The Passion of the Weiss

Sometimes I rhyme slow, sometimes I rhyme quick. But most of the time, I don't rhyme.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Hitting The Links

It's an overcast Monday afternoon here in Los Angeles and I'm having an epic struggle to remember what I did this weekend. In general, I suppose that qualifies as a good thing. I do remember that I saw the Islands show which was most triumphant (reviews later this week) and also managed to watch the Lakers get viciously throttled by the Suns, proving once again that Kobe Bryant is not Michael Jordan by any stretch of the imagination.

Obviously, Kobe is an amazing player, one who was clearly deserving of this year's MVP award, or so I thought until the second half of Game 7. (and for the record, if you don't think race was involved in giving Steve Nash back-to-back MVPs then you're deluding yourself) However, anyone who thinks Michael Jordan would've let his team get hammered by a mediocre Phoenix Suns team in a Game 7 has clearly been smoking something amazingly potent. In which case, send me an e-mail with such highly classified information. At any rate, how can anyone argue that Kobe deserved the MVP or deserves a stature worthy of Jordan when he took only three shots and scored one point in the second half. Sorry, Jones, this year's playoffs thus far have only proved one thing, Lebron James deserved the MVP. Case closed.

But enough with all this basketball nonsense, its a Monday, it's dull, work sucks...I'm aware of these facts. And being the compassionate blogger I am, what's better than making sarcastic remarks about news stories that have caught my attention over the past week or so. Okay, so a lot of things are better than that, but I'm not getting paid for this, so deal.

1) Seemingly proving my theory correct, Pitchfork opts not to give another much-touted CD, the Best New Music designation, as Gnarls Barkley's "St. Elsewhere," scores just a 7.7. Granted this score seemed a bit high for a CD with one brilliant song, one very good song, two pretty good ones and 8 mediocre tracks, but I'm pretty sure that if it came out a year ago, Pitchfork would've given it Kanye West-sized hype. Don't even get me started on how "Late Registration," received a 9.5 from them. I don't have hours to waste.

2) Definitely check out the Crock Tock blog for his take on the 10 worst rap verses of all time. The list makes a point of singling out some "great" rappers for some of their dumbest lines ever. As always, Crock drops lines that will infuriate some, but check it out and post your picks for worst lyrics of all time in the comments section. I've already got it started for Dr. Dre's ridiculous rap on "Express Yourself," where he claims he doesn't smoke weed or cess because it will give him brain damage. Within two years, he dropped an album called "The Chronic." You may have heard it. Hypocrisy 1, Andre 0

3) 50 Cent has started a new beef, this time with Oprah. According to an interview with the AP, 50 claims that "Winfrey rarely invites rappers on her show and that she caters to older white women." 50 Cent then when on to state later in the interview that he believed that George Bush caters to mainly rich older white men, his own music caters mainly to 13-year old white suburban kids and that delicatessens cater mainly to an elderly Jewish clientele. The man is calling out names!!

4) Slug, the rapper from Atmosphere sits down with the Onion's A.V. Club and sets his iPod on random. Things I did not expect to learn from the interview: Slug likes the Pixies, hangs out and regularly gets drunk with Tom Waits, is a huge Built to Spill fan and gets high with Craig Finn, lead singer of the Hold Steady. Things that I expected would occur in the interview: Slug mentions an ex-girlfriend. I think Slug must have a clause in his contract to mention an ex-girlfriend once every seven sentences, or else Epitaph will drop him.

5) If you want to read another take on Coachella, the NY Times goes West to see what those crazy Californians are up to. Predictably, the review is elitist (it manages to use the word mavens, contextualized, and the phrase "letter-perfect late disco.) I'm so happy that the NY Times reporters all scored 800s on the verbal portion of the SAT. If only, they learned a little something called taste then perhaps they'd be alright. Sorry guys, Madonna is not a clinical analyst of music from the 1970s and 1980s. But her producers might be. She isn't a musician. She's a pop star. Buy a fucking clue.

6) Brandon Flowers, who seems to be in the running with Kanye West and Bono to be the musician that can make the most asanine statements to the press has declared that the new Killers CD "is one of the best albums of the last 20 years. There's nothing that touches this album." Kurt Cobain then promptly rolled over in his grave and shot himself in the head again.

But seriously, if you read this article, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that the album won't be good. First off, he cites Springsteen as the album's primary influence. Beyond the fact that I don't like Springsteen and likely never will, a true artist would dig deeper and listen to whomever inspired Springsteen. Pete Seeger would be a good start. But this just doesn't go for imitations like the Killers who think music history started in 1975, look at a copy-cat band like Wolfmother. Their sound indicates a careful study of the White Stripes, Led Zep and Black Sabbath. But take a look at a true artist like Jack White. He isn't studying Robert Plant. He's studying Son House, Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf. That being said, another reason why the album won't be good: it has a song entitled: "Where the White Boys Dance." I assume it's about West Hollywood.

7) Speaking of talent-less musicians with overly inflated egos, the President of Cash Money Records/man who makes 50 Cent look like Ghostface, L'il Wayne, has declared that he's the "Kobe Bryant of hip-hop." Which I hope means that his next album will go out with a whimper in the first round/week of sales.

8) And just so my readers don't think that I'm some sort of obsessive Pitchfork fan, here's a perfect example of when they screw-up, as they give Kanye West's "Mission Impossible," song a 3.5 stars review. Go to the site and stream the song, its awful. I can't deny that Kanye West has and is capable of making decent songs, but at this point his production style seems awfully tired. How much talent does it really take to sample an old soul song and slap a break-beat over it? His style has become a caricture of itself and this song proves it.

9) According to this LA Times op/ed: Puffing marijuana is the best medicine. The source, Dr. Lester Grinspoon, an emeritus professor of psychiatry at Harvard University Medical School, or as he's affectionately known in these parts: my hero.

10) Read Ian's spot on critique of Mobb Deep's latest disaster, Blood Money, a review that features that best P.M. Dawn reference I've heard in years. At least since "I'd Die Without You," came out, which this blogger sadly admits to buying on tape single. Oh, c'mon, don't pretend that you didn't like that song.

11) According to this story, an Iowa family was banned from a buffet for NOT eating. Clearly, they weren't Jewish.

12) Stylus' Stypod section gives a much-deserved encomium to one of the best rap songs of all time, Aesop Rock's "9-5ers Anthem," a song so spot-on its sort of depressing.


At 6:02 PM, Blogger Nate said...

I might have to stab you for that one...

At 6:16 PM, Anonymous silawe said...

I was hoping this blog was gonna be about golf.
Don't cry and blame it on Nash that the Lakers suck and Kobe should be fined $1000 for every time he should pass the ball and does not!

At 6:45 PM, Blogger Passion of the Weiss said... golf here...just lots of complaining. Hey, I don't blame it on Nash...I blame it all on Leandro Barbosa...goddamn him and his Brazilian tropicalia music have been dominant this whole playoffs.

Sorry Nate, I had to slide in a Kobe hit after seeing that box score. And just when my respect was coming back after those Raja Bell needing hug Lines

At 11:43 PM, Anonymous DHarrisburg said...

If you caught the box score then you probably already caught these numbers, too;

Smush Parker: 9 points on 5-19

Luke Walton: 16 points on 8-16

Lamar Odom: 12 points on 5-18

Kwame Brown: 8 points on 2-10

Sasha Vujacic: 11 points on 3-7

Devan George: 0 points on 0-6

Ronnie Turiaf: 2 points on 1-3

Bryan Cook: 8 points on 4-14

Andrew Bynum: 0 points on 0-1

That totals up to 66 points on 28-94 shooting. .297 shooting.

Kobe did in the second quarter what he had been doing for most of the series: pass the ball around. If anyone thinks that he could have simply hit the "Kobe Switch" and dug his team out of a 30 point deficit they're out of their mind.

I can't wait until the Lakers decide to pick up some people who are capable of playing under playoff pressure. Sorry about the long comment.

At 11:44 PM, Anonymous DHarrisburg said...

Substitute second quarter with second half.

At 11:53 PM, Blogger Passion of the Weiss said...

No, I completely agree with your points. THe Lakers were a team of castoffs that nobody wanted. No one expected them to get this far and I think it was a testament to Kobe that he got them to Game 7. However, they gave up and as a leader of a team (which an MVP obviously is) its partially Kobe's job to get them going. He needed to take control at some point in the game and hopefully have them make at least one run. That game was never in question. It will definitely be interesting next year if the Lakers pick up some quality players. I would've rather seen him get all selfish and try to take over than watch the game get decided by people who are at-best role players.

At 11:54 PM, Blogger Ian said...

You know, it just dawned on me: "St. Elsewhere" isn't the new "Arular." It's the new "Give Up," a rare album that somehow finds the overlap in the Venn Diagram between hipsters, teens and sorority girls and whose carcass will be picked to the bones for commercials. And it sucks far more than people are willing to admit. Beats that need to lay off the Sparks, lyrics that are flat-out embarassing: that's what we're working with here.

And if we're gonna talk worst lyrics, here's a sample of some I posted in an old blog joint:

"Everybody's rapping like it's a commercial/Acting like life is a big commercial/So this is what I gotta say to you all/Be true to yourself and you will never fall."- Beastie Boys, "Pass The Mic" (lyric for lyric, possibly the weakest rap song ever made)

"I'M NOT A! NICE! PERSON!"- DMX, "What's My Name?"

"I pulled out my dick, she called me rude/But then she ate it like food."- Too $hort, "Big Booty Hoes"

"If sex was a sport/We'd a play rugby"- Master P, "Gangstas Need Love"

"If you about big things, then scream (hoody hoo!)/If you about HAVIN' things, then scream (hoody hoo!)"- Silkk The Shocker, "Hoody Hoo"

"I'm Jewish like Sammy Davis, Jr."- The probably not-Jewish Nas, "Bravehearted"

"My library card became a credit card."- Deion Sanders, "Must Be The Money"

"She got hot/Like in a kitchen."- Crunchy Black, "Ridin' Spinners"

"I might eat my money/I'm that damn hungry."- Murphy Lee, "Shake Your Tailfeather"

At 3:34 AM, Blogger Passion of the Weiss said...

Nice call, that makes a lot of sense. Familiar artists thrown into a new context. Check. Album done by artists mailing each other copies of their work, rather than organic studio collaboration. Check. Catchy single. Check. Over-rated. Double check.

That being said, I'll take the Gnarls Barkley project over Arular anyday. I hated Galang, but at least I really liked Crazy the first 20 times I heard it. Can't say that about anything on Arular.

At 12:51 PM, Blogger Joey said...

The Gnarls gnaws at me. And it's not good.

Great call on "Impossible," another abortion in what is turning out to be a year in which big-bank artists (Kanye, Mobb rolling with Mr. Billion Dollar Budget) are littering the musical landscape with fetuses.

And honestly, Pitchfork's hip-hop coverage sucks. It's often condescending and usually silly, written by a bunch of fans who seem intent on glorifying stupidity. Sometimes they get something right, but you know what they say about broken clocks.

Ian, it's not fair to cite New Orleans- and Houston-based rappers when compiling worst rap lyrics. It's sort of a given, no? I mean, just throw on a Choppa album and you have a ton of gems.

I'd add that Juelz Santana has a number of worthy lines, including "I see a town I'm likin'/See some niggas getting money in a town I like it" and "Tech blows and watch yo' chest close and tacos/Motherfucker I'm the best, I told y'all before/I showed y'all before, ay!" And those are from the same song.

At 3:55 PM, Blogger Passion of the Weiss said...

Agreed about Pitchfork's hip hop coverage. Though, to be fair I don't trust ANY press outlet when it comes to good criticism hip-hop. Pitchfork is certainly uneven at best. They are pretty good with their coverage of MF Doom, celebrating his really good stuff, criticizing his more uneven work, and they do like the Def Jux stuff, the Purple Haze album and the Edan record, all stuff that I'm generally a fan of (with the exception of Mr. Lif records). However, any outlet that praises TI, the Clipse, AND L'il Wayne. How can their credibility not be shot?


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