From Da Sideline

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Worst Rappers Alive

I could review this decade. I could. In fact, that was the plan. Instead of rehashing how bad it was to be a part of the 2000s, I'm deciding on progressive criticism...of terrible rappers. On the surface that might seem like a step backward, but consider it more like a necessary purge to move into the next decade. Imagine the Auto-Tune we can avoid by simply getting these things out in the open.

The measuring method is the amount of left-over Chinese food I suspect is in the refrigerator of the respective artists. Why? Well, anyone with a sense of himself will avoid the easily disposable-impossibly/digestible challenge of Chinese takeout. But for a rapper invested in the ephemeral nature of commercial records (and of money-chasing), there are more white cartons stacked in the fridge than 1-dollar bills in the Scrip Club piggy bank.

Read the Plies grade report here

Read Nicki Minaj's semester summary here

Read OJ da Juiceman's class comments here

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Baba Ganoush Presents: WTF Is Juice?

Scarcely do we have the time to reflect on the film works that shaped our yute. Instead, we let those impressions hover in our brains as unofficial points of reference. Tupac's Bishop in Juice was the most dastardly villain I saw in a movie aside from the Jamaican gang members in Marked for Death. Both those comparisons demonstrate the depth of my experience at that point, but terrible villains made those works slightly more watchable and fun. Sometimes skirting the line between timely and timeless turns a hood classic into a satirical take on an era. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

"Nappy Headed Ho Here for Newsweek"

Every nigger writing a blog column gets paid to add that special, crunchy nigger-liciousness that makes living in these here United States groovy. I mean, come on Cat Daddy-O, you know how we do it. We got that slang, know that muzack, and can shine your website glossier than a crocodile tooth in the bayou. But somewhere within this world wide web are some unspoken rules about how nigger bloggers -- let's call them bliggers for ease -- observe a social order, so as not to overload the viewing public with too much black in one dose. We fucked around and got a black [Nobel Prize winning] president, and we ALL know neither we, nor he was ready for that.
To that point, bliggers have corners of the Matrix where they reside and defend points of view. When someone crosses those lines, their fellows endure an atmospheric lash from the select Hebrews who pay us in internet fame and itinerant checks. And usually it's no major foul, but it's always worth noting that dancing, singing or WRITING for a fee has its caveats, its pitfalls, its etiquettes. Although I endorse the full exploration of creative gifts, this here forum is sensitive to bullsh*t dilettantism.
DaHatersBall enjoys that the pick-a-ninny gossip blogs flirt with Us Weekly prestige in their design, but we rely on them for the latest on Vivica Fox's nose job, not for studious journalism. Even those crotchety self-hating propriety bliggers and high-falutin' professor bliggers know not to roam over to the music bligger Cool Table, or the Angry Bligger shouting booth. Hell, even the media bliggers posting videos of gyrating Jamaican babies, babies with wigs, babies dancing on graves, babies getting cussed out on the subway...even they maintain a measure of dignity by staying in their baby-exploitation lane. But what we do not need, and what nary a bligger can tolerate, is a rogue without a cause.

Enter Allison Samuels of Newsweek.

Ms. Samuels has not gotten that memo from our overseers, the one that expressly forbids intellectual posing in the name of blackness. Hers is borderline token blogging and it just won't do. Her first infraction, an article on the "hot messiness" of Zahara Jolie-Pitt's hair could have been considered an off-sides perhaps. After a long day lounging around a deadline for her beloved BAWSE, and perusing only the finest Bossips and Blossips and whatnots, she had a gust of sisterly indignation that amounted to rehashing a hair salon conversation for that Almighty Dollar. But the next few columns dribbled out more of the same poorly conceived, drearily biased fluff unbecoming of a newsy, politically-ensconced bligger. In the interest of letting her hair down (or out), she instantly turned into the Nappy Headed Ho of Newsweek renown. Rather than stretch her kinks on the pressing questions of humanity, she's penning a resentment essay, implicitly downing her blackness and assuming all the burdens society has hefted on her.

Now, it's all right for a bligger to obsess over her hair, and the Wicked White Witch of the West. Fair game to log your complaints against that oppressive Man in the Building as well. However -- and for Ms. Samuels HOever, the writing leaves much to be completed. For a thirty-something scavenger from the Elephant Graveyard of print, she coils her work in amateurish prose and stilted logic. It reads like a Freshman Seminar college paper from the head of the Black Students Union (read: future bliggers of America) to the English Department with no Nigger Lit gracing its syllabus.

"Dear Mr. GOTSTA unnerstan' my plight for to TRULY edjacate me and my kindreds."

All right, so it's not as abysmal as that, but it may as well trample syntax for all of its pleading, small rhetoric. Newsweek has appointed her as the providential absolution for lingering guilt about the un-blackness of their rag. Needless to say, the experiment in post-racial token prizes has been unsuccessful with several bliggers expressing their dismay at her sensationally mediocre attempts at writing.

On behalf of bliggers everywhere, DaHatersBall issues a Cease and Desist Letter to Allison Samuels, lest she earn us the lashing of a life time. Besides, if she needs work, I know a certain music industry mogul hiring personal assistants for no money down.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Thaaaat's More Like It

Knicks Lose. Nets Lose.

New York and New Jersey: brothers in losing. After a slow start, some fireworks, and then more slowness, the Knicks and Nets are back to form. Last night, both high-state area teams folded in the 4th. Thematically, it's downright cliche that big budget city teams are going under like so many commercial banks. But when their rosters meet inspecting eyes, mysteries soon dissolve. Photos anyone?

(Chris Duhon, we need to talk. Ray Felton had some UNC flashbacks of crossing you over at Cameron Indoor Stadium that he was able to re-live through your atrocious defense and foot speed.)

A coup for the American forces against Eurotrash.

Always remember us here. I love you, man.

Duhon (to Felton): Let's go pro and hang out with the ugliest barflies we can find.

Felton: (silent)

Duhon: ...just as a joke, you know?

Felton: (silent)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Baba Ganoush Hour Singin' Bout Pleasure P

Marcus Cooper, a.k.a. Pleasure P, has already issued his statement about accusations of child molestation. Something tells us that people don't make up pedophilia stories about marginal artists on the semi-come-up. (Ahem) Ripe for the lampooning, we addressed the most ironic name in show business with our own little number.

Sing along and pass the word. The P is for...

Friday, December 4, 2009

Black and Ugly As Ever--However

Holy-wood is the altar where we worship on Fridays, and weeknights at 7 when Entertainment tonight is on. Holy-wood has a white Lord and white parishioners (mainly), and it repeats mantras until they seem like proverbs. Holy-wood renders premises into cliches, and trends into rules. Even when Holy-wood pastors invite us to share in the communion, and to offer ourselves to collection, it's on their terms. When Sapphire's widely known novel Push entered the church, seeking its box-office Baptism, studio producers lifted their arms high to anoint a sorrowful tale with splashes of contrived conscience, and splatters of pretty.

However irritating that treatment is to lovers of "realistic" tales, the film marches into unknown, unholy territory for the sake of the sermon. To borrow from African American spiritual discourse: everything wrong is ugly, but everything ugly ain't wrong. This is not to say that Precious is preachy, despite its function as a sponge for the social ills blighting our country during the 1980s crack boon.(Won't call it an "epidemic" because that misnomer has been far too good for business.) Precious as the title character, and even as the carefully etched icon of the Black Bastard, has no one to answer to. She stands apart from her own world, so poorly suited for it that her fantastic retreats are a habit born of necessity. But how we explore trauma, along racial battle lines and with gender specifications, pales in comparison to how we examine ourselves as humans accustomed to pain while nearly always turned in the other direction. As much as it might offend our sensibility that Paula Patton limps tiredly through the role as Precious's emotional sponsor, or that Precious herself is a hulking, waddling woman, whose performance rumbles and stirs with both emotion and physicality, the work is present and jarring. Rather than get caught in the weeds of Holy-wood's addition of the pretty (Lenny Kravitz in bits, Paula "Wish You Were Here" Patton, Mariah Carey) we can bow to the church of provocation. Precious, whether you're riled by the Fat Black Bastard lead, or the poverty as Black portraiture, was made to derange our perception. Frankly, its ugliness could neither be ignored nor addressed, but it was an unavoidable phantom lurking from the dreary windows of that Harlem apartment to the child born of incest clumsily toppling the candy tray.

Drug abuse would have been the easy out, in fact. This is full on self-abuse, winding into the artistic depths of Gabourey Sidibe's performance, heaving the epithets from Mo'Nique's quivering lips. This is Popeye Jones ugly. The Holy-wood ramparts soon fall away, however, when bleakness surrounds Precious. Unrelenting, she carries on, just as her tale will, and as long as there are black-and-ugly-as-ever girls living in dirty tenements.

Sadly, precedent stains this movie more than any of its earnestly amateur actors. Lenny Kravitz and Paula Patton fit a mold, just not for this particular piece. Somewhere between Dangerous Minds and Freedom Writers, their roles expired in the Teacher's Lounge with Finding Forrester. Nonetheless, what saddles Precious is its close adherence to trite story lines, and partial characters. Like Crash before it, Precious moves from typical characters in unusual circumstances to unusual characters in droll circumstances. When Mo'Nique makes her most riveting speech, she is sedentary in a grey cubicle, delivering a heartfelt address to...MARIAH CAREY. Even Ms. Sidibe's "precious" moments are lost in the vacancy of Patton's pupils and the cheeky, sorority of their classroom. Perhaps defining "ugly" against this backdrop of empty gloss is the only thing that separates this movie from its distant cousin in Fat Black Bastard-ry, The Blind Side. Then again, maybe chunky sentimentality goes down well at $12 a ticket.

Click here for info on the HolyWood Adoption Agency.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tiger Woods Gets Chris Browned

What better time to realize the advancement of the utopian post-racial society than when Tiger Woods, the intra-racial/interracial ambassador, finds himself in the midst of the Scandal-du-Jour? We have a protocol for when famous black men are unfaithful: laugh at the brute's untamed libido; prey on his eventual downfall. We've even got standard operating procedure for white male politicians: wag a taut finger before ushering him quietly out of view. To be fair, public officials often get the benefit of the Eliot Spitzer treatment, which comes with a berated, tawdry, headline-hungry mistress to absolve any trespasses.

Outlets like TMZ, Yahoo and Bossip have gone full crank to expose Tiger's infidelities, realizing that once he admitted to it, interest would wane considerably. But his adoring public has delighted in seeing Tiger's wild side, not only for the fact that the race-neutral athlete must now live among the genetically usual, but rather because he has fallen back into archetypes we recognize, philandering athlete being one. There's a blurry continuum between O.J. and Kobe and Tiger; and though the last has the highest public approval, he's also peering at the longest descent. Before he goes into the muck of sexual politics, marital compensation and the Faithful Good Father publicity tour, let's take one last swing at the boy who made all the Country Club-faring white women scream for a decade.

What does it mean, that after delivering her fiercest "ghetto" attack, that Elin Nordegren Woods hasn't been subjected to Chris Brown reprobation? Because we can't see the bite marks she left, she must be angel incarnate; the pure harbinger of love in this Heathcliff's tale. There's no question Tiger booked it when things got violent, unsure his six-foot frame could withstand the storm of the raging white woman uncovered from bridal veil. Shit got real. Homeboy dipped. This is an important note because, despite his achievements and sterling reputation, he still ended on the wrong side of propriety. Where racial unanimity helped him before, allowed him to claim several heritages at once, it's belly flopped him in the community pool where he's free to frolic with similarly soiled Negro children. It must be humbling to be both White/Asian at his finest hour and Samuel L. Jackson ebony at his lowest.

Somewhere, in a Hater's Ball world, Rihanna's waiting for Tiger to come out against domestic violence touting a nationwide book tour and race-neutral lapel ribbon for his kindred souls.