big whoop

the mandatory angry black man shot...

(originally published in ON THE VERGE v3.0 e-mail monthly - January 3, 2001)

Cynical black manís log: 1.1.01

I'm at a friendís party at this swank martini lounge, sitting at a table close to the stairwell. Most of my friends have gone to use the restroom. I put my drink down, I turn towards the stairwell, and Puff Daddyís making his way up. He threw me so off-guard that I didnít even notice that Jennifer Lopez was with him. I saw a shapely figure, I knew it was a female ornament, I just didnít make out who. It wouldnít be the last time we saw Puffy. He made it quite obvious that he wanted to be seen, walking around while profiling on his cell phone and all. Itís quite surreal to see a celebrity in person that youíve spent so much time despising. Prior to that night, Puff Daddy existed to me as an annoying voice, an airbrushed photo in a magazine, or a cluster of electrons on my television screen. I was forced to admit to myself that he is indeed real, no matter how artificial he may act.

Since then, I had been trying to figure out how I was going to work this into my opening rant for the New Year. Around New Yearís Eve, it hit me. The Puff Daddy sighting was a reminder of one of my predictions for 2001: a continuation of "ghetto fabulous" audio and visuals for worldwide consumption. Donít even expect me to get all excited about a New Year, Century, or Millennium. I made that mistake in 2000 and by the beginning of July, I was screaming at people in Central Park. That ainít gonna happen this year. If it does, it wonít be because I deluded myself into thinking that things will get better or that people will get smarter. And so, in hopes that you wonít make the same mistake that I did and go verbally or physically postal halfway through this year, allow me to share with you a few of my predictions for 2001.

  • Technology will advance, but people will not.
  • Time will march on, but the masses will remain stagnant.
  • Manís God complex will continue to grow exponentially. (Why stop at a sheep when we can clone Jesus? No, I'm not kidding. See for yourself: Is it any surprise that theyíre based in California?)
  • Music will continue to be the universal language, but no one will act as if it is so.
  • People that have no business breeding will do so anyway.
  • More people will log on to electronic bulletin boards and hide behind usernames for the sheer juvenile thrill of being able to say all the things that they would never say to someoneís face.
  • Someone will talk about having third eye vision when his or her hindsight isnít even 20/20.
  • Someone will die because they just had to "keep it real."
  • "Whassup, nigga?" will become the unofficial national greeting. (oh wait, it already has. Never mind.)
  • Regardless of the fact that it will be a new Millennium, peopleís actions will convey regressive thought. Ignorance will still be in vogue. And the open-minded will become more frustrated with every passing second.
In other words, donít expect anything new to occur this year. Ultimately, it will be more of the same, just slightly different. Or as Mos Def put it, "Same song, just remixed." Mark my words: the only new thing that will take place in 2001 will be A NEW LOW. Sorry folks, but my faith in human beings has rendered itself null and void.

Now that I have completely and totally bummed some of you out, welcome to year number three of ON THE VERGE, the little e-mail monthly that could (and does on occasion). Think of us as the extra-added bonus on your best day and one of the few bright spots on your worst one. Still doing our regular: reviewing some stuff that hasnít hit the market yet and trying to catch up to all those other releases that have been out for the past few months. Weíre still doiní this for free, still doiní this for the newcomers as well as those who are "down with the scene." Still talkiní about all types of music. Still shootiní off our mouths about things we love and things we hate. And hopefully, still talkiní to the heads and not above your head.

But before we get to the reviews, a few predictions about music in 2001 (nothing new, of course):

  • Some embarrassingly wack releases, some unbelievably brilliant ones.
  • At least one collaboration that you never thought would happen.
  • Musicians will hate DJs even more. (IS THAT POSSIBLE???)
  • A baby boom of Internet MCs for the new Millennium.
  • A dope MC will kick brain-dead rhymes for the sake of mass appeal, but theyíll arrange it really well so no one will notice.
  • A substandard MC will become extremely gifted...seemingly overnight.
  • Sadly, more musical pioneers will leave this earth.
  • A whole slew of teen acts will replace the ones that dominated the charts last year, thereby erasing the already paper-thin affections of ten to sixteen year-olds everywhere and starting them off with a clean mental state, earnestly proclaiming that their new found teen dream is different from the rest.
  • Underground and above ground music will blur into each other like never before, making us all wonder why we even made a distinction in the first place.
Despite all of the nonsensical things that we bring into something as wonderful as music, it is still a gift of GOD. Somehow, some way, we WILL make it through 2001. And even smile, head nod, and dance a little bit in the process.

Happy New Year.

{jason randall smith}

other New Year's rants include:
1.2.02 - a new chapter
1.5.00 - pre-millennium insanity

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