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May 13, 2005

MJ's House of Hoe Cakes (Flippin' Shit)

I Ain't Mad at the Villain...>

“While in London promoting and performing for the debut of Madvilliany, Madlib hand-delivered Egon Further Adventures... in May of 2004. Late at night, after the show, he sauntered to Abbey Road certifiably bugging out. "I was walking around for hours, till the sun came up, listening to the record," Egon recalls. "We just released Madvillany, and he turned this in?!"

Surprised, and with good reason as what could have been a low-key collaboration with DOOM turned over record-breaking sales across the globe, with Soundscans of close to 60,000 in the U.S. alone and six-figure shipping numbers for the world at large. In an industry where 10,000 copies sold could be definitely considered a success, these were some serious units for indie ... " - Elemental Magazine, 2005 by Peter Agoston

Soundscans of close to 60,000, hmmm? Well isn’t this the greatest story never told, then?

Twenty-eight years old. I’m back in L.A., waking up at one of the half-nice hotels they’ve still got downtown, on the top floor. There’s a fat, balding, older man asleep next to me, calling the hogs a/k/a snoring in a major way. He’s missing a couple of teeth, but he covers them with gold and ruby fronts in public. He’s a rapper-slash-producer, okay, MC-slash-producer, and we’re “on the coast” recording a concept album in the east L.A. hills with another MC-slash producer. Oh yeah, it’s my concept. Oh yeah, I have to babysit this guy. Oh yeah, the album’s cut, we go on one concert date where I also have to road manage, after a relationship was totally out of the question...then we break forever. Oh yeah, I never get paid nor do I get my fucking A&R credit.” – excerpt from my upcoming autobiography.

Here’s the rundown. Plain and simple. I managed Doom’s business career, and acted as a creative manager on many fronts from the time he re-released “Black Bastards” with Ready Rock Records, until just before “Madvillainy” was released commercially. I was also active in music journalism at the time, and I interviewed Madlib for Mass Appeal Magazine. We discussed many of the jazz greats, and whether or not his uncle, Jon Faddis, had ever jammed with my father, Buell Neidlinger. We decided they probably had. At the end of our interview, ‘Lib mentioned that he really wanted to work with MF Doom, more than any other living artist. I shut off the minidisk, looked him in the eye, and told him I’d make it happen. I’d previously conceptualized Doom and Madlib doing a collabo project – both Monalisa Murray and Havana Joe can attest to that fact.

I called Doom to discuss the particulars, and we began to negotiate with Stonesthrow Records – Chris “Peanut Butter Wolf” Manak and Eothen “Egon” Alopatt. They didn’t want to cough up for an LP, but wanted to do a 12”. Doom didn’t want to go to California for 12” money. We backed and forthed. I mediated, as Doom disliked discussing business, preferring to play the artist role. All parties eventually agreed to go forward with the 12” to start.

We flew to L.A. I drove Doom everywhere, we listened to Madlib’s beats. This process continued. Stonesthrow cats LOVED the shit Doom and ‘Lib were cutting in the studio. Renegotations commenced. A deal was struck for an LP. They wanted it to remain on their label and pay Doom as a featured artist. We went back to Cali, recorded some more, and they played Coachella. In the meantime Doom had asked me to leave some vocals on his voice mail. He dropped them into the song “Fancy Clown”. Immediately after Coachella I ended all dealings with Doom, personal as well as professional (see excerpt, above).

In short, Stonesthrow refused to give me a co-A&R credit, although by even the most loose industry standards I’d be entitled to that credit. They called me a “project consultant” and my vocals were used under the name “Allah’s Reflection” as I’d been called on MF Grimm’s LP, The Downfall of Iblys. I was compensated neither for the use of my vocals, nor for my involvement with the project. In true Doom form, I was never given a percentage of any monies received from Stonesthrow after the initial 10% of a little-bit-of-nothin’ for the 12”.

I ran into Wolf in the airport in NYC last summer. He looked real shook. I gave him my number, and told him we needed to talk. In true Wolf form, he didn’t call to discuss.

Madlib was at the airport too. We gave each other a big hug. Huge smiles. He's one of the best people I've come across, who just happens to make music because he loves to do it; and it just happens to make a lot of people, from Chris Manak to Michael Bull, plenty of money. And hopefully it's enough for him to take care of his daughter and enjoy life.

As far as Doom goes, I have to call it as I see it. Doom has burned a lot of people in this biz. From Grimm, to Lord Scotch, to the Monsta Island Czars, to Count Bass D…the list goes on and on. Then again, he does give young, unknown cats a chance to rhyme on records, not that that's not a mutually beneficial and symbiotic relationship. And at least he takes care of his kids. But when he has it in his mind to not pay you, that's that. It’s sad to see, but he’s just repeating the bad Jewish business habits (as opposed to Jews who do good business) inflicted upon him in his youth as Zev Love X of KMD. And I understand that, plus overstand it.

In the end, there’s no financial gain in music. There’s only hope, and soul, and feeling, and reflection, and upliftment, and nourishment, and love. And where there’s none of that, there is no art. And when the laws of man govern those who strive to live by spiritual laws, it’s only themselves they have to blame. A King rules where he rests. And karma is swift. What goes around comes back around again.


P.S. Doom-illy, if you're reading this, it's all good, Love is Love. You're fine, you can still go see Gee Supreme Allah, he was just telling you to get at me. And if nothing else, don't I deserve to get paid after suffering through that Viktor Vaughn album with you? Smile.

P.P.S. Comments are now closed. All ya'll boy-groupies can go start your own blog about how hard you jock rappers.

p.p.p.s. I put them back. Behave.

If I Fell in Love With You...Tomorrow


It was one of those hot, humid, sticky Brooklyn nights that keeps you awake. I’d “known” him for years, but we never really talked before. Somehow we ended up on the phone for hours, jumping from subject to subject like the illest double dutch. I guess this phone call was the honeymoon. Before either of us thought of hanging up, we were making plans to meet again, on a much more intimate tip. Not next week, not in a couple days, not tomorrow…Now. Switched from the home phone, after unwrapping the cord from around my leg, onto the cell phone. Tiptoed down the front stairs out into a dark, starry Park Slope night.

I wanted to take the train. He didn’t want me to take the train. I told him I was taking the train. After all, it was just a few stops. Out of nowhere a cab drove by. Then another. Then another. He told me he was sending them, in threes. I didn’t second guess that, and took the first of the next three cabs, just three minutes after I let the last one drive past. We stayed on the phone during the ride. He was cooking me dinner, if that’s what you call the 3 a.m. meal. Rice and Black Beans. I’d never, in my life, had a man cook for me. Why him? Why now?

No time to ponder, really. I was in front of his crib. He was standing out front. The cab driver didn’t want to deliver me to him, somehow. “Him? That’s your friend? Him?” Yeah. Him. Let me out.

I followed him up the staircase. I tried not to focus on how odd it was to be at his house at 3 a.m., about to have dinner and who knows what else. Well, you know. The food was delicious. The conversation continued to be scintillating, stimulating, like it had been earlier that day and all that night. It came up that we were attracted to each other. We each wondered why the other had neither said nor done anything about it before tonight.

Actions speak louder than words.

He was beautiful. Not just a beautiful spirit. He looked good to me. Always had. Something about the eyes. And the name. But there, in the flesh, he was like the embodiment of God. I felt more like the Ocean than I ever had. He dipped, and dove, and swam. Over and over. We barely came up for air. We made love seven times. I’d lost track of the number, but somehow was conscious of it. I was all sugar walls and waves. He was all black steel and controlled chaos. After, he slept, and I watched him. So angelic, it kept me up all night.

In the morning, out of bed, we fell into a routine. Like an old married couple, not like two unknown lovers after their first night together. I washed the dishes. We made coffee and heated up beans and rice. He fed his Saint. I meditated. He worked. I sat comfortably on his couch, watching him work, perusing his music collection. Threw on Love Unlimited Orchestra, Barry White…White Gold. Something about the instrumental struck a chord in me. Maybe it was all that energy, all the power in that Brooklyn apartment. Maybe it was all that swimming, and diving, and wading, and floating from the night before. A song came to me, like a tidal wave. I didn’t just write the words in my book, I actually sang out loud. I guess after last night I had no shame in front of him.

If I fell in love with you
I’d never be this clear
Drowning in my tears
My heart full of sorrow
If you broke my heart
I’d never leave you here
My dear
Drowning in my tears
Your heart full of sorrow
I’d never do that to you
You’d never do that to me
We’d never do that to we
No not today
Not tomorrow

I never saw him again. That was last year, we’re coming up on another summer. He’s the last man who made love to me. It’s been a long time. I guess it’s a case of “the bests”. Like Lisa Bonet said in Angel Heart, re: her immaculate conception and how it was the best fuck she'd ever had? He was the best I ever had, I felt like God had his way with me. How do you follow up something like that? What mortal man could come after him? After more orgasms in one night than in years of sex, i was left with a sudden fear of anticlimacticisms. A case for celibacy. Maybe I was too much for him? Or he was too much for me?

At least I have the honey-sweet memories. And the song. And even if we're not together, if I never have him again, we'll always have the Ocean.

May 12, 2005


Do As I Say, Not As I Do...>

{You must learn. Reading is fundamental. An article a day keeps the ignants away. A book a week, or you'll turn into a freak. E's hooked on Gin and Tonics like yo mama's hooked on phonics. As sure as P's droppin' Infamous Mobbphonics and Ebonics, Ally's the new DJ for the King of Ivoronics (nepotism ain't dead, just ask Neil). But I digress... I command you! You must click your mouse and take time out to read these pieces below. If you don't, you can kiss my grits and my boot.}

Hip Hop’s Scarlet Letter
By Eric K. Arnold

As former staffers and irate bloggers flay The Source for sexism, is a new age of accountability dawning?

The NOI, Farrakhan, and Million Man March...
by Adisa Banjoko

In 1988 I was young, Black and gifted. I was also 18, and Black men were dying around me in droves. Racial tension was VERY high coast to coast.... Cops were killing brothers and beating them like it was in part of the job description ("serve protect and break a N!##@ neck"). This was the ear of NWA, PE, Do the Right Thing, Bernhard Getz, Yusuf Hawkins and all kinds of personal racial drama...

Refugee Chic
The new album from the Sri Lankan sensation M.I.A.
By Jon Caramanica

Fact is, there aren't that many women of South Asian extraction making beat-driven music for the Western world. If M.I.A. were black and covering similar ground—lyrics about poverty and politics sprinkled amid dance-friendly chants—she'd be pigeonholed to a particular scene: dancehall, grime, hip-hop, etc. If she were white, she would be derided as a holdover from the electro renaissance of four years ago. If she were a man, she wouldn't leave a fingerprint.

Ain’t No Sense In Me Lyin’ (As If. . .)
By kris ex

I’m staggering, all liquid, loose, coloring outside the lines, not quite sure what I said to make her come this far. She’s beautiful. Stumbling the keys into the lock. There’s more of them down here than there should be, but my paranoia is drugged asleep, my instincts perched overhead like a gargoyle, overlooking the situation with a dagger in its teeth. We’re friendlier than normal, all dark liquor and dank smoke, on lean like the wall is on slight tilt, slow spin.

The Horror
By Mr. Babylon

One girl either wrote a brilliant character description and deep psychological probe of a mother murdering sociopath, or she’s about to actually commit matricide. This story was so vivid and frightening, ("I look down at the blood in the nife and laugh, ja ja, ja, she can't never tell me to clean my room again...") that i would have reported her to social services, if she hadn't followed my assignment so perfectly. I gave her an A+ and commented, "Good job, this is really, really scary!"

Interview with Tego Calderon
By William Hernandez

UAN: How do you feel being that you're Puerto Rican, about the status of the Island? Do you feel it should stay as an association (commonwealth), independent nation, or should it become the 51st state?

TC: I think Puerto Rico should stay as it is. I don't think we should become a state. The leadership of the island is a joke. It's a battle to impose their criterion it's something absurd. They're like the Klu Klux Klan an extremist group that has been what the Partido de la Autoridad (Authority party) in Puerto Rico has become. The people have made their decision in various elections that they don't want to be State. But the party keeps on pushing for statehood. We live in a democracy we have to respect everyone's ideas.

Young, Black, Gifted—and Gay
By Lynne d Johnson

Homo thugz. Hip hop lesbians. The media uses these terms to describe young black and Latino gay folks loving hip hop music and living a life enmeshed in hip hop culture. But these labels appear to be contradictory, don't they? Isn't hip hop misogynistic and extremely anti-gay?

Must Buy (and Read) Now

Can’t Stop Won’t Stop:
A History of the Hip-Hop Generation
By Jeff Chang
Introduction by DJ Kool Herc

"Hip-hop is the voice of this generation. Even if you didn't grow up in the Bronx in the '70s, hip-hop is there for you. It has become a powerful force. Hip-hop binds all of these people, all of these nationalities, all over the world together."
—DJ Kool Herc, from the Introduction

Must-Have Instrumentals

Souls of Mischief
Warrior Priest LP

This is a single LP, side 1 produced by A-Plus, and side 2 produced by Opio, both of Souls of Mischief fame. These are instrumental cuts, never before made available.

Must Pre-Order Now (And Listen ASAP)

C-Rayz Walz
Year of the Beast LP

New album from C-Rayz Walz with BONUS DVD: During his 18 months of seclusion C-Rayz burned his prize collection of rhyme books, combed through a thousand beats, mastered the art of war and emerged with Year Of The Beast, the ground-breaking follow-up to 2003’s Ravipops (The Substance). Guests include EL-P, Jean Grae, M-1 of Dead Prez, 4th Pyramid, Vordul Mega of Can Ox, Rob Sonic and Aesop Rock. The bonus DVD Evolution of the Beast features exclusive live footage, videos and interviews.

May 10, 2005

The Earth Mother

In the end, it's either Mother Nature, or Father Time...>

[This one's been around for a while (circa 1998). One World didn't want it (unless Miles Marshall Lewis just didn't get my emails). There were some others. Oh well, now it's "free"...]

Who am I? Simply put, I am the Earth Mother. The Daughter of Flower Children, revolutionaries who wore their hair long and who smoked of the Earth, and were oft arrested at marches and sit-ins. They weren't afraid of The Man. They weren't afraid of themselves. They loved Mother Earth. So they bore this Love Child, this Daughter of Nature. Me. That was 1974.
Fast forward. Tune in. Turn on. And drop out.

Who am I? I am a natural oddity. I cook. I clean. I sew. And I garden. I reap what I sow. I judge wisely. I share my knowledge with others in the form of words aloud and on paper. But despite all of my positivity and growth, I am most easily identified by my fear. Some people, it is said, can actually smell fear. I hide within my shell for I am afraid. Afraid for what has been, more afraid for what is to come. But most of all, I am afraid to bear a child because things, I'm afraid, are not what they used to be.

Alas, I remember the 80s. The crack cocaine. The driveby shootings. The batter ram. All of these negative icons existed for one sole purpose. And for what? For the love of money. Respect used to be earned, now suddenly it is up for sale. Oh, I know this infatuation with material things is nothing new, but historically speaking the 80s was a decade where money and greed took on new forms and began to have new powers of influence. I remember when people started wearing Polo by Ralph Lauren way back in those early 80s. But how could they afford it, assuming it wasn't a knock off? Money earned late night on street corners during battles for life and limb, cash money changing hands, cream for cream. Cash rules everything around me? Crack rules everything around me. Creamy green tinged papers fold nicely in half, dead presidents to be stashed away in a small wooden box beneath a trick board in the floor. What for? Only to be spent on gaudy clothes and big trunk jewelry, while a hungry child cries softly in the night.

This hungry child, a manchild, he is out there somewhere. His crying grows louder and louder until his pain reaches a crescendo of screams and tears.He grows tired of crying and screaming. He wants only to drink his bottle and perhaps taste again the mashed banana he once ate, early one Sunday morning at his Grandmother's house. But Granny is gone and Mommy is sleeping. She won't wake up for all his screams. Where is Daddy? Why won't he feed me? Little does he know that his parents aren't married and never will be. Or that Daddy thinks of Mommy only in terms of "that bitch" or "that 'ho." To give the fruits of his laborious hustle to that bitch would be a cardinal sin! She might use it to buy herself new clothes or give it to the Korean bitch down the street in exchange for a new set of nails. "You want long curve set? Long nail extra, you pay twenty dollars. One broke nail, you pay extra. You pay three dollars."

And poor Mommy. She thought that the child growing in her womb would bring her closer to him, "her man" as she used to call him. At first he seemed to approve of the baby, then he began to show indifference. Now the crying only brings exhibitions of hatred toward her for ruining his life. "Her Man," as she used to call him. The beatings come less frequently now as she sees her man less and less often. With his newfound wealth he has purchased for himself a flashy wardrobe, and big rock-like diamonds that shine with brilliance when the light hits them at just the right angle. Her man has a slew of "bitches" now, seemingly purchased in the same way. They follow him like baby geese follow their mother--all in line. These are the new bitches, the pretty bitches.

One of them stands out. Her ass is a little bigger, her hips sway a little harder. She licks her full lips with a flick of her tongue, reminding him that later, she might suck his dick. She wears next to nothing, and knows a little less. She exists in clothing stores and hair salons and nail shops. Shoes are everything, she has a closetful a la Imelda Marcos. In a way she resembles the Geisha of Japanese culture, this bitch. She lives only to be seen and not to be heard. She is not particularly observant, just silent. Her mind is far away as she primps and poses, trying to be chosen. She is thinking of all the things she can buy with her new money and of how she will be the envy of the neighborhood as she rides in the passenger side of his new whip. They say he has a bitch at home. Well, fuck her, because I'm his bitch now. This is her mantra. she repeats it over and over, to strengthen her resolve. Yeah, fuck that bitch. Later, she gets fucked. Over and over as many times as there are positions. But at least she only gets fucked in the physical sense. We, society as a whole, we get fucked mentally and spiritually. This is the by-product of the wasteful way in which lives are spent in these, shall we say, the last days.

Everyone is getting fucked and I am afraid. I dream of bearing children and creating a strong and healthy family unit complete with a husband and ahome. I'm afraid that the thought police will come banging down my door to arrest me for these dreams. They may bring the batter ram out of retirement for this cause. You never know. You see, I'd like to have a roof garden where I will grow my own vegetables and herbs, with a spiral staircase leading down into my kitchen. Oh, my glorious kitchen, where I will prepare nourishing and delicious meals for my husband and my children so that they may not ever know the horror of American fast food at it's greasiest. The kitchen is next to the solarium, where my husband and myself will teach ourchildren so that they may not ever know the abhorrence of American schools where they teach his-story alongside "the new mathematics." These are my secret dreams and fantasies. My most coveted possessions.

My husband will resemble Jesus Christ as he is portrayed in the framed pictures at the swap meet. A beautiful, chiseled face with a bronze hue myhusband will have. And a body carved of stone, but sheathed gracefully in smooth caramel-colored skin, his flesh thick and sweet. One of his dreadlocks escapes from his crown now and then, marring his gaze out of huge eyes which mirror his beautiful soul. And my children, oh my little cherubic offspring. They are as beautiful as everything, having been born little shining examples of nature on Earth. My gorgeous little Sun and Moon. They are my Epiphany. A daily reminder of Perfection and Light these children shall be.

Oh, we shall live in the land of milk and honey! My little children, I shall not dress them in Baby Guess. My daughter, my little moonchild, will never know Gucci or Prada as she will be sheltered from the evil forces at hand. I will shield her vision from the fashion magazines as we enter the subway station. I will cover her ears when we walk by the bodega, so she may be protected from hearing Foxy Brown - or her generational equivalent - spewing from the speakers like so much toxic waste. I will keep her heart pure, if it's the last thing I do in my role as Earth Mother. And my son. I will usethe force of Nature and the strength of sheer will to keep him in the family fold. He will look up to his Father and he will respect his Mother. He won't call his baby sister a bitch. He won't even know how to form the word with his sweet little mouth. He is my Angel. He is my Samurai Warrior. He loves his tai chi and kung-fu classes. He tells me in a whisper, "Mommy, Mommy, today we studied the crane style." His short little legs already kick with strength and precision, creating perfect angles when he practices on our roof garden. Oh my young Sun! He is a True Master, intuitively knowing that he should never use his skills to harm others, unless he is engaged in battle. His respectful ways are innate, born of my womb, from the Earth Mother. And of his Father's seed, from the King of King and Lord of Lords.

Hence my fears. Are my fears unfounded? Am I wrong to condemn spending our money on designer clothing and diamond-encrusted Jesus-pieces? Should we not burn to learn and look down upon those who choose to earn only by the sale of poison to our brothers and our sisters addicted? Should we not question how the poison gets here in first place and vow to bring down the forces of darkness responsible for this madness? Should we not boycott the media that tells us that a woman is only a whoring bitch and that a man is only a tree upon which money grows? Why shouldn't men love and respect their wives and in return plant beautiful seeds inside of them? Why shouldn't women respectand love their husbands and in return be willing to cook and clean and sew and reap the harvest of his seeds? Why am I afraid, you ask?

Because I am the Earth Mother, and I have become an endangered species.

Mama's Baby...Daddy's Maybe

Check my latest op-ed piece here at BlogCritics...

What do DMX, RZA, Rakim, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Funkmaster Flex, P-Diddy, and Busta Rhymes have in common? They’ve all been involved in at least one paternity suit in the past five years.