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The Waste Water From My Mental Colonic: Trolling Chaz Kangas While Watching Rah Digga On YouTube

Chaz Kangas

Sometimes the grind of sifting through new music can be a soul-destroying bastard of a task. You keep going because you know it’s worth it in the end: that’s how you find gems, that’s how you keep the old stuff fresh. But it’s difficult to know exactly when you should stop. Or rather, you know exactly when you should stop, it’s at that point where you’re loading up the next video five seconds after pressing play on the first one and two minutes later when the music stops, you’re scrolling through the news on another site and you can’t remember the name of the track you just played. Knowing when to stop is one thing, though. Actually stopping is a whole other challenge.

Because by this point you’re damaged goods. Half your brain shut down, the rest is flying out of control like a jet with one dead engine. There’s barely time to apologise for all the outstanding music you’ve sort-of partly checked out this week but not had time to write up ’cause your head’s been spinning through a bunch of half digested recent-ish obsessions. Yeah, this is the stuff that’s bugging me right now. This column is my excuse for not writing a column.

In short: this is what was going through my head when I should have been rewinding Big Cakes’ Energy’s Eternal and that Sonnyjim video Koaste posted up the other day, Plus Qu’une Minute. This is the waste water from my mental colonic. It’s the stink that fugs in my brain when I should be cleansing it with Jasiri X’s New Nat Turners. It’s a humble apology to Flatbush Zombies for not giving all due attention to their Palm Trees, to Frank Lieffe for not spending enough time with his Killer Mike featuring opus Dually Truck. And to Danny Brown, of course. Though I don’t feel so bad about that ’cause I compared him to God last week, it’s not like he’s starved of attention. But, his Kush Coma is a good single and deserves more than the five minutes attention I managed. Especially seeing how it’s got a verse from that guy Zeelooperz, whose Coon N The Room: Eating Ramen Noodles While Watching Roots On Bootleg mixtape was sort of like a more idealistic, uncorrupted, fresh faced version of Danny. I think he might be one to look out for.

But, anyway. Getting stuck in a loop doesn’t have to be bad. Sometimes it’s the best way to take in the scenery.

Ever Decreasing Circles
• I’ve been following the RSS feed of the Village Voice – I added it to my reader ’cause I liked one article they ran ages ago and ever since I’ve been weighing up whether to remove it cos their pop-ups do my head in. So they posted this video by a female New York emcee Genesis Be called Tampons And Tylenol and I considered for a second whether to write about it before deciding…nah, it makes me too queasy to even consider watching again. Then I had a thought and had to confirm what Tylenol is. Paracetamol and codeine, figures. But…I like her voice and her attitude and I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for her name for a while. Maybe her next track won’t be about such a delicate subject…

• Before I close the tab I note the name of the writer: Chaz Kangas. It’s a name I’m starting to remember. He must write a lot of stuff for The Voice. I check out his Twitter feed. The bio there describes him as “a world record holding indie-rap semi-star whose album features Mac Lethal, Homeboy Sandman and Alaska of Hangar 18”, linking to a bandcamp page where you can download said album for free. Dunno about Mac Lethal or Hangar 18 but I’ve liked a few Homeboy Sandman tracks. So I listen to the stream, but I don’t download the album cos I can’t decide if Chaz is taking the piss. Is he a parody act or what?…

• Ten minutes later, cup of tea in hand, still considering the issue. I can’t shake the fact that to me, Chaz sounds like he’s auditioning for Morris Minor and The Majors. I suppose they were harmless and all but they always irritated the fuck out of me. I check out their Wikipedia page, find out they were three comedians who got together for this single, had one more hit, then made a sitcom which (I guess must have) ran on terrestrial TV. Imagine that, a Morris Minor sitcom! I don’t watch much TV these days, so the most modern equivalent I can think of was when they had a grime night at the Vic in Eastenders…

• So, yes. This guy Chaz… Is he expecting to be taken seriously? I still can’t figure it out. I try and tell myself ‘Oh well, that’s one name I can safely disregard for the rest of my life.’ but that doesn’t work. Why am I so bugged out by him? Do I have a problem with stilted white nerds rapping? Or is it because, if he’d any respect for the culture, he’d learn to do it well? Nahhh…that’s not fair. Or maybe it’s only partly wrong. White nerds rapping badly is okay and doesn’t suggest disrespect (just arrogance) if they recognise the essential machismo of the form. It’s combative. Chaz must understand that if he’s writing about Genesis Be…

• Which gets me to thinking about something Kitty Pryde said a while back. At first, I can’t quite remember the exact wording so I search “Kitty Pryde rap is too competitive” and the first result is the article I’m looking for, on Vice’s Noisey outpost. Re-reading it now I see it’s more reasonable than I’d remembered. Actually, on reflection I don’t think I could have read it through all the way first time, and I can see why too. The first couple of paragraphs she’s just giving this whole disclaimer about how she grew up being repelled by rap beef, she’s tipped me off that we’re probably looking for different things in rap. Which is a bit disappointing, not ’cause I’ve loved any of her records to date but because she seems interesting and, obviously, we both liked XXX. She’s written a few things for Noisey. One, a piece where she points out that the time some woman gave Danny a blowjob onstage was, technically, sexual assault (with Danny as the victim), was truly brilliant, thought provoking stuff. This isn’t quite so good, but it’s decent. Once we’re past her disclaimer she goes on to talk about Drake for a couple of paragraphs, specifically the track 5 AM in Toronto. I probably stopped reading at the point she makes it clear she’s a fan. I’m not. He’s too sensitive for me. Not in the Jay-Z, ‘sensitive thugs, y’all need hugs’ way, I wouldn’t want to mock his vulnerabilities. Not in the way 2Pac had that song about the joys of motherhood either. It’s not just that he whines, it’s that he whines all the time over dreary beats…

• So that got me thinking to the other article that’s been monopolising my brainwaves over the last couple of months, a piece I didn’t see so much reaction to where Killer Mike complains that white people have bought ‘self-pity’ into Hip-Hop. Right on, Mike. Some folks are trying to pin this one on Kanye’s 808s, but for me it all goes back to Eminem’s Recovery. Are white people killing hip-hop? Or at least remaking it in their own image? Hmmm… Maybe not with self-pity alone. Maybe with a particular strain of enervating depressive self-pity. Of course that Mike is saying this whilst stood (or sat) next to El-P, the man who produced Funcrusher Plus, just makes it even more hilarious…

• Both seem significant, I still need to figure out why. But first I’m gonna distract myself for a couple of minutes and check out what’s happening on Facebook. Ha! Looks like my friend Neil has finally checked out the Kanye album. He’s not as impressed as me, I suggest this is because he doesn’t like ‘monster cock music’. That’s maybe not the best way of putting it, especially if his mum’s reading the thread, but he knows what I mean for sure. Onyx. M.O.P. AC/DC. The Beastie Boys obviously, but only their first album. Then former Big Dada recording artist Infinite Livez jumps on the thread to accuse Kanye of stealing shine from true pioneers, “Mike Ladd, APC, Subtitle, K the I, Walter Gross and all the other heads that have done so much for so little for so long.” He’s too modest to put himself forward like that, but we should take it as read that ‘all the other heads’ should include, somewhere near the head of the queue, former Big Dada recording artist Infinite Livez…

• Of course he’s got a point, but I figure Kanye deserves some credit for putting it all together and branding it with such panache. For maintaining his interest in music enough to recognise the talent of someone like Chief Keef. Cos it’s a challenge as you get older to look past the juvenile braggadocio and find what’s worth paying attention to. Times change and suddenly you’re faced with something that couldn’t have existed twenty years ago, something that baffles you so much you don’t even have a clue where to begin. Like those guys I was reading about the other week, Barf Troop. A group of young women rappers with names like ‘Justin Baber’ and ‘Babeo Baggins’, music seemingly designed to alienate middle aged men. And me? Why don’t I like it? I don’t know. Surely it’s not the age thing cos I’m perfectly happy listening to Bishop Nehru and Zeelooperz. It’s not the race thing, cos as far as I can see none of them are white. And how can I have a problem with white emcees? I don’t hate myself that much. And it’s not that they’re women. Nah, it’s something about the attitude. I scan through the article. Apparently “Barf Troop is all about girls and not only boys respecting us but girls respecting each other.” Righto. Now I know. Now I’m feeling nostalgic for a time I’m only just beginning to realise isn’t here anymore. A simpler time when rap music was about stagecraft, entertainment. Not all that wishy-washy stuff about asking for respect! More demanding it, making competitive theatre out of dis-respect in order to earn it…

• Get that, kids? IT WASN’T LIKE THAT IN MY DAY. But. Anyway. I think I hear voices chanting ‘whatever, grandad’ somewhere across the estate, but that could just be the delerium. I’m spun-out, tired of the scenery, running on empty and about to crash so I’m allowed to have a break from all this modern stuff for the rest of the evening. The column can wait ’till tomorrow. Justin Baber? You scamps don’t even know you’re born. Back in my day we had Rah Digga. Now excuse me while I go get my smoking jacket.
• Ringo P

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