Snow Daze

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Living up here in the Northeast coast we see our share of snow, depending on the climate. When I moved to the US in 1992 I experienced some of the worst snow storms living in New Haven, Connecticut. My mom had to work so we were always sent to school, trudging through the snow. Mom would give us a ride if we all pitched in to get the Oldsmobile dug out of the backyard. Once I arrived at Sheridan Middle School, big ups to the school that taught me the blind side of the back streets of New Haven, the few who made the trip would be brought into a big classroom. We were then entertained with movies and other lore to watch. They used to put on episodes of Martin or In Living Color so we could re-watch last week’s episodes. I also remember a gamut of films ranging from Kid n Play’s House Party to the Fugitive. Once the school day was over my friends and I would lug ourselves home, and of course when I got home my older brother was bumping some tunes or going back and forth between MTV, this was when it was only music videos back to back, and BET’s Rap City. The videos came as a barrage of tastes swirling in your mouths. I enjoyed it much, and of course years later would enjoy it with friends amidst the plumes of smoke…if you catch the hint.

I saw some great videos, but for the sake of today’s snow day I wanted to include some of the most entertaining and yes funny videos of past Hip Hop artists. This is a mishmash of fun, and it should be said that Hip Hop was created as an escape. This escapism would mean that the party experience and the music had to be fun. Fun loving and humorous gigs elated the crowd, and created a fantasy space for the local teens. These local teens were living amidst horrid conditions, so the best medicine was some fun and laughter. Public Enemy labels Hip Hop as the CNN of Black people, yet this makes the music too rigid and political. Many great political acts thrived, but there were also plenty of fun loving crews who emphasized the brighter, and lighter side of the music!!! Enjoy…..

This first dish on today’s menu is the video for “Ya Mama” by the Pharcyde. This crew, straight out of Cali, has an extensive humorous rap sheet, as you can see plainly in their music, especially their amazingly classic debut album, Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde. This is a great song as their rhyming consists of diss jokes about mamas, which we all partook in at some point during Middle School. This is also a perfect example of the continuation of African culture in the African American musical mode. Playing the dozens is traced by many historians back to the African continent, and trace it straight to modern day African American culture. The dozens were basically insults hurled at each other, which is akin to dissing your mama, who’s got a wooden leg with a kick stand, haha.

Next up is Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince’s video for “Girls Ain’t Nothing But Trouble,” from their 1988 album, He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper. We can all rank on good ol’ Will the superstar, but it should be noted that their albums, especially the first two, were solid in their entertaining ways. The video is funny cause it shows Will Smith’s catchy rhyme schemes about scheming females.

The next up is the almighty BIZ!!! All of his videos are hilarious for all the right, wrong, or a mixture of both reasons. It’s not so much funny as the entire routine is ludicrously funny in its set up and the many inspirations for the video from the Wizard of Oz to Coach, to chilling with Ronald Reagan!

Thank G-d for the entity of amazement we know by many names, but mostly by the nom de guerre – Kool Keith. Dr. Doom, Dr. Octagon, Black Elvis, and the rest of those guys are all living in Keith’s inner mental sanctum. Anything he offers holds its weight in porn loads of gold. This idea comes from one of the funniest shows at the moment, It‘s Alway Sunny in Philadelphia. In one of the episodes one of the member’s of the group creates the idea for the “dick towel.” Call Kool Keith and the legend is born. I should note though that he has many more videos along these lines and other streaks found on the bathroom walls.

Reggie Noble’s the name and Doc’s the game. Living in Jersey I can respect and laugh even more while listening to Redman. My lady used to live up right next to Newark so now I’ve seen the spots Redman name checks on his albums. Every one of Red’s albums have that humor that breaks the seriousness of the message. Yes, he’s from the projects, brick city it nothing to joke about, yet he maintains a distinct balance in his lyrics. His music is a fine example of that dark humor of jacking you while hazed out on the best weed while driving down the wrong side of the road while running from the meter maids. This track is a great mixture of pop culture gone wild, thanks to Redman. Like the rest of the artists on the list, every video has plenty of jokes and entertainment.

Humor and jokes are very subjective as certain jokes are hilarious to some but offensive to others. I’m a big fan of the former, yet there are those who push to the point of discomfort. Who is the master of this art, my man El-P. This video for the song “Stay Down” from his most recent master – classic – piece Cancer For Cure. In the true sense of the morbidity of his humor we’re transplanted to a grimy prom party. The beat hits as El takes the stage to the disgust of all the trendy bopper ladies out there in the wilderness of young, used flesh. They simmer in their hatred until Jaleel Bunton’s (from TV on the Radio) soothing chorus cuts through them like a sweet buttery knife. It all swelters into a frenzy of pushing, hitting and sloppy kissing and reaching its climax with an assault on Mr. Killums the stuffed squirrel. Dark Indeed!

The next offering is from another hip hop head, rhyme conductor, and all around great entertainer. Every time Busta Rhymes gets on the mic he rips it to the point where we feel his fire belting out. His videos, like his rhymes, are high powered and chock full of entertainment. This became far more apparent once he put on his brother and the rest of the Flipmode Squad. Like Busta his younger brother Spliff Star has the  same dynamism in performance entertainment. The video for “Gimme Some More” from his classic Extinction Level Event album is one of those gems. As you hear the opening strings from the tune to the movie Psycho the narrative of Busta’s genesis of insanity unfolds.

Enjoy…..and Peace

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