Thursday, December 23, 2004

somebody say ho-ho-ho

when you see dem 'round your way, holla, 'dammit!', man

It's beginnin to look a lot like what? Follow my every step
Take notes on how I crept, I's bout ta go in depth
This is the way I creep my season. Here's my ghetto rep
I kept, to say the least no no it can't cease
So I begin to piece my two and two together
Gots no snowy weather, have to find something to do better, bet!

Halle-lu-jah, halle-lu-jah
Y'know I do some things mo' different than I used ta

I split my game while waitin countdown
A five fo' a three two here comes the one
A new year has begun, P-Funk spark another one

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

I wanna teach the babies mathematics

a famous name like Supreme Magnetic Carbon Copy

All Tony Starks fans report immediately to this board over at okayplayer where Mafamaticks is showing and proving some genius level skills by translating any sentence you throw at him into Ghostface-like phrasing.
For example
My Grandmother was robbed by Q-Bert

My old earth left wristless! Furry kangol cat, ran up on me with some 8 bit biscuits!

I fell in love with a white girl who listens to Metallica

Catch me with Becky check me got open wide flank shit. Red cheeks spark leaf and let me spank it. Locked like Attica. Weak rebuild my character. Fuck if she smash guitars I'm bout to marry her!

these pretzels are making me thirsty

Pretzel, don't push me! Tryna Dubya Bush me. Clash with goose you soft. Yellowback nigga mushy. Gotta get a bottle. Full throttle in Chuck Taylors. Hit Ahkmed for the potion at the local bodega.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but dude proves it can lead to incredible (and hilarious) consequences!

Monday, December 20, 2004

electric wire

when it's on, if it's on, then it's on

Ernest Dickerson brought some intense artistic compositions to The Wire frame for the finale…

- the camera floor-sweep as detectives surrounded Stringer’s corpse
- the positioning of Bunk, McNulty and Kima resigned to the crime scenes edges
- Kima and ‘friend’ and Daniels and Pearlman with glints of highlighted black bodies in nearly-black rooms (reminded me of the best scenes in ‘Belly’ by Hype)
- slow pull back from the ‘Avon tip’ scrap of paper to reveal the squad at the table
- slow zoom in to Carcetti during his speech aka the throwing in of his hat
- video/news footage of Carcetti emphasizing his frailness as it simultaneously portrayed him finding his footing

...but it makes me nervous that the show may become too ‘stylized’ rather than continuing it’s matter-of-fact framing and editing.

And although ‘Mission Accomplished’ had some major misfires…

- Fine, McNulty doesn’t want a drink with Beadie but he didn’t have to show his ‘heart of gold’ by asking to meet her kids at the end of his pre-booty-call… "Another time…" would have told the whole story.
- Fine, Marlo can show up at Avon’s court date to check out the lay of the land but there is no reason Avon should have to say Marlo’s name… where was the editor for this moment?
- Fine, McNulty is loving the beat life but he doesn’t have to be shown sharing a laugh with some stoop folk as if ‘All is now right in the world.’ An ambiguous welcome back would have been more in tune with the show’s complexities.

…there were some center-mass hits to woop about…

- McNulty’s look of regret is revealed as his self-centered regret about not rubbing Stringer’s nose in it but he gets to rub Avon’s… with the help of Stringer’s tip!
- Cutty conveys opposing emotions through nearly identical and silent grills when watching his old girl drive away and encountering Fruit on the corner
- Marlo’s soldier Snoop just breaking things down to the crew like only a hardcore little spitfire could.
- Avon’s laugh when he knows he’s caught brought me back to his less-than-hardcore moments at the beginning of the movie ‘Paid In Full’
- Glynn Thurman gets to utter “What was I thinking?” as he portrays the mayor watching the shit hit the fan on TV.
- The last product we hear getting pitched in Amsterdam:"Lil'Jon!... get the crunk... Lil' Jon! Lil' Jon!" (Apparantly better than the 'WMD' pitched all season).
- Marlo’s ‘ain’t no thing’ response when he hears that ‘the war is over.’
- Bunny leaning into the mic to call the commissioner ‘Motherfucker’ but being cut-off

… and, as much as I’m suspicious of the amount of dramatic speeches showing up in the scripts, the Carcetti speech made contextual sense and really summed up the feelings of many of the show’s fans.

We can forgive Major Colvin, who in his frustration and despair, found himself condoning something which can't possibly be condoned. But, gentlemen, what we can't forgive — what I can't forgive, ever — is how, we — you, me, this administration, all of us, have turned away from those streets in West Baltimore. The poor, the sick, the swollen underclass of our city, trapped in the wreckage of neighborhoods that were once so prized, communities that we failed to defend, that we surrendered to the horrors of the drug trade.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

joy in repetition

Should he try to rap with her? Should he stand and stare?
No one else was watching her, she didn't seem to care.

One of my favorite artists, Agnes Martin, dies at 92.
Her work is almost impossible to represent in documentation.

Monday, December 13, 2004

saved by bell?

Avon, I heard you're looking for a partner...

The question of this season of ‘The Wire’ was: Who was going to get it? Avon Barksdale, Stringer Bell, or Omar? Brother Mouzone, Brianna Barksdale and Marlo Stanfield could also be potential participants in a blood bath of sorts.

Well… I won The Wire Dead Pool amongst friends. Safe bets were on Avon since he had not had the stronger presence this season and it looked like Stringer was adept enough at manipulation that he could have taken out ANOTHER Barksdale… just to be safe.
But I figured the Wire writing crew couldn’t pass up the chance to show how difficult the transition from ‘streets’ to ‘backrooms’ could be. The Shakespearean tragedy was set-up perfectly: Bell could negotiate with the gangsters AND the politicians so he would HAVE to be hobbled by having his feet on both sides of the fence. His cold business sense and instinct for self-preservation would be no match for ‘family’ (Avon and Brianna) and ‘honor’ (Omar and Mouzone), two things he placed far behind his B.I.

Prepping for ‘Wire withdrawal’ I began reading ‘The Corner’ and, from what I’ve read so far, many of the situations and ideas in ‘The Wire’ stem from details and people documented in ‘The Corner.’ However, a couple of things are not consistent. ‘The Corner’ introduces the ‘Omar-type’ jacker-of-drug-dealers as the lowest-of-the-low so it’s interesting to see Omar endowed with honor (with Mouzone) and loyalty (to his crew), and even love (for his boys) and care (for his grandma). Which brings up another change in tone for the Simon/Burns B-more… ‘The Corner’ talks a lot about the new generation of hustlers as lacking a ‘code of honor’ or larger system of checks and balances but ‘The Wire’ has dealt with the ‘honor among thieves’ angle with the gang-leader sit-downs and the classic ‘no shooting on Sunday’ rule. I think even the Wire-writers are feeling HBO pressure to have more ‘drama’ and ‘sympathy’ worked into it’s study of the B-more underbelly.

Although some of the speeches this season have been too dramatic for my taste (look at Season One and see how quiet and/or restrained most of the scenes play) it’s been a fascinating plot and I can’t wait to see how the Amsterdam/Bunny Colvin experiment works into the political bubbling of Carcetti. Who’s gonna take the weight/heat?

Most folks couldn’t fathom the show without Stringer and I’m looking forward to seeing how they deal with his absence but since I’ve got my swag on with the prediction of the plucking of String… allow me to predict a Marlo/Avon alliance. Marlo is even more calculating and careful than Stringer and is still into clapping for corners with Avon. But Avon’s fire needs a balance of ice and with Stringer wetted Avon will need another cool brother. Marlo even earned Avon’s respect… in much the same way Mouzone and Omar ‘understood’ each other… as warriors.

Of course the red herring pursuit by Mouzone of Omar had to resolve with an alliance and I’ll credit Wire-writer George Pelecanos’ love of Elmore Leonard westerns for the classic alley face-off between the two street ronin. It was only topped by the image of the side-by-side stalk/step by Omar and Mouzone as they moved towards the showdown… Stringer even indicated to Avon that his meeting was at 12… High Noon?

Also, is anyone else noticing all the overdubs for Stringer, McNulty and Carcetti? Dris covers his Brit accent well for two seasons and all of a sudden he can’t handle it anymore? McNulty actually needs more overdubs… what kind of accent is he doing exactly? (B-more chime in!)

And before I’m ‘tapped’ out… DJ Stringer Bell and MC Wee-Bay on some Native Tongue type shhhh?

Thursday, December 09, 2004

blood red carpet

first of all I have to thank god
(arms too short to box)

All of 50 Cent’s dreams and hustle paid off at the Billboard Awards when he snatched the ‘Best Casio Muzak Award’ but Kanye missed his chance to make headlines by making a rather humble yet boring acceptance speech. ‘Ye, you may not get a chance at the Grammy’s, player!

Apparantly a little known side-effect of iodine poisoning is gaining the ability to predict the Grammys (at least the important stuff).


Wednesday, December 08, 2004

heavy ro’ fo’ the oh-fo’

5, 4, 3, 2
1 you’re done when I see you

In no particular ardor (no typo).

1. Ghostface and J-Love - Hidden Darts 2: Topped ‘Pretty Tony’ with sheer energy.
2. DJ Smallz - Southern Smoke Series: Unmatched dirty documents.
3. Jadakiss, Green Lantern, Big Mike - Champ Is Here: Wish the album was like this.
4. Daddy Yankee - Barrio Fino: Kicked in the reggaeton door for me. Vamos!
5. Kanye West - College Dropout: Radio friendly tracks. Social commentary. Light hearted concept album. Deadly earnest. Great cover/liner graphics. Egotistical underdog. Live show. Streets. Masses. Critics.
6. TI - Trap Muzik: The 'new' great MC built for longevity. Just stay out the house.
7. Ludacris - Chicken & Beer: Hilarious rhymes. Banging tracks. Experimental flows. Pop-star UNDER-rated as MC AND producer.
8. Dizzee Rascal - Boy In Da Corner: The grime album with the dope MC and non-friendly beats.
9. Camron - Purple Haze: Believe the hype. But go easy on the dips…
10. Trick Daddy – Thug Matrimony: A grown-ass Dollars.

1. Terror Squad, Mase, Eminem - Lean Back rmx: Original bangs harder but Joe earns it here… even batting after the blonde bomber’s brilliantly retarded flow for a useless verse. Who’s back?
2. Kanye West, Twista, Jamie Foxx - Slow Jamz (off 'College Dropout'): Silly. Ridiculous. Referential to MY generations non-crossover R&B! Jamie mumbles ‘Ashford and Simpson’ like his heart is lost in rapture. Tops it with ‘Al Green’ high notes. Honoring old soul(s) and adolescent jokes. Still loved it in ’04.
3. TI - Bring Em Out: Stand still? Swizz, no cheese.
4. Ghostface, Jadakiss – Run: Fragmented momentum. Like I got Nike Airs on.
5. Crime Mob - Knuck If You Buck: Dark. Frightening. CRUNK. Flying dreads. Hide lunch money. Throw elbows.
6. Diplomats - Crunk Music: Reverb! Spectacular jack of your dirty culture vultures? Yes.
7. Peedi Crakk, Beanie Sigel, Twista - Gotta Have It: State props (Cam dropped, maybe PC and BSig will soon!)
8. Jadakiss, Styles P, Common, Nas - Why? rmx: More reports, por favor. Y’all and Jon Stewart can hold it down.
9. Jay-Z - 99 Problems: Def Jam’s founder and new president understand ‘old school’ doesn’t mean retro.
10. Daddy Yankee – Gasolina: Fuego!
11. Pitbull – Culo: Fave dancehallhiphopreggaetoncrunkmusic joint.
12. Snoop Dogg, Pharell - Drop It Like It’s Hot: ’04 ‘Grindin.’ ’05 Grime. And then the Neptunes will rip it off too many times (no typo).
13. Juvenile, Soulja Slim - Slow Motion: Lazy lapdance with sexy strings.
14. Christina Milian - Dip It Low: Glossy lapdance by a movie star.
15. Petey Pablo - Freak-a-Leek: Nasty lapdance by around-the-way-girls with rhyming names.
16. Usher - Confessions Part 2: That where-the-fuck-is-the-melody-going brilliance. Man I’m tho’d.
17. Young Buck, 50 Cent - Let Me In: Twang. Clank. Clap. Thump. Well phrased threats with a great accent.
18. Trick Daddy, Twista, Lil’ Jon - Let’s Go: Ghetto metal propulsion stomp. Twista adrenalin when you think it’s leveled off.
19. Nas, AZ – Serious: Dynamic duo drop on drums with multisyllable rhymes. Backpackers quiver.
20. Camron, Kanye - Down and Out: Dame said if his raps is wack at least we can throw Cam on every song. Word?