A Minute-By-Minute Recap Of The 2013 BET Awards

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8:20: As Gabrielle Union’s Being Mary Jane promo airs for the 1st out of the 67 times it aired last night, I’d like to welcome you all to the 19th annual minute-by-minute summary of the BET Awards, aka “20,000 cats who couldn’t do ASAP Rocky’s hair,” aka “that time BET decided to give everyone in the entire Diaspora an award.” 

If you notice, I’m starting 20 minutes late. I have a legitimate excuse for that, as well as a legitimate reason not to print it.

8:22: Robin Thicke hit the stage, reminding me of the fact that White male performers get a thousand times more love from Black people that White female performers. He’s accompanied by T.I. and Pharrell, who eerily look like they’re turning into the same person. Let’s just call it Tarrell.

8:25: (Overheard sometime last week in Dwyane Wade’s household)

“You got Lebron and Bosh’s goofy asses two rings and you can’t get me one? F*ck you and your typo-inducing name.”

8:29: An ad for a movie featuring every singing-ass nigga ever called Black Nativity airs. Can’t wait for the day I DVR it on TVone.

8:32: Wayne Brady appears to give an award, and decides not to take advantage of the once in a lifetime opportunity to mow down the entire crowd with an Uzi.

8:34: Gabby “Say something about my hair now, motherf*ckers!” Douglas receives some award for best something. Black people should be ashamed for forcing lacefront on her.

8:38: Erykah Badu’s ass can write a book on a calculator. When life gives Erykah Badu’s ass lemons, Erykah Badu’s ass makes life apologize. Erykah’s Badu’s ass once drew a triangle with four sides. Che Guevara wears a t-shirt with a picture of Erykah Badu’s ass on it.

8:40: Erkyah Badu’s ass is joined onstage by Kendrick Lamar and Erykah Badu herself, performing an inspired rendition of “Bitch Dont Kill My Vibe” and increasing the odds of Lamar being Badu’s next baby-daddy to 3 to 1.

8:45: I haven’t said anything about host Chris Tucker yet because, well, there really isn’t much to say. He’s doing a decent job, he looks like he lost a little weight, and he even got the opportunity to finally perform a 50 Cent/Michael Jackson mashup impersonation that he’s probably been sitting on for the last seven years. He had a good night.

8:48: There are middle-aged dark-skinned men all over the country who still hate El Debarge for ruining the 80s for them. Fortunately for them, right now Debarge’s liver is probably the same color they are.

8:50: On the list “the old end of middle-aged White women who can get it,” Helen Mirren has to be top four, right?

(My list: Helen Mirren, Meryl Streep, Jane Seymour, and Paula Deen)

8:59: Say what you want about R. Kelly, but he’s definitely the most talented, engaging, inspiring, and influential pedophile ever. I mean, seriously. That nigga who likes to pee on prepubescent girls has an unbelievable catalog full of hits. He’s a genuis.

9:05: Meagan Good’s boobs were kind enough to publicly challenge Erkyah Badu’s ass to a duel.

(Winner? America.)

BTW, where other than the BET Awards are you going to get gospel awards, R. Kelly, Meagan Good, and Meagan Good’s boobs all on stage in a 30 sec span?

9:10: Most underrated thing about watching a live event on BET? The local Black commercials that finally get some shine. Just found out that Cubana Lust will be hosting some party in Pittsburgh that at least three people will get shot at. Also, had no idea there was a gas station a mile away from me that also sells fried chicken.

9:22: In the last 15 minutes, Mariah Carey sang some song while covered in diamonds, Miguel appeared rocking a coat that looks like it was made out of dead bouviers, Kevin Hart got all stage to do some Kevin Hart shit, and Jamie Foxx gave a speech to remind us all that he’s the cockiest nigga alive.

But, they were all upstaged by Amber Rose, who, despite her Whiteness, managed to win a “Best Face” award. I guess no one here paid any attention to Dark Girls. 

9:32: The whole cast of We’re Doing This Cause We Need To Pay Our Mortgages, er, The Best Man Holiday appears, sans Taye Diggs, who obviously is dead set on proving that he really, really, really doesn’t f*ck with y’all niggas at all.

9:42: Between Miguel, Kendrick Lamar, and Kevin Hart, is there any doubt whatsoever that 2013 is the start of the short nigga revolution? Hide your kids, and your ankles.

10:12: The last half hour or so was spent giving Charlie Wilson a very entertaining tribute, ultimately proving three things:

1. I don’t like Justin Timberlake anymore. Don’t know why. I just don’t. (Strangely enough, I still like his music. Just not him.)

2. Since Pharrell, Snoop, and Charlie Wilson haven’t aged a day since the “Beautiful” video, I’m certain someone on that set was injecting them with shark blood between takes.

3. The only person there with an ass bigger than Erykah Badu’s? Stevie Wonder.

10:30: Everything I just said about Justin Timberlake can be said in reverse about J Cole. I like him. I like what he “stands for.” I like what he “represents.” I like that people like his music. I like that he’s finally seeing some real success after grinding for so long. I just…don’t like his music. I don’t dislike it either. It just exists, like lawn furniture, celery, and empty bottles of deodorant.

10:41: Chris Tucker pulls out a great Barack Obama impression. Only problem is that the impression sounds like President Obama doing an impression of George Bush. This is getting awkward.

10:45: Ciara finally found her way from underneath one of Amare Stoudmaire’s beds to join us all. Welcome back, babygirl!

BTW, “Goodies” was released 9 years ago. 9. I’m officially old as f*ck. (and so are you)

10:51: I apologize to you all for neglecting to mention the fact that I’m not ashamed to admit that it’s kinda striking how attractive a “normal” Nicki Minaj actually is.

10:53: I know you’re not supposed to reward songs like this with actual awards, but there’s no way in hell “Pop That” doesn’t win rap song of the year. I’m actually pissed about this. Seriously.

10:55: Is Debra Lee the Black David Stern, or is David Stern the White Debra Lee?

11:00: “So that’s what you were doing all season instead of getting your ass in shape and rehabbing your knee? Teaching kids how to read. I guess I can’t be mad at that.”

11:02: A dancehall reggae mashup performance starts, beginning with “No, No, No” = aka “the song that started the transition from rap to reggae at every college party between 96 and 99,” and ending with the Gay Reindeer starting an impromptu one woman Dutty Wine contest on my couch.

11:21: Chris Brown stops changing someone’s oil, and decides to come onstage and accept some award. I was wondering why Drake…and Rihanna…and Jay-Z…and Beyonce…and Kanye…and Lil Wayne…and Rick Ross weren’t there. I guess I know why now.

11:25: Mentally preparing myself to read the 4843747393 angst-ridden posts and articles that will be written about “The Butler” in the next year.

(And yes, at least one of them will be written by me. )

11:30: As Janelle Monae ends the show on an typically awesome note, I’m reminded of a tweet I saw from Panama a couple hours before the show began.

“I feel like Twitter is the reason people watch the BET Awards. If Twitter didn’t exist niggas would just go to Red Lobster for shenanigans.”

While Red Lobster is a bit too bougie for my tastes—I prefer Waffle House—he had a point. I think we’ve reached the point where talking about shows like this among ourselves surpasses the joy (and cultural relevance) of actually watching them. I mean, I can’t think of any other reason why I’d watch a three hour show that was an hour and a half too long.

Hmm. Perhaps I do it and write these recaps so you all won’t have to watch. I’m sacrificing my sanity for you. In that case, well, everyone else got an award tonight. where’s mine?

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

Yeezus’s New Slave

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After making a few jump shots in a row, occasionally Lebron James will race down court the next time he gets the ball and shoot an uncontested 35 to 40 footer with 20 seconds left on the shot clock (watch from 0:29 to 0:59 here for an example). For those not familiar with basketball, doing this is the equivalent of approaching your manager to ask for a raise and your own parking spot, receiving both, and then approaching him later that day to ask for a blow job.

In basketball terminology this is known as a “heat check.” Basically, you’re doing something seemingly outrageous to test the limits of how far your “hot” streak will go.

This idea isn’t limited to basketball. Pop culture is filled with popular artists heat-checking themselves, and Erykah Badu’s Window Seat vid is another example of that.

While many have lauded this as ultra-creative, paradigm shifting, envelope pushing, and iconoclastic, personally, I just think it’s her way of saying “I’m Erykah f*cking Badu. I have millions of die-hard fans, I single-handedly made a jersey-rocking rapper from Atlanta start dressing like a drag-queen mannequin at an H&M fashion show, and I have a fat ass. I’m bored, I can do whatever the hell I want, and my fans will still love me. Creative schmeative“

I wrote this three years ago, as the beginning to a post about Erykah Badu’s Window Seat video. Aside from adding my own interpretation of Badu’s motives for creating this video, I somewhat condescendingly imply that her diehard fans are incapable of being objective when assessing her work.

I felt the same way while attending an event at the Andy Warhol Museum last weekend. That Warhol was a visionary deserving of all lauds and accolades is undeniable. But, the visit just reinforced the fact that when certain people reach a certain stature, anything they do is accepted as genius, including some things that garner “Wows” when they should be receiving a chorus of “WTFs.”

I guess you can argue that status is earned. If a newly found, ketchup-stained napkin with Warhol’s signature on it is able to command 1.6 million dollars at an auction, this says more about the transcendent force of Warhol’s talent that anything else. His resume allows him to receive the benefit of the doubt.

But, the person actually making that purchase allows himself to be gamed by a person’s name instead of making an honest assessment of the actual product. And, not only are they lying to themselves, they perform the worst type of self-delusion—one where a person is completely aware of the lie they’re telling themselves, but they’re completely sold on selling it to themselves anyway. They’ve fully bought in to the bullshit, and when you buy bullshit that you literally saw drop out of a cow’s ass, you have no integrity. You make yourself a slave to a person instead of what that person creates and/or what they represent.

Anyway, I downloaded Kanye West’s Yeezus Friday, and have listened to it approximately 10 times since. It is an incoherent, jumbled, rhythm-adverse, pretentious, pseudo-intellectual, racist, and misogynistic mess. It may very well be the first major label hip-hop album that caused listeners actual physical pain while listening to it.

I’m also in love with it.

The irony isn’t lost on me.

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

(Formerly) Great Artists That Need To Stop Making Sh*tty Music

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Now here’s the situation.

You know you’re about to get some Black sh*t when ever the word situation comes at the beginning of a story.

Moving on.

It’s bound to happen to every artist. At some point, either the money, the fame, or the overall success steals their creativity and their forced to learn something about their motivations. Some artists can only create when they have a chip on their shoulders – see most rappers. Others are truly musicians, but their most interesting and compelling music comes when they have the least and therefore the most to gain from putting it all on the line.

Basically, a lot of artists best works were their first works and since then, their output has gone downhill faster than an H3 with 4 350 pound women singing “It’s Raining Men” holding anvils.

And these aren’t your typical artists either. We all know Ice Cube blows d*ck right now. Eminem too. They’re low hanging fruit.

Also, for nearly all of the artists that I’m going to name, I’m a fan. Consider this motivation should any of them either be sitting on the toilet perusing blogs and happen to come across this post after googling their name. That’s how Teedra Moses and her minions found her way here right?

So here’s Panama’s list of artists who need to stop making sh*tty music and get back to making music actually worth listening to.

1. India Arie

She’s my motivation for this post in the first place. Let me be clear, India Arie seems like the kind of person I’d never actually want to hang out with. Despite her earthy crunchy nature, she also seems like a hipster douchebag. But I don’t really know her or her mother so I could be wrong. With that being said, Acoustic Soul was a classic. Straight up. “Video” is one of the best songs ever. It’s honest, its brutal, it’s the defintion of real. It’s the realeast rap song ever that happens to be sung by a bohemian chick from Atlanta. It’s like Arrested Development without the pretense and faux realism. And I like Arrested Development. That whole album was on some real sh*t. It was honest. “Brown Skin” was relate-able to all ninjas. Again, I love that album and think it deserved every Grammy award it lost to Alicia Keys Songs In A Minor, which was alright, but largely forgettable.

Man that was a lot. Anyway, since then, India Arie took the douchebaggery to the next level, eschewing her realism for complete and total pretense. You all remember when Maxwell dropped Embrya with all those ridiculous pretentious titles? Yeah, that’s her career since then. Voyage To India should have just been called Purpose Driven Life to Song. There was no India Arie. Just songs about people who do sh*t. “The Truth” was hot, but “Little Things” was THE most ridiculous songs ever. Her albums have gone down hill. She needs to do better and get back to basics.

2. Jill Scott

I don’t give a f*ck what any of you say…since JILLJILLJILL dropped Who Is Jill Scott, Vol 1. her albums have gotten increasingly more urban contemporary. Basically, they’re elevator music now. That first album was seminal. It was so thorough you could hear every ounce of her being poured all over it. “A Long Walk” is STILL one of the best songs to come out of the entire neo-soul movement. Her second album was boring as hell save for “Cross My Mind” and “Golden”. I realize “Golden” is either loved or hated by most folks but I love it. Point is, I want Jilly from Philly back. I want to hear some of that J-I-L-L-S-C-O-T-Teeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

(musiq would make this list except most of his albums aren’t hot. He’s good for a hot single. I will say that I think Soul Star was a dope album through and through. I know I contradicted myself, look I don’t need that now.)

3. Mos Def

Black on Both Sides is a classic. Period. The New Danger is not. True Magic is not. The Ecstatic is not. It’s like Mos got bored and started getting too experimental and forgot that at the end of the day, the best way to sell music is to make music that somebody might actually want to buy. I miss the might Mos…or Yasiin Bey as he prefers to be called now.

4. Big Boi

This one hurt and I’m sure folks will disagree…that’s okay. While (Keep Your Heart) 3 Stacks has pretty much stopped making music except when he needs a check, Big Boi has continued to make music, except its not good. I’ve heard some actual terrible sh*t. Greg Street said something to him that was real…ATL radio ain’t keepin’ you off the airwaves off some disrespect, its just that your product ain’t hot. Look, I hate Future too, but the ninja keeps hopping on beats that are hot. Big Boi has tried to do this EWF meets George Clinton meets Too Short type thing and it ain’t hot. He should stick to acting. Lord knows he’s way better than Andre. And this latest single with Kelly Rowland? WTF. It hurt me to type every word in this paragraph. Speakerboxx was dope but definitely had its misses. Well it was the beginning.

5. Erykah Badu

WHO GON’ TES’ ME NOW! I’M THE REAL DON DADA! I don’t care what you say…after Mama’s Gun, she started going downhill. Sure I enjoyed some of the output but the last two albums (the New Amerykah joints)…hot damn messes of confusing unfinished ideas. I know you love her…but if you love her, tell her to stop f*cking rappers and get her sh*t back together.

Well I think that’s enough controversy right there. Yes, I just said that some of your favorites suck. At this moment. Not for good. I’d put Alicia Keys here, but remember…most of her albums just ain’t good as a whole. Me no care what you say.

So…what artists do you think need to stop making sh*tty music and get back to what made them dope??

-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka MR. WHOYAWIT? aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL HE A 3

VSB Crewneck Sweatshirts are now available for a limited time! Go check them out and order online from http://shop.coliseumapparel.com. And peep Panama getting his model on!

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7 things i’ve thought about erykah badu and her “window seat” video

1. after making a few jump shots in a row, occasionally lebron james will race down court the next time he gets the ball and shoot an uncontested 35 to 40 footer with 20 seconds left on the shot clock (watch from 0:29 to 0:59 here for an example). for those not familiar with basketball, doing this is the equivalent of approaching your manager to ask for a raise and your own parking spot, receiving both, and then approaching him later that day to ask for a blow job.

in basketball terminology this is known as a “heat check“. basically, you’re doing something seemingly outrageous to test the limits of how far your “hot” streak will go. in lebron’s case, it’s also a way of saying “i’m lebron f*cking james. i’m better at playing basketball than anyone on earth and any other alternate dimensions were basketball might be played. i can do whatever the f*ck i want.

this idea isn’t limited to basketball. from kanye’s 808′s and heartbreak and the ipad, to the entire career of ray j, pop culture is filled with popular artists heat-checking themselves, and erykah badu’s uber-controversial “window seat” vid is another example of that. Continue reading

Throwback Thursday: Sleeveless Turtleneck – The Power of Woman

I always found this post to be a relevant look into the power of a woman.  Reformatted to fit your attention span but originally posted on November 17, 2004:

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Woman.

She is woman, hear her roar. She is phenomonal. She can drop it like its hot. She can cook it, and make it hot. She can cause ruin to society. She can re-create what man has destroyed. She has all the power, even if she doesn’t realize it. She is…

…woman.

Women are amazing creatures. Of all the living beings on this planet, woman is the most powerful force to be reckoned with. And nowhere is this more apparent than woman’s affect on man.  And nowhere is this fact more evident than in the case of one Erykah Badu.

Erykah Badu is woman. In one package, she managed to be southern, ghetto, deep, cute, gorgeous, fun, arrogant, humble, interesting, a singer, gangster, and loving. (How do I know all that? I don’t. That’s the beauty of opinion.) So it’s easy to see how any man would fall into her web. Hell, I myself have had a crush on her for something like 6 years now. She is every woman. That chick who seems like she’d ride for you when you needed her too, and simultaneously put on a good show for your mother.

She’s that chick that will open your mind, and have you looking at things you never even paid attention too. She can take you from being an inner city pimp prospect to a turbin wearing bass player. Or she can take you from being a Southside Chicago hustler to wearing a sleeveless turtleneck. She is that powerful.

She is woman.

She has the ability to expand the minds of men, resulting in one person taking what he has learned and becoming comfortable in his own skin and taking the world by storm, and another person really having no idea what to do because he himself is confused and wondering what to do with his newfound knowledge so he starts wearing sleeveless turtlenecks, and for some reason nobody will embrace him, except for his grandmother.

Her power is the sleeveless turtleneck. It confuses some and makes so much sense to others. It’s like Nirvana lyrics.

[***Sidenote: In theory, there is nothing wrong with a sleeveless turtleneck...if you are a woman or from Europe. However, as a grown black man from the Southside of Chicago, it is wrong, in the truest sense of the word wrong. And for those wondering when he wore a sleeveless turtleneck, it was in the video for the "Ghetto Heaven" remix featuring Macy Gray, where he is dancing on stars and planets. For the record, gangsters don't dance they boogie. He was dancing.***]

She is woman.

Common went from wearing Rockport’s and wind suits and baseball caps to derbies and kufis and SLEEVELESS turtlenecks. Dammit…WHO THE F*CK WEARS A SLEEVELESS TURTLENECK? That has to be the most confusing shit to ever see, right? Is it hot or cold? Now that you got your neck covered, how are you arms, huh, dunny??? Why wasn’t his stylist shot because of this? Pac got shot, Biggie got shot…but no, his stylist lives. Some things just aren’t fair are they? And I’m giving him credit by saying he had a stylist. If he doesn’t…well, may God have mercy on his soul.

Erykah Badu turned Andre 3000 into a sex symbol, the best dressed, album of the year creator that he became. Andre 3000 is now so cool, he can walk onto a stage to accept an award, throw up a piece sign and walk off and it be the best acceptance speech ever given. Common? No awards. In fact he is more bitter now than ever before. He is the bitter man’s rapper. Complaining that he never got his respect or his due. A talented rapper that never caught on, and even fell off somewhat. Fuck that, fell of a lot-what. Erykah Badu’s presence and power to just “be” changed both of these men’s lives forever.

Her power is not just reserved for her either. Her power is every woman’s power. Erykah Badu could be any woman. The power to change the course of history, the power to cause a man to become more than he imagined, or become a shell of himself without ever doing more than being herself. All women have this ability. Some just do not know it. Erykah Badu knows. Erykah Badu is power.

She made a grown ass black man wear a sleeveless turtleneck.

She is woman.

Roar.

-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka TANGLE JIG P