Qu'est-ce Que J D?
A Scrub Is Someone Who Can’t Get No Love

Damn, I’m getting dogged on Twitter by Dante Ross.  Famous Dante Ross!  Who would have thought it’d come to this?  One of the names you pick out of the liner notes when you’re a kid, looking at records by Brand Nubian, 3rd Bass, KMD, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, and most especially De La Soul.

De La’s first record, 3 Feet High and Rising, featured a cartoon inside the liner notes that was about as impenetrable and goofy as the audio skits they ushered in.  They’re loaded with in-jokes making fun of their coworkers at Tommy Boy Records, and one of them is depicted as a duck and bears the name Dante The Scrub.

Here’s the little fella as he appears in the comic:

Even in the audio skits and songs he gets teased mercilessly - Prince Paul chants “Dante is a scrub… Dante is a big scrub!” and someone chimes in “and you’re not getting a haircut, either!” before everyone shouts “SCRUUUB!”

But the teasing seems affectionate, and I’ve always had the opinion that he might have got clowned on but he was super-directly involved in making sure that many of the records I love the most came out the way they did.

I can’t remember what 3rd Bass record has this, but MC Serch comes to his defense and talks over some ad libs saying, “Everybody needs to stop clowing Dante on records!”

So I know he worked behind the scenes with legendary heroes to whom I owe everything.  He also was in production crew Stimulated Dummies, who did great work for 3rd Bass, Hieroglyphics, and I don’t know… lots of cats.  A remix marked “SD-50s” was pretty much guaranteed dope.

Seems like his heyday as a figure in hip-hop was about twenty to twenty-five years ago, right?  Like, from scrub origins to signing ODB?  And I figure he wasn’t twelve years old or anything.  So I am estimating, without looking at wikipedia or any kind of in-depth profile, that he is probably forty years old now.

At least that’s what I was thinking when THIS happened.

Someone in my timeline, I didn’t make a note of whom, Dante from earlier today. Here’s the tweet:

And I see that and I know who he is and I know I’m kind of a dick, but this strikes me as funny!  Why is the dude who gave Busta Rhymes a career bragging that he doesn’t listen to rap much?  So I poked fun at it…

 And from there things degenerated into…

Then he said something super crass that I’m not gonna repeat here.

My homegirl posted something that she’s since deleted about why was I trying to give him respect in response to his (admittedly provoked) bullshit, and I put it this way:

The fact is, I really was kind of flattered by his attention and the fact that he looked me up a little, maybe even peeped one of my songs for a split-second to make sure he really hated me, even if his intense anger was off-putting.  I can only imagine how many demo tapes better than my album he never had a chance to get around to hearing.  And he’s paying attention to me!  Intense, negative attention!

But then the real bomb dropped… something you can’t really come back from.  He said something that isn’t just directly denigratory to me, but calls his whole position in hip-hop and popular culture into question.  He said:

And like… korn is fucking awful, everybody.  This is not a point of any contention. You like music?  Cool, you hate korn.  Implicitly, and with extreme prejudice.

And his “Freak On A Leash” remix isn’t the worst thing I’ve ever heard - it would make them almost listenable, if Jonathan Davis (not to be confused with Q-Tip/Kamaal/Jonathan Davis) was singing in tune in the first place, but you can’t polish a punch in the nuts.  It’s a second-rate Stimulated Dummies beat wasted on a zillionth-rate nu-metal white angstathon.

It’s not good.  It’s not - I daresay - better than anything I have ever done in my SLEEP, let alone on purpose.

So having escalated things to that point, I hereby dedicate the second verse of my meanest song in recent memory, “Professional Widowmaker,” to the sour scrub who I guess is tired of being the butt of everyone’s joke after more than two decades of it.  I salute you, Dante Ross.