Pressure:: Job
  7. June:: Summer
  8. Infestation:: Roaches
  9. Serial killer:: A pain in the ass
  10. Anguish:: Life's journey can be full of . . .


On the Third

J.Lo on fire!


Hollywood couple Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony reportedly have tied the knot!

Jennifer Lopez married her current sweetheart, salsa crooner Marc Anthony, in the backyard of her lavish estate in Los Angeles, on Saturday, according to Us Weekly. The couple were wedded shortly after 6 p.m. in front of 40 guests, including J.Lo's mother Guadalupe. Jennifer reportedly wore Neil Lane jewelry and a dress with a veil. Us Weekly also reported that Saturday's wedding was coordinated by wedding planner Sharon Sachs, who also planned Jennifer's wedding to ex-husband #2 Cris Judd, and the canceled wedding last year to former boyfriend Ben Affleck in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Say it isn't so J.Lo.

My future wife has done it again. Let's see how long this marriage is going to last.

Three strikes . . . and yeerr out!

Good luck Marc, I know that booty is scrumptious.