Tied by 12
The Time x Buddy Miles
Guys! Here’s me at Coachella! is how this post was supposed to begin. Above, here’s what I wore! We drove for 4 hours and, per tradition, we hit up the In-N-Out just after checking into Motel 6 because I don’t need fancy accommodations but I do need a big delicious burger – no onions, extra spread! At the show, hearing Snoop’s If you ain’t up on thaaaaangs — the very sound of so many of car rides with LA boys during my bad-girl years* — was worth the entire trip! I saw the still-lanky Kurupt on stage left, and I shouted my appreciation at him from the crowd! He’ll always be the king of kadence! Did I say Coachella? Kuz what I meant was KOACHELLA.
—Alas, Guys! I’m broke! is the reality. Guys, I’m in my apartment now. I’m sad about major-label cartoon characters. GUYS I NEED SOME NEW DOOM. If you would be so kind as to take a look at me now, you’d find that there’s just an empty space. So I’m in apt. 680 in my sad, sexy Coachella clothes, and SIGH there’s no new Doom over which to obsess. And there’s no Fantasy Football yet, so there’s no roster for me to play with. And the evening’s episode of How the States Got Their Shapes is a rerun. So…records, then. Always records. Serotonin reuptake through records. My go-to cheering-up activity is to pull 2 records at random from apt. 680’s thick, wonderful stacks and challenge myself to a degrees-of-separation game. I am known around town for my hips but my most valuable inner quality, the one that drives all the boys crazy, is that I can tie together any 2 records through their common qualities, personnel, historical placement, breaks contained, color schemes, life lessons, Doom-related ephemera. Me and my wacky brain fulla trivia and rap lyrics! I tell you it’s a wonder I remain single, WaxPo.
*That’s a joke, Mom! I had no bad-girl years. Love you.
The Time, Ice Cream Castle (Warner Bros., 1984). $4.99.
Buddy Miles, Them Changes (Mercury, 1970). $0 (Dad’s collection).
Buddy Miles’ Them Changes and The Time’s Ice Cream Castle were my 2 randomly-selected gems for the week. (The selection process was truly random, I promise. I put my hand over my eyes and just started grabbing at what was in front of me, which also describes my technique in bed with a gentleman). The purpose isn’t to compare or rank the albums; that’s more of a guy activity, like the strangely-heated little conversations I always seem to wander into when dudes are debating the merits of rap song X vs. rap song Y. Stop it! “Both teams played hard, my man”! Ice Cream Castle and Them Changes are both life-improving records, and you should have both of them in your collection if you hope to one day personally experience my technique in bed. These 2 records also happen to have exactly twelve areas of commonality, a beautiful example of life’s cosmic tendencies, since this means I get to pull out a terrific rap pun from my arsenal. Watch me don my almost-Coachella outfit and celebrate 2 records with unfairly-overshadowed frontmen (Morris : Prince :: Buddy : Jimi Hendrix), which is mostly a tribute to the ways that the 2 records are connected, which is pretty much a front for Watch me show off the endless snippets of nerdery I have in my head. Sorry, guys. Thanks for tolerating my annoying, adorable ass. But just think of how proud you’ll be when I finally make it to Jeopardy!
1. BEING THE AZ TO SOMEONE ELSE’S NAS/THE REN TO SOMEONE ELSE’S ICE CUBE.
On a 1988 episode of Soul Train, Morris Day was on as a “special guest/afterthought,” billed under featured performers Dana Dane who cold rocked it, and later in the hour, Eddie Kendricks (!) and David Ruffin (!!). Morris was on the show to promote his solo record, Daydreaming, but who cared? Nobody cared. The crowd only wanted to see him order Jerome to throw that lady in the dumpster, talk about his home (oh lawwd is it exciting), then close with “Get It Up” and finish with a shoutout to Madame CJ Walker for being a perm visionary. Morris worked with Prince!, even I, noted Morris fan, would’ve said if I had been in the audience during the taping. Do you think he can introduce me to Prince?? Hey, do you guys like my Prince shirt? Can Prince really not get that hip transplant he needs because of the Jehovah’s Witness blood-transfusion thing? PrincePrincePriiiiiiiince. With that lineup it must’ve been a super rad episode, especially for this particular blogger who is a noted Temps groupie, but a super symbolic episode too. Soul Train #17.23 is just so very typical of Morris’ experience in the industry. He’s a man with the good fortune and smarts to have linked up with musical meteor Prince, and appear on the same TV program with THE GOD David Ruffin and a rapping fake-Englishman with style, but relative to all of his co-stars, he’s always the less-dope. Always. It’s not like Morris Day made me die and ascend to Sexy Heaven on a grassy field in ’08. I mean, neither Mouth nor I have a Morris Day shirt, youfeelme:
Same thing for Buddy. “Buddy Miles: Flamboyant Jimi Hendrix Drummer, Dies” went his typical obituary headline in 2008. “Buddy Miles, 60, of Hendrix group Band of Gypsys, Dies.” Buddy was Jimi’s sideman even in death, though in life he seemed more cheerful about being constantly overshadowed by his musical associate than Morris ever felt about being overshadowed by you-know-who (ahem, cranky quotes from Mr. Day in the most recent issue of WaxPo). “Morris” was at least his real name, though – Buddy wasn’t even a Buddy; he was a George who was nicknamed Buddy in honor of drummer Buddy Rich, a common activity for jazz people (like his dad, a bassist). I can respect the practice of naming-in-musical-tribute, but it still seems it like would do a number on your manhood. Did George feel hollow inside his whole life? Did he feel like he wasn’t good enough? And have I just developed a whole back story about the ego struggles of a man in my record collection whom I’ve never met?
2. VOCAL SKILL TO EXPRESS WEATHER-RELATED DESPERATION.
Buddy Miles was from Nebraska but spent much of his music career in Chicago. The Time are Minnesotans. Delicate, thin-skinned California female that I am, catch me NOT being in any of these locations during the winter, thank you. It’s a frigid 58 degrees on this Los Angeles evening; I need to be wrapped in a blanket and held close.
It’s not like Buddy or Morris were terribly skilled, vocals-wise. Neither was fucking with my heart Anthony Hamilton-style. But they both made up for lack of vocal power and range with the charm and good hair required of all frontmen. Morris was cool about it (“bearskin rug/fireplace too”) and Buddy was pleading about it (“You’re my heart’s delight/Oh baby don’t you know you’re outta sight/Oh when I can’t find a reason or way, no no no no no no no no”), but in the case of both men, they used their bag of musical tricks to convince female bodies to keep them warm, because it’s FUCKING FREEZING.
This damn category gave me a gang of trouble at first. It’s not impossible to link Buddy and The Time through rap-breaks use; it just seems that way because of The Time’s minimal album output and very minimal history of having their stuff mined for breaks. If DJ Assault also took a Buddy Miles song and laid it over a ’97-warehouse-bursting-with-love lady vocal, my work here would be done, the link would be established and I could just pack it in, submit the blog post and lay my body down on my comfy couch, Blue Dream & Lean on the iPod (still! Like 2 months later! GO J.). Alas, there’s no ghettotech Buddy Miles remix, which is why WaxPo enlisted me to find the hidden commonalities. Linking the two albums takes the nerdiest of brain circuitries and a lot of free time, both of which I have, lucky for WaxPo:
The cleanest way to connect the two is to start with Buddy’s cover of Neil Young’s “Down By the River.” It’s been chopped and looped extensively by producers, but of course the one for whom I have the most affection is Diamond D, who once said I got a thousand old records in my crib, thereby securing his place in my heart for all time since I got that many of that exact same thing! But I also have a thousand new mp3s in my crib, courtesy of Kevin, my generous 17-year-old cousin with great taste in music; I rely on him to keep my DatPiff game strong, since I do not have time to go through heaps of new daily rap offerings, daily rap news. I didn’t even know Snoop was officially dabbling in Rastafarianism until last week. Shit is, as they say, exhausting. (Thanks for the help, Kev!)
This’ll be our year of coming to grips with the “old enough to have baby-sat current rappers when they were kids” reality, guys. I could be the great-grandma of Chief Keef, whom I believe is just now starting on solid foods. RZA is doing things like this now. There is an actual recorded piece of music by the corny-human trifecta of Chris Brown, Big Sean, and, fucking hell, Wiz Khalifa, aptly called “Til I Die,” since the title describes the length of time that I would’ve been satisfied going without hearing a song with those 3 on it. (Be sure to catch Tebow, Sean Hannity, and people who use the term “YOLO” on the More People Logan Can’t Fucking Stand remix.) I’m lucky that my college-years hero El-P is still around, aging gracefully, ruling, making rap songs that sound like rap songs with his friends, Larry David Davis references and all. Banner’s still large and in charge, shouting out Louis C.K. “for the inspiration” and making me smile. There’s all kinds of new drug raps too, new feelings to behold, like Lil B with all those Flame tapes, a different flavor for every mood, and hey!, would you look at that, even Warhol loved Addy. Aesop Rock’s on Rhymesayers now, so that’s fun. Nickatina will never stop, not ever. Denmark Vessey had last week’s Logan-Walking-Down-the-Street-in-a-Sundress jam. And actually it’s kind of cool that these days second-generation sample sources continue to dominate – most of Curren$y’s discography immediately comes to mind (I believe it was either Monsta or Dame who used that Outkast that sampled the Five Stairsteps-?). Inspirational sample sources should be included in this group too – songs like Smif n Wessun’s “Gunn Rap” from ’05, on which Khrysis looped the pretty clavinet from “Down by the River” and probably got the idea to do so by listening to that Akinyele album over and over (produced by Main Source). This is pure speculation on my part about Khrysis’ inspiration sources, but c’mon son. I’m not an idiot.
(Khrysis now produces Mac Miller, which means he has the hilarious, disjointed words “Producer of Sean P, Cormega, and Mac Miller” on his ASCAP credits. Rap game hilarious.)
Andre Lewis played that clavinet on “Down by the River,” and on Johnny “Guitar” Watson’s “Lovin’ You,” used by Just Blaze on Jay-Z’s “People Talkin” during Blueprint-era Jay – AKA Kanye-era Jay, according to Kanye, who went on to sample a bunch of Prince songs. But a funner way to link back to The Time is to reference that Kanye song about lesbians and French robots in which he mentions the length of time that he has been fond of a lady (since Prince was on Apollonia – 2 persons who starred in a movie with Morris Day). I’d like to take a moment to ask if anyone out there can link Buddy Miles to The Time via Kool Keith’s “Like Prince, all the panties hit the floor in one room in Paisley.” If it’s you, I think we’re supposed to get married. Email me for directions to my apartment. I have a comfy blue couch and this is already on the hi-fi:
4. VENKMAN, SPENGLER, STANTZ, ZEDDEMORE.
Ray Parker Jr., famous for the Ghostbusters theme (and, in my apartment, famous for producing “Mr. Telephone Man”), played on All the Faces of Buddy Miles which came out four years after Them Changes. Parker was a Barry White associate; he played on “I’m Gonna Love You Just a Little More, Babe.” The Cecil Holmes Soulful Sounds’ version was sampled on Mos Def’s “Grown Man Business,” the producer of which was who?
Dueling online dictionary sources tell me Minnesota means either “sky-tinted water” or “cloudy water” in the Dakota language; either way, it’s lovely and evocative. Minnesota is the home state of a band called The Time, a corporation called Target, and a lake called Minnetonka, which of course means “Don’t get my seat all wet, topless lady” in the Chippewa language.
[Nerd tip!: Fun with translations can continue endlessly via the “also known as” feature on imdb. In Portugal, Purple Rain was released as the ridiculously appropriate Viva a Música. In the Netherlands, Ghostbusters was called Het Bovennatuurlijke Superspektakel – “Supernaturalism Super Show”! SO FRESH. If you were in Denmark in 1984, you no doubt went to see the hit film Frækkere end Politiet Tillader, about a police officer in Beverly Hills who’s a huge Detroit Lions fan: “Kinky Cop.” Love it. And please, just one more – Dead Presidents has nothing to do with this post, but I had to include it because of its Brazilian title: Ambição em Alta Voltagem, AKA “Ambition High Voltage,” which also just happens to be my future mixtape title. (It’s a concept tape about how I plot to meet Rick Ross just so I can electrocute his vocal cords, thereby saving the rap game, hashtag YOUREWELCOME.)]
5. CHERCHEZ LA WHITE GIRL.
They were in Grand Central and Band of Gypsys, with Prince and Jimi, respectively: Morris and Buddy were the bandmates of frontmen who really really liked white ladies who fall somewhere on the prettiness scale between “eh” and “gorgeous.”
I’m too prim and ladylike to post this but a link is OK.
An image search for hendrix + girlfriend makes Jimi’s fondness pretty clear. Same for Prince, who usually likes ’em musically inclined and brunette, much to my dismay since I am neither. A blonde does appear in the Prince mix every so often, however – there’s a funny part in Alan Leeds’ piece in the most recent issue of excellent magazine Wax Poetics in which he describes being on the road with with the band in ’83 during the 1999 tour. Prince was still with Vanity at the time, or maybe not (it’s Prince, so who knows if he believes in monogamy or if the role of Main Chick is simply given to the woman he can trust the most to look after his guitars while on tour).
“Jill Jones was also around him a lot (at the time),” Leeds says, innocently, “and I wasn’t really sure what that meant.” (I’ve sent Alan an email with a description of exactly what I think that meant). Morris’ personal feelings about white women are unclear, since his feelings about all women are unclear; it appears that women provide no actual romantic fulfillment for Morris’s soul and simply serve as tokens with hips, currency in his game of Big Bank Take Little Bank against his rival, Prince. Ladies are the alive, pretty version of little plastic pieces with which he hopes to sink Prince’s battleship. Viola player Novi Novog (the Miri Ben-Ari of her day) makes an appearance on Ice Cream Castle, though, so let’s just assume Morris found us irresistible. My completely unbiased opinion is that we’re irresistible. All white girls are sweet, patient, and we don’t ask too many questions. We’re great at cooking steak. Plus we smell fresh always, like Snuggle. Irresistible! In ’84 we got bit parts in movies if we were cute and had connections to musical men; in ’12 you can catch us getting engaged to Dwayne Carter, ruining NBA marriages, flipping off the camera and making kissy faces on Tumblr like idiots, trying to get you to switch to T-Mobile, writing the NWA biopic, and acting inappropriate while in our underwear, Blue Dream & Lean on the iPod. Shoutout, by the way, to consistently-lovable Uncle Juice for shouting out white hoes on “Been Gettin Money.” It’s a compliment, guys. I just can’t explain why.
6. THE GREEK/ROMAN PANTHEON + THE GOD JEREMY SCOTT.
’83: In keeping with his theme of naming his protégées like Bond girls who do porn in their spare time, but really classy porn where the female leads are worldly and speak 3 languages, Prince gives new harem member Patty Kotero the name “Apollonia.” This is in reference to Apollo, Greek god of music and Harlem, leading me to (incorrectly) believe all these years that Ms. Kotero is part Greek. Apollo was entertained by a scamp named Hermes who could make bewitching sounds with his lyre, just like Prince. Hermes wore winged sandals because he was the primary messenger between the gods and humans.
’11: “Whine, whine,” goes the chorus of cranky people upset by the prolonged hunger for Jeremy Scott designs among the 17-year-old cousins of the world. “His stuff is so garish! Whinewhine, bitch moan whine, back in my day, whine.” I know from personal anecdotes and rap lyrics that A$AP Rocky, Danny Brown*, Das Racist are fans, as are all the dudes in line outside of A$AP mob, Danny Brown, and Das Racist shows. Jeremy enjoys the artistic freedom (plus that Adidas money) to make Garanimals for the modern gentleman’s foot — Mickey Mouse and plush panda heads on shoes, unicorn horns, goretex, blood diamonds, candy paint. People love em, people hate em. Rap game’s a parade and you have to have confidence in your costume. The point is that whether it’s J Scott, Jesus pieces, Margiela, or Snoop showing up on SNL in that XXXL Hilfiger jersey in ’94, everybody says you’re trying too hard or not trying hard enough. Anyway, I know from my cousin’s Instagram stunting that Jeremy’s winged shoes were all the rage last year. The design was perhaps an homage to Hermes the Greek god—who, in Roman mythology, is known as Mercury, which is also the name of the record label that put out Them Changes! COSMIC! Pretty-rapper favorites Rick Owens and Raf Simons were also contenders in this category, but it turned out they have no connection to Ice Cream Castle or Them Changes, or to Greek mythology. So Jeremy Scott, you pointy-eared weirdo: you win. And I’m not sure how to factor it in here, but it’s also important to keep in mind that when it comes to the pantheon of Greek gods, Keak’s the black Zeus.
* “Bitches skinny dippin in the lake: purple rain” — “Horny Zebra,” Danny Brown. This makes perfect sense, since “horny zebra” is what Morris asked for at the tailor when he went in for his Purple Rain wardrobe fitting. It ended up on the lapels of his shiny gold jacket during the “Jungle Love” performance scene. One day I’ll do a post entirely about Purple Rain fashion, including Morris’ sexy suits and the unparalleled radness of Billy’s Tigers hat, MY LORD.
[As an alternate route, you could start with the Jeremy Scotts on the feet of Kool AD, thizzin in his Derrick Rose jersey. This would provide a nice tie-in to the legend that Prince’s decision to shelve the Black Album in ’88 was brought on by a bad Ecstasy trip (unlike Adrock, who had a beautiful experience). People want to believe the Prince-on-E story because it’s sexy all over; drug stories are sexy and Prince is sexy, and though it contains not one song that’s as sexy as “Crystal Ball,” the Black Album is pretty sexy. I understand the appeal of the E story, but it’s full of holes. People forget that Prince is too much of a control freak to ever try tripping on anything but Jehovah and basslines, plus maybe a splash of cognac when things get really stressful in the studio. As Salvador Dalí would later say, “I don’t do drugs. I am drugs,” aptly describing both himself and Prince. The tie-in to Them Changes is the legend that Neil Young wrote “Down by the River” while laid up in bed, not coming down from pills mane but feeling organically trippy mane – he had a 103-degree fever.]
7. DETROIT DANCEFLOOR SEX.
Before he was in Band of Gypsys, comprised of 3 dudes who made the noise of 10, Buddy played on Electric Ladyland with Jack Casady, bassist for Jefferson Airplane. Jefferson Ave. is the 2001 DJ Assault record that has your daughter doin things you don’t think she oughta. The sole premise of Assault’s music is I wanna see some asses wigglin, which proves he would be killer at managing a leotard-and-fishnets-based female music group with occasional singing, like Morris tried back in ’84.
There is no modern-day equivalent of the Morris-Jerome partnership, but Schoolboy Q’s “There He Go” video displays a similar dynamic (“sidekick, you stay 10 paces behind me and just back up everything I say because I’m the pretty one and you are not”). Kendrick being the Urkel to Schoolboy’s Stefon is a tragicomic fact of Los Angeles life. SBQ makes the ladies swoon. I live here; I see it. He and Blu walked down the street together last week and 8 girls got pregnant by sheer force of will.
The stunning cover of Ice Cream Castle was shot by Larry Williams, who later became a director on the show Oz — fitting, since, according to Morris, the Prince camp was prison, except with pocketsquares and gators. If the studio was 1940s Italy, then Prince was a tiny, sexy Mussolini who did not appreciate detractors. The Time wanted more creative control, which prompted Prince to reduce meals to once per day after he sensed there was mutiny afoot. The Revolution and The Time were then forced to make pruno in the woodshed behind Paisley Park. Anyway, Williams also directed videos for Iggy Pop, Keith Richards, Paul Simon, Prince.
Stars and stripes on the snare! The US flag’s been a favorite design concept of Buddy’s from his days with Electric Flag. He leaves the big bass drum plain, without any color or lettering. That’s because the snare is king; you know it, I know it, Buddy knows it. The stunning cover of Them Changes was designed by Burnell Caldwell, who did the cover of Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan (with the Little Brother break!). Chaka is a nice segue back to Prince, since the two of them are linked by “I Feel for You,” this video of “Sweet Thing” that I watch once a week, and their respective religious beliefs that people can never really explain.
Gatefold? More like greatfold, C’MONNNN.
The “3 dudes in the woods, 1970” tableau on the back of Them Changes – later recreated in the “3 dudes crouching by some plants, 1993” photo on the back of 21 & Over, and the “multiple dudes in the woods, 2011” of that gorgeous Dungeon Family photo in GQ.
1970 was the year of Them Changes, and of Cold Fact and Psychedelic Shack which would later appear in the apt. 680 Hall of Fame. It was also the year of Black Sabbath and Paranoid, records made by young men who had to work in factories and were pissed, obviously. You would be pissed. Ian Curtis wasn’t, because of his rich inner life and ability to detach, but Jimmy Smith jr. was fucking steamed. Bob Marley too. Joe Jackson was clearly pissed, having to work in the steel mill all day and then coming home to rehearse the boys, and goddamn Marlon couldn’t even get the dance steps right, always fucking up the turns.
The National Front party in Great Britain was gaining ground in 1970; it was a fascist, whites-only party that tapped into pissed-off white Britons’ fear of men who looked like Buddy Miles and had the ruthless hustle of Morris, in the UK to steal their jobs and the virginity of their daughters. Old issues of WaxPo explain the beautiful history of how the cold rhythmic dullness of factory work shows up in metal songs of the ‘70s and in Detroit techno in the ‘80s. And my copy of Vogue from last October can explain that, when faced with a shortage of foreign supplies during the difficult years of Fascist dictatorship in 1940s Italy, Gucci began experimenting with atypical luxury materials – hemp, linen, canvas. Its artisans had to innovate in the absence of usable materials. They used burnished cane to create the handle of the what they’d call the bamboo bag. It was a huge hit. Ladies covet it to this day because we’re pressured to consume conspicuously and never be satisfied with our current possessions, but the fact remains that you simply must respect this, the Gucci hustle. The story reminds me of Buddy and Morris innovating, using their respective materials to their respective advantage. Jimi was a shaman type, sort of distant and dreamy; by contrast, Buddy’s appeal was in his kindness, his goofy persona. Prince is moody as HELL and tiny; Morris capitalized on the fact that he’s a foot taller than him and always looks like he’s having fun. Play the hand you’re dealt, my southern grandma always says. The El-P equivalent is Tap that strength and burn with greatness.
Morris was 26 when Ice Cream Castle came out. Current 26-year-olds include Chris Paul, the Sleng Teng riddim, and LL’s Radio. To think that 1985 yielded both the thrilling song “Rock the Bells” and the unthrilling eyebrow clown J. Cole is a reminder of the ridiculousness of the universe, although the line “You bring the woodpecker; I’ll bring the wood” and the line “Money can’t buy you love ‘cause it’s overpriced” are both dumb, so maybe the universe isn’t as arbitrary as we think. Dilla was 26 when Fantastic, Vol. 2 came out. Keith was 26 when Critical Beatdown came out. Pharoahe Monch was 26 when Internal Affairs came out. Monch is a solid Twitter follow (he really realllllly likes his Giants, you guys) and had noted Beverly Hills street soldier Alan Maman produce his “No Mercy,” a song on which Brownsville showed up to be rad and tough in the human form of M.O.P. Alc’s sample source was Jerry Goldsmith’s “The Trap,” which was never used in a Jeezy song circa 2005 because the rap game is dumb and Collipark doesn’t respect my wonderful ideas. The song was, however, from the soundtrack to Bandolero!, a film most known in apartment 680 for providing me with this indelible image of my beauty/fashion/womanly-powers icon, Miss Raquel Welch.
M.O.P. did “Fight Club” with Fat Joe, whose verse mentions doin 30 in Washington Heights, somethingsomething automatic mac, who cares, Joey’s boring and I’ve never been a fan. 30 is the percentage of all Americans who have been arrested by the age of 23 – which is how old Buddy was when Them Changes came out. A$AP Rocky is 23, which is proven every time I see a picture of him in those stupid camo shorts, but the kid seems to be doing all right for himself. I have no outward style anyway, so who am I to judge. And for a quick link back to Morris: my scan of Twitter a minute ago reveals that the quality of A$AP groupies is shockingly sub-par until you remember that, like Morris, Rocky likes to always be the pretty one in the relationship.
“Gatorade bottle full of burgundy Carlo Rossi.” GUYS I JUST REALLY REALLY WANTED TO USE THIS PHOTO BUT JESUS CAN YOU BLAME ME, THAT THICK MANLY FOREARM LOOKIN LIKE A BIG OLE TURKEY LEG.
“Shoelace tied,” Juicy J says, coming with the footwear pun, “but a n—a still trippin.” This blog post has been delayed by my side assignment of trying to listen to the SIXXXXTYYYYY new songs on that E-40 album, Clever Slang Words for Everyday Things Such as Cars and Money. Sixty tracks! That’s so many a lady might even say it’s hella tracks, and so far I’ve only gotten through the first 6. (I don’t have the headphone stamina I did at age 17.) Track 2 is “They Point,” with J’s line above satisfying his contractual obligation to mention tangerine trees and marmalade skies at least once per song. Blotter raps. Love it. Love him. J’s beat-riding is so tight, his musical timing is so perfect – like Alexander O’Neal’s, who had perfect life timing and left The Time before it became The Time, and had a respectable solo career that did not require him to bow down to Prince. Game, set, match, Alex. “Saturday Love” is the freaking jam, too, right? Right, says Nickatina. Anyway, J rides the beat with such exactness that he could be in the J.B.’s circa 1970, taking orders from Mr. Brown to ride the beat, D-flat major, ride that goddamn beat. My orders to underwhelming rappers who do that thing of being too cool to ride the beat in 2012? RIDE THE BEAT LIKE FRED WESLEY AND THE JUICE MAN, IDIOTS.
Other than in Three 6 lyrics, acid had been an underused rap topic for years. It’s hard to write something in verse that tops the Woodstock-screwface story of Carlos Santana, frequent Buddy Miles collaborator. But late last summer, one of the A$AP guys (it was either Twelvyy or Nast; can’t tell em apart) rolled up in something foreign with a whole caravan of druggys and hoes and said Smoke somethin bitch! Or at least put this under your tongue, baby doll, then promptly turned my pupils huge and black, like pools of Valvoline. LSD’s psychedelic properties were discovered in 1943, when scientists were trying to find a cure for migraines. 1943 is also the year Sly Stone was born. Sly later rented a Bel-Air mansion for $12,000/month from John Phillips because of course he did, he’s Sly Stone, the fuck you think. And yes, I know where the mansion is, and maybe one day I’ll take you there like the Staple Singers.
$12,000 is the amount E-40 gave his high school alma mater for new band equipment, eliciting a huge AWWW from me. Earl Stevens can do no wrong. He is my lifelong English professor (Ball So Hard U) and clairvoyant ironic-lyric writer (“Watch out for that boy in the hoodie, man, he a monster”), and his power move of writing a big fat check so that the kids can have their fun reminds me once again that, even though sometimes it seems like it’s something to a boss, it is actually nothing to a boss. NOTHING. I’m the only one in my city who’s not in love with this “Recipe” song from Dre and Kendrick, because Ken’s sneer-growl flow is forced and I don’t believe the part about girls taking their panties off for him. PLEASE, KEN. There’s some hoes in this town but c’mon now. Plus I’m just mad that Beats By Dre cost half a fucking month’s rent. I am still in love with “The Recipe” from ’08, however, and not just because that th-th-that th-that could totally be ME as the cooking show lady with the Cali accent during the hook and intro.
There are 4 Jeromes in my world. Kern, Garcia, and Benton live in my record collection for their contributions in the arts of writing, singing, and, um, according to the verrrry generous and exaggerated Ice Cream Castle credits, “percussion and voice.” Ha. “Mirror-bringing” was too silly to include, I guess.
a) The fourth Jerome also has a spot in one of my crates, as a central figure in Nas’ “One Love” whose life takes a shocking turn after what was supposed to be a fun day at the beach. Q-Tip samples Parliament’s “Come in Out of the Rain,” co-written by Ruth Copeland, soulful Caucasian lady who loved bass and inappropriately-mini skirts, not unlike this particular blogger.
Copeland was married to Jeffrey Bowen, Motown producer and writer; he co-wrote Marvin Gaye’s “You,” the b-side of “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” – which Buddy sang as a California Raisin in ’88. The Raisins were claymation but they technically count as cartoons, yes? They were also labelmates with Eazy in ’88 (Priority), proving that children’s characters and lyrically hard rappers ran in the same industry circles way before Bieber x Rae in 2011. In ’01, Priority was also the label that released 504 Boyz’ “Wobble Wobble,” a song for which my enthusiasm knows No Limit, teehee. And though it took a while to the point in this post where a “Wobble Wobble” link was appropriate, goddammit here we are.
b) “Hoes love me: Jerome,” says Flatbush Zombies’ Juice. “Hoes love me. Jerrrome.” Also from Flatbush was pixel visionary Joseph Barbera, who went on to create the Jetsons. Elroy Jetson would later serve as the ultimate sonning metaphor by Guru, while big sister Judy got to live my dream of getting mentioned in a Dumile song (“Our next guest, a real cutie specimen/And she’s startin to get a little booty, Miss Judy Jetson”). The song samples Harry Nilsson, who later provided the soundtrack of Henry Hill’s coke paranoia in Goodfellas, hung out with John Lennon and probably also lots of coke at the same time, and played on 1968’s The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees along with Buddy Miles.
12. MY FANTASIES, DAYDREAMS.
COVER SONGS. The Time should do INXS’s “What You Need,” because Morris and Michael Hutchence both have that talk-sing thing down. And because Prince will cover INXS‘s “I Need You Tonight” in Music Heaven, making exactly one article of clothing come off of my body with every guitar-riff razor. His opening act will be Buddy Miles, who will cover something by the Black Keys to make one of their songs immediately rad and not annoying like they are currently. (“Baby I’m howlin’ for youuuu” is not something you can get away with singing when you look like my cousin Nick in Portland with the bubble goose vest, beard and earnest eyes). Alicia Keys, by the way, inducted Prince into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in ’04, which is real bottom-of-the-barrel casting; sorry, she is boring and I just don’t care for her voice. She was chosen only because, at the time, James Brown was dealing with domestic violence charges, Sly Stone was off Syd Barrett-ing somewhere, George Clinton was touring, Joni Mitchell was touring, Morris was busy with his guest spot on 227 plus he was bitter, and I was not famous enough (yet) to have done the honors.
Since Buddy did Neil Young’s “Down by the River,” The Time should so obviously do Neil Young’s “Cinnamon Girl,” at about three times the original speed. They’ll also need to add 2 heaping scoops of bass. Minneapolis stunt-funk bass, though – not Tennessee bass, or even Florida bass. I need some of that desperate bass, the kind that only men from a cold climate can muster. Neil Young’s song called “Are You Ready for the Country” should have its the title used for a track by Bun feat. Scarface, Juve from 10 years ago, and David Banner. Yelawolf’ll try to get on, but I’ll have to say no because of my integrity.
BREAKS. It’s possible to influence people as they sleep and give them perfect dreams, so who says I can’t shout my fantasy breaks out into the world and hope Ski or Monsta or Rick Rock or Necro hears me? I remain committed to my dream that Black Hippy will one day use the “Top Dawg/Bite em all” from “The Next Episode” in something. Please guys, it’s so perfect! Don’t make the same mistake Collipark did when he ignored my Jeezy idea in ’05. Until then, I’m focusing on:
a. Them Changes‘ “Memphis Train.” To be used by the fairly capable Don Trip in some song about his hometown, since he’s a Memphian (a fun new actual word I just learned). I foresee something for him involving the Alllllll right and that drum break at 00:44, then the bassline coming in. Since we’re at the tail end of the “rising synth”/”every song must sound like a video game” period in beatmaking (or perhaps it’s just a fantasy of mine), my timing of this beat idea is perfect. As usual.
The hook could also be a great break. “Train number one is gone,” Buddy sings, “Train number two is gone/Train number three is BEEN gone/Now how long must I wait for you.” I’d like MJG to use it in a song about his relationship with Suave House going sour. The train’s a metaphor for genuine industry friendship, a rare and precious thing that usually experiences a head-on crash somewhere down the tracks. Train’s gone, M! Or perhaps he could use it in a song about his lady leaving town to go to meet with the WaxPo editors to talk about her upcoming monthly feature-?
b. The part of “Paul B. Allen, Omaha, Nebraska” at 3:47 – 4:17 is rich with untapped fantasy breaks. As usual, YouTube commenters are able to articulate my deepest feelings about a song I’m dissecting in a blog post: “Check out that footwork! Ain’t no bass player on this tune, just the pedals of the organ!!” (You are correct, not-at-all-ridiculously-named bassbot69.) It also gets praise for being a truly dignified tribute to a musical hero, as opposed to Buddy doing a song called “Paul B. Allen Back” or Buddy doing a show with a Paul B. Allen hologram. Mr. Allen, by the way, owned Allen’s Showcase, an Omaha nightclub that nurtured local artists including a young Buddy Miles. The equivalent of a song by The Time would be called “Billy Sparks, Minneapolis, Minnesota.”
c. Morris’ “The Wright brothers can’t fuck with that” from “The Bird,” which in my daydreams and fantasies absolutely will be used by Jerm for a Curren$y song, JET LIFE, JETLIFEJETLIFE, EAUGH. This would make up for the tragedy that Morris’ “Think I wanna/Think I wanna file my nails” is a rap-song ready quote but there are no current rappers who are ironically-heteromasculine enough to get away with using that line.
d. Morris’ “You better find a brand new bag, cuz these is my drawers” from “My Drawers,” which absolutely should have been pitched-down and used in Devin’s “In My Draws,” even though the finished product is hard to argue with.
These ladies don’t seem to realize how valuable Morris’ time is.
Apollonia’s pretty-person-and awful-performer-who-works-with-the-right-producer(s) hustle was pretty solid in ’84. Such a hustle continues today in the form of horrendous Los Angeles music professional Game.
FIREARMS. (bonus category, because I’m enthusiastic and have trouble editing)
“Sex Shooter,” Apollonia 6. “Machine Gun,” Band of Gypsys.
Jimi produced Band of Gypsys under the name Heaven Research, a name that is so Prince-esque it makes me want to slap somebody. “Machine Gun” was about the jungles of Vietnam, which provides another connection to The Time, who did “Jungle Love.” If there were a Jimi loop used in Dilla’s “Jungle Love,” this section would come full-circle, wrapped up in a nice pretty bow and I’d be able to retire to the couch again, R.A.P. Music on the iPod. No such loop exists. However, Guilty’s “Without that loot, your instrumentals stay instrumentals” is such a Morrisesque thing to say. I just awarded myself partial credit.
“Yeah,” Morris says with typical shiny confidence at the end of “Jungle Love,” draining the open 3 in the seventh game of the series with home court advantage. “Thassssit thassit.” He’s the preacher who walks up and says Girl you look like you been sinnin, and he would definitely compliment my hips. (We already know from cinema that he’s an ass guy.) His yessss is a self-esteem booster, a greeting, an adjective, a compliment, a statement of fact, and a political platform. It’s like “swag,” you know, if I could get away with saying “swag.” I cannot. (I’m old enough to have baby-sat current rappers when they were kids.)
“People say I’m the baddest drummer,” Buddy said with typical modesty, “If that’s true, thank you world.” Morris never actually had to say words like this out loud, partly because he felt that his drumming spoke for itself, but mostly because talking about his drumming would take time away from talking about how great he is in bed. It’s lovely, though, to live among both the modest and the swaggy when it comes to men. A lady needs a variety of masculine types in her life, and of course in her record collection. Buddy’s long gone and Morris never calls me back, but if I could get the two of them in a room I’d inform them that the music industry is currently plagued by a lack of grown-man sexual mojo and I’d thank them for their contributions. xo.
Responses from Facebook
Leave a Response