Thursday, July 31, 2008

Playlist: Four more non-singin’-ass actors

Last November I shared with you the musical stylings of Russell Crowe, Billy Bob Thornton and other Hollywood actors. Here go some more:

1. “Dark Angel” – Steven Seagal

I didn’t know Mr. Seagal fancied himself an electric bluesman. Evidently nobody had the guts to tell him he sucks. Seagal’s 2006 album “Mojo Priest” features some legendary guest artists: Bo Diddley, Ruth Brown and Pinetop Perkins. Damn shame.

2. “Anywhere I Lay My Head” – Scarlett Johansson

She’s one of Hollywood’s hottest young leading ladies. She’s also a Barack Obama supporter, so I shan’t say anything snarky about Scarlett Johansson. This track is from her new album of Tom Waits covers – “Anywhere I Lay My Head” – produced by TV On The Radio’s Dave Sitek.

3. “Red River Valley” – Buckethead & Viggo Mortensen

Viggo Mortensen is the best actor on this list. He’s also an avant-garde renaissance man – a poet, a painter, a composer, and a recording artist with good taste in collaborators.

Mortensen paired with freakishly talented guitarist Buckethead for the 2008 album “Pandemonium from America” (dedicated to hard-left activist Noam Chomsky).

None of which means I’d pay to hear Viggo Mortensen sing.

4. “Hardly Wait” – Juliette Lewis

Nowadays, Juliette Lewis fronts a rock band called Juliette and the Licks. But she recorded this caterwauling PJ Harvey cover in 1995. It’s on a benefit CD called “Hollywood Goes Wild!,” which includes tunes from Jeff Goldblum, Bruce Willis, Keanu Reeves and others.

Brand new copies of this CD are available through sellers... for the price of one cent.

Coming attraction: ‘Lakeview Terrace’

Below is the trailer for a new film, “Lakeview Terrace,” starring Samuel L. Jackson as a cop who terrorizes an interracial couple that moves in next door.

It also stars Kerry Washington and Patrick Wilson (the castratee in “Hard Candy”), and was directed by Neil LaBute, a filmmaker who seems to relish human nastiness.

“Lakeview Terrace” was produced by Will Smith’s company.

I remember reading about a real-life California case like this. But apparently the movie isn’t based on ex-LAPD officer Irsie Henry.

Sam Jackson looks good in the role, no? “Lakeview Terrace” opens September 19.

Hiram Bullock (1955-2008)

DeAngelo Starnes broke the news to me that Hiram Bullock died last Saturday. He had throat cancer.

Bullock, a funky guitar virtuoso, became familiar to watchful TV viewers in the 1980s. He was a featured sideman in Paul Shaffer’s band on “Late Night with David Letterman”... and in David Sanborn’s band on “Night Music.”

Bullock had a prolific career as a session player before finding international success as a solo artist.

The JazzTimes obituary by Jeff Tamarkin is here.

In memory of Hiram Bullock, I’m streaming a track on my Vox blog.

Click here to hear his studio cover of “Don’t You Worry ’Bout a Thing” from the 1997 album “Carrasco.”

Cheech & Chong, together again

Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong announced yesterday they’ve reunited for a 22-city comedy tour called “Cheech & Chong: Light Up America.”

The tour starts September 12 in Philadelphia.

I’m not a big fan of drug humor. I never saw any of Cheech & Chong’s movies. And I only bought their albums on CD for historical purposes.

But I’ve always liked “Basketball Jones” (with Cheech singing as “Tyrone Shoelaces”). That 1973 track – a parody of the already- ridiculous “Love Jones” – was a Top 20 hit for Cheech & Chong.

I didn’t know until now that the parody version features an all-star band... including George Harrison, Billy Preston and Carole King.

And last week I stumbled on an old animated short film made for “Basketball Jones.” It’s embedded below. It’s wild.

(Hat-tip: The Raw Story.)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

This date in Beatles history: 1968

The Beatles, on a Tuesday evening in 1968, gathered at Abbey Road (Studio Two) to continue work on a new song: “Hey Jude.”

A few takes had been recorded the night before... but this ambitious single was still a work in progress.

On the second night – July 30 – movie cameras were rolling. As Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn relates, the footage was used for a TV documentary (“Music!”) by the National Music Council of Great Britain.

Here is 6½ minutes of that footage:


Ludacris shoulda stayed eating chicken and drinking beer. He has as much business talking politics as I do rapping.

Luda put out a 2-minute track called “Politics as Usual,” in which he praises Obama... and trash-talks Hillary, Jesse, McCain and Bush.

Yeah, Ludacris calls Sen. Clinton a “bitch.” (Which is exactly what a rap star should do right now if he wants to help Barack win. Sheesh...)

Today the song was condemned as “outrageously offensive” by Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton. “While Ludacris is a talented individual, he should be ashamed of these lyrics."

Here’s the audio of “Politics as Usual”:

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Another race hoax exposed?

Meet Nick Kasoff of Ferguson, Mo. (a suburb of St. Louis). He is a former radio talk show host and a home-computer consultant. He owns rental properties.

Mr. Kasoff is also politically active. He was a delegate to the Missouri Republican convention in May.

Kasoff supported Ron Paul, but now he’s backing John McCain. “At this point, I will do whatever I can to prevent socialist Barak Obama from being elected as President,” he wrote in a recent online comment.

Nick Kasoff spends a lot of time on the Internet. In January 2007, he launched a website called the Thug Report – a Drudge-style links list devoted to “urban crime news.”

Almost all of the criminals Mr. Kasoff showcases are black. And he uses ghetto dialect in some of his headlines. Such as:

“Cali bangaz recruit kids”

“Chicago killaz get teen girl”

“St. Louis shoota hits 1”

“Texas rappa gets 30 in slaying”

Occasionally, Kasoff will mock the names of black suspects by posting a snarky caption along with their mug shots. Example: “My name Santwoine. My name Raevon.”

I have no problem with any of that. There is a shitload of black violent crime in America. If Nick Kasoff wants to focus on that, he has a right to.

And if somebody else wants to launch a website devoted to white criminals or Hispanic criminals, that is their right.

At least Kasoff isn’t hiding his identity. He has posted comments on message boards as “Nick Kasoff – The Thug Report.”

Alas, I am convinced that Nick Kasoff is perpetrating much darker mischief.

In May 2007, I first blogged about an anonymous troublemaker masquerading as various members of a supposed black racist cult led by “Prophet Yacub 7 Ali.”

These so-called “Negro Sun Worshippers” – under numerous pseudonyms on numerous blogs – claimed the ability to inflict skin cancers on white people with just a look.

An affiliated hoax was the “Sexiest & Hardest Ghetto Black Male Felon Bragging Rights Competition,” whereby the hoaxer pretends to celebrate high-profile murders of white people by black criminals.

The hoaxer spread vicious lies about white female victims such as Channon Christian... suggesting that Ms. Christian wanted to be tortured and killed by blacks as a kinky sex thing.

At least one gullible online “journalist” – Nicholas Stix – wrote about the “Ghetto Bragging Rights” phenomenon as if it represented actual “black supremacists.”

Whereas I speculated that it was the creation of one race-baiting troll. And now I have a prime suspect: Nick Kasoff.

The “Ghetto Bragging Rights”/Yacub 7 Ali masquerade continues... on a series of anonymous WordPress blogs:

Ghetto Bragging Rights

Underprivileged Journalism

Underprivileged American Features

Underprivileged Cartoons

Digital Monkeys

God Damn (white) America

Here is my circumstantial evidence that Nick Kasoff is behind all of it:

1. The Ghetto Bragging Rights and Underprivileged Journalism blogs feature links to the Thug Report site.

2. Black mug shots featured on Kasoff’s Thug Report also turn up on the anonymous hoax sites... like this one of rapper DMX:

The first wave of Yacub 7 Ali/Ghetto Bragging Rights sites appeared in February 2007... one month after Kasoff registered the Thug Report domain name.

4. Kasoff’s desire to “do whatever I can to prevent socialist Barak Obama from being elected” would explain the latest wrinkle in the Yacub 7 Ali mythology... something called the “God Damn America Movement.”

(That refers, of course, to Rev. Jeremiah Wright.)

Kasoff’s Thug Report links to a “G*d d@mn America blog” (underprivilegedjournalism.

5. Who would be motivated to carry on such an elaborate deception as this Yacub 7 Ali/Ghetto Bragging Rights business – for no apparent purpose – over 18 months?

Someone obsessed with black crime.

Check out the Thug Report for yourself and see if that shoe doesn’t fit Mr. Kasoff.

I think I found a good phrase for this type of shenanigans last month, when I busted another white guy pretending to be a black radical online: Racist political witchcraft.

Evidently Nick Kasoff has never heard of “karma.” You can’t put out bad vibes on the intertubes without it bouncing back on you eventually.

UPDATE (08/01/08): Nick Kasoff’s response to this post is here.

Holy shit!

We just had an earthquake... and I’m sitting here butt naked!

I haven’t felt a shaker in years. This one lasted all of 10 seconds... just long enough for me to start wondering how embarrassing it would be if the whole house fell down around my nekkid ass.

UPDATE (07/29/08): Those MSNBC fuckers better not cut into my “Hardball” time with their quake coverage. It was a nothing earthquake... no damage! Move on.

Me? I’m going to the laundrymat.

Tuesday 12-inch Flashback: ‘Miss You’

Remember when the Rolling Stones gots down with the disco funk back in 1978?

I was tickled by that in high school... with all the white boys hating on Parliament.

The Who tried to get funky a few years later. But hell, even P-Funk was over by ’82. If Townshend thought he’d written the next “Miss You,” he found out otherwise.

Anyways... I can’t believe I never heard the 12-inch mix of “Miss You” before! With bonus badass guitarisms – and two scoops of Mick Jagger’s shit talk – this record smokes.

Cheers to DJ Danny G in Texas for uploading this.

Monday, July 28, 2008

A free Lee “Scratch” Perry download

I streamed a new track last week by Lee “Scratch” Perry, Jamaica’s wacky reggae shaman. It’s now available as a FREE MP3.

Follow this link to if you want some “Pum Pum.”

Evil anagram

I love language. As a kid, I used to read the dictionary for fun. I also was into word puzzles like the Daily Jumble.

As an adult, I developed a fondness for anagrams and palindromes. I’m pretty good at composing them. So recently, for kicks, I decided to do some anagrams of “Barack Hussein Obama.”

The first one I came up with was splendid. It is also... wrong. To wit:

Barack Hussein Obama = A sambo, a shiner, a buck

It started with “sambo,” you see. Because it’s 80 percent there in “Obama.” And then I saw the “buck.”

I knew “shine” was an old-timey insult. But after consulting the Racial Slur Database, I discovered that “shiner” was too. Boom, there it is.

On one hand, I was ashamed. I mean... I support Barack Obama.

On the other hand, this was too good not to share. He could be our first black president, and he’s got three old-fashioned racial slurs right there in his name!

I consulted an old colleague of mine, an expert on humor and a big fan of anagrams. I asked him why the anagrammatic art lends itself to such ignoble formations.

He responded: “Anagrammers are looking for funny, and funny is hostile.”

Yes! Just look at “Hillary Clinton” and imagine what you could do with a B... or a U. (I’d settle for one more T.)

Sonny Okosun (1947-2008)

Only while putting together my African Music Weekend did I learn that Sonny Okosun, an international music star from Nigeria, died in May.

This didn’t make big news in the United States, even though Okosun died at Howard University Hospital in Washington, D.C., from colon cancer. (The Washington Post still hasn’t reported his passing.)

Sonny Okosun – whose name is often spelled Okosuns – created a style of music he called Ozzidism (“message music”), fusing Nigerian highlife with rock ’n’ roll. He later added reggae to the mix.

Okosun was the first African pop star to perform in post-liberation Zimbabwe.

In Okosun’s honor, I’m streaming a track from his 1981 album “3rd World” on my Vox blog. Click here to hear “Olu Ebube.” The rhythm-guitar part would do James Brown proud. (This album, re-titled “Liberation,” is widely available in digital form.)

Here is an editorial tribute to Sonny Okosun from the Nigerian newspaper ThisDay.

And below is some supremely cool footage of Okosun working on his 1979 album “Power to the People.”

Sunday, July 27, 2008

If you want to dig deeper into African music...

... may I recommend some reading materials?

I’ve previously mentioned the Nigerian blogger known as Comb & Razor. I am happy to do so again. He writes about the kaleidoscope of African pop music with much humor and affection.

Also, he shares some tasty tracks. Like “Happy Birthday” by Harry Mosco, a hardcore funker known to few outside of Africa. As Comb & Razor blogged in April: “If you ever attended a birthday party in Nigeria in the early 80s, I’m sure you’ll remember this track!”

C&R’s isn’t the only African music blog on my blogroll. There’s also Likembe, done with love by Milwaukee’s John B.

Here’s John with Oliver de Coque, a Nigerian bandleader who passed away last month.

John B. also shares obscure and out-of-print tracks. Such as “Goodbye Hully!” by Kenya’s Brother Charlly Computer & the Gloria Kings.

John wrote in May that this single, from the early to mid 1980s, was among the last 45s to be pressed in Kenya... because “record piracy pretty much killed the format.”

An old reference book also has been useful to me in learning some basics about African music. The 1989 edition of the U.K.’s “Penguin Encyclopedia of Popular Music” provides pithy histories of various national styles, from juju (Nigeria) to mbaqanga (South Africa) to ziglibithy (Ivory Coast).

There is so much out there to explore!

A free Les Amazones de Guinée download

Les Amazones de Guinée are an all-female Afropop band from Guinea. And that’s not the only thing unusual about them.

All the band members serve in the Guinean army.

The track “Decembalou,” off Les Amazones’ 2008 album “Wamato,” is available as a FREE MP3. To stream it on my Vox blog, click here. To download it, click the song title below.

“Demembalou” (MP3)
Album available at iTunes Music Store
Album available at Amazon

Johnny Griffin (1928-2008)

I interrupt our celebration of African music with sad news. Tenor-sax virtuoso Johnny Griffin – the “Little Giant,” whose career reached back to the dawn of bebop – died Friday at his home in France.

At 80 years old, Mr. Griffin was still performing. He played a concert on the French Riviera last Monday... and was scheduled for shows this weekend. Griffin’s new CD, “Smokin’ Sax,” was released last week in Europe.

In Griffin’s honor, I’m streaming one of his mid-career highlights on my Vox blog. It’s an exuberant reading of “Autumn Leaves” from his 1978 album “Return of the Griffin” (recorded upon his return to America after 15 years in Europe).

Click here to hear it.

You can read the New York Times obituary here. The Chicago Tribune (in Griffin’s home town) eulogizes him here. The London Telegraph’s obit is here.

Last November, I posted jazz writer Andy Gilbert’s 1999 interview with Johnny Griffin. If you missed it then, you can read it now.

For we have indeed lost a giant.

Playlist: African singers, American songs

Y’all know I like covers... especially covers “with a twist.” So this is a natural for African Music Weekend.

Click the song titles below and hear some good ol’ American tunes interpreted by vocalists from the Motherland!

1. “Inner City Blues (Xhosa version)” – Lungiswa

One of the artists I discovered during my first binge of South African CD-purchasing in 2000 was Lungiswa Plaatjies. Born in Cape Town, Lungiswa sings in an appealing pop-funky style.

She got her chops performing with the traditional-music group Amampondo (one of Mandela’s favorite bands).

Amampondo was founded by Lungiswa’s uncle, Dizu Plaatjies, and she started with the group at age 9.

Lungiswa’s self-titled solo album from 2000 contains this smokin’ cover of the Marvin Gaye classic... sung in the Xhosa language!

2. “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” – Angélique Kidjo

I have blogged before about international pop star Angélique Kidjo. She’s from Benin, but it was a South African TV producer who introduced me to this track in 2000.

A critic at All Music Guide calls it the best Jimi Hendrix cover ever. I’m not fixing to argue. (Here’s the music video, which is as superbly produced as the track itself.)

Kidjo’s 1998 album “Oremi” is widely available to download.

3. “Bad” – Bony Bikaye

I should’ve blogged about Bony Bikaye by now as a paragon of “eccentric blackness.” His 1996 album “Computer’s Dreams” is a complete head-scratcher.

Singing bizarrely over a homemade hash of cheap drum-machine beats and toy synthesizers, Bikaye has the audacity to cover some of the greatest pop songs of all time. Like “Let It Be.” “Superstition.” “When Doves Cry.”

Michael Jackson’s “Bad” sort of sucks anyway, so this is not as grave an insult.

Unbelievably, Bony Bikaye – who’s from Zaire – is not a delusional amateur. He has a minor reputation as an experimentalist based on his previous collaborations with French composer Hector Zazou.

4. “The Look of Love” – Gloria Bosman

Gloria Bosman, raised in Soweto, started singing in church. Then she won scholarships to study opera in Pretoria.

Now she’s a classy jazz singer who knows how to handle American standards like “Summertime” and “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes.” I dig what she did with this choice Bachrach-David tune.

5. “I Got You (I Feel Good)” – Gnonnas Pedro

Gnonnas Pedro, who died in 2004, was a major star in Benin. A bandleader since the 1960s, Pedro gained international exposure during the ’90s as a vocalist with the Afro-Latin supergroup Africando.

This track here? Gnonnas Pedro does his best James Brown impression. And his best is rather iffy. He cannot speak English so he sings the words phonetically. (For the “sugar and spice” line, he just utters random syllables.)

I found this vinyl-ripped MP3 (from a 1980 album) here... on Comb & Razor’s splendid music blog.

I’ll have more to say about Comb & Razor before the weekend is over. (Matter fact, I blogged about him back in January.) His Gnonnas Pedro post is a delight. C&R celebrates African pop music as it is lived.

He describes Pedro as “[a] dazzling showman who hewed to the old school entertainment ethos of giving the people want they want. You wanted to hear a bolero in Spanish? Gnonnas Pedro would sing it for you. French chanson? He was up to the task. American soul? Congolese rumba? Nigerian-style highlife? Your favorite country ballad? No matter the song or the style, you could count on Gnonnas Pedro to give it the old college try.”

That’s what I like about this job. You learn stuff.

African Music Weekend rolls on...

... with live concert footage of Alpha Blondy at my UBM-TV spot.

Born in Ivory Coast, Alpha Blondy is one of the most popular reggae artists in the world. His latest album, “Jah Victory,” was released last year.

(Blondy was due to headline at San Diego’s renowned reggae festival in February – replacing South Africa’s Lucky Dube, who was murdered last year. But he had to cancel because of illness.)

My favorite Alpha Blondy song is “Jerusalem,” from his 1986 album of the same name.

That album was recorded in Jamaica, with the Wailers as his backing band. (Click here to hear the track on my Vox blog.)

Blondy performs “Jerusalem” in this concert clip. The band gets cranking about 2 minutes in. They rock it to the bone, y’all.

UPDATE (07/28/08): Click here to watch the live “Jerusalem” video.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Steve Reid in Dakar

Last December, I pointed you to a free download from Steve Reid’s latest album, “Daxaar.”

Reid, an American jazz drummer, has a deep interest in African music. He lived in Africa for three years during the 1960s, learning from the legendary Ghanaian drummer Guy Warren and performing with Nigerian superstar Fela Kuti.

“Daxaar” was recorded last year in Senegal. It features the nation’s top guitarist, Jimi Mbaye (pictured), who has been a sideman for Youssou N’Dour since 1979.

Listen to Mbaye rock out on the cut “Big G’s Family,” streaming here on my Vox blog.

The album has a loose, jammy feel, but I’m digging it. (And you can’t beat the iTunes price: $5.99!)

What I really enjoy is this 12-minute video below. England’s Domino Records documented a “Daxaar” recording session at Jimi Mbaye’s home studio... and also a nightclub gig.

A free Thione Seck download

Thione Seck is a huge star in Senegal, but he isn’t well known globally. I hadn’t heard of him until I stumbled on a FREE MP3 at Calabash, the wonderful world-music site.

Senegal’s signature pop-music style is called “mbalax”... a fusion of traditional drumming, Caribbean grooves, Islamic singing and other elements.

Youssou N’Dour is the most renowned architect of mbalax, but Thione Seck also pioneered the style in the 1970s with his band Raam Daan.

Descended from a long line of Wolof griots, Seck also acknowledges the influence of South Asian music. (Yes, Bollywood films are quite popular in Senegal.)

In fact, Seck’s 2005 CD – “Orientation” – was partially recorded in Madras, India.

Today’s free MP3 is off that album. It’s called “Mouhamadou Bamba.” I am blown away by Seck’s voice on this track. Click here to stream it on my Vox blog.

If you like “Mouhamadou Bamba,” follow this link to Calabash. (You must be registered there to download it.)

African Music Weekend at UBM

I want to try a theme this weekend. (I’m feeling frisky.) So for the next couple of days, this blog will be devoted to African music... via audio, video and text.

Let’s start with the music vid in my UBM-TV corner. The track is called “Oyi Oyi.” The artist is Arthur Mafokate, known simply as Arthur. (You’ll need external speakers to appreciate the bass.)

Born in the South African township of Soweto, Arthur went from being a pop-music background dancer to a pioneering producer of kwaito, the groove music influenced by house and hip-hop.

I got turned on to kwaito whilst visiting Johannesburg in 2000. I dig Arthur’s stuff in particular (as I blogged in February).

Arthur’s CDs are impossible to find in the U.S. But I can vouch for the South African online music store One World.

UPDATE (07/27/08): Click here to watch the “Oyi, Oyi” video.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Matching wits with the witless

Last weekend, I decided to kill an hour by trolling amongst the hardcore Hillary-loving Obama-haters at the notorious No Quarter blog.

The commenters over there are so deliriously unhinged... it’s always fun to rattle their cages. This particular thread got good and nutty. I’m proud of myself.

Barack Obama had just started his overseas trip. He shot some ball with U.S. military personnel in Kuwait. Which prompted a No Quarter poster known as “Uppity Woman” to snark:

“Senator Obama, I thought the footage of you shooting hoops in Kuwait today was really cute. And now you are in Afghanistan. You’re just one cuddly guy in photo ops, aren’t you? Quite a few of us suspect if you were really in Afghanistan fighting for America, you would be off in a corner in the fetal position....”

Here’s some of what transpired in the comments section. (If anybody can tell me whom I stole my Yo’ Mama joke from, I will salute you.)
UNDERCOVER BLACK MAN: What… you guys didn’t hear about the sniper fire Obama had to dodge when he landed?


HARP: Get back undercover fool

WILDCHILD: wasn’t BOBO too busy playing games?

UBM: Didn’t seem to hurt the morale of our soldiers any, did it?

Please rid your hearts of hatred.

HARP: Yo mama so stupid that she tried to put M&M’s in alphabetical order!

UBM: Yo mama so stupid, she walked by a YMCA and said, “Look… they spelled MACY’s wrong!”

HARP: HaHaHa…Guess who is stupid asshole…my mama has been dead for 22 years now.

UBM: Mine died last April. You shouldn’t have started some shit you couldn’t finish, my friend…

WILDCHILD: M & M’s have been around a lot longer then that.

UBM: When I pray to Obama tonight, I’ll ask for mercy on your soul, WildChild. You know not what you do.

WILDCHILD: I know exactly what I do. I prefer peanut.

UBM: Is that what you meant when you told me to “nut in your mouth”?

WILDCHILD: no, LMAO that’s what BOBO meant when he told you nut in his mouth

SEATTLE MOSS: I have read your posts and never have responded because you just don’t seem too smart and your always full of rage and cursing.
maybe you should try some new meds for that problem you have.
It’s just a suggestion…

UBM: I’ll borrow some from Cindy McCain. Thanks for the suggestion.

WILDCHILD: He said meds, not makeup.

UBM: I know, WildChild. See, Cindy McCain used to be addicted to prescription narcotics. That’s what I was referencing.

WILDCHILD: ahhh quit your kidding around. If she used to be addicted to prescription pain killers then she wouldn’t have any to give you. Besides you need to pretty up for BOBO, LOL the limo is waiting just outside your door.

SEATTLE MOSS: Go buy your own meds..
Under Endowed.

Your comebacks are pathetic.

So McCain had a real moment with his wife…Big Deal!!

Maybe Cindy did prescription drugs
Big Deal!!

They both have more class and care for this country than anything you support anti-American wuss

UBM: Maybe McCain called his wife the C-word in front of other people… Big Deal!

He is a class act all the way! I’m with you, Moss.

And you’re right… my comebacks [are] pretty lame. But I’m trying to work an “ape rape” joke into my repertoire. It worked so well for John McCain… He has so much class!

HARP: I would think the “ape rape” thing took place on Backtrack’s first date with Michelle.


UBM: Wow… it’s like a battle of wits in a coma ward up in here. I’m done. I earned my $7 tonight… the easy way.

Cheers, mates.

WILDCHILD: yup, LOL you took it up the ass like a champ. Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha BOBO wants you.

UBM: ^ Don’t take my word for it, Child. I’ll post this entire exchange on my blog tomorrow… and we’ll let some normal people judge just who clowned whom.

HARP: Coward…I wish Backtrack’s father would have pulled out early too.

Spike Lee does theoretical physics?

Prof. Ronald L. Mallett is a physicist at the University of Connecticut. And one of his areas of study is time travel.

Which makes him the coolest black genius in America.

Spike Lee announced last month that he’ll co-write and direct a movie based on Mallett’s book “Time Traveler.”

Ronald Mallett was a recent guest on George Noory’s radio show, “Coast to Coast.” He talked about how Spike got interested in his story.

I’ve got a 7½-minute excerpt streaming on my Vox blog. Click here to listen.

Random wrongness

(Hat-tip: Advertising Age, by way of TV Tattle.)

The coming attack reports that a veteran “right-wing provocateur” named David N. Bossie (pictured) has a movie coming out attacking Barack Obama. It’s called “HYPE – The Obama Effect.”

It’ll be shown in a few movie theaters in September. The DVD will be sold online, and is already being advertised on Fox News.

A 4½-minute trailer is up on YouTube. It’s embedded below.

What strikes me about the trailer – apart from its low-budget, cut-and- paste feel – is the high visibility accorded to black conservatives.

Evidently Joe Watkins, Armstrong Williams, Ken Blackwell and Shelby Steele are in there to give non-Negroes “permission” to vote against Obama without the taint of racism.

Believe it or not, I’m cool with this.

It had struck me already, whilst consuming tons of cable-news analysis this election cycle, that black Americans are pretty well integrated into the political and media mainstreams.

We’ve got all the ideological bases covered. From Roland Martin, Jamal Simmons and Donna Brazile on the left... to Harold Ford, Juan Williams and Michelle Bernard in the center... to Amy Holmes, Tara Wall and Ron Christie on the right.

Plus respected newspapermen such as Clarence Page, Eugene Robinson and Bob Herbert getting lots of face time.

Was there anything close to this many black commentators on TV during the 2004 presidential campaign?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Black Kids on Letterman tonight

Now they’ve hit the big time in the U.S.A.

I speak of Jacksonville’s own Black Kids. They will be on “The Late Show with David Letterman” tonight. (I just love those kids.)

Coincidentally, another young band I’ve blogged about – the U.K.’s Does It Offend You, Yeah? – will perform tonight on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”

The coinkydinks don’t stop there. Both bands will be gigging in L.A. next Tuesday night (July 29). Black Kids are headlining at the El Rey Theatre, while Does It Offend You will be downtown at the Mayan, opening for Bloc Party.

What time is it?!?

Embedded below, courtesy of the fine folks at, is the jam they didn’t show you on “The Tonight Show” last night: Morris Day & The Time doing a medley of “777-9311” and “The Bird.”

(This clip ain’t for everybody... just the sexy people!)

Another free Santogold download

Brooklyn’s Santi White, a.k.a. Santogold, has another FREE MP3 floating around the intertubes. (I told you about this one and this one.)

She teamed up with DJ/producer Diplo for a dubby cover version of the Clash’s “Guns of Brixton”... except theirs is called “Guns of Brooklyn.”

Click here to hear it on my Vox blog. To download it, follow this link to the FADER.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Morris Day and the ‘Original Time’ on Leno tonight!

Here’s some funk news that caught me off guard. All the original members of The Time are together again for a five- night stand in Las Vegas.

That’s Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, Jesse Johnson, Jellybean Johnson, Monte Moir and Jerome Benton... plus, of course, Morris Day in front. (I knew they’d reunited for the Grammy show in February, but damn!)

For a ticket price ranging from $53 to $97, you can check out The Time – billed as “The Original Time featuring Morris Day” – at the Flamingo on the Strip from July 29 thru August 2.

And/or... you can see ’em tonight for free on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”

Below is a 30-second ad that was posted on YouTube a few days ago.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Something nutty from Lee “Scratch” Perry

If there were a Mount Rushmore of “eccentric blackness,” it would have to include Sun Ra, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, George Clinton... and dub-reggae pioneer Lee “Scratch” Perry.

Story goes that Mr. Perry once burned down his own recording studio because he thought it was possessed by Satan.

Check some of Lee’s tripped-out mumbo jumbo from a recent interview:

“If it wasn’t for my shit, I wouldn’t be here now, and if it wasn’t for my piss I wouldn’t be talking to you. My shit is my doctor and my piss is my psychiatrist.”

Lee “Scratch” Perry is 72 years old.

The Jamaican-born producer and performer, now living in Switzerland, has a new CD coming out next month. It is called “Repentance.”

I’m streaming the track “Pum Pum” on my Vox blog; click here to listen.

As for this bit of strangeness below... that’s a 3-minute vid I swiped off Mr. Perry’s MySpace page.

Tuesday 12-inch Flashback: ‘Best Beat in Town’

I never thought the name “DeBarge” would appear on this blog.

But I cannot deny a nostalgic affection for this 1979 hit by Switch, which first made me aware of the DeBarge family.

Cheers to the Canadian YouTuber known as “discorecords” for uploading this one.

Monday, July 21, 2008

More chicks with ukuleles

(Why? Because they frickin’ rock, that’s why!)

A free Big Boi/Mary J. Blige download

Outkast’s Antwan Patton, a.k.a. Big Boi, has a new solo album due out this year.

One track – “Something’s Gotta Give,” featuring Mary J. Blige – is available as a FREE MP3.

Lyrically, it’s a throwback to those old Reaganomics-era R&B songs about “cutbacks” and shit... this time with a little Obama love thrown in. Cool enough.

Click hear to stream it on my Vox blog. To download “Something’s Gotta Give,” follow this link to the FADER.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A free Kate Nash download

What more could I possibly blog about Black Kids?

Well, their first single – “I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You” – has already been covered. By U.K. pop princess Kate Nash.

(One reason Black Kids are so hot in England right now is that they toured with Kate Nash earlier this year.)

Click here to check out Nash’s stripped-down version of “Not Gonna Teach” on my Vox blog.

If you wanna download it, follow this link.

The Black Kids’ debut CD, “Partie Traumatic,” will be released in North America on Tuesday.

Random Japanese wrongness

This commercial was pulled in Japan. Can you guess why?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A free Seu Jorge download

Brazilian music star Seu Jorge is best known to U.S. audiences (if he is known at all) for the David Bowie covers he recorded for Wes Anderson’s movie “The Life Aquatic.”

Jorge has a new album out called “América Brasil o Disco.” And I got a nice FREE MP3 for you.

To stream “América Do Norte” on my Vox blog, click here. To download it, click the song title below.

“América Do Norte” (MP3)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Coming on DVD: ‘I Got the Feelin’ ’

Arriving in stores on August 5 will be a hot triple-DVD box called “I Got the Feelin’: James Brown in the ’60s,” a look at the Hardest Working Man in Show Business in his prime.

One disc features a TV special that hasn’t been seen in 40 years – “Man to Man: James Brown Live at The Apollo Theater 1968.”

Another disc includes JB’s legendary concert at Boston Garden the night after Martin Luther King was assassinated. That televised event is credited with saving the city from riots.

The third disc contains a “director’s cut” of “The Night James Brown Saved Boston,” a documentary shown on VH1 last April.

Here’s a preview of that documentary:

MBP of the Week: The Times (Trenton, N.J.)

According to Regret the Error, the following correction was published in the Times of Trenton:

“The picture of Tupac Shakur in People in the News was misidentified as Snoop Dogg.”

I have no further information, like a date. But I would love to see a print copy of the original mistake, because this is a classic Misidentified Black Person. Proving that even in death, you are not safe.

(Thanks, Rich.)


I send out hearty congratulations to my old colleagues David Simon and Ed Burns, who were nominated this morning for an Emmy Award in the drama writing category (for the series finale of “The Wire”).

Alas, this was the only nomination “The Wire” received for its fifth and farewell season. Which is a daggone shame.

Also, TV blogger Alan Sepinwall declares that Matthew Weiner – nominated for two separate “Mad Men” scripts – is a virtual lock to take home the trophy.

That may be. Because “Mad Men” is the hottest thing happening right now among TV-industry types.

But Dave and Ed will get ’em next year when “Generation Kill” reaps multiple nominations.

(For a list of this year’s top Emmy nominees, follow this link.)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

D.C. represent!

The Town. The Penn. The Langston. The Highland. The Tivoli.

Those were movie theaters in Washington, D.C., back when I was growing up in the 1970s.

Actually, they were on their last legs then... showing horror movies and blaxploitation and stuff. By the mid-’80s, they were out of business. Closed down.

Isn’t there something sad and ghostly about a boarded-up movie house?

Below is a 5-minute film made in 1984 by John Heyn. (Uploaded to the internets by my friend Jeff Krulik.) It is an elegy to D.C.’s once-vibrant cinema houses.

One was the Atlas on H Street in Northeast. Which is where I saw “Buck and the Preacher” and a Godzilla flick.

If you have any memories to share of these old D.C. theaters, I’d like to hear them. As well as any news about these buildings being put to use nowadays.

Tuesday 12-inch Flashback: ‘Native New Yorker’

Remember Odyssey?