Wednesday, September 29, 2010

128 Oz. of Haterade: The Rundown

Das Racist, Sit Down Man - "Das Racist, the number-one slept-on/You can't see us like quarks and leptons." That quick little line right there is very emblematic of the fine line straddled by Brooklyn-based Das Racist. Combining danceable beats with subject matter that seems to be about everything and nothing at the same time, the combo of Himansu Suri and Victor Vazquez have created one of the catchiest mixtapes I've listened to in quite a while. Blending hardcore hip-hop sounds with nerd-rap references, Latino music samples ("Julia"), distorted pounding beats ("A Roc Marciano Joint") and even getting a guest verse from the out-there-extraordinaire El-P (the title track), Sit Down Man is a great antidote for the current, stagnant pop-rap scene.

Lil' Wayne, I Am Not a Human Being - Maybe I'm just missing something about Weezy F. Baby. Probably not, though. Mostly, I'm just not impressed. Okay, you made like a million songs. That's great. But unlike Das Racist, who display a wide palette of sonic dexterity, there's hardly any variation throughout the entire course of Human Being, and there isn't much clever about lines like "You n****s is squares like a motherf*ckin' grid." Slow, plodding beats and cornball attempts at being some kind of southern-bounce R. Kelly characterize the majority of the album.

Buju Banton, Before the Dawn - The latest news about Buju Banton isn't his latest disc... it's his trial on drug-trafficking charges. Apparently a Florida-area police informer has recordings of the reggae/dancehall star participating in a scheme to smuggle coke. Having come a long way from his "Boom Bye Bye" days, however, Buju's more-recent work has had a much more spiritual bent to it, and Before the Dawn is no exception. Tracks like "In the Air," "Do Good" and "Battered & Bruised" are positive anthems of struggle and upliftment. There are a few questionable detours, most notably into early-'90s-rock territory with "No Smoking At All." All in all, I don't know if it's what the press release refers to as "the prophetic new album," but it's definitely got its moments.

A few other quick-hits:
Big Remo & 9th Wonder, Entrapment - Big Remo holds it down, but the most notable thing about this LP is that 9th Wonder occasionally wanders out of the sped-up-soul-sample box he's been trapped in for seemingly ever.
Brian Wilson, Reimagines George Gershwin - The legendarily quirky Beach Boy doesn't so much reimagine Gershwin, as replace classical instruments with pop ones. There are a few interesting numbers, particularly "Summertime" and a Pet Sounds recasting of "I Got Rhythm" as a beach anthem, but overall, it's just alright.
Mavis Staples, You Are Not Alone - Now this one is the real deal. Staples got together with (of all people) fellow Chi-town native Jeff Tweedy, from Wilco, who wrote a few songs and helped Mavis put together a slammin' old-school R&B record. This set would fit right in with the rest of the Staples' discography, and probably sounds even better live.
Zac Brown Band, You Get What You Give - This album is a lot more country than I was led to believe the Zac Brown Band sounded. That said, the most shocking part is probably the fact that the song featuring Jimmy Buffett doesn't completely and absolutely suck. Well, that and "Whiskey's Gone," where Brown tells a bartender to "lick his sack." Not a joke.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

My Campaign to Force Chris Berman to Shave

Chris Berman's disastrous decision to grow what appears to be a 1970s-style "upside-down Hook-'em Horns" 'stache can only result in one of two things:

1) He will get beat up for trying to out-Ditka Mike Ditka
2) He will get beat up for trying to out-Burgundy Ron Burgundy

So consider this my digital petition to persuade Boomer to shave. Feel free to leave your comment as a signature. STOP THE INSANITY!

Besides, this is going to make him look even MORE curmudgeonly the next time someone catches him on video yelling at a production assistant for the unforgivable crime of moving around off-set.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Intolerance and Ignorance from the Deep South? SURELY YOU JEST

INTERNATIONAL Burn a Koran Day, eh? That's a little
presumptuous, don't you think, you uneducated redneck?

Opposing the construction of a New York City mosque because you don't know enough about the tenets of Islam is something that reasonable people can debate.

Burning Korans on Sept. 11 in order to purposefully denigrate one of the world's major religions? Well, that just shows you're an intolerant asshole. If you don't believe that, try to imagine what the f*ck would happen if anyone, Muslim or otherwise, staged a Bible-burning on Christmas.

I'll tell you one thing that would happen. The redneck hate-mongering sh*t-ignorant minister in the photo above would probably try to cut the heads off everyone involved, and he would say it was done "in Jesus's name." (sorry: "JEEEEEEEEZUS'S NAME!")

Oh yeah, and let's not forget that Gen. David Petraeus and several Pentagon officials warned against this utter stupidity, saying it may provoke attacks on U.S. troops abroad. Right now I am watching a newsfeed of Afghans burning a U.S. flag just in the anticipation that this MIGHT happen.

So go ahead, Gainesville, Fla.-based mini-church - they have about 50 members - with your Koran-burning... you know what, there's no reason arguing about this, because this minister just said in a national news interview that "it would be tragical" if U.S. troops died because of it. Tragical... well, there's no arguing with someone this stupid. So forget it.

I am, however, 100 percent in favor of a draft sending every single person who participates in the Koran-burning to Afghanistan to serve a two-year tour of duty.

Really, what's most upsetting about this is the complete and utter silence on the part of Republican leadership, who pride themselves on being the country's Big-Dick Patriots, the ONLY party who truly supports the troops. If that were really the case, the GOP would come out against this (because let's just be honest: this minister and every single person in his congregation are clearly Glenn-Beck-watching, tea-bagging red-staters).

P.S. Yes, Florida is the Deep South. Pretty much anywhere outside the municipal limits of Orlando, Miami, Tampa and Tallahassee is the Deep, Deeeeeep Motherf*ckin' South.

Friday, September 3, 2010

C'mon, Tuesday Night...


So after the first two seasons - and the cliffhanger second-season ending I definitely didn't see coming - I'm pretty geeked up about the season 3 premiere of Sons of Anarchy this Tuesday (10 p.m., F/X). It's pretty clear to me that the Irishman who stole Jax's baby is headed to Mexico... since he'd have to sail the whole way around South America to get back to Ireland.

Once the Sons pursue him, that puts them on Mayan turf. I gotta believe Alvarez is gonna place a call to the chapter in Tijuana or Culiacán or Tamaulipas or wherever. Then again, Clay and SAMCRO know that Alvarez got hoodwinked by the Zoebelle and his white-supremacist homeboys, and could use that to their advantage.

There's also the Clay-Jax dynamic, which needs sorting out. They made peace with one another by way of Gemma's tragic situation, but it's still bubbling under the surface. We'll have to see.

Come onnnnn, Tuesday night...

Allow Me to Relay the Most F*cked-Up Dream EVER

Alright... this post is going to be pretty far outside the norm, even for me. But I can't keep this one to myself. For some reason, over the past few weeks, I've been having some of the most f'd-up dreams since I was a kid (you know, when my dreams were mostly about dinosaurs and, occasionally, about catching massive neon salamanders while saltwater-fishing with my granddad).

But the piece de resistánce came last night. Let's hit the highlights:

Part One: My wife and I are hanging out with just about every friend we've ever made in our entire lives, in a series of giant, interconnected treehouses somewhere in the forest. I'm hanging out with a friend who offers me some weed, to which I respond, "No way man, I don't smoke, and even if I did, I can't be smokin' weed. I have to pass a piss test for my new job!" I leave and head to another treehouse...

Part Two: My wife and I have a huge fight over something I couldn't recall upon waking up. Regardless, it rages to the point where we are on the verge of divorce. She leaves and heads to another treehouse to vent to some of her female friends. I follow her, and am standing below her and her friends, still arguing, and for some reason, throw a plastic bowl that hits her in the neck. One of her friends rips me a new one in front of everyone, and says I should just get lost...

Part Three: My old boss, an Irish priest from my college work-study job, emerges from one of the treehouses, and orders me to drive immediately back to Duquesne University to put gas in one of his four cars, which are in a garage at the college. I jump in my car and head out. However, when I get to Duquesne, all of the buildings are skyscrapers, they're not in the same place they used to be, and I absolutely cannot find my way around...

Part Four: A car screeches up to me, and inside are two "men in black," CIA types... and one of the guys from the original Budweiser "Wazaaaaaaaaah?" commercial. They order me into the car to help them complete some sort of spy mission. I tell them I can't, I'm about to divorce my wife and I have to get back to the forest treehouse complex.

Unfortunately, this is where the dream ended. The only part I can logically explain - believe it or not - is the guy from the Bud commercial, since I was just re-watching it the other day.

Top that. If you can, email or leave a comment.