Who’s in love with St. Vincent? Raise your hands.
I can’t see your hands out there in the internets, so I am just going to assume everyone has at least one hand in the air.
Who would be in your emcee dream team?
I recently watched a video on YouTube featuring an interview in which Mos Def talked about an idea he had to raise money for charity by having an epic hip hop battle. In said battle, the masters of Hip Hop culture, in its varied forms, would be crowned by actual competition as opposed to vague and baseless bragging, or by trademarking yourself as “The Greatest Rapper Alive.”
The showdown would have a battle of marching bands, followed by a battle of the breakers, a battle of the DJs, and then a battle of the beats (Kanye anyone?). The finale would be a Battle Royale in which two emcee dream teams competed to see which team was the best.
Since the idea was also a way to call out Lil’ Wayne, Mos said he would captain one team and Wayne would captain the other, with each captain being able to assemble the team out of whoever he chose. Mos Def said the other four members of his team would be Doom, Nas, Jay Electronica, and Black Thought.
This got me to thinking, it would be fun to see who people came up with for their own dream teams.
If you had the chance to win a million dollars if the team you formed could defeat all comers, who would be your five emcees? I’m really hoping to get feedback on this, I really want to see who everyone picks.
My dream team is as follows, in no particular order (I know, it is really close to Mos Def’s, but that is part of what got me so excited watching the video. Brian and I instantly mentioned Doom and Black Thought the moment Mos said “Dream Team”):
1. Mos Def
2. Doom (aka, MF Doom, aka, Mad Villain, etc.)
3. Black Thought
5. Childish Gambino
This is clearly the most controversial pick. I very well may regret it, being that Gambino has been on the scene all of ten minutes, and his inclusion on the list means leaving off guys like KRS-One and Nas.
Yet, for now, I stand by the pick. It’s always good to have new blood on the team, and I have never been as impressed, as quickly, and as early in an emcee’s career as I am with the young Mr. Glover. He hearkens back to when Hip Hop was supposed to make you smile. I laugh out loud at his turns of phrase consistently, even though he isn’t some sort of novelty act, he’s just really clever. See that, there I go singing his praises, that should be saved for another post.
So, there’s mine, who is on your team?!?
It is my great pleasure (no homo) for me to introduce the founder of this scrappy upstart blog, Scott S. aka Scrambler Biggs, aka Scotty Smalls, aka Professor Thaddeus McGregor, aka (unrenderable symbol).
It was the year 1982. Reagan had just taken office two years prior and was making it rain rich people’s money on poor people. It was a great year for music, as evidenced by the slew of amazing, still hip number 1 hits: The Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me”, Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical”, John Cougar’s “Jack and Diane”, and Holland Oates’ “Maneater”. Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra Terrestrial was filling seatholes in movie theaters nationwide. And this is where our story begins …
Scott S. or, “The Black Cobra”, as he likes to be called, came into this world in the middle of a showing of E.T. He burst forth from his mother’s fertile womb at the popular local cineplex during the scene where Elliott and E.T. ride in front of the moon. There are not many details about his birth besides this. (This is perhaps why, later in life, there would be much speculation as to whether The Black Cobra was an American citizen). When I tried to reach his mother for comment, my calls were not returned.
He was birthed during E.T., this led to a childhood consumed by it. Wallpaper, lunch boxes, bedsheets, underwear. You name it, he had it. Since his real father’s identity is not known, Scrambler began thinking that E.T. was his father. (This thinking was further encouraged by the perpetually soused Uncle Griggs, who, by the way, wasn’t his real uncle, who would tell Scrambler of his absent, alien father who was due back to earth “any day now”. There was something about the rapture in there too). Scrambler also developed a hopeless and intense celebrity crush on Drew Barrymore. More on this later …
As Scrambler moved through childhood and into adolescence, he quickly realized he was gifted in several special ways. He first realized this when his mother constantly told him so. Constantly. It was embarrassing.
By the time he was 14, Scrambler could grow a thick, full, bushy beard. It was then that he decided to start dressing exactly like an old sea captain. Since there are no photographs of The Black Cobra prior to 2001, here is an artist’s rendering of what Scrambler might have looked like …
He ran away from home at the age of fifteen after an argument with his mother about the correct pronunciation of Kraft’s instant macaroni and cheese product. He fled west stopping along the way only for what he thought were the essentials: Camel Lights, the Best of Chris Issac cassette tape, Funyuns, and RC Cola. These items were in addition to what he grabbed on his way out of the house: E.T. VHS tape, Drew Barrymore’s alleged phone number and address (which he received in exchange for a Lay’s Potato Chip likeness of the Virgin Mary), his favorite t-shirt, and a handwritten script of the pilot episode of “Wings”. After several days on the road, The Black Cobra ended up at Disneyland. It was here that he settled and got a job as Goofy. He slept in a janitor’s closet and was sustained mainly by cotton candy and Orange Slice. Every day he bussed into L.A. in hopes of running into Drew Barrymore. He was too scared to use the address he was given.
After two years as Goofy, Scrambler applied and got into the film program at UCLA. The film that got him in was a short he wrote, directed, and starred in called “Griggs”, a fabricated biopic about his uncle (who wasn’t really his uncle). Scrambler was on the fast track to Hollywood stardom: Top of his class, brilliant film concepts, and an uncanny ability to write good stories. This path he was on was wildly diverted when, in an attempt to ask Ms. Barrymore onto a project, he ended up in jail for trespassing. The charges were then increased to stalking when a search warrant of Scrambler’s dorm turned up with all kinds of miscellaneous Drew Barrymore items, including her address and phone number. She was just his favorite actress. He had grown out of his crush phase. But that didn’t stop him from being incarcerated for 6 months in a minimum security prison. I know, it doesn’t make any sense, and it not fair, but it’s Hollywood.
While in prison, Scrambler devoted his life to the Lord. He spent his days reading the Bible and every Max Lucado book. He worked out and ate a shit ton of ice cream sandwiches. It was in prison that he got the nickname Scotty Smalls after a prison movie night showing of “The Sandlot”.
Once he was released from prison, Smalls decided it was time for a change. He enrolled at the University of Phoenix online, where he completed a degree in Microfinance (with a minor in African American Studies). Smalls met his nemesis and friend John “Waldo” Welsey Nelsonsonton during his time at the University of Phoenix. Their falling out or “The Pudding Rift”, as it is referred to, is still talked about to this day “on campus”. After a few years of no communication, Waldo reached out to Smalls with a challenge. It was during the events of the several months following, that Smalls came to be known as the Black Cobra. Why the Black Cobra? Few know. Ask the North Koreans. They know why.
With his problems in the rearview mirror, and a bright future laid out before him, Smalls settled down to a life of celibacy in Elko, Nevada. He started a foundation that helps teens with celebrity crushes and has adopted 5 children, Fredward, Edwick, Phoebe, Zooey, and Chuck. Smalls still makes movies, but on a much smaller scale. They have been favorably compared to the brilliant work of one Stephen Groo. The Black Cobra enjoys knitting and running ultra marathons in his spare time.
After mentioning Boxer Thursday, I got a hankering to post some music videos by The National. I just fall more in love every day, even after two years (I know, I was a late adopter).
If their new CD, due May 11th, is as good as I hope it will be, they just may stand alone as my favorite band. So far, so good, download a free track off of the new CD: here.
Ventured down to Tacoma tonight for an open mic of sorts. My friends Claire and Gina were signed up to perform. They are remarkably talented by themselves, but sometimes join forces to melt faces, hearts, and ears with their sweet harmonies. I hope to devote a post to each of these lovely ladies very soon, but for now, here is a picture I captured tonight (with my cell phone).
if you are in Seattle tomorrow, catch Gina (and her bandmate, Mark) at El Diablo Coffee in Queen Anne!
I apologize for the brevity and lack of links and other media, but as mentioned earlier, I will be featuring a post for both Claire and Gina in the not so distant future!
James Kochalka is a genius.
I don’t remember what vortex of good luck and happy endings I must’ve walked into to find this guy and his art, but the discovery of his diary comic over at AmericanElf.com makes me feel better about the future of the entire human race.
Yes, where I once saw the world as hopelessly flawed by the evolution of so wretched a creature as humankind, I now realize that there could be nothing more beautiful than the work of a flawed madman with comic flare.
If this doesn’t make sense to you, I’d suggest that you take a gander at his work. It gives you the same warm-fuzzies that past generations experienced with comics like Family Circus and Ziggy.
Only instead of cliches about love and life, it’s filled with punk rock.
Got it? Good. You’ll forgive me for the short post, but I’ve got to get back to his website and catch up with the last ten years of diary comics that I’ve so carelessly missed.