You like to talk about feminism and body image a lot. I'm curious about sex and hip hop. Do you know of any gay rappers (in or out of the closet)? Is there any famous emcees that might be gay? Are *you* gay/bi/queer etc. ?
I want to answer the first question with a sequence of three videos: a vlog, an interview clip, and a documentary.
The answer to the second question is pretty much covered by my previous post!
No offense intended -- I doubt you'll be offended, but covering bases --, Do you identify as gay? Some of your recent posts left me wondering. Feel free not to asnwer this
(A real bad-ass would have just wrote “none taken” and hit “Publish” but whatever it is that I am, it is not a real bad-ass. Not even a righteous one.)
I’m not gay, probably. I don’t subscribe to hardcore gender and sexual orientation as a source of identity, but that’s easy to say when you’re a mostly straight-presenting, male-bodied, masculine-socialized individual who doesn’t really face any shit of the type that galvanizes the marginalized into communities. I get cookies for breaking out of the roles that appear obvious for me, way more than I get trouble for it.
I’ve always had femme (by default or by intent), female-bodied partners, but I’ve always felt more comfortable in the company of girls and women. Dudes make me really uncomfortable most of the time, even ones I’m close to and love. How am I going to be vulnerable to a dude?
When I was beat up, bullied, and threatened in elementary school, junior high, and high school, it was for being a fag. That was made clear. I reject the layer of tragic irony suggested by Patton Oswalt’s bashing-victim character in Young Adult where the kicker is that he wasn’t even gay; it isn’t more or less appropriate to get your ass kicked in relation to what you think about DICK. Those kids weren’t concerned with my emotions and thoughts on the topic of DICK.
Loath as I am to quote George Carlin in matters of gravity or sensitivity, I did feel a click when I heard his Operation: Foole record and he said “A fag was just a sissy; a queer was a homo. A fag was a guy that wouldn’t go downtown with you, beatin’ up queers.”
I like “queer.” It’s a pretty comfy, catch-all anti-mainstream signifier. I like the community and generally find my values are in line with the movement - more than what you might call “pride” culture, which tends to reinforce these hard divisions of identity and also corporatize everything and force an alternative orthodoxy onto people. But then - even getting punched for lisping or seeming weak, I did have the luxury of growing up knowing I got boners for tits, so I can’t totally criticize someone who grew up knowing they didn’t for finding some other groove to settle into. The groove of growing up knowing that tits give you boners showed me a lot of things I wanted to smash and/or rearrange eventually, but from a relative safe vantage point, inside the marauding tank of heteronormativity.
One time my friends, the weirdo 4-track musicians Sonic Messiah, were called out as normal by the curator of the Halifax Experimental Music Festival. They had fleshed out their live act by enlisting members of overlapping group the Urban Surf Kings, and after they played they were approached by the curator and asked, “What is so experimental about all the members of a surf-rock band playing what is essentially surf-rock music?”
And I think I kind of feel like I think they should have felt… the curator of my identity asks me, “What is so queer about all the members of a mostly straight-presenting, male-bodied, masculine-socialized band playing what is essentially hetronormative music?” and I fire back at him, “I don’t know, what was so experimental about the guy improvising folky acoustic licks into a looping pedal for the fifth year running!???”
I don’t talk about my sex life a ton in public, I think mainly because I have a really peer/friend-level relationship with my fans and I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable. It feels too much like trapping someone in the living room with bawdy stories and not enough like an opt-in broadcast. Plus you know, it often involves other people and their privacies matter. So I don’t have a comfortable way to get into the nuances of the FUCKING I do in my life that constitutes a challenge to heteronormative structures. Even talking about what theoretically gets me off I feel like I’m asking anyone who reads it to wipe up the spill, and EVEN TYPING THAT MAKES ME FEEL LIKE A JERK. (This is the repression that I deal with by taking off my clothes on stage.)
I’m just going to type this quickly with my eyes shut. There is some same sex stuff in my sex life with others and alone. I don’t only find female bodies arousing. My sexuality is sophisticating and I don’t know where it will come to rest, if it does.
“I just like creating stuff and trying to make good work, whatever it is. I don’t care if it’s designing toothbrushes. It’s just making cool stuff to leave behind, that’s all it is, it’s nothing more.”—
I have intensely mixed feelings about this quote. It’s a nice sentiment in theory but the actual output of its source isn’t working in its favor. Because uh… nobody wants a damn Andre 3000 toothbrush! And I sincerely doubt that Andre 3000 possesses the skills necessary to design a good toothbrush. It’d probably have polka dots all up on the bristles.
Oftentimes “just making cool stuff” without acquiring the ability to do it well only equates to filling space. (Being a famous rapper engenders and amplifies this sort of behavior. Dudes suddenly have a platform for their laughably bad cool stuff.) It’d be pretty hard to qualify any of the non-rapping creative work that Dre has done in recent years - actor, kilt designer, shaving cream spokesperson - as particularly good.
I’m not of the belief that Andre owes us anything in particular with regards to rapping, if he wants to be a hermit then let him be a hermit. But if he’s going to slang toothbrushes instead he owes it to his audience to do it right. He needs to bury himself in the craft of toothbrush cobbling and only emerge when he’s actually reached a base level of competency, if not excellence. Maybe, after years of practice, he could eventually make a toothbrush that was even half as good as ATLiens. Gums everywhere would love that shit and his idealism above would finally be validated.
Or he could just focus on doing that one thing that he’s already very good at.
I can’t afford it right now, and I’m not even in a good enough place to be going to a gym regularly anyway. I’m just not ready to try and lose weight yet.
HOWEVER, in order to cancel my membership I’ve tried calling their 1-800 number twice now. And twice…
A dude in Ottawa was trying to cancel his gym membership at the giant chain GoodLife in the Rideau Centre. He visited in person, and was just flat-out refused.
To cut off the argument, the gym called mall security, who beat him up and “arrested” him. He’s been banned for life from GoodLife and for five years from the mall.
I have, admittedly with little agony, banned myself from both institutions in response. But yeah, gyms are on the prowl. It’s a lot like a cell phone contract, or any kind of bank loan - it’s not designed for you to NOT get in over your head.
Click the CBC news link attached for more info on the Rideau guy. Then throw a brick through a gym window.
“In this image-obsessed culture, we as feminists know that we have to fight against some pretty unrealistic and prevalent beauty standards, and the fat acceptance movement is helping us get there by reminding us that you can be healthy at every size. While pushing back against these norms, though, we have to remember that every size means every size, and it’s no cooler to tell another adult woman (or anyone) what to eat or how we think her body should look than it is to tell another adult woman she’s too fat”—Kelsey Wallace for Bitch Magazine (an article from Bitch that doesn’t give me serious problems in a few places? lemme see… yup… it doesn’t touch on race at all.)
I have heard some basslines that almost made my face fall off, and I like that, and I like when it’s basically dirty squelchy glitchy electronic hip-hop beats… but I guess mostly it is a big faceless dance genre built on singles, which I tend to find impenetrable and loaded with stuff in which I find I have little interest, so I don’t really go spelunking there.
When I would go to raves in my teens for something - ANYTHING - to do, I remember hearing jungle (moreso than drum’n’bass later) and acid house (like with TB-303 lines) and wishing that those sounds could be re-oriented around some boom bap drums and then I could rap on them. It has very rarely worked out, but I think the dubstep-identified music I have liked best has been kind of like that?
I have not found out what Skrillex is but I guess he is the most famous or popular, or something? I don’t know, I am terrible.
“I love Cyndi Lauper, but Madonna is slightly more… prolific, more versatile, more consistently good, more visually interesting, fucked Basquiat, kicked it with Keith Haring, has aged better (musically and physically), tends to make better artistic and business decisions, fell off a horse and broke her back and was playing shows less than a year later, etc.”—Viktor Vazquez (Kool AD of Das Racist), when asked if he prefers Madonna or Cyndi Lauper. Even though there’s a ton to like about Lauper and a ton to criticize about Madonna, I think it’s classy to list a bunch of admirable facts about someone it’s become cool to trash on lately.
“There’s a push to make people ashamed of being offended by anything, as if it reflects on how delicate you are, as opposed to just having a sense of right and wrong. That’s the only way you wouldn’t be offended by things — if you had no sense of right and wrong.”—
I like the metaphor of stepping on someone’s foot. When someone says, “You stepped on my foot!” you don’t tell them to buck up and deal with it. You don’t tell them to stop making you feel guilty for accidentally hurting them. You don’t try to tell them that it shouldn’t hurt because you didn’t mean to step on their foot.
“As in past years, J Street and J Street U are dismayed and troubled by the counterproductive rhetoric “Israel Apartheid Week” (IAW) brings to campuses across North America.
J Street and J Street U believe that establishing a sovereign Palestine beside a secure Israel, ending the occupation of the Palestinian territories, and ensuring self-determination for the Palestinian people are matters of existential necessity for Israel and the Palestinian people, and of moral urgency more broadly.
Successfully addressing a serious challenge, however, requires naming what it is, and what it is not. The use of the word “apartheid” fails on this score.”
When is IAW supposed to be anyway? I keep hearing talk online but on campus, nothing. Then again about 20 people showed up to “Occupy SJSU” so maybe this campus’s liberals are just chronically apathetic
this position article runs down a few false alleyways - apartheid state vs functioning democracy is a false binary that privileges loaded terms, and this paragraph:
"The occupation, however, is the result of an ongoing conflict over land and not a system of racial oppression intended to maintain racial supremacy of one group over another, and therefore does not constitute apartheid."
…fails to acknowledge that it is an ongoing ETHNIC conflict over land. Not that there is an innate quality to any ethnicity that necessitate it, but it is along ethnic lines that the sides of the conflict are drawn up.
if people don’t want to use the word “apartheid” I understand, it’s inflammatory rhetoric and not necessary to describe the oppressive condition per se. but this is a really bad case against anyone using it at all.
In the mid-2000s, my original rapping partner and close friend ginzuintriplicate was working on a ton of music and no-one was hearing any of it. Just before he moved to Osaka, Japan, in 2006, he dumped a bunch of unmixed demos on me as if to taunt me with their raw power and unmistakable charms… but utter unreadiness for release.
One of those was “Have Not,” a verse on an amazing beat of his devising, which I made him extend by two minutes so I could offer my own take on his theory. He obliged, and that track was going to come out on an album I never finished. Yet. So he leaked it on soundcloud or something?
Another was this blazing nugget: “Neighbourhood 2006!!” Again just a fantastic, tough, enviable beat that he hooked up on his weird sampler, and one meandering verse. This one hilarious. And that hook… this song was not recorded in 2006, but there it was.
I had to be a part of it!!
This time, I let myself in around the back way, with a key I knew he’d hidden under a brick in the yard. That is to say, I looped up part of the beat that he left un-rapped upon, and I did rap upon it! I also cut up one of my favourite songs, “That’s How It Is” by Casual, probably because I um really closely mimic some parts of that song in my verse. And I could only hope to sound like him a year ago.
ginzu gave the extended version his blessing, but we never did get around to (a) getting someone better than me to re-record the cuts, or (b) rebuild, resequence and most of all MIX the beat in any way! So the sound is pretty shoddy.
But I still love listening to it like crazy, so I thought maybe you would, too.
Here are the lyrics:
[jesse] Hey yo, time-traveling ginzu333! Our calculations that the heads would be ready for you in the year 2009 have proven spurious, bur we can’t afford to delay the detonation any longer, so let’s get this party started quickly!!
[ginzu] Hey yo, how hard is that? You better smack your publicicist. I’m walking upright like australopithecus. Yeah, monkeys! Go and ask Darwin if this is the “missing link,” or just an asshole who thinks he is - steppin’ in a bathrobe and slippers, with a fistful of dollars and a math book division quiz.
You can’t even pronounce ginzuintriplicate! I play with my food, you just snack Arrowroot Biscuits. Peep my Gordon Shumway like that Mrs The-Chronic (Ochmonek) b____, set a release date for your box of posthumous hits. And I ain’t asking for problems with you or him, I just cause little nuisances like Kramer letting Newman in! NEWMAN!
From Dartmouth city, the ominous man of dubious origins - cutting abdominal cavities out of probably any man who’s assuming I’m poor at this. Brragh! Come through your skin like a orifice!
Get together and… I look harder than you and my kids in a minivan sorta shit! MCs don’t stick like Pam! Nah, they slide out quietly like Americans in Viet Nam, with green eggs and a… side of broccoli. Don’t talk to me about dues, I was pre-paid since my pops taught me to talk and speak!
Cop my cockney nouns, verbs, and adjectives properly - the baddest thing, and adamantly sent to turn the art on its head like Dadaism… sadomasoc-c-c-c-chistic-chisti-chisti-chissi-PLATONISM.
2006 MCs can eat my neighbourhood.
[jesse] Hey yo, time-traveling ginzu333! This is Jesse D from the alternate timeline future where the animals never rose up, eating humans! And I gotta tell you, man, it’s pretty sweeeet!
Hey yo, how hard is that? You said I looked like a heart attack waiting to happen. I said, yeah, to YOU, and boy I ain’t even rapping! That’s why they made me the captain, chicks swarm all over the actor cast to play me in action flicks.
Asking if I ever get plastered is inaccurate - I fell into the cauldron… my best friend is Asterix. Yellin’ is a problem I got, like when you storm the gates and need a key, you hear dramatic string stabs from Norman Bates. With wing tabs to hold the film in place, shooting X-rays with prejudice and we can finish this the next day. I never miss.
I wrecks, like Tyrannosaur or Oedipus. You make a sandwich wrap with different sorts of lettuces! I hate to damage rap, but this is for your benefit, and we’ll be back after this important messages:
Medicine marketing got you itching for a sedative, or anything targeting your insecure, impressionable kids. Did that rhyme? I guess it almost did. MCs in the nineties wear a dress and swallow kids! Hollow heads try to follow this, gonna need a miracle - wanna flow, but sounding like me a year ago?
Shit! Told the truth, I got loose. To the boards I shoot and someone’s always got feuds with me, so feel free to ride the vivrant thing, like your girl said she was when we were cybering. I feel like no-one ever her right, so I composed the prose that said that she was real nice!
And you’ll run and tell your man about the fact I run businesses, and I’ll be up in it when I smack my publicicist’s ass on the impish tip…
"This is it!"
…you’re wack and un-rap, like the orange chocolate Christmas gift.
2006 MCs can eat my neighbourhood. (It’s not the year, it’s the number of MCs.)
Early last year I wanted to make a fun, free track for immediate release to announce my new collaborative project with Nolely Nole - still the best kept secret to move away from Halifax. We had a handful of tracks mostly laid down, and a few more in the hopper, so I jacked this beat from the Freeway & Jake One Stimulus Package album just to come out all exuberant and psyched!
And then we forgot to ever put it out, except for a not-quite-finished version that made it onto his “Pretty Young Thang” mixtape. This is a better version than that.
Here are the lyrics:
[Jesse] Jesse D - gyrlz, they love my heavy “D” like holy shit! My homie told me brevity’s the soul of wit, so I initial “D” officially and sign my name in a smooth stroke/scribble motion. Even thought I moved out, still a Scotian! I feel emotions when I’m spilling potions over hallowed, real dirt.
Bad meaning good - no Battlefield Earth. Casualty alert! Top competitor! Fell into some bull and got dropped from Matador. In Ottawa, but not a Senator. Send a letter to the editor to spread the word - I bet it works!
Fresh-cut fries getting served with better cheddar curds. We’re ahead of the curve. Y’all don’t dance, so we’re Men At Work! Neutron bombing just a soupcon; soup’s on! I like my rappers like I like my coffee: 2 Black 2 Strong.
You need to cut it out like a coupon, and save yourself the trouble of a cameo appearance where you play yourself.
[hook, then Jesse again] Young Nolely, the unholy! Penny-ante rummoli! I will always watch his back because his mom told me! But no strings, no cages, I’m no Stromboli. No Strombolopoulis, no Mom and Pop, I’m just the humble opposite.
The child is father to the man. Your style is off and popping, kid, why bother with a plan? The product that you thought of in advance is just an albatross, I guess. Whether the fans’ll cop depends on what the album cost to press. ”Awesome” and “fresh” are not contested terms. I’ve learned that Vick’s Vap-O-Rub can cause the chest to burn…
I’m less concerned with getting sales, and more with turning critics pale and changing lives like books that you read in jail. Eden Kaill!
We can fail, or we can reach people and even help. You might laugh. We strike back at empires bailing out the life raft - you’re like rats on a sinking ship, chickenshit! Bad thinking, blinking during brinkmanship!
[hook, sample of Casual, then Nolely] Hand me a cigarette! Time to lick off shots right here, right now - get the trigger wet, and say “fuck, shit, piss,” and get your parents upset a bit. Keep it clean? (No-ole!) No fuck? Now you celibate? Hell to the naw, so sound the alarm. Cazals and a broad on each of my arms, so stand and applaud, then bow to the god.
Good lord! Flyer than a broomstick driven by two boobs and a cute nude chick, so get off of my huge dick! Hail to the king, and your boo get the boomstick; that’s sure thing.
So! So! So Scotian, no shirt thing. Catch your favourite rappers and hang ten - no surfing! So fuck y’all… suck balls… I’m gonna go pound skins: Vic Firth-ing!
“[M]y eyes are opening just from reading the comments, … they say stuff like, “Does he get it?” I’m reading it and I am starting to get it. … They put those images out there over and over again and it’s like so much of society is ok with the images of aggressive male and female sexuality. I’m just reading this and I’m reading that, and I’m like I am so much a part of that whole “man” thing.”—
Too $hort in conversation with dream hampton on Ebony Magazine’s website.
I thought in the first place that what he said (as far as I could find it transcribed) irresponsibly glossed over the matter of consent but described something that is far from abnormal behaviour between consenting partners. I wanted to defend some element of it, but was stymied by (a) the irresponsible phrasing, (b) his crummy faux-apology mansplanation, and (c) my twenty-plus years of experience with his misogynist art limiting the extent of any benefit of the doubt I could really lend him.
But this is different. These seem like the words of someone who is really hearing criticism, and really wants to be and do better. This is the first time I’ve ever looked at him as an example of someone I’d like to be more like, but we ALL could hear ourselves called out with this much humility and desire to make things right.
I mean the jury’s still out on whether he’ll make any of the positive moves he indicates he’d like to, but even just for saying the above rather than another dude going “fuck you, I’ll do what I feel like,” feels really significant.
A friend of a friend of a friend of someone on my facebook recently uploaded this picture.
And tagged a trans girl as the bottle. The girl asked to be untagged and the picture taken down. Because she’d experienced hate and violence associated with that word.
Which is totally reasonable.
I find the word “tranny” pretty jarring. (I just told my phone not to learn it when I typed it in) I tend to encounter it in the vocabulary of putatively cis individuals who don’t necessarily intend it hatefully but are repeating the mistakes of white kids using the N-word to greet their friends.
I think the vast variation in experience for different trans* persons well result in this word coming across differently to many, seeming more reclaimable to some and less so to others. I like to give words like that a wide berth.
I just want to first say that I know absolutely ZERO about rap whatsoever (Who-Tang Clan?). I used to think that it was a pointless genre that only idiots listened to, but then I heard YOU. You really opened my eyes to what rap could really be. The only problem is, all of the other rap I've heard (which is not much, I'll admit) was terrible. I own your albums, where do I go next?
I get this a lot, and it flatters me, but it worries me too.
Rap is SMART. The basic thing about rap has always been that it’s clever, quick-witted, expressive and informative. That’s what attracted me to it in the first place.
I don’t mean no-one dumb has ever rapped, but they don’t do it well. I guess the tendency for idiomatic language can present some kind of barrier for people who don’t expose themselves to a ton of African-American expression, but that’s just cultural distance - the furthest thing from any indication of idiocy on the part of the performer.
What I recommend is getting familiar with the rudiments - go back to the eighties and nineties and immerse yourself in the language of hip-hop from records by Fresh Prince, KRS-ONE, Gang Starr, A Tribe Called Quest, Def Jef, Blackalicious, Digable Planets, Naughty By Nature, De La Soul, Masta Ace, Nas, Rakim, Divine Styler, and all of the really obviously brilliant artists who make an airtight case for the legitimacy of rap as a forum for great minds to put forth thought.
Do you ever try to guess who the anonymous people asking you questions on here are? Or even just think "aah, this person is the one who asked me that other question over there"? Do you think you have a core of persistent askers, or hordes of the temporarily curious? What was the best album released in 2001?
I just assume it’s all one person who likes me a LOT.
I almost didn’t notice that last question! God, 2001…
Buck 65, Man Overboard Jay-Z, The Blueprint (I didn’t know how good this was at the time) Outkast, Stankonia Cannibal Ox, The Cold Vein
Def Jux owned that year, actually… Aesop Rock and El-P’s albums are almost as good as any of those, and maybe better in some ways.
I feel like I’m forgetting Halifax records from 2001, just by not knowing the years as well…
CONTROVERSIAL TOPIC OF THE DAY: skits on rap albums. Opine. (Some specific albums with skits to prompt your discussion: 3 Feet High and Rising, Dr Octagon, Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, Zero Day)
Some skits are great and some are terrible, but one thing I can guarantee you is that nobody wants to listen to them as often as they want to listen to their favourite songs. I think on vinyl it wasn’t as irritating because you can do a needle drop, or even on tape people were always fast forwarding even on their walkmans to get to what they wanted to hear, but on CDs it was ANATHEMA.
Whoever sequenced CDs for major labels never figured out that if you put a skit at the beginning of a song, everyone will want to die forever. Obviously we are all thinking of 36 Chambers right now. Sure it is a bonding experience that all of us know the whole “torture” skit by heart, and can mockingly ask “is he is he is he dead,” and we all know to have Ghost’s Killer tape if he lets you hold it… but I HATED HAVING TO FAST FORWARD ON ALL THE GOOD TRACKS. Jesus Christ I probably didn’t even hear “Method Man” (the song) until 1994.
The rule with skits has to be that unless they have their own discrete track (ideal), they come at the END of any track they may be attached to. Then you can SKIP.
On the album Dust To Dust by Prime Minister Pete Nice & Daddy Rich (the astute will note that this is 3rd Bass without MC Serch), an innovative technique was employed where a brief skit prior to track 7 (I think?) showed up as being part of track 7, but if you skipped to that track you went straight to the song. I guess every CD track has a spacer section - remember when we used to burn CDs and the default was a two second gap? - and they put the sound in that gap, and that was brilliant. And no-one else ever figured out that that was the way to go. And it was the greatest tragedy.
And yeah that’s how I feel about skits apparently.
so i recall watching a promo or something for a jesse d cartoon... did that ever happen? if so, where can i see it?
Tumblr ate my legit response to this, which is a shame because it told a really great story. As a shoddy replacement for my real reply, I will just quickly let you know that Digital Henchmen Studio did mountains of work on it for over a year; we fully plotted a six episode “season” and fleshed out two scripts to completion; there are scads of character designs; the animation studio disbanded due to a lack of contract work; everyone had to find other jobs and there wasn’t time anymore.
It was unbelievably exciting to see three talented cartoonists brainstorm character designs for me and my friends, and the scripts we had were hilarious. I still haven’t totally accepted that it’s not going to happen.
The website with and animation test and some of the comic book backstory stuff we were doing is still up at dangerouslyshow.com
Oh and I’ve been trying not to blow this up too much, but Stephen Sloan (from the crew) and I are still working on a top secret project together… hopefully more info on that will be available in the spring!
7. What turns you on? Handicapped washrooms (lots of room, privacy, and a locking door!), a false sense of privacy in urgent situations, Q-Tip in the video for “Breathe & Stop,” most women’s bodies, THE MOMENT BEING RIGHT.
8. 5 Favourite Music Artists At The Moment Oh gosh that’s a challenge. What if I say the wrong 5?? Okay so “at the moment.” So like just right now, not all time. Okay. I can do this.
Right now I am banging out… Lana Del Rey, Das Racist, Serengeti, Common Grackle, and Shabazz Palaces. There that wasn’t so hard! Bonus artist: I am coming off of a three-to-five month Soulja Boy mixtape bender. It’s not ironic!!
12. What’s your idea of a perfect date? Do something dope like going to a show, then stay up talking until 5 a.m., then just when it’s obvious nothing’s going to happen… it does.
I just realized that i discovered you through your part on nerdcore rising from MC Frontalot. I discovered MC Frontalot through his part on a song by MC Hawking, and I discovered MC Hawking through a conversation I was having with someone about MC Chris, in a random group on a game, MC Chris I only learned about through Aqua Teen Hunger Force, which I only ended up getting into because of Cowboy Bebop. And I don't think any part of that chain happened again at a later time. Dat Fragility.
My path to self-discovery involved may of the same steps, believe it or not! Well, it had Cowboy Bebop, ATHF, and Frontalot at least but not in that order.