Only God Can Judge Me

November 25, 2010

In what has been, for news outlets, a typically slow holiday week, one cultural phenomenon has dominated headlines around the country. With Bristol Palin’s long overdue elimination on Tuesday, discussion of ABC’s Dancing With the Stars hit a fever pitch, as even America’s most reputable news outlets pondered the significance of her improbable run to the finals. Not even Tom Delay’s conviction on money laundering charges, announced yesterday, could knock Dancing out of the national conversation, as the Hammer himself had once been a contestant on the popular show (bow your head in shame, America.)

Of course, Dancing With the Stars was courting controversy well before 2010. Far before Sarah Palin’s fans were skewing the competition, devotees of Percy Miller had viewers up in arms, as the rap mogul managed to survive an impressive four weeks in 2006 despite being literally the laziest dancer I have ever seen. The following clip, from the week of P’s elimination, really says it all. After receiving an 8 out of 30 from the judges, not to mention some of the harshest criticism ever doled out on a reality competition, P claims the judges are “taking it personal” (he had previously ignored their demands that he wear ballroom shoes in place of his trusty P. Millers) and uses the opportunity to promote his new album (the interviewer promptly cuts him off.) Sure, his partner looks like she’s about to cry from frustration, but you gotta love P’s “just don’t give a fuck” attitude. It is, after all, so very hip-hop.

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E-40 Loves His Son to a Fault

November 18, 2010

Earl Stevens, Jr., aka Droop-E

If there’s anything E-40 can never be accused of, it’s not loving his family enough. Despite being arguably the only talented member of the Stevens Clan, Earl has selflessly promoted a roster full of his kin—from siblings D-Shot and Suga T to cousins B-Legit, Kaveo and Mugzi—throughout his twenty-year career. Anyone checking the credits of 40’s last few albums will have noticed the trend continuing with a new generation, as each new release has included greater participation from his son, producer Droop-E. However, with Earl Jr. not only producing the majority of 40’s current double album, but also serving as co-executive producer on both discs, the trend has officially gone too far: 40 is now guilty of showing his family too much love.

It’s not that Droop-E is a totally hopeless producer. He made a strong showing on Turf Talk’s West Coast Vaccine, and he turns in a couple decent tracks here. On the whole though, his work on Revenue Retrievin’ is totally uninspired; he appears to have very little musical knowledge (chords are almost unheard of in a Droop-E beat), and even at his best never rises above the level of a cheap Rick Rock imitation. The majority of his compositions on 40’s latest (an insanely bloated double release of 19 tracks per disc) consist of 808 claps, heavy bass, and assorted sound effects; though each could be said to “slap,” most could be said to “suck” as well (it’s a credit to E-40 that Revenue Retrievin‘ still manages to be highly entertaining.) But what to say about “Spend the Night?”

Call me crazy, but I can’t imagine the Ballatician accepting a collage of Bjork vocal samples from any producer not also named Stevens. Whether this track works or not is a tough call; the beginning is just as unlistenable as the latter half is strangely hypnotic. What is clear, however, is the fundamental creepiness of a “for the ladies” jam crafted by a father-and-son duo. I mean there are many things I enjoy doing with my father, but bragging about my sexual prowess (or hearing about his) does not make the cut. Of course, Fonzarelli and son clearly overcame any such awkwardness long ago, so that now the proud papa can lace his son’s tracks with verses about killing people, selling drugs, and, on “Undastandz Me,” “stretch[ing] the kiznoochy out like elastic.”

E-40 — “Undastandz Me” (Prod. Droop-E)

No one expects Droop-E to stop producing for his father (that would certainly be a career-killing decision), but I have to wonder how he feels hearing these sorts of things from his old man (who is still married to Droop’s mother, by the way.) Perhaps—even between father and son—game can’t help but recognize game.

You undastandz me?