September 30, 2008

Gone but not forgotten.

When I first began this entry, it was just going to be part love note, part eulogy. You know, visit the grave and lay a solitary white lily on the headstone of Hip-Hop. Then I realized what I missed the most about Hip-Hop and immediately recalled the beauty of the timeless Posse Cut. That is where various artists form like Voltron to showcase their individual skills on a collective effort. Many come to mind so I decided to dig in the crates and compile a list of my favorites. So without further ado, here goes my Top Ten:

10. Show Business- A Tribe Called Quest, Brand Nubian, Diamond D. - Not one of the standouts on the classic Low End Theory album, but definitely worth a nod. They take you through the underbelly of the shady show business. Here, Diamond D seals the deal with an obvious dig at how grimy one particular record label did some of their artists.
Quotable- "Get a good lawyer so problems don't pile. You don't want to make a pitch that's wild."

9. Return of the Crooklyn Dodgers- Chubb Rock, Jeru the Damaja, O.C. - Picking up the posse cut torch where Special Ed, Buckshot and Masta Ace left it blazing, the Kings County natives fill you in on them crazy-ass Crooklyn kids.
Quotable-"Ya watch Channel Zero wit dat bitch Barbara Walters. She'll have you believe Blacks invented crack- when President Lyndon had the formula way back."

8. Don't Curse- Heavy D, Kool G Rap, Big Daddy Kane, Pete Rock, CL Smooth, Grand Puba, Q-Tip- Parental Advisory stickers were yet to be mandatory and the late C. Delores Tucker was not yet launching her personal Anti-Tupac vendetta, but these brothers took a preemptive strike against profanity...if only for one song. And Puba kept us up to speed with one line.
Quotable- "For those who can't follow and got stuck- kcuf flipped the other way means, ahem, hem, hem..."

7. Headbanger- EPMD, K-Solo, Redman- The Hit Squad was at their pinnacle with this joint. Everyone holds their own with rugged finesse. A pre-Method Man duetting Redman absolutely kills it and educates a few on the sound you might hear at a Cerebral Palsy center. Of course it's in bad taste. But all is fair in Hip-Hop and disabilities. The quotable here is delivered by the Incredible Letter Man.
Quotable-"The Fugitive's gone. Peace, I'm outta here, later. And here's a finger, to all you non-movin' spectators."

6. I Shot Ya (Remix)- LL Cool J, Keith Murray, Prodigy, Fat Joe, Foxy Brown- It's not so much the lyricism, but the variety of skill that impresses on this one. Everyone brings their signature A-game. This is also our first real introduction to the braggadocios brown Fox. She definitely held her own with the fellas, but her misconstrued boasts on sexual prowess made her the butt of a joke on Heltah Skeltah's Operation Lockdown. After that, there was no more talk of raw ass cheeks.
Quotable- "Illuminati want my mind, soul, and my body.Secret society, tryin to keep they eye on me."

5. Burn Hollywood Burn- Chuck D, Big Daddy Kane, Ice Cube- The trio sheds light on the stereotyping and racism that is alive and well in the movie making process.
Quotable- "Many intelligent Black men seemed to look uncivilized while on the screen. Like I guess I figure you to play some jigaboo on the plantation. What else can a n*gga do."
Fast forward 18 years...I have not yet witnessed Cube make a total buffoon of himself since Hollywood came calling. And on that note, let's pour a little liquor out for Flava Flav's dignity, shall we?

4. Scenario II (Remix)- Tribe Called Quest, Leaders of the New School, Kid Hood-
Just when you thought they couldn't improve on a good thing, they showed us what they were gonna do in '92 even though they had fun in '91. Busta Rhymes orates that there are 7 emcees including a posthumous MC Hood present in spiritual essence who is undeniably the shining star.
Quotable- "Death on a phono- my skills are porno. You say, Oh no..."

3. Self Destruction- KRS-One, Heavy D, Doug E. Fresh, Kool Moe Dee, Ms. Melody, Just Ice, Stetsasonic, MC Lyte, D-Nice, Public Enemy - Classic in its own right, this song was a call to action to stop the violence. I can't say that it really accomplished its endeavor, but Dammit it was a dope song. Now every time I hear someone say Let's have a moment of silence- I half expect it to be followed by a wicked beatbox. Also, MC Lyte (literally) pops out of nowhere and reps hard for the ladies. And thank God she did since Ms. Melody makes for the dullest moment on this otherwise historical track.
Quotable-"Aiyo, here's the situation:Idiocy. Nonsense, violence, not a good policy."

2. Flava In Ya Ear (Remix)- Craig Mack, The Notorious B.I.G., LL Cool J, Busta Ryhmes, Rampage- Let's be honest, this song was Bad Boy's crowning jewel. The beat is simple but carries every emcee effortlessly on this one. Cousin Rampage got a moment to flex- but he is so out of place here that it makes me giggle a bit. The tragic irony is Mack's prophetic verse. "You won't be around next year..." Little did we know he was talking about himself.
Quotable- "Ya mad cuz my style you're admirin'. Don't be mad. UPS is hiring."

1. Symphony- Marley Marl, Craig G, Masta Ace, Kool G Rap, Big Daddy Kane- This one is for the purists. The ragtime piano loop and strong bassline is the backdrop for these Golden Era heavyweights. It's an arguably close call between Kane and G Rap on this one- and depending on the day, I might give the award to either of them.
Quotable- "I'll take you over like a greedy Executive..."

Honorable Mentions:

Buddy- De La Soul, Jungle Brothers, Monie Love, Q-Tip- What can be better than a song about making each other feel good? It was like a hippie love fest with African medallions and crazy prophylactics.
"Let's stick out the Jimmy and see what we can catch..."

John Blaze- Nas, Fat Joe, Big Pun, Jadakiss, Raekwon- New York's Finest, doing what they do. Check out Belly's Taral Hicks delivering the mysterious attache case in the video. This Bug is still wondering what Mack 10's cameo was all about. Was he the only one that could push an 18 Wheeler? I don't get it.
"You ain't got no ends in mi casa. ¿Que te pasa? You ain't even in my classa."

LeFlaur Le Flah Eskoshka - Heltah Skeltah, Originoo Gun Clappaz- Any time the Duckdown family joined forces, they failed to disappoint. The last verse in which Tall Shawn and Hurricane Starang briefly trade line for line is the most noteworthy. Why don't people do that anymore? It was sick!
"Live like wires. Beast from the East. Who is he? When I roar like a grizzly they say, Damn he gets busy! Oh...''

Well I'm pretty sure I lost a lot of my readers midway with this somewhat elitist old school Hip-Hop entry- but that's okay. I get the paper so I don't care!

September 29, 2008

Forget love. I'd rather fall in chocolate. On second thought...

Good Lord. This is beyond disturbing. I can't quite put my finger on it. Is it the weird permanent smile on that otherwise bittersweet face? The wild, vacant (most likely edible) eyes? His all too happy, pep-in-the-step gait as he moves vigorously through his day; his sweet bodily bits ravaged by sexy chocophillic White women all over town? I don't know, but a shudder travels down my spine with each viewing.

(This Bug closes her eyes tightly while repeating, "It's only an Axe commercial. It's only an Axe commercial. It's only...")

And you thought this guy was creepy. Jeez !

September 28, 2008

R.I.P. Cool Hand Luke

At this hour, I will pour a little Riesling out and say goodbye to yet another screen legend. I will quietly mourn not only a superb talent and a philanthropic class act, but also a bygone era. They just don't make 'em like this anymore. My heart is heavy for his family and his great friend, Robert Redford. He will be missed.

Fare thee well.

September 25, 2008

We The People

Emaciated fingers
cradled a
tiny head.
Hunger was a
from being
nearly dead.

No knitted hats
or bronzed white
shoes or suckled
milk to drink.

While blocks away
we raged over
the right
to don a mink.

September 24, 2008

A Dusty Town, Two Great Actors and Not One Spotted Horse

Alright, it's confession time. I have been in love with Ed Harris ever since I saw him slap Tony Montana's sister back to life in The Abyss. Phenomenal scene. Period. I became an instant fan. That was years ago. Then Viggo Mortensen came along. His character in A History of Violence gave me chills. Nice, familiar chills. He walked and talked like my kinda man. A man just trying to live a peaceful, low-key life. But in walks Ed Harris to upset the mother of all apple carts. Family. He forces Mortensen's Tom Stall to revert back to the innate violence he was so desperately trying to squelch. These two ate up the screen. As the credits rolled, I closed my eyes and silently prayed to the Movie Gods that they would act together once again. Besides, William Hurt was irksomely miscast as Viggo's brother in A History of Violence. Harris and Mortensen were born to play siblings. Clearly the resemblance is uncanny. Scary, isn't it?

So finally the Movie Gods have smiled on me. Two of my favorites are together again in Appaloosa. I did the happy dance. You don't understand. Many years ago, I prayed to the Movie Gods to bring together my former all time favorites. All I ever wanted was for Al Pacino and Robert De Niro to star in the same vehicle- and what did I get? Heat. Or as I refer to it, Lukewarm. I waited all those years since The Godfather Pt. II to see these heavyweights share the screen (yes, they are both in that film- but the split chronology doesn't allow for dialogue between them even once) and was left with the worst case of movie blue balls I have ever experienced. I've always argued that it would have been a much tighter film- had the lead roles been reversed. Picture it: Bobby D as the burnt out cop with the whoring wife and Al as the bank robbers' ringleader. They would have nailed it! Instead, I got a lackluster 6 minute exchange between them in a cafe...and it sucked. Why, oh why did the great Movie Gods not consult me first? Since then, their blundering choices of roles in 88 Minutes and Hide & Seek confirms that neither give a fat frog's ass about making quality films anymore. Washed up doesn't begin to describe that pair. I'll eventually catch their latest- Righteous Kill on TBS in a few years. That's right. In this Bug's book, it's not even Netflix-worthy.

It seemed as though my prayers went unheard. I had renounced my faith in the Movie Gods. But then Appaloosa giddy-ups on the scene and I am reborn. A devout believer once again. Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen turn out astral performances as Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch. I was mesmerized. Harris is vulnerable as he is dangerous. And I never wished I was a doorway until I saw Viggo lean so coolly against one. By the way, it wasn't the innuendo of that big gun Hitch walks around with, either. Well, (Bug blushes...) perhaps that was part of the allure. (Hee-hee). But seriously, there lies a wealth of talent and chemistry between the two. Some say that the Western genre has been milked dry, but here- it works for them immensely. Appaloosa tips its hat to the classics à la Sergio Leone's Once Upon A Time In The West, while holding its own in the now. These two are like brothers from another mother onscreen. Their friendship translates as affable but stoic all at once. To me, chemistry is everything. That and a really big gun. Kidding! This is Harris' second tour as director and his growth since Pollock is evident. As usual, oft typecast baddie Jeremy Irons is right at home as everyone's favorite bête noire. The cinematography is impressive. The characters have depth and truthfully, the film could have gone on for another hour and I would have been thrilled. Not even the perpetually scrunchy-faced, wincing-in-pain Renée Zellweger could ruin this one. This Bug gives it two spurs up. See It!

September 19, 2008

What Now?

It's happening again. Every now and then, I am presented with some remarkable opportunity and true to form- this Bug freezes. I can't explain it. I've tried to articulate it before but I never get it quite write right. Within me lives a duality of sorts. A strange combination of potential greatness and self-deprecating failure all at once. Somehow- they coexist in my being, much to my chagrin. I suppose these two dynamics are what actually conceive my 'premature procrastination'. You would think that after a few successes that curious condition would go away, but it never really does. Not for me. It seems that with each step that I take towards a new endeavor, I have a habit of inching my way back while I picture holding my nose and just diving in. Well, maybe that's just my style when it comes to winning. Just when I think I have no moves left, something spectacular materializes. Before long, I look around and see that I’ve unwittingly covered all of my bases. It’s really peculiar. But for all of my doubt, I know this: There is no difference between what the cowardly and the brave heart is feeling. The moment of truth lies in the execution of what needs to be done. Now if I could just get over that initial ambivalence, I'd be in tip-top shape. I think Marianne was on to something. Do I have a plan? No. I never really do. But I always wind up exactly where I intended to be. I guess that is what makes me unquestionably and unapologetically... This Bug.

September 15, 2008

backwards into sleep

Words fail.
Dreams wave good-bye
from misty train windows.
tears are tasted
at the corners
of a mouth.
Lifelines break-
sort of like poems.
Only there is nothing
about losing
the good fight.
All that was
wrapped in Red
is gray-
except in dreams.
The only way to fly.
dreams. dreams.
Dreams at any cost-
forced safely
by OTC aids
and wine flavored
Just to hear a laugh,
kiss an eyebrow.
when mirth was
a song away.
Nothing sounds
quite the same
And words

September 14, 2008

Fake Thug, No Love.

"Say hullo to my li'l friend!"
I challenge you to find someone over the age of 13 that does not know where that infamous quote comes from. It's true. You've all seen it. Hell, I've seen it at least 7 times myself but much with the gangsterisms? If I had a dollar for every time I saw a celebrity on MTV Cribs showing off Scarface in their DVD collection or the floor to ceiling poster of Tony Montana- you might catch me giving a tour of my not-so-humble abode on the next season. I know that our culture has a thing for outlaws. Those who thumb their noses at the establishment while licking that same thumb to count the cash. The obsession runs as far back as the days of Jesse James. I mean, who doesn't want to be Billy Bad-Ass at least once in their lives? At 15 years old, even I fancied myself as one of the tough-talking, rough-walking Gangsta Bitches that Apache so eloquently rhymed about. And then I grew up. The over-sized jeans and bandanna were traded in for knee high boots and carefully coiffed hair. I still had quite the temper and a penchant for firearms, but more or less I became a lot more ladylike. I retired that frame of mind before catching a case or getting Buck 50'ed in the street. That was the evolution of Bug. I understood that reality is a far cry from what Hollywood seduces us with. The money, the power, that life is a fantasy. Being hardcore has little to do with big talk or what people call you. Which leads me to something I take issue with.

A near and dear friend of mine recently introduced me to an online game called Mobsters. He explained that you climb the ranks in this virtual life of crime and can eventually become "A Boss". I'll try anything once, so after some urging I finally checked it out. At first it was interesting. I was able to expand my mob and steadily began to build wealth and complete some missions of robbery and so on. And then something strange happened. I caught myself logging on to bank money that my properties were accruing, attacking rival mobs and just flat out wasting time that would be well spent doing something else. Then came the ridiculous exchanges online. The threats, the flexing of the Internet muscles. I bore witness to some of the silliest comments and ignorant behavior I have ever seen. So 2 weeks in, I shut down my application because This Bug will not be associated with anything so foolish and absurd.

I'm not saying that anyone who continues to play this game is shallow. For a while I definitely found it entertaining. But there are some people out there who idolize that lifestyle so much, that it is more appealing to them than their own law-abiding existences. To me, that's just sort of sad. And not sad in a boo-hoo sort of way. I mean sad in the pathetic, get-a-life way. If I cared enough, I'd direct these misguided minds to Crime Library so they can read up on the fates of their coveted heroes. All dead or still in prison. At the end of the day it's just a GAME. The real criminals are not on Myspace all day making empty threats under strong sounding monikers. They're in board meetings making offers that can't be refused via conference calls. Now that's Gangsta!

September 10, 2008

Rub Here, Get Happy

My sister has an eye for the goods. I say this because there has never been a time when she wasn't in possession of the latest product that is simply fantastic for your hair, nails, skin, you name it. She never disappoints. Well here I am at her place last night, washing dishes when I discover her hand cream du jour on the kitchen counter. It seems ordinary enough. That is until I pick up the bottle and begin to read the label. Oh, how I wish I could get an accurate photo of the text but alas- my camera sucks. But please believe me, Folks. On my best day I could NOT make this up.

Behold Dream Dream Olive Oil Lotion:

When read aloud with zero pretense, the results are noteworthy. The following is taken verbatim from the back of the serene green bottle:

Usage: Soak the body, and gets
appropriate amount native product
slowly in the way of the hand
Massage all over. When being used
the pretty part of the body, adjust
the belly and the waist and greatly
Leg and lower leg is added more
than expected massaging.

Wait one damn minute! First of all, what exactly are we soaking our bodies in? The dreamy potion or just plain old H2O before we lube up? And make sure you 'gets' the right amount of that 'native' product because the entire gesture is useless if an alien paste has landed in your circumference and shape-shifted its way into this superior emerald vessel. While we're at it, exactly which part of the body is so pretty anyway ? Hmmm... So, why are we adjusting bellies and waists again? And greatly what?! (clutches proverbial pearls) Was there an agreement to bump uglies and I didn't get the memo? There's even the allusion to a happy ending if you get the lower limbs involved. (wink wink) But wait! There's more!

Just above the bar code reads:

It contains olive and natural sea
Effects: Nourishes and activates
skin; Removes toxin; Anti-wrinkle;
Dispels the bodily unusual smell

"It" contains olive (black or pimiento?) and sea salt- okay? That's all YOU need to be knowin'- thank you very much. Who has time to list all those other irrelevant ingredients permeating your derma? The proof is in the pudding viscosity. This product does it all ! I'm sold. That's it. I'm tossing all of my Olay and Dove toiletries. Stat. And who needs deodorant when my trusty olive oil elixir promises to rid me of unnatural stink. I'll say this... Somewhere out there is a freshly unemployed copywriter high on Crack with a questionable command of syntax and the English language. Truth be told, I can't stop luxuriating in this peculiar stuff with the convoluted instructions. The et cetera of the last line bespeaks treasures untold. Who knows what other extraordinary results I may yield with Wait here, I'm revolutionizing the Dirty Martini with this little green Godsend as we speak.

I am giddy with the serendipity of it all !

September 7, 2008

Tsk, Tsk

Let me begin by stating that the names have not been changed to protect the innocent. Neither have they been changed to protect the guilty. As a matter of fact, I'll just simplify things by omitting names altogether. How's that? Now let's begin.

This all started last week. I'm awakened by a text message early in the morning. T'was composed of useless drivel about baseball tickets for sale. Sidebar: This Bug hates baseball. Anyone who knows me- knows that I would rather eat a plate of sautéed toenails than watch 'America's Favorite Pastime'. Give me a boxing match any day and you're talking my language. Anyway, it was obviously a mass text, so I initially paid it no mind. However, the sender was someone that I have been ignoring for close to a year now. And I recently learned that said unnamed person told some outright lies about yours truly. Out of loyalty to my reliable source, I chose not to confront this person. I'm bigger than that, or so I'd like to think. But this jackass interrupted my sleep. I don't take kindly to that sort of thing. So in true Bug form, I responded with one word: unsubscribe. Yes, I know this is functional only for emails--but I decided it was a few shades more diplomatic than replying with: Hey Asshole, you're a lying pile of shit. I'll never buy your stupid baseball tickets. Lose this number. I chose the high road in my opinion. By the way, you can put your eyebrow down. This Bug is well aware that the even higher road would have been to ignore the text completely. But this douche bag woke me up in case you forgot.

Who knew the firestorm that little eleven letter word would ignite? I'll spare you the gory details. But after a brief exchange; everything from my looks, intelligence, direction in life and professionalism came under fire. All this while outlining his profitable endeavors of baseball tickets, Chihuahua breeding (take that, Michael Vick !), his pricey Batmobile and so on. There was also the classy move of detailing the monetary amount he has gained from his textually active solicitations. Have you ever been embarrassed for someone because they didn't have the good sense to be so for themselves? This is how my morning began: Poseur in inbox, check. Superficial texts, check. Auto-Deleted Loser, check!

Seriously, I have an active imagination but I could not make any of this up. Now is as good a time as any to note that this grown man (in the chronological sense, anyway) lives at home with Mom and Dad. It was downright laughable. Here was someone whose extensive knowledge of me could not fill a thimble, attacking my character simply because I had struck a nerve by requesting to be left alone. That ego wasn't just bruised- it showed signs of blunt force trauma. Apparently the gloves were off as far as this individual was concerned. The last word was imperative to him. I let him have it, then I let him have it. Because I honestly could not believe that this childish tirade was coming from a person so long in the tooth.

As quickly as it began, it ended. I went about my day as usual without missing a beat. The funny thing is that he felt the need to apologize the same day via a third party. As if it could not get any more 7th grade. Upon hearing the pleaded case, I actually felt sorry for this paltry excuse of a man. On several occasions, true colors were revealed to all within earshot after as little as three Heinekens, myself included. Experience has taught me that some feel the need to overcompensate when things of substance are sorely lacking in their lives. The armchair psychologist in me says that this guy is Freud's wet dream. Maybe his mother didn't hug him enough as a child. Perhaps she hugged him too much. Who's to say? I don't know and moreover, it's not my concern.

I've also learned that if you are a person of integrity, there is little that others can do or say to insult you. Water seeks it's own level. I feel no need to list my goals or accomplishments to someone who holds no relevance to my life whatsoever. I don't deem it mandatory to take the pride of someone who is already so clearly at a loss in the self-esteem department. Not so long ago I declared myself a remarkable woman, flaws and all. And for those who would sooner smash the mirror than take a long, reflective look and attempt to love what is staring back at them; my guess is that they are going nowhere. Fast.