Strange Famous Records

Prolyphic New Song Free Download!! Lyrics!!

I recorded a song called “Fake Limps” with Cubbiebear, former “Artist Goes Pop” remix contest co-winner, Seez Mics of Educated Consumers and DJ Addikt. It is SFR’s Clip of the Week and is available for FREE DOWNLOAD here.

Prolyphic Lyrics:

I work harder than you act,
I use to sport a Yankee’s hat back in the 80′s but now you made it wack,
Cuz you’re going through a phase, a fad
A hipster trying to imitate the ads
You ain’t a hustler, you wanna know what a hustler is,
A single mother with kids working double shifts
You just a kid trying to sell a couple of nicks,
So you can buy a pair of Nike’s and some rims,
You got Timberland’s, so do I,
But I’ve worked in mine that’s what the difference is
Scuff marks are like cuts and scars,
Your mom bought your boots for you to sport at school…
You don’t know shit but maybe you’ll learn
Once you got to put food on the table’s that turn
And change your concerns and gradually grow
From boy to man in them baggy clothes.

Oct 14

Urb Magazine on hiatus?

It seems Urb Magazine is taking a hiatus from printing more issues, opting to go the digital route until 2010 to see if it is financially feasible to return to ink.

Although it’s not a hip-hop magazine per se, Urb was one of the last publications to give coverage to independent hip-hop. That being said, it’s a bit sad for all of us here at SFR and we wish them well.

Here are the details Urb sent out in a mass email earlier today:

“This autumn, for the first time in our 20 year history, URB Magazine will release our first all digital issue. URB #159 will hit the ‘streets’ later this month and feature 25 must-know artists breaking onto the scene. In the spirit of our lauded Next 100, our 25: NOW! issue will be a reference guide to what’s next.

As for our print edition, we’re taking a hiatus until 2010 so we can see what the future of ink on paper should really look like. In the meantime, we’re thrilled about a major URB.COM relaunch (this month!) and bringing a ton of digital initiatives to you and our readers.”

One of the only magazines brave enough to put my ugly mug on a cover. Respeck!

Oct 01

“Elvis is motherfuckin…Mufasa.”

I was recently sent a poem I’ve been looking for since hearing it years ago and wanted to pass it along.

Its author, Jack McCarthy, is one of a handful of performance poets I’d recommend people check out. There’s a lot I could say about Jack, but suffice it to say that he’s the reason I kept coming back to the Providence open mic, and ultimately started writing performance poetry years ago.

Coincidentally, he’s about to tour the Northeast. I will certainly attend at least one of these shows… don’t sleep on one of the true originals.

Click here for his tourdates:

Here’s the poem:

End of the Road

The kids cannot conceive what it was like.

Music hadn’t sorted itself into categories yet.

We didn’t know Carl Perkins didn’t belong with the Cadillacs;

it was just all The New Music, and it was uncontestably ours.

I never heard as much excitement from a radio

as the day a teenage engineer named Arnie Ginsberg

came running into the WORL studio

delivering the new Pat Boone cover

of Fats Domino’s “Ain’t That a Shame.”

O the times; O the way of doing things.

The hottest DJ in Boston was a young guy named Joe Smith,

who called himself Jose, and never mentioned that he’d gone to Yale.

Now he’s head of MGM or RCA or one of them.

He favored rhythm and blues, but he’d play anything—

one night this new record Crazy Arms,

unlike anything any of us had ever heard,

with these weird piano runs,

and this unknown singer with a terrible obsession

for filling up the spaces between phrases and lines—

“Well my yearnin heart keeps sayin

you’re not mine, not mine, not mine, not mine.”

Jose hated it; he said,

“If this makes the top ten tomorrow night, I’ll eat the record.”

Tuesday night it came in eight or nine, and he said,

“I didn’t mean the top ten, I meant the top three,”

and Wednesday it was three and he said,

“I didn’t mean I’d eat the record, nobody can eat a record,

but I’m a man of my word and I’ll eat the next best thing, my hat.”

And we heard eating noise, right on the air!

Sounded a lot like pizza.

The kid that sang Crazy Arms billed himself as

Jerry Lee Lewis and His Pumping Piano.

This was before it was even clear

what the instrument of rock’n’roll would be—

Ray Charles, Fats Domino, Little Richard all played piano;

it would be a few weeks yet before the guitar took charge.

I loved Crazy Arms;

but I liked the other side even better, End of the Road:

“Well the way is dark, the night is cold…”

It’s not even two minutes long. In it you can hear

the opening chords of Whole Lotta Shakin,

that a few months later made Jerry Lee a rock’n’roll hero—

until he married his thirteen-year-old-cousin;

and the night he showed up at Graceland, waving a pistol.

I never thought he wanted to hurt Elvis;

I think he wanted to put a bullet through that goddam guitar.

Even that wasn’t the end of his road;

now Elvis is dead—arguably—

but Jerry Lee is still out there singing great country,

billing himself not as the King, but as the Killer—

and indeed, some of his wives have died curious deaths.

But, ah, the song.

A while back I saw Moms Mabley on TV,

and for her finish that great old black woman said,

“I’m’a do a song I wrote a lotta years ago.”

And a barrelhouse piano kicked in.

And her hips started to rock like she was twenty-three again.

And she sang, “The way is dark, the night is cold,”

and I went looking for my old yellow-label Sun 45.

When I found it, the name on it wasn’t Mabley.

But that doesn’t mean she didn’t write it;

New York and Philly are filled with aging white gangsters still raking in royalties from

songs sold to them by black artists in the fifties for a hundred bucks,

because…

because the way is dark;

and the night is

cold.

***

When I sent Sage this poem, he was reminded of another piece from one of the greats. A guy named Kwesi Davis who I’m not sure is even performing anymore. Everything this guy did onstage was crushing, and he remains a major inspiration even though I haven’t seen or heard his work in years.

Check this out:

“Poached” by Kwesi Davis:
Click here to listen.

And, if you’re still in a listening mood, Jerry Lee Lewis performing “End of the Road”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7C8Fd-4VjSI[/youtube]

Sep 30

Trials and Tribulations of Indie-Rap Tours

“I’ll Never Beat the Clock on this Infinite Tour”

The troubles began the day before our first show in LA. We planned to leave a day early since LA is an 18 hour drive from Portland. I decided to take my own car rather than rent a car in order to keep expenses low, so I had some work done on it to make sure it was ready for the long trip. When I went to pick it up, my debit card was declined even though I deposited enough money in my bank account to cover all expenses. I called my bank and discovered that my debit card had been counterfeited and $800 had been taken from my account. Identity theft… sweeeeeet! The issue was resolved the next morning, which was the day of the show (an 18 hr drive away.)

Once this issue was resolved we started our journey to LA. We smashed all the way there, speeding pretty fast, but we didn’t arrive until 12:35 a.m. I went straight on stage and played a 45 minute set for a thinned out crowd of people who stuck around to see me. It was a good show but I felt a little rough around the edges from the long drive. After a couple of shows everything starting to come together; the shows were great and I was having a wonderful time. And then my wife’s grandmother passed away.

I didn’t really know what to do being that I was so far away, so I decided to fly my wife and son to Oakland so we could be together. This was a decision that I knew would make travel very tricky but I had to do it. We only had one more show in California and it was an all ages B Boy jam in Monterey Bay. We had to fly my brother Jon The Baptist to Albuquerque in order to make room in the car. Most of my family lives in New Mexico so it was a good place to set up camp. The B Boy battle ran over time so by the time I got on stage most of the crowd had left. This show was the first time my son had seen me perform so I felt blessed to do it. It was funny…he wouldn’t just stay and watch, he had to be part of it. So I ended up carrying him in my arms the whole peformance, which was only 15 mins. Babies are the new bling ha ha.

We left the next morning, making our way to New Mexico from Oakland. We decided to go through Las Vegas and stay the night with my dad. We ran into some pretty bad monsoon weather on our way and it looked like we’d be following that storm system for the rest of the tour. When we got to New Mexico the car started acting funny. It was shaking when the brakes were pushed, so I had to take it to a mechanic and fly to Texas for the next leg of the tour. I didn’t have enough money to fly everyone out so my family and my brother stayed in NM while DJ Zone and myself went to Texas for a few shows.

Our original plan was to fly into San Antonio and catch a ride to Austin where the show was, but during our layover in Houston there was a flash flood/ lightning storm and the airport was closed. It opened up but our flight was delayed and we would not make it in time to make the show. We ended up having a buddy drive from Austin to come get us and take us back. This was going to get us there late but it was still the better option because if we sped the whole way we could make the show. And we did. We got there 5 minutes before I had to go on stage.

The show had a good attendance and the energy was real good. This show was one of the best shows on the tour, but the other shows in Texas were good too. After Texas we headed back to NM to meet up with the family and rock some more shows. I ended up doing a show in Albuquerque with De La Soul and it was a great night. De la ripped it, we ripped it, and everyone had a blast. I can’t believe how long De La has been touring and they still look exactly the same. It’s like they don’t age. The next day we headed out to Colorado with my family and Zone in my car while my brother and manager drove in another car. The first show in Colorado was in Boulder at the Fox Theater. We were playing with DJ Newmark (who killed it by the way). There were a few heads who came out but it was not packed…and when that venue is not packed it feels very empty. Despite that fact, it was a great show. We then headed out to a venue called Mishuwaka where we played with Hay Stack.

The venue was outdoors and it had a river running behind it. Really beautiful setting. I was nervous prior to my performance because there were a lot of mainstream-ish acts who went on before me (or they at least made an attempt to make that kind of music) and the crowd seemed to love it. This made me feel like they would hate my music once I hit the stage with material from Hesitation Wounds. Thankfully, I was wrong. The crowd loved it. However, there was one guy who asked my manager “Who’s next?” When she replied that Whiskey Blanket was next he asked “Are they better than this guy?” My manager responded by saying that she didn’t think so and he said “So they suck then!” Apparently I didn’t impress this guy much. haha. I did manage to impress Hay Stack. He stopped in the middle of his set and gave respects to Whiskey Blanket and myself. He said, “Sometimes you come across a band or a lyricist that you just know is going to make it.” He said it made him smile seeing me and Whiskey Blanket smash it. It was a strange night overall but it ended being one of my favorite nights of the tour.

After Colorado I went back to NM and stayed for a week so I could spend sometime with my Grandfather whose health has been bad for the past couple of years. My Grandfather actually raised me, so his failing health has been extremely difficult for me to deal with (to say the least.) While I was there I wanted to help him out with some yard work and house work. I mostly just wanted to soak up as much time with him as possible and let him meet my son. After this brief break in NM, I packed up the family one last time and headed to Arizona. On our way to the Phoenix we blew out a tire while driving in the middle of nowhere. I had a spare but it was just a doughnut and it was too late to get a new tire. I could only drive 45mph on it, but that’s what we had to do in order to make the show. We were still about 200 miles away from Phoenix so it took a long time (driving at 45mph and all), but once again we made it to the venue just in time to rock the set. It was a good show. It was the last show. And as you can imagine, by this time I was more than ready to get back home.

The drive home was very chill; just me, my wife and my son. We made it a casual thing, turning the road trip into a mini vacation…mostly stopping and visiting our family up the coast en route back home. All in all, I had driven 13,000 miles by myself and rocked some twenty odd shows. I was also pretty broke from it all but I was home! To tell you the truth I can’t wait to do it again.

Sep 24

RIP Roc Raida (guest blog by DJ Jester)

This week we lost one of the greatest DJ’s this world has ever known. Grand Master Roc Raida (real name: Anthony Williams) of the X-Ecutioners passed away on Saturday due to complications from a mixed-martial-arts accident. His sudden passing shocked the world (the hip-hop community in particular) as messages of sorrow and condolence came flooding in.

My personal experience with Roc Raida is very limited. I used to hunt down Roc Raida mixtapes as well as VHS tapes of his DJ performances. I played his music often on my radio show and I was lucky enough to see him perform with the X-Ecutioners (at that time they were called the X-Men) at a small club in Providence, RI in the late 90′s. His performances were enthralling and inspiring. I never became much of a DJ, but Roc Raida did the kind of things that would make you think, “Yeah…if I dedicated all of my time to a craft I want to be able to freak it like that.” And of course, very few will ever be able to do it the way Roc Raida did.

Buck 65 has already posted a personal story about Roc Raida on his blog section here at www.StrangeFamous.com but an honorary member of the SFR crew named DJ Jester wanted to share his experience as well so here’s his story:

“I found out about Roc Raida’s death the same way I’ve been hearing most bad news lately…through Twitter. I’m following DJ Spinderella, the DJ for Salt-N-Pepa, and that’s where I got the news. I was up early on Saturday, September 19th, 2009, on a road trip and this was the surprise I got during breakfast. I got into Marfa, Texas, a tiny west Texas art town a day early before for a gig Saturday. It made me think..Dang, here I am in the middle of nowhere about to DJ and, honestly, I probably wouldn’t even be doing this if it weren’t for Raida. And it’s not like my style is anything like his. I do think he was an influence, though. I can’t beat juggle to save my life but I do know I wanted to start a body trick crew because of him.

There weren’t as many celebrity tweets about Roc Raida’s passing as there were for DJ AM, but I can understand why. It was a different scene. Like other DJs around my age (early thirtysomething), I distinctly remember me in the late 90′s being a fan of this scratch DJ thing more than I paid attention to school or girls. Scratch DJ videos probably got me more in debt back then than anything else. It was a culture I felt part of. Like those friends you have who watch a lot of wrestling. I immersed myself in it, mostly by way of being the arts editor for my college newspaper. Every show scratch DJ related I’d try to score tickets to. I was invited to both Q-Bert’s “Wave Twisters” CD release in San Francisco AND his Skratchcon 2000 event, not as a DJ but as a journalist. On one of those trips, the first video I probably bought was a self-released Skratch Piklz video. Coming from San Antonio, where that stuff didn’t really hit yet I couldn’t believe there was such amazing talent coming from these other towns. Ten years ago DJ’s had their own voices and personalities. Like, when you saw them or heard them you knew it was THEIR voice. DJ Swamp, Kid Koala, Mr. Dibbs, the X-Men, Piklz, and Beat Junkies. Those were pretty much my heroes. Skratch DJing was still considered experimental getting love from the Wire and magazines like that. Anyway, those Piklz videos led to me buying the Invisibl Skratch Piklz vs. the X-Men video. That’s probably the first time I saw Raida perform in a group routine. That made me hungry for more so I bought the 1995 World DMC Finals video. I would constantly rewind the part where he is spinning with his back to the turntables and would try (mostly jokingly) to imitate that during practice. When he defended his title in the 1996 World DMCs, it was like he grew more musical in a year.

Anyway, Roc Raida RIP. I felt like I knew you. Thank you for being you and for your contributions to hip-hop culture.
-DJ Jester the Filipino Fist”

Sep 21

R.I.P. Roc Raida

The first year I played South By Southwest, I was on an all-hip hop bill with The Beatnuts, Tha Alkaholiks and The X-Ecutioners, who were still known as the X-Men at the time. It was arranged that I would use the X-Men’s turntables. It was an honor and it made me nervous. The X-Men/X-Ecutioners are and always will be regarded as one of the greatest turntablist crews of all time. That night I ended my set with my big finishing move, which was to perform a beat-juggle (not just simply breaking doubles) while rhyming at the same time. I didn’t know it at the time (thank God), but the X-Men were watching from the side of the stage (they were probably worried about their gear). When I walked off stage, the members of the legendary group surrounded me and actually gave me props. I remember specifically that Roc Raida gave me a hug and said, “you just took hip hop to a level it’s never reached before. I’ve never seen anything like that in my life. Congratulations. Respect.” I’ll never forget it. I consider it the greatest moment of my hip hop career. If I never sell another record or play another show, I’ll die happy because I got high praise from a Grandmaster.

Roc Raida – you made a difference in my life. May you rest in peace…

Humbly,

buck

Sep 19

Around The Horn

Check one-two…

This time last year I was working feverishly to complete Dirtbike 1. It was the first of a three-album project. I recorded and released an album a month for three months. It all came during the greatest tidal wave of inspiration of my life. I became a zombie-stranger to my girlfriend for many weeks, but it was worth it. She cried herself to sleep every night as I went insane, but she never left. In fact, half-way through the endeavor I asked her to marry me and she said yes. I wrote a song about it.

Normally after I finish an album, I avoid listening to it for a while. Then, one day – weeks, months or years later – I’ll go back and listen to it again with fresh ears. Sometimes I’m horrified by what I hear. Sometimes I’m thrilled.

Yesterday I listened to Dirtbike 2 for the first time in a very long time and today I have a declaration to make:

“She Said Yes” is the most beautiful hip hop song ever made. Ever. Most beautiful.

Perhaps it’s a small and unpopular category. But let it be my claim to fame from now on. Buck 65 is the man who made the most beautiful hip hop song in the history of the world.

But allow me to acknowledge Emily Wells – a musical genius from LA who I met while on tour with Sage a few years ago. She played the piano and violin parts which contribute greatly to the ineffable beauty of this masterpiece.

Sidenote: “Paper Airplane”, which is also on Dirtbike 2, is also easily in the top 10 of most beautiful hip hop songs ever. That’s two from one album! If fact, I might as well go all the way and say that the top 20 list of the most beautiful hip hop songs ever made is dominated by Buck 65.

Sidenote 2: While listening to Dirtbike 2 yesterday it dawned on me that two of the things that interest me most is trying to make the most beautiful hip hop songs possible and the ugliest hip hop songs possible. “LHOOQ”, for example, is an extremely ugly hip hop song. How exciting!

Finally, on a completely unrelated note, I just want to say that I’ve always found teenagers to be very annoying so I was so happy when Kanye West took that shit all over that blonde teenager at the “art”-trophy thing on TV recently. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Just joking. That was awesome.

Talk soon,

Buck 65 – the most beautiful rapper of all-time, friend of man and beast alike, including teenagers.

Sep 18

Ever been to Switzerland?

In 2005 I toured Europe with a group called Grand Buffet. Although they are my favourite group in the world to tour with, this was the most trying and difficult tour of my career. We were robbed a couple times, there was a hospital trip, had run-ins with the law, you name it. By the time we reached Switzerland for our final show, our morale was totally shot. Upon entering Swiss territory, the country looked like a ghost town. A very clean, sterile and affluent ghost town.

As we drove through the city of Zurich we noticed a ferris wheel and some other rides off in the distance. It was a carnival or town fair of some sort. The place was dead empty, but we had some time to kill before the show so we decided to storm the castle. “Storming the castle” is a game we came up with to keep ourselves entertained during these long trips through no-man’s-land Europe. What that game entailed was simply running around like a bunch of idiots while yelling at the top of our lungs to cause confusion or alarm for the people on the premises.

We pulled up to the carnival, hopped out of the van, “stormed the castle,” and returned back to our van completely out of breath. We looked at each one another like…”what the fuck did we just see?” It was clearly the best little carnival in the world. So we went back in disguised as civilized Americans. Thankfully they allowed us back in.

The rides were wonderfully dangerous. They were the kind of rides that would never be allowed at an American carnival. They were lawsuit- worthy. Even the games came with a risk of injury. Games like… shoot the can with an actual rifle. You know…I don’t know. It was a while ago and I can’t remember the specifics, but I remember every booth being manned by a beautiful woman. This is different than the toothless, ex-convict carnies we are used to in the States.

When we finished with the Shoot-Your-Eye-Out and Punch-The-Clown-in-the-Face games, we had to leave and find our way to our show. Upon entering the club, we saw that there was a huge print-out of my face that reached from the stage to the ceiling. It was glorious and totally obnoxious. The promoter told me that his idea was to have me run through it when it was time for me to start my set. Just… amazing. I looked at him like, “Yeah man… totally.”

What happened instead is that I stripped down to my underwear during Grand Buffet’s set and I jumped through my print-out face during Grand Buffet’s performance. Music wasn’t even playing when I decided to do it. In fact, Lord Grunge of GB was fighting with a crowd member when I decided to make my grand entrance. Since I was in disguise (with a baseball cap and wig,) no one recognized me. As far as the audience was concerned I was just some random, pseudo-naked, long-haired, half-naked guy contributing to an oddball performance from a beligerant rap group. It wasn’t wild though. The crowd went dead silent. I stumbled to the CD player, hit the play button and yelled, “LET’S GO!”

I helped Grand Buffet end their set by doing high leg kicks for 2 two minutes straight. When the song finished, Lord Grunge grabbed the CD player and slammed it into the ground. I have no idea how my own set went. I have no recollection of it at all. All I remember is walking on my hands when the show was finished, racing a woman down the dance floor. I won. This was the last show of my last European Tour, and Switzerland is fucking weird.

Sep 01

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