When you are a 6 Time Emcee Freestyle Battle Champion (and a goofy, caucasian, Nicholas Cage loooking one at that) I guarantee you plenty of hate and vitriol gets thrown your way. I have played for years as a street musician…from the STL Delmar Boulevard U City Loop to the Farmer’s Markets of L.A. As you surely know the general stereotype of street musicians is that they’re all homeless, drunk, high, and almost assuredly crappy. I’ve had people throw quarters at my head that have chipped teeth, try to rob me, and steal my money, guitars, and merchandise. People have called me just about every conceivable good and bad name you can think of because I’m a white guy who raps and plays the guitar.
I am a Folk Rapper. I can play you hundreds of songs on the guitar and piano, sing lead in your band, and write or improv some of the hottest raps you’ve ever heard come. This line of work lends itself to dilemmas. For starters like many of you Dear Readers I think most modern Pop Rock, Rap, or Country is materialistic, uninspired sludge. American Idol makes me want to go Cobain on a pistol grip pump (in my lap at all times, I might add).
My heroes are Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, George Clinton, Funkadelic, Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, James Brown, Beck, Leonard Cohen, Sonic Youth, Soundgarden, De La Soul, Wu-Tang Clan, Ghostface, Rakim, Digital Underground, Prince Paul, Dan The Automator, MF Doom, El-P, Edan, Eyedea, Kanye West, and Jay-Z….to name but a few. Many of these artists are hated on too. Probably lots more often than me. Okay way more often. I’m not even Pauly Shore famous.
I would say I favor most Indie or Underground music by nature but can be won over by a great pop song just as soon as the next fan. I like many of my 30 something friends still pine for the 90s when making something experimental and alternative wasn’t a strike against a band and Rock & Hip Hop were non exclusive. No one had to pick sides. The world was uniting. John Lennon was a prophet.
Nowadays it’s hard to even call current L.A. and STL commercial radio Rap Hip Hop. It’s more like Club Rap or Dub Step. Call me crazy but I thought all the heavily overproduced dance music of the early millenium was but a temporary phase. Once Ms. Spears shaved her head and Lindsay Lohan became a real life mean girl I thought all the Paris Hilton cocaine rap would dissipate back into the Ethos. Alas 13 years after JT punched Brit’s V card Clear Channel still feels the need to lace every chorus with a Spector-esque Wall Of Auto Tune. Say what you will about T-Pain but he sure as hell brought Sexy Back. But I digress.
Haters hate because they need an outlet for their pain. As a street musician I was the easiest target in sight. Plus I was singing Love songs. I get it. If you ain’t feeling lovely it’s hard to fully appreciate a good Love song. But even if you don’t love the tune folks all you have to do in the street is walk on by. Many people, from the mentally imbalanced to the seemingly stable, have taken it upon themselves to hurl just about every invective you could imagine. Get a Job! Culture Vulture! You Suck! Wigger!!!! And of course…when you freestyle over a classical acoustic guitar in the middle of St. Louis people are going to want to battle you. Really Real Talk.
I have been called the N bomb by white and black people as a slur and as a term of endearment. I’ve beaten gangster rappers in battles and had them want to come after me later. I remember one time these guys in the Southern Illinois boondocks tried to run me and my black friend from college off the road and lead us on a high speed chase through Alton.
One Saturday night in the U City Loop I had a teenage kid grab my copiously full tip bucket and take off at a full sprint. He must have been watching me close because he grabbed it while I was on a cell phone call and it took at least 5-10 seconds to get up and take off running after him. We ended up going at least 6 blocks and me yelling STOP POLICE at the top of my lungs before he dropped the bucket and kept on running.
Another cold day in STL years ago 2 thugs rolled up on my set and told me if I didn’t hand over all the money in my bucket they were going to shoot me and opened their jackets to reveal a couple of hand canons on their hips. Even in the face of mortal peril I looked them both in the eye and said ‘I am not going to give you the money because it’s not yours and I earned this by playing Love songs out here in the street and making people happy. This isn’t right and you don’t really want to do this.’ “Fuck that!” they countered. Just then a 6 foot plus big black friend of mine from the Loop wedges himself between them and me and says ‘Hey Guys…this n#$*a right here is my boy. If you mess with him you’re going to be messing with me and’ he gestured over across the courtyard at about 8 dudes watching intently ‘all those guys over there. So why don’t you save yourself the trouble and keep on moving.’ They threw a few more Fuck Thats at my new guardian angel and then slunk back to the rock they’d crawled out from under. Score another one for the good guys.
I had a quasi-identical cosmic bodyguard experience in Venice Beach, CA as well. A skateboarder came to my aid when a couple drunken d bags were trying to start a 2 on 1 beat down because they thought I needed to shut up. That time I was able to show them that I didn’t want any more trouble and asked the skater to not swing on them as a favor to me. This pacified them to a point where they ended up leaving with man hugs and genuine goodwill. Honestly that one was even more rewarding because I saw a couple of trolls become angels. Gotta Believe. Like Lebron.
Probably the most extreme example of unbridled heckling and destructive hatred came at the Venice Cafe in St. Louis about 5 years ago. I came back into town to visit family and booked a night for me and my songwriter friend Rob Getzschman to do an acoustic unplugged sets. I started the first set out with no more than 10 locals in attendance and everything seemed to be going swimmingly when in between my 5th or 6th song a guy walks up to the stage, interrupts me in the middle of a scentence, and asks loudly ‘How much for one of your CDs?’ ’10 dollars’ I replied. He pulled out a handful of bills and headed over to the merch table to grab a copy of my album ‘Tucker Booth 4 President’. He then walked back up to the front of the stage, opened it up and very animatedly broke the CD into a handful of pieces before walking over (eyes locked with mine) and throwing the pieces, case and all into the trash can.
I looked down at the money in my hands and counted it before and then said on the microphone ‘Hey thanks alot Bud but you only gave me 9 dollars. What do you not know how to count? I guess you left your helmet at home. Bartender make sure to call this man’s short bus to come pick him up tonight. I think he’s had a few too many!’ The crowd ate it up and I proceeded to needle him in between songs for the rest of the night. The bully even came up to me after my set and earnestly defended his sobriety while handing me the 1 dollar bill he had “forgot” to give me. Pretty cuckoo stuff but the plot thickens considerably from there.
Flash forward to about a year ago. I was back in STL for another concert at Atomic Cowboy and the morning of the show I logged onto Facebook to do some last minute promoting. The first thing I saw on one of my comment threads was a rant from a friend I barely recognized (I have 4912 FB contacts) telling me that he was the troll from the Venice Cafe show who broke my CD 4 years ago and that he thought I was one of the most untalented, worthless, prospective porn theater splooge moppers he had ever seen.
He explained that he had added me through a mutual Hip Hop friend of ours just to heckle me on my homepage. As the whole thing unfolded it became clear that he had closely been following my posts and was privy to quite a bit of information about my personal life that he was now brandishing against me as a weapon. He clearly had visual i.d.’s on my wife and son and after I reposted his taunts and put a spotlight on it he threatened to come to the Atomic show and break more of my merchandise.
At that point I blocked him from FB, called the police and reported him, and had the bouncers ready with his FB profile pic at the door to have him arrested for trespassing if he dared show his face at the gig. Alas (like most haters) it was all a bluff. He didn’t show. But I did mention him in the set and dedicated my song ‘LoveaLoveaLove’ to him in the name of Peace and Harmony. The show had a genuine heartbeat that night. In a warped way that Hater may have made that show far more Lovely than it might have been otherwise. But that obviously still doesn’t make it right. Also let that anecdote be a lesson to all you FB peeps who blindly accept every friend request. N’ah Mean?
I suggest that all haters either talk to an analyst, go to anger management classes, or attend a good non shame based church that preaches Tolerance, Love, and Healing. That may very well save you Dear Haters from a lifetime of infamy and disgrace. And Lord knows I want you to see the light Haters. For only once you learn that Empathy, Compassion, Encouragement, Charity, Kindness, Grace, Humility, & Meekness are the cornerstones to human evolution can you truly graduate from your violent and shameful malarkey.
You can do it Haters. Believe. Like Lebron.
A fun sized b-girl spun her competition into orbit.
Wearing a pink and gray Adidas track suit this b-girl dances as if she was raised in the South Bronx during the 1970′s. Last weekend the tiny b-girl competed the Chelles Battle Pro in Paris. Her freezes, head spins, and acrobatic skills wowed judges.
She won the heart of millions gaining an estimated 447,000 YouTube views for one video.
Terra (Dora the Destroyer), 6, was one of the youngest in the competition’s Baby Battle. Judges were wowed as she performed highly skilled acrobatic moves while she dissed the competition. According to the website the Baby Battle allows competitors up to the age of 11.
Unfortunately, Terra did not win the contest, but that did not stop her claim to internet fame.
What were you doing at age 6? Eating crayons? Playing in dirt? Maybe you were chasing the opposite sex with a worm on a stick. Whatever you were doing, you were not breaking with the big leagues.
Check out the video. We can all agree this child is beautifully and wonderfully talented.
A Pennsylvania school goes on lock-down after a student’s rendition of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’s theme song was mistaken for a threat.
You read correctly. The theme song we hold dearly to our hearts was gangsta enough to cause a frenzy and lock-down an entire school district for about 20-minutes.
Travis Clawson, 19, is a huge Fresh Prince of Bel-Air fan. He loves the show so much he decided to rap the show’s theme song on his voice mail.
A receptionist at his eye doctor’s office called to confirm his appointment. After she was sent to voice mail what she heard was disturbing. She was convinced Clawson was up to no good.
The lyric “Shooting some B-BALL outside of the school” was mistaken for “Shooting some PEOPLE outside of the school”. It was unclear if Clawson misconstrued the words or if the receptionist heard incorrectly, but authorities were notified.
Police contacted Ambridge High School where school officials put the entire district on lock-down. The 911 response system is designed to alert all schools of a situation. Clawson’s whereabouts were unknown.
Police discovered Clawson in the guidance office at Ambridge’s high school. They took the teenager into custody and was held for 3-hours while his locker was searched. He was taken in for questioning and police found nothing in this locker.
District Attorney Anthony Berosh verified that Clawson’s voice mail was indeed his own rendition of the 1990′s popular theme song.
Ambridge Superintendent Erv Weischedel says, “while this situation can be considered to be a false alarm, it was an excellent opportunity to test our emergency procedures.”
We commend Ambridge for acting fast to prevent a possible massacre. Pretty impressive, but we are going to assume the receptionist lives under a rock next to Patrick Starr. Tell Spongebob “Hello” for us.
Clawson was not punished, but his parents are not pleased. “An innocent young man was embarrassed,” says Clawson’s father Wendell Clawson. “How is he supposed to go back to school and face his classmates?”
Berosh suggested Clawson changes his voice mail to prevent future mishaps.
The Clawson family currently consults with a lawyer about their legal options.
Who would have thought the words of a profanity-free young Will Smith could cause such chaos?
She thought she’d done the right thing, but like my mother used to tell me, “She thought WRONG.”
Jay-Z and Kanye West added more golden gramophones to their collection tonight. “Niggas in Paris” earned both rappers two Grammys each for Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song during tonight’s pre-show.
West ditched the Grammys and escaped to Brazil with Kim Kardashian for the infamous Rio Carnival which kicked off Sat. Feb. 9 and ends Mon Feb. 11. The rapper said in December that he would be boycotting the Grammys due to rap artists being over looked in major categories.
Drake took home his first Grammy for Best Rap Album for Take Care and decided to drop his new video “Started From the Bottom” directed by Little X and Drake shortly afterwards. He also dropped the title of his upcoming album “Nothing is the Same“.
Jay-Z, Frank Ocean, and The Dream hit the stage to accept the award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for their “Watch The Throne” opener” No Church in the Wild“. “I’d like to thank the swap meat for his hat” joked Jay-Z making fun of The Dream’s “parental advisory” beanie and “Boyz in the Hood” hat.
Other winners include:
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration: “No Church in the Wild“, Jay-Z and Kanye West feat. Frank Ocean and The-Dream
Best Urban Contemporary Album: “Channel Orange“, Frank Ocean
Best Traditional R&B Performance: “Love On Top”, Beyonce
Best R&B Song: “Adorn”, Miguel
Best R&B Performance: “Climax”, Usher
Here are some Hip Hop/R&B artists who were nominated, but didn’t win:
Best New Artist
Best Rap Album
Lupe Fiasco: “Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1″
Nas: “Life’s Good”
The Roots: “Undone”
Rick Ross: “God Forgives, I Don’t”
2 Chainz: “Based on a T.R.U Story”
BEST RAP/SUNG COLLABORATION
Flo Rida feat. Sia –” Wild Ones”
John Legend feat. Ludacris – “Tonight (Best You Ever Had)”
Nas feat. Amy Winehouse – “Cherry Wine”
Rihanna feat. Jay-Z – “Talk That Talk”
BEST RAP PERFORMANCE
Drake feat. Lil Wayne – “HYFR (Hell Ya Fucking Right)”
Nas – “Daughters”
Kanye West feat. Big Sean, Pusha T, and 2 Chainz – “Mercy”
Young Jeezy feat. Jay-Z and André 3000 –”I Do”
BEST URBAN CONTEMPORARY ALBUM
Chris Brown – “Fortune”
Miguel – “Kaleidoscope Dream”
BEST RAP SONG
Nas – “Daughters”
Wale feat. Miguel -”Lotus Flower Bomb”
Kanye West Featuring Big Sean, Pusha T & 2 Chainz – “Mercy”
Drake feat. Lil’ Wayne - “The Motto”
Snoop Dogg & Wiz Khalifa Featuring Bruno Mars – “Young, Wild & Free”
Congratulations to tonight’s winners and nominees.
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