Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Over and Under Rated 4 (2009)

Under Rated

Murs and 9th Wonder

This duo is the musical equivalent of a Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup...two great tastes that taste great together.  Murs’ work with Living Legends and Def Jux was cool and 9th’s collaborations with Jay-Z, numerous R&B groups and his Hall of Justus crew (Little Brother, Joe Scudda, Skyzoo, etc.) was ground breaking, but all of this pales in comparison to what happens when these two talented artists work together.  Murs’ heartfelt, introspective rhymes and everyman persona mesh so perfectly with 9th’s soul drenched beats that it’s hard to believe they are from opposite sides of the continental United States. However, it is this dichotomy and the combination of Murs’ laid back west coast cadence and 9th Wonder’s dirty south meets backpacker beats that make the duo’s version of “Cali-Lina” Hip-Hop work so well.  

Murs and 9th Wonder first collaborated extensively on “Murs 3:16: The 9th Edition” in 2004, which was released on Def Jux records and quickly became an underground classic.  The duo followed up their success with the solid “Murray’s Revenge” (not on Def Jux this time around) in 2006 and 2008’s free download “Sweet Lord” (the fact that these guys are talented enough to record ten album quality cuts and give them away to fans is a true testament to how sick they really are, most artists do not put out this many great songs on their major label albums, let alone free downloads).  9th Wonder also contributed heavily to 2008’s “Murs For President,” and according to many fans (myself included) actually provided the 4 or 5 best beats on the project. 

Murs and 9th Wonder display the kind of chemistry sorely lacking in today’s “Get The Hottest Producer The Label Can Afford” music industry and should be grouped with great rapper/producer duos as Peter Rock & CL Smooth, Chuck D & The Bomb Squad and Jay-Z & Just About Anybody.  

People That Hide Their Age Incredibly Well

There is something intriguing about a person when you can not tell how old they are.   These people are typically male, in good shape, not overly handsome or homely and dress in the kind of generic Kohl’s/JC Penny/Sears fashions that make it nearly impossible to tell if they are a cool 40 year old or a lame 23 year old.  This person will also further confuse you by injecting constant anachronisms into their recollections of the past like “When I was in 8th Grade I drove a Mini Cooper to the mall and bought myself an Atari 2600” or “I was texting this girl at a Nirvana concert” and you KNOW these are BS statements, but today’s youth obsessed culture does not allow you to come out and ask this joker how old he is!  

The next best option is to use your grammar school learned Language Arts and listen for context clues as to when they graduated high school and them figure out his/her age based on your own, but this is usually pointless because they will undoubtedly be ambiguous with statements like “I remember when I graduated and the Yankees won the World Series” (this statements narrows their year of graduation down to a possible 26 options and 4 within the last 12...no help at all).  When dealing with a person like this there are only two options, the first is to become their BFF and hang out constantly until you feel comfortable asking their age (probably around the twelfth time you get together) and the second is to immediately sever all ties and never see or speak to this person again, I recommend the second.

Getting Your Money’s Worth

These are tough economic times and people have got to get their hustle on! Take full advantage of open bars, buffets, free samples in Costco, sneaking into company Christmas parties for places you don’t work, stopping for continental breakfast at the Hampton Inn that’s right next to your house, taking entire “Stadium Sized” condiment bottles from concessions stands for home use and helping yourself to industrial size rolls of toilet paper from school or work that will NEVER fit on your home toilet paper dispenser, but will do the job just the same.  

Over Rated

The World Baseball Classic

Major League Baseball is enjoying it’s most widespread popularity in years.  The players are all on drugs, tickets are insanely expensive and games take an eternity to play...and nobody cares.  We eat this game up like there is no tomorrow, regardless of how much of our tax money goes towards new stadiums while our school systems continue to fail.  While America’s obsession with it’s “past time” (the only way baseball is   “America’s Past Time” is if you exclude the NFL, Reality TV, Drinking, Violent Action Movies, Prescription Pills and Starbucks) is questionable at best, it is inarguable that MLB had devised a schedule to optimize fan enjoyment and revenue (4 weeks of spring training games, 162 regular season games, 3 rounds of playoffs, inter-league weekends and an All-Star extravaganza to break things up in the middle).  About 5 years ago, somebody got the bright idea to disrupt this near-perfect scenario by interrupting spring training, and the various bachelor parties and retirement community bus trips that attend the games, and insert two weeks of meaningless games that pit countries against each other for no apparent reason.   

This disruption of Spring Training falls into the category of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and adds nothing to the MLB season.  Some opponents of the WBC also site the potential injury of players to the list of things wrong with this debacle, I do not endorse such claims.  If a guy is getting a quarter of a billion dollars to swing a bat, he should be prepared to do so at all times and under any circumstances.  

Kim as the “Voice of Reason” on Keeping Up With The Kardashians

I have seen this show about 5 combined times (over the last few years) and every episode has the family going through some kind of crisis and Kim having all the answers.  I am not a Kim Kardashian hater, in fact I find something strangely admirable about attaining that level of fame and fortune when her only discernible talents are having a big a** and getting pounded out by Brandy’s little brother.  However, this “reality show” is clearly scripted, because if it was not the conversations would all go like this:

Chloe: I have to go to jail.

Kim: Make a sex tape

Rob: My girlfriends a slob (keep in mind, this was in reference to her housekeeping and NOT leaving a laptop full of naked pictures in the airport by “mistake”)

Kim: Make a sex tape

Chloe: I think I’m adopted

Kim: Make a sex tape 

Athletes Body-ing Themselves on E!

Last Sunday night I saw Reggie Bush get all emotional over Ray-J’s sloppy seconds and then I watched in horror as the San Diego Charger’s Antonio Cromartie publicly acknowledged dating one of the “video vixens” from Candy Girls.  Why are two of the biggest, toughest guys around acting, as Ice Cube would say, like “Sucker for Love A** Tricks”? Doesn’t the NFL put rookies through extensive training to avoid getting taken by women like these? I understand it might be cool to tell your boys you hooked up with the girl from the Fabolous video after the club, but for the love of god, don’t be flying across country to bring her gifts!  Have some self respect. I’m sure Cromartie and “Delicious” or “Devious” or whatever her video name is will have a long, happy life together and there is no way she’s just using him for his money and status and trying to get knocked up to get him for 10 G’s month in child support for the rest of his life...absolutely not.  

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