Tuesday, June 25, 2013



So yo, I was watching dat A$AP ROCKY "Peso" video da other day, tryna remember who made dem bone shoes in the video.  I was invited to a very high society wedding and wanna ensure I'm not gonna embarrass myself with some bum-ass gear, you feel?

As I was watchin, I paused to read dis cat's tshirt ("OUR TAXES PAY 4 COPS WHO PROTECT BANKING ELITES BOYCOTT FEDERAL RESERVE" - dat's some convoluted shit, bruh bruh).  After digesting dat white-T agitprop, I noticed a curious figure in da background.  In the midst of A$AP's "mobbin with the crew" moment, a staple of da NYC rap video, one notices a chubby white dude in a swagless outfit consisting of a purple shirt, khaki shorts and I dunno, probably dem clunky-ass New Balances.  He even got a bitchass totebag or some shit slung over his shoulder, probably from Whole Foods or some wack wine store that don't even sell Mad Dog 20/20.  Typical NYC yuppie.  Wasn't there an editor who could've ixnayed this simp?

Now we all know A$AP ain't exactly the most thugged-out cat on the block, but does this not in itself reflect the gentrification of his native city?  I means, take a look at a MOBB DEEP or JAY-Z or WU-TANG or BLACK MOON video that features mobbin shots.  Ain't no white yuppies accidentally steppin in the frame!


Now these two images is, respectively, from M.O.P.'s "Ante Up" video and GROUP HOME's "Supa Star" video, precursors to the mobbin-in-front-of-da-bodega trope that A$AP's "Peso" continues.  These dudes look hard (no homo) - good heavens, da cat on the right in the GROUP HOME video is in the act of drinking a 40 oz. of malt liquor! - and contextually, it's hard to imagine they would let a NPR-listening poindexter pass without some form of rude commentary and/or public humiliation.

What's the basis for this change?  Does NYC's gentrification coincide with NYC hip-hop's own cultural gentrification?  A$AP occasionally raps about some street shit, but it's usually half-hearted and unconvincing.  His thematic focuses are swag, fashion, and exploring the multi-layered Pretty Motherfucker persona.  All da aforementioned '90/early-'00s rappers were decidedly on some street shit; fashion for them was limited to KARL KANI or FUBU.  Is this shift in subject matter rooted in da gentrification of the artist's surroundings?  Is it a sign of racial progress that soft white cats can stroll breezily through a Harlem video shoot and not be hassled by a young black rapper and his posse?  Was the purple shirt dude in FIGURE I actually gettin heckled but blocked it out by listening to his IRA GLASS podcast?  And where was the video editor for all of this?

IDK.  The world is changing.  There are ski slopes here in Jackson Hole that I wouldn't have dared sully my Salomons with just a few years ago - now I can shred the gnar without having to clutch my purse close or look over my back.  CHUUUUCH!

Thursday, June 20, 2013



Oh shit dude, it been a minute ain't it?  But fo rilla, ya boy been locked up.  Got roped on some bullshit indecent exposure charges, but ain't you supposed to diddle yoself in a porno theatre?  I think it was all a set-up, 'cause the MAN wants to contain the dangerous truths I be leakin' on this website.

But yo, what I really came here to talk about is this legendary BET cipher featuring NICKI MINAJ, OJ DA JUICEMAN, and WAKA FLOCKA early in they careers.  I think it was '09 or something?  I dunno.  Dey was rollin fresh off the noise GUCCI MANE was kickin at the time; we talkin Burrprint and Cold War era, before the cocaine, before the ice cream face tat, before GUWOP!

At this time, WAKA FLOCKA and OJ DA JUICEMAN were just Brick Squad weed carriers hungry to eat the waffle cone crumbs from GUCCI's bib.  NICKI had yet to release an album.  Da Internet straight clowned dis cipher when it dropped, e.g. Who da fuck is these shortbus-ridin cretins?,  but let's revisit it with three years worth of hindsight and context.

Before this NICKI was mainly known for her breathy, unremarkable appearances on LIL WAYNE mixtapes.  When da Internet heard her new weirdo style in this cipher, they clowned her cause they wasn't ready.  It was a classic case of the SHOCK OF THE NEW, like when STRAVINSKY dropped his Rites of Spring mixtape and heads went nuts moshing and punching bitches.  We was all, "What the fuck girl, is you on crack?"  But now that we have been familiarized with NICKI's style, it don't sound as silly as it once did.  Yeah her performance is a bit awkward and goofy like she popped too many Valiums before grabbin da mic, but now it's just NICKI bein NICKI with a subpar delivery.

OJ has had a lower profile in recent years, but his verse is prolly the best of da three.  Just straight greazy ignorance.  He raps like a happy illiterate child and who are we to knock the special guy?  He's just a simple soul havin fun pretending to be a big bad cool rap guy.  Don't burst his bubble.

WAKA's verse is the strangest.  When you think WAKA you think energy.  It's fight music for when you've been smokin crack all night and wanna get antisocial.  But here he's just all sheepish and shy, as if his aunt brought him out at her bridge night and was all, "Joaquin, you're a rapper!  Sing one of your rap songs!" and instead of rappin in da trap with his Brick Squad Killas, he was forced to rap in front of nice middle-aged ladies eating crumpets and drinking Earl Grey who don't really understand what he's doin, but he loves his aunt and wants to make her proud so why not rap a few bars?