Friday, October 16, 2009
How an unrepentant Asshole would improve VH1 Hip Hop Honors
When it comes my history of relationships, being an asshole hasn't exactly served me well - I'm single, 36, childless, and the only chicks who want to fuck me are either nuttier than squirrel shit or have vaginas so weathered that they resemble your grandfather's extremely weathered catchers mitt. When you are an insufferable prick, meeting new people often turns disastrous. Just last week I was chatting up a woman at a bar, a rather standard conversation where a solitary sexual advance was nowhere to be found - so you can imagine my disgust when the young lady said, "I hope you're not hitting on me, I'd never date a black guy!" In which I responded, "You are a chubby white woman, without black men you have no viable options!" I've lost a lot of friends because of my tactless nature: Literally hogtying a friend who refused to go to rehab - punching a wedding DJ who had the audacity to play "The Electric Slide" - telling a gay guy that my friend wanted to blow him, only to underline the fact that my boy was already sucking dick every time he tongue kissed his cheating wife - bringing a bottle of Jack Daniels to the "1 year Sobriety Party" that my friend threw for his father - getting a drunken blowjob by a friend's mom at her birthday party and justifying it by saying "You're adopted, I would never had done that if it was your blood mother! I'm not an animal, Geez!" Real asshole shit that I regret.
But when it comes to Hip Hop I have no regrets concerning behavior that I'm sure most sane people would probably find utterly reprehensible. Just look at me as a portly, alcoholic superhero who uses his powers for good and not evil - belligerently calling out all the bullshit in Hip Hop for the betterment of the Culture as a whole. For the sake of the culture that I hold dear, I've nonchalantly thrown CD's out of my car for distance no matter how much my passenger paid for or loved said banality. I've eagerly wanted to meet MC's with third grade vocabulary levels just so I could tell them how much they sucked to their faces. I couldn't tell you how many times I've left monosyllabic rappers with platinum encrusted smiles hanging as I turned my back on them while posing in my toughest B-Boy stance. Friends of mine stopped asking me to critique their music because more times that not I barraged them with armchair micromanagement: "Why did you say that there?" - "That simile didn't make any fucking sense!" - "Who's singing that chorus? It sounds like a chicken getting strangled, or two goats fucking" - "You should really go solo, the other guys in your group can't rap for shit". Yes, I can be a steaming pile of shit when I want to be, but its for the good of Hip Hop. Sincerely.
That said, even though I thought that the good folks over at VH1 did a serviceable enough job with this years Hip Hop Honors - they'd agree that there is always room for improvement. Even though my advice for improving Hip Hop Honors programs will be in the form of sarcasm and overall assholery, just know that its coming from an extremely good place.
No More Tracy Morgan: I loved Tracy Morgan when he was "Hustleman" on "Martin". Even though my pride as a black man wants me to resist any character that perpetuates the "Crazy black man" stereotype, he is great on "30 Rock". But left up to his own devices, when a team of writers aren't carefully crafting every syllables that exits his mandible, Mr. Morgan is painfully unfunny. You would have thought that VH1 learned their lesson when Tracy Morgan hosted Hip Hop Honors last year: Cringeworthy skits that seemed to go on forever and even irritate the extras that were in them, a standup routine that reminded me that I found my father's wake more chuckleworthy. The mere fact that VH1 had him back this year either means that VH1 is tone-deaf comically, or they always get Tracy Morgan on the cheap. For Christs sakes VH1, if you can't find someone who loves Hip Hop and has the comedy chops to host an award show - at least get a quality actor who loves Hip Hop to simply play the damn thing straight. (See: Mekhi Phifer, Michael Rapaport, etc)
Have the Roots Play the entire show: The Roots are the hardest working men in show business. Between their nightly gig on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon", playing their own gigs, and constantly creating new music - I'm sure those gentlemen barely get a moment to themselves. That's why its important for VH1 to lock them down a year in advance. I mean, I like "Onyx" well enough, not their biggest fan - but to hear Gym Class Heroes damn near make "Slam" unrecognizable was blasphemous at best. Again, book the Roots for the whole goddamn show.
No more washed up Rockers: Regardless of what race you are, you always knew that it suddenly became uncool to like a Hip Hop song the moment your local white Top 40 radio station got a hold of it. The opposite seems to be true when it comes to the Hip Hop aficionados who put on these shows, because they apparently are the last ones to know when a rock artist needs to be sent to the proverbial glue factory. Kid Rock? Really? Gym Class Heroes are so 2006, and I didn't like their ass then.(Disclaimer: Outside of Zack de la Rocha, I never gave 2 shits for the Rap/Rock genre) The mere fact that they would recruit such milquetoast "rockers" to pay tribute to Hip Hop stars of years past is rather condescending to the many of us who love that real rock shit. Its sort of like being racially profiled by your own people. I grew up on Bad Brains, don't fuck with me.
Its Pre-taped for a reason: Maybe I'm too much of a snob, but I always find it highly offensive when some artist paying tribute to an honoree horrible flubs lines during their performance. I hate to armchair MC here, but out of respect for the musical act being honored and just for ooverall professionalism sake - as soon as VH1 called me I'd be feverishly studying the lyrics I was set to perform like it was a fucking SAT exam. I know mistakes happen, but there really is no excuse for butchering classic Hip Hop lyrics like I've seen done at pretty much every Hip Hop Honor program. (KRS, you are a legend, but you should be ashamed. You couldn't get "No Sleep Till Brooklyn" right? Really?) Anyway, to combat that, all VH1 has to do whenever someone mangles a verse that most of us can recite backwards is simply have everyone start over. Its not like its live, the crowd can act like its the first time they've heard it. Its not hard.