No worries bout nothin
Just gettin good just gettin good just gettin good
PICTURE ME HOARDIN.
(Moral support via Daniel Dumile and Grandma’s afghan.)
My entire hair repertoire, from “smooth and nicely brushed” to “aw fuck it.”
BEAT SWAP MEET #17, 03/11/12 – My grasp of what constitutes “style” is limited, but I know that ladies should always accentuate the indent where the waist meets the hips and that the cotton sundress is timeless. I know that unless you are dating Fabolous, your boyfriend doesn’t care what brand your skirt is. I love those Jordan IV Cements on a gentleman, and I wish more of you dressed like Peter Tosh in the ’70s. Jeans that are a little too tight look the best on me (sorry, Mom). Men’s size M Champion v-necks, the comfiest sleeping attire, are $20 for 5 (Hanes’ labor practices are inhumane and the company should not be supported with your money. Also ask me about, if you have 10 minutes to kill: La Perla’s superiority over Victoria’s Secret). I have foolishly bought several handbags that are so expensive they came with authenticity cards. I was listening to a lot of Clipse at the time.
“If it is not beautiful, it will not last. In the end you buy the pieces you cannot resist,” says the house of Lanvin’s artistic director and adorable bear-like human Alber Elbaz. (I can’t afford Lanvin. In case I’m ever seated at the same wedding-reception table with Pharrell and at least one Thornton brother, I’m keeping my knowledge of the line close at hand.) Elbaz was referring to ladies desperately needing to have one of his preposterous fantasy pieces, reassuring them that it’s OK to spend $3500 on a halter jumpsuit, but it’s like he was talking to anyone with a compulsion to collect lovely objects, which is to say it’s like he was talking right at record nerds. Pieces are irresistible. I don’t deny myself the pleasure of good finds. It’s just that I have to reign it in when it comes to spending. I work, I eat, I keep my lights on and my rent paid, I put some in savings, and other than that, my money goes to the purchasing of records, which, in the end, I cannot resist.
There’s a Beat Swap meet once every few months in LA; I am always there, so I was at the most recent one, a couple Sundays ago. Seventeen records later, I’m back with my report on the pleasures, the frustration, the rooms of so many elbows. I limited my spending to $50, apparently because I’m really into self-punishment? I sold my original autographed test-pressing of Kraftwerk for 5 bucks. I ate a whole bunch of Miracle Whip. I wrote a love letter to Tim Tebow, charisma-free soldier for the lord. Then I listened to a bunch of Iggy Azalea and voted for Rick Santorum. Oh wait, no – the $50 cap was actually established because I have to pay my rent. I’d go crazy without a limit, like Hammer in the late ’80s, flinging cash carelessly except in tight pants. But it turns out a lady doesn’t have to choose between adding depth to her music collection or keeping a roof over her head. $47 for a collection of goodies is how it’s done. Yes, I’m sure I did get the Person with Breasts discount at my stops throughout the afternoon, a fact that may be upsetting for those without breasts but a fact that I think is just a version of affirmative action. My private areas are fodder for political gain. My paycheck amount drops by 30% because of my gender. The last song I heard on classic rock radio whined to me that there are lots of people talking but few of them know that the soul of a woman was created below. Please just let me have my small, $47 victories.
Berkeley city limits begin at Alcatraz Ave., just above the 50s and 60s of North Oakland, according to my geography teachers Main Attrakionz. If you are from Berkeley and you are a dude who is pretty, you really have it made, your chain looks like lightning and nobody knows quite what to make of you but this aura is magic, it’s precious rap currency; maybe you’ll be invited to NYU one day and I won’t be able to decide if this is a sign of academic enlightenment or if it’s just an excuse for academia to gawk at a weirdo. And if you are from Berkeley and not so pretty, but you can drum, and people don’t know what to make of you (black? white?), then you are Johnny Otis. And you’re in my record collection and I love you.
1. The Johnny Otis Show, Featuring Mighty Mouth Evans & Shuggie Otis, Cold Shot! (Kent, 1968). $4.
“I can tell the way she walks, she ain’t been here long”: “Country Girl” is the sexy standout on Cold Shot!, and this would be true even were it not for my personal bias (I am healthy in body and wide-hipped, just like the girl in the song). The back-and-forth between Johnny and Mighty Mouth Evans, plus a super-cute baby Shuggie (age 15!) on guitar make up for the fact that it’s a song about the heterosexual male’s eyeball-pleasing experience of watching a woman walk down the street. Not to bring down the room, but please note that if you are the owner of that womanly body, and the eyeing is not consensual, the experience is less pleasant. Sigh. Sorry, gentlemen. Let’s all remember our mothers and sisters before we honk our horns in celebration of the ladyform, please. Ogling’s still great in the bedroom, though—especially if you find a way to isolate the drums and guitar in “Me and My Woman” and just play it on a loop as a seduction technique.
Jeopardy! Fact: Johnny Otis was from Berkeley but was born in Vallejo and was bosslike, just like E-40.
Personal Goal: LA’s a graveyard of shut-down record labels and studios. I need to start my own tour of these sites, catering to persons just like me, who want to see where Let’s Get It On and Quik is the Name were recorded (i.e., me. And Oliver Wang. And Dave Tompkins, if he would ever email me back). Kent Records used to be here, right by the Slauson Super Mall, star of a hundred Nipsey Hussle songs that will never make it to my headphones. I just can’t get into him. Lord knows I’ve tried, Los Angeles.
William, Walter, and Eddie, doing 1972’s version of “pretty.”
In 2012 we get A$AP Rocky in some damn camo cargo shorts.
2. The O’Jays, Back Stabbers (Philadelphia International, 1972).$3.
My 17-year-old cousin has been trying to inform me that squiggly-echo beat professionals The Weeknd and The-Dream are bickering, but, Oh dear!, sorry!, I can’t hear this news over the sound of GROWN MEN making music about GROWN MEN things such as LIFE and LOVE and BACKSTABBERY*. Nice watch, Terius. Nice house. Nice loft, guy from Canada. Nice car, nice bowlful of oxy, nice seafood dinner. You’re doing all right for yourselves, gentlemen. It’s just that crooned stuntery is kind of Kells’ domain.
Yes yes, you’re right, of course I should’ve had this one in my collection already. It’s just not that hard to find. Without that panic in my stomach warning that I’ll never come across it again, I’ve taken for granted that I can get it whenever. It’s the Rumours of Philly soul. Plus I’m really such a Temps lady; David Ruffin is the gravelly-voiced captain of my heart, so there’s not a lot of room left over for gravelly-voiced Eddie LeVert. And sometimes Gamble & Huff’s production is too shiny and clean and disco-y for my taste (“Shiftless, Shady, Jealous Kinds of People”); you know, a lady just needs some heartache x guts sometimes when it comes to vocals x production (Ruffin x Whitfield, 1966-8). When they’re right, though, the strings are so right (“When the World’s at Peace,” the break in that “props like Norm Peterson” track that introduced Jeru to the world). On a related props note, some should be thrown to YouTube for kindly offering an instrumental of Cam’s “Triple Up.” Blissfully free of his voice, the beat is based around a sample of “Shiftless” and was produced by Headbangaz Ent., formerly headquartered on Broad Street in Columbus. In 2012 the spot is home to a Subway, doggy. And Cam turns up in a red sweater vest on Love & Hip-Hop, concerned about the state of affairs between Jones and that lady who works for him. Cam’s concerned, you guys. But in 2012, really, what else is he gonna do with all his free time.
A hundred rap professionals have tried to do the title track justice. Project Pat’s the only one who got it sort of right, mostly just because he’s Pat but also because he brought Crucial Conflict (!) along for the ride. Jay Rock gets points for his buttery plaid button-up and denim ensemble on that album cover, ladies are you with me, but the O’Jays-sampling “Who Am I” from that earlier mixtape is not great. Rap game stressful, you guys. Coming-up-with-new-ideas-for-songs game stressful too. And when you’re a fellow MC from south of the 10 freeway it’s hard to kompete with Kurupt, the King of Kadence. (Luckily, “Zip That Chop That,” a 2-year-old pre-fame period piece, is still great, and shows how our gentlemen out here do that classic LA thing of keeping their white Ts super clean, plus Ab-Soul is actually Gusto from CB4. I can already tell Schoolboy’s going to have kind of a belly as an older dude, though).
*100% Grade-A Certified R&Beef, for the record, is Teddy Pendergrass having an affair with Marvin Gaye’s wife. Please take a seat or go post to your Tumblr, everyone else signed to a major.
Jeopardy! Fact: The trio named itself in honor of DJ Eddie O’Jay – a sweet but weird tribute, like a group in 2012 calling itself The Funkmasters, which is actually kind of a cool name but they’d ruin it by calling their first single “Bomb Drop,” with verses about car shows and the Tunnel and people being told that they know what it is, all delivered in a yelling manner. I’m excited about The Green Lanterns’ debut album, though.
Personal Goal: Find out if anyone else is getting a “young Morris Chestnut” vibe from Eddie LeVert up there (far right).
3. The Staple Singers & Curtis Mayfield, Let’s Do It Again soundtrack (Curtom, 1975). $6.
“The voice of God, if you must know,” said Marianne Faithfull, “is Aretha Franklin’s.” The voice of God according to my dad and ESPN Classic, however, is John Facenda’s. So I’m conflicted.
God’s voice is actually probably Doom; who am I kidding. And the sound of God trying to get my attention is definitely Curtis’ guitar-squeal that opens the title track, which happened yesterday while I was house-cleaning as the record played in apt. 680. By the way, you guys, God says hi. And he wanted me to tell you all that, for the record, he thinks people should be able to marry whoever they want. And he apologizes for the state of Florida continuing to exist.
Let’s Do It Again is about Jayne Kennedy’s legs making it hard for Cliff Huxtable to concentrate, and James Evans wanting Biggie Smalls to show some goddamn respect while they’re both dressed like they are in Camp Lo. The soundtrack title track is about lounging around in your La Perla bodysuit, doing grown-up things, then falling asleep in a warm glowy puddle of sunshine and oxytocin. The song was #1 on the charts for one glorious week in 1975, and was displaced the following week by KC and the Sunshine Band’s “That’s the Way (I Like It)” in what must have been an emotional letdown for radio listeners. The 2012 equivalent is when I’m driving around LA and Power 106 plays “Function” (YAY/RAWR) immediately followed by something by a Canadian softie in a sweater (UGH/GOD NO). Anyway, you have to flip your hands up in the air and sing along – I mean really, I am watching you to make sure you do it – during the “WHOOH-ooh-uh-OOH-uh” around the 02:30 mark, just like the “whoooooo” during the “Kryptonite” hook. You have to. It’s the law.
Jeopardy! fact: Michael Jackson stole “shamone” from Mavis, according to Mavis.
Personal Goal: LOOK MORE LIKE JAYNE KENNEDY WHEN WALKING DOWN THE STREET. In ’99 Jayne set the beauty standard for every lovely female in the club pursued by a Sociology major, thanks to “Ms. Fat Booty.” But Mos was pushing a fantasy for you guys! Jayne Kennedy types don’t go to the club! Try the library or the record store.
Winston Rodney is Burning Spear’s real name, since Jamaican parents must name their children as though they are going to take a seat in the British Parliament 30 years later.
4. Burning Spear, Marcus Garvey (Island, 1975). $2.
You are the top student in class today if you knew that Burning Spear named his album after Phife’s high school! And if you laugh at my corny rap-reference jokes! And you are the top student in my heart if you can keep the Jamaica theme going over the next 24 hours – run a gwaan fi dere and get me the instrumental of Nas’ “The Don,” last week’s new one produced by Salaam Remi. Nas is still obsessed with the nation of Colombia; his lyrics are about cigars and the whole thing is so ’99. But I love the Super Cat intro, the Super Cat hook, god that beat is just terrific with those big fat thick drums that I’ve been missing since Clams and his spaceship sounds took over. Mostly I’m just grateful for a song without a hashtag in its title.
I recommend the horns on “Marcus Garvey” as aural caffeine (nice work, Bobby Ellis), plus the vocal is so solid – typical of Jamaican singers, those triumphant wails. I also recommend that a producer use the piano-bass-drums snippet at the beginning of “Jordan River” as a break. I do not, however, recommend doing a lyric search of Marcus Garvey, as this will yield verses from terrible MCs trying to give you a history lesson (Lupe, Asher). The good news is that I can pull out my Black Star album for a refresher course, should anyone need it, followed by my mini-speech about Curren$y and how the news about him suing Dame Dash fills me with a deep satisfaction, like when I see a kitten or I hear the bass ride out like an ancient mating call.
“I’m not afraid to say I’m scared,” Thurston wrote in Sonic Youth’s “Burning Spear,” a fun, lo-fi journey of drums and bass that LCD Soundsystem has tried to take me on numerous times through imitation (with a fair amount of success, actually). “In my bed I’m deep in prayer/I trust the speed, I love the fear/The music comes: the burning spear.” You can’t argue with that. Of course Das Racist mentions Burning Spear in lyrics; shockingly, the Beastie Boys do not, according to the quick scan of the Beastie Boys lyrics section of my brain. Anyway, “Deep Ass Shit” has that great Doom loop, which is actually a Madvillain loop but Doom Loop sounds so cool, like an exhilarating, super-scary rollercoaster. Trust the speed. Love the fear.
Jeopardy! Fact:The “Bagawire” (alternately spelled “Bag-o-Wire” on Studio One discussion boards) named in the title track is maybe Marcus’ former driver, maybe a family member? In either case, he was close to Marcus and betrayed him.
Personal Goal: Listen to more conscious/love songs. “Marcus Garvey words come to pass,” he sings, and then he turns into a love song with “Come little one/Let me do what I can for youuuuuuu,” which is, swoon, all a girl needs to hear these days.
5. Frank Zappa, apostrophe (’) (Discreet, 1974). $1.
WHEN I SAY ZAP, YOU SAY PA.Grab some, whenever and wherever he turns up (unless I’m there with you, in which case let me have first dibs).
Unkle saw their drum break opportunity with this record and pounced on it. Smart move. But Black Milk, Zappa fan and person who puts DRUMS on his tax return under Occupation, could kill this record, just stab it and leave it for dead on the side of the highway. I’m thrilled to have found apostrophe, but a Zappa-Black Milk meetup in my brain will always take a dark turn as long as the “Zap” break continues to remain elusive. It tortures me. At the swap meet I passed by House Shoes, a man who would definitely know what that break source is, but I was too shy to say anything even though he and I have a mutual love of Dennis Coffey. I am shaky and large-eyed and nervous, like a Chihuahua. Alcohol doesn’t work very well for me as a social lubricant so a drink would not have helped. I relax on half a Valium and THIS playing when I stroll around:
Jeopardy! Fact: Discreet was Zappa’s label subsidiary, his attempt to subvert the corporate interests of the mighty Warner Bros. Records (just like Prince would attempt a few years later. I am told this did not end well). Discreet also put out an album by Ted Nugent in ’74. Given the differences in Nugent’s and Zappa’s political views, the only explanation that works here is that Ted must’ve just been “eccentric, bad-boy Michigan woodsman” at this point, and hadn’t yet turned into “INSANE, xenophobic, ‘Get the hell off my property’ right-winger with a shotgun.”
Personal Goal: FIND OUT WHAT THE “ZAP” BREAK IS, JESUS CHRIST.
6. Mantronix, In Full Effect (Capitol, 1988). $2!
Best Logo in This Particular Record Haul, no question. Best Band Name. Best Bass. “Do You Like…Mantronik?” is the album’s best song, and for the record I LOVE Mantronik, thank you bass-ed god, but the album’s Best Song Title is “In Full Effect (In Full Effect),” which, in case you forgot, is on that Mantronix album called In Full Effect. And isn’t it super fresh that dudes are once again are dressing like this, in 2012? Yes, it’s fresh (it’s fresh). It’s fresh.
Jeopardy! Fact: In Full Effect came out in ’88, as did In Effect Mode by your man Al B. Sure! I’m not sure which is the better album title, but Al “definitely had the better hair,” says Ryan Evans, guard for Wisconsin.“Oh really, because I prefer his eyebrows,” adds Anthony Davis.
Personal Goal: Run into Peanut Butter Wolf at Trader Joe’s sometime. He and I need to have a chat about these guys.
Like me, Sade has a very un-sexy first name (Helen!), prefers hoop earrings to doorknockers, and likes to show off her tummy. We are one. If Sade and I had both made Nas’ “obedient fantasy objects with female anatomy” list and if we had both been introduced by Tom Hanks at least once, we would truly be the same person.
Expensive records are like a cruel taunt from the universe. I’m out here tryin to function, which in Bay slang means “Pay my rent and add to my record collection without compromising my ability to pay my rent.” Box sets of Doom 45s are wicked temptation, as is anything with the words “limited edition colored vinyl” on the cover. Torture. At Amoeba, Lovers Rock is $30, but my strong sense of justice/broke-ness has prevented me from laying down the cash. Turns out I was smart to wait this one out, because I found a pristine virgin beautiful shining brand-new copy for much MUCH less than $30 at the swap meet. There was bargaining involved – I wrote a number on a piece of paper and slid it across the folding-table to the eccentric booth proprietor wearing a dirty old Kentucky Wildcats t-shirt. The final price is a secret; 17 records for $47 total, though, remember? Let’s just say that the Person With Breasts discount is a beautiful thing. Everybody was jealous of this find when I walked around with it, but I didn’t gloat because that’s unladylike. Gloating on the Internet, however? Super ladylike.
Jeopardy! facts: 1. The name Folasade (Sade shortened it) is Yoruban and means “honor earns a crown.” 2. Dizzee Rascal is half Nigerian. And “Where’s da G’s” is still incredible, 4 years later. 3. Sadly, superfox Idris Elba is not at all Nigerian (half Sierra Leonean, half Ghanaian). Neither is Doom (Dumile is a Zimbabwean name). But did you see that? I still met my goal of working them both into this post.
Personal Goals: 1. Show off my tummy more. 5 days out of the week is not enough. 2. Give my love completely, like Sade offers her man in “By Your Side.” Provide warmth, sweetness. Be as ride-or-die as possible while still maintaining feminist beliefs. I am also determined not to let love disrupt, corrupt or interrupt me, just like my buddy Jack White. But mostly I just hope to deeply feel the power of love while skateboarding, like Marty McFly.
8. Allen Toussaint, Southern Nights (Reprise, 1975). $7.
“Nice! (Toussaint) produced The Meters,” said my new friend Andy, owner of a record store in Montebello, CA. He saw Southern Nights in my hand, freshly purchased from another seller.
“Yes, I know! And Dr. John! And Lee Dorsey!” I said, in a very nice way, I promise. (I’m a know-it-all, but I was raised right.) “C’mon, Andy! It’s not amateur hour.” Andy smiled, and thus a new friendship bloomed in the Los Angeles afternoon, the sunlight bouncing all over the place while EWF’s “Getaway” played. I can be intensely nerdy and high-spirited, and did not want to scare Andy off. Thus, in our first few minutes of knowing each other, things I kept to myself included the fact that Toussaint means “all saints” in French, and he wrote the song that was later used for the “meet your bachelorettes” portion of The Dating Game (“Whipped Cream,” as played by Herb Alpert). I suppressed my speech about how Arcade Fire are direct descendents of Earth Wind & Fire, since they both traffic in joy, multilayered arrangements, that thing where there are 50 people on stage, and lyrics about a better life. Nor did I start a spirited round of “Handclap Ranking,” my most favorite party game, in which the topic of whether Toussaint’s perfectly-placed handclaps on the Meters’ “Handclapping Song” are superior to the ones on “Nolia Clap” or “Party All the Time.” That comes later in our relationship.
HAND. CLAPS. The “We Luv Deez Hoes” break is proof that Antwan and Andre have the same taste in records as me. And I am not a ho but I bet you I could catch the eye of any straight man from the counties of Fulton or DeKalb because I wear jeans that are a little too tight and because, in the words of Lee Dorsey as written and produced by Toussaint, everything I do gon be funky from now on. EVERYTHING.
Jeopardy! Fact: Just a repeat of that superdope Purple Rain info I provided to you up top there.
Personal Goal: Get Big Boi to take me to the Cheesecake Factory.
9. Lalo Schifrin, Rock Requiem (Verve, 1971). $3. $3!
Lalo’s real name is Boris but when you grow up in Argentina you get a cool Latin nickname and cool Latin cachet – like how Gisele is actually a no-hips-having broad of German descent but she gets to check off “Brazilian” on Census forms. No fair. Anyway, when it comes to nicknames, Jamaicans are tops at giving them (Family Man, Stepping Razor, Bunny, Scratch, Horsemouth, Bag-o-Wire), but this GQ piece by big ol’ goofy Thunder forward Nick Collison is proof that NBA players can hold their own. Nick’s an over-explainer; his heart’s in the right place, though. “Eric Maynor is mostly referred to as ‘E’ but I call him ‘Sleazy-E.’ This is adaptated from the rapper Eazy-E.” Thanks, Nick! Got it, buddy! “Russheed Wallace” is a cute one for Russell Westbrook (because of all those technicals), but I cannot support “Jimbo Slice” for James Harden. “(Insert first letter)-imbo (Insert first letter)-ice” has already been done about a hundred times, most notably by this really intense, grouchy MC from Brownsville. Thus I have decided James Harden is “Jalley,” because of that Stalley beard. “J-Halley” is also acceptable.
Rock Requiem was a respectable purchase, though percussion deities King Errisson and Ron Tutt are underused. Also I’m still confused as to why Ron never got the nickname “King” since his last name is Tutt. Of additional note: It says “For the dead in southeast Asia” on the back, a heavy, serious concept that Marvin Gaye took on that same year but in a way sexier fashion. Marvin added James Jamerson and some front-cover sexy wistfulness and although I was not alive that year, I decided in 1971 that Marvin and I should probably kiss and maybe get married. The song “Agnus Dei” bangs, and the song title “Kyrie Eleison” (I had to look it up) means lord have mercy, which is like how your Aunt Jean says it, as opposed to the lawdaMERcy of Cutty Ranks. And Alexander Saint Charles (Mustafa voice on “Final Prayer”) appears a few years later on Quincy’s Body Heat, the title track of which is used in a “They Want EFX” remix, the original of which is dipped in purple stuff and used in “Trilla,” shoutout to Beautiful Lou for emailing me the instrumental because I asked sweetly, and shoutout to Danny Brown’s supercalafragilistic tic-tac flow during his turn in the XXL cypher. He says about 8 words during his turn and still puts heads to bed. Bum-stiggedy.
Jeopardy! Fact: “Gradual” (side A) features Mike Melvoin on organ. That’s “Wendy and Lisa” Wendy’s dad!
Personal Goal: Get a tight, tight nickname – NOT something like “Henchman” or “Un.” Those dudes are what my 13-year-old cousin would call “bitch made.”
10. Love Unlimited, Under the Influence Of…Love Unlimited (20th Century, 1973). 99¢.
Breaks-use low points include Wale and Khalifa, two individuals whose success I take as personal insult. High points, thankfully, include the Beatnuts, 9th Wonder, and Buckwild, who harnessed the woodwind and keys from “Under the Influence of Love” up there and crafted this, my heroic theme song as I glide over rooftops to save Gotham from The Joker.
Jeopardy! Fact: Glodean, on the far right up there, entered into holiest and funkiest of matrimonies with Mr. Barry White in ’74, the image of which is now giving me sexy nightmares. She looks pretty dainty, that’s all I’m saying.
Personal Goal: Introduce JuJu to my dad.
11. Roy Ayers Ubiquity, Mystic Voyage (Polydor, 1975). $3.
Shoutout to you, biology-teacher-looking-guy with red hair at the booth upstairs who was amazed and a little jealous that I have an original copy of Ayers’ Change Up the Groove (NWA break, Pretty Purdie on drums). Felt good. But nonshoutout to you, guy who had the unabashed GALL to walk around in a Celtics jersey while the LA-Boston game was on the TV (inside, near the bar). By the time the game was over, he was gone and I never got the chance to make some kind of sassy comment to him about the superiority of the Lakers (97-94). Ah well, at least LA won, and at least the team still has the ultra-clutch Derek Fisher, who, in a typically reliable performance that day, had 9 points and 2 assists, along with his usual bag full of calm vibes and classy sportsmanship, contributions which cannot be quantified! He will forever be frozen in time as a Laker and never every go awa–OH.
All fired up after seeing the clown in green and white, because I’m exactly like Buggin Out in Do the Right Thing, my city pride swelled. It suddenly became extra necessary to buy some vinyl by a local musician. I already have Appetite for Destruction and Forever Changes on vinyl, and while my copy of Detox seems to keep getting lost in the mail, I do have No One Can Do It Better which contains the Dre work I hold most dear. I needed an LA someone – preferably someone who has been on the scene ever since honeys (my mom) was wearin Sassoon. I also needed to get some music-nerd points back after enjoying that awful “Thun Thun” song on the radio a little too much during my drive to the swap meet. (Link provided just so I can prove to you that Tyga’s curtains-in-a-Southern-funeral-home-meets-Chris-Wallace style is not something I made up). I chose a little Ayers, which obviously hit the spot. I am a genius. Logan, you’re a genius, you’ll say at my next BBQ, when I put on “Brother Green (The Disco King)” and the ladies put on their Sassoons and dance and drive the boys wild. (The song was written by Ayers and Edwin Birdsong, who had a hit with “Cola Bottle Baby,” a jam about the way my Sassoons compliment my shape.) Then I put on “Rapper Dapper Snapper” and we all drink Patron and talk about breaks, and someone says This is what heaven is. Blame it on the Patron but it’s the goddamn truth.
Jeopardy! Fact: The brownstone-owning, OJ-drinking Celtic fan in Do the Right Thing was played by John Savage, character actor on cop shows. He worked as an assistant production manager for certain sequences of Malcolm X – which was shot in South Africa, where Savage was living at the time working with Nelson Mandela on the anti-apartheid movement. This only slightly makes up for his attempts to gentrify Brooklyn, however.
Personal Goal: Make an Ayers x Isley mixtape for someone I have a crush on. Call it Mystic Voyage to Atlantis.
12. Scritti Politti, Cupid & Psyche 85 (Virgin, 1985).99¢.
I’m sure you remember the “driving home from my mom’s after Christmas 2011” moment in the Prius, when The Outfield’s “Your Love” came on the radio. I nearly drove off the road to my death, remember, because I was so delirious with melody and fuzzy guitar chords? Scritti Politti’s “Perfect Way” is like that, plus 3 Zolofts in my eggnog plus the sugar from 12 candy canes coursing through my bloodstream, plus KEYS INTERLUDE. Fred Maher produced “Perfect Way,” along with Matthew Sweet’s “Girlfriend,” another delicious piece of fluff celebrating the Caucasian female. This record is exactly what it sets out to be; the songs sound like what the photo above looks like. The synth and drums are pleasing, but in that dated kind of way that we tend to look down on. “Fairlight progamming is an actual credit!, bwahaha.” We’re such snobs. But then there’s Arif Mardin‘s name under “producer” for 3 of the tracks, which we appreciate because we’re dorks, and this credit decreases the guilt part of the record’s guilty pleasure ranking. But really all I care about is somebody getting Prince to cover “Perfect Way” at the Fantasy Concert of ’86 That I Will Attend Once I Achieve Time-Travel Abilities*, please.
Jeopardy! fact: We all know about Cupid in Roman mythology. Psyche, however, is lesser-known – she was a mortal girl who was “born too beautiful for her own safety,” a situation with which I am very familiar, obviously. Psyche also means “butterfly” in Greek! Aww.
Personal Goal: Get a DJ to play “Perfect Way” at the Do-Over.
13. The Fatback Band, Raising Hell (Event/Polydor, 1975). $3.
“This is not music to roller skate by,” explain the liner notes on Eric Dolphy’s Out to Lunch!
“This is music to roller skate by,” explains me, when I put on Raising Hell. And it’s got that Roni Size break. But I’m still returning my copy because I couldn’t find “My Adidas” anywhere on the track listing.
Jeopardy! Fact: “Fatback” is an actual thing – “the strip of fat from the back of a hog carcass usually cured by drying and salting,” says Webster’s. I’m no longer a Five Percenter, so I can partake if I so choose.
Personal Goal: Get Fatback’s Let’s Do It Again – “Ah yes, the one with the ‘Mathematics’ break that I flipped,” according to Premier, in my imagination, when he wants to talk about nerd stuff and sends me a DM.
14. Mandrill (Polydor, 1971). $3. And in shockingly great condition.
Dudes say I fuck with this so hard. Dudes in LA say I fuck with this so hord. I am a lady, so I just went Gasp! and said Ohmygodddd and did a little excited jump-up-and-down real quick when I found it. I had this one but not an original of this one, which is only important to the kind of person who cares so deeply about the dearth of originality in modern culture that she posts hateful things about MMG’s roster in rap site comments sections.
Someone named Mark Henry produced that new Don Trip “Help is on the Way,” its beat built atop THISSSSSS, gasp!, Ohmygoddddd what a SONNNNG. Normally I’d back slowly away from a producer who assisted tiny, unpleasant Wale (someone named Mark Henry), especially if this Mark Henry maybe got the break idea from Eminem’s All 12-Step Everything album, but in 2012 I guess I should open my mind a little. No more assumptions. I also thought the combination of a Jodeci snippet and David Banner raps would be an automatic slam-dunk, for example. Alas, no. But if you can do a good approximation of Banner’s YAUGH-ughhh for me, I want to hire you for my parties.
Jeopardy! Fact? Sigh. No, the following would never turn up on Jeopardy! (but it remains a nerd fact that I cherish nonetheless: Mandrill producer Beau Ray Fleming also had a hand in Sun’s albums, including Live On, Dream On, with “My Woman” – used in “Protect and Serve,” from Super Tight (“The red one! Oh God. They’re crouching down? You know? The one where Chad had the Mighty Ducks jersey on? Oh Jesus. What’s it called. You know the one I’m talking about” – me, describing Super Tight, because I can never remember it’s called Super Tight and that’s not very tight of me.
Personal Goal: Get to Memphis. Need to see Issac’s gold Eldorado, have someone play “Hold On…I’m Comin” when I walk down the street, see the ghost of Otis around every corner, and go record shopping. I also hear I might be able to get some fairly decent BBQ.
ALL CHRYSLER EVERYTHING.
15. Ennio Morricone, The Good, the Bad & the Ugly soundtrack (United Artists, 1967). $3.
I’d like El-P (rapbeat master of so many action-tension-release journeys in my headphones) to score a film, so let’s get on that; in the meantime, Morricone is the master of the action-tension-release journey in cinematic sound. The hero of this film is someone named “Blondie.” The “crying coyotes” sound from its main theme is looped in productions by superb musical humans including but not limited to Larry Blackmon and Mannie Fresh. The title itself turns up in Doom’s mouth during “Vomitspit.” It was 3 bucks. It’s Morricone. Case closed. I bought it. “You wanna come home with me?” I asked it, reaching inside to check its body for scratches and other signs of wear. “Listen, I don’t have time for psychological romance,” I said, “just be straight with me.” Seduced, it took me up on my offer. (I was wearing really tight jeans). We’re having a threeway next week when I get the I…Comme Icare soundtrack with the sparkly Rae break.
Jeopardy! Fact: “In my childhood, America was like a religion,” director Sergio Leone said, “Then, real-life Americans abruptly entered my life – in jeeps – and upset all my dreams.” Well, yes. This has been our foreign policy for decades now. I get it, Serge.
He later added, “My greatest fear is that, in the future, young Americans will accept the horrible bars spood-fed to them in a marketing scheme that seeks to further the corporate interests of a large, grunting man who jacks my whole look. Hypnotized 13-year-olds running around shouting BAWSE; I cannot explain this.”
Personal Goal: Time travel. *Cameo are headliners at my Fantasy Concert of 1986, the lineup for which I have been curating in my imagination for the last several days. I’m frequently shuffling the show’s time slots but it’s a done deal that the opener and closer will be Cameo and Prince, respectively. Starship will do “We Built This City,” and when Simply Red comes out to do “Holding Back the Years,” we’ll all sway in the audience and cry and hold each other. DeBarge will definitely do “Rhythm of the Night,” for which we’ll form a dance circle. Oran “Juice” Jones will do “The Rain.” I’ll need Jermaine Stewart to make a brief appearance. We’ll forget him a month later but in the moment we will feel like he’s just going to keep putting out terrific singles. Ready for the World will tear the fucking house down, and Prince will come out and build a new fucking house just to tear it the fuck down, including the basement, perimeter footings, and the concrete foundation. He’ll do a cover of Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold,” turning it into a 23-minute-long slow-burner with 3 guitar solos. His surprise guest will be Sheila E. He’ll pull me onstage during “A Love Bizarre,” and he’ll impregnate me just by touching my hand. THANK YOU AND GOODNIGHT. For any of you interested in coming to the afterparty, these dudes Derrick, Juan and Kevin are DJing.
“Teeheeheeeeee! OH RICK, you’re so charming and funny! Sure, I’d love to try it! GOD, I feel fantastic! I don’t see how this night could possibly go wrong!”
16. Rick James, Cold Blooded (Gordy, 1983). 99¢.
“I have a lush, thick head of hair. I don’t take myself too seriously. I’m a singer with a refreshing lack of church-choir background. I saw you at the Beat Swap Meet, walkin around with that body like you’re straight off the Bustin Out of L Seven cover; you’re a record nerd with large eyes, and you’re sort of awkward, but I like that. You’re sexy and I want to defile you and tie you up, listen mama, are you cool with that” – Rick’s “Missed Connections” post in search of me. He’s my king and we are in love. See you later, LAMES.
Undeniable jungle cat, professor of Freakonomics, Dude in Italian Leather Who I’d Let Boss Me Around, Rick howls and growls and pleads on Cold Blooded, and it is delicious. But Throwin’ Down is better. And other than the pleasure derived from tracks 1 and 2, Cold Blooded would probably be just another 12” x 12” surface on which I’d chop and snort something if it weren’t for the contributions of Allen McGrier on bass (“Square Biz”; “In My House”). Too many slow jams. And the fact that “Cold Blooded” is supposedly about Linda Blair is too weird for me to cope with. Still, Rick’s white suit inside (gatefold cover) is killer, and like Mac Dre says, “Hoez Love It,” which is true, hoes really do, making Cold Blooded the second record in this haul to have provided a sample source for a ho-themed song (Toussaint/Outkast). Hoes also love the FREEZE part in the middle of the song, where the key changes and the synth takes control like synth is supposed to. Some of my cousins are hoes so I know about these things. I mean it, though – avoid the ballads. When Rick talks to women like they are actual people instead of sex dolls, he loses his touch. The awful “Ebony Eyes,” for example, features Smokey Robinson, who thought he looked cute with a mustache. This was the fault of cocaine. Mustaches are reserved for Slick Rick, Zappa, Morris Day, John Oates of course, my uncle Pete, and Mario & Luigi. Cue “Super Brooklyn.”
Jeopardy! Fact: Back when he was called “Jumpman,” Mario was given a mustache because his mouth was too difficult for the animators to draw in pixellated form. And they made him a carpenter by trade because overalls were an easy outfit to animate.
Personal Goal: Let my hair down/Let my body dowwwwwn more often. To please Rick.
17. King Crimson, Larks’ Tongues in Aspic (Atlantic, 1973). 99¢.
Dark Side of the Moon came out right before this one – same year, same month – which I’m sure prompted lots of nervous stomachaches and “bloody hell”s from the members of King Crimson. Dark Side is completely overrated, email me if you wanna start a fight about this; Wish You Were Here is the better record, and I’m not just saying that because I love beautiful crazies like Syd Barrett.
“Easy Money” is the superstar on Larks’ Tongues; those first 45 seconds are pure Fripp-ery and if you don’t get it, you are straight FRIPP. ING. I care too much about the fact that there’s a credit on this record for the almighty Mellotron, a prog-rock instrument that was “very temperamental and required regular servicing,” much like myself. This bit of history will never turn up on Jeopardy!, yet I’m super invested. Typical. I care too much about finding an original Moğollar pressing, and about my dream of convincing Juicy J to do an all-kung-fu-sample mixtape and calling it Bruce Lean, and about the make and model of the Purple Rain motorcycle. I also care wayyyyy too much about the visual trickery apparent in the XXL freshmen cypher videos. They make it look like Danny’s nodding his head to the lyrical stylings of Future. He’s not doing that. I’m positive. LOL, video editors.
Jeopardy! Fact: “Aspic” is a disgusting gelatin-and-meat substance created by the people from whom I am descended – the English. (We are good at prog-rock. Not food.)
Personal Goal: Before Kanye™ thinks of it, get someone to loop the hell outta whatever you call that magic starting at 01:37.
17 records, $47. I have successfully maintained my rent for another month. I have milk and bread in the fridge, a fresh jar of Nutella on my counter. The monthly Prius payment has been sent in and my Internet works. I’m good. My Time Warner bill comes in an envelope stamped with red ink in an attempt to convince me it needs my urgent attention. This does not work. You’ll get paid next week, horrendous cable conglomerate.
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