Holy crap this could be awesome. Or not. Who knows whether there will be overacting or the created drama will be over the top but who cares? I’m part of the unintended audience of late-80s early-90s suburban kids who took to hardcore rap with an enthusiasm free of self awareness. We just liked it.
In reflection, there are probably sociological reasons for the suburban adolescent embrace of NWA that could be brought to bear by academic study, but my theory is this: teenage boys have a secret desire to be seen as a force with which to be reckoned. When your mother ushers you from point A to point B in a minivan, this is not in the cards. And when said adolescents finally find freedom via driver’s license, they are still chained to the minivan aesthetic–Mom owns your wheels and she left a tape of Christopher Cross in the cassette deck. In the absence of danger, the thing to be then is outrageous. Blasting Eazy Duz It out of the open windows of a Chevy Astro van could help achieve that¹.
But there was more to it than that. The beats were good. The rhymes were scathingly funny. The music had the raw power of metal without the cheese factor; it was–and still is–good².
Mike Judge, one of the best comic minds of that era, played on the suburban rap phenomenon in two of the most hilariously true scenes from his work:
Especially in the second video from 1:16 on…”Beavis, you’re a white wussy from right here.”
All of it, brilliant.
1. The best explanation for this is in Chuck Klosterman’s book I Wear The Black Hat and his discourse on 2 Live Crew. He said in a Rolling Stone interview, “It was ‘we’re going to see how far we can use language to sort of offend people or upset people.'”
Holy crap could he rip.
This is maybe the best accidental find in the history of procrastination by means of diving into internet wormholes.
It all starts at the 1:50 mark.
That break sounds like the drum track of seemingly every early rap song I remember coming out. It seems like it’s part of just about everything and it gets embedded into your brain.
It’s the pattern I subconsciously finger-tap on the desk or the steering wheel in moments of boredom.
(Check out this list of people who sampled Funky Drummer.)
“It’s the continuing series of small tragedies that send a man to the madhouse.” –Charles Bukowski
When I think about my friend Matt Smythe I think of that line from Bukowski’s poem called The Shoelace. I’ve fished with Matt a few times and shared a Maker’s Mark or two with him and in my experience our conversations tend to sound exactly like his narration of the film he collaborated on called “A Deliberate Life.”
I call it Matt’s movie because I relate to it most through his eyes but it really came to pass via the joint efforts of him and Grant Taylor and the crew from Silo 4. By now most of you have probably seen the trailer posted above or watched the short version of the film at IF4.
I had the opportunity to view the full version and watching it reminds me of sharing a jon boat with Matt and realizing that he really did what the premise of the movie is about. It’s about real life, and holding that series of small tragedies at bay by following your passion. He actually did this, leaving the security of benefits and bi-monthly pay stubs that most of us cling to, to get after a life lived outdoors. And in doing that he actually did this, made a movie about five people who decided to go that way and see it through.
The cinematography is stellar and the subdued soundtrack enhances the reflective mood. Again, Matt’s narration sounds like having a conversation with him, while at the same time carrying a poetic rhythm that matches the visual flow of moving water. The film is in many ways set in the eternal present, this group of friends fishing together (in places we daydream about while typing on laptops) and talking to each other about how they all got to this point in their lives. I wish they all shared a little more about the before, about what they broke away from and some of the gritty details that led them to “a deliberate life.”
But then again, isn’t this what life was like before the dawn of social media, where everyone now feels compelled to share every detail about everything until mystery and discovery are choked away? This is what stories around a campfire used to be, revelatory yet at the same time incomplete. Maybe it’s enough to say, “I made a decision and I’m here.”
And the fact that they are “here” and not still “there” amidst the little tragedies–there’s satisfaction in that.
To get the full version of the movie, head on over to SILO4.