we continue on with our dedicated coverage of all things #REALHIPHOP featuring a short interview with Jazz, who contributed to a couple of the joints on Pete‘s LP. he breaks down his musical history, production/songwriting process and his thoughts on hip hop.
VEE: before we get into it, could you kindly introduce (or re-introduce) yourself to the folks at home? how’d you get into this music thing and what continues to drive you to pursue it?
VEE: how did your contribution to #REALHIPHOP come about & had you worked with Pete before?
JAZZ: Well Pete and I go way back to the days before WHISTLE. We both lived in Flatbush, Brooklyn and rocked out in the same musical circles. He and I reconnected about two yrs ago and talked about me coming back and doing my style of R&B. From there he did a track for me and sent me some songs he wanted me to drop hooks on. I wrote the hooks to two joints (“Nice” and “Lookout“) and the rest is history.
VEE: what is your writing process like & how involved do you get with the producer when coming up with topics or themes?
JAZZ: Well I write what I feel. I am a songwriter/producer myself so I just get the vibe or hear the track and give my viewpoint of what I hear. There are too many so called producers who aren’t that at all. I am a throwback to the days of Quincy Jones, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, LA and Babyface, Gamble and Huff, Teddy Riley the list goes on. My Job is to make a song better. It doesn’t matter if I wrote it or not.
VEE: this may seem like an overdone question to ask, but considering the album’s bold title, what is your own personal definition or interpretation of “real hip hop”?
JAZZ: Real Hip Hop is hip hop from the soul. The kind of hip hop that takes you to a time and place that you cant forget. No matter what time frame or style.
VEE: what’s the last piece of hip hop music you heard that flipped your wig?
JAZZ: I am feeling anything that has a flow and substance with good lyrics. I will always love hip hop even when I don’t like certain rappers or songs. I came from the essence of the block party and tape days. I feel like I am a singing Emcee. I flow on R&B.
sometime last year i had the accidental pleasure of flicking onto Melb’s local community TV station, Ch.31, and being transfixed by the controlled madness of a 6-episode series entitled This Terrifying Ordeal!. after subsequently tracking down the show’s Facebook and YouTube pages, and eventually watching all 6eps, the fanboy switch kicked in. everything about the self-described “zero budget” show was clicking with me somewhere deep in the loins, and i HAD to e-friend the minds who created it. after watching the series a few times over, i felt the need to help get the word out, & what better way then to pick the brain of one of the co-creators, Ms. Emmy Gates (Matthew “Rhombus” Macaulay being the other).
V: howdy doo! how are you doing this fine morn/day/eve/morrow? can you please introduce yourself to the folks at home?
E: hi there! my name’s Emmy (Emily) Gates. i’m one of the co-creating, Rhombus-wrangling, Norwegian-slaying members of the T.T.O! ensemble.
V: before we delve into the swirling miasma of turgid thoughts and misanthropic adventures that is This Terrifying Ordeal!, give us a bit of a background on your regular non-camera life thus far?
E: oh boy. i was born mousey-haired, freckled and shy. my greatest achievement in society’s standards is that i have done 3.8 years of a four year teaching course. then abandoned it. now i sell tickets, own ferrets, and am happy. i think that’s it.
V: as you may already know, i just happened to stumble onto your show while randomly perusing Channel 31 one night, and was thrown right into the middle of Episode 2, and was permanently stuck there until the credits rolled. i know i was one of the first fanboys to emerge, and was wondering what the response has been like from the general unsuspecting populace? was getting the word out about the show hard or did the online presence on Facebook and YouTube help?
E: i think it’s STILL stuck in a friends/friends-of-friends ripple. we got a few fan-persons, but i don’t think we’ve really found our niche yet. it’s hard to pitch a show to people when you can’t even describe it to them.
V: the show touts itself as being “zero budget”, yet you were all able to create entire worlds with distinct characters and present it in a way that seemed you WEREN’T zero budget. what is it like creating a zero budget project, where do you source all the materials & locations and was the lack of budget ultimately a blessing (to spur creative solutions) or a hindrance?
E: i loved it. as the Art Director, an unemployed student living off roughly $20 a week, everything was sourced from op shops and childhood dress-up boxes. and my braaaaaaiiiiiin. making essentially all of the props myself (though Luke and Lauren were quite a help when needed) was traumatic. we had deadlines, we had no money, and everything was made in one-go. if something didn’t work i had to make it work. God Bless Super-Glue.
V: i understand the individual stories were all written by different authors, with different directors. did the Rhombus/Emmy co-creatorship oversee these or was it left up to the writer/director? what individual responsibilities did the extended cast and crew have?
E: i’d like to take credit as the evil dictator of the project. i think we all collaborate well as a team. if we didn’t we’d all have killed each other years ago. we assigned certain roles to everyone for each shoot, but due to varying schedules and the sporadic nature of our shoots, we often just had to feel our way through it.
V: what was the process of actually getting the show on the air like? how did you approach Ch31: did you make the show first? or sell the pitch first and then make it? or did you show them a demo reel/trailer first?
E: i think we… half made the first episode first? it’s hard to remember. the stories all spawned from little ideas Rhombus and i had. we wanted to make comic books, films, adventure games… then just thought – why not combine it all and make a ridiculous anthology show!
V: being an avid fan of any and all things considered “stoner” viewing, i really cottoned on to the flow and vibe of T.T.O!. though i don’t necessarily think you were ALL on something to even conceive of such entertaining and creative stuff, the show does lean toward the abstract more often than not. what were your main inspirations, were there any homages we might have missed and how did you guys come up with and develop all the original characters?
E: personally, i’m as sober as can be. i just have the mind of an 8 year-old. and hence my main inspirations were shows and things i loved around that age. we were initially going for a ‘kids playing in their backyard’ kind of vibe for the show. which worked it’s way into cardboard/paper costumes and family dress ups. and filming in Matt‘s backyard! the Bacchus Marsh area was a huge inspiration for us. the range and beauty of the surrounding areas was magnificent.
V: is an episode fully scripted or are there a lot of on-the-spot additions and subtractions?
E: well… they start fully scripted! i’d say they wind up about 75-90% accurate in relation to the script. depends how much Luke is involved. that’s not a rip. he’s a great improviser. we did have to chop and change a bit though, depending on timing and improv.
V: okay, we’ve come to what i’m calling the stream-of-consciousness-happy-funtime-thing-with-the-thing-rapid-fire-questions. they are a result of me re-watching all 6eps in one sitting and taking various notes:
–who came up with the funkyass intro sequence?
hahaha! that was made in five minutes. after about 20 hours total of messing around to make our intro sequence work, we’d hit our submission deadline. so we took a screen capture from the original pilot, added a kaleidoscope effect and i added a nifty font. the theme tune is what really makes it work in my opinion, which is entirely Rhombus‘ genius.
–who is Eduard, and why is he obsessed with Pavlovia?
i have no idea.
actually, Pavlovia was a ‘we don’t want to be able to be pinned down as racist so let’s invent a country.’ originally it was an erratic homage to Pavlov, then people kept thinking of Pavlova, so we ran with it. both reference salivation anyhow. Rhombus originally made T.T.O! as YouTube shorts, years ago, edited from old movies in the public domain… and presented by Eduard…
–if it was in your power, would you like to see the world switch to a Bag Of Rats-based economy and why?
God yes. maniacal laugh economy would suit me better, though. i’d be the richest gal in the world.
–i found the music to be highly complimentary to the entire series, who handled the tunes/soundtrack/score?
RhombusRhombusRhombus. there were other people involved, and although their involvement was amazing, i’m giving all credit to Rhombus. because he magicked up whatever we needed, and it was always brilliant.
-what are the pros and cons of being a Slinky Pompadour?
pros: slinky arms. ridiculous voice. adorable offspring.
cons: unflattering angles of my bottom available to the public. being unable to see/breathe.
-socks vs shoes: which is the superior race?
shoes gots the funk.
-approximately how long did TBWFF (“The Boy Who Found Fear”) wander for until happening upon an advanced superior race of dog, presumably some time in the future?
i would say approximately 37,000 years. but it’s debatable.
-would you guys ever consider releasing a soundtrack? the song that the Ravenous Flesh-eating WereBear boogies to is quite fonky.
Dunk‘s to thank for that one! i’d love to. Rhombus has this crazy idea of us starting a family band and playing the songs live. i’d love to make music videos for some of the tunes.
-aliens vs a family of angry dolphins. who wins?
depends what kind of alien. ask Zombie Douglas Adams.
-if PumpkinLove could retrieve his legs from the garage with ease, what would be the first thing he did?
i really like to hope he’d shave.
-what makes a Hobo Tree grow?
wistfulness. the urine of homeless dogs.
-speak briefly on the hidden dangers of Apple Schnappes?
it turns you into a pompous git. but that’s barely hidden.
-“The Desert Ballroom” is one of my personal favs (up there with “Pumpkin Patch Epiphany”). the story manages to maintain plot and narrative within the disjointed and twisted nature of the looped story (which cleverly involves our ‘host’, Eduard (not really a question, im now realising)).
you liked P.P.E? masochist.
–historically speaking, whenever a tv show did a musical episode, it would always require extra work. was there more prep time and rehearsals involved for “Pumpkin Patch Epiphany”?
OH GOD IT WAS HORRIBLE DON’T MAKE ME THINK ABOUT IT. we had to cut out our favourite character! i played a stoner platypus! he was amazing. and completely superfluous. we also got rained out about… 3 times? dang Melbourne weather. no rehearsals, though. never any rehearsals.
–explain the origins of The Messenger Man?
flying pie man. don’t question it.
okay. am i going to do this? Naked Earl Maxal is an anagram of Alexander Kalma, one of our crew. based on a mad lib i did regarding Rhombus and i about 3 years ago.
that’s right Alex. you’re the flying pie. that explained nothing, sorry. the whole pie part? i don’t even know.
–how much does a coffee cost in The Escherland?
–what is the Winding Deathowl’s dayjob?
door-to-door trumpet sales.
–the crowning glory in the series is without a doubt “Dios del Rabano” (aka The Radish God), which also features one of the series’ truly terrifying moments courtesy of Emmy and her machete. where did you guys shoot the majority of this episode, and what was the length of time everyone spent, on average, creating each episode (from beginning to end?).
we spent approximately 1 weekend filming per 15 minutes of final footage. that’s it. no rehearsals. that’ s not including the two years Rhombus and i spent discussing everything. 24/7. hoo boy.
V: and i guess finally, how can the good people of Earth get in touch with you guys for: praise, criticism, possible future work, sexual propositions, Hobo Pie recipes etc.?
V: thank you so much for your time and for sharing your creative brains with the rest of us. hope to see more of your work(s) in future. any final thoughts you’d like to add before i disappear under water into the bathtub, Eduard-style?
E: i don’t actually use my real voice once in the entire series. and… i’m not as disgusting in real life. i promise. thanks for watching us faff about. and if you didn’t watch… thanks for nothing.
the one and only MAXWELL recently, for the first time in his 17yr career, has recorded his first proper collab with another artist: Alicia Keys for her new LP “Girl On Fire”. the result is a track called “Fire We Make”, a joint which sounded smooth enough for me to think that Max and HIS production team made the entire thing from top to bottom. not true. it was written and produced by Andrew “Pop” Wansel & Warren “Oak” Felder of The Knightwritaz, whose production credits have included some of the biggest names in recent pop history (as well some of the more cooler mainstream shit like Miguel‘s “Kaleidoscope Dream”). Max himself said that all he did was come in and lay down his vocals and then jet. the only criticism i would have of this hot jawn is that Alicia, while she may have excellent taste in music and for choosing Max in the first place, is heavily outmatched. her vocal shortcomings become pretty obvious when put side-to-side with Max’s crazy falsetto skills (even this late in the game, i’m hecka impressed M manages to pull it off). otherwise, this is the first A. Keys song i’ve ever played over and over and over.
well well WELL. apparently it’s now 2013. but try convincing my brain that. or that i’m fast approaching 29yrs of age. or that life is a motherfucking BATTLEFIELD (actually im pretty convinced of the latter *shakes fist* fucking LIFE). right. so in anticipation of some major awesome blogging that is right around the bend, i wanted to kick off with a concept post i did when i first began this BLAUG in November of 2010: a top 10 of my fav YouTube vids in that current moment in time. since so much time has lapsed b/w the last one of these and NOW, i’m including the “as of” date, just to give an idea of the timeframe in which i discovered these vids, and also cos im a lazy fuck and im getting old and i only wanna remember the most recent date. yep. OKAY, on to the entertainment!
a masterful display of immitation and mockery, completely dominated by the now infamous Bane Freestyle Rap segment, but has so many other memorable lil touches that the whole thing is just a big fat fucking win. also leaves me with the craving for cream cheese and frowny biscuits.
DAY JOB ORCHESTRA: STUFF WE FOUND IN THE BUSHES
DJO, still going strong. thank you latenite stoned random discoveries! also get a peek at the Roger Rap, which was separated as its own vid by popular demand.
OMAR…GUY’S LARGE INTERNATIONALLY
in a serendipitous display of pop culture awkwardly mashing with the underground, witness as “Saturday” by OMAR is played by ‘David’ in a season 5 ep of Beverly Hills 90210, whilst ‘Donna’ and that other skank look on disapprovingly.
LIKE A FUCKIN LIZARD ON ICE
Dexter recently concluded its 7th season with the long overdue appearance of Sgt. James Doakes (via flashbacks, but really ANY way of working him back into the story is welcome). Erik King delivers what is probably the line of the season, and a rather obvious but never-mentioned insight into the fact that, yes, Dex DOES have a weird glidey lizardy walk.
DMX – RUDOLPH THE REDNOSE REINDEER
FLESH OF MY FLESH! NOSE OF MYYY NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSE.
DIE ANTWOORD – DJ HI-TEK RULEZ
……i have no witty caption for this…song. lol. other than its hilarious for its misleading title, and just the general ‘wtf’ factor.
R.A.E.D – ABOUT TIME
finally. the vid that proves, once and for all, that there IS a church in the wild, motherfuckers. stop hatin.
KOOT BIE – I WANNA FUCK YOU
i am told this is part of a clever German sketch show. damn thing is done so convincingly if it werent for the oversized ears, i woulda thought it was real.
BACKSTREET BOYS – QUIT PLAYIN GAMES WITH MY HEART (ACOUSTIC)
yet another example of my so-far never wrong maxim that “acoustic makes everything better”. you can take the most REVILED song in existence and transform it into an emotionally honest barebones acoustic rendition. not that i consider this song to be horrible by any stretch of the imagination, but acousticising it certainly does add some lovely 90s acoustic poprock charm to it that wasnt there before.
as if we needed ANOTHER reason to worship at the altar of Teh Whedon, he was not only recently involved in writing and directing the 2nd highest grossing film of all time, he also helped bring into fruition what has fast become an underground cult CLASSIC, and one that is only LATELY getting its public due. almost everyone ive shown this film to has LOVED it. you know why? cos they’re fucking awesome.
the excellent folks over @ YouKnowIGotSoul.Com recently got a chance to catch up with the one and only Mr. Dalvin DeGrate. he drops his thoughts on all things Jodeci and also gives up some tidbits from Da Bassment days. my favourite moment by far has to be his short but awesome story regarding how his standout track with Static, “True O.G.”, ended up getting selected for the Dangerous Minds Soundtrack (was a geek moment for me personally as that is one of the nastiest songs of all-time).
new ish from Mr. Dwele G. written & produced by Mike City. tis the 1st single off the upcoming album. real chill, real peace, in short: another quality release from Dwe. u can buy the track from iTunes here, or stream via YouTube below (i’m not providing an mp3 for this outta respect for the man).
after what seems like MANY years of a dedicated but small posse of us trying to track down this rare-as-fock remix, it’s finally here. in as clear quality audio as ur gonna get. the FULL track, not the snipped crappy-audio-quality version thats been on YouTube for years. after having given up, a few days ago i tried YouTube again to see if a proper version of this nugget had finally made its way to the public. what i found was a clear quality version, but slowed way the hell down (this particular uploader slows down ALL their uploads, don’t ask me why). so i grabbed the mp3 from that, time shifted it to as close to the original speed as i could get it by ear, and then beefed it up slightly in the EQ department via Ozone & SoundForge. and BLADOW! plz enjoy, share, & give cunnilingus whilst listening to this mighty sexy remix of an already sexy original (the credits say it was released in ’96 on the rare promo “Feels Like The First Time” (12″), and is produced by a dude named Kevin Dean. onya Kev).
what to say that hasn’t already been said? it’s simply good just to know he’s out there doing his thing. i think i enjoyed reading the outtakes much more than the central piece, mostly cos the main interview reminded me too much of the pre-album hype machine that exists behind D’Angelo. i’m not sure if HE realises it, but a lot of his angst and worry about the pitfalls of fame start within his own camp. and far more importantly, clearly the man himself couldn’t make the mental transition to handle his biz and not fall off the face of the Earth. the WORRY is that he’s still invoking the ghost of Marvin and still seeing himself as following the path of ‘died too young/died tragic phenom artist’. but most of it just sounds like regular music biz bullshit, which consists of what appears to be a very SICK evironment not conducive to free-thinking, mostly gentle souls who just wanna make the music they wanna make, and when they wanna make it. i see a lot of blame gets heaped at “Untitled”‘s door, which is complete fucking bullshit. everyone involved in the production of what sadly came to DEFINE D’s career KNEW EXACTLY WHAT THE FUCK THEY WERE DOIN.
shit was CALCULATED. that may sound like an accusation, but i’m not mad about it. i’m just not naive as hell. if D wants to TRULY regain the fans he left wandering for over a decade, dude’s gotta let go of ‘the image’ and be fucking honest about it all. this interview seemed like a good step in that direction. i wish nothing but onwards and upwards success for this man. freal.
BRILLIANT MOVE by The Jeep to branch out and guest feature on other tracks. not only do we get a mildly amusing hip hop ditty, but F Dot & Humma absolutely MURDER their verses, with Floss in particular addressing issues ppl have with Turquoise Jeep as a group, and also firmly asserting he is in fact NOT Charlie Murphy. the track is apparently an unfinished leak but is short n sweet enuf to be dope. KTJR!
if ur a Whedon fan, u should know what those two words represent and where u first heard the words uttered while a paper cut-out demon hopped across your screen. it should be etched into your memory as the moment Joss Whedon entered your pop cultural universe, planted his lawnchair and proceeded to build the nerd babylon we refer to as “The WHEDONverse”. you know you’ve made an impact when your name is associated with an entire UNIVERSE, even moreso when they start teaching courses at Universities on TV shows you’ve created. there have been many achievements to already elevate Joss into “god” status when it came to quality TV, film, comics, writing, directing, characterisation, tones of storytelling that frequently oscillate from every human emotion possible and countless mental/emotional/spiritual (one could argue)/COMEDIC punches to the fucking GUTS. but none of it ever seemed ENOUGH, nahmean?
i’m sure every Whedonite has gone through that almost alienated feeling when you’re completely head-over-heels for something he created, but somehow can never properly channel that love into coherent words when time came to attempt to explain it to someone you knew. but at the same time it’s a very KNOWING alienation, that even though your friends choose not to care, there IS a huge fanbase out there and they’re just as apeshit about the man’s work as you are. it’s that resolve (and the unending stream of classic material from Joss and his many minions) that’s solidified and exponentially grown his fanbase into what i will call “The Powderkeg Event” that is THE AVENGERS film, more specifically how awesomely awesome the fucking awesome thing is, and how awesomely it is DOMINATING in almost every corner of the globe right now. not to mention the crazy-ass box office returns (i think it’s already at 1.6 BILLION and counting?). at this point i have to check n make sure we ain’t in the bizarro version of life where talented individuals get rewarded in the end, VINDICATED even. but we kinda are. the epic legacy of Joss “Dance Of Joy” Whedon is, over the coming months and years, gonna be on full display for nerds like us to cheer on with immense glee, or for relative newbies to catch up on.
as a sign of that slowly but surely changing tide, the man himself wrote a congratulatory note to his fanboys and fangirls directly on his longtime fansite Whedonesque, touching on various issues in true Whedon fashion. there’s also a link to him teaching a guy how to poo at the very start of the article, make sure u catch that part lol.
The Purple. IN WHICH the guy who comes before “Esque” shares his deep depth, and then links you to a vid of him as a poop coach.
Well, it’s been quite a weekend. Someday, long from now, I will even have an emotional reaction to it, like a person would. I can’t wait! But before I become blinded by this “emotion” experience, there’s a few things I’d like to say. Well, type.
People have told me that this matters, that my life is about to change. I am sure that is true. And change is good — change is exciting. I think — not to jinx it — that I may finally be recognized at Comiccon. Imagine! Also, with my percentage of “the Avengers” gross, I can afford to buy… [gets call from agent. Weeps manfully. Resumes typing.] …a fine meal. But REALLY fine, with truffles and s#!+. And I can get a studio to finance my dream project, the reboot of “Air Bud” that we all feel is so long overdue. (He could play Jai Alai! Think of the emotional ramifications of JAI ALAI!!!!)
What doesn’t change is anything that matters. What doesn’t change is that I’ve had the smartest, most loyal, most passionate, most articulate group of — I’m not even gonna say fans. I’m going with “peeps” — that any cult oddity such as my bad self could have dreamt of. When almost no one was watching, when people probably should have STOPPED watching, I’ve had three constants: my family and friends, my collaborators (often the same), and y’all. A lot of stories have come out about my “dark years”, and how I’m “unrecognized”… I love these stories, because they make me seem super-important, but I have never felt the darkness (and I’m ALL about my darkness) that they described. Because I have so much. I have people, in my life, on this site, in places I’ve yet to discover, that always made me feel the truth of success: an artist and an audience communicating. Communicating to the point of collaborating. I’ve thought, “maybe I’m over; maybe I’ve said my piece”. But never with fear. Never with rancor. Because of y’all. Because you knew me when. If you think topping a box office record compares with someone telling you your work helped them through a rough time, you’re probably new here. (For the record, and despite my inhuman distance from the joy-joy of it: topping a box office record is super-dope. I’m an alien, not a robot.) So this is me, saying thank you. All of you. You’ve taken as much guff for loving my work as I have for over-writing it, and you deserve, in this our time of streaming into the main, to crow. To glow. To crow and go “I told you so”, to those Joe Blows not in the know. (LAST time I hire Dr. Seuss to punch my posts up. Yeesh!) Point being, you deserve some honor, AND you deserves some FAQs answered. So please welcome my old friend and certainly not-on-my-payroll reporter/flunky, Rutherford D. Actualperson!
RDA: So good to see you, young Joss! is it possible you’ve gotten more attractive since we last spoke, and less fungal in odor?
JW: Thanks for noticing. Let’s talk.
RDA: “the Scavengers” is a huge success! Does this mean you have changed the very fabric of existence?
JW: Dude, it’s just a movie. Also, yes.
RDA: I’ve seen a lot of a talk about “the Availers” vs “the Dark Knight Rises”. How will you feel if you’re eclipsed by Nolan?
JW: I’m glad I made you ask that. I will feel sad. But let’s look at the bigger picture, and I can’t say this enough: THIS IS NOT A ZERO SUM GAME. Our successes, whoever has the mostest, are a boon to each other. We’re in the business of proving that superhero movies aren’t just eye-candy (they’re eye-TRUFFLES!). People seem intent on setting us against each other, and though I’m proud to be Woody Strode to Nolan’s Kirk Douglas, I think they’re missing the point. Whatever TDKR does on its first weekend, the only stat that matters to me is the ticket I’M definitely buying. Nolan and Raimi INVENTED the true superhero flick, yo. (Special mention to Jon Favreau and James Gunn.) Happy to be in the mix.
RDA: What does this mean for your upcoming slate of tiny independent films/Internet shenanigans? Will they fall by the wayside?
JW: There may be new ideas realized — I always leave myself open to that — but my commitment to Wastelanders and Dr H.2 does not waver. Those stories bubble on my stove.
RDA: And TV?
JW: TV is my great love. To tell stories with that alacrity, intensity, and immediacy… Nothing quite like it. I imagine it’s not dissimilar to the feeling great poker players have: “Here’s what I got, here’s where I’m going… How to trick everybody into thinking I know what I’m doing?” [Full disclosure : Joss hates poker. He is probably talking about bridge. But it should apply nonetheless.].
RDA: What message would you give fans of “the Lavenders” who are not so familiar with your previous work?
JW: “Cabin In the Woods”: still in (some) theaters!
RDA: Is ‘the Ravengers” a perfect movie? It did get an A+ cinemascore…
JW: There are very few perfect movies. “The Court Jester”, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, “Godfather” I & II… The list does not go on and on. “The Avengers” is notably IMperfect, which makes its success mean so much more to me — because it’s striking a chord that matters MORE than its obvious flaws. Like the team, it appears to be more than the sun of its parts. Boo-yah!
RDA: What do you feel is the greatest achievement of “the Avoiders”?
JW: Getting “mewling quim” out there to the masses. Also, Hulk.
RDA: Anyone in particular you’d like to thank?
JW: [Reads from notecard]. I couldn’t have done this myself. Part of this Saturn Award belongs to Jeremy Latcham, Kevin Feige, and the fine Marvel folk… But the secret ingredient is my closest peeps: J-Mo, who did uncredited punch-up work (carrier battle, yo!), Z-bro, Drew “I am Loki only taller and foppier” Goddard, and Kai, all of whom worked the story with me. Without them (and Jeremy), I’d still be figuring out how the Wasp fits in to this, and where to put Red Hulk.
RDA: What’s next for Joss “finally got it right for a change” Whedon?
JW: Can we not call me that?
RDA: Just deal. Whut up?
JW: I really think we should discuss that nickname, but I’m finishing “Much Ado About Nothing” this month. If you liked “the Avengers”, you’ll love… I can’t. It’s Shakespeare. And not in the park. I hope it gets watched.
RDA: Any message to your precious “Whedonesk?”
JW: I’m not aware of that group.
RDA: Didn’t they know you when?
JW: I’m not sure who you mean. I’m discarding my old fans so I can concentrate on fame, Euro-trash guy-jewelry and my precious “Air Bud” reboot. But, dude, don’t print that!
RDA: You have my word.
So, that’s our post! Hope you enjoyed it. Hope you’ll continue to carry the banner even though other people may have joined the parade. (Kind of a gay pride/Newsies vibe: sentence accomplished!) Hope you understand how I feel. Cliff notes: grateful.
“Here’s to us. Who’s like us? Damn few”
— Stephen Sondheim, “Merrily We Roll Along”.
“It took a dog playing Jai Alai to teach us humanity!”
–Me, in that awesome film I’m gonna make.
i still can’t believe how quickly this event has crept up on us…AGAIN. seems like Nolan’s been getting us fanboys in a frenzy like clockwork since Batman Begins. 2012 will be no different. i am only seeing this in IMAX, btw. i highly recommend y’all do the same. but for now, the newest trailer (and probly the best outta the bunch, even without a collapsing football field).
it may not be blindingly obvious just from taking a cursory look on this blog, but i am a huge, HUGE fan of pretty much all of Dave Grohl‘s music (and therefore a massive Foo Fighters nut). every year i try to dig and find more stuff by the man that was previously unheard, unknown or forgotten. so some time back i discovered a song called “How Do You Do” from a soundtrack to the film Touch (starring Skeet Ulrich). turns out Dave was the maestro in charge of the film’s entire score/soundtrack. so in essence, “Touch” is a mostly-instrumental solo album by Dave (with a few tracks being credited to one of his earlier alias’, Late). the more i listen to this, the more i see it as a gorgeous signpost filling in the evolving Foo sound between “The Colour And The Shape” & “There Is Nothing Left To Lose”. that is, heavy doses of melancholy chords with a few uptempo bright spots, and a couple of tracks featuring the same standard bossa nova beat he ended up using on “Stacked Actors”. far as i know this OST still remains floating around in the ether unbeknownst to most fans, which is sad cos truth is it’s a bit of a gem.
01. Bill Hill Theme (4:04) 02. August Murray Theme (3:38) 03. How Do You Do (3:14) 04. Richie Baker’s Miracle (1:04) 05. Making Popcorn (2:33) 06. Outrage (2:20) 07. Saints In Love (3:12) 08. Spinning Newspapers (2:50) 09. Remission My Ass (0:38) 10. Scene 6 (4:28) 11. This Loving Thing (Lynn’s Song) (3:09) 12. Final Miracle (2:38) 13. Touch (3:33)
let’s take it back to the early/mid-90s for a second and lemme sum up what i’m about to offer up to you, anonymous tastemakers and music-lovers of the Internet:
Jodeci were blowing the fuck up off the strength of their now-classic debut album Forever My Lady in the early 90s (of which all the slow songs were written by mastermind DeVante Swing about a girl he was dating at the time who left & joined the army. random, right?). and amidst all the adulation came some form of power for Mr. Donald “DeVante” DeGrate, who then embarked on an ambitious project that was reminiscent of a bygone era in music. while on tour with Jodeci, he would routinely hear auditions from local groups. after carefully selecting which ones he thought showed real promise and real talent, he amassed them into a collective known as Da Bassment crew (aka Swing Mob) sometime around 1992, tho some people say the ball could’ve got started rolling even before that. this is a large pool of talent that included future legends like Timbaland, Missy Elliott, Tweet, Magoo, Ginuwine, Playa, Static/Major and quite a bit of input from DeVante and Dalvin as well. originally known as the 45.4 Q Clique, and then Swing Mob, the name Da Bassment eventually stuck due to the recording complex that all the artists either lived in or next to (this would be Dajhelon Studios in which the group primarily used the basement studios for their work).
however, the clique imploded sometime after The Show, The Afterparty, The Hotel (an album which had credited and uncredited contributions from various Bassment members, as did Diary Of A Mad Band, this group-mentality of creation being the status quo). while the majority of the goings on and the real reasons for the epic split of this epic crew remained a source of constant wonder and curiosity for nearly two decades (and a certain amount of sadness that it wasn’t fully realised), in the last few years we’ve seen ex-members like Susan Weems (of the group Sugah, of which Tweet and Rolita White were also a part) and emcee, Accion, give lengthy interviews about their experiences in Da Bassment. the former VP of the label, Shannon “Big Shann” Miller also recently recounted the experience with an interview via Skype that’s up on YouTube.
but above all else is this following important information: in 2010 the owner of the Static Major Is Music Blog anonymously recieved a package in the mail after posting a few Bassment-related things. turns out the tape, unmarked and unlabeled, is a full tape of snippets of songs produced and made in Da Bassment, by Da Bassment. since it’s in snippet form, i can only assume it was originally designed to be a mixtape or promo tape of sorts. only a few full-length songs are featured. oh yeah, let me say it again just in case i understated it: UNRELEASED, UNEARTHED TUNES BY YOUR FAVOURITE BASSMENT ARTISTS. this is stuff i, or the collective “we”, thought we’d NEVER EVER end up hearing. when i randomly discovered it in a lazy Google search over a month ago, i almost freaked out. it had become such an unreachable treasure that i didn’t bother to think about it anymore, but here it is y’all: 77MINS OF IT. lol. a sneak peek into the collective creative braintrust known as Da Bassment. and what i hear only confirms my long-held position that, were the ‘experiment’ to work out and the group not disbanded, they would be household names and changed the entire face of modern r&b and hip hop music (as a COLLECTIVE and on their own terms, which is what DeVante was ultimately working towards).
INSANELY, this gem has somehow managed to remain SO under the radar (even Internet’s radar) that i, a confirmed Bassment zealot, didn’t know of its existence til a YEAR after it hit the net. which is some shameful shit (to me). so i have taken it upon myself to help spread the good vibes like i did with the Jack Herrera post. i want this blog post to become the vocal focal point for some Bassment love. come share your adulation for this still-unheralded clique, read up on the day-to-day happenings of the group via eye-witness accounts of ex-members, and how it ultimately all went sour. but like i said, most importantly: DOWNLOAD THE MIXTAPE. listen to all the early weed-soaked creative nuggets that led to mega-stardom and music icons.
FYI: these are tunes that have been directly ripped from a rough cassette tape copy as just “Side 1” and “Side 2” (respectively by Static Major Is Music), i’ve spent a good month chopping em up and figuring out track names, and especially the artists involved in each tack. since some of the members were completely new to me, it took a while to get acclimated to their voice in order to suss out who is who. but i think you’ll find this to be the most complete (and probaly ONLY) functioning tracklist.
FYI (II): i’m designing this post to be sort of a central hub for any and all information regarding the history of Da Bassment throughout its entire run. that includes interviews with former members, rare pics and video glimpses into their world, an attempt at a complete list of Bassment members, unconfirmed rumours (some so crazy they might be true), and of course the songs themselves (incuding all the released material the group were involved with).
we begin the audio assault with THE demo tape that no one seems to know ANYthing about lol. typical Bassment style, even when we get to hear the MUSIC, we’re still left in the dark about the finer details. nevertheless, it’s die-hard fans/music nerds like me that desire to put the pieces together. here we go, courtesy of the afore-mentioned Static Major Is Music blog (wanna make sure they/Buddha get the much-deserved shout-outs on this page cos they broke the news/provided links in the first place).
DA BASSMENT DEMO TAPE
01. Timbaland – Da Funk (1:32) 02. Sista – Sweat You Down (Alternate Version) (feat. Craig Mack) (1:19) 03. Virginia – Slow Drag (3:41) 04. Sista – U Better Be Ready (2:02) 05. Ginuwine – Come Inside (2:03) 06. Ginuwine – I’m Going To Fall In Love (2:23) 07. Sugah – Fly Guy (1:18) 08. Timbaland & Magoo – Plenty Of Styles (feat. Missy Elliott) (3:34) 09. Dante Hawkins – Nobody’s Home (prod. DeVanté Swing & E-Bass) (3:50) 10. Da Boogie Man – Interlude (1:00) 11. Sugah – Sugah Thang (feat. Playa, Accion, Mr. Brendal, Timbaland & Reboc) (1:42) 12. Da Bassment – Ain’t Nuthin’ But A B-Party (4:07) 13. Jodeci – Get Back (6:03) 14. Ginuwine – Let’s Stop Effin’ Around (1:48) 15. Sugah – Expired (2:41) 16. Sista – Find My Love (Alternate Version) (0:58) 17. Playa – Come On, Girl (2:15) 18. Sista – Brand New (Mr. Dalvin’s Ferrari Mix) (Extra Raps) (feat. Mr. Dalvin & Static) (1:11) 19. Timbaland – Makes You Say (1:26) 20. Timbaland – We Can Do This (1:08) 21. Da Bassment – Ain’t Nuthin’ But A B-Party (Alternate Mix) (1:02) 22. Timbaland – Get Down (feat. Playa) (1:07) 23. Static – S-T-A-T-I-C (1:34) 24. Reboc – Untitled (feat. Timbaland) (0:56) 25. Timbaland – Peepin’ My Style (feat. Static & Missy Elliott) (2:37) 26. Timbaland – Do You Wanna (feat. Accion) (3:09) 27. Sugah – Sugah Sensation (feat. Timbaland) (1:44) 28. Sugah – Goin’ Down (feat. Timbaland) (2:11) 29. Virginia – Get Down (feat. Timbaland & Missy Elliott) (3:23) 30. Virginia – Let Me In Your Life (feat. Missy Elliott) (3:28) 31. LB – Baby I Know (0:54) 32. Missy Elliott – Red Lights (feat. Timbaland) (1:12) 33. Sugah – Smokin’ In The Dark (1:23) 34. Sugah – Smokin’ In The Dark (Alternate Mix) (0:34) 35. H-Town – Set It Off (4:12) 36. Sugah – Sugar & Spice (1:51)
as u might tell, it’s not yet a COMPLETE tracklist. so if anyone’s got info on tracks 31 & 35 please let me know.
and just to further add to this barrage of Bassment-related audio yumminess, i’ve compiled my own personal mix of more Bassment materials which includes: unreleased stuff, soundtrack cuts & work done for other artists (as you will see, many of the members of the crew participated on the production and writing tip for other artists). it’s slightly riskier for me to post these songs as some of them include some big-name artists that might wanna lay the smackdown on me and this blog, but it’s all for the love. if anyone DOES object to their tunes being present here in this particular mix, please give me a yell first. otherwise, please to be enjoying even more of my favourite Bassment-related goodies 🙂
(and a further note, i’ve tried to include only tracks that feature two or more Bassment members on the track, and also the songs which i think best exemplify Da Bassment sound. i’ve also tried to track down as many deets/credits regarding who did what on each track as possible, but even i can be wrong time to time so if y’all have any corrections to make, please don’t hesitate to tell me off).
Mista Vee Presents…Swing Mobbin’: Sounds From Da Bassment
01. DeVante – P.I.B 4Play produced by DeVante Swing.
02. Danny Boy – Slip N’ Slide produced by DeVante Swing & Reggie De’vell Moore. additional vocals by DeVante Swing & Ginuwine.
03. Aaron Hall – Curiosity (Misdemeanor) produced by Mr. Dalvin. written by Aaron Hall, Missy Elliott & Mr. Dalvin. additional vocals by Missy Elliott.
04. DeVante – Gin & Juice (Remix) produced by DeVante Swing & Timbaland. additional vocals by Da Boogie Man, Mr. Brendal, Magoo, Timbaland, Accion, Static & C-Dub.
05. Al Green – Could This Be The Love produced by DeVante Swing. additional vocals by DeVante Swing, Playa & Renee Anderson.
06. Mr. Dalvin & Static – True O.G. produced by Mr. Dalvin & Timbaland.
07. Jodeci – Can We Flo? written, produced and arranged by DeVante Swing. background vocals by Playa.
08. Jodeci – Zipper produced by DeVante Swing.
09. DeVante – Gin & Juice produced, written & arranged by DeVante Swing. additional vocals by Static.
10. B Rezell – Blowed Away produced by DeVante Swing & Timbaland. additional vocals by DeVante Swing.
11. Jodeci – Room 454: DeVante’s “Inhermission” produced by DeVante Swing.
12. Da Bassment – Love You Down produced by DeVante Swing. vocal arrangements by Playa. additional vocals by LB, Sugah & DeVante Swing.
13. Jodeci – What About Us (Swing Mob) produced by DeVante Swing & Timbaland. additional vocals by Magoo.
14. Ginuwine – I Want You produced by DeVante Swing.
15. Tony Thompson – Slave produced by DeVante Swing & Darryl Pearson. music by DeVante Swing, Darryl Pearson & Missy Elliott. all instruments by DeVante Swing & Darryl Pearson. background vocals by Static, Smokey, Darryl Pearson, Missy Elliott & DeVante Swing. mixed by Prince Charles Alexander.
16. Jodeci – Sweaty produced by DeVante Swing. additional vocals by Missy Elliott. scratches by Timbaland.
17. Sista – Find My Love produced by DeVante Swing & Timbaland. additional keys by DeVante Swing. written by Missy Elliott.
18. Renee Anderson – Gonna Be Your Night produced by DeVante Swing.
19. Usher – Can U Get Wit It produced by DeVante Swing. instruments by DeVante Swing & Timbaland. guitar by Darryl Pearson. mixed by Prince Charles Alexander. additional vocals by DeVante Swing.
20. H-Town – Part Time Lover produced by DeVante Swing & Darryl Pearson. additional vocals by DeVante Swing.
mix is also available for streaming only via Mixcloud.
there’s also a funky phat bonus track called “Ride Around” (dudes on the net are calling it “RidING Around” but i’ma call it “Ride Around”) that was also apparently featured on the tape, but for some reason was edited out of the final cassette rip by the blogger (i think, but again not sure why). as a result i’m not sure where it sits in the tracklist, therefore i’m callin it a “bonus track”. but far more than a loose end, this is one of THE dopest tracks to surface from the collective. it’s labeled as Da Bassment but it sounds mostly like a Timbo/Playa production. either way, tis some FONKY.SHIT.
***UPDATED JAN 2ND 2012***
did i mention i’m finding new old shit all the damn time now? just seems to be popping up all over the frign place (no complaints here lol, jussayin). so last night while i was messin around on YouTube (which is something i like to do each night before i sleep), i come across another Bassment joint (presumably from the demo tape as well) called “Another Level”. Timbo‘s and Static‘s verses are the same ones later re-used on “Smoke In Da Air”, and the chorus was re-used by Timbo maaaaany years later on his track “Hello” (feat. Keri Hilson). cool to know Tim didn’t mind reachin back to his Bassment days for his current shit (now if only the music could reflect that too).
lol @ that intro. Reboc is gangsta as fock. Static gamblin. DeVante being DeVante with his breathy-spoken ass lol. and once again, Static rippin his verse. and i need to add this cos it’s important: STOP SLEEPIN ON MAGANOO. from what little we’ve heard of him from Da Bassment days, he’s just as dope as anyone else in the collective. there’s a reason he was there, folks. Magoo got rhymes.
we now come to the interviews section of this weird and wonderful ride known as Da Bassment. it seems that 2009 was the year that got the ball rolling in terms of solid in-depth information coming out about the entire experience. i’ve tried my best to scour the Internetz for as many as i can find, hopefully it’ll give y’all a clearer picture of how it all went down. i think what’s led to constant confusion over the facts is that back in the 90s we would hear mostly negative things from the camp post-Bassment. and of course, the vicious and never-ending rumour-mill (which i also participated in back in the day, purely out of frustration of not knowing what.the.fuck.went.wrong). Sue Weems & Accion probably give the most in-depth peeks into the Bassment universe, but the short video chat with Bazaar Royale (aka Da Boogie Man/Boogie) seems to be the most honest one (that is, not tipping in an anti-DeVante or anti-Bassment direction but also not over-praising as there was some serious shit going on with De back then which also caused rifts).
anyway, i could waffle on, but these cats tell it much better than i ever could. cos they were, yknow, THERE.
Static/Major @ Murderdog.com (2004ish).
only available at Playa’s Myspace page.
in the midst of all this research (let me remind y’all, i’ve been heading toward this large-ass blog post for what seems like a lifetime: i GREW UP on Bassment music), i was able to piece together a decent list of known Bassment/Swing Mob members.
Donald DeGrate (aka DeVante Swing/Boss Playa) Dalvin DeGrate (aka Mr. Dalvin) Timothy Mosley (aka Timbaland) Melvin Barcliff (aka Magoo/Maganoo) Melissa Elliott (aka Missy/Misdemeanor) Elgin Lumpkin (aka Ginuwine) Radiah Scott Chonita Coleman LeShawn Shellman Charlene Keys (aka Tweet) Susan Weems (aka Susie/Sue) Rolita White Jawann Peacock (aka Smokey/Smoke E. Digglera) Benjamin Bush (aka Black/Digital Black) Stephen Garrett (aka Static/Major/Stacks) Renee Anderson (aka Renee) Bazaar Royale (aka Da Boogie Man/Boogie) Virginia Williams (aka Virginia/VA) Dante Hawkins Charles Wiley (aka C-Dub) Mr. Brendal Accion Reboc Darryl Pearson Steven Jordan (aka Stevie J) Chad Elliott (aka Dr. Seuss) Shannon Miller (aka Big Shann) (Vice President) Robert Reives (aka Robb/RR) D. Brooks (?) Da Deuce Special “K” Tay Big Mel Reggie De’vell Moore SMK LB
RUMOURS, HALF-TRUTHS, BULLSHIT & INNUENDO
welcome to the now-legendary pantheon of theories and assumptions regarding one DeVante Swing and Da Bassment crew. i collected these nuggets from various locales on the web, didn’t feel like crediting anyone as none of it can really be verified. then again, we barely know half the story, and as The Dude might say (in the parlance of our times), new shit is coming to light all the damn time. and like i said at the top of this post: some of this sounds so crazy that it might be true. so, brace yourselves
*the members in Jodeci was also sleeping with some of the girls in Da Bassment. K-Ci slept with Missy.
*Mary broke in to some girl’s appartment that K-Ci and DeVante was messing with. Mary “DON’T PLAY” when it comes to K-Ci.
*DeVante was raped and beaten with a bat in his home by Suge Knight and the homies, because he didn’t want to work with Suge anymore. Suge did alot of things to his own artists. Suge is ruthless.
*i live in Rochester & I remember the time period they were here. they also made the last Jodeci CD here. if i remember correctly DeVante‘s cars started getting reposessed here during that period. he also produced a local girl here, had a whole album done. she opened for Maze here & the local station was playing what was supposed to be her 1st single then she vanished. word is that before the album dropped, DeVante pressured her to sleep with him. she wouldn’t & overnight the master tapes to her album were destroyed.
*1.DeVante discovered Missy and some other folks. 2. he moved them up to Rochester to make a compilation album. 3.Missy started to shine and DeVante got salty. 4.DeVante started doing some devious shit because he was angry that Missy was getting her shine on. 5. after spending two years in Rochester, folks weren’t getting paid, there was no album, no food, and no sleep. 6.Missy, Ginuwine, Timbaland, and Magoo had the balls to leave. 7.Missy and Timbaland are now healthy and rolling in money while DeVante looks like the crackhead firefly from the Frog Princess.
*here’s DeVante‘s story in the music biz:
he was doing real good at one point and was making music for everyone, Suge reached out to him and asked that he worked on certain projects. at first he was alright with it but then realized Suge was abusing him and decided to let Suge know he was no longer interested in working on those projects. eventually, Suge had some dudes run up on him in his crib and rape him. after that incident he kept running from house to house, wherever he could stay because he was scared of being home. he started doing drugs heavy and was suicidal at one point… DeVante‘s never been the same since that incident.
*ALL of them were getting raped, Suge helped them get out of the situation at Uptown so their ass was on tap. Mary was also helped out of that situation.
one of them, either K-Ci or JoJo got the door locked on them in the studio for talking slick. The Roots wanted to sign with Suge but they didnt want to give up the ass since Questlove has a big juicy one.
*i heard he got blacklisted because Elektra gave him $1 million for his own label, but he couldn’t recoup it.
also burned bridges….he had Suge Knight force Andre Harrell to restructure their contracts, on some “Big Red” Five Heartbeats type ish…lol.
shortly after “All Eyez On Me” dropped, he caught on that Suge was skimming money too, and severed all ties. Suge wasn’t too pleased about that…
also Keyshia Cole….he has a studio out in SF Valley and develops artists out there.
alot of people say, since he’s blacklisted and can’t do anything under his own name, he ghosts for other people, i wouldn’t doubt that.
*i heard that most of the members started having Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after two years of minimal food and water.
*Ginuwine is just cool with K-Ci and JoJo and they were always cool..they once had a writer from Vibe magazine who knew DeVante… she even said DeVante doesn’t talk to hardly any of the Da Bassment members besides Static (R.I.P). Timbaland has tried to reach out to DeVante but he aint messing with none of them.
*”the real GENIUS behind Jodeci was DeVante. that’s a real producer for you. those beats, melodies, and vocal arrangements truly caused goosebumps. look at “Feenin'”, case and point. the concept of being in lust over someone so much its painful you need a fix like a dope fiend. the chorus is so strong, i haven’t heard anything since. he was the one who mentored Timbaland, Missy, and Ginuwine. in 1994 they all came here to Rochester NY to record “Show, Afterparty, Hotel” to be low key. i knew Ginuwine as Elgin when he worked at the downtown Footlocker. they were managed by Suge who ran up 500K in recording costs at Dajhelon studios. when the bill came, Suge told them to fuck off and bankrupted them. i had a brief internship there a few years later, where I got to hear most of the amazing unreleased master tapes, particularly from a then unknown named Timbaland. lol, and K-Ci got my sloppy seconds (sorta). i was seeing this dope Rican mami, he scooped her at the mall and it was a done deal. she told me and i said peace.. ah the memories”, by Frank Mancuso (@FrankieEmz) via Twitter, posted April 2011.
FINAL THOUGHTS & MUSINGS
it becomes almost impossible to take sides in a situation like this. legions of us still worship at the altar of D. Swing, but it seems it was his ill-fated association with the human cancer known as Suge Knight that most-likely brought the whole thing down. the stories about DeVante being beaten AND raped in retaliation for severing ties with Suge sound pretty extreme, although the actual story itself WAS reported on quite a bit (however DeVante seemed to play it off as no big deal in an old interview i remember). the story of Suge bankrupting em instead sounds more believable (and less horrifying). even some of the interviews mention the Suge association as being quite a negative influence on DeVante and Da Bassment in general. what pains me is all the random comments some of the members have made about the experience and about DeVante in retrospect, most of em negative. but it seems like suddenly in the last few years everyone’s mellowed out a bit and are giving high praise to DeVante. even Timbo called him a “beast” in the still fresh E! True Hollywood Story episode he did. and from what Accion and Bazaar Royale have said, everyone was living, working and playing on DeVante‘s dime. he basically gave them the opportunity to find themselves as artists, which is why when everyone debuted to the world, they were already at the peak of their craft and basically took the music scene by storm.
in terms of the specific Bassment SOUND, it’s become evident that the sound associated with Da Bassment is actually the style Timbaland made famous and debuted with and basically took all the core members to the top with. it’s been my hunch for a while that Tim kinda hid the fact that it wasn’t he alone that came up with that signature Timbaland style. and now, hearing the demo recordings for the first time i can at least confirm for MYSELF, that it was a style that could’ve only blossomed in the studios of Da Bassment. that means that without the collective, Tim may have not been able to fully express and tap into his innate creativity. i just wished he’d acknowledged the beginnings of his career a lot more, but after he came clean about some of the darker bits from his life during that time, i guess i could understand distancing himself from it all.
at the end of it all, if you do take the time to read all the interviews, listen to the tunes and really absorb everything on offer, then you start to get a sense of the whole Bassment experience. it started off beautiful, simple and sweet. a family of talented individuals being brought together by a newly-established phenom with wealth and power. working, playing and living nothing but music and weed for a couple years and some change. and then having it all kinda turn dark like a stoner having a ‘crashed-back-down-to-earth’ moment and realising “holy shit, all this smokin’s gonna kill me quick”, and wanting to immediately do something about it. i can understand the awesome feelings it must’ve elicited when smoking up and being around nothing but heavy creative heads. it’s a mode of music-making that i myself grew into naturally, and i consider to be one of the purer methods of tapping into that unexplored channels of creativity.
seems to me now that everyone’s grown and had time to do their own thing and achieve greatness (majority of folks who went to De’s “musical boot camp” came out the better for it), there seems to be a largely positive outpouring of affection for the man and at least some solid recognition of the helping hand he gave them. it’s this fan’s hope that Mr. Donald DeGrate, wherever he may be right now, one day gets back in touch with the people he once considered a family. the only recent interview he’s done was from this year and it was about the death of Static mostly (De’s right-hand man and probably his personal favourite member of the supergroup), but he does touch on Da Bassment for the first time in a LONG time (tis in the interviews section). hopefully he’s had time to work through all that ails him, whether it be drug-related or not, and could find it somewhere in his heart to understand and forgive everyone he feels ditched or slighted him, the same way they all seem to be forgiving him (for things that we scantly know about and i’m sure a whole lot more we don’t).
i think Bazaar Royale said it best: imagine if y’all reunited NOW, having been through so much and learned so much. imagine the music Da Bassment crew could make TODAY. and by no means do i aim to shit on everything everyone’s accomplished since breaking from the original crew, but there’s a little extra magic in the music when all the magicians are involved. anyways, consider this a personal love-letter from me to Da Bassment. the sound they were known for and the sound that developed later on (aka Tim‘s signature style) have played such a huge part in my musical development that it’s nuts. all my notions of laid back swag-filled tunes come from them. my love of mid-tempo slap-bass jams come from them. and listening to the demo tape recordings, i can feel some sort of peace for knowing i was right all along: that these guys and girls coulda dominated. and not just the ones who went on and DID do exactly that, i mean ALL of Da Bassment members, forming like Voltron and proceeding to kick the ass of ANYone in their way.
I try to avoid the blues when talking about all this, but if you want to know one of the most sour reflections that I have when I think that I’m 61 now and I might not make 65 – I quite easily might not – one of the bitter aspects of that is, well, I put in 60 years at the coal face, I work very hard. In the last few years I’ve got a fair amount of recognition for it, in my opinion actually rather more than I deserve, certainly more than I expected, and I could have looked forward to a few years of, shall we say, cruising speed, you know, just as we’re relishing that, enjoying it. Not ceasing to work, not resting on the laurels but savouring it a bit.
And that, I was just getting ready for that in fact, and I was hit right at the top of my form, right in the middle of a successful book tour. I’m not going to get there and that does upset me. So that’s how I demarcate it from immortality. Similarly I’m not going to see my grandchildren, almost certainly not. One has children with the expectation of dying before them, in fact, you want to make damn sure you die before them. Just as you plant a tree, build a house knowing, hoping that it will outlive you, that’s how the human species has done as well as it has…
But the thought of mortality, in other words of being outlived, is fine when it’s your children, your books or your trees. It doesn’t reconcile you to an early death.
oh Internet, i have once again failed you. in my attempts to carry on with the daily grind of mind-numbing mediocrity, i once again stopped blogging. and you can blame the global take-over by a ruthless, heartless, inhuman corporatocracy for it. the more information i learn about the goings on of our socially-decaying world, the angrier and disillusioned i become with nearly everything. NOT a good way to be, i can assure you lol. to that end, i’m dragging myself back to funnyville by posting some YouTube goodies i’ve accumulated (in-between info dumps of wretched globalist behaviour).
I’ve Got You Under My Skin
i recently got to sit down and finally watch the 2009 film Gamer, which stars guy-who-kicks-Persians-into-craters, Gerard Butler as the protagonist and Michael C. Hall of Dexter as the shmoove suave villain of the piece. it’s all very Running Manesque (with doses of sci fi dystopia) but manages to entertain and spout a message on its own merits. however the highlight was Hall engaging in this twisted song & dance number, where he puts that awkward body of his to good use. it was a very ‘ateur’ish break in the film which i thought was pretty cool.
Syobon Action (aka “Cat Mario”)
i still can’t work up the testicular fortitude to take this game on, as i have trouble even clocking regular Mario. this game does, however, deserve to be praised to near mythical proportion like QWOP was/is lol. just ludicrous and hella hilarious when coupled with the commentary, Syobon Action (also being called Cat Mario) is Japanese-made torture where everything is out to kill you and every square inch of gaming screen is a trap.
This One Is For MAANDELLLLAAA!
you know how you get those invisible urges to watch something really specific? well after powering through some classic 80s buddy cop action flicks, somehow Rush Hour was next in the brain queue. and to my wonderful surprise, they hold up REALLY well. and it’s owed completely to Chris Tucker‘s hilarious ass.
among the many films & television shows i’ve been getting acquainted with over the last few months, is this British masterpiece in adolescent humour: The Inbetweeners. i’ve already stormed through the first 2 series’ AND the recent film (all awesome), only have series 3 left. but it’s safe to say Jay gets ALL the great lines. and he’s even funnier when wigging out, thusly.
I Mama Noodles YOUUU DEEPSHIIIIIT!
if you’re EVER looking for a decent unrated unfiltered alternative comedy program, look no further than Funny Or Die. their online shorts are certified hilarity (one of which is featured in this post starring Lenny Kravitz). in my late-night Foxtel perusings, i noticed they were on TV too. all self-made nuggets of comedy presented in a half-hour format. this particular ad featured in a short by Tim & Eric, and is a FUCKING.PISSER.
The Outback Slug
never quite got over the originality and the majesty of The Maxx project by Sam Keith and the dedicated team at the MTV Oddities camp back in the 90s. it not only stands the test of time, but manages to transcend it by being completely timeless. which makes sense for something that surfs in and out of characters deepest darkest parts of their subconscious. amongst all the heavy and heady stuff (that run-over bunny still unsettles me), there was plenty of laconic comedy thanks to Maxx and his deadpan delivery. this scene is part of a longer portion that details some of the many inhabitants of “The Outback”, a warped version of pre-historic Australia that may or may not exist inside his head.
for those frequenters of my Facebook page, you will have already heard of the mighty Day Job Orchestra and their now worldwide famous overdubs of any and everything (but mostly Star Trek clips). in-between they have other random bits n pieces worth mentioning, such as this ad for muffling that loud annoying testicle. YOU KNOW THE ONE, FELLAS.
Lenny Kravitz Is Angry
so pointless yet so well-executed (a Funny Or Die production).
Frank Tells A Story
in what has to be the greatest season of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, a recent ep had Frank Reynolds (DeVito) commandeer a boat full of Asian tourists in order to get across town to see the new action film, “Thundergun Express”. but Frank being Frank, instead of landmarks and info about the city, he gleefully recounts his many misadventures with Charlie and The Gang over the years.
Havin’ A Roni
i recently watched Vanilla Ice‘s 1991 film “Cool As Ice” TWICE over the weekend lol. and instead of posting a clip from the moofie (of which there are MANY to choose from, shit is entertainment from beginning to end), i thought i’d dig deeper and post up this acapella track from Ice’s debut album. it holds a special place in my and my older brother’s heart, as we spent hours fucking with it and it brought us endless joy. hearing it uninterrupted and non-“screwed” is actually kinda weird, cos i expect specific parts to start automatically SKIPPING and cutting away lol. regardless of alla that, it’s just kinda funny to listen to anyways.
the most recent smanger from the progressively-creative Turquoise Jeep camp is a bit of a family affair, one for the long-time fans who’ve been Keeping The Jeep Ridin’ since jump. the song is, of course, a fucking smash hit. the treat is however seeing the full TJ family on-screen for the first time in a while, marking the re-appearance of once-thought lost member, Slick Mahony. rumours kept running rife about Slick’s whereabouts or why he seemed to be absent from all recent Jeep videos (official & behind the scenes). but here he gloriously re-emerges in true Slick style, and joined by cameos from Whatchyamacallit, Pretty Raheem & Tummiscratch. on top of that we’re treated to undoubtedly one of THEE hawtest video chicks they’ve ever given us, and even more random sullen-looking males to add to the peripheral portion of the Turquoise Jeep universe. check out the inspiration for the song below via F Dot Floss.
and now peep the gloriousness that is WHY I GOTTA WAIT??.
as an added bonus, i’ve taken the liberty of creating my own photo gallery for the vid. as well as a meme-worthy shot of “Nate” that i hope does the rounds on the Internetz. enjoy.
not exactly sure what this is, even after i put it together. i think the best i can do to explain it is that it’s an expression of how i see the world when i’m behind the wheel. things are near trance-like for me when the right song is playing in the car. that, and my long-time ancient-rooted adoration of our home star, the sun, came together with the aid of a song by The XX called Infinity. i haven’t been able to get it out of my head for a couple weeks now, and i guess all of this just conspired with the sunny morning drive i took & here we are. INFINITUM: an expression within a moment in time.
it’s been quite a substantial gap in-between YouTube posts, and in the intervening months i’ve naturally amassed more than 10 nuggets of YouTube gold. but in keeping in line with the concept of this post, i’ll whittle it down to my fav 10. shit’s hard cos i’ve seen about a thousand million billion clips since then, but neglected to post it up. such is LIFE: when you got multiple focuses, the BLAUG always tends to suffer. especially in the “music journalism” category. which is why i like having YouTube posts to fall back on: it’s easy to crap on about random shyte plus it stimulates my writing mind. oh, a fair few of these are my own edits & uploads. actually…all of em are lol (clearly i’ve had the time). had enough reading yet? IT HAS ONLY JUST BEGUN…BEGun…begun…un…
i suppose i better start with the most recent thing tickling my fancies, the illustrious indestructible all-encompassing RUM HAM. it recently made a splash (ha) on episode 2 of the new season of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. after i watched it, i quickly hit teh ‘Tube to search for clips to poast onto my Facebook (cos it’s something i like to do…alone…on a Saturday night…in between faps). unfortunately the only clip i found was recorded via camera phone (long the bane of YouTube’s existence). not good enough. so i swiftly upped the damn clip MYSELF. it’s now racked up near 7.5k views within a few days, re-posts, blogs & even this video response of some brave souls actually making & tasting their own rum ham. *******SADLY THIS VIDEO WAS TAKEN DOWN BY FOX JUST AS I WENT TO POST THIS BLOG THERE MIGHT STILL BE CLIPS OF IT ON TEH ‘TUBE, BUT MINE IS OFFICIALLY GIZZONE. SORRY Y’ALL.
i also recently got hooked on Hung (that sounds…vaguely like i’m hangin off the tip of..nevermind), a show about a male prostitute doing it tough in post-economic-collapse Detroit (stars Thomas Jane as Ray). started on season 2 on the weekend and couldn’t help but cackle at the introduction of Charlie, an experienced and somewhat of a “Yoda pimp” to the main character of Tanya (Ray‘s pimp). here he discusses a pimps methods, mainly the use of mental darts (or bullets, or i guess any other projectiles).
during what i will call “Teh Silent Interims From BLAUGations”, i managed to re-watch the ENTIRETY of The Pretender. that’s 4 seasons and two TV movies. i’ve long held an admiration for the show, and moreso the classic characters within it. back in the 90s during its run, i was pretty much obsessed with it from week-to-week. Sydney‘s vocal tone (that of Patrick Bauchau) was also a constant point of imitation via myself, my older brother and my best mate since i was in kindergarten lol. that is to say, the show was a big part of my life for a minute. and it was refreshing to revisit the series and see it through more adult contemporary eyes, allowing me to come to a fuller appreciation of the complex tapestry that is The Pretender. ANYways, another go-to line i’d love reiterating IRL was Jarod’s (the inimitable Michael T. Weiss) sometimes-use of “DIDN’T YOU!?!?!?!” when serving up a wrong-doer. admittedly this didn’t occur as often as i thought it did, but often enough that it left a mark.
SHOOT, You CLOWN!
Bud Spencer and Terence Hill have appeared in this list before. and if i let myself, they would DOMINATE every single YouTube-centric poast. however, i’ll restrain myself to just this golden clip from their CUHLASSIC 1984 flick Double Trouble where Terence goads a mercenary.
Chicken-Man! You Got It
the original 1994 Stargate film (on which the long-running TV shows are based) has plenty of meme-worthy moments. one such occasion involves Kurt Russell (the original Jack O’Neill) asking the locals of Abydos where “the chicken-man” went (i think in reference to Daniel Jackson). the clip takes it all out of context, of course, and just looks like random chicken-related craziness.
re-watched The Matrix trilogy back-to-back-to-back recently for the first time in years, and glad to say they’ve improved over time (although Revolutions still remains the weakest installment). however, watching things now is vastly different to how i viewed things years ago. i see MORE. i get engaged by the smaller things. in this case, it’s The Oracle‘s smoker-heavy voice making one strange-ass noise in-between sentences that REALLY captured my attention lol.
THERE You Are!
sayin it now so it’s official: Vampire’s Kiss is my favourite Nic Cage film of all-time. no doubt.
Goodbye, Mr. Spatula!
i’m still in the process of upping more funny-ass clips from Ed, this one features local magician Stuckeyville Stan making Ed’s spatula disappear in an overly cheesy manner (cheesy with a wink, tho).
Denzel Thinks You’re Kinda Funny
finally got around to watching Deja Vu, and unexpectedly enjoyed it more than i thought i would. you had a pretty cool sci fi story goin, and a good ratio of “Denzelisms”. i present to you, exhibit A.
the very first meme-ish clip i ever uploaded, was like a fucking thunderbolt from the sky. i was compelled to put it out there. it’s only a few measly seconds, but it’s got amazing replay power. the clip in question is of Arnie on the run, early on in Total Recall. and as he’s fleeing, he bumps a random cunt out of the way, and that random cunt (whomever he may be, Buddha bless him) emits a very RANDOM reactionary noise. one you wouldn’t expect to hear when one is being bumped.
and with that, hopefully this BLAUG will see more regular care. i’d also like to switch over to my own permanent URL too at some stage before the year is through, or perhaps as a New Year’s resolution. BIGGER N BETTER, BABY. cheers.
THA JEEP RETURNS! “Happy Sexgiving” has been in the works for a while now (the official holiday of Turquoise Jeep and all those who keep it riding). suss the FB event page for the actual holiday itself, and suss the new song + vid featuring Yung Humma + Whatchyamacallit. and although i say this with each new Jeep video, this time, without a doubt: THE HOTTEST TJ VIDEO CHICK THUS FAR. hands fucking down. Tummiscratch re-appears with another short but impactful cameo, and TJ co-founder Flynt Flossy appears in balloon-form (now watch the Internetz blow up with requests for F Dot Floss inflatable merch).
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