Sadly, My Chevy Is Only Ridin' Moderately High
There are times when I wish that Weird Al Yankovich was still in his prime because there's a great song to be made making fun of Southern coke-rap music. I'm not sure when it was, but at some point over the past few years watching mainstream radio rap seemed to turn into the same thing as watching cartoons. Unbelievable, over-the-top and purely for laughs. I really wouldn't even know where to begin criticizing the genre because I can't take it seriously as music. Forgive me if I sound weird, I've been dealing with the ramifications of hearing to the Rick Ross CD for the first time. And wow, what a doozy.
If Southern Coke-Rap were Boy Band music, Riss Ross is would definitely be the O-Town of coke-rap. O-Town was one of the last groups of the boy-band trend. By the time they rolled around, boy band music like Southern Coke rap has already been saturated by success stories. T.I. would be the Backstreet Boys, hanging around for a few years without making a splash and then suddenly sailing to unseen heights for someone so minimally talented. Young Jeezy would seem to be N' Sync of the genre, an instant and baffling success right out of the box. (Speaking of which, this might be the least surprising headline of all time.) Li'l Wayne would be 98 Degrees just because. And Rick Ross would certainly be O-Town. If you'll recall, O-Town were the winners of an MTV Making the Band, much how Rick Ross has seemingly won Jay-Z's never televised Making The Southern Rapper Show. The only difference being that while O-Town got a recording contract with Lou Pearlman, the evil mastermind behind The Backstreet Boys and N' Sync, Ross got a contract with Jay-Z, the mastermind behind Jeezy.
At any rate, this album sounds like must've cost a fortune. Supposedly, Kanye West, Just Blaze, and Cool & Dre all did tracks for it and it shows. The beats are pretty good with a few exceptions and god knows how much Scarface must've cost to sample, but this might be the most empty album I've ever heard in my life. After a cursory listening of Port of Miami, here's what I've learned about Rick Ross: he likes hustling, he likes dealing blow, he likes cars (a lot), and he likes ho's. If you like hearing about spinning rims than this is the album for you. If you like guys who pronounce the name Ross, "Rowsssssss," than you will probably like this album. If you like hearing rappers talk about Moet than you'll think this CD is brilliant.
O-Town went triple platinum and I'm sure Rick Ross will manage to do the same. But hopefully, just like the squealing 13-year old girls who had sufficiently gottten their fill of puerile and saccarine songs about love by O-Town's second album, hopefully people will do the same with Rick Ross. Every bubble has to burst.
It might be the most boring CD of the year. It might be the most boring CD I've ever heard in my life.
Okay, moving onto more interesting news. Did anyone know that Ann Coulter was a huge deadhead. I know that the story's a bit old, but if Lance Bass coming out of the closet is the least surprising story of the year, Ann Coulter admitting she's a huge deadhead is the most.
But it gets even better, Jamband Magazine asks her what other music she's into and she replies:
"All the usual – String Cheese Incident, Phish, Dave Matthews Band, Blues Traveler, New Potato Caboose. I can't really tell you all the groups I like because have an iPod so have a lot of songs my friends send me and I never really know who I'm listening to. But I try to keep up with what the young people are listening to these days (I love saying that). There’s Jet, Cake, Outkast, 50 Cent, Black-Eyed Peas, Lord Alge, Beck, Kanye West (I like his Jesus song), Missy Elliot, and Eagles of Death Metal. I'm five years behind, aren't I? I'm very busy!"
The idea of Ann Coulter listening to the Eagles of the Death Metal's Death By Sexy album is deeply awesome. She claims she doesn't smoke pot in the article, but then again she claims that McCarthyism was a good thing, so she obviously says a whole lot of ridiculous bullshit. But read the article, the woman knews her Dead. My theory: she's definitely a stoner and judging by her love of the Eagles and Missy, "she gets her freak on." Weird.
In other news, if you haven't already, you should check out the new LA Observed. Kevin Roderick, the site's editor has expanded their local business coverage and sports coverage, explained here. And the people he's got to run them are an even bigger coup for him, as he's getting former Los Angeles Business Journal editor Marc Lacter to write the business blog. For those who don't know, Marc Lacter knows as much about business as anyone you could ever hope to read. If you even have a passing interest in the workings of Los Angeles, I highly advise you to check out the site and their new offerings.
This week Pitchfork reported that the Swan Lake collaboration between Carey Mercer of Frog Eyes, Spencer Krug of Wolf Parade and Dan Bejar of Destroyer officially has a release date, November 21 on Jagjaguwar. I know it's a little ridiculous that the guys from Frog Eyes and Wolf Parade formed a supergroup called Swan Lake, but their album's called Beast Moans, so I think they have a sense of humor about it. Besides, I don't care what they call themselves. This is without a doubt my most anticipated album of the rest of the year. As I'd said 8,000 times before, Spencer Krug's Sunset Rubdown project is my hands-down pick for best album of the thus far. And with Carey Mercer and Dan Bejar, I don't see how I'm not going to love this album.
Also a while back the Fork threw 3 and a half stars at The Clipse's new single, "Wamp Wamp." Wow that song sucks I don't know where the Clipse fall in on the boy-band/coke rap scale. Perhaps they're Color Me Badd. You can stream it there. As for the quality of the song, Pitchfork's writer claims "when Push initiates with 'No hotter flow dropper since Poppa,' nobody's blinking.
I blinked. As of right now, I can think of roughly 278 "hotter flow droppers since Poppa."
Does anyone remember this dude, Ken Jennings? The guy who won 74 straight Jeopardy! matches. Well, it turns out he's sort of awesome. Apparently, this week he crafted what might be the most intelligent "dis letter" ever, aimed at the show and Alex Trebek. Yes that's right, he's calling out names.
In the letter, he claims that Trebek is "the Dorian Gray of syndication. You seem to think `change' means replacing a blue polyethylene backdrop with a slightly different shade of blue polyethylene backdrop every presidential election or so."
Ouch. That's the genius of Ken Jennings, he'll insult you and you don't even know it. I'm onto you Jennings. I'm onto you. And I respect you.
Lastly, I wanted to touch upon the disappointment that is the new DJ Shadow album. I didn't even throw up a picture of it because quite frankly, I'll probably never listen to it again. I don't even want to think about it. DJ Shadow is Endtroducing whether he likes it or not and going off and making a hyphy album doesn't mean he's evolved as an artist. Somebody should show him tapes of Neil Young and The Rolling Stones trying to adapt to the 1980s. It doesn't matter how good of an artist you are, going with the times will inevitably lead to massacres like Shadow's new Outsider album.
Seriously, Shadow doing hyphy feels like Keith Richards in flourescent colors. It just doesn't work. The most frustrating thing about the album is that there are snatches of real brilliance buried in there. An occasional breakbeat and sample that makes you pause for a moment, an apolocaplyptic synth outro that might close out a song.
But it'll be side-by-side next to a song called "Turf Talk," or "3 Freaks." Private Press was better than everyone thought it was, but it was plagued by stretches where Shadow just meandered and lost focus. This album is the oppostite, mostly scattershot and rambling with the occasional bit of excellence. Skeet on Mischa compares it to a RJD2 or a Prefuse 73 album, which are definitely valid points. But the crucial difference in my eyes is that I'll take guest rapping appearances from guys like Blueprint, Ghostface, El-P, or Aesop Rock any day over any of these no-name hyphy headache inducers.
Sadly, the man who claimed that hip-hop sucked in 1996 has made an album that perfectly captures why hip-hop sucks in 2006. Faddish regional bounce music filled with empty braggadocio and screaming and hollering. I remember this when it was called 2 Live Crew and to be honest, I didn't like it then. Even his one guest spot from Phonte of Little Brother is wasted as it devolves into a senseless spoken word piece of sorts. This album is a mess. If you liked Endtroducing you'll hate this album. If Rick Ross made the most boring album of 2006, this is easily the most depressing.