Friday, December 31, 2010

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Geto Boys Were Big Softies

Scarface is widely regarded as one of the greatest rappers, so maybe I'm crazy if I like Willie D and Bushwick more. Could be my resistance to go with the flow. Scarface is a great rapper, but he can be a little dry for me. Willie D and Bushwick always keep me entertained with their bizarre bravado. Have you heard "Mind of a Lunatic"? That song would stir up controversy if it came out today. Listen to the horrifying second verse...

The Geto Boys were one of the reasons people created the Parental Advisory label. It wasn't The Geto Boys' shocking material that made them legends, though. It was their bluesy, reflective songs. "Mind Playing Tricks" seems more popular now than ever. I've heard it on XM, Sirius, and in YouTube videos countless times over the past decade. I should be sick of it but it's one of my favorite rap songs. One awesome thing about the video is they dramatized nearly every line...

The Geto Boys grew a conscience after being a center of controversy. They were made out to be devils, and in the days of Grip it on that Other Level, they basically were. Every track on that album is bleak as hell. Even critics who admitted to liking the music on the early albums had negative things to say about the group's graphic depictions of rape and murder. Some critics argued that the group glorified a criminal lifestyle rather than condemned it. The Geto Boys made an effort to change that perception. Starting with "Mind Playing Tricks", each album had at least one contemplative song that seemed to try to say, "We're not so bad!" In the song "Street Life" off the album Til' Death Do Us Part (sans Willie D), Scarface distances himself from shallow gangster fantasies and tries to rap with more substance. Ok, maybe he is the best in the group...

On "The Resurrection", Willie D came back into the group and recorded "The World is a Ghetto", which, like the most tender of The Geto Boys' tracks, got a video...

My favorite Geto Boys track might be "I Tried". I've written mean things about old rappers in this blog but sometimes old guys rhyme from a deeper perspective than the Waka Flocka Flames of the world. On "I Tried", Willie D has a great verse about his mom, and in the video he actually re-creates her death, crawling onto the bed after she passes away and shaking her face. It would be hilarious if it weren't sad. Bushwick's verse sticks in my head the most, particularly the lines, "I get pissed over little shit/Little shit drive me crazy/then I start thinking about my babies". Touching and honest...

I hope Bushwick doesn't get deported.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New With Us

Long year. Looking forward to the next one. We're zeroing in on a new camera to purchase - the Canon EOS 60D. We're excited to work with an SLR. I like the look of the video recorded with SLRs. Usually the background is kinda out of focus and the images in the forefront are razor sharp. Sharp images fade into shadows. It may be less versatile than a professional camcorder, but its focusing limitations give a nice cinematic feel.

Once we have our new camera, we'll begin shooting (again) on our feature length horror movie, which we want to release on Blu Ray this Spring. Since the video quality of the new camera will be better, we'll re-shoot all the material we've already shot. No worries. It was shit anyway.

Luckily the camcorder we have now is reliable enough to post RSStB (knock on wood). If you watch the new episodes carefully though, you'll notice picture glitches and sound pops all over the place. Oh well. Soon that'll be in the past and we'll be in 1080p.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I've Only Listened to Kutmasta Kurt Lately

In the fall of my senior year of high school, I made a tape of my favorite Kool Keith songs and then listened to pretty much only that tape until I graduated. I look back in embarrassment at all the times I played "Sex Style" for random people who rode in my car. The tape was highlights from Dr. Octagon, Sex Style, and Dr. Dooom. Back then I preferred the Kool Keith beats that were produced by Automator. It took me time to realize Kutmasta Kurt's genius. I stopped listening to Kool Keith when he stopped rapping, started the spoken-word thing he does on most tracks nowadays. Aside from Masters of Illusion, I never really listened to his music until the past month. I discovered that Keith actually raps on The Diesel Truckers record (and sporadically throughout the rest of his discography), and that his spoken-word thing really isn't so bad anyway. At least he's creative.

The Kutmasta Kurt songs from Keith's catalogue are the special ones, especially the tracks from the final Ultramagnetic MCs album, Big Time, when the group was just Keith with some dude named Tim Dog under the name Ultra. That is a record that I can listen to endlessly, which is what I've been doing lately. Most underrated album of all time. Kutmasta Kurt and Kool Keith are an unstoppable duo, classic status like EPMD.

I branched out and I'm also listening to the albums Kurt produced for Motion Man, Pablito's Way being my favorite. Motion Man is good, but ain't nobody like Keith. Every sewer in the world must run into Kool Keith's brain. Fucking bizarre. Call me crazy but I'll bet he smokes a lot of angel dust.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Suga Free is Not Guilt Free

I love hip hop from Oakland, California. Rappin 4-Tay, Too $hort, 2Pac, Andre Nickatina, Motion Man, Mac Dre, Mac Mall, and plenty more legends hail from the Bay Area. Suga Free's a lesser-legend. He's got a sing-song style to his flow and he was all over Oakland tracks in the 90s. Street Gospel is his best album, probably because it came out in 1997 and DJ Quik produced all the songs. Traditional Oakland player music. It's a badass record but it takes a certain mood to listen to. It's a guilty pleasure for sure. I feel like I should have a drink in my hand when I play it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Young Chris' "Grandson killin' 'em, Grandma!"

I've had a rap lyric in my head for a few days because it's so bad, sounds funny to me. On Freeway and Jake One's alright "Stimulus Package", there's a song called "Microphone Killa" featuring Young Chris of the underwhelming Young Gunz. Remember them? Barely? Yeah, so anyway, Young Chris' verse (at 2:03) goes like this: "Microphone killa, no Cam'ron/bomb like landmine/I don't aks shit, I demand mine/I take a little bit and expand mine/grandson killin 'em, Grandma!" Yipee, look at me! He says "grandma" nasally and whiney and I want to punch him in the arm. Haha so lame.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Getting Old

I listen to mixtapes, the DJ Whitowls, DJ Dramas, Tapemasters Inc and all that bullshit, and I'll find a good song here and there but I always go back to the classics. I like rap from the nineties. I notice I write about Wu Tang too much in this blog. Old Wu tracks sound as fresh to me now as they did when they came out. So do Biggie, Pac, DJ Premier, Black Moon, old Mobb Deep, and the list goes on but stops in the late nineties. Maybe I'll find something else to write about.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Cuban Linx II

After writing the last post, I burned a copy of Only Built for Cuban Linx II and started listening to it in the car. After a few days it's starting to grow on me the way the first one did. When Cuban Linx came out, it was my least favorite of the first string of Wu solos. I don't know what I was thinking. After a short time it became my favorite. By senior year of high school I knew the lyrics to every song on the album. With that in mind I felt I owed Cuban Linx II more of a chance.

What makes this Cuban Linx II and not The Lex Diamond Story II or The Vatican Mixtape Vol. 3 is that it shares a similar conceptual vision with the first Cuban Linx. The first album had minimalist beats with Raekwon's legendary crime stories, specific as a newspaper. Raekwon's later releases strayed from the original formula and were pretty forgettable because of it.

The main difference between the sequel and the original is that this time the production is handled by an assortment of producers, rather than by just RZA. That's what made me initially reluctant to like it. There are some heavyweight producers on here - J Dilla, Dr. Dre, Pete Rock, Eric Sermon, Alchemist, holy shit Marley Marl. That sounds like a dream I had in high school. But I still like RZA better, especially on a Wu CD. Oh well. I've settled for the heavyweights. Seems like the public demand for Cuban Linx II got Raekwon a fat advance to spend on grimy beats. The song "Have Mercy" that I previously wrote about is outstanding. Beanie Siegel's verse is the best verse on the album. It's always a shame when a guest steals the show. The track "Broken Safety" is awesome, too. It features the always dependable Jadakiss and Styles P....

Rakewon's flow has deteriorated since his machine gun rap for everybody in the back. He still works the crime stories nicely but he doesn't sound like he used to.

P.S. The two Dr. Dre beats on the album sound ghost produced by somebody else.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Raekwon's "Have Mercy"

I felt bad for writing nasty things about Raekwon a few entries ago so I listened to Cuban Linx II again and HOLY SHIT, WHAT THE FUCK -

Guess I didn't appreciate this song the first and only time I listened to Cuban Linx II and maybe I ought to listen to records more than once before posting blogs about them. "Have Mercy" is produced by MoSS, who produced every track on Obie Trice's most recent album.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Jay Electronica's Beefs

In the song linked above, Jay Electronica raps, "Guru told me slow up the flow 'cause science and metaphors will slow up the dough." He should have listened to that advice.

He's from New Orleans then Brooklyn and he recently challenged RZA on some comments RZA made about Southern rappers. The beef between them is funny and here's a choice interview with Jay on some British music show where he calls RZA "a beautiful black man"...

L.Black da Eastcoast Bully recorded a funny dis called "Jay Harmonica" where he says, "Who the fuck is Jay Electronica anyway? Nerd backpack rapper's in the way." Haha

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Wale's "More About Nothing" Mixtape

The song "The Perfect Plan" on Wale's "Mixtape About Nothing" is crazy. I love it. Wale recently tried to re-live past glory by releasing "More About Nothing". The sequel doesn't boast any songs as good as "The Perfect Plan". I used to think Wale was great but now when I hear his music I think about Eminem saying "try to outrap me with that happy shit." He's starting to sound like the corniest parts of Andre 3000 and Kanye West. His major label album was weak (how many guests?), though the song about the hoity-toity bulimic girl who does coke became one of Marissa's all-time jams. I'll give Wale to her.

Maybe the critical praise Wale got for the original "Mixtape About Nothing" went to his head and now he's more ambitious, attempting to record his own version of "The Love Below" by Andre 3000. Noooooooooo!!! "The Love Below" signaled the end of Outkast and I never want to be reminded of it again. Big Boi's "Speakerboxxx" on the other hand is a masterpiece. Wale ought to copy that one.

"The Motivation" is my favorite song on "Mixtape About Nothing", but it's kind of a guilty pleasure. I don't feel right blasting it in the car. It sounds like that "happy shit", even if the lyrical content isn't so happy. The lyrics are Wale at his best - angry. He should stick to angry preachy songs and stay away from slam poetry recitals for the ladies. "The Motivation" features Dre from Cool & Dre in some capacity. I'm guessing he made the beat. He couldn't be listed as a collaborator just for saying some stuff at the beginning, could he? Cool & Dre produced The Game's excellent "Hate it or Love it", one of the only good Game songs (sorry).

The next track is a slam poetry recital for the ladies and I hate it...

I miss "The Perfect Plan"...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010



RZA produced the beat above. It's from GZA's most recent album, Pro-Tools, and it's the only track on the album that I'm into. I like the instrumental version more because it's not ruined by GZA's broken down old man flow. RZA has a verse on the song and his rapping is weak like GZA's. Raekwon's flow is weak now too. Most Wu members don't rap like they used to. Maybe they quit smoking weed or doing coke or whatever it was that got them to record such great tracks in the nineties. Ghostface has been consistent, bless his heart, and I'll probably always love RZA no matter how off-beat his rapping gets. I forgot about Method Man until The Wire and then he contributes my favorite verses to the surprisingly good Wu-Massacre record that came out last year. This track isn't produced by RZA but it's got a great Meth verse on it and I feel like he references The Wire when he says "potato silencers"...

RZA's beats are some of the most melodic and experimental music I've heard in rap. Hip hop is a relatively small genre of music so popular trends in the sounds used by producers can often be traced back to single influential songs. For instance, RZA's beat for "Verbal Intercourse" off Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx paved the way for songs that incorporate sampled vocals into the beat, like Kanye's "Golddigger"...

Here's another great RZA beat...

Sometimes I imagine what the world would be like had RZA's Prince Rakeem schtick taken off...

P.S. I thought it was weird when Cappadonna released a greatest hits CD after he was only two albums into his career. Here's a story about his stressful life:

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Coolio's "I Remember"

"I Remember" by Coolio is such a good song. The instrumental to this classic track from It Takes a Thief was in a Transworld skate video that I used to watch when I was in high school while nodding my head to the beat. People who can't listen to Coolio can at least appreciate J Ro's verse because he was in Tha Liks and they have more street cred than Foolio. I don't really think Coolio is a fool. He's probably a nice guy, always on Nickelodeon and stuff. That reminds me - has anybody heard Street Sweeper Social Club? I'm not really feeling them. My step dad went to see Eminem and Jay-Z with my little brother yesterday in Detroit. My step dad said he was "surprised Coolio didn't come out" because "Coolio is one of the original rappers".

Freddie Gibbs is kind of good. Have you heard of him?

Gibbs recently released a decent EP called Str8 Killa that features two tracks with guest vocals by Bun B because Bun B must be really cheap to get in the mic booth. He's been on millions of tracks recently, including a new song produced by DJ Premiere off Bun's new album Trill OG. Bun begins the track saying, "R.I.P. Guru. Gangstarr for life," and then the saddest Premiere track I've ever heard plays, and it's great, but the lyrics aren't that great. Beater rhymes "maine" with "maine" like ten times in a row at one point. I'm a big fan of Bun B and UGK so don't get mad at me for saying this. Maybe he choked in the presence of a legend, and if that's true, he's more endearing now.

Everybody's saying "goon" all the time now. Anyway, Premiere has a similarly reflective beat on Fat Joe's new album.

It's the last track on Joe's The Darkside Vol. 1 and it's just as good as the Bun B track, even if I haven't been into a Fat Joe song since "John Blaze". Remember...

Play every video in this blog simultaneously and you'll hear a secret message.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Wild and Crazy Guy

Friday, March 12, 2010

Two Bands We Love

First we'll shake our own hand and tell you The Compound is one of the greatest bands of all time. They make the music for RSStB. They're working on an album and (hopefully) it'll be available to download soon on iTunes. They don't have a MySpace yet, but for now subscribe to their YouTube channel at

In Arizona, an awesome metal band to watch is Sinshrift. They always have a show coming up. Listen to tracks from their EP at and send them a friend request at

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Perfect Day for Bananafish

J.D. Salinger died soon after the picture above was taken. That's him stopping the release of an unauthorized sequel to Catcher in the Rye. Maybe he hung on for as long as he did because he wanted to make damn sure nobody tampered with his work. He let MGM adapt his short story "Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut" in 1949 and it was a disaster. Salinger was so dissatisfied with the film, released with the title My Foolish Heart, that he never gave up rights to another one of his stories. Wes Anderson brought the Glass family to the big screen, only Anderson changed the name from Glass to Tenenbaum (joke).

Salinger never published another book after 1963's Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters. Neighbors in his hometown of Cornish, New Hampshire described Salinger as acting eccentric and looking unkempt. There's been a fantasy among Salinger fans that after his death someone will turn up a pile of unpublished material in a safe deposit box and we'll finally get to read new stories. Even if unpublished stories do exist, I'll bet Salinger left them with somebody who will keep publishers' grubby hands off. Terrence Malick and Francis Ford Coppola have tried to film Catcher but the movies never got off the ground. Maybe Salinger passed with his writing in a death grip. I hope so, because movies are phony.


Download a PDF of Salinger's short story "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" here:

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Save the Price of a Ticket

David Foster Wallace on David Lynch

"it's sometimes hard to tell whether the director is a genius or an idiot."

- David Foster Wallace in his essay "David Lynch Keeps His Head"

Read an edited version of the essay here:

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Help Us Make a Horror Movie

People often ask us when we'll make a feature length movie. We have an idea for a horror comedy and we started to shoot scenes. It's currently untitled. We want to release this on DVD within the next few months, but it's difficult to balance with RSStB. We'd like to keep posting episodes of RSStB while we shoot our movie, so we ask for your support. To ensure the completion of our feature, buy a Ricky Shore Sings the Blues DVD from

DVDs come with customized covers and contain bonus features. We pay for shipping and guarantee prompt delivery. If you can't buy a DVD but you want to donate to our cause, even a dollar would be appreciated...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Don't Watch the 82nd Annual Academy Awards

Nicolas Chartier, a producer of The Hurt Locker, was barred from attending the Oscars this year because he violated Academy rules by campaigning directly to the voters. He sent out this message in a mass e-mail:

"'If everyone tells one or two of their friends, we will win and not a $500 million film... We need independent movies to win like the movies you and I do, so if you believe The Hurt Locker is the best movie of 2010, help us!'"

Oscars are bought and sold. Trade papers before Oscar season are three times the size they normally are to accommodate the bombardment of "for your consideration" ads. I bought my first issue of The Hollywood Reporter when I was in middle school. It introduced me to the "for your consideration" ad and scarred me for life.

An Oscar means less each year so maybe this Chartier drama is a publicity stunt. It's Oscar's way of getting his name in the headlines. Maybe Chartier is playing martyr to get his e-mail printed in the trades. Why is campaigning directly to the voters against the rules anyway? The Weinsteins have spent billions on campaign advertising over the past two decades. People like the Weinsteins are threatened that a grass roots approach might be more effective than glossy magazine ads so they ban guerilla marketing. Oh well. Let Hollywood throw its poop around.

Oscars are like mock elections in high school.


Sunday, February 28, 2010

Video on the Internet

Audio-visual narrative will always be around, even if movies evolve into video games. People like to watch. There are basically two kinds of narrative. One is documentary style, with subjects acknowledging the camera, sometimes speaking at the camera to the audience. The other is fiction.

There are many filmmakers on YouTube whose only way to tape video is with a webcam. Webcams aren't very versatile, so they limit the filmmaker to a couple options for content, the most popular option being the filmmaker sits in front of the cam and reviews a movie, speaks about socialism, offers commentary on current events, or some other subjective topic. The more webcam videos are posted to YouTube, the more people will watch them, and the more popular webcam videos will become. YouTube attracts new users every day. New users don't know what YouTube channels to subscribe to so they usually subscribe to net pundits with similar tastes in movies or similar beliefs on political topics. Fictional narrative is harder to attract viewers than talking heads. Maybe that was the same with TV (I speak in the past tense because I believe TV is dead). If I flip through the channels right now, I'll see more talking heads or documentary style programming than sitcoms, dramas, films, plays, or any other form of fiction.

A friend of mine recently said, "YouTube is in its infancy." When Marissa and I started posting videos to YouTube three years ago, there was barely anybody on the site. It was hardly the massive social network that it is. Now YouTube feels like what MySpace used to be. Maybe that's why MySpace seems so dead. Everybody moved to YouTube.

Whether YouTube is the site we'll use throughout the future, or if there will be a new one, we'll all be here. A Google search turns up comments. It's not hard to find you once you've made a mark on the net.

Popular sites like YouTube and Facebook will evolve as our televisions and computers integrate. We'll be able to surf the net with a remote control and order every movie on demand, through iTunes, or through some kind of provider that will surface in the future. Major media corporations will still distribute and spotlight entertainment, but creators of content will be scattered across the world, no longer centralized in Hollywood, and there will be more content creators, so the days of a movie star's twenty million dollar paycheck can (hopefully) be over. We can integrate our computers with our televisions now but the technology is expensive, high end. The rich get the toys first and then it trickles down to the lower income brackets just like Reaganomics hehe.

In an article in The Guardian, Taxi Driver writer Paul Schrader makes my point better than I can:

"Movies were the artform of the 20th century. The traditional concept of movies, a projected image in a dark room of viewers, feels increasingly old. I don't know what the future of audio-visual entertainment will be, but I don't think it will be what we used to call movies. Narrative will mutate and endure. Audio-visual entertainment is changing and narrative will change with it."

Here's the link to Schrader excellent article -