It won’t be much longer now, so let’s take a look back, one per month. Indulge me.
British Rappers Pretending to be Rappers. The very first Status Ain’t Hood ever: a review of three shows I saw during one incredibly hectic weekend. Jesus Christ, I was younger then. This was back during the weird little moment when grime actually seemed like it might be a thing, but I can still safely say that that Kano set was among the best I’ve seen since I landed on these shores. I actually wrote a few of my favorite posts during that first month, August 05, like the Scream Tour review and the David Banner thing.
Kanye West Makes Me Proud. This was right after Hurricane Katrina, when it felt especially weird and trifling to be writing about music and getting paid for it. It started as a rant on Kanye blurting out against Bush on live TV, and then it turned into a rant about how much I loved Late Registration. (I loved that album.) I jammed out the whole thing in one long half-coherent chunk, and it turned out to be my first blog entry to rack up ten thousand hits.
Acting in a White Stripes/Michel Gondry Video, Part 1 and Part 2. I still can’t quite understand how this happened. I’d interviewed Michel Gondry along with a few other music-video directors for D.I.W., and then, a few weeks later, I got a call from one of his people about maybe being in a video. The video turned out to be for the White Stripes’ “Denial Twist,” and it’s one of the more middling entries in the Gondry oeuvre. I got my brother cast in it as well. (I’m Tall Conan; he’s Tall Bodyguard, we’re both wearing masks). I got to meet the White Stripes and Conan O’Brien, and we even eventually ended up getting paid for it. I also got in a shitheap of trouble with the White Stripes’ publicity engine for writing about the thing the night I got done with shooting the video. A few months later, Jack White called me “some asshole actor” in an NME interview. And that’s after I took out the line about Meg’s fucked up teeth! I ended up seeing the video once on Fuse and once on MTV2.
The Irv Gotti Trial, Day One. This was back when my bosses at the Voice thought that maybe I was a real journalist, so they sent me to cover Irv and Chris Gotti’s trial for money laundering, and I extensively blogged the thing every day for two weeks. Immediately the not-guilty verdicts came down, I ended up riding the couthouse elevator down with Irv and Ja Rule, both of them bouncing up and down all excited, Ja screaming “It’s Murdah!” over and over.
Pitchfork’s Year-End List Vs. Haters. I get all pissy over the comments section at Stereogum, music-writer hilarity ensues.
Status Ain’t Hood Interviews Ghostface and Theodore Unit. I was working on my Wu-Tang reunion story, and I was supposed to interview Ghostface. Somehow that ended up entailing waiting around for four hours at the “Back Like That” video shoot to get ten minutes with the guy. And sometime during those four hours, a bunch of Theodore Unit guys grabbed my tape recorder and demanded to be interviewed. Total delirium.
A Zombie Apocalypse Playlist. I came up with some total random-ass bullshit on a slow day, and my friends still clown me for it.
Three 6 Mafia: Oscar Winners. One of the defining moments in my life, clearly. I miss Crunchy Black.
Things I Learned Watching Cam’ron’s Killa Season. The picture that Grant Siedlecki drew for this entry ended up in 50 Cent’s anti-Cam dis video a year or so later, which was just incredibly weird. This is a pretty good opportunity to shout out Grant, who drew or painted a ton of really great pictures for this blog over the years and who never asked for a cent. Also: I spent two and a half hours in a movie theater watching Killa Season. Just felt like I should point that out.
The Bamboozle Festival and the Emo Takeover. Here’s something else I did: I spent an entire weekend at an emo festival at the Giants Stadium parking lot. Never say I don’t work for you guys.
Jay-Z’s Reasonable Doubt Anniversary Show at Radio City: Really That Good. This ended up being my favorite show that I covered while working at the Voice. Jay knows how to make events happen.
Status Ain’t Hood Interviews Method Man. I loved this interview. Meth was unusually candid here, possibly because he was high as fuck and getting higher every minute. Immediately before I talked to Meth, one of the contestants from the I’m From Rolling Stone reality show interviewed him. When they showed it on TV, he and Meth were arm-wrestling. Definitely read to the end to see what Meth has to say about emo bands.
Status Ain’t Hood Interviews the Mountain Goats. This was the first time I met John Darnielle, who went on to become a pretty good friend. That’s been one of the great things about doing this blog: getting to meet and sometimes know heroes of mine. I think we spent as much time talking about comic books as we did about music here.
“Chicken Noodle Soup” Blamed for Alleged Terrell Owens Suicide Attempt. This entry had nothing to do with T.O.’s story; I just learned the art of Google-baiting headlines from the master. It was my account of the Webstar and Young B record-release party at the Rucker Park Playground in Harlem, lest anyone think the ringtone dance-rap thing is an exclusively Southern phenomenon.
Martin Scorsese Loves the Dropkick Murphys. I guess someone from the band read my rant on how amped I was to hear “Shipping Up to Boston” in The Departed; I got a whole lot of autographed Dropkick Murphys stuff in the mail soon afterward.
Pitbull: Better Than Nas. People got so mad over this one! But the headline was just an inside joke! The piece didn’t even mention Nas! It’s just about how much I liked Pitbull’s El Mariel, which, admittedly, was a whole fuck of a lot better than Hip Hop is Dead. For the record, though, I fully expect the self-titled Nas album to be better than The Boatlift, Pitbull’s follow-up, which sucked.
Remembering James Brown. I’ve eulogized a great many important figures during my tenure here: Wilson Pickett, J. Dilla, Desmond Dekker, Lee Hazlewood, Bo Diddley. James Brown was unquestionably the biggest and most important of these, and I was truly proud of what I came up with here.
Live: High School Musical Runs the World. In an effort to understand the best-selling phenomenon of 2006, I went to the see the High School Musical tour in Jersey. Except I forgot my notepad, so I had to take notes on the wrinkled wrapper of the Auntie Ann’s pretzel I’d bought at Port Authority. So: only unaccompanied adult male in an arena full of screaming kids, scribbling frantically on a scrap of wax paper. I enjoyed my time as the undisputed creepiest man alive. (Speaking of Disney, I’m writing this entry today because I forgot to DVR Camp Rock.)
Live: Conservative Boogeyman Toby Keith. This was my attempt to rip off Robert Christgau as accurately as possible, and I think it came off pretty well.
Status Ain’t Hood Interviews LCD Soundsystem. The second-best interview I’ve ever done.
Sanjaya Malakar: America’s Long National Nightmare Finally Ends. I had to put an American Idol post somewhere in here. Every time I wrote about that show, I got tons and tons of traffic from people who, judging by the comments, may have never read any form of music criticism before. This made me very, very happy.
Miranda Lambert and the Nature of Pop. Plenty of times in this space I’ve used some random-ass jumping-off point to get all nebulous and theoretical, and this is one of my favorite examples of that approach. I sort of used No Depression as a strawman here, but sometimes impassioned defenses of pop need strawmen.
OutKast and UGK’s “International Players Anthem”: Song of the Year. I was just dizzy in love with this song when I wrote this, and I think it comes through. Actually, I’m still dizzy in love with this song.
Why You Can’t Hear Against Me’s Masterpiece. So I wrote this big impassioned rant about how Against Me’s label had put copy-protection on retail copies of their album, how I couldn’t rip the copy I bought to iTunes. Turns out my computer was just busted. Whoops.
Live: Daft Punk Smash Puny Humans. My five hundredth post, and the one where I was faced with the unenviable task of describing Daft Punk’s euphoric headfuck of a live show. The more I think about this show, the more I love it.
Celebrity Rap Superstar: What Might’ve Been. So MTV asked me to try out to be one of the judges on this little abortion of a reality TV show, and for a little while I was all excited that maybe I’d get picked and my douchebag TV-commenter career would be off and running. When they didn’t pick me, I got all sour-grapes and wrote this post. But given how that show turned out, thank God things happened the way they did.
Lil Wayne Should Slow Down. I don’t always fall all over this guy! See? See? (October of last year was the month I got married, so I really didn’t have too much to work with here.)
8 Diagrams: RZA’s Drug-Rap Masterwork. It still bugs me out that everyone didn’t fall in love with 8 Diagrams the way I did.
Vampire Weekend: Hated On Mostly. I had so much fun writing about these guys, which was probably a pretty significant reason why I loved the album as much as I did. Nothing gets me going a hype-controversy shitstorm.
Status Ain’t Hood Interviews Killer Mike. The best interview I’ve ever done.
In Defense of Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop.” I really mean it, man.
Live: Grand Buffet Hate the Pope. Sometime in 2008, I realized I’d spent years writing Status Ain’t Hood without ever repping for Grand Buffet. Mistake corrected. I love these guys, even if the rest of the world still hasn’t noticed.
Live: Kanye West Justifies Everything. Proud to say I spazzed out on this one. Crusty Bonnaroo types don’t know what they missed.
Status Ain’t Hood Does Summer Jam, Again. Any time I successfully make NY rap dudes sad that they missed Summer Jam, my work is done.