The Latest

Thursday, November 07, 2019

It's Alive?!??!

Mostly Letters & Words:

Grantland (RIP): Otis, Roger Ebert, Notes on Prep School Rap Videos

Gawker (RIP): My first, my last, a photo tour of Spanish Harlem, going to the Bronx to talk Sonia Sotomayor (video), The Sasha Grey Interview Experience was controversial.

The Root: Obama Dap Day (quel scandale! those were the days...)

Vulture: James Earl Jones 🤔

N+1: Hipsters and Hip Hop


Now, new and improved...

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Case of Will Leitch & The Burning Q-Tip

The Case of Will Leitch and the Burning Q-Tip

Mr. and Mrs. Negro had one child. They called him TAN, and so did everybody else.

Mr. Negro was the head of all media, and the chief mind on matters of race and culture. The CEO or Chief Ethnocultural Officer. Whenever a TV station or radio show or magazine needed counsel, ideas, or understanding of some race/culture related issue, they’d ask Mr. Negro. And Mr. Negro always had a good answer for them. His track record in the realm of race was without blemish since 2005.

But Mr, Negro had a secret weapon. And that was his son, TAN. No one would believe it, but it was really TAN that provided Mr. Negro all his fodder. The streak since 2005 was no coincidence; it was also when young TAN started his blog.

Now TAN would help typically help his father solve cases for free. But after a while he realized he enjoyed ethnocultural matters so much he should open up a detective agency to help others solve the mysteries of race and culture. So he stole some money out of his father’s wallet, rented out a bodega, and set up shop. He hung up a sign to advertise himself:

As fate would have it, one evening around midnight Q-Tip came marauding into the office. He was clearly bothered by something. Q-Tip, of course, is a living legend, the lead rapper of iconic hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest. TAN immediately roused to attention upon recognizing the face.

Tip scanned the sign and fished around in his pockets. Eventually he took a quarter-water out from inside his jacket and looked TAN in the eye, "I don't have any change on me, but I can give you this drink. I have a problem, and I want to hire you." Apparently Tip had happened upon some tough fiscal times of late.

TAN looked at the quarter water. It was cherry flavor. His favorite. He smiled and reached for the Bible on the desk that he hollowed out and used as protection for his copy of The Low End Theory. He lifted the CD towards Q-Tip and said, “Yo, Tip. Do you know how much prep school and college cooch this CD got me? If Obama owes something to the Cosby Show, then they owe something to you as well. You’re the soundtrack of our assimilation. Certainly mine. I’ll take the quarter-water -- cause you know I love me some cherry drink -- but trust, i got you on expenses and all of that for this case.”

“So, now, tell me, what’s the scenario? forgive me, but ... you on point, Tip?” TAN asked.

“all the time, tan!” Tip chorused back.

Q-Tip was calmer after quoting an old classic. but he was still pacing as he spoke, “I don’t know why I’m bugging out. But there's this crazy article online. I think it's offensive, but I'm not quite sure. it just feels wrong.”

TAN was puzzled, "well, it’s an internet article. why don’t you just ignore it?"

"hmmm, well yeah, I was going to do that.... but then after i read it I decided to say something."

“You COMMENTED?!!?” TAN knew entering the world of anonymous commenters could only spell trouble for a veteran hip hop artist .

“What did you say, tip?”

uh,something like this:

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

How White Bloggers Use Exclamation Points on The Internet!

(In honor of my inclusion in the recent NYT Opinionator exploring #blacktags/the racial divide in Twitter culture, I repost some old theorizing on how white bloggers use !!!! on the internet)


So this post about affirmative action on Gawker sparked some interesting dialogue on its own merits, but a seeming off-thread comment about how Moe, and Gawker in general, use exclamation points in excess ("when did a communicable "replace a period with an exclamation point in every third sentence (at least)" disease sweep through gawker?") struck a chord with me.

Cause it's true. Moe does use a lot of them. And so do most of the editors on the site. And many others across the nets. And I've thought about this. And so in the comments I responded (in part):
...But I now think there's legitimate ethno-cultural cachet to the usage, i.e. "exclamation points" could be an entry on Stuff White People Like. 
I mean, it's an easy way to add energy or personality or whathaveyou to writing, especially if you're churning out posts like some sort of machine that churns out a lot of stuff. But you really don't see it much on black, hip hop, or other ethnic blogs. Knahmean? [ed:I think they/we might do more coding through slanguage. Feel me?] 
In any event, since hanging around blogger/bledia types I do more drinking, smoking, and using of exclamation points. So I think it's a grammatical representation of some part of the assimilation process!...
And I couldn't get the thought out of my head....

Seems to me there are two types of exclamation points:

The first kind are the ones lots of people use. The ones that come big, or in different colors, and used to be a remedial tool for conveying excitement in advertising/marketing. Someday spammers might figure out a way to enhance them so much that they smoke and sparkle, and pop out and shoot lasers all so you know what that hole on the top of your OJ is for.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Songs of Evil: Notes on Whitney Houston's "Saving All My Love For You"

A few weeks ago they released the 25th anniversary edition of Whitney Houston's debut album, Whitney Houston.

Whitney is sort of fascinating as a human embodiment of the philosophical conundrum of "Theseus' Ship (props to Jen Dziura's one-woman show for reminder on this).

The Ship of Theseus paradox poses questions of identity and authenticity in the form of a riddle/parable: If a ship leaves the port -- in this case Theseus' ship -- and while out at sea has all its planks replaced over time, piece by piece, when it returns to port with all new parts is it still Theseus' Ship?

Now you may or may not know that some scientists will tell you that our cells are regenerating every 7-10 years. In effect, we all have a little Theseus Paradox in us: our whole bodies are renewed over time, piece by piece, but we stay (in some essential way) the same person.

In the case of the fourth best-selling female artist, the paradox is striking: If when we met Whitney she was a god-fearing, clean-cut, singer from heaven, and then twenty years later all of her cells have changed, and she's a crack-smoking, Bobby Brown f'ing, reality show ghetto diva doing very little singing. Well, is that still Whitney Houston?

I don't know.... But, uh, ANYwhitney, I didn't want to unpack our enigmatic angel in this post, but rather her song, "Saving All My Love For You" which got stuck in my head upon revisiting her debut album.

Have you listened to this song recently? I personally had not, and after being briefly enamored with the parodic possibilities of turning the song into an ode to eye-crust called "Saving All My Crust For You", I realized the song is one of the most purely evil songs I've ever given my attention. It's selfish, obnoxious, and pretty much morally reprehensible. If that proves to be a harsh assessment, then it's at the very least disingenuous. Like some sort of romantic Trojan Horse purporting the spirit of true love, when it's no more than the the deranged fantasy of an intolerably narcissistic lunatic.

The title of this song suggets a paean to waiting, pining, fighting, and willing ones way into someone else's heart. In a different context, perhaps a noble sentiment. But as per the setup of the song, you get a sense of some rather questionable pathology lurking beneath the surface. Some notes on all this after the video below.


Sunday, February 05, 2012

'Twas the Month After Negropedia

'twas the month after negropedia, and all through the sphere 

a few people were talking, but not fully three cheers 

the new yorker said yay, the daily beast says a hoot 

but some say "he’s racist, why give him my loot?" 

he’s not lindsey lohan, he’s not herman cain 

more often than not, that TAN just hurts my brain 

posts come without rhythm, no rhyme, little reason 

sometimes he’s long-winded, the blog is practically wheezing 

he’s trying so hard, as he sits and tap-tappers 

about race, about rap, how you might be a rapper

and so if on your roof you hear the sound of a clatter 

don’t call the po-po, get some wine and let’s chatter

let TAN into your homes, your hearts and your minds 

let TAN sing his song for four wings w/ some fries 

le book on the shelves, buy it now before noon 

and then go to steamboat, he’ll be reading there soon


Saturday, February 04, 2012


Born October 4th (a Libra!), weighing in at, uh, a few ounces, (even less if you cop the digi-baby). A bundle of joy, you have your mommy's eyes, and your daddy's, well, CENSORED TOO HOT FOR TV/INTERNET, and as of this moment you're all future potential YAY, SALES:

Why We Need Negropedia [The Daily Beast]
Gawker Book Club: Negropedia [Gawker]
The Exchange: Patrice Evans on "Negropedia" [The New Yorker]
The Clair Huxtable Code [Jezebel]
Talking with Michael Eric Dyson [The Michael Eric Dyson Show]
How to Build the UltimateBlack Comedian [Splitsider]
Most Exciting New Books Coming Your Way This Fall
 + Interview: Patrice Evans Talks Negropedia, Gay Rappers [Flavorwire]
Also: You Might Be A Rapper: Steve Jobs (RIP) [Grantland]

(more coming...)

The Root Recommends [The Root]
Playing 9 Questions w/ Patrice Evans [Examiner]
Talk w/ Shawna Renee [Cocoa Mode]



Monday, December 26, 2011

Preppy Soul: An Assimilation in Pictures

(some folks are milling about wondering: who is that Patrice Evans dude down with Grantland? well, this old Assimilation-in-Pictures post provides some clues. more to come!)

Ahh, so bright-eyed and soapy-mohawked; even liquid-soap packaging was simpler then.

Hair now dry, but still delighted with the world. A soft furry bear on your naked lap will do that.

One of these kids is smiling like a "gifted negro" with hardware to prove it, the other one's clip-on tie is black.

I look confused, perhaps because this would mark my last appearance in a public school.

Look who's leaning on the white man now; wasn't no pics like this in the BX. (Room #007, ladies.)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Rules for Rhyming in Public

On behalf of this dude, and the viral video frenzy he created, I put some tips for rhyming in public up on Grantland. But definitely looking forward to everyone getting more comfortable with intense emotionally fraught karaoke sessions on public transportation

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Ten Blog Commandments


It's the ten blog commandments!

can't tell me nothing about this content
these blogs
this media ...

for my creative peeps on the internet
i ain't forget you ….
i been in this game for years
your man tan's a caged animal
some blogs write rules
i'm a rap the manual
a step-by-step little ditty
from ny city
do as you please with
take it or leave it

rule number uno

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I Wanna Dress Like Mike

I had sort of noticed Michael Jordan seemed to dress not quite like a champion. But only until someone started collecting the case studies on tumblr did I grasp the hilarious weight of the problem. OMG

what can you say about the greatest basketball player to ever live wearing a two-tone chopper suit?

i was expecting the YMCA look before he became the most heavily endorsed athlete ever

he had to lose a bet with Dr. J on this, right? 

I am no fashion plate, or style guru (all the people who know me are nodding their heads right now) but this is bizarro. the only explanation is that same singular focus that led him to being the greatest baller, guides his wardrobe choices. only his closet is full of L's instead of championships, and he accepts no coaching.

and lest you think it's only hanging out with the fellas

WTF is Michael Jordan Wearing? [Tumblr]

Thursday, December 15, 2011

When You Said You Were Getting Your Nails Did I Was Not Expecting The Finger Apocalypse

via The Daily Beast and Hairpin, and I can only presume in cahoots with the curators at the Museum of Modern Barbershop Art, comes THE CRAZIEST EXPERIMENTS IN GETTING YOUR NAILS DID EVER:

These are my favorite. Knives for fingernails! You've got something in your eye, let me get it for you...

and for the sneaker head in your life...

"a new book, Nailed: The History of Nail Culture and Dzine, is a 232-page exploration into the underground world of nail culture." Not for everyone, but ok. cool. Might be a fun gift, or warning.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Are The Roots 'America's Band'? (Yes)

Pop quiz!

But with a twist: We’ll provide the multiple choice answers (a la Jeopardy) and your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to figure out the correct question.

Looks like this:

a. The Beatles 
b. The Beach Boys 
c. Nirvana 
d. Coldplay 
e. The Rolling Stones 
f. Jeez, are our music sensibilities still colonized by the Brits? 
g. The Roots 

The answer is: “g. The Roots.”


[tune of the Grantland Theme Song plays in background]

Ok. Sorry I forgot to mention the timer, but: Time’s up!


The Roots: America's Band [Grantland]

Monday, December 12, 2011

21 More Questions

Here's a little piece of my 50 Cent 21 Questions parody. 

No comment on my Nate Dogg impression. Y'all know I intend to get someone to sing that for me. 

And even though it's old, I might still shoot a little sketch video for this, cause it's classic material. But in the meantime, in-between time...

New York City… 
you are now rallying…
with The Assimilated 

when I blog sometimes I twist the la 
write posts on my I-book g5 
it’s all white, like these girls that’s on my jock 
I don’t know son, it makes no sense to me 
hope you got everything you need cause I 
am so broke it might even make you cry 
got some questions that I gotta ask and I 
don’t give a fcuk what you give as an answer babe 
It’s easy to love TAN 
But what if I’m not a brand? 
Just a man 
Would you still have love for me? 
Can you get me a Ketel-cran? 
The official drink of TAN 
So scram
And show your love for me 
Verse 1 

if I got AIDS tomorrow would you still touch me? 
if I lost both my arms would you still hug me? 
if I got knocked into a coma for half a century could I count on you to still have respect for me mentally?
if I killed the prez i’m on the run from the feds 
would you mind wearing a beard and growing some dreds? 
if I give you a black eye you wearing glasses to hide? 
if you caught me cheating would you let it slide? 
if I got you a fake bag for $5.99 
are you giving me head or starting to whine? 
what if you work a tough job straight walking with blisters 
while I’m home, unemployed banging your sister? 
if I bite off your tongue would you bite back??? 
if I nut in your eye would you wipe that??? 
I could piss in your mouth you know a nightcap??? 
might pass a little gass I know you like that ... 

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Who Will Star in America's Cutest Hip Hop Baby Video?

I have few words for this supernova of adorableness, except to say I may be pregnant with this two-year-old Rap Star

and also, this might be enough to get the "Who Will Be America's Cutest Hip Hop Baby Video?" competition started. I guess you have to set an age limit, and at two years old the homey above might just make the cut for the "Baby Division". (The four-year-olds might be licking their chops for his graduation though.)

On the more truly "baby" end of the field, your likely #1 contender is the Biggie Baby.

Can't front on the charm of "ok, ok, biggie is coming back...", but I think I give more points for actually rapping confidently, on beat, and unintelligibly.

I guess we'll get one more on here to make sure we got a full trend piece:

 solid effort from someone taking a nap at the start of the clip. but we'll have to view the rest of the field in competition to see where it stacks up in the final rankings. stay tuned!
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