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 411mania » Music » Columns

Music’s 3Rs 04.01.13: It’s A Long, Long Road To Ridiculous…
Posted by Sean Comer on 04.01.2013


Vandelay Industries and 411mania.com present this week's Music's 3 Rs with limited suckitude, brought to you by the Southern & Longmore Starbucks in scenic Mesa, AZ, as well as the following...

Daft Punk, "Human After All"

Foo Fighters, "Long Road To Ruin"

Kanye West, "Two Words"

Copeland, "Hold Nothing Back"

Jamie Lidell, "Compass (Red Dead on Arrival Version)"

Yeah, I've featured "Compass" before. By the time we trudge through this week's Ridiculous roundup making repeated arguments advocating Lil Wayne being sealed into a concrete crypt 12 feet beneath Earth's surface, no one will doubt why I really, really needed to hear that one on a loop this week.

Welcome back, one and all. I'm Sean. You're not. Remember, fellow Babies: I didn't break the news. It was that way when I got here.

"Maybe I'm wrong, but just maybe, maybe you're Right…"

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Petition supports Reebok dumping Rick Ross
Spectacular stupidity receives so many leniencies these days. Often, people let it slide because they recognize that something more appallingly ignorant will come along within a New York minute and wash away the previous dumb-f***ery like a strong, high tide.

Then again, there are those moments when people realize, "This particular crime against human dignity isn't just one stupid, offensive thing. It's one more stupid offensive thing, and it's one stupid offensive thing too many."

As Billboard reported Friday, anti-sexism activist and Ultraviolet co-founder Nita Chaudhury has begun a petition requesting that Reebok kick rapper and sneaker-endorser Rick Ross to the curb over his "U.O.E.N.O." lyrics making a mockery of date rape.

Thus far, the petition already bears 51,000 signatures and counting.

To put a fine point on it, Ross' guest verse includes the line "Put molly all in her champagne/She ain't even know it/I took her home and I enjoyed that/She ain't even know it."

Well, looking at that picture of F***-A-Duck above, it wouldn't surprise me that he'd need the assist.

To quote her petition, Chaudhury said, "[Ross'] lyrics aren't vague, he's not hinting that he raped a woman--he's clearly and proudly saying that he drugged and raped a woman who was not capable of consent. By holding Rick Ross up as something to aspire to, Reebok is sending the message that raping a woman is cool--and that's a dangerous message to send the boys and young men that Reebok markets to. This is what rape culture is. Reebok needs to know that we won't stand for this. Will you sign the petition telling Reebok that rape is NEVER okay and they should drop Rick Ross right away?"

Somehow, Ross doesn't see what merits the fuss.

"I want to make sure this is clear, that woman is the most precious gift known to man, you understand?" Ross responded during a Friday-morning radio interview. "There was a misunderstanding with a lyric, a misinterpretation. The term rape wasn't used. I would never use the term rape in my records. As far as my camp, hip-hop don't condone that, the streets don't condone that, nobody condones that. So I just wanted to reach out to all the queens that's on my timeline, all the sexy ladies, the beautiful ladies that had been reaching out to me with the misunderstanding. We don't condone rape and I'm not with that."

You didn't need to use the term "rape," you affront to dignity. When you drug a woman's drink and then have sex with her without her being fully cognizant of what's transpiring or her surroundings, that absolutely defines "date rape". All credit for your remarks making it abundantly clear that you understand the bargain-basement IQ of your target audience, though.

Oh, but you called the ladies "beautiful" and "sexy". That makes everything all better.

There's nothing to "misunderstand." Tons-of-Fun wasn't being clever or symbolic. He wasn't deriding somebody else drugging an innocent woman's drink. The words came from his mouth, with a first-person pronoun.

Look, there are times when I write this column and must keep my personal feelings at bay. This is one time when I won't.

I'd like to quote a good friend of mine, ThatGuyWithTheGlasses.com web-show host (Obscurus Lupa Presents) Allison Pregler. Last summer, she addressed references like this in an insightful Tumblr post right around the time of Noah Antwiler's suspension from the site amid uproar over his making a joke via Twitter about raping a colleague, not to mention the backlash over Daniel Tosh openly supposing (even kiddingly) that an audience member's rape at one of his club gigs might warrant a chuckle. I admit, I'm cherry-picking the most to-the-point quote for brevity's sake, but I can't recommend enough reading the entire post. This sort of thing is entirely too common, and she puts a perfect, fine point on it.

"So are rape jokes okay? Well, let me try to put it into another context," she wrote. "Murder is a very real, very serious crime. Are jokes about murder funny? Well, sometimes. Does that mean if you tell someone you're going to murder them it's going to be funny? No, not really. I think what makes rape a more sensitive subject than that has to do with the fact that the victims are still around, it's something very real and personal to them. But murder victims have family, they have friends. It's not done because they're gone. So does that mean those jokes aren't okay?

"Well, I have no definitive answer here. But context is ALWAYS the deciding factor. That's the same with any joke."

I alluded to this matter being very, very personal to me. Two people that I care about very deeply have received and been visibly rattled by rape threats over the last two years. As much as I see the logic behind the above statement, I personally never take lighter rape references well, whatever the context. Unfortunately, I'm disturbed by a culture in which the subject of rape and sexual assault is taken lighter and lighter to the point of visible, increasing desensitization.

This goes beyond Rick Ross just being a shitty rapper. This makes me regard him as human flesh wasted.

"I don't wanna fight, Jack, but you ain't ever right, you know you wRong…"

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Phil Ramone passes away at 72
The recording industry bade an architect of legends "farewell" this weekend.

Veteran, pioneering producer, recording engineer, executive, composer and songwriter Phil Ramone died Saturday at the age of 72. Ramone's son, Matt, did not elaborate with details of his father's death but said his acclaimed father "will be missed," TMZ reported Saturday. The Guardian attributed Ramone's death to a brain aneurysm. He had been hospitalized in February of this year with an aortic aneurysm.

A South African native, Ramone began his musical career as a Julliard-trained violinist who played for England's Queen Elizabeth II at 10 years old and received his U.S. citizenship at 12 years old. He would go on to collect 14 Grammy Awards throughout his career working behind the scenes and in-studio with Ray Charles, Billy Joel and Frank Sinatra, among others. His film-score credits included Flashdance, Ghostbusters and Midnight Cowboy.

On Oct.1, 1982, Ramone's co-founded A&R Recording, Inc. released Joel's 52nd Street album in Japan as the world's first commercially marketed compact disc.

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Chris Brown jabs at Drake via Young Jeezy track
Chris Brown swims out of his depth any time he verbally engages any organism that could be scientifically classified as Homo sapiens.

Come to think, I've met a few dimmer labradoodles that could arguably be consider the intellectual superior to this skid mark on Mother Nature's unmentionables.

I realize I haven't just now told anyone anything that hasn't been made abundantly apparent with every moment that Chris Brown gives the human concept of "justice" the finger by continuing to draw breath as a free man. That said, the fact that he's possibly the most worthless carbon-based life form this side of the mental defective buying up all of this week's Ridiculous real estate makes it all the more adorable that he thinks he has the ammunition to critically strike Drake from the far-off-from-the-magic-land-of-Give-a-Fuck vantage point of a Young Jeezy single.

Yet, there he is: following Drake's "5 a.m. in Toronto" pot shot insinuating that Brown's once-more ex-girlfriend Rihanna was letting the Canadian Young Money rapper dip his wick behind Brown's back, Brown fired back with a fairly lame gay-joke wordplay on Drake's album Started from the Bottom when appearing on Jeezy's "R.I.P." remix alongside Y.G. and Kendrick Lamar.

Let's set aside for the moment that the "R.I.P." remix is a blandly annoying, thudding, generic track with forgettable, lazy lyrics. Let's set aside even that it's Wrong-ception that Lamar would lower himself to this stupid little effort. As far as Drake's concerned, it should speak volumes for how little he thinks of this mental midget that he limited his own shot at Brown to a whopping four tacked-on lines in the "5 a.m. in Toronto" outro.

That's right. It wasn't even really a full verse. It was the outro. Brown embarrasses himself so hilariously and so frequently, that I suppose Drake just figured, "Why put forth the effort? This clown-shoe will ultimately do my job for me." You see, it's one thing when someone with distinctive, leading-the-pack talent screws up. In Brown's case, it's always just one more knock against an unremarkable vocalist with subpar, insincere-dickwad lyrics who seemingly was put on Earth to prove that one can always be more detestable.

Think of every great "diss" track or battle rap you've ever heard. Those MCs dig deep and get strategic when verbally dissecting a foe. Not Brown.

"Oh, yeah? Well … well … YOU'RE GAY!"

Stop trying, Chris. Stop trying, and stop breathing. Somewhere, there's a village idiot crapping in a trashcan that deserves that precious oxygen more than you. But while we're on the subject of Nature's Little "Oopsie"…

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Rihanna, Brown appear to be done … again
OK, Rihanna. I am asking out of what I recognize as misguided, baseless optimism: what, if anything at all, have you learned by now?

Los Angeles radio station Power 106 broke this story Friday when someone tweeted what's purported to be a succinct, direct quote from a recent interview Brown gave the station:

"Are you still w/ @rihanna?" @chrisbrown: "Uh,no-that's the short answer" just now to @bigboyPOWER 106 LA @tuneinbit.ly/o1QLJd
— Power 106(@Power106LA)March 29, 2013

A Power 106 reportedly told Fuse upon reporting the story, "We wouldn't have tweeted it if it wasn't true."

Early speculation, particularly stemming from Miami Herald reporting, suggests that Rihanna was once more put off Brown when he couldn't keep his hands to himself while living it up following Wednesday's impromptu performance at a Hennessy V.S. party where he pulled a few young ladies into his V.I.P. section after the mini-concert.

Rihanna posted, then fairly quickly removed, a 5 a.m. tweet Friday simply reading "This is terrible."

First off, congratulations to 411's A.J. Grey for achieving what I believe to be his first-ever filed story not to include the words "hot", "bikini body", "booty", "boobs", "slut", "shows off" or "Kardashian" in some combination or another. Way to be, Champ.

Back to the story, though. Rihanna, duly piss off. One can only hope that she deleted that tweet when someone nearby with the common sense she doesn't possess pointed out to her, "Pumpkin-Pie, you took back a violent, misogynist dingleberry that beat you to a pulp. There are piles of excrement that take umbrage by association when someone calls Chris ‘filth'. How did you really suppose this would end?! More to the point, how much pity do you really think you deserve?!"

Oh, no. It just hit me.

You thought the last five Rihanna albums were getting progressively less listenable, Babies? Just wait. Dingus will now think she possesses the combined spliced DNA of Alanis Morrissette, Adele and Gwen Stefani. More realistically? She's more like Jessie J. with a well-done brain transplant.


"Now, how could I possibly be inconspicuous when my flow is f***in' Ridiculous?"
 photo RIDICULOUS_zps450711f3.jpg

 photo LILWAYNE_zpsc15003ce.jpg
Lil Wayne: sizzurp didn't cause seizures
Oh, what a surprise.

Fresh off his encore ICU engagement to be treated for seizures, Lil Wayne took to Los Angeles' Power 106 this week and addressed what really plagues his good health.

Guess what? The man that keeps making Darwin his bitch claims it has nothing to do with the startling quantity of codeine-laced prescription cough syrup – more to the point, the happy-go-drunky, why-would-you-knowingly-drink-this amalgamation of codeine, alcohol and soda known as sizzurp – that he reportedly chugged before collapsing what must have been an impressive twitching heap.

"The bad news is I'm an epileptic, I'm prone to seizures," Wayne admitted. "Like, this isn't my first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh seizure. I've had a bunch of seizures, y'all just never hear about them. But this time it got real bad 'cause I had three of them in a row and on the third one, my heart rate went down to like 30 percent. Basically, I could've died, so that is why it was so serious. But the reason being for the seizures is just plain stress, no rest, overworking myself. They already know how to handle it. Certain times I don't even go to the hospital, but this time, it was real bad because, like I said, it was three in a row, and I've never had three back to back like that."

Yeah, Wayne. About that …

After a tip-off from reader konron in the original 411 report's
's comments, I went and got my learn on, Babies. Sizzurp contains a neuroleptic medication and first-generation antihistamine called promethazine. The strong sedative with weak antipsychotic effects has an interesting, reportedly rare side effect.

In addition to being known for causing drowsiness, dizziness and fatigue among other effects, it can also cause seizures.

Gee, I know that if I had a years-long history of epileptic episodes, I'd certainly live off a potent narcotic known to cause seizures.

Wayne, just because your target audience probably has trouble spelling their names, doesn't mean the rest of us are drooling illiterates.

 photo JAMIELIDELL_zps9476cf3d.jpg
Die in a fire so that I might then set your ashes ablaze, Wayne…
Oh, what in the name of Anne Hathaway's grumpy vagina…

I didn't want to believe it when read it this past week. Not too long after I filed the March 24 column, 411mania Music Zone editor Jeremy Thomas promoted his review of the latest album from hip-hop's turd in the punchbowl, I Am Not A Human Being II.

It's an apropos title, considering that when extraterrestrials finally explore our "hyoo-man" concept of the pop-in and arrive unannounced to draw conclusions from study of our popular culture, this chucklehead is the first specimen that unfortunately must be classified Homo sapiens that I urge Earth-leaders to disown.

Jeremy and I harbor fairly similar tastes, so nothing about his assessment really stunned me. He described, for the most part, a typically vapid, lazy, uninspired brisk jog through the motions with a few comparatively brighter points from a rapper that once displayed some combustible promise but has since coasted on being an icon to mediocrity with a personality that appeals to the slightly brain-damaged the way jingling keys and chanting "Dancing phalanges!" would overjoy an infant. One line near the end stopped me cold, the way a surprise bullet from behind freezes an action-movie villain with eyes suddenly swollen to dinner-plate sizes.

"On ‘Back to You,' which uses a sample from Jamie Lidell's ‘Compass' for its hook, Wayne sounds inspired and his flow has an urgency that you don't hear from most of the rest of the album," Jeremy wrote.


He didn't. He couldn't have. That slurring mental-defective that really thought that equating a vagina with Emmett Till's mangled face and seemingly believes codeine is an important part of any epileptic's balanced breakfast hasn't the skill. He hasn't the wit. He hasn't the still-kicking gray matter to sample that song effectively.

If I have to suffer, you're all suffering with me.

Some may need a history lesson.

There are two versions of "Compass". The first appeared on Lidell's 2010 album of the same name, and it features a somewhat trippy, ethereal tone with multi-faceted instrumentation and production. The better-known version is the "Red Dead on Arrival" take, a spare, acoustic-guitar-and-strings reworking for the hit video game Red Dead Redemption, where it appears as one of the few mid-gameplay tracks that features vocals.

Allow me to voice my deeper-seeded personal fuming over this first, since it does exemplify how unwise sampling is the poison edge of the sword when it isn't employed by an enlightened, intuitive artist's more delicate, understanding touch.

Many hear "Compass" and justifiably associate it only with a title that has achieved deserved legendary status among the current video-game generation's endeavors. Count me among them, as that is where I too first heard it. It runs deeper than that with me, though. Once heard, the song has stuck with me through a turbulent last two years, particularly as an ever-present reminder of a person I regard as quite possibly the love of my life. It's a brief, tender lament of how distance and time can't lessen a man's need to be by his love's side again – come Hell or high water. It's a moment's desperate yearning for the one place that will bring him peace, and the fire he'll walk through without blinking even if only to stand there and draw his last breath. This isn't the place to bore you all with details, but it means a myriad of things deep in my heart.

That's music's enduring power. Songs are written from distinctive places, but become "ours" as we build connections and associations that imbue them with things much bigger and more enduring than our temporary, frail flesh and bones.

Enter this fuck-wit.

Samples can be so very, very effective, and often have been. Producers from Dr. Dre to Kanye West have interpolated other songs' elements imbued with certain moods or motifs they intend to complement their own words, and have done so to great success. With no due respect whatsoever to Lil Wayne, they typically don't drag their samples kicking and screaming completely from their original emotional contexts and make them accomplices to droning, unoriginal, vulgar booty jams the way Wayne took a ballad and drew dicks all over it.

That's hip-hop's enduring albatross: more than being merely vulgar, with a few exceptions, the drivel that mainstream audiences gobble up with spoons displays no genuine attempt at thoughtful artisanship. Say what you will about P. Diddy walking a tightrope sampling a beloved modern classic such as "Every Breath You Take" to honor The Notorious B.I.G., but he somehow made it work. He took a song whose lyrics have notoriously unsettling, voyeuristic undertones and made it work as an honorarium. Gun to my head, I would suppose that worked because he took a fairly serious song and kept it at that "serious" half of the spectrum.

Again: Wayne … "Compass" … dicks all over it.

There's a personal lesson in this, though. It was one that I had to remember on the fly.

Don't take anything personally.

Am I disgusted at what Wayne did to that song? Yes. Absolutely. However, even essentially defecating all over those evocative words can't completely erase what they mean to me. Nothing really can. That goes for any song. Sure, it bothers me. Sure, it saddens me to hear a song like that with no respect whatsoever to a sampled song's identity or what it might mean to people who recognize it.

Still, what's mine is mine.

The sun's comin' up…I'm ridin' with Lady Luck
Thanks for stopping in this week, Babies. Keep your stick on the ice. I'm Sean. You're not. Never dull your colors for someone else's canvas.

Oh, one more thing…


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