You can catch the reader-walker every morning on Sunset Boulevard, a shirtless, hairy doctor with his nose in the Times and no intention of stopping. A few blocks up is rapper-jogger Beron Thompkins, Ellay Khule to those who get out the way. Khule practices his WPMs while exercising—good for gasp control, but hell on smog. Gridlock schmidlock. He’s been doing double time since ’89, back when the Dirty South was in dirty diapers, back when Beron could still run through South Central’s Good Life Café, a tiny health food store where he could sip a carrot juice with dandelions (good for respiratory) and throw his babbling ass in the middle of an open-mic ventilation. There, Fat Joe got booed, Bone got ideas, and Beron’s CVE crew got every hurt feeling on tape.
High on style and whatever was in Ganja K’s five-foot bamboo chalice, “Skillenium” slows, but doesn’t screw, Bambaataa’s “Looking for the Perfect Beat” to curb-detector crawl. Khule and his Hip Hop Kclan could move mad cow at the auctioneer battles documented in Herzog’s How Much Wood Would a Woodchuck Chuck? For L.A.’s chop is as fast as Houston’s is slow. It ain’t codeine, and Lloyd Bridges knows, as his Airplane! clip leads off with “I picked the wrong week to quit amphetamines.” “Faces of Def” is even more frantic, with spigot-drop bass and a mouse having a seizure inside a cowbell. Next morning, the reader-walker rocks headphones.