Category Archives: Pop Culture

In the Mix: The Top 5 Ways Deejaying Is Like Pushing Up

She's smiling now, but watch what happens when you stop playing Beyoncé.

She’s smiling now, but watch
what happens when Beyoncé stops playing.

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So, your boy has been spending a lot of time talking about and listening to DJs lately, not to mention spinning myself, and it’s got me thinking. Something about the whole process of manipulating the wheels of steel just seemed so familiar. All of the attention to detail, the tiny adjustments, the electric thrill of the perfect mix…I couldn’t help feeling that I’d been there before.

Then one day, staring down at my Technics’ hypnotic twin platters, it hit me. In what other situation does one commonly find themselves putting on a show for an audience that’s often tentative, skeptical, or completely disinterested? If you answered “teaching at a public school in the United States” you get partial credit, but that’s not the response that I wanted. On the other hand, if you said, “kicking it to a woman,” you are correct!

And yes, I’m a straight dude, so this is written from that perspective. You can either substitute your preference where applicable, or fucking relax and appreciate my genius in all of its temporarily gender insensitive, heteronormative glory. Your choice.

Now, without further ado, I proudly present the top five ways that deejaying is like pushing up.

5. Preparation Is Key – A former DMC champ told me that there’s always something that he could be doing to prep his next set. This means finding new songs, checking out the next venue, basically anything to make sure that his next gig is as smooth as an alpaca’s ass. The same is true if you’re trying to get that P.Y.T. on your team. If you’ve got friends in common, find out about her background and interests. If you’re out at a bar, notice who she’s with and how she acts. Any of this intel could mean the difference between keeping her dancing or sending her running for the exit.

4. Stay in the Groove The groove is an abstract concept that roughly means a coherent, consistent, rhythmic flow. Like the stream of a conversation, once it’s moving along a good DJ does everything in their power to keep it rolling. It’s the same way with you and your next lady love. If you’re talking about where she’s from and she’s opening up, stay on that track until you can blend in a topic on the next deck that’s complementary. Don’t be a dummy and throw out some crap about how you hate her hometown because the girls are such airheads. It sounds obvious, but left on your own some of you dudes couldn’t feel the groove if you were a needle on a record.

3. Hone Your Recovery Tactics – Even the best DJs face glitches. The record skips, you drop the next song off beat, or that new version of Seraktor freezes right in the middle of your set. Still, it’s not the glitch, but your response to it that can make or break you. You made a joke about the phrase “Christian Scientist” being a worse oxymoron than “compassionate conservative”…only to find out that she picks up the Monitor on the way back from her Young Republicans meeting every week. Don’t go cowering beneath your decks. Cue the next track and get that bad boy pumping. Put a wrinkle in your brow, lean in, and intensely whisper, “REALLY? Well, I’m always looking for smart people to challenge my assumptions. Let’s talk about it.” Oh. Shit. Hear that? That’s the sound of you taking the party to the next level.

This is either a party or the Zombie Apocalypse. I'm a glass half-full type, thus I included it here.

This is either a pic of a bangin’ party or the Zombie Apocalypse.
I’m a glass half-full type, thus its inclusion here.

2. Read the Audience – You’re throwing pure audio gold out the speakers. You’re a vessel of divine musical artistry, touched by Apollo himself. The problem is that the crowd thinks that you’re just plain touched. While there’s something to be said for challenging people with unique sounds, if you go too far off the deep end you just might drown. Things are no different with that young tender. Sure, discussing the finer points of critical race theory might cement you as an intellectual in her mind, but did you ever stop to think that she’s not interested in your brain at 1:15 AM…after her third vodka gimlet? With all due respect to Lupe, you gotta dumb it down, homey. There will be plenty of time for brain later. (See what I did there?)

1. Remember the Fundamentals – Sometimes showing off is entirely appropriate. If you’ve got a killer turntablism routine, by all means unleash the Kraken on them bitches. Case in point:

But what good is it to play records using only your eyebrows and right pinky toe when the songs aren’t beatmatched and the selection has no logical flow? Similarly, it’s great that you wowed babygirl on the dancefloor when you broke out that Matrix backbend move and held it for three minutes while simultaneously doing the Kid ‘N Play Kickstep with her…including the entwined leg hop thing at the end. Kudos. But see, you dropped the ball at dinner when all you could talk about for 30 minutes was you, you, and YOU. A DJ can play an entire three hour set without using a single effect or beaming videos directly into the crowd’s brains, but if the music is tight and the transitions are smooth, everyone will love it. And guess what? She’ll be closer to loving you if you just display some common courtesy, make her smile as much as possible, and let her know that you’re feeling her. In other words, keep the basics front and center.

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Am I Sexist?

“What?  You think I wanted to do a bit with this asshole?  It’s called a career move, bitches!”

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It’s International Women’s Day, and I as I actively reflect on the substantial impact that women have had in my life, something I’ve been mulling over since the 85th Academy Awards is still circling the drain in my head. See, Seth MacFarlane hosted, and he delivered his sarcastic brand of genteel, macho humor on Oscar night.  I thought he did a pretty good job, which is why I was honestly disturbed when I found out that some critics were panning his performance as sexist.

I’m not going to recount his performance here, partly because it happened eons ago in internet time, but more importantly because there was nothing really new or surprising about MacFarlane’s material.  In fact, it was pretty damned tame in comparison to the jokes regularly thrown around on his own shows, and I LOVE that stuff.  And that got me questioning whether I’m unknowingly guilty of being some kind of male chauvinist.

That thought kinda chafes my self-concept since I actually consider myself something of an nontraditional feminist.  In fact, I sometimes feel as though I take gender equality more seriously than some women.  With that said, I stand firm on the belief that men and women are absolutely, positively, freaking different, and those differences lead to experiences that many of us encounter at some point in our relationships, at least in the straight variety.  Men are inconsiderate and women nag.  Men are insensitive and women are overemotional.  Men are unfaithful, or at least want to be, and so are women…but women are crafty little fucks, and men are too self-absorbed to notice.

Anyway, it seems only natural to point out these asymmetries for laughs.  If the joker happens to be a man, then his jokes will likely be from the typical male’s POV.  So when I hear a female comic joking about how men are pigs, I don’t get my vasa deferentia all in a tangle.  I say big whoop. It doesn’t mean that every man and woman fits neatly into those boxes, that they display those characteristics all the time, or that those traits aren’t socialized.  Regardless, the shit is real, and it can be damned funny.  Unfortunately, that rationalization doesn’t get me off the hook for enjoying the other side of MacFarlane’s guy-friendly humor, the side that glories in the female form.  He’s not alone in this, of course.

One of my favorite examples comes from the late comic Patrice O’Neal, who dared to wonder aloud why we don’t implement a National Sexual Harassment Day to let guys just get it off their chest, one day a year.  Buy a colleague some flowers or candy, engage in your normal small talk, then ask her if she wouldn’t mind playing a little flesh flute in the bathroom.  No harm, no foul, ’cause it’s Harassment Day!

I promise, it’s funny when he says it.

Look, there’s no doubt in my mind that we live in a sexist society, so does enjoying, promoting, and even creating that kind of humor mean that I’m an unwilling co-conspirator with card-carrying members of NO MA’AM? I don’t think so.  As a thinking man, I find comedy like that funny for two reasons.

First, the sentiment that he’s expressing is just embarrassingly true.  If you are a woman with anything remotely resembling a physically attractive attribute, please know that dudes have imagined kissing, groping, or otherwise manipulating said attribute ad nauseum.  And I mean that ad nauseum part literally. Dude could be about to leave the office with a 102 degree temp, but if you told him you were gonna give him a cubicle lap dance he’d probably sit right back down and reposition the trash bin just in case.  They’d never let you know that though, ’cause they don’t want you to think that they’re a creep…plus they probably enjoy the benefits of gainful employment aside from surreptitiously observing you from behind at the water fountain.

The second, more important reason why it’s funny though is because it underscores the pitifully comic way that men are constantly bombarded by their physical attractions.  That’s right, we’re the real butt of that joke. It’s like, “Ladies, we’re basically one step above Pavlov’s dog.  Throw us a bone, please.  We’re barely holding it together over here.”

Now am I saying that women have nothing else to offer us besides their bodies?  Absolutely not.  Am I saying that it’s cool to draw attention to their physiques just for a laugh, no matter the cost?  No way.  A catcall on the street ain’t a joke (though all male to female street commentary ain’t a catcall either), and a random sexual advance under cover of an insipid pick-up line does not the stuff of humor make.  What I’m saying is that when a man makes an artful jest, carefully constructed and thoughtful, but firmly centered on his lust for a particular woman or women in general, the joke is actually on him.  No matter what he says at the end, the true punchline is that he found himself in the presence of beautyan ethereal, intoxicating, inspiring substanceand the only thing that he could do to relate its effect on him was to string together some silly little words.

I’m not a sexist.  I’m just another schmuck that happens to be attracted to women, and even though that fact is sometimes the cause of great frustration, it always eventually makes me laugh.  The hope is that when it does, you do, too.

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Bitches Still Ain’t Shit

Bad bitch or not, somebody tell me when they start making lifesize Nicki dolls.

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This just in.  Though bitches have been around since before the days of Delilah and Salome, they’ve recently evolved into a higher, more refined form.  These creatures are reverentially known as bad bitches (canis femina superior).

Whether geneticists recognize this phenomenon or not, we’ve got Nicki Minaj self-describing as a “bad bitch…a cunt” down to “kick that ho, punt,” newcomer Azealia Banks serving notice that she’s a “bad bitch…that supply what your girlfriend can’t supply,” and Iggy Azalea proclaiming that she’s a “white girl [with] a team full of bad bitches.”  Hell, Rick Ross has a bad bitch that resembles a tote filled with currency.  (She’s a shapeshifter, too!)  In short, there’s a lot of bad bitches runnin’ around.  I wonder if all the hoes are scared that they’re gonna get crowded outta the market.

Enter Lupe Fiasco’s “Bitch Bad.”  If you haven’t seen the video yet, check it out below.

Lupe Fiasco – Bitch Bad from Gil Green on Vimeo.

The thrust of the song is that when “bitch” is used as a compliment, especially when combined with the contronym “bad,” it undermines emotional understanding between men and women.  Seems pretty uncontroversial to me, but after reading a couple of articles where cats took Lupe to task on his position, especially this one, I had to speak on this a little bit.

In the aforementioned critique, Brandon Soderberg of SPIN goes the extra mile to tell us that this song and video are “moronic” attempts at preaching to the choir.  According to him, we don’t need Lupe to inform us that bitch is bad and that lady is better, because hip-hop has sufficiently addressed that question and is already yawning. We’re on to “cunt” now, thanks to Azealia Banks.  And besides, he writes, “does any female want to be called ‘a lady’?”

Bitch, please.

Soderberg’s argument that this song is evidence of Lupe’s severed connection with the heart of current rap music is patently laughable.  I’ve already given multiple examples of the exact term “bad bitch” being (over)used by some of the most influential names in the genre, and if I’d had the chance to hit the strip club before writing this I would’ve been able to come back with like, a hot 97 more.  No lie.  I ain’t never told no lie, I ain’t never told no lie.

So, it’s Soderberg that seems out of touch. He points to Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” as an example of a track that “sensitively deconstructed” the use of the word “bitch,” but unless a sensitive deconstruction consists of using the word umpteen times, I don’t have a muthaeffin’ clue what he means.  But, in the spirit of generosity, I’ll assume that he meant to reference Jay’s “Bitches & Sisters” off The Blueprint 2.  “Unless you fucked a dude on his own merit and not the way he dribble a ball or draw lyrics you’re a BITCH!”  Preach.

Anyway, Hova in fact does a great job of contrasting sisters and bitches there. And yes, others have broached the topic over the years, too.  But what makes Lupe’s take interesting is the fact that he doesn’t explicitly tell us why being a bitch is bad, he shows us, via a nicely packaged fairy tale, that being a bitch must necessarily be a negative thing.  No matter how much attractiveness, independence and self-determination being a “bad bitch” might imply on a good day, it’s still associated with vampiric women possessed by a thirst for cash and attention.  That inherent dissonance is why the cats hollerin’ about bad bitches are the same ones screamin’ that they don’t love them.

When you tell a woman that a bad bitch essentially does all that a “basic” bitch does except maybe have sex with your homeys (unless you want her to do so, in which case she might be extra “bad”), you’re begging for a problem.  So, y’all keep sending and accepting those mixed signals.  Meanwhile, a generation of women are growing up believing that bad bitches are the shit…when they’re really just shitty.

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A Dream Come True: Robyn’s Song

We’re never all good…or all bad.

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Rihanna’s been on my mind a lot lately.  I mean, it’s been kinda hard to escape her during these last couple of months and…OK, it’s been hard to escape her during these last couple of YEARS, but lately it seems as if Robyn Fenty is one of only five celebrities that any media outlet wants to talk about.  And matter of fact, her name is still all up in the muphuckin’ mix when they’re talking about two of the other godsdamned four.  So yeah, currently 60% of all pop culture news (read: garbage) is about Rihanna.  Shit, a lot of regular news is about Rihanna right now.  On the real, I heard on NPR that if the Supreme Court had struck down the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that the president was gonna talk that talk, repackage the shit as RihannaCare, and push it right on through Congress.  Yep.

Now properly contextualized, it certainly should not come as a shock that the woman who dominates any media vehicle capable of showcasing an image would also be occupying a lot of real estate in my brain, even without me knowing it.  I mean, that’s the only explanation that I can think of for why she would show up in my dreams, engaged in a loving, committed, and playfully affectionate romance with yours truly.  Well, there’s the fact that she’s a terrifyingly fine ass woman with more sex appeal in her left nostril than most women have in the midst of their most powerful, self-induced orgasms (yep, I’m on to THAT shit), but that’s beside the point.  I am absolutely not a Rihanna stan.  I appreciate her as an artist, as a personality, and as a beauty, but I in no way suffer from the illusion that I possess some kind of personal relationship with Ms. Fenty.

Still, the mental experience of having said relationship felt AMAZESAUCE.  It seemed so real in fact that I decided to write a song about it…kinda.  Actually, “Robyn’s Song” is really a dedication to Rihanna from a dude who has the same experience that I did, but ends up affected in a fundamentally different way.  Instead of saying, “Wow, that was fantastic.  How sad that my real dating life is somewhat less interesting, but I should really get out of bed now,” he wakes up with a heavy heart and a profound longing for a lost love that never was.  He feels deeply for her, wishes nothing but the best for her, and in his heart and mind, he’s truly linked to this unattainable star.  Meanwhile, she’ll remain the object of his unrequited affection from now until Rihanna turns good again, AKA forever.  Ahhh, love: you gorgeous, horrible, heartbreaking thing.

Here’s hoping that you listen to this with the object of your stalking in mind.  Enjoy, and devil fingers salute!

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You Say Azealia, I Say Azalea: Part II

You missed a spot…

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OK, so I’m assuming that you read my last post, which served to introduce you to the actors in the drama known as the Azealia-Azalea War.  If you didn’t, catch up here.  I’ll wait.  (Next time, read that shit when I post it and stop playin’ so damn much.)

We all up to speed now?  Brilliant.

Now there are those who would say that this disagreement is all about Iggy being some kind of hipster racist.  They say that because, well, young Amethyst (her government name) had the gall to refer to herself as a “runaway slave…master” in a reshaping of a Kendrick Lamar lyric.  OK.  Shit, I’ll admit that was foul.  Foul like, you might get invited to speak at the Republican National Convention foul — but Iggs later admitted as much.  As she said in her apology, she was trying to walk the line, but ended up linecrossing like a muphucka.

Well, our friend Ms. Azealia Banks wasn’t trying to hear Iggy apologin’ though, and she let it be known via Twitter…but only AFTER Iggy made the 2012 XXL Freshman Class cover.  That brings us to the second theory about the origin of this here catfight: envy.  Here’s an in-depth look at Azealia Banks’ opening salvos:

“Iggy Azalea on the XXL freshman list is all wrong…How can you endorse a white woman who called herself a ‘runaway slave master’?
Sorry guys. But I’m pro black girl…I’m not anti white girl, but I’m also not here for any1 outside of my culture trying to trivialize very serious aspects of it. In any capacity. *kanye shrug*”

— @AZEALIABANKS

Look, I can’t say what the truth actually is.  I don’t know these women personally, and Banks is totally right about the slavemaster lyric.  No doubt about that.  But why did it take an industry tip of the hat to your fellow newcomer for you to open your exquisitely fashioned mouth and say something, love?  When you couple this with the fact that Banks has also been vocal about her issues with Nicki Minaj, and most recently Lil’ Kim, her credibility starts to falter.

Then throw in the fact that her most publicized fracas before the one with Iggy was with white, female rapper Kreayshawn, John the Baptist to Iggy’s Jesus.  From where I sit, Banks was just itchin’ for an excuse to throw some verbal bullets Kreay’s way — homegirl did absolutely nothing to deserve the Twitter poison that Banks poured all over her mentions.  After all of that, Azealia Banks starts to look an awful lot like a highly talented, beautiful, potentially groundbreaking woman with some serious bitch tendencies.

It’s hard being blonde and famous.

Meanwhile, almost everything Iggy says off-stage seems level-headed and wise.  For example:

“People expect me to drag [Kreayshawn] through the mud.  I don’t need to and I don’t want to do that.  I think there aren’t enough girls in hip-hop…I want to be the number-one person, but I don’t want to drag people through the mud when I know how hard it is to be a female rapper.  I want there to be other people out there.  I don’t want to win by default because there is no one else.”

— Iggy Azalea

On the real, it makes my ass itch to see a white woman reach that higher plane while the sister seems to still be stuck at the gate.  (I know that’s a different kinda plane, but I like the metaphor.  Sue me.)

I mean, black women have it hard, y’all.  Blah, blah, overblown stat about proportionately more young American sisters being single.  Blah, blah, stat about filling in the shoes of black men who are overly incarcerated, gay or no damned good.  And finally, blah, blah, blah, stat about the overall detrimental psychological, economic, and social implications of being a double minority.  Seriously, even if some of the above has been exaggerated to the extent of borderline stereotyping, they deal with a lot.  And I don’t think that possessing some of the world’s greatest asses assets makes up for the shortfall.

In a strange twist though, the rap world itself is like a parallel universe of our own.  It’s a grotesque distortion, with white women occupying the place usually reserved for black women, i.e. the bottom rung.  In that world, it is THEY who are the double minority, trying to find a voice, then yell loud enough so that they can be heard over the din of the doubts and suspicions pumpin’ out their neighbors’ ovaries speakers.

Don’t get me wrong, I ain’t worried about Iggy.  Regardless of whether she’s better than her contemporaries or not — and for the record I have to say that although Iggy’s certainly got some skills, Azealia Banks simply has a tighter flow — Iggy is gon’ be more than aight.  Why?  Because she’s got something that pop culture has been dying to see: the looks of a hyper-European runway model (I’ve seen glass doors darker than her), street cred courtesy of Grand Hustle and (her man?) A$AP Rocky, plus some undeniable talent thrown in for good measure.

So, while she’s endured the trials of double minority status thus far, I predict that she’ll break through rap’s obsidian ceiling very, very soon.  Finally, the man from 8 Mile will have a queen with whom to share the Throne of the Great White Hope.

And where does that leave Ms. Banks?  She’ll be fine, too.  Even if she stays on her Euro shit and drops an album with hella EDM tendencies, she’ll blow up in Europe and make some noise with cosmopolitan white folks in the States.  If she scales it back just a little, she’ll be massive here, too.  Hey, Nicki could use some company, and Banks has way too much potential to be ignored.

But don’t take my word for it. Read what one of Banks’ fans had to say in a comment they left about her “212” video on YouTube:

“this may sound stupid but you heard it from me first – she’s like a black, female, Eminem, what a GREAT track…”

— 79effo

Parallel universes, indeed.

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You Say Azealia, I Say Azalea: Part I

Said the Hip-Hop Florist: “Which one do you want?”  “Yes, please,” I replied.

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Beyond the weird similarity of their names,  Iggy Azalea and Azealia Banks seem like versions of the same person, but from parallel universes.  This is a cool concept off top, ’cause it suggests that somewhere out there, there’s a white Scissorhands who makes indie pop tunes with old school hip-hop influences, writes about how utterly comprehensible women are…and is famous.

But, I digress.  These two have had a very public war of words going on for the last couple of months, and as as symbol of hip-hop’s race and gender conflicts I found the whole thing fascinating.  But, before I give you a war report, you need to be briefed on the combatants.

Banks is a 20 year-old native Harlemite who got the industry buzzing in 2011 when she released her single “212” (the area code for Manhattan).  The music for the track itself is a sample of a bouncy, playful, electro house song by producer Lazy Jay and sounds nothing like anything anyone might associate with Harlem…except for the ratchet-ass talk about “cunts gettin’ eaten.”  And when I say that, I don’t mean it the way I’d mean it if I were talking about the music of Houston-festishizing fellow Harlemite A$AP Rocky.  I’m talking ’bout the fact that this sounds like some straight-up fist-pumping, ecstasy-enhanced, White Folks ClubTM shit.  One listen tells you that this woman is a smart, artful rhymesayer in possession of an open mind that she’s filled with a buncha DIFFERENT shit.

When you think about it, that probably isn’t so surprising since she’s a product of New York City’s famed arts high school LaGuardia, alma mater of Isaac Mizrahi, Slick Rick, Liza Minnelli…and Nicki Minaj.  From an early age, she was prepped to draw inspiration from an outside world that was inaccessible to most black girls in NYC.  I mean, she spent time listening both to Interpol AND Lil’ Kim as a teenager…which was like, three fucking years ago, in case you forgot.

After a failed deal with label XL Recordings left her depressed and detached, she picked up and moved to Montreal to regain focus.  Since “212” went planetary in 2011, she’s been storming Europe, working with Adele producer Paul Epworth in London and performing for cultural bigwigs like the King of the Vampires Karl Lagerfeld in Paris.  C’est la vie, and her new life really began once she catapulted herself out of the hood and, importantly, out of America.

Iggy, on the other hand,  spent the better part of a decade trying to land her amazingly melanin-deficient, yet seemingly ample ass in pretty much the exact muthaeffin’ spot that Banks vacated.  Growing up in Mullumbimby, Austrailia, she was a lonely, shunned elementary schooler who was introduced to 2Pac at age 13 and never looked back.  A year later, she was getting booed off stage at rap battles and…

Wait a minute. I want to pause right here and take a moment to have y’all reflect on how bad you must be to get the Sandman treatment in Arsefucking, Austrailia.  Think about that, seriously.  That’s like showing a newly sighted, formerly blind woman a painting you did and having her be so unimpressed by it that she pulls up her dress, summons the requisite muscle control, and takes a piss on that bitch standing up.  Horrible.

But now imagine how big Iggy’s femballs must be, ’cause she didn’t give up.

No, she kept at it, and using money that she saved from her commercial cleaning business (hustle), she moved to Miami in 2006 at the age of six-fucking-teen.  She made ends meet by both working illegally and doing illegal work, the latter consisting of credit card scams (hustle hard). All the while she kept at the music thing though she knew no one in the industry, that is until she bounced to Houston, got mentored, and finally started sharpening her darts, as the Wu might say.  Moves to Atlanta and L.A. followed, and at the start of 2011 she uploaded the homemade and fragrantly titled “Pussy Two Times” video to YouTube.  By August of that same year it was easy to see that our favorite Aussie was on the come-up, as she released the still vaginally themed but MUCH more polished “PU$$Y” promo video to fuel interest in her first mixtape “Ignorant Art.”

Listening to Iggy would provide most people with no clue that she’s from the twangy-ass Land Down Under.  I mean, babygirl straight sounds like a New York chick who spent a few years visiting her peoples down south or some shit…which she halfway is.  And that’s interesting, because Azealia Banks often sounds like a Harlem chick who spent years raving with white girls in Brooklyn…which she absolutely is.  It’s scary how much these two seem to have in common, which makes it all the more sad that they’ve got enough beef between ’em to host a barbecue.  With shrimp, of course…so Iggy can skew it.  ‘Cause she’s Australian.

Now there are a couple thoughts as to why this beef popped off.  You know I got my opinion, but since I’m past my 800 word limit for you ignorant bastiches, you’ll have to read the rest in a couple days.  That’s right, I’m DOUBLE POSTING within a week.  Yay, for you!  And for anybody making cracks about me not having written the conclusion of “Beauty and the Beast” yet, close your mouth ’cause nobody cares about you or your life.  Beautiful art takes time to produce, and so does this shit.  So just wait.

Devil Fingers Salute!

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Beauty and the Beast: Part I

A Beauty in Brooklyn

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For a person who’s as social as I am, I can function quite nicely as a lone wolf.  It ain’t uncommon for me to go out midnight marauding by my damn self, whether it’s because I just need some time alone with the man, the myth, the legend (that’s me, for those of you keeping score at home) or everybody else was just lame as hell and couldn’t motivate.  The kid will make something happen if that is what he so desires, and it was on just such an occasion that I met one of the most interesting characters that I’ve come across in New York.

I was fresh from downing my second or third Five Points (think Long Island Iced Tea but for people with class) at 67 Orange Street in Harlem, walking down Frederick Douglass Blvd.  By the way, I mean literally walking down the middle of the street – Five Points is no jizzoke – when my gaze ran across this slim, caramel woman with a whole lotta gams and, to literally top it off, close-cropped blonde hair.  She was working at the beer garden across the street.  (Yes, there’s a beer garden in Harlem.)  Before my internal cop could say, “Move along.  There’s nothing to see here,” I saw her see me.  Then she did the unfathomable: she yelled out, “Come on in!”  Apparently, my internal perp was still a bit skittish, ’cause I yelled back, “Who, me?” as if I were getting fingered blamed for some crime that I had yet to commit.  “Yeah, you!”  Was the retort, complete with hands-on-hips action.  My ass was across that pavement before you could say, “Lederhosen und hefeweizen.”

We became fast friends.  I say “fast” because within 10 minutes Shahi was asking me to accompany her on a boat party the next day.  Oh, and I say “friends” because within 11 minutes Shahi had disclosed that she was married to a man who was back in Toronto.  But she needed somebody to go on this cruise with her!  And it was going to be so much fun ’cause it was a soca themed cruise!  Yay!

Have I mentioned, dear reader, that I get seasick like it’s my government job and that I HATE soca almost as much as I HATE reggaeton?  How about the fact that I can swim about as well as the sperm of a 75 year-old former cyclist?  No?  Well, yeah.  All of that.

A Beast and His Teeth

So, did I go?

You’re gonna have to tune in next week to find out.  In the meantime, I’ve included a little something to get you fiends over the hump and soothe the savage beast.

It turns out that one thing that Little Miss Mrs. Shahi didn’t disclose within the first 11 minutes of our meeting was that she can muphuckin’ sing.  I mean, I look up on Twitter one day and all of sudden I see that she’s mentioned me in a tweet with a link and lo and behold, babygirl has auditioned for “Canada’s Got Talent,” singing “Fly Me to the Moon.”  (Watch the audition here.)  As soon as I heard it, I knew that I was gonna have to get in there (Ahem.  AHEM!) and snatch those a cappella vocals, then put ’em on track that I’d build from the ground up.  I wanted to flip it so that it would put a totally new spin on a pop standard…and show Shahi that she wasn’t the only one that can do damn surprises around this joint.

I did this totally without her input or knowledge initially, ripping her vocals directly off of YouTube, so blame any shortfalls on me.  But if you like it…give me like 75% of the credit.  OK, OK.  60%.  Check it!

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