Let’s talk about death, bay-be

Something happens to people when a famous person dies. While sadness and shock are the immediate responses, the second wave of emotion is something very different. I don’t know why we are wired this way but , any time someone of notoriety passes, things inevitably become a mourning contest to many of that persons fans. Who was the REAL fan. Who was an actual day one. But more than that, it’s about pointing out the fault in others and how they perceive another persons dedication to whoever the recently deceased is. 

Obviously, the passing of MF Doom is what brings this to mind but , lets be honest…this is a regular occurrence.  In fact, death in a spotlight seems to have these steps

1)shock and sadness

2)outpouring of honoring his/her legacy

3)people trying to claim personal ownership of dead persons legacy

4)calling out others shortcomings in their fandom

5)backlash where some people find is necessary to pick apart said dead persons life to prove “hey, he/she as a flawed human being” ,which is always just read as grieving fatigue 

Dr Dre is in the hospital with a brain aneurism  and I have no clue how he’s doing. Obviously, I hope he pulls through. However, if he were to pass away, i know exactly how it will go on a social media level. An outpouring of grief for one of hip hop’s greatest figures, followed by a dick measuring contest , followed by tweets about how Dre once beat up Dee Barnes. In a way, I’m glad these famous people who die don’t have to be around to witness this cause , while it’s nice to be given your flowers, it also must be weird to watch people go out of their way to subtly dance on your grave. 

I’ve always had a somewhat removed relationship with the passing of famous strangers. I can really only think of a handful of those types of deaths that hit me in any way beyond “Man, that sucks…”. cause , at the end of the day, these are people i didn’t know.  I know of them and i know what they’ve left behind them but, on a personal level, they were absolute strangers, even though their work may have had an indelible effect on me. Yet, People like Phil hartman, Chris Farley, Big L, Patrice o’neal, Doom and ,strangely, Kobe seemed to hit harder than others. I say strangely cause I was never a Kobe fan.  In fact, i probably actively disliked Kobe, as a basketball fan from NYC who was raised to hate the Lakers. His talent was undeniable but that’s just how sports works. there are some people you just don’t like. However, i remember being on tour , en rout to a show buffalo in the morning and finding out he had died and just feeling taken aback. Kobe wasn’t supposed to die. Add on his daughter was with him and it all just felt like a different level of tragedy.  When death is unfair, it’s much harder to rationalize and , ultimately, process. And Kobe’s death made no sense. It’s not like he was living life on the edge or he had been sick for years. He was perfectly fine and then he was dead. Just like that. 

I think what applies to all the names i listed above is that i felt they weren’t done. They all had varying levels of gas in the tank. And this is an incredibly selfish but honest feeling to have. After all, i only knew them for their output. What they gave to me was just that. They weren’t a fixture in my life like a real friend. They were something else.  And it’s the same reasoning that the deaths of people like Prince or Bill Withers didn’t hit me as hard. Cause, as a selfish fan,  they had already peaked. i realize how fucked up that is to vocalize but , if i’m being honest , that was our “relationship”. With a death like that , all i can do is honor the legacy they left behind. But to pretend their passing has a profound effect on my life? That’s just ridiculous cause , regardless where they exist on this physical plane, their work lives on. That said, any time someone suddenly dies, it really puts the fragility of life in perspective. Anyone can go at any time. Prince was a shock. Kobe was a shock. Big L was a shock. And, for that reason, I really try and take a practical approach to how i view and deal with death cause one thing you can never do with death is reason with it. It truly doesn’t care what you think.

I am not a person who believes in anything. Meaning, I don’t think there is a heaven/hell, i don’t think we are reincarnated. i don’t think we exist for a higher purpose. I think we just live until we die and that’s that. I don’t think there is a meaning of life to decode and questions that can never be answered do not monopolize my mind for a moment. We are living until we are dead and then we are basically compost or ashes.  So, with that life view in mind, I tend to take death in stride but the difference between losing someone close to you and losing a stranger you admire is unfathomable. 

Anyone who’s lost a close friend or family member knows this. As sad as i am that Doom is no longer with us, I also lost my mom last year so, you know, it’s a puddle next to an ocean.  But i’m also just me. i deal with shit the way i deal with it and, thus far, it works for me. So far, so good. i cannot turn to another person and tell them how to grieve. I CAN internally judge the shit out them though but that’s just for me. Let’s be honest, We all do that.  On micro and macro levels. The same way someone feels the need to correct me for not writing Doom’s name in all caps in a tweet cause it’s something he said on one song 15 years into his career is not dissimilar to when my dad passed away over 20 years ago, I sat watching my older half siblings have daily meltdowns about their place next to my dad and I just kinda rolled my eyes at the theater of it all. We all can try to be these soulful portraits of zen grieving but , no matter who you are, our brains don’t stop. What would be nice is if people could learn to filter those thoughts on a public level. That would be a good start but, lol, that’s not ever gonna happen at this point. Our thoughts are far too valuable to be kept inside (this is the sarcasm font), even if they serve no constructive purpose and ESPECIALLY if they can somehow cut another person down.  

A lot of people take death as a personal attack. Like another person dying has effected only them. I’d say this is a fairly common human emotion as we all exist in our own personal movie. you’re the star and everyone else is just another cast member. So, of course, no one feels how you do about something. how could they? They aren’t even you! People who do this can often become emotional tampons who manage to make someone else’s death about them on a level that their mere entrance into a room can suck all the energy dry.  i can recall many moments of a friend dying and some person swooping in , like a hurricane of misplaced emotions , leaving a trail of confused people behind them like “wait, were they even friends?”. But again, this all goes back to how we grieve and deal with death in general. Some people want the attention and others find their role is to try to keep everyone else’s head above water.

I think what’s so daunting to people about death is that it’s final. It’s not a break up. It’s not getting fired. It’s the definitive end of a story. People seem to need reasons to make sense of it all , in order for it make sense. But , personally, i find the finality of it calming. When my mom finally passed away after a week in hospice due to a stroke related to 6 years of cancer , there was finally peace. I was obviously devastated to lose her but relieved for both her and my family. Death takes it’s toll on the living, Especially when it’s drawn out. People always talk about people being in “a better place” once they pass. hell, I have a song called that. But perhaps “a better place” is just nothingness and that’s okay. Nothingness is probably a better place than most people are in the moment before they die. So, while mourning is all part of the process, in the long term, celebrating someones life is far more important. Cause, unlike the human body, that shit is forever. 

Thoughts on Fiona Apple and Fetch the bolt cutters


I have a brief history with Fiona Apple. Well, that’s a stretch cause this history is entirely one sided but it still has always stuck out to me. When I was a senior in high school, Fiona went to the night school version of my high school. I guess part of the deal of being in that night school was working during the day and she was given a job in my school office. I remember walking by the administrative office (which was right by the school entrance) and casually glancing in one day and seeing a new girl. She was sitting behind a desk just kinda staring off into space. My high school wasn’t huge so a new girl was always a big deal…and she was striking. She glanced back at me wildly disinterested and I kept it moving. As the days went on, I would actually be excited to catch a glimpse of this girl every morning. She was beautiful. Huge green eyes, pouty lips and she didn’t dress like the other cornball girls in my school. She also never smiled. I don’t recall ever seeing her smile that entire year. Just a hard return glance was all i ever got. To a 17 year old boy, that was intimidating as fuck.

As the year went on, i realized I wasn’t the only one who had noticed her and pretty much every dude I knew was buzzing about her. One time, i was in the locker room telling a friend about how hot I thought she was and this dude “Mike” walks up “You guys talking about Fiona?”. “Mike” (as i will call him here) was a handsome, charming and all around liked guy in the school. He was a few grades below me but was definitely a “cool kid” by all accounts. We nodded and he was like “Oh yeah, that’s my girl…” and he said it in a way that wasn’t meaning a friend who was a girl. He definitely made it sound like they were a thing. Somehow the conversation swung to my crush on her and he was like “Oh you like her? Hey man, lemme know I bet i can hook that up”. Now, I was confused cause, well, that was his girlfriend as far as I knew and he was talking about her like he could pimp her out. Now, looking back, this was an absurd exchange and both bullshit and kinda awful but, at the time, my young brain couldn’t even figure out what the fuck he was talking about so I sheepishly just exited the conversation and went about my day. As weeks passed, I would see mike and her playing around (actually, she did smile in those times) and once he stopped me and was like “Hey Tony, this is Fiona”. I said hi. She nodded back and that was that.

The school year ended and she was just a memory as the mysterious hot girl from night school. A few years later , I’m watching MTV and a video comes on. I squint in disbelief. holy shit…that’s the girl from the office! Her debut video :”Shadow boxer” had dropped and ,man, I was shocked. While the genre wasn’t my first choice (i was literally only listening to hip hop back then) I thought the song was cool and definitely read any article I came across on her. This was the magazine era so they were plentiful.

As the years past, I kept an eye on her career. That weird thing where you feel some sort of vague investment in someone cause you have some distant connection to them. I didn’t know her AT ALL but i felt like I knew about her before all this. like a hometown hero syndrome or something. Every time she would come out with something new, I’d check it. Usually I’d glom on to a song or two of each album and that would be that. It was a case of be music being something i knew was great but wasn’t always my specific cup of tea. That was until her album “Idler wheel…” came out. I heard the first single “Every single night” and was obsessed with it. When the album dropped, I purchased it. I don’t think I had purchased an album before or after that for years. I was on tour in Europe during that period so it was perfect timing. There is no time in my life when i get to truly sit with an album and digest it more than when I’m on tour. Traveling with my headphones on…it’s all I have. And this album was the soundtrack to that tour. I ran it back, over and over for an entire month. To this day, I can honestly say it’s one of my all time favorite albums. Ever. Ever. Ever.

Which leads me to her new album. “Fetch the bolt cutters” dropped last week and I had no idea it was coming until the day before. I was psyched and, again, what timing? Here i am, trapped in my house for who knows how long. All i do every day is eat, watch things, make beats, play videos games, jerk off and sleep. THAT’S IT. So, when the album dropped, I woke up the next morning , put my headphones on and just took a walk. Cruising through the mostly barren city, face mask on, new Fiona blaring.

Now, here’s the thing about Fiona apple’s music. It’s not for everyone. But it’s also music that seems to only work in extremes. It’s either Genius or it’s garbage. At least with how it’s perceived by listeners, from what i see on the internet. The reality is definitely in a grey area, just like all art. That said, I think Apple is brilliant. That also said, I think some of her music is unlistenable. She can be both those things at the same time. This is a trademark of innovative artists everywhere. I mean, let’s be honest, Prince is one of the all time greats but for every few hits, there’s one that missed but, hey, he tried and that’s the point.

On this album, I’ve seen her described as “unhinged” and , musically, I can certainly see that. The songs are often incredibly manic , jumping from idea to idea with what seems like no real focus. But that’s kinda the beauty of her musical mind. There is an unfiltered aspect to her recent output that makes sense within the chaos. She colors outside of the lines like very few artists and it usually works. Fiona apple is the only person who could ever make a Fiona apple album.

Now, while her being stamped as “unhinged” is generally referring to her presumed mental state i would argue that’s bullshit. Unhinged means crazy. it means no control. If we are talking about lyrics, she’s as hinged as it gets. She is razor sharp and laser focused. Her songs are about specific things and feelings that a lot of people can relate to, while also being very personal and nuanced. They are about insecurity, discomfort and complex relationships. As someone who grew up listening to rap, i’ve often scoffed at modern rock lyrics. It often comes off as either corny or some emo high school poetry written by a loser pussy. The “woe is me” factor of it has never appealed to me. Say what you will about rap but, when the lyricism is good, it’s really another level of communication. Singing may emote emotions that rapping never could but, on a word for word basis, I’ll put rap up against anything (not all rap obviously, but there are a handful of truly special writers out there). Fiona writes lyrics that are almost rap like but , obviously, leaning heavier towards poetry. But it’s not some hidden message shit that requires a cliff notes. It just requires you to listen and really take it in for what it is. It’s a feat when a song has nothing to do with you at all and it still resonates. Take “ladies” , for instance. It’s an ode to the women who date the men she dated after her and how they should unite and not disregard one another. I mean, that’s my dumbed down explanation of it but you know what i mean. The song just rings so true on so many levels and her ability to pinpoint these minute things is part of what makes her a master of her craft.
She has a truly specific viewpoint that comes across in her songs. She probably gets very pigeon holed by the media as this or that but she’s far more multifaceted and level headed that she gets credit for. She’s not an angry feminist. She’s not some crazy bitch. She’s a distinct thinker that’s able to express that in a way not many people can.

So, all that said, this album is a brilliant mess. It’s often hard to sit through. It’s often jarring. It’s maniacal at times. Other times it’s soft and warm but far less than “idler wheel” was. The thing about a Fiona Apple album is that there is no such thing as a “Shitty Fiona Apple album”. She is beyond that level of critique. She makes music entirely for her and it shows. And while this album seems to have her unraveling a bit musically , it surely is with purpose and exactly what she wanted to do. And I can’t fault her for that ever. I’m happy an album like this can not only be made but can get heard by so many people out there. This is important music. it matters. I may not run it back over and over like i did the previous album but that’s simply cause “The Idler wheel” was MY album. that’s the one that spoke to me directly. This album, less so but that shouldn’t belittle the achievement it is, as a work of art and i’m pretty sure there are tons of people for whom it channels directly into their soul. And that’s a good thing cause the world needs more Fiona apples but I guess we are stuck with only one. But thank god/satan/buddha/allah we have that one.

The Real Influencer

The term “Influence” is heavily leaned on when it comes to artists. People want a simplified and generalized way to pinpoint why an artist does what they do. So to ask them “what/who is your biggest influence” is like the catch all question. Whenever you read an interview and that word comes up, the answer is typically something like “My parents” or “I heard this one album and it changed how I listened to music”. while those things are certainly valid and everyone has their own process when it comes to becoming who they are, personally, I loath the question. Between that and “What inspires you?!” I don’t know what i hate worse. But the reason I hate that question is cause , often, what influences you is subtle. It’s an amalgamation of things you can’t even clearly identify. It’s a whole lot of grey area. For me, my go to stock answer was “The hip hop I grew up on”. which is a purposely boring answer for a boring lazy question. If pressed further I’ll go into more detail about the producers of my youth that set the standard that would later be what I strive for. That said, it’s kinda bullshit. I mean, without question, I was inspired by their work and have taken little things from all sorts of people before me (as well as contemporaries and people 20 years younger than me). But, for me, my actual biggest musical influence was this dude Manny. Just some random nobody of a guy I once knew who had a profound effect on my life. Now, before I get into this, I realize this all is gonna sound like a set up for some fucked up pedophile story of horrors but I assure , it is not. Hell, looking back on it now, it’s crazy that it even happened. It really makes no sense. Like, when i think of people finding mentors, there are few cases where someone did it out of the kindness of their heart but I genuinely believe this was the case. But, hey, maybe I’m just blurry eyed from the nostalgia of it all.

So, Manny was a dude I met when I was about 12/13. He worked in the toy store section of a drug store called Mckays on 6th ave and west 4th street in Manhattan. I met him cause manny was a dork who would buy and trade japanese toys with my friend, Ko, who was also a dork and had japanese toys to buy and trade. No clue how they met but I would roll with Ko to see manny and they would conduct business. At the time, manny seemed endlessly older than me. In reality, he was probably 18 or 19 when I met him. So, just some background, when i was 12 i was obsessed with hip hop. This was far before the internet and all we really had to go one was Video music box, Yo MTV raps and WBLS. So, my knowledge of the music was pretty contained to whatever they played. Which was a pretty vast array of stuff but, you know, i was 12…I liked Kid N play just as much as I liked 2 live crew and just as much as i liked public enemy. I just liked it all. I guess manny caught wind of my interest in hip hop and he would chat about it with me. He’d mention groups I never heard of and tell me who was ACTUALLY dope and who was wack. He’d even explain why to me. Sure, this was one mans opinion. a 19 year old who works at a drug store and loves toys but, to me, his word was gospel. Lucky for me, Manny actually had great taste. On top of that, he told me he went to high school with slick rick and MC serch so to my young brain, that was the coolest shit ever. So, anyway, as time went on, I started visiting manny without Ko. He was like this fountain of knowledge and I couldn’t get enough of it. I should mention, he also was a rapper. He had a crew called DB4. He would read me his rhymes and break them down for me. Thing is, Manny was a good writer. A student of rakim for sure. That said, he was a terrible rapper. His voice sucked. His flow was suspect. His boys were actually pretty good and his producer was very dope. but, regardless, this was all very new and adult to me so I was with it. Around 14 years old, inspired by manny, i started writing my own rhymes. i didn’t tell manny cause, well, I was justifiably embarrassed. A year or so later, I felt confident to read him some shit. Not rap it, but read it to him. I was always good with punchlines. I was funny so those came easy to me. I’d sloppily read my raps to manny and he’s bug out over certain lines…and then one day, he asked if he could use some of my lines on a song he was recording.

I was over the moon. He changed a bunch of parts but the majority of it was my stuff. So, it was then I started doing a little ghost writing for manny. About a year later, I was chilling in Mckays with Manny and his producer, duke, was there. Duke was a huge dude who wore all those wooden africa medallions. While he looked pretty stoic and intense, he was actually incredibly friendly. Almost nerdy, in a way. We started talking about making beats and I was like “my dad has mad records, I bet he got some samples you will like” his eyes lit up and he was all about it. I went home and ran through tons of my dads old jazz records. I recorded all the parts I thought were good to sample and gave them to Duke on a tape. He listened in front of me on his walkman. I couldn’t hear what he was listening to but I was following his every reaction meticulously. His eyes would get wide at some parts and his head would bob and I would be overrun with an adrenaline burst. He took the tape and that was that. A month later, Manny played me a song where Duke had used a loop and some drums i gave him and manny rapped my raps over it. Granted, manny rapped them badly but still..this was the greatest feeling ever. and on top of that, these grown men were giving me props like I was a major piece of the puzzle. I wasn’t really but it felt like that. By the time I was 16, manny and I were just straight up friends. we would hang at his job for hours and shoot the shit. He would tell me about his life. His love life was particularly harrowing. I was used to high school stories of sex and relationships. Like “Oh she sucked his dick where? no way!”. Manny was another level from that. By the time he was in his early 20’s, he had just had a kid with his girl. At the same time, he was also fucking the girl who worked with him at mckays. He would tell me shit I couldn’t comprehend. Like i didn’t even know how to finger a girl right and this dude had a kid and side pieces. The craziest shit being how, on the night his child was born, he was literally fucking another woman in a nearby hotel while his wife was in labor. yes, manny was not perfect. In fact, the older I got the more his stories stuck with me and honestly bothered me. Even back then, it never felt “cool” even though it was presented to me in that way. When he told me these stories, it was in a matter of fact and almost charming way that it never seemed that bad at the time. Looking back, dude was a piece of shit with girls. No doubt about it. But he was also a kid himself. Not making excuses but I’m also not treating him like he knew what the fuck he was doing with his life.
But i digress…
So, At this point , Manny had molded my taste in rap music, inspired me to rhyme and put the very first bug in my ear to think about beats and how they are made. When I was around 14, he had introduced me to a new radio show called The stretch armstrong show. Now, those of you in the know, realize this was a huge deal. It was a radio show on Columbia universities radio station that would play from 1 am to 4 am every thursday night (technically friday). Manny would record them and lend me the tapes. This may have been the most mind expanding part of my formative years cause the stuff they played on Stretch was out there. It was experimental and weird but also creative and inspiring. What is was , was the beginnings of “underground rap” and it was exactly what my ears craved. It was that show that set me on my path and , shortly after, had me digging around for other similar things. Which would lead me to other underground radio shows and , more importantly, rap music from other places. Up until that point, I only knew NYC stuff with a little gangster rap from L.A. and Houston thrown in, This was all so new and exciting to me and, honestly, I was more on board with it than Manny was. He was more traditional than I was , musically but , still, I’d play him stuff he hadn’t heard and he would be down with it. We were becoming less of a mentor/understudy vibe and more on the same level. My opinions slowly became my own and we would debate rap stuff…which, when you’re a real rap nerd, is heaven on earth. Can’t say I ever wanna do that these days but back then? Wooooooo! I loved it.

Manny was the first person to ever bring me to a studio. He had gotten some studio time in Brooklyn and asked if i wanted to come along and check it out. I jumped at the opportunity. The day before it was planned, I started feeling very sick. It was strep throat and i felt like I was dying. But there was no way I was gonna miss this opportunity. So a dragged my sick ass to the studio in a part of brooklyn i didn’t even know existed. This was 1993. Things were different. I brought a 40 of olde english , with hopes it would both relax me and make me feel better. It did not , in fact, i took one sip and felt 100 times worse but it made a good prop for me to have in my first experience in a recording studio. So, nervously and sick as I could possibly be, I entered the studio. It was a small room with a few seats, a small couch and mixing board. There was a mic booth that could fit maybe 3 or 4 people if they were smashed together. Manny was there. His producer was there. They were the guys I was friendly with. Also there was this dude Darren. He was the best rapper in the group and also kind of a dick. He was openly not fond of white people in general and definitely barely tolerated my presence. I honestly can’t blame the guy. Who brought the 16 year old white kid? These were grown men. Granted , I was fully grown at that age and looked older but still, I had no business being there. He had invited a few of his friends and they were even less friendly than he was. His boys were thugged out dudes  from Brownsville, to this day still one of the toughest neighborhoods in Brooklyn. I basically sat back in the corner of the couch and just watched. I often wonder if I hadn’t been sick if I would have engaged more but probably not. i felt like a fly on the wall. What I saw was not what i expected. recording was sloppy. It took forever. It was boring. They were smoking blunts, drinking Hennessey and just kinda dragging ass. Watching a rapper do his takes over and over again was mind numbing (This is something I would later become well acquainted with later in life when I started rapping badly). Eventually, they finished a few songs. They were okay. Manny, in particular , struggled with his verses but it’s interesting. His boys seemed oblivious to him being the obvious weak link. Like, sure, he wrote good stuff but he couldn’t rap for shit. I was hyper aware of that then and , to this day, it shocked me that I didn’t see one shared eye roll glance between his group member when he fucked up his sloppy verse for the 27th time. They were all genuinely supportive of one another. At the end of the session they had some time left so they put on a beat and everyone kicked freestyles. This part was the best thing of the whole night for me. They all were pretty mediocre at it but the energy was amazing. Darrens boys got in and started rapping and it sounded familiar. Then one of them said his rap name Fish-b-one and i realized , holy shit, this is the dude from Da Bushwackass. A group i had recently heard freestyling for the first time on stretch and bobbito.

So, I’m like “Holy shit…this person is famous” when in reality, they hadn’t even put a record out yet but they had freestyle on the radio once. still, I was enthralled to be witnessing it. The was until his verse started veering into how much he hated white people. that part was a little uncomfortable. “I don’t give a damn about no white man!” he bellowed and i just kinda sunk into my seat a little more. Thing is, I was never mad at shit like that. I accepted my place and just kinda kept my head down. I was a guest in all of this, in my mind, so I acted accordingly. But , still, having those words snarled in your direction is, at the very least, uncomfortable. The session ended, manny put me in a cab and that was it. I missed school for a week with step throat but , when i finally came back and regaled all my friends with my story of studio time, they didn’t even know what i was talking about. In a way, part of what made this all so special to me is that is was something I had all to myself. It was this separate world from my normal life that was all I cared about.

By my senior year in high school, I began seeing manny less. I’d pop in and chill for an hour once a month or so , if he wasn’t busy. My social life started taking precedence over everything. The next year, i went to college and when i came back from my first semester, Mckay’s had closed. I still had manny’s number and we spoke on the phone a few more times but , eventually, we drifted apart…or his number got changed. I really don’t recall. In truth, it’s kinda like our mentorship expired. we were friends but I can’t say how much of that as one sided. Even though I never got a vibe from him that it was fake. That said, I do feel he genuinely enjoyed shooting the shit with me and he enjoyed being a teacher to an eager pupil. He set me on a path that really defined my entire life and he doesn’t even know it. I haven’t had any contact with him in over 20 years. every now and then I google him to see if anything comes up but his name is so common it’s pretty much impossible. Also, i know so little about him outside of his name and where he went to high school. He could have moved 15 times. he could be dead for all I know. In a way, i’d rather not know what happened to him cause his place in my head is such a specific thing. I wouldn’t wanna taint that. I mean, i hope he’s doing well and happy but outside that, he lives in that time for me and will always be one of those rare people I can look back on in my entire life and , without question, say was the most influential person, musically, in my life. Which makes the fact that he was a bad rapper all the more endearing.

Critical criticism

There was a time , not so long ago, where music reviews were serious business. They could make or break an artist/album. In the 90’s, a 5 mic rating from the Source was basically anointing you king. As magazines phased out, websites like pitchfork giving you a 9.2 pretty much meant you were selling out shows for the next two years. But, in the last 5 years or so , something happened. Well, to be fair, it had been happening but it started to mold how public critics were formed and how they were viewed. What happened was, obviously, the internet. Prior to the internet, the phrase “everyone’s a critic” certainly existed but it wasn’t until we were able to see every single persons every waking thought on every known topic that that phrase became a palpable reality. The playing field was evened to the point where a person who had dedicated their life to studying music/film/art and gleaned a deep knowledge in the thing they were obsessed with was all of a sudden seen as just as important a voice as some guy on youtube. Or some kid in a comment section. Just…anybody.


Now, as a musician, i’ve always had a weird relationship with critics. It goes both ways. No one wants to hear their hard work get shit on but everyone enjoys an old critical jerk off sesh in their favor. In reality, they both share the same negative space. Good and bad reviews , on their own, are just one persons opinion and that doesn’t amount to much. They really only matter (and by “matter” i mean effect the project in discussion) when
A)a large consensus of opinion happens
B)someone of notoriety and validity gives their educated take

One thing that always mattered to me, regarding the person reviewing my music, was that they were informed. They knew what they were talking about. Not just about me but about the music that came before me and the music that came before that because it’s all connected. When I listen to music, I am filtering it through years and years of references , personal quirks, ideas and all sorts of back of the brain type shit that I’m probably not even aware of, in order for me to come to a conclusion about how i feel about it. I’m not a “critic” but , like everyone else, I am critical. About everything. As we should be. We can’t just sit back and happily ingest everything that’s thrown at us. But if your job is a critic, you better have a wealth of knowledge and massive perspective before you can start telling people your opinion on art. Otherwise, you’re just…some fucking guy. And it’s okay to be some fucking guy. But it’s also okay to not feel compelled to film a 15 minute youtube video reviewing music you have absolutely no clue about.


Now, why am i writing this, you may ask? Well, I recently put out a new album. I’m not a big deal so my albums don’t get reviewed that often. In the past, i have gotten good and bad reviews of all types. Regardless of the reviewers reaction, if i feel they are coming from a knowledgeable place, I respect their opinion. This time around, the majority of reviews I’ve been getting have been from people who have literally never heard of me prior to this album and I just think that’s weird. The funny thing is, for the most part, the reviews have been great. Now, new fans are kinda what keep this ship going so I would never complain about someone discovering my music and enjoying it. I’m not insane. But this is about being a public critic. I realize “not trying” is a big thing now in music and it bleeds over into the other parts that surround music. Music reviews are no different. Now, if I was a guy who was trying to make a name for himself reviewing albums, I would , at the very least, do a tiny bit of research about the artist I was reviewing. perhaps check out his older work. Look into his influences. Hell, even just reading a wikipedia page. You know, do the due diligence that is required of someone who is trying to have an opinion that holds weight. But, these days, it seems like it’s much easier to just put the album on once, let it run and be like “Hey, i have no idea who this guy is (is he a band or a dj?) but this song sounds cool…” and then post it on youtube. That isn’t being a critic. That’s just a random person listening to music and reacting to it. In it’s essence, it’s a reaction video and there are very few things more lazy and pointless than reaction videos. Reacting is something we all do but also something that 100% doesn’t need to filmed and publicly shared as some sort of valid opinion piece. Not everyone with a youtube channel is Anthony Fantano. And , regardless of what you think about him, the dude is a well read fan of music. He knows his shit. You may disagree with his opinions but his opinions are, at the very least, well informed and have a genuine perspective. Now, i realize this sounds ungrateful towards people who have reviewed my new album and , really, it’s not. i appreciate any and all support. But this is more about setting a standard. Just cause you like music, doesn’t mean you’re qualified to review it. It would be like a person who watched law & order all the time thinking they could be a lawyer.

Listen, everyone has opinions. In fact, for some, opinions are all you got. Your balls and your word, as scarface put it. But there comes a time when we must do some self evaluation and deeply consider if the thoughts and opinions we have are worth sharing. And trust me, the irony of me writing all this and saying that is not lost on me. But, hey, you’re here and you’re reading it so….GOTCHA!

Let’s talk idol worship and fandom

So, this weekend, Beyonce apparently gave one of the greatest performances in the history of the universe at Coachella. I didn’t see it but I also don’t doubt it. Beyonce is incredibly talented and has the means , creativity and balls to put together such a performance. I was playing a show that night but, when I returned to my hotel room, my twitter and facebook feeds were ablaze with people frothing at the mouth about this performance. The clips looked great. Sounds like there were all sorts of surprises and that she truly brought it on all levels. Again, Beyonce is great. She is without question an iconic inspirational person for millions of people and, by all accounts, a good person beyond that. Just wanna clarify that cause I know how nuance in 2018 works and how easily people miss the message. All that said, the reaction to her performance was what I might expect if someone cured cancer. I’m really not trying to take anything away from Beyonce here (or anyone for that matter) but we’re talking about a performance by a pop star not someone orchestrating world peace. And this all brings me to the idea of idol worship and why it’s never a good thing.

Let’s start here. We are all people. Yes, this is some hippie shit to say but it’s true. We all eat, shit and sleep. Beyonce has to wipe her ass just like you , me and Donald Trump do (though i think he goes back to front). So, to hold someone else (especially a famous stranger) in such high regard has always seemed odd to me. I mean, people act as if the artists/politicians/celebrity they love are these infallible beings and that’s insane to me. By all means, respect and celebrate your heroes. But never lose perspective that they are simply just human beings like you. Sure, they may be more talented and better looking than you. They may be richer. They may even be smarter. They could be a lot of things you aren’t. But when you just throw your hands in the air and submit to someone entirely, you’re basically treating that person like a deity. Now, the idea of submitting to someone and loving them unconditionally works in real life, like, with people you know and actually love. People who care about you. People who, even though they are not perfect , you accept wholeheartedly. To be this way with a stranger? What is wrong with you? This person you worship doesn’t know you. They certainly don’t care about you. They’re just another person living their lives, unaware of your existence. Meanwhile, you’re willing to go to war for them. It’s the most lopsided one sided relationship of all time.

I’ve never even remotely bought into fanatical fandom. I remember when I was younger, seeing clips of girls at Michael Jackson shows , weeping uncontrollably with outstretched arms in the nosebleed seats of one of his shows. Even as a kid, I was like ”Huh?” cause , to me, it seems very easy to separate my deepest emotions from the fact that i really like someones music. It was like “Yeah, Thriller is a great album but unless you’re saving my family from a burning house my dedication doesn’t go very far beyond buying your next album when it drops”. People get legit psychotic over this kinda stuff. Hell, imagine if I tweeted some shit like “Eh, Beyonce is okay” (disclaimer: THIS IS NOT MY OPINION, JUST AN EXAMPLE) . I’d have 1000’s of lunatics in my mentions eviscerating my entire existence and probably many threats to my life. Hell, I might even have actual friends of mine mad at me.
Can we just step back for a moment and think about that? This would be a bunch of people infuriated that I don’t worship Beyonce. Not even that I think she sucks. But that she’s simply “okay”. I know this is a hypothetical idea I’m talking about but you know I’m right. And this shines a light on how everything is black and white now. The grey area (where common sense, logic and critical thinking exist) is shrinking. It’s all this or all that. It’s as if nuance doesn’t matter. But here’s the thing: EVERYTHING IN NUANCED. Especially human beings. There isn’t a person on earth who doesn’t have one person walking around saying “Man, fuck that guy” , and with good reason. “nobody’s perfect” is something we tell children when they’re learning that it’s okay to make mistakes but I feel as though that point is lost on people who idolize. Look at Trump’s followers. On a daily basis. this dude is brazenly doing and saying awful things and they literally just overlook it (or claim to be “fake news”) and keep pushing ahead. I mean…shit…thinking beyonce is infallible is delusional as fuck but at least you could ATTEMPT to make a case for that. To feel that way about Trump? That’s like willingly eating a pile of dog shit and then telling everyone you know how good it tastes.

I have an odd relationship with idolizing people and fandom partially cause I have fans. The idea of it is weird in itself. It’s something I never quite get used to. Like, i get it…but at the same time, I don’t. And , keep in mind, I’m nobody. I’m not famous. I’m literally a dude who just pushes buttons. but I have had people I never met cry when they met me and that shit is all sorts of weird. Obviously , everyone is different and we all create bonds with things in different way. I’m a practical person. I don’t get wrapped up in my feelings about this kinda thing. But some people aren’t like that at all and that’s okay too. But , not a day goes by that I don’t see someone speaking of or reacting to a famous stranger in a way that makes me feel second hand embarrassed on their behalf.

I’m a fan of many people but not once have I cried or had a meltdown at the sight of them. If anything, I’ve always gone the other way where I actually just choose not to interact with them OR if i did, I was somewhat distant. Cause really, what’s the goal of meeting your idol? Shaking their hand? Having a brief convo? Having a long and meaningful conversation? Becoming their friend? Marrying them? The further it goes into fantasy land the more disappointed the person is when it doesn’t happen. So, for me, it’s always been a “Hey, big fan of you work”, a handshake and keep it moving. Cause the last thing you want to do is find out this person you look up to is a flawed human being just like you and, perhaps, a total asshole.

I’d like to take the phrase “Do not worship false idols” and amend it to say “Do not worship idols”. By doing so, you’re creating a hierarchy of value within the human race that is pretty much baseless. By no means am I saying that people shouldn’t praise their idols. Look up to them. Learn from them. Ride for them and support them in all their endeavors . But , just remember, every person on earth is one pedophile charge away from being deemed a complete piece of shit. So don’t cash in all your chips on a stranger just cause you like how they sing and dance. Or cause they tell you to make America great again. Or anything. Holding someone in high regard and blindly following are two different things. Just remember most things are based in nuance and grey areas. Everything else is just your caveman brain grinding its gears. But, hey, don’t listen to me. I’m just some guy. Just like you.

Off the grid Vs. Deep in the Matrix

Hi guys. Been a minute. But , hey I said I’d write things every now and then…well, it’s both now and then. Pardon me if i shake off the rust a little…

If you’re living in the year 2018, you live on many spectrums. From sexuality, to autism to political leanings, we are all part of these various sliding scales that loosely define who we are as people. One of the most fascinating spectrums to me is how plugged in we are. From the hermit who’s never been on the internet to people who can’t imagine a time in history where people didn’t have constant access to everything. Basically the scale goes from your grandma to your little sister.
Now, if you’re reading this, you’re undeniably on the “Plugged into the matrix” side of the spectrum. This is a blog post (Which is an archaic concept in itself these days).But you’re reading it and there is no actual page turning involved. That said, like the poet laureate Macklemore once lamented , “there’s layers to this shit (tiramisu)”. I tend to simplify things in my head and try to throw these sort of things into categories. I often think you can tell how plugged in you are by how many apps you’re addicted to. Like, the least plugged in version of this would be, say, your mom or your grandmother (depending on your age). This would be a person who kinda knows how to use the internet, has an email but doesn’t do any social media cause, well, why the fuck does a person over 65 need to do that bullshit? Unless they’re promoting a new crocheting kickstarter, there really isn’t a point, They know how to order off amazon but also might fall for a Nigerian prince email scheme. These are people who lived the majority of their lives before the internet and the last thing they need or care about are twitter and instagram. At their worst, they have a Facebook and, good lord, we know how that goes. Facebook pretty much invented “Unsubscribing” for this very reason.

On the other side of this we have the person who is up on EVERYTHING. They have Facebook, twitter, instagram, periscope, snapchat, google plus (or whatever that was called), multiple email accounts all for different things, highly active reddit lives and everything else you can think of. When a new social media platform comes out they sign up immediately cause, hey , you never know what could be the next thing. As someone who is ,without question, deep in this matrix, I will say that, at this point in my life, I got enough “things”, social media wise. Between Facebook, twitter and instagram, I’m good. I already probably have nervous ticks bought on by notifications on my phone , like some sick pavlovian experiment gone wrong. So, you best believe I’m not trying to add on to that. But I wanted to step back from that, if that’s even possible, and look at the two sides. Off the grid vs. being plugged in to the matrix. Look at the pro’s and con’s. Let’s start with you “off the grid” motherfuckers. The cool thing about this is I can write whatever I want about them and they won’t get mad…cause they will never read this. Rest assured, if you’re reading this, I’m not talking about you. And in a day and age where everyone thinks everything is about them, that’s actually quite refreshing.

Off the grid people
This is a wide spectrum too. You got people who have never had access to internet. Actual third world problems (not the kind cornballs complain about when instagram goes down or their fave brunch place is too packed on the weekends). Those people are the furthest end of the spectrum but , because it’s not exactly their choice, it’s kind of a whole other thing unto itself. Then you have people who COULD have access to the internet but just choose to not partake. These are the types of people who end up on juries when some shit like 9/11 goes down. Now, I can’t help but be both envious and dubious of these people. On one hand, I am jealous of their lives in the sense that all these things that cloud most of our days aren’t even a concept to them. They don’t know what a subtweet is. They don’t have any idea what it means to get unfollowed. They are, in that sense, pure of a lot of the bullshit we all think about on a regular basis. That peace of mind must be incredible. For that reason, I do have a strong respect for these types of people. That said, they are also willfully uninformed. Say what you will about fake news and all the bullshit on the internet but it is the #1 source of info for everything. These people are reading their local “FoggyTown river Examiner” and USA today as their only news sources, that’s not a good look for anyone. These people also vote so, you know, that’s a whole other thing.

A step more towards the center of the spectrum would be people who are living in modern society, who are not luddites but just choose to not care about most social media. I’ve found, in my tireless research of this subject done mostly by just kinda paying attention, that these types of people have one social media platform they use and they barely give a shit about it. Be it a mostly dormant Facebook page or an instagram account they check once every month. They have the option to gaze into the matrix but they genuinely don’t seem to care. They certainly don’t put any weight on social media in general and are usually the types of people who still make phone calls. The mind set these people have is amazing. I’m serious. They are simply not wired to care about it and that’s commendable. They probably do shit like fly kites and read books. Who knows. Whatever they’re doing, I’m sure it’s as cute and down homey as a hand whittled rocking chair.

As we head towards the center of the spectrum we find the average internet user. They have Facebook. They have instagram. They check it daily. They don’t post often. To them, it’s something to glance at when they’re bored. They enjoy it but it’s not THAT important to them. While they are not immersed in the web, they also aren’t running from it. They are, as far as i can tell, healthy minded people. There are people who you can actually converse with for a while and they probably won’t look at their phone once. That said, they’re not immune to that behavior and can certainly get wrapped up in long text convos that consume their entire being. They are, in fact, human. They are not controlled by the internet but they use it when needed. They uber. They check out Yelp reviews. But, if you are to ask them “did you see so and so’s post on instagram yesterday?” Good money is on they probably didn’t OR, if they did, they didn’t care. These people don’t get most memes and , when they do, they post them 8 months after they’ve been played out. God bless these people. But satan bless them as well.

Moving past that, we get people who are bout it bout it. They not only check all their social media platforms regularly, they’re active participants. They post, they comment. They are slaves to their notifications. I’m 100% in this group. Social media is undeniably an engrained facet in their lives. However, and maybe I’m speaking for myself here, there still is an air of “who cares?” in a way. I don’t mean that like “Who cares about the internet!?”. i mean like “I’m addicted to this but I also realize it’s fucking stupid”. I’d like to think, this area on the spectrum has two sub sets. A and B. A is the people who do it but don’t get emotionally wrapped up in it. People who might argue with a stranger online (ahem) but also not actually want to fight that person if they see them.

Then there are the B types. The B’s are the people who pretty much live and die by that shit. B group are people who WRITE yelp reviews. People who constantly look at the “activity” page on instagram (wtf is wrong with you if you do that?). People who keep track of other peoples every move (even strangers and celebrities) as if it were their job. I mean, I get this on a micro level. Girlfriends and boyfriends and all that kinda shit cause it’s human nature (albeit possibly the most toxic and damaging thing about dating in the current times). But when you’re doing that with friends and strangers? Holy shit. It’s time to take a deep breath and step back from the phone.

A few steps past this part of the spectrum and you have the people whose life IS the internet. Not only are they so wrapped up in it , it defines everything about them, they aren’t even the same people online as they are in real life. These are people who are so consumed into the matrix, their existence on the internet is not a real person. Rather, a skewed, imaginary version of themselves. A “Sim”, but they aren’t playing video games. These people are often witty and the first up on any trend or meme. They’re also the troll dudes on message boards and reddit who can be pretty fucking awful human beings.These are also people who argue online and love it. They seek out conflict and do it out of sheer boredom. They’re never THAT offended by anything but , best believe, you will think the world is going to an end anytime this kinda person takes issue with anything.
They’re also girls who project themselves as divas or “models” who post selfies and inspirational quotes all day in some backwards attempt to find the balance between sensuality, over confidence and some sort of cult leader wrapped up in the warm blanket of what is actually unmitigated insecurity.
This level on the spectrum contains the people who probably sext and send nudes on snapchat but, when faced in real life with another human being, can barely make eye contact. This is a scary and sad relationship with the internet and , unfortunately, it seems to be becoming more and more common. Especially with the people who have never known anything else BUT having phones , internet and social media. It’s no wonder the sexual activity amongst young people has gone down in recent years…cause those motherfuckers don’t actually know how to engage another human being if it doesn’t involve emojis and carefully curated selfies.

Beyond this level, we got the really scary people. The ones who aren’t just in the web, they are the web. These are those dark web people who , honestly, are probably all geniuses but, holy shit, am i scared of them and whatever they can do. Hacking, Doxing, and whatever else they are capable of. It’s as if they have transcended beyond just being internet users and into a new plane of actually pulling the strings. So while group B of that earlier group are hyperventilating over who liked what pic and who unfollowed who, these dudes are literally breaking into the government and changing how the world works, for better or worse. One thing is for certain though, I bet these dudes have never looked at the activity page on instagram. THEY ARE THE ACTIVITY PAGE!

Like most things, moderation is the key. You never wanna be too far on either side of this kinda spectrum. And I say this knowing I’m certainly too far one way myself. But, hey, at least I’m aware enough to admit it. Now pardon me while I go cross post this blog on my twitter and Facebook and story it on instagram. hell, i might even dust off snapchat. Lol just kidding. No ones doing that anymore.

10 things I learned by arguing politics on the internet

Man, I’ve never been a person who gave politics much thought. Sure, things would come up here and there but, in general, I always viewed it as some “it’s out of my hands” type thing where all I can do is sit back and watch what happens. While I still feel that way, recent events have been hard to ignore and the repercussions, in my opinion, could be dire for the country I live in. Not since 9/11 have I been this glued to the news. Every day , it feels like a new unchartered level of craziness is being achieved so, admittedly, it’s been hard to just sit back and not say anything, even if I am just adding to the cacophony. Now, I could take the easy route and just post things on my personal facebook wall. A place where not a SINGLE person I know disagrees. Literally. I don’t know one Trump supporter. No extended family, no old high school friends….no one. I’m admittedly DEEP in the bubble. So, me posting some shit on there is basically like giving cupcakes to a guy already eating brownies. Nope, instead, I chose to do the even dumber thing and post about it on my public social media. My twitter, instagram and Facebook page. I know…I’m a fucking idiot. Granted, it’s not like I’m constantly writing anti-Trump rhetoric but, you know, it comes up here and there.

Now, arguing with people on the internet is nothing new to me. I started my existence on the internet in the mid 90’s, arguing about rap with people in chat rooms and newsgroups. And, truth be told, that could get heated at times. However, politics is a totally different game. People are passionate about their beliefs. Perhaps cause real things are at stake, as opposed to me trying to claim Ras Kass verse on “Comwiddit” is the work of genius in 1995.

Over the past year or so, my engagement in political discourse online has been eye opening. I’ve learned a lot. I figured, it might be fun to share that with you.

1)No ones mind has ever been changed via an online argument
“political discourse” online is like a friend who asks you for relationship advice with no intention of listening to you. They just wanna talk about their feelings and need to you be brick wall in which they blather to. What you say, no matter how on point and valuable, won’t even penetrate the first layer of their mind cause they already know how they feel. They just need someone to listen to them.
With political arguments online, no one who was staunchly on one side has ever heard someone say something that made them rethink their entire viewpoint. It just doesn’t happen. So,in it’s essence, arguing politics online is useless. But we’re all human beings so we can’t control these urges. i know I can’t.

2)Everyone pulls from dubious news sources
On both sides of the coin, people will reach. For every time someone has come at me with a fox news or a brietbart link to “prove” a point, i’ve seen countless liberal people on my facebook wall post salacious headlines from random left wing blogs that are just as questionable. While “Don’t believe everything you read” has always been a sentiment , nowadays, it seems to be a lifestyle for many. Trump’s anti-media crusade has truly convinced people that you can’t trust ANYONE. Not BBC, Not Rueters, Not the Washington post. Nothing. And, while that is a crazy and dangerous thing to push into the mind of the public, the fact of the matter is that people are gonna go with the news that suits them. Whatever fits their agenda. Left and right wing people.

3)Right wing dudes got bad memes ON DECK
When you start a political discourse, there are a few types of people you come across. A person who wants to try and have a civil discussion (“Try” being the operative word here), people who just wanna come in and barf their opinions all over the place with no regard, and people who are there to troll. Now, to be fair, both sides troll the other. I think it’s what happens when you’ve run out of constructive things to say and also realize that arguing is futile at this point. So, instead…they opt to rabble rouse. One thing I’ve noticed is that right wing trolls got memes on deck. Particularly on twitter. Some guy started with me the other day and, within moments, my interactions were flooded with stupid memes aiming to rattle my weak liberal frame.


A few things can be learned from this…
Morons know how to use photoshop
Conservative memes lack that humorous punch

The same guy who sent those to me, had sent them to a bunch of people which leads me to another point…

4)There are people who sit around all day on the internet SEEKING out political arguments with strangers

This is the craziest shit to me. I’ve never really understood hash tagging. I mean, I get it’s purpose and see why people do it but it’s always been kinda corny to me. I’ve only ever done it ironically. HOWEVER, there are literally people who sit around , looking on their phone, following hash tags and then arguing with people they don’t know. I’ve noticed this most on twitter and instagram. Someone with 45 followers will post something with a hashtag like “#dumptrump” and their timeline will be flooded with people with american flags or pictures of an eagle fucking an arab child to death with a dick made of the constitution as their profile pic, blathering redneck nonsense about whatever the issue of the day is. Now, to me, seeking out strangers to argue with is such a weird, sad and lonely concept. It’s just an extension of trolling, which is really at the heart of most political discourse online but still…it just seems EXTRA pathetic.

5)Right wing people love a good nickname for liberals
Libtard, Cuck, Hillbot, snowflake…
These dudes LOVE to take those nicknames and run with them.
To me, the funniest one is Cuck cause the real meaning is so funny to me. A cuckold is when a submissive dude is forced to watch his wife have sex with another man. (generally they specifically mean a more “manly” man with a bigger dick who can fuck his wife in a way he can’t. Often a large black man).
Now, the idea of some doughy white guy with a micro-penis watching his wife get her back blown out by some young stud is hilarious to me. But I do find it ironic that , somehow, liberals got attached to that word cause, let’s be honest, who’s doughier and whiter with more micro-penises than your average right wing conservative? It just so clearly seems like something they’d be into way before liberals would. I dunno. When i think of dudes with weird sexual festishes involving humiliation, I tend to think of powerful , old white men. You know… the type who might like to get pissed on in Russia or something.

6)Being uninformed is okay
I literally had a dude try and tell me Obama’s birth certificate was fake…in 2017. I’m in no way claiming to be a beacon of information here. hell, I just made a joke about Trump being pissed on right above here and that’s completely unproven. But the way in which people hear something that may or may not be true, buy into it 100% and mangle the message to fit their agenda is spectacular. That is politics on the internet in 2017.

7)Trump people all kinda look alike and live alike
With the exception of a few people (one latino dude on my facebook page. whattup ron! and a random female), every time I’ve clicked to see what a trump supporters facebook page looks like it’s the same person. First off, white dude (duh), mid 20’s-early 30’s, always has a kid or two, and his page is obsessively filled with anti-liberal memes. A slight variation of that is the non-Trump supporter who thinks Hillary is “just as bad” or worse. This is also strictly a white male, slightly younger than the trump supporter, they also have a kid and their page is filled with links to youtube conspiracy videos and weird memes about mind expansion. Also, weed. Unfortunately, these two types of dudes make up about 35% of this country so there’s no shortage of them. Also, when they get older, they get even dumber and more volatile.

8)Liberals are whiney and hypersensitive. it’s true.
I realize I’ve been shitting on conservatives here this whole time but, you know, they’re the opposition to me so what do you expect? That said, i try and be a fair man and I can admit when my side isn’t doing things right either. Liberals have thin skin. I think the reason that is, is cause to be a liberal, there’s a part of you that feels you’re 100% on the right side of right and wrong. There’s an air of cocky justice some liberals wear on their sleeve. This makes them easy to rattle. Liberals ALWAYS take the bait and Conservatives love to feed it to them. Watching that dude Milo yiannopoulos on Bill Maher the other day, it was so crazy to see how mad he made everyone. I mean, i get it…the dude is a total fucking asshole with insane opinions but he’s CLEARLY just existing to get under peoples skin. He figured out that it’s easy to make a liberal blow a gasket if you say some outlandish shit then act dismissively towards them. That’s all it is. He’s basically the poster child for trolling. And the fucked up thing is that , when liberals fall for the bait, they try to use reasoning and rational thought to combat it which feeds into it even more. The only way to combat those kinds of people is to roll your eyes and talk to them like their 5 year old. Dismiss them. To engage is to let them win.

9) Anyone who’s ever written #MAGA! or a variation of that statement is a fucking idiot.
The lowest of the low. Blindly following the catch phrase of a total crazy person created to feed the fears of morons.
The people that post that are always the worst, most uninformed and outspoken people you will come across. I refuse to believe that anyone would type that without a tiny bit of irony. Even the most right wing wingnut.
I often think it’s more used for specifically for trolling but, still, if you truly ride with that catch phrase, you’re a stupid motherfucker. Straight up.

10)What “we” care about and “they” care about is different
Liberals are the party of social issues. Human rights, equality, the environment. Conservatives care more about business, foreign policy,following the constitution, religion, “freedom” and some vague idea of “America” as this fallen country that needs reviving. Because of this, both sides will never meet eye to eye. While one side is arguing gender roles the other is thinking about oil. They just aren’t even in the same universe. Because of this, it becomes incredibly hard to find common ground. I’m sure there are plenty of conservatives who don’t give a shit who marries who or agree that woman should receive equal wages to men…but they’re far more concerned with their right to bear arms and some mythical idea that a mexican in Texas is gonna take their job in Michigan. It’s all perspective. No one lives another persons life so , while some dude in Montana who’s never left his town and has only dealt with one kinda person his entire life might be freaking out cause he saw a muslim guy in the airport, I might be equally dismayed at the sight of that same guy from Montana walking up to me if I was camping in the woods…cause my city ass assumes anyone walking around the woods alone is an axe murderer. We all have our things.

I think the bottom line of all these things can be summed up like this:
Arguing politics on the internet is 100% pointless and it gets neither side closer to what they want. That said, that doesn’t mean it’s not fun. So enjoy yourself you filthy cucks.

What’s for you isn’t always for me.


A couple times a year I get into a conversation with someone who loves weed. Inevitably, the conversation sways towards me and my intake of the substance, where I regretfully inform said weed lover that I , in fact, do not partake. This is typically met with a face of disbelief and a noticeable physical retraction from the other person. What follows is not unlike a senate hearing where I am asked a rapid fire bunch of questions , where the weed enthusiast tires to either disprove that I actually do not enjoy smoking weed or find out why. The “It’s not for me” response is never enough for them. So, i go on to tell them about how I used to smoke weed regularly in my 20’s. I had a window where I loved it. I would smoke, freestyle with my friends, eat a shit ton of terrible food and then watch tv or listen to music. In it’s essence, that’s what weed was good for with me. Those specific things. Everything else? Not so much. I never enjoyed it socially and it never made me feel smarter or deeper. In fact, it made me feel like a complete idiot 95% of the time. As i grew older, it got less fun and more uncomfortable. It fucked with my sleep. It made me anxious. Around 28 I decided “fuck this shit” and stopped. Since then, I have tried it maybe once or twice a year just to be sure it hasn’t turned around for me. The last time I smoked. I almost had a panic attack. So, when the weed lover hears all this, they immediately go into how weed has changed and the different strains that do different things yada yada yada. This is generally where I stop them and say “hey man, it’s cool…I don’t have to smoke weed for you enjoy it”. And that kinda brings me to a point. We , in general, are obsessed with wanting everyone to feel and see things how we see them. When someone has a differing view point, it often rattles our fragile ego and leads to someone trying to shove their ideals down another persons throat even more.

Like, say I love Dr. Browns Cel-rey Soda (I do). I offer you a sip, you taste it and spit it out immediately cause it’s some soda made from celery. I would be crazy to try to then convince you that, even though your mouth rejected it, it’s actually amazing. No, the proper thing to do is shrug it off and accept that Cel-rey is an acquired taste. Here’s the thing….everything is an acquired taste. Chocolate is an acquired taste. Sex is an acquired state. A mothers unconditional love is an acquired taste. So, we gotta stop trying to force our own shit down other peoples throats.
Recently, Trump made statements about how people who burn the flag should lose citizenship or go to jail. Obviously, he’s a complete moron and lunatic but the point remains. He feels this way, so everyone else should too. And, to be fair, this works both ways. Liberals are no less guilty of this mindset either. cause it’s human nature to want other people to agree with you and connect on things you hold dear. But human nature can be petty sometimes.

I’m a guy who loves cities. I like the activity. I like the people. I like the availability of things i desire. I don’t like nature that much and things like skiing, boating and camping are not things I have any interest in. Now, just as i wrote that, I guarantee a decent amount of you rolled your eyes and thought of nature situations that i couldn’t possibly not enjoy. This is cause, to you, what you get out of such things is infallible. A sunset. A scenic landscape. Wildlife. The feel of the wind rushing over your face while you slide down a mountain on a wood plank. All that shit. And that’s great. But what is for you is not always for me and vice versa.

Do you play basketball?
No? Well, you should. you’d love it.
Oh, what? you’re not into sports and have no athletic ability?
Whatever dude…just do it. It’s basketball. How could you not love it.

So, yeah, the point of this rant is to just say “love what you love but don’t ever think anyone else should be expected to feel the same way”. After all, without these differences , how can we properly judge one another. And judging? That’s the real fun shit right.

A letter to a naked dude

So, this past weekend, i played a festival in the outback of Australia. As different as it was from other festivals I’ve played (being on the other side of the planet, the people , the wildlife and the musical tastes), if you were to press mute on everyone and just look at it from afar, it was really no different than a festival in the woods of Oregon. Typically , I do my set and scurry off to the closest hotel to make love to some wifi and watch tv with a roof over my head, never to be seen on camp grounds again. However, this time, I stayed for the full 3 days of the festival. I was IN IT. So, with all this free time in a foreign land, at a festival where I only know a handful of people, i spent a good deal of my time roaming around the campsite. People watching. I mean, that’s kinda what you do at these things, right? It was packed with the usual suspects. Burners, people on drugs, burners on drugs, girls in road warrior outfits carrying hula hoops, people in footie pajamas covered in dirt, a few back woods wiggers and a surprising amount of children. In fact, this was , by far, the most kids I’ve seen at a festival. It was pretty cool to see actually cause i can only imagine how their tiny brains are taking it all in. I suppose to them it’s like a circus with REALLY loud music.
On the Saturday morning of the festival, i was in the food area just stuffing some sort of garbage into my mouth when , out of the corner of my eye, I caught what seemed to be an abundance of naked human flesh. Being the inquisitive soul that I am, I turned my head to see a man walking away from, butt naked, with some painted stuff on his shoulders and ass…think war paint. I tilted my head and thought “Well, surely he’s got something on covering his front parts…”. I then saw him walk up to someone and give a close hug to them (the receiver of said hug did a noticeable body jut to avoid pelvic contact). Right then I thought “no fucking way”. Lo and behold, he sashays his was back around and there it was, his naked dick flapping in the wind, parts of it were painted but, make no mistake, it was as uncovered as a cock can be in a public setting. So, i’m sure this particular aussie raver doesn’t read my blog (i bet he doesn’t even own a tv and on uses the internet for email cause, you know, he’s THAT guy) but I figured I’d write him a letter…just in case cause, you know, someone needs to talk to this guy.

Dear Naked guy,
What’s up? Chilling? cool. I was eating my breakfast the other day when I turned my head to see your dick bobbling as you walk. Nice cock, bro! I especially enjoyed the ornate colors you painted it. Did you, perhaps, have one of the children who were doing face paintings at the festival handle that for you? Whoever did it, they did a bang up job.
I see you there, prancing around like a proud peacock, winds blowing your hair, smugly strutting to give your dick that extra bounce. Balls hopping off your thighs as if to way “Hey! Don’t forget about us!”. Don’t worry balls, we could never forget you.
Your pride and self love are palpable. You must feel great!
I’m writing you this letter to let you in on something. That something is that, unless you’re part of art installation or the incredible hulk after turning back into David Banner, no one who’s not having sex with your penis should ever see it in public. I understand you’re probably a free spirit. You cannot be caged but the constraints of society around you. Cavemen walked around, dicks flailing, so why can’t you? Well, I’m sorry to say, you are not a caveman. You’re a male in 2016 , in a public place full of children running around. Now, that’s my #1 gripe. Your dick and kids eyes. It’s just…not okay. I dunno if you know this but dicks are gross. They aren’t tits. When a women thinks of a strangers cock, she frowns and they’re the #1 target audience for dicks (shout out to gay dudes but the sheer #’s put ladies in first place). Think about that. The people who enjoy dicks the most, are also repulsed by the majority of them. But beyond the sheer grossness of it (for everyone), what you’re doing is forcing your bullshit on everyone else. Now, I believe people should be able to do what they want. So, in a sense, if you WANT to walk around with your dick out, then live you life. But, with life’s choices come responsibility and consequences. The consequences being your dick waggling in front of a 4 year olds face and your responsibility being to NOT waggle you dick anywhere near the face of a child. Listen, it’s a free world. We have so much we can do. Is your right to express yourself via nudity that important to you? Perhaps you should go to a nude beach or a Hedonism resort where that kinda thing is accepted and monitored. Maybe one of those burning man fuck tents I’ve heard about. I know, i know, a fuck tent is not in public but I’m just spitballing ideas for you. Regardless, all those places seem more appropriate than here.
I think what gets me is that I 100% know you’re doing this cause you’re just so one with the earth and comfortable in your own skin. That’s great. But ,sometimes, we’re so far to the left, we swing around to the right again. You’re blissful, free love hippie freedom is so extreme that it is , in fact, bordering on sexual harassment to every single person that lays eyes on your paint chipped penis. Every woman and man who didn’t feel like looking at your freewheeling cock. Every male child who now probably thinks that, when he gets older, his dick will become a crusty orange and green hair cake.
Every little girl who has never seen a penis in her life will now have THAT as what she expects. In 12 years, when she’s old enough, she will pull out some dudes dick and be shocked it didn’t look like bravehearts face. That’s on you , dude. And I know that’s the furthest thing from your intentions but still…s
o, fuck your freedom. There are so many ways to express individuality and openness without having to ruin everyones day simply cause they looked in your direction. So, please, do me and everyone else a favor and cover that stupid cock up. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Sincerely ,

Alternate version of this letter:

Closing time…Kinda.

They say all good things must come to an end. I assume that applies to all mediocre things as well.

I’ve been writing this blog in some form since around 2002. It started as rants on my personal myspace page. Moved over to a weekly column on the Definitive Jux website and, when that went down, I stated Phat friend January 1st 2009 (or was it 2010? I can’t remember) . The purpose of this blog was just for me to say whatever the fuck I want. I enjoy writing. I like ranting about things i don’t ACTUALLY care about. It’s a good way to blow of steam. Certainly better than bottling it up and losing your shit over some pointless grievance. That, in it’s essence, was what this blog was. “Sweeping generalizations”. There was never any money or glory in this. If anything, it was a means to give my life a little structure. As a musician, it’s easy to fall into bad habits and having this to write every morning , at least, put me on a track to be creative and not just lay around in bed playing words with friends and candy crush until I get hungry enough to get up.

That said, I’ve reached a point where I feel as though this has run it’s course. I’m basically rehashing the same 4 or 5 columns and it’s not like any new light has been exposed. I’ve answered thousands of questions, listened to hundreds of demos, fucked, married and killed all the people I can. What more can I say?
Part of the reason I’m gonna stop posting with any regularity (I’ll get to that later), is that I really don’t have anything left to say. I’ve exhausted my rants. Also, as you get older, ones passion for the minutia of life wanes. This blog has always been about taking dumb things and expanding on them. Making them seem bigger than they are. Like, I could write a piece about men wearing open toed shoes looking like assholes, and it would cause an explosion of fury from every man who’s ever worn flip flops to the beach. When, in reality, I don’t give a fuck what another man wears on his feet. It’s just fun to poke fun and rabble rouse people. Basic trolling. But the stakes seem higher now. Sure, i could write think pieces on things I don’t really care about/know about/understand. I’m just not the involved or informed in the world around me. I listen to what I listen to. i watch what I watch. i read…the internet. My scope isn’t exactly wide. The last thing the internet needs is another white dude talking out his ass about everything.

Another side to this is the environment that we live in now. When i started writing this , i could say anything. If someone was offended or bothered by it, they would roll their eyes and get over it. i didn’t have to explain jokes or tell people “It’s not that serious” all the time. But, we live in a time where everything triggers something. Every word you say can be turned against you, context means nothing and intent is always under scrutiny. To me, that takes the excitement out of writing. Like, I wanna say things but I can’t cause i don’t feel like having to argue with a bunch of people in my comments. Don’t get me wrong, that’s always been a thing but it’s gotten worse ten fold over the last 3 years or so. And, seeing that, one might think “Well, you’re pussying out!”. Maybe. But, to be honest, the weight of those invisible restrictions had effected my writing. i don’t enjoy it like i used to. I’m too aware of things that might cause an issue. i end up over explaining and watering down the point. So, fuck that…Combine that with a lack of things to write about and , well, here we are. I’m sure i could write about how the world is seemingly going down the drain but I feel there’s enough of that out there. What can i really add? So, as of now, Phat Friend is scaling back.
I’m just gonna post music updates here and there as it comes in. Pretty much, this will function as Blockhead’s website, as opposed to “Tony’s blog”. If I get inspired to write something, I will. But, other than that, it’s a wrap. No more demo reviews, no more answers for questions , no more of any of the regular columns.
So, I just wanna take this time to thank all of the people I’ve met over the years who’ve told me they fuck with this blog and all the faithful readers. It’s been a pleasure. You guys, more than anyone, “get” me. This blog is more me than my music has ever been so, just know that, you’re appreciated.
It’s not dead…but it will be dormant.
And , finally, shout out to all the strangers and friends who have taken the time to tell me I need to fix my grammar and spell check more thoroughly. I will miss you guys the most. Feel free to find me on twitter, where I will be spelling things wrong and abusing the english language with regularity.
Thanks and Good day,
Blockhead AKA Tony