Tuesday, July 28, 2015
ICONZ, CROOKED LETTAZ, CHEETO DUST, THE '02 VOKAL COLLECTION
I. INTRODUCTORY ANECDOTE
My first time grinding on a shorty came back in the days when Mommy bought you a Sean John tracksuit from Macy's junior department and dropped you off at the dance in her Toyota Previa. You'd complete the ensemble with some Dada Spreewell spinners and a throwback fitted, or maybe you'd just let ya frosted tips swang like, "Salute me or shoot me, I just don't give a fuck." There I was, hormones fully engorged on a glandular level, brushin my Cheeto 'gainst my lady while the DJ laced up a bowdlerized version of "Get Fucked Up." ICONZ was the crew, a missing link between the jiggy era and the ascendance of the South. I was just tryin to keep my orange dust off her Forever 21s.
Who knew they had a second album? I rode an algorithm from "Crooked Lettaz" to CROOKED LETTAZ. My Dirty Sanchez started twitchin when I heard this shit cause them delicately plucked strings had me thinkin it was Spanish Guitars time. Allmusic tellin me it's a koto, which seems sensual enough. This is how Japanese thugs express their sensitivity.
a). Hard to believe there was a five or six year period where N.O.R.E. was a borderline popstar. America was a land of opportunity.
b). DAVID BANNER'S whole career has been an identity crisis. Blame the industry? He came out in a confused era. The South was starting to define itself on a national scale. Spectators regarded the whole region as a monolithic slab. "Like A Pimp" was a hit, but it was only a partial representation of Banner's persona. Great as it was, it played into preconceived notions. Few had developed a sophisticated vocabulary vis-a-vis Southern rap, so Banner got lost in the shuffle with the dregs of the Class of '03, a victim of timing as much as geography. Anyone coming from the South was viewed as the Other. Outside of DUNGEON FAMILY, there was no context for a rapper capable of introspection and club bangers; even then, DRE had to put on a wig and some silver pants before anyone saw him in the mold of P-Funk or Coltrane. You can't flex ya nuance when mothafuckas wanna paint you with a roller.
Then KANYE came out with his Benz & backpack routine, and JAY-Z dropped his belated headwrap verses big-uppin KWELI and COMMON. Banner tried ridin that wave like, "Hey, that's me! I'm like that too, guys!" But it was too late, his boogie board foundered, and he's spent the rest of his career on a road trip tryin to figure out who the fuck he is. Let me know if he ever finds out.