Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Overall family letters


For more info about the FAMILY VALUES series, go here.

De La Soul - "Big Brother Beat"

Dad: Sorry; the old man just don't get it.
Mom: I don't like this kinda yattaduttayattadutta; I mean to say, I don't like rap. I can't understand the lyrics real good and it's all just bumpin', pumpin' and nailing; feels like a piston is pounding at my chest. I can see why you like it, I guess; the rhythm is both simple and complicated and I'm assuming that the lyrics are clever and complex, but I can't understand them. You gotta be real devoted to follow songs like this; it's like controlled chaos.

Say, did you listen to that new Eminem song about war? My young godchild Laura made me listen to it; I kinda liked THAT one.
Sis: I sorta thought I liked De La Soul but it’s just hard for me to get next to this stuff these days. Nice beat, but it’s like I don’t have the right ears for it.

Buy "Stakes Is High", De La's spectacular Senior effort, from Amazon.
"Stakes" is my favorite De La Soul album; "Buh-loone Mind State" is a close second.
This track is noteworthy as it marks the first major label appearance of the mighty Mos Def. Def had some previous success on his first project, Urban Thermo Dynamics, that led to his being invited into the Native Tongues, but it was "Big Brother Beat" that first brought him to center stage.
And now he's Ford Prefect. Funny how life works, eh?
Visit Spitkicker.com and Sanctuary Records respective De La pages.

Like many people, I was somewhat disappointed with the (now forever unfinished) AOI trilogy; "Grind Date" marked a definite return to form. If you slept on it, you missed one of the best albums of '04. Remedy that.
Robbie over at Steady Bootleggin' hooks us up with a Nas/De La radio interview.
Read this '03 interview with Trugoy.
MMMMM. Trugoy.


Bill Cosby - "My Brother Russell"

Dad: Back around the early 1960's when Bill Cosby first started making comedy albums and before 'I Spy', he used to play the Gaslight Cafe on MacDougal Street in the Village. I never saw Cosby perform there, but I did see John Hurt, Jack Elliot and, memorably, John Hammond Jr. with Jimmy James and the Blue Flames (AKA Jimi Hendrix).

THe last time I was in New York I nosed around MacDougal Street trying to locate precisely where the Gaslight used to be. I remember there being a big picture of Cosby on the wall of the Cafe. Danged if I could find either the picture OR the club these days.
Mom: I hate the thought of this situation. My god, a bath in a toilet bowl? I take my baths seriously; this is not a topic for comedy! I'm into rubber duckies and bubbles, not Ty-D-Bowl. Poor Russell...

Buy "When I Was a Kid", Cosby's 1970 stand-up collection, from Amazon.
Bill catches a lot of shit these days, but back in the day he was straight gold. I also strongly recommend "To My Brother Russell, Whom I Slept With", "Why Is There Air?" and "Bill Cosby is A Very Funny Fellow...Right!".
You can safely skip out on anything after 1980, tho'.
Play the "Bill Cosby Fun Game."
I sold Urkel!
Watch House of Cosbys!
Read more of the Cosby wit.


Alice In Chains - "Brother"

Dad: You asked, so I'm going to tell you what I'm hearing:
The Ramones are trying to be the Mothers of Invention, Frank Black is trying to be Bob Dylan and Alice in Chains is trying to be the Beatles and/or the Rolling Stones.

But they just ain't getting there.
Mom: I only like the very beginning of the song, it almost resembles a flamenco. It's not too bad but not too creative either. This does remind me of MY brother, he's "always so far away". There's a psychedelic sixties rock flavor to it; I'm surprised to hear this is from the nineties.
I admit, it does improve a bit on multiple listenings. I'd dance to it like this: (Mom does funky "walk-like-an-egyptian" hand motions)
Sis: Did I used to like this? I can’t say it sounds very original. This seems to me like the kind of thing that has more nostalgia than musical value.

It's also a little creepy as it brings to mind the inescapable ‘Oldies Station’ Gen-X targeted formats of the future.

Buy "Sap", AIC's four-song '92 EP, from Amazon.
Perhaps I'm warped with nostalgia, but much of this short album still holds up to me, especially "Brother" and "Am I Inside?"
Visit the Layne Stayley tribute site.
Layne, the lead singer of AIC, overdosed in '02 on (if you can believe it) the occasion of the eighth anniversary of the death of Kurt Cobain.
Visit Columbia's official Alice in Chains site.


I spent my evening out at Webster Hall, at the AOL Live Lil' Jon concert where the guests were out in full force:
Pitbull! Bun B! Brooke Valentine! Scrappy! Trillville! Ying Yang Twins! And it was still kind of tame!
I dunno, maybe it was the fact that they had self edited themselves into a corner (can't say "nigger" or "fuck" on AOL, apparently) but I couldn't even seem to get a mosh pit started. Fun, but a bit wooden and the HEAVY assistance with taped vocals didn't help either.
Nonetheless, I had a great time bouncing around and screaming myself hoarse and repeatedly giving the AOL cameraman the finger.
High points: Seventeen year old punk girl behind me persists in screaming "BEAT MY PUSSY UP, BEAT MY PUSSY UP" when the Twins do "Whisper in My Ear" and I get to turn around and deadpan, "Sweetie, I hardly know you"; getting to meet some of my email/online buddies in the flesh; screaming "Soylent Green is PEOPLE!" while Lil' Jon distributed Crunk Juice to the audience; Pitbull's amazing performance; Brooke's amazing body (Egypt wasn't too bad either) but not her live show (she ain't there yet); the mindboggling, showstopping, audience-interaction finale that is "Lovers and Friends". I couldn't stop laughing.
The lil' white boy with the Freddie Mercury 'stache about three rows in at center stage would be me. Find Tofu Waldo!
Lil' Jon is the Stan Lee of this rap shit, tho'. Definitely amongst the stranger concerts I've ever been to. SHAWTY.

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