OutKast "Rosa Parks" (laface)
Mos Def "Ms. Fat Booty" (rawkus)
Rage Against the Machine are enemies of the hip-hop party. They're betraying the basic principles of DJ-lectic materialism: "All sounds made by guitar, bass, drum, and vocals." Didn't Comrade Chuck D reify Run-D.M.C.'s postulation that a DJ could be a band? This group is undoing the labors of 20 years! Reactionary swine! How dare they rock such bells!
I don't get the complaints that Beck is making fun of the love-man mode. All the great love men got off on being funny. Prince knew he was funny ("Well, maybe not that ride"). Al Green knew he was funny ("Let's get married today, might as well"). Isaac Hayes knew he was funny ("If some chump would rip you off me, I wouldn't be responsible for my actions thereafter"). And Barry Whitewell, Barry White. Humor added to their vulnerability, their friendliness, their intimacy. Being funny is how Beck amplifies his cheesecake appeal.
The morning man at Connecticut's "modern" rock station is that "modern" "rock" icon of another era, Dee Snider. I caught him one morning while the newscaster was reading an item about Rosa Parks and OutKast, and the well-versed host asked, "Who's Rosa Parks?" The newscaster had to tell him, "You knowback of the bus?" To which he replied, "Oh yeah, Rosa Parks. I wonder if she knows South Park." I wish I was making this shit up.
New Haven, Connecticut
In Boston you'll hear a Limp Bizkit/Method Man track on alt radio, but a Method Man cut with Fred Durst guesting would never get a spin. If it's white funk metal hip-hop with guys who can't rap out of a paper bag, we'll play you. If you're black, sorry, our audience doesn't want to hear it. You hate to use the R word, but what else the fuck is it?
Best single, most startlingly magical moment in recorded hip-hop, 1999: the sonic morph from Grandmaster Flash & the Furious 5, live at the T-Connection in the Bronx, November 1979, to the Roots, live at . . . check this out . . . Palais X-tra in Zurich, Switzerland, 1999, at the beginning of The Roots Come Alive.
They used to call it gangsta rapnow it could be called acid rap. Rockin' fellas like Jay-Z, DMX, Dr. Dre, even Eminem, are putting out the most cutting-edge, disorienting, and transporting sounds around. Beats you've never heard, wild time signatures, timbres, and tones that are every bit as avant-garde as Steve Reich or La Monte Young.
1. Rage Against the Machine: Racism Bad, Black People Good! (Epic) 25
2. Beck: Racism Bad, Black People Funny! (DGC) 20
3. Pavement: White on Both Sides (Matador) 20
4. Mary J. Blige: The Only R&B Album White People Pay Attention To! (MCA) 5
5. Kid Rock: Racism Bad, Black People Cool! (Atlantic/Lava) 5
6. Ol' Dirty Bastard: Racism . . . Um . . . What Was the Question? (Elektra) 5
7. Eminem: Racism Bad, Black People Very Good to Me! (Aftermath/Interscope) 5
8. Randy Newman: Racism Bad, Ol' White Folks Worse! (DreamWorks) 5
9. Mos Def: Black on Both Sides (Rawkus) 5
10. Tom Waits: Realism Bad, Ancient Black Styles Good! (Epitaph) 5
The Cash Money Millionaires introduced the year's best new slang term with the deliciously onomatopoetic "Bling, bling" (meaning literal diamonds, as in, "Wow, that Rolex is bling, bling," or the overall quality of repasentin wealth and success, "Gotdamn, nigga, you is blinging like a mug!"). They may have had the best ice boast of all time with "Got the price of a mansion around my neck and wrist," but they also sound really stupid. Lemme get this straight, you could've gotten some land and an incredible crib, but instead you spent your paper on some pretty stones? How long until the Cash Money Millionaires are broke? Six years? Seven? What would you pay to fly ahead in time and see that Behind the Music? How about Puffy's?
Brooklyn, New York
Jay-Z Vol. 3: The Life and Times of S. Carter (def jam) 27
Macy Gray On How Life Is (epic) 23
Dr. Dre Dr. Dre2001 (aftermath/interscope) 15
Mary J. Blige Mary (mca) 5
Pharoahe Monch Internal Affairs (rawkus) 5
The Artist Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic (arista) 5
Mobb Deep Murda Muzik (loud) 5
Mos Def Black on Both Sides (rawkus) 5
Lenny Kravitz 5 (virgin) 5
Q-Tip Amplified (arista) 5
"If you don't own your masters, the masters will own you."
Chuck D, Public Enemy
(Can TAFKAP get a witness?)
"The Revolution's in our collard greens, baby."
Carl Hancock Rux, poet
(Can Mos Def get a witness?)
Camden, New Jersey
"I don't really know but somebody said some musical rhythms can mess with your head."