Answers for Questions vol. 171

Ohhhh dip. Back from the south. Thanks to all those people who came to see my shows with Emancipator this week. It was fun.
A travel day set me back a day so here’s a rare tuesday edition of “answers for questions”. You got questions? I got answers. send them to me with no shame. This week is actually a great example of the types of questions I like. Minus the one asking if I life a specific band. Those questions generally suck (though this weeks was admittedly a deeper question). But, otherwise, it’s a good bunch. So, if you got something to ask, fire away. Email it to me at or leave them in the comments below. It’s all anonymous and feel free to get creative with it.
Here’s this weeks batch…

Do you have a driver’s license? I’m pretty sure you do not drive, because living in the city the best modes are walking and bike.

Not only do I not have a drivers license, I literally don’t know how to drive a car. I’ve driven once in my life when I was about 15 and it was on a side road in Cape Cod. I drove for about 25 feet and was like “eh, I’m good…” and that was it. Obviously, when New York City is buried under a tidal wave and I somehow survive, I’ll probably need to learn how to drive. But, until then, it’s not really a necessity for me in my life. Also, I’m terrible at learning things.

what is your stance/opinion on Jambands (not their fanbase), and how they approach improvisational music live? (IE – Grateful Dead, Phish, The Disco Biscuits) Have you taken the time to check any out? If not, why?

I don’t really have an opinion on them that’s that deep. I definitely don’t listen to them or go to their shows but, as for the music itself, it just kinda exists outside my reality.
From what I can gather, Jam bands are generally highly skilled technical musicians who play 3 hour shows of a hybrid folk/rock/funk genre that appeals to people who are on drugs. Lots of noodling. While I can’t fathom that being enjoyable, I’m also not a drug guy so, Immediately, I’m out. I’ve always felt that if you need drugs to enjoy something, it’s probably not that good to begin with. Sure, drugs can enhance something from good to great but if , as a sober person, you were put in the same situation and didn’t like it…it might be time to reevaluate your interests. Not saying that’s the case with all jam bands, it just would appear that being really high at their shows is a given for most of the fan base.
As for taking the time to check them out, nah. Not only have I never really been a rock and roll guy, I’m also not really a live show guy. I’m mostly over that at this point in my life. That’s a young man’s game. The last thing I’d wanna see is a 3 hour show of some dude noodling out the jams with a bunch of people who are tripping balls. I’m simply not that guy. Also, my tolerance for hippies is such that I can only deal with so many at a time. Nice people , in general, but a man can only stand for so many white dudes with dreads and scarves on their heads talking about crystals.
So, from my outside perspective, I feel like jam bands are talented yet, ultimately, boring. It’s very “middle of the road” music as it seems to exist to be background noise. It’s not offensive on any level but it’s also not good. it’s just sorta there. I’d argue that the people who are heavily into it are almost more there for the whole package (the show,drugs, friendships, etc…) than the music itself. But, again, I’m basing this on some looking from the outside in…from very far away.

What is your view/opinion on experimental hip hop artists like death grips, ratking etc? Death grips have already gained a big following (kanye for example) and I think, with a rapper like Wiki, it won’t take long for Ratking to gain a wider audience. So do you think this may be the way forward for hip hop as a genre or will hip hop artists continue to hark back to 90’s boom bap, will yeezus be forgotten and will it always remain a sort of love/hate sub genre, only for people wanting something more from hip hop?

Good music is good music. I’m a fan of weird rappers in general but one thing they have to have is actual rap skills. That’s of the upmost importance to me. Cause people being weird for the sake of being weird while possessing no actual talent is typically some old bullshit. Bullshit, I might add, that has an extremely short shelf life.
I like rat king. But mostly cause the dude can rap well. Death Grips I’m not sure about. It’s more that , personally, it’s not my cup of tea. I was never into hardcore or heavy electronic type shit and Death grips seems to fall somewhere in the middle of that , with hip hop added in. It’s generally too abrasive for my taste. That said, I haven’t heard a lot of their stuff. The things I did hear, though, didn’t grab me.
As for Yeezus, all my thoughts about that album can be read here, in a review I wrote of it when it dropped:

Rapid fire mini interview:

What is your first album that you bought as kid?
Hmm…I’m not sure what the first one I actually purchased was. I seem to recall Thriller on vinyl getting in there. But the first cassette I remember owning was the soundtrack to “Beat Street” that I bought at a flea market.

Who is your favorite super hero?
I was never a super hero guy. Which is weird cause , every kid goes through that stage. I did own Superman Pajama bottoms (that i clearly remember filling with shit one fateful morning as a child) as a kid though and people used to tell me I looked like him in college, so I’mma go with that. But, in general, I could care less about the entire genre.

What’s your favorite venue?
(Perform/attend shows)

To perform? I’ve had a lot of fun at Cervantes in Denver. It’s definitely not the best (the sound can be iffy and the backstage is a madhouse) but I love the people who work there and I’ve played there a million times. 930 Club in D.C. is one of the nicest clubs I’ve played in. I wish I had played there more.
As far as seeing shows, I have a lot of fond memories of Mercury Lounge on Houston St. In NYC. Not cause it’s a good venue ( it’s a shithole) but it’s a place I’ve played and friends have played for as long as I can remember. It just feels like home.

If you could beat up any famous person who would be?
It would be fun to knock Emile Hirsch out. I just hate his face and think his acting is a little over the top. I realize this is uncalled for and he might be a great guy but I just can’t stand him in any movie he’s in.

Is their one recording artist who you’ve collect more then anyone else?

Collected? I don’t collect recording artists. I’m not a serial killer.
I used to be a person who wanted everything by certain artists but that has faded with age. I barely own anything anymore that’s not on a hard drive. But, I did own everything “Boogie Down Productions” had ever done at one point. So, I guess them.

What the gnarliest injury you’ve recovered from?
I’ve been pretty lucky in life with injuries. The worst injury I ever had was tearing three ligaments in my right ankle while playing basketball when I was about 22. It was extra bad cause I didn’t have health insurance and I never rehabbed it so it healed very slowly. i don’t think I played ball for about 8 months or so. When it was all said and done, I had lost about 10 inches in my vertical leap (I went from being able to dunk to being able to just touch the rim). To be honest, it totally changed how I played basketball but, in a way, it forced me to get better. It made me not rely on jumping over every one and actually develop a jumpshot. Old man game in effect.

How many times a day do you say fuck?
I say fuck all day long. It’s unquantifiable.

Do you believe in ghosts/aliens/Bigfoot?
Ghosts and bigfoot: no.
Aliens: I’m not sure. I dunno if i believe in the myths that go along with them but the idea of there being other life forms in the endless universe doesn’t seem too crazy to me.

Do you have a kryptonite?
The sound of styrofoam being handled. It makes me wanna curl up in a ball and chop my ears off. I can’t even touch the stuff. Not all styrofoam though. Just the bigger pieces they use to pack electronics with.
Other things that I can’t handle:
the sound of pencils writing: I haven’t used a pencil since grade school for that very reason. The SAT’s were torture for me because of this.
The smell and taste of beets:It tastes like red dirt mixed with someones lower intestine.
someone vomiting near me: I will usain bolt my ass out of a room where any vomiting is taking place. It’s a good thing I’m not a girl cause there is no fucking way I’d hold anyones hair while they hurl.

Let’s assume you have Tourette’s syndrome.
You can’t control your verbal tick but can choose the one word you repeat.
It has to be a racial slur.

You see, this is a set up. There is no correct answer here and , even though you noted I “can’t control it”, it’s still gonna end up with me making a case for the “best” racial slur. so, for that reason, I’mma pick “cracker”. Why? cause it wouldn’t stop a room every time I said it. As a white person, i can say that to whoever I want and they can’t really say shit back to me. Though, in the south, I’d imagine I might get my shit rocked if I said that an actual cracker. Still, I’m going with that. Even though I’m fairly sure the person who asked this was praying I’d pick some shit like “Gook”. Sorry, bro.

I’ve head a lot of New Yorkers complain about people moving to the city. A lot of “hipsters on Mom and Dad’s trust fund” apparently. My question is that at what point does someone crossover from an outsider to a real New Yorker? Is there a certain amount of time you should live in the city or, if you’re not born there, you won’t ever be a New Yorker? If that’s the case, I’m guessing if you had children in the city, they’d get to be natives then? And, finally, for those who move to the city, is there a way to be less annoying to the natives? I just definitely hear a lot of bitching about the people who move to NYC.

This is a wonderful question and one I’ve discussed with people endlessly in my life.
Here’s the way I see it:
You have native new yorkers. These are people who were born and LIVED here their entire lives. Like me. I’ll also bend a little on this and say if you went to high school in NYC and then lived here after that, I might argue that you get a pass. The point being is that, to be a native New Yorker, you have to have spent your formative years here. Not coming in on weekends. Not spending your summers here. But actually living here full time. To me , these are the only TRUE new yorkers. Even a person who’s lived here for 50 years but came to the city in their early 20’s isn’t a native.

A “new yorker”: These are people who have simply lived here for a long ass time. They’ve earned the right to call themselves new yorkers. They’re still not natives, but they’re the closest thing to them. The “get it” and the subscribe to all that NYC is about. I’mma say you get this title somewhere between 15 and 20 years of living here. Cause, by then, it’s real. You could live here for ten years in your 20’s then go back to where ever it is you came from and you wouldn’t ever be a new yorker. A part of being a new yorker is that you know you’re never going to leave it.

As for kids, same rules apply. If you’re born and raised here, you’re a new yorker. My parents were not born and raised here but I was. They would both classify as the secondary “new yorkers” , while I would classify as a “native”.

as for the people moving here who are trying to not be annoying, it’s really easy.
1)Accept that this isn’t your city. You just live here. By this, I mean, don’t move to NYC with an attitude like you’re special. No one here is special. Natives included. The worst kinda person is one who moves here and, after living in Greenpoint for two years, thinks they are the lord of all that NYC. Basically, know your roll.
2)Only move here if you want to live in a real city. A huge issue going on right now is staples of NYC being shutdown due to rent hikes or people moving into formerly cool neighborhoods and deciding they want those hoods to fit their needs. Meaning, shut down all the great bars, close the mom and pop restaurants and open up more nail salons. I will never understand why someone would want to go somewhere just to change it into the thing the left behind. To those people: We don’t want or need you. It’s crowded enough here as is. Please, fuck off. Fuck off hard…and die.
3)Don’t think you’re special cause you live on the cusp of the ghetto. This isn’t the fucking wilderness, bro. You’re in a metropolis. Just cause you can only afford to live in a questionably safe hood doesn’t speed your “new yorker” process up any more. If anything, you’re the ones fucking it up for everyone else. All those people in your hood who look at you funny? It’s for a reason. It’s cause, 10 years ago white dorks didn’t have the gaul to set foot in those neighborhoods let alone open a juice bar/coffee chop in them. You’re the reason they might actually have to move out of those neighborhoods in a few years when the prices get too high. You are and will always be a visitor in those places. There is no such thing as street cred when you’re simply living somewhere cause you can.
4)You’re NEVER allowed to complain about the “old new york” if you’ve only lived here post 1995. You shut the fuck up about that. I’ve heard people who have lived here for less than 5 years lament about the good old days as if they aren’t the exact reason people lament about the good old days.

Listen, All you gotta do is come here and embrace it for what it is. As long as you do that and respect what was here long before you, it’s all good. I’ve seen people come here and , all of a sudden, they’re different people. That should never happen.
Be you, know your role and , most of all, learn the train system.

21 thoughts on “Answers for Questions vol. 171

  1. So how would you classify your girl in terms of the last question? I think you mentioned her family being from the burbs but I’m not sure

  2. I’m debating a job offer in NYC, having grew up in Maryland and have been working in D.C post college. The last question was very informative for me. I’ve visited NYC many times in my life and enjoyed my visits and I enjoy city life, but I very much understand that I’ll never be a “New Yorker” if I choose to move there. However, it would be my new home and I would want to make the best of it. So, basically, as long as I admit I’m from MD, don’t act pretentious, respect and appreciate New York as it is today, and learn the subway system, I should be good? I find it interesting how everyone reps where they are from and I’m definitely not the exception by keeping a Maryland flag up in my apartment.

    • You’re fine. I don’t want it to seem like we hate all people who move here. That’s not the case at all. Also, it’s possible to live here, not obsess over being a real “new yorker” and having a good time.

    • 123456. Hey there. This is Blockhead’s roommate, non-native 15 year NYC veteran, and formerly of the burbs of Maryland. Listen, you should do yourself a faves and take the damn job. The first 6 months here are gonna be kinda hectic and overwhelming but then you’ll get the hang of it. The subway maps are color coded just like the DC ones, and as long as you hail all your cabs on corners and always walk on the right side of a public stairwell, you’re gonna be golden, babes. AND then you’re gonna wake up one morning and realize that aside from CalTor and your parents, you really don’t miss much. And it will be good.

      Shhh. You’re welcome.

  3. how picky are you about cleaning up noise from dirty samples? Your stuff sounds pretty clean most of the time, but some producers tend to leave in lots of vinyl noise. Does this even affect you anymore?

  4. What’s the rap scene like on New York, these days? I met a touring artist at a show in Seattle, a couple if years ago, who was from NY, and he said no one likes underground in NY anymore. He said you have to come out west to get shine. I’m just wondering if there is any truth to that.

  5. Follow up to the New Yorker question: If you’re a native and you live in NYC until you’re say, 20, and then you leave, how long can you live somewhere else before you can no longer claim to be a New Yorker?

  6. Nah, the word “cracker” will not get you in trouble in the South and this is coming from a native. I will say there is nothing like Southern hospitality and majority of Southerners pride themselves on it. We enjoyed the show too!
    I will have to agree that jam bands to tend to have a bigger drug scene than your average music event, but my nephew and I found novelty in picking out attendees at your show who were obviously using. I get high on music and on life and that’s enough for me. “No Tanks”, as my friend’s 5 year old would say…

  7. Oh yeah, I can’t even remember the first vinyl I bought as a child. Although I can remember the first 2 cd’s I purchased which were REM’s “Losing My Religion” and the soundtrack to “Boys in the Hood!”

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