20060422

I Cut 'Em Fat

Rick Ross: Hustlin' Video (Samurai Champloo Remix)

No more hand claps, Krav. I can't catch all what's wrong with your riding for Rick Ross based on his "Hustlin" vid. But I can make an example out of some of it.

You're right. Melle Mel didn't wear that jumpsuit and bullet-belt just for comfort. But divorced from the content of "Broken glass everywhere, people pissing on the stairs, you know they just don't care," Mel's -- pardon this blasphemer -- just another sweaty, muscled cokehead clad in ammo and synthetic fabrics. And that's not even saying his sartorial signifiers are empty. Said duds are Uptwn-meets-Dwntn, Ziggy-Stardust-on-East-Tremont-Ave-type shit, the glam-punk type shit few on the block (who'd never done coke) were on/up on -- a sort of peacocking before it was passe. But I don't see the same, or any significance in bald pates, bald verse, and Big Momma's mumus. Yeah, his name rhymes with 'boss' but I'm gonna need more than that. And it ain't that his facial hair convinces more than the "beard" that is his drug-dealing persona, beard in the way that Katie's Tom's best accoutrement.

(Besides, a la H-cliff, connect these dots if you dare. Career Criminal > Career Pirate > Criminal Port. What are we talking about here? Blackbeard's Revenge.)

Anymore's got to come from them raps. Read down & you'll know I gave Rhymefest a pass for being blunt in re: lyrical content and, like it or not, that's a part of his person/persona/positioning as 'blue collar' blah. But Ross is in the direst need of metaphor -- even the rumors of it. So Jeezy don't rap no more; all he do is "Jeeeah." But where we're willing to forgive Jeezy forgoing rhyme for a bit -- having the charisma to make that even novel for a mixtape or odd feature -- what's earned Ross the right to "rhyme" 22 seven times over without winking? Again, you're right. "Look at Rick Ross." As there's no conflict or ambiguity or ambivalence to Ross's beard, there is none such to his words, empty of what might make them interesting.

But the visuals, the visuals: Every day I'm hustling. Chop. Screw. Repeat. All stressed by 57 shots of hands exchanging cash. We get the picture/s, and over and over and over again. " With banal voiceover: "See most of my ni***as really still deal cocaine." "Mo 'blow." And don't tell me..."Yayo." Say it, see it, say it again. Speech, but never the figure of it. Do tell me though, how doesn't he look a damn fool all alone, your titan's turn atop a building looking less imperial coronation than on-set outtake from Jet Li's Hero; a post-Christo Ross as fat gaffer having a laugh during some downtime.

"'His' Miami looks cool in the video." I hesitate to get too specific with this because it's unclear what you mean. Just cinematographically? Or are you actually saying that the projects/tenements/rampant joblessness looks cool? Because I'll agree with you. It does look cool, especially when one has a job and doesn't live in or near said projects. Rap-as-commodity would have failed a long time ago if this were untrue. We know this. Still, saying ghettoes look cool, well, ain't always a good look.

Also, here is a picture of a Kodiak Bear grippin' fishscale, a.k.a. eating fish. The resemblance is unconvincing.