Answers for Questions vol. 133


20130425-113823

What’s crackin’ people. I had a great weekend doing shows for the people of NYC, Philly and RIchmond. Thanks to all those of you who came out (especially those of you who read this blog and told me so at the shows. I love that.). I got Shows in Portland, Seattle and SF next weekend. More info HERE.
Anyway, two weeks in a row…STILL NOT SICK. Trying to set a record up in here.
So, as you probably know, this is that thing where I answer questions sent into me by my readers. I can always use more. If you have an itch that needs scratching in the form of a question, send it my way. Either leave it int he comment section below or email it to me at phatfriendblog@gmail.com
Yay!

What do you think is behind the “white rap voice”? Do you think it’s just guys who don’t speak with any sort of street in their voices who all of a sudden find rap and decide to try it? Obviously the essence of it is over-pronunciation of all syllables and a general higher voice/whine, but why do you think this happens so much and with such consistency?

I think the “White voice” is deeper than that. I think that, while it’s a mixture of the things you listed (Over pronunciation and lack of street authenticity) what REALLY makes a white voice white is the whininess. A successful rap voice usually requires presence, command and something about it that sounds cool (the kids call it swagger). Think of dudes like Big Daddy Kane or Rakim. Chuck D. Even a dude with a lisp can sound cool if his voice happens to hit those buttons in your brain. Also, part of rappers sounding good is effortlessness. Whenever I hear someone trying really hard, it’s obvious. A lot of white dudes don’t have any of those qualities and , on top of that, sound like they’re struggling just to stay on beat. The same could be said about someone like Kweli. His voice is fairly weak and his flow has never sounded natural to me. So, if you’re feeling like I’m picking on just white guys, rest easy cracker. It does go both ways. But let’s not fool ourselves, it’s called “white voice” for a reason.
I think a large portion of white guys are just predisposed to having voices that don’t sound good in the context of rapping. We may be better suited for singing over quietly strummed guitars. Take a dude like John Darnielle from the Mountain goats. He’s got a serious white voice but he finds a way to use it in music so it sounds cool.
But, really, when it’s all said and done, it’s all genetics and DNA. Whites be white, yo.

This is kinda off topic but it’s tour related. So you are going to play a festival called “Lightning in a Bottle” in Temecula California in July. That’s the closest you have come to San Diego (about 30 min) that you have come in a long time. This is definitely one of those hippie rave type festivals that you mention you get billed on from time to time. Don’t get me wrong. I definitely don’t blame you for playing when and where you can and for having an eclectic fan base. I would be down to wade through the sea of tie die & glow sticks to see your live show in a minute but, this being a pretty large festival, even a day pass is almost $200. Now, I dig your music and have been a fan for a while but that’s pretty steep especially considering I can almost guarantee that your performance would be the only thing I would be in to.(Except maybe scoring some shrooms or some Molly! Hehe)Seriously though I can’t think of anyone I’d pay $200 to see except like a Doom/Aesop/Wu-Tang/Billy Woods/90′s ATCQ fantasy line up thing. Has anyone ever mentioned this to you before? OR do some harcore Blockhead fans( that aren’t of the Patchouli wearing-fuzzy pant-rocking variety) really shell out over a hundo to come see the god? I imagine playing these types of shows are good for you. Getting paid, getting exposed to new fans, and the rest but do you ever resent it? Do you wish you could be maybe opening up on a tour with a rapper you know? I just ask mostly because youve said that these shows really aren’t your thing as far as a scene goes. Or does it not matter and a show is a show?

I can’t say I spend much time thinking about it. As far as festivals go, I’ve gotten to the point where I just suck it up and do them and end up having a good time. The thing is, while that’s not my scene, the people are generally very nice and the promoters are accommodating (except this one TIME.
While i’m sure there is a decent proportion of my fan base that is in the same boat as you, there are also others who love to go to festivals and relate my music much less to rap than someone who’s been listening to me since the early 2000’s. What I’m saying is, I do have a decent sized burner/electronic festival type following. While this surprises me as I think of my music as very much rooted in hip hop, I’m not about to be a dick about it and try and pick and choose fans. Everyone is welcome.
As for the hip hop festival idea, I don’t think it would work. My set , at the end of the day, plays better to people who are trying to dance or bug out. Hip hop crowds that stand and stare, while occasionally pumping a fist are not who I wanna play for. That may be more my personal scene (though, going to rap shows in 2013 is a fucking nightmare for me) but my fan base is something totally different, in general.

Did you ever bump into Eyedea or meet him? He’s an incredibly dope freestyler and I know he’s done some sessions/tracks with Aesop, Illogic, and that whole crew. Ever been present for a Rhymesayers freestyle?

I chilled with Eyedea around 2000. He and slug came to NYC for the Rock steady rap festival and we hung out and recorded some songs together. This is one of them:

The original version of “Bent Life” featured slug and Eyedea is another we did

Here’s a pic of him at my old crib kicking a rhyme to my inflatable doll/beer cozy
timthumb-php
I think after that weekend, I saw him maybe once or twice again but he was a really good dude and one of the craziest freestylers I’ve ever witnessed. RIP

I know you’ve talked about not wanting to grow older and dying while you’re still young (young in the relative sense that you’re not some mentally/physically deteriorating mess with all sorts of old people problems). What do you think is the sweet spot age-wise for death? Don’t you think that you’re always going to have that self-preservation where in the moment, you won’t want to die?

I think it depends on a lot of factors. Do i have a family that needs me? Am I bored? Do i have plans for the future? In my mind, how long I’d want to live is directly related to how functional I am. If I’m ever at the point where I can’t wipe my own ass ever again, put me in a wheelchair and roll my ass off a bridge. Once that’s gone, so if your soul. But, seeing as that could happen tomorrow or in 50 years, I really can’t call it. I basically only want to live if I’m relatively physically functional. I don’t need to be doing wind sprints when I’m 70 but I’d like to be able to walk up some stairs if I need to. I’d like to not be the age that, if I trip, I might paralyze myself.
I often thought that I’d rather live a full life that ends the age of 40 than live a lame life to the ago of 80 but, as I’m nearing in on 40, I dunno if I agree with that anymore. I think a happy medium works for me. I have no interest in being an old, decrepit burden on anyone. So, if I live till 60 in generally good health and die mid-orgasm or something, I’m fine with that. Much better that than dying of starvation, half cocked off a toilet seat with a half wiped asshole cause my back gave out and I live alone.

do you say pop or soda? i think saying soda is weird, like calling kids children or cars automobiles. i hear some people in the south call all soda pop “coke” which seems ignorant as fuck. anyway pop or soda?

Pop is some midwest shit. I hear someone call soda “Pop” and , much like the words “hella” or “wicked”, I basically know where they’re from. Me and everyone I’ve ever met on the east coast call it “soda”.
The funny thing about your reasoning about why it’s weird to you that people would call it “soda” is that you’re saying that the full name of it is supposed to be “Soda pop”. Perhaps that might have been the case in the era of “Happy days” but who on this planet has called anything a “soda pop” in the last 30 years? It’s “soda” because that’s what it is…literally. Carbonation and flavored water. While “Pop” has a nice ring to it, it also sounds like something only a child should say. us grown folks though? Soda, bro. All day, every day.

Oh, side note…I wanna give a special shout out to a kid that came to my show in Richmond. He was the first through the door and walked right up to me and asked me to sign something for him. I agreed and he pulled out this:
407115_328057320656326_1559362155_n
(That’s what it looked like after I signed it)
But, yeah…Wow. In case you’re confused, that’s a pic of my that I posted on my instagram (@blockheadnyc) a few months ago for a #throwbackthursday. I was 15 in that pic…Killing it. This dude wins the grand prize for life. Props to you , guy. That made my night.

37 thoughts on “Answers for Questions vol. 133

  1. On the topic of “white rap voice” Evidence from Dilated Peoples has a pretty smart fix for it. I heard him in an interview say that when he records he has the engineer slow the track down to -2 so it makes him rap slower and with more bass in his voice. Consequently I listened to him for years before I realized he was white. I know, “cool story bro”

  2. You’ve maybe already answered this, and if you have my bad, but how do you feel about the whole Kimya/ Aesop Uncluded thing? Do you fuck with it, musically (beyond being friends)? Some people really hate it

    • I have answered it. But, to put it briefly, I’m with it. I like Kimya and aesop’s work so them doing songs together works for me.
      i think people who are freaking out (negatively) about it think that him doing an album with a folk artist is like some huge career path switch when, really, it’s just a side project.

    • I saw Aesop and Kimya play a couple songs live back in 2011. I can’t say I was too impressed, but it was alright. I’ve been avoiding most the leaks. I’m going to wait until the album is out, and listen to it all at once, before I make up my mind.

  3. Dude…whats with the racist obsession on giving voices a colour? First in your last yay or nay you just go on and on about what race the artist could be. And now this? This shit is just ignorant. Like saying all black people got big dicks, all Muslims are terrorists, and all gay people have HIV. What the fuck bro? I used to enjoy reading your shit man, but you´ve just gotten hooked on that shit a bit. Would have thought hip hop goes beyond that. What even defines white to you? Think someone has got some issues going right there. Don´t worry though, maybe in your next life you will be born into a race that doesn´t give you such complexes.

    • Obsession? hardly. Observant is more likely. Do i notice it as a life long rap fan and as someone who used to rap and has worked in hip hop for about 20 years? Yeah. I do. Sorry, but the “white voice” is something and it’s very real. did i say all white people or rappers sound like that? No. It’s a quality that SOME people have. and the huge majority of those people happen to be white. COINCIDENCE?
      also, Your comparisons are fucking ridiculous.
      I think you’re taking this shit a little too seriously. I’m white. I have a white voice. I’d be willing to bet You’re white as well (cause only a white person would get that upset over something so fucking pointless).Why does this have to be something bigger than it is? I don’t have issues with it (aside from thinking it doesn’t sound good when people rap with those voices). it just is what it is. But denying its existence is like telling me all races, countries and creeds are exactly the same. People are different. For better or for worse. And, yes, sometimes those dividing lines happen to be racial. I know you probably live in sparkly world of rainbows where people spell color with “Colour” but , guess what? We’re all different. For some reason, white people are more prone to having slightly nasally voices. I’m not a doctor. I don’t know why. But the only proof I need is Demo review section.
      But, like i said, it’s not that serious. It’s more just poking fun. And if you can’t laugh at yourself, than who can you laugh at? The real question is why does me saying that bother YOU so much?

  4. DR. TONY UPDATE! DR. TONY UPDATE!

    A while back I asked what to do about a certain “intercourse-elusive” woman who stole cunnilingus from me, only to give me greasy lips and a quality pair of blue balls. Welp, I listened to your advice, and I finally banged her. Thanks Dr. T!!

  5. Haa…mate the “sparkly world of rainbows” that I live in is actually known as the United Kingdom. Taking that we invented the English language, and that that is just the correct spelling of the word, think it’s a bit rich for you to rip into that. Maybe it boils down to the fact that I am European and live on a continent where, apart from right-wing minorities, sweeping generalizations just aren’t accepted anymore. Having been to the US, I can appreciate that it’s not the same over there. I don’t think pointing out the fact that you are perpetuating stereotypes on racial grounds is pointless. I appreciate that you are just “poking a bit of fun”, but I am sure that is exactly what other people would say if they were to be put on the spot about the other stereotypes that I mentioned. I don’t see how the comparisons are fucking ridiculous either, it boils down to the exact same thing – making a statement on a few observations that you might or might have not made. You even said it yourself, we are all different – so how can you generalize on the sound of an entire race? I can assure you I won’t be losing any sleep on this, even if I might be white (won’t even indulge that point of yours having been raised in a society where I am just considered to be English or European). But ya, as someone who has followed you and your blog for a while now, and respects what you do, it did irritate me a bit to come across it over and over again in the last few posts.

    I will leave you one thing, Americans, as a whole, sound a bit more nasal. That is not a generalization but an accepted fact. You place your voice towards your nasal resonator more than other English speakers do. And definitely more than Scandinavians (whites), Middle Eastern people (officially white as well), southern Europeans (white), or Eastern Europeans (AGAIN white) do. See how the point you are making is just a bit flawed? So maybe, not being American, I am just not the audience you are catering to. But I can assure you that there is hip-hop beyond your borders too mate and it’s not half-bad some of the time either.

    • Ughhh…Dude you compared me explaining white voice to people who think all muslims are terrorists and people who think all gay people have AIDS. It’s a bit steep, don’t you think? And, keep in mind, my entire white voice theory is based on hip hop and rapping. It has nothing to do with speaking voices. I do find it hilarious that my point is a sweeping generalization and your point of americans being more nasal is an accepted fact (I’ve literally never heard that in my entire life).
      My point was a generalization. Obviously. but you casually skipped over the part where i explained not ALL white people sound like that. did that not resonate? That’s a pretty crucial distinction. So, while not all white people sound like that when they rap, if someone does sound like that, there’s a pretty high chance they are white. I love how people get upset at generalization and act like the concept is some shit from outer space based on nothing. I’m a life long rap fan. I’m a guy who’s been lsitening to underground rap since the early 90’s. I’ve heard white rappers from their beginnings. I think i know a little something about the subject. If you want to seriously look me in the eye and act as if such a thing like “white voice” does not exist, that’s fine..but you’re incorrect. Like i said, just go listen to my demo reviews. There’s at least one white voices rapper every week.
      I’ll leave you with this, you know that voice that black comedians make when they make fun of white people? I didn’t invent that shit. It’s funny cause it’s kinda true. Now apply that to rap and get over it. If the white voice doesn’t bother you, good for you. As a rap fan, I don’t like it. Kinda how I’m not typically into rapper with accents. Does it mean they’re all bad? Nope. I simply don’t enjoy them.
      Perhaps this is a very american thing. I don’t live in europe so I have no clue what goes on over there. You certainly the first person to ever have the reaction to my “white voice” ribbing and i can’t help but think it’s some insecurity based reaction cause why else would you care that much about something so unimportant?
      So, I’m afraid , as long as the demo reviews continue, white voice will be around and it will be addressed. You might just wanna skip over those in general cause it obviously brings up negative feelings.

      PS: I was joking about the spelling of Color thing.Just busting balls or “takin the piss” as you might say.

      • Haha nice one about “taking the piss”.
        Fair enough mate, think it just boils down to the fact that you have been predominantly exposed to American rap, hip hop and culture in general. If “white” Americans are more prone to nasality in their rap then fine, but having heard white english rappers, or french or even german I just can’t agree with you. Nothing to do with an insecurity or feeling insulted – i enjoy music, never tried making it and don’t plan on doing so – just think it’s a bit of an ignorant statement to make. Or, put more lightly, maybe a view with a really limited scope on what includes hip hop or whites. Just not a big fan of racism or discrimination, whatever form it takes – joking or not. And, like I said, taking that I respect you for what you do and have enjoyed your music over the years, just wanted to point that out and feel like i have the right to do so.

        About American English being far more nasal in pronounciation than other forms of English, that really is an accepted fact mate. My missus was actually taught about the reasons and how to do it in acting school in NYC a few years back. Just look into it buddy or actually, here you go, took two seconds (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7509572.stm , or http://www.pronuncian.com/Lessons/Default.aspx?Lesson=20 or, http://www.antimoon.com/forum/t11445-15.htm or http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0095447011000696). You get the point, there is shit loads out there on that topic.
        Take it easy fella

      • Listen, i hear you. and maybe you’re right about rappers from europe. I’ve heard my fair share but, clearly, you’ve heard more. But, on the same note, we are talking rap here. Rap is an american thing. It was created in america. And it’s biggest success , far and away are american (minus Drake). So for me to be talking about rappers and referring only to US rappers is pretty standard. I realize, as someone across the pond, that might not seem fair but that’s just how it is. How can you expect me to account for swedish rappers ,german rappers , ect…when I’m discussing rap? You know I’m from the US. You read this blog. You know what i listen to. So, with that knowledge, wouldn’t it be clear about who I’m talking about? Also, in the Us, for the most part, White people are white people. sure, italians, russians, Irishmen ect all have their own cultures but if you ask a non-white person , we’re all just white. Variations of whit,e but white nonetheless. As a person who does not exactly give a shit about my heritage, I kinda ride for that as well. And when it comes to AMERICAN WHITE RAPPERS, white voice is as real as anything else in this world. It’s not something i made up cause I’m ignorant and lazy. It’s something I’ve noticed for over a decade that I think most people , when they hear it, know exactly what I’m referring to. I realize this blog is tagged as sweeping generalization and rainbows but do I have to really have to hold peoples hands through these things? Nothing I say is of importance or ever THAT serious. Can’t you, a guy from the UK just read some shit I write and thing “Maybe he’s not talking about me or the people who live in my country?”. Trust, if I wanted to make fun of european rappers, I’d be specific.
        Basically what this boils down to is “not everything is about you or relates to you” I don’t mean you specifically, I’m speaking for everyone on the internet who’s constantly getting up in arms over some harmless comment or joke.

        As for the whiny american voice and how foreign actors learn to do our accent, you don’t want to hear the typical americans british accent. But, sure, I can agree that the US is most prone to whininess but that most likely has everything to do with the language itself. I can’t imagine a whiny french person or someone speaking in Russian sounding whiny. but still, the whininess I’m talking about is all about the white rapper voice and it isn’t a nuance. It’s the focal point.

      • Oh and one more thing mate, has nothing to do with being on the internet. Would tell you this shit to your face. Maybe you should have a gig in London some time. Can show you all the non-nasal white rappers I am talking about then. And maybe also dismiss the notion of race you’ve created by just judging a person from his posts ha

    • Ahh, it must feel good to have such a superiority complex… get over yourself dude. Try meeting some friends or getting laid. it helps

      • that was meant for king brit, not you blockhead. you rule!

  6. Maaan. What topic are you gonna drop next that’ll get the backlash. Haha.

    Question, when do you think you’ll call it quits with playing ball?

  7. i’m sorry but i can’t help but mention that no one in saint louis says “pop”. we all say “soda”. other midwestern cities probably all say “pop” though. i’ve heard people say “pop” in phoenix and i think they say it in pittsburgh too, so it might not be a midwestern thing. FYI. could be a good survey topic in the future.

    okay bye

    • He’s right ..St Louis folks say “soda”. At breakfast, lunch, dinner and all times in between. And when they’re not pounding soda like lab rats they’re chaining cheap cigs. Not sure if they call them “cigs” though. Fucking bunch of diabetic walking ashtrays around here. I live in StL temporarily Block and as much as I’d love for you to come here and do a show, I’d sooner say say the fuck clear of this mess.

  8. dear mr however disgusted you are now,
    I wish I could hear your voice. I’m betting it’s even whiter than your pet unicorn’s mane back in sparkle town, united kingdom.
    P.s. I’m picturing you wearing a green turtleneck sweater, reading ‘that’s life!’magazine, sipping on a cup of tea with cream on your nose and bits of scone stuck in your teeth. Nyoorn!
    ❤ kangaroo riding, boomerang throwing white girl in melbourne.

  9. Yo, thanks for taking the time to reply and address the points I bring up. Really do appreciate it.

    Like I said before, think it just comes down to the fact that you do cater primarily to the American market/fanbase. Should have probably just kept it at that. Nothing wrong with that but didn’t strike me as being that limited till now. Like you said, coming from across the pond I will have a different perception of hip hop. Don’t view it as American, black, white – far too much good shit on the market here that it would be a shame if I did. Nothing to do with a superiority complex, as suggested by some of the pre-pubescent teenagers that seem to post on here, but plain fact.
    I’m actually African-Caribbean/White mix mate – just to stop those kids making a fool of themselves and this site. Ya sure, all with a pinch of salt and fun on the internet but, some people won’t take it that way and will ride with the shit you say in an ignorant way.

    If you ever do make it for a gig in the UK hit me up (i’m assuming you’ve got my email address) and I can show you what London town got to offer. Take it easy mate

    • You’re so smart and manly. girls must dig it, along with your non-nasal voice. PS. you should actually read those articles that you posted, rather than simply googling “american accent” and “nasal”. They don’t actually prove the point that you are trying to make. It is pretty funny that you say that though, given that it is commonly accepted that british men have extremely feminine voices.

      • Not quite sure what you keep trying to do here mate…That desperate for a reaction? Here you go. Now get off my nuts and go play with your mother’s instead

  10. Born in Michigan, said “pop”. Moved to Illinois, said “pop”. Moved down South to Memphis, people laughed at “pop”. I said, “what do I call it?” They said “coke”. I said, “what about Pepsi?” They said, ” its all Coke”. So while “pop” may indeed be a poor choice for a generalized reference to a soft drink, “Coke” to me is hands-down the most idiotic way to identify all flavored carbonated beverages. I’ve been training myself and others here in the south to say “soda”. But shit happens down here a lot slower than everywhere else in this country, so it might be awhile .

  11. Being born and raised on the east coast, I didn’t realize anyone existed that called soda “pop” except maybe a few centenarians. Then I moved to the midwest and everyone out here is calling soda, “pop.” “Pop” to me is reminiscent of 1950s TV, like when sodas used to cost a nickel or something. I guess the whole soda movement hasn’t caught on in the midwest yet?

    • The only times I have every met a “pop” person in real life, they have all been from Minnesota. Sometimes they would even say “sodiepop”. Trust me, it is as painful to hear as it is to read. It’s definitely mid-western stylings.

  12. You are trying to fall asleep one night, when suddenly the ghosts of Tupac, Michael Jackson, and Elvis appear before you. All three of them are there for the same reason. They each have one last album worth of songs that were never recorded, and their souls will not rest until they can share them with the world.

    Here’s the deal…Each of them wants your help. They want to borrow your body for 1 year so that they can record an album, convince the world that they have returned, and go on a final, epic world tour. They will be in complete control of your body, but you will still be along for the ride. Once the year is over, you will get your body back, and they will leave you with their entire financial estate, plus any future royalties… But you can only let one of them borrow your body.

    If you refuse, then these 3 highly intoxicated ghouls will follow you around for the rest of your life like that movie “The Frighteners” starring Michael J. Fox. Which one of these former celebrities will you help?

  13. Dear Block, Question: Can I get a video of you saying “do you see what i did there?” for, you know, educational purposes.

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