Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Turns out, The Clipse are for real

It's been a minute.

For those that don't know, Anthony Gonzalez, an associate of the Clipse, and by associate, I mean former manager and owner of their current booking company, was just indicted for running a drug ring out of a Virginia Beach night club. Thing is, this wasn't any night club and this wasn't any ordinary drug ring. The joint was closed down last year after over one hundred 100!!!!! violent incidents including shootings, stabbings, and things we can't even begin to imagine. And Gonzalez didn't just sell a little bit of drugs, it's alleged he moved over a ton, aka more than a small elephant, or marijuana and over 100 pounds of cocaine. The Clipse booking agency was one of many corporations he used to launder his drug money. So it turns out, the Clipse could be very for real. And while I'm sure there's a lot more to do in Virginia than they claim, I don't think they explored the battlefields of Valley Forge too often.

A few days later, Malice released the following video which he claims he made before all of these cockamamie arrests. In it, he discusses his own raps and basically says, "yeah, we exaggerate." But the quote that follows is telling:

“There’s a lot of foolishness in hip-hop...And I just want to say that I am and have been a part of the problem, the thing about it is I need foolishness in my hip-hop, I need foolishness in my movies. I happen to like that. To me a movie is not good unless you got some bricks being moved or a few people get killed. I guess basically what I’m saying is when I get in that booth and I start recording I can drive as many Bentleys as I want, I can hop on as many G5’s or drop as many tops as I want.“

The question is, what does this mean and what does this all mean to us? Now, I'm sure both the arrest and Malice's statement will be debated for a long time among heads in concert parking lots and in college classrooms, and I'm not trying to join that debate. But I will say this, there's been a lot of "damn, the Clipse are for real with their shit" and "props to the Clipse for actually being drug dealers" that I've seen online. And while there defiantly is a certain element of coolness to the total badassery of these dudes at this point, I can't help but think that it's worse to get all excited because they actually do bad things.

I think we all know Rick Ross doesn't know the real Noreaga and Jay-Z didn't move weight back in 88, but this is probably the most high level drug arrest linked to a rap group I can remember, and again, we are talking about a massive amount of destruction and violence associated with Gonzalez and his organization and it troubles me.
I guess I'm rambling, and I don't have anything truly intelligent to say about the issue so I'll leave it by knowing I'm going to continue to listen to The Clipse, and Gucci Mane, and Young Jeezy whether they are fake or real or halfway in between.

Thoughts?

Clipse feat Vybz Kartel -- Double Down


Malice Video Blog 1 from Malice of the Clipse on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Revisiting the Classics #2: Red Heat

Red Heat: 1988




What a time it was to be a child who loved movies. Nearly every week a new action film you had never seen was released to videocassette for your home viewing pleasure. Think about all the films you were too young to see in the theater but the world opened up to you when you went to the video store. You could rent any film and be transported into a magical world where Russian cops teamed up with crazy Chicago policemen causing havoc in a city so close to you as an eight year old you thought you could even hear the shattering glass and feel the explosions.

I always thought Red Heat was one of the greatest Arnold Schwarzenegger movies ever made. Certainly his most underrated, but also his realest film. No sci-fi, no all out war pitting him against the entire army of a fictional Central American* country , no CGI alligators, instead, a straight cop-buddy genre film. Of course, this doesn’t mean there’s not myriad opportunity for action, brutality, chases, shooting, amazing punch sound effects, and naked people fighting in the Russian snow.

The film opens in Russia. This is obvious because the first shot of the film is a Russian steeple. In fact, it could be the Kremlin, but it would seem odd that bathhouse we’re in (no homo) would be so close to the Kremlin. Anyway, there are like a million dudes working out and lifting weights and steam everywhere. A man shovels wood into the fire. Enter Arnold. He wears a towel with a key tied to a string. Is this key for his locker, or does this key tell us, “in this film keys are going to be important, particularly a small red key to a locker at a bus station in Chicago, and we the filmmakers want to hammer home this image of a key so you know to pay attention when we show you the red key later?”
Arnold walks over to a shady looking bearded man clearly from Russian’s outer provinces. The Mongolian says “you do not have hands of a man who works in a factory. Heat, you should know heat if you know factory.” The Mongolian’s henchman (who looks a lot like Zangief) takes a rock from the fire and puts it in Arnold’s palm. Arnold doesn’t flinch. Is it because he has hands of a man who has actually worked in a factory? Or is it because he is an UNDERCOVER RUSSIAN COP TRYING TO BUST SOME LOWLIFE DRUG DEALERS WHO ARE BRINGING THE AMERICAN POISON INTO HIS COUNTRY AND IN TWO YEARS THE PLACE WILL LOOK LIKE MIAMI?
The latter. Arnold takes the stone, makes a fist around it, and punches the Mongolian so hard he flies out the window into the Russian snow. Arnold leaps out the window and pummels him and Zangief till they tell him the whereabouts of Victor Rosta aka, Mr. Miami.
Arnold and his partner drive to find Rosta. On the way there, they talk about how they are both circumcised. They find Rosta in a café, which could just be, the most Russian café I’ve ever seen in my whole entire life. There’s a large fat, bearded, glasses-wearing, Lenin-looking man playing a Russian dirge on the piano. People are smoking , drinking vodka, and talking about revolution. Everyone in there wears traditional dress. Except a table of some low-life hooligans. There’s a girl with them with crazy dyed hair, a Russian punk rocker. Lowlife, useless, no better than a common whore. There’s a guy next to her with a mullet. Degenerate, lazy, no way does he have factory hands able to withstand the intense heat of a smoldering rock. But in the middle, there sits Victor Rosta, wearing a white trench coat that would make Cam’rom blush. “Why do you pick on us Georgians? We are such a simple people,” asks Rosta. Arnold isn’t buying it. I pick on you because you sell drugs, the American poison and soon you will make my whole country look like Miami, and by soon I mean exactly two years is what Arnold thinks.
But instead of saying it out loud, he picks up Mr. Mullet, throws him through the air, grabs his leg, TWISTS IT AND BREAKS IT OFF, holds it upside down and drugs just pour out of this leg, I mean just pour. Rosta runs, hella cops chase him, and Arnold’s partner is about to put cuffs on him when Rosta pulls a gun from his sleeve and shoots him. Dead.
He flees to America and meets up with a black dude in a phone booth who gives him half a torn $100 (which confused me when I was 8) and tells him to come back at 3 with it and all will be good. Here’s the problem: Jim Belushi, aka Chicago’s craziest cop, is on a stakeout with Laurence Fishborne outside of phone booth guy's apartment. As they go up to arrest him, and after a crazy shotgun using action scene, we find out this guy is a “cleanhead,” a member of a drug dealing, head shaving, prison gang, and he looks like a Chicago Bear whose poor performance once cost Belushi money.
Rosta goes back to the phone both but can’t get his drugs because the cleanhead was arrested. OY!
Back in Russia, Arnold learns, Rosta’s been picked up for a traffic violation and is sitting at county jail. Thing is, Arnold learns this via a fax message in Russian that is not subtitled, he and his fellow officers have a few conversations about how he’s going to America to grab Rosta, in Russian, but we never actually see Rosta getting picked up for a traffic stop. The viewer must use his intelligence and imagination to picture how what is talked matters, and how it must look. Which is awesome to do, but again, as an eight-year old, I want unable to read facsimiled Russian, and what did I care of expository scenes spoken in Russian? I was a little confused that he had been arrested.
Arnold is given instructions to go to America and bring Rosta back but no to tell them about Rosta and his dangers to the world. He lands at O’hare and already, Belushi doesn’t take too kindly to him. He wants him to hurry up and leave the airport because “I’m parked in a red zone….No offense!” Yeah, you could say the zingers never stop. And even if Belushi isn’t too welcoming, Arnold’s not exactly excited to be in Chicago and have his tour guide show him around. I mean he’s not hungry, he’s not thirsty, he has no interest in talking about his flight. We do get a small conversation about the weather.
“Nothing hotter than Chicago in the summer.”
Arnold: Yes
Belushi: It’s because of the humidity in the air. Humidity means moisture. Is it hot in Moscow?
Arnold: Yes. No moisture.
I think this was when and why I’ve always thought that if you want to be funny, you have to use the word moisture. Moisture.
Arnold insists on being taken to the same hotel Rosta slept at, he checks in and we learn neither he nor Rosta are Russian, they are both in fact Soviets. The next day they take Rosta out of jail and to the airport. They see he has a little red key but Rosta won’t tell them what it opens. And when Belushi asks, Rosta tells him, via Arnold’s translation “go and kiss your mother’s behind.” Belushi is furious. On the way to the airport, the cleanheads come, knock Arnold in the head, shoot the place up, and Belushi comes to the rescue. Rosta drops the key, Arnold grabs it.
Arnold decides to go undercover to find Rosta, even if he looks like Gumby. They meet with a pimp to try and get some info, and Belushi tells him about the Miranda rights and how it means, “you can’t even touch his ass.” Arnold is shocked “I do not want to touch his ass, I only want to make him talk.” MOISTURE. Arnold winds up breaking his fingers and finds out the shipment is coming in a few days and the deal is being brokered by a the head cleanhead at Joliet.
Arnold and Belushi go to Joliet to meet with the head of the cleanheads who gives Arnold a whole what have you about how he’s in jail because he’s a political prisoner and he sells drugs to the white man and Arnold is not having it one bit at all. We’ve seen how little patience he has when you call him an anti-Georgian. A racist? He doesn’t even want to hear it, he doesn’t even want to know about it! Arnold tells him if he thinks dealing drugs is political he needs to check himself, because “in my country, we are not like American police. You ship drugs to my country you wake up and find your testicles floating in a jar or water next to your bed.” Damn
They decide to go after Rosta’s girlfriend (Gina Gershon) who teaches a dance class in the flatiron building in Wicker Park, and this is even before Filter was there, so we’re talking like the 1920’s at least. Looks like swank frank was there though but the bodega was some bakery, and that shoe store for the ladies, no way. Not once, not never. Basically, I think aside from Shadi** who owns Sultan’s and grew up there, after seeing this shit, I don’t ever want to hear about how much Wicker Park has changed and how it used to be when this was here and that was there. Man,
Question? Is having a pet parakeet feminine? Arnold doesn’t think so, and Belushi wants him to know he agrees, not feminine at all. Belushi doesn’t like how the meeting went with Gershon and exclaims “I’m gonna bust that bitch so hard she bounces.” Moisture!
Meanwhile someone tries to fuck with Arnold about where he parked ("gimme ten dollars before I fucking mutilate your car" if you want the exact quote, I'm telling you Wicker Park used to be so much cooler. Violence! People who dressed like hipsters because they were actually homeless! And this was before it got "cool") and Arnold asks the man if he knows Miranda. “Never heard of the bitch the man replies.” Arnold knocks him out cold.
They find out what the key opens, they go to the greyhound station, there’s a big shoot out and bus chase and then Arnold kills Rosta.

Is Red Heat awesome, is it still a classic? Yes. In the 80’s cop buddy films were all the rage, first they teamed black cops with white cops, then actors researching a role with cops, then cops from foreign countries with American cops, the cops with animals, which sucked. Belushi and Arnold had such chemistry , you wished they made a sequel to this one, maybe putting Belushi in Moscow in one of those fur hats. But we're stuck with one, and it's golden. After all, Chicago’s craziest cop and Moscow’s toughest detective. You know the only thing worse than making them mad? Making them partners.

----

*Trivia: The fictional Central American country Arnold goes to in Commando is in fact the same fictional Central American country General Ramon Esperanza is extradited from in Die Hard 2.
**One time I was at Sultan’s, eating and talking to Shadi, yeah we’re tight, and we talked about how some Walgreens was opening up and I said, yeah, that kinda sucks. And he said, dude, I was born in a refugee camp in Jordan and that shit was safer than Wicker Park was when we got here. You’d much rather have that than a crackhead on the corner. I had been pummeled by truth, yet found much solace in our cross-cultural friendship.

Monday, April 20, 2009

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!










Thursday, April 16, 2009

2 great songs I have no business enjoying:

1. A found out about this guy by accident a while back compeltely by accident. This dude's name is Olu, and Nas's dad's name is Olu Dara. Olu Dara is one of the all time greatest musicans of all time, and in the course of trying to download everything and anything he's ever done, I came across this song, Baby Can't Leave it Alone, and thought, if Nas's dad can play all the crazy types of music he plays, and can do late 90's quiet-storm sounding R&B, he's the best dude ever. Anyway, this isn't Nas's dad, and it's a great song I have no buisness enjoying.



2. This one I just heard yesterday morning on V100.7, which half time can mean it's a horrible song, but let's not forget, this is the radio station that dropped and put R. Kelly's Ignition (not the remix) in heavy rotation before any other radio station in the world had even heard of such a song. I remember they actually played it twice in a row, literally the dj played it once and then said, and this is a direct quote, ""ummm, I think America needs to hear this one again," and then asked people if it was too risque to play on the radio. I believe the question was debated in the context of whether or not kids will know he's not actually talking about cars. I know the girl from the Wizard would object to such vile filth being on the radio when children can listen. Anyway, this joint is called The River and it's about a whole shitload of things form love, finding yourself, fleeing your hometown, and salvation. All I really care about is how the way he hits a couple of notes in the chorus. (pause?)

Here is the video
Here is the song

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

One Shinning Moment

To be played at speaker-shattering volume.

No shit, I seriously got this email

--- Forwarded message ----------
From: Harbert, Elizabeth
Date: Tue, Apr 14, 2009 at 4:35 PM
Subject: Raising baby camel
To: CVM Class of 2009 , CVM Class of 2010 , CVM Class of 2011 , CVM Class of 2012 , CVM Clinic Techs , CVM Clinical Faculty


Mike Dye is in need of someone who is interested in bottle raising a camel while he is out of the country for 6 weeks. The camel cow is due to calve in May. If you are interested in taking this paying job, please contact him for more details.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Paper Planes Remixes: A Remembrance

Remember when you couldn't walk five feet, pump gas, buy a pair of socks, sit in a bar, get a filet-o-fish, go on an airplane, make hummus, ride a bike, rent a movie, drink a cup of coffee, change a roll of quarters, play a game of field hockey, look out a window, canoe down a river, play paintball, read Highlights for Children, put ice in a glass, boil an egg, order Chinese food, pay your cellphone bill, hike up a mountain, schedule a meeting, tivo an episode of the office, or cut a sandwich in half without hearing Paper Planes?

Yeah, I do. That song was everywhere, and all at the same time. Did you know the song has many remixes? I"ll bet you had no idea. Many, many remixes. The only problem is, on all these remixes you still have to hear MIA, I wish there was a version that only had the rappers. Here is a guide to a few:

Paper Planes - Freeway
A little surprised by this one. But I guess Freeway is starting to enjoy a little bit of that "Clipse made me love/taught me everything I need to know about rap music" fan base.
Paper Planes - Bun B and Rich Boy
Needless to say, Bun B is on it, and Rich Boy, throwing some d's on the remix? Crazy. Just crazy.
Paper Planes - Jim Jones
You thought Capo was gonna sit this one out? Please. Dude's got an off-broadway play. Paper Planes is nothing.
Paper Planes - 50 Cent
So chopped together it's not even right.
Paper Planes - B Legit
B-Legit??????!!!!!!!!!???!!!! On Paper Planes? Who is B-Legit you're asking? Well you've come to the right place. B-Legit, co-founder of Sick Wid It Records along with his cousin E-40 is a Bay Area ambassador, local hip-hop legend, producer of fine beats, cultivator of bizarre strains of marijuana with even more bizarre names, and inventor of the terms "B-lah Blunts" and "B-La Geezy" to describe his over sized blunts rolled with the above mentioned marijuana. I would also argue B-Legit is the last rapper anyone would ever expect to hop on Paper Planes Remix. In fact, my list of Rappers least likely to rap over Paper Planes is as follows:
THE LIST
5. The old dude from Arrested Development that occasionally would get off his chair and do a little dance.
4. Sen-Dog (aka the dude that's not B-Real but often repeats what B-Real just said in a deep voice ) from Cypress Hill
3. Big Pun (and not because he's dead, because he was way to hardbody to jump on some current pop shit. For real, anyone that pistol whips their wife is not getting on a Paper Planes remix.)
2. Chingo Bling
1. B-LEGIT

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

America: Being America Again!







Yeah, season started yesterday, but the real season starts at 3:05 central time today.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Determination

video

Friday, April 3, 2009

Revisiting the Classics #1: The Wizard

I'd like to introduce a new feature here, a new on going, semi-regular segment called "revisiting the classics" in which we take classics and revisit them to determine if they are still classics.

Revisiting the classics #1: The Wizard -- 1989



Fred Savage lives with his father (Beau Bridges) and brother (Christian Slater.) They used to be part of a larger, happier family, but that ended when the youngest brother Jimmy went wacko after watching his twin sister drown in a river. Since then, Jimmy hasn't done much expect break apart the family, repeatedly try to run away to California, build things out of weird boxes, and carry a lunch box around with him at all times. The mother has long since divorced Bridges, and Jimmy lives with her and his new stepfather who does nothing but eat hot dogs.

Fred Savage decides to break his brother out of a mental hospital and try to make it to California. Bridges and Slater take off after them, and so does a private detective hired by their mother. Along the way they meet Haley, who also happens to be the coolest girl ever of all time. She helps them hitchhike their way to LA, and notices Jimmy is a video game prodigy. She tells them about a huge video game competition in LA, and they trek their way there, using her street-smart skills and Jimmy's video game prowess to hustle people out of their money along the way.

Slater, who brought his Nintendo with him (more on this later) bonds with his father over his new love of video games. Over the course of their journey, Bridges becomes such a gamer that Slater must do the work while the father plays the video games. In one side-splitting scene, Slater is busy at work in a junkyard fixing their truck. Bridges, who is has done nothing but play Nintendo, offers no help. Finally Slater has had enough, yells at Bridges and in a startling role reversal, UNPLUGS THE GODDAMN NINTENDO FROM THE WALL!!!

But back to the children. In some town they are told about some kid that's really really good at video games. They play him, but he opens up a box, and in the box is a power glove. He puts on the glove, and in the only time in the history of this device, nails it. He plays Rad Racer, and he's turning, accelerating, weaving back and forth between cars, man, you would think the power glove was actually not the biggest piece of shit of all time.

When the kids make it to Reno, Haley the Reno native, shows them all around the biggest little city in America. Here, a montage begins. Haley calls up Nintendo headquarters and a nice man walks her through all the games and gives her all the tips. Fred Savage brings the notes downstairs to where Jimmy spends his time playing all the video games in the hotel casino. All the while, some song that sounds that I wanna say is called "Live by the Rules" plays in the background. I also want to say it's Huey Lewis and the News.

Then it's off to LA. They arrive at Universal Studios and enter the competition. A few words. The place is packed with cheering kids, neon lights, balloons, weird confetti, and the stage looks like the final round on that short lived American Gladiators for kids show G.U.T.S. IIn short, if you were 6-12, there's no place you would rather be.

Anyway, the qualifying round is Ninja Gaiden, and Jimmy knows it well. But for the final competition, they pull a fast one, not a game you've ever played before, a new game, a game never seen before in America, SUPER MARIO BROTHERS 3. And who is Jimmy's biggest competition, power glove dude! Jimmy gets a little bit behind, but he gets the magic flute (pause) and warps ahead. Then, he gets the star at the end of the level (by jumping at a 45 degree angle of course) and wins.

On the way home there's some emotional shit that goes on when they stop to sit inside a dinasour and Jimmy talks and is done carrying his lunchbox around, but I'll spare you.

So The Wizard is a road trip movie, a movie glorifying video games, a complex film about a mentally disturbed child, and so much more. Is the Wizard a classic? Yes. Does it hold up? Yes. It makes you want to dust off your original Nintendo, blow on the games (pause), and spend an hour and a half trying to figure out how hard you have to push down on the games to keep the machine from blinking the red light on and off.

A footnote about Haley: she wears tight (sometimes white) jeans tucked into boots, she's really funny and makes fun of other people, sure of herself to the point of being cocky, rocks thrift store t-shirts, and is extremely sensitive towards smaller children. Could it be that seeing this film at a young age had a profound impact in guiding me towards my preferred type of woman? And how much longer must I wait till I do find a girl who is sensitive towards smaller children?

UPDATE: it turns out the girl that plays Haley is Rilo KIley. So I was right.

My short review of the new UGK album has been

taken down by blogger.com. Hope you had a chance to read it.