By Chaz Kangas
By Sound of the City
By Peter Gerstenzang
By Katherine Turman
By Chris Kornelis
By Brian McManus
By Ray Cummings
By Nicholas Pell
One of the more magical aspects of "Juicy" is how B.I.G. transforms the golden arc traced by the trajectory of pissed-out champagne into a negative-to-positive arc of becoming bigger than one's poverty. That's how B.I.G. does: making things bigger, repeating crack-dealing common sense in Charlton Heston's timbre and calling it the "Ten Crack Commandments." But there's never the formal advancement of crack-rap that sometimes bleeds through when your vernacular assaults its tropes like Rammellzee's or Cam'ron's.
Whereas B.I.G.'s mythos is mostly a matter of bloating, the last several albums Bay Area luminary Mac Dre recorded before his untimely death last Halloween have more to do with "thizzing" (slang for being fucked on Ecstasy), making him more of an absurdo-slanguist like Ramm and Cam. Refracted through his perpetually MDMA-goofed sense of the really "treal" and all the personas borne of his late-career self-mythologizing (Dre Bledsoe, Dre J Simpson, Dre MacGyver, Thizzelle Washington, Thizzy Marley, to name a few), Dre's pimp lines come out kind of like video streams of raver girls pissing on niche porn sites: funny, morally questionable, sexually confusing, potentially progressive, never streamlined.
Last July's Ronald Dregan: Dreganomics transposes the trickle-down aspect of Reaganomics to the pimp game: Squares' wealth trickles down to Dre through prostitutes after prostitutes pay him for sex. The chiasmatic representation of pimping as prostitution to prostitutes foregrounds issues of sexual exchange value in late capitalism and rephrases the pimp-'ho relationship in clearly less repressive terms than "beating money out of your woman." And it all sets the stage for a pretty pointed big-dick joke in the song "Dreganomics," when Dre describes his "tryin' to live off the fat of the land" as the American way.
March's Da U.S. Open is a collaboration between Mac Dre as Andre Macassi and his protégé/onetime nemesis/cuddy-4-ever Mac Mall as Mall Macenroe. In the latest issue of Murder Dog, Mall says the tennis theme is about passing the microphone back and forth. But it also has its genesis in a line from "Non Discriminant" off Dre's earlier Genie of the Lamp: "Andre Macassi/I got a backhand to get a bitch right." Chemically influenced phantasmagoric perversion of generic pimp imagery doesn't always flip a Nas/Jay-Z hotline-made-hot song toward a model of sexual egalitarianism via identification with a non-RBG Dead Prez. Sometimes it just cartoonizes misogyny. But as long as the intentions are hallucinated and the drawings are goofy, you can pencil in some change for a change.