Sunday, July 30, 2006


Erm, I mean, hold your ground.

Asking you to give away your present store building is like someone walking up to the folks at Jim Denny’s Lunch and saying, “Say, uh, we decided that it would be better for the area if we just tore this down and put up a Chipotle. We’ll give you, uh, $12,000 for your lil’ burger shack here. How’s that sound? ”

And you know what? Fuck’em. This Z Gallerie guy is just going to put a bunch of foo-foo trendoid stores in your present site that I’m not going to want to buy anything from, but that’s certainly not in the case of you folks at Joe Sun and Co.

Yep, I remember when Joe Sun was the only store in Sacramento that had the ALL black Converse high-tops that have been a longtime part of my required footwear (and in my size at that!) and the ever practical wool watch cap for winter wear. All kinds of people working in, say, a restaurant kitchen, beauty salon or construction site, or “big and tall” in stature, already know what’s up with Joe Sun. According to a profile on, this store has annual sales revenue of about 1.5 million dollars. Not bad for a store with only 13 fuckin’ employees! SOMEbody is buying all those Dickies!

But here come these fools trying to offer 2 or 3 mil because, to paraphrase certain so-called experts, “eeyah, duh-uh, tha bildin is in poe shayeep!” The building is obviously not in poor enough shape to discourage business for Joe Sun & Company OR to scare away customers, so perhaps certain parties must avoid the overuse of the crack pipe before trying to negotiate on business matters.

And if the City of Sacramento goes through with some kind of eminent domain bullshit so that yuppie scum from Gold River can buy Dillon armoires and bread machines, shame on them and a massive voodoo curse on all involved in its undertaking. I hope that Joe Sun’s family owners win this battle and they have to build around the commercial monstrosity that’s proposed for 7th and K. If there’s a perfect opportunity for the “little guy” to tell the mindless representatives of the local developers' machine to suck his ass, this is it.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Eric B & Rakim- Follow the Leader (1988)

Yes, the newer school of rappers has had some big shoes to fill. There's something about certain waves of creativity that don't duplicate or top the spontaneous genius of its beginnings. After all, look at what happened after the American and British underground music of the late 70's and early '80s crested and crashed.

Eric B. and Rakim were just such an example. A duo from the NYC (Rakim from Strong Island, Eric from Noo Yawk's legendary WBLS road unit), these guys are to the history of hip hop what Chuck Berry is to rock n' roll at large. Their innovations (well thought out and versed battle raps, very smart use of sampling and sound layering, and a step forward in the evolution of turntable as instrument) are practically bedrock to today's generation of producers and performers.

Out of their four fine collaborations, Follow The Leader is their never disreputed masterpiece. This has the moments of prime inspiration and composition that classic 80's rhythm and rhyme was best known for. From the title cut: "A magnum as a microphone murderin' MC's"... sound familiar? Hell yes it should, if you were born before 1980 or so. How about these gems from "Microphone Fiend?" "Cool, 'Cause I don't get upset" ? Yeah you've heard that line in the groove somewhere... "A smooth operator operating correctly", what? You ain't recalling those now? All right, I'll give you an easy one... "a lethal weapon/An assassinator, if the people ain't stepping"... oh Hell yes, you'd better get that one right now or get to the back of the class. The point here is this: at a time when folks were still proceeding to bleed dry every Funkadelic and JB beat that ever existed, Rakim lines were in the mix as tribute and recognition of a (now relatively ancient) MC that was truly respected for his mic skills. And yet another notable moment in the early development of the music: the MC AS the sample.

C'mon admit it. Although we have a lot of skilled rhymers around nowadays (most of which aren't on your mainstream radio or TV, admittedly) you can name a few mushmouths out there who could use a sit down and a well intentioned playthrough of this album. Who am I kidding. These people all know Eric B. and Rakim. And if they don't, then they deserve to have the mic swiped and never returned.