some half-baked thoughts on no homo


I really like Fabolous. Probably more than anyone you’ve ever met, I bet. He’s my platonic ideal, more or less, of what a rapper can be. He’s lyrical and thugged out, but he likes rocking over R&B and pop-oriented beats, too. I feel like not a lot of people strike that balance very well, but Fab sticks the landing. But really, I like dude because he’s a comedian, and I’ll take a laugh over basically any other subject matter in rap, period. He’s made two different comedy-themed songs with the Clipse (“Comedy Central” and “Joke’s On You”) for no reason at all. He’s generally funny, and even his murder rhymes are smiley face bars. He does stuff like this, from “For the Love:”

You squares could never stop me, y’all try angles to play me
Two lines for you fuck boys; pause that, now play me

Far as I’m concerned, this is basically genius. It bends in on itself and is dense as heck. There’s the shape play, the effort, the boast—you can break it down yourself. I especially like the way “two lines” transforms into a pause button, which has two lines, then “play me” brings it back to triangles. It’s a duplicate. There’s a slang meaning, too. Two lines meaning deuces meaning BYE. A “fuck boy” is your everyday average punk, in this specific case haters who thought Fab didn’t have bars. “Pause that”—Fab has to say “pause that” because “fuck boys” sounds like “fuck boys” and that sounds gay and so you need a no homo in there somewhere to even things out.

This is the thing that sucks about rap. Its highs and lows are all tangled up together, so even when I’m enjoying what I love best about the music, the back of my head is still critiquing it. And while I get the logic behind “no homo,” it sucks, because it’s the opposite of what rap is about. So much of rap is about confidence, whether that means confidence to get on the mic or to lie and lie well about who you are and where you’re from, that “no homo” is the wackest, weakest thing you could possibly say.

You can’t be the biggest, baddest dude on campus and still be so afraid of just being confused for possibly being a gay dude for even a moment that you throw in disclaimers everywhere just in case. That doesn’t track. It’s not confident. It’s a devastating instance of insecurity, since you likely also rap about beating up all of Brownsville singlehanded. Even if you strip out the homophobia entirely, it’s still soft by rap standards. It’s about being afraid. I feel like a real man would just say what he wants to say and dare somebody to test him.

(It also sucks for the word “ayo,” because personally that is the most natural way I can think of to say “Wow, yo, this story you’re telling me is utterly insane right now but I don’t have anything to say yet.” The longer the a, the more entertained I am.)

No homo and pause bum me out, basically. For both the obvious reasons and the fact that they’re a huge speed bump in what is otherwise something I find hugely entertaining. “Oh, right, this guy is probably a punk in real life.” I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it pops my suspension of disbelief, because I guess that is a thing I have for music now. It’s so boring and stupid that I can’t believe it’s actually lasted this long.

It’s bad writing, too. Dawg, you made up those lines. You didn’t HAVE to say something you feel would be misconstrued. Edit better.

Anyway. Fab’s The Soul Tape 2 is really good. It’s one of my favorite rap releases in the past year. “For the Love,” "We Get High," "Life Is So Exciting," and "BITE" have videos, if you’re curious. I really like "So NY" even though it’s not on the mixtape. I just really like “So NY like the folks who make PlayStation” line (he’s used it twice now) and the idea of crafting a song with a chorus that goes at Wayne and then sets Fab up as better than a whole BUNCH of rappers. That’s confidence, jack. And of course, there’s a bleeped no homo a lil before the minute mark. Highs and lows, see? I’d forgotten about it. (Though he’s not usually like this!)

This is a great little piece, but I think it skims over the whole “suspension of disbelief in music” thing a little too fast. That’s great! We’re pretty used to considering the narratives (and along with it the assumptions and assertions and logical leaps) of films and tv shows, but I think we could unpack a lot more about what makes particular music (or performance art pieces or whatever other art) either work or fail if we started adopting a lot more of these narrative-style analytical devices!

In other words, I’d love to hear a critic ask: Is the ending of this particular jazz piece believable? Has this country song earned enough trust from the audience before changing perspectives in the middle? What’s this singer’s motivation for behaving this way? These are all questions that are intuitively part of music criticism, but I know the criticism I like the best makes them explicit. It just makes sense to me. Consuming art is a narrative experience, even if the art isn’t narrative. (I am probably not the first person to say something like this, so obviously I’d welcome anyone to argue against that position!)

Pumpkin spice doesn’t conceal the fact that there are no longer seasons, pumpkin spice has no referent in reality

Understanding Jean Baudrillard with Pumpkin Spice Lattes |

(via nathanjurgenson)

"Did I mention that there’s no pumpkin in your pumpkin spice latte? It’s nutmeg (and a few other spices). In other words, that delicious sip of fall you just imbibed is actually a pure simulacrum, of that fourth order."

This is perfect[ly unreal].

(via mikerugnetta)

This is all so great. I only write to add that my personal fascination with Baudrillard extends to how simulacra aid in creating narratives that enhance experience. Meaning, pumpkin spice has to go away for the seasonal narrative to enhance my enjoyment of the seasonal product. Or maybe most simply, all narrative is based on this simulacrum-like abstraction, and being aware of it can actually assist with surrendering to, and enjoying, the narrative.

(via mikerugnetta)



this 4chan post was sold for $90,900 on ebay


So 4chan sold a piece of art to itself, as part of the kind of satirical process that has been used for about a century now and which only hacks like Damien Hirst still think is original and interesting, and somehow they think that selling this to themselves is a clever critique of the art world.


(via kenyatta)