Best Episode Ever: “Juliet Takes a Luvvah” [Spoilers]

1 Feb

While there have been tons of classic detective shows in my lifetime, none have been as entertaining or witty as the USA’s tv show, Psych. Over the years, Psych has developed a rapid cult following of “PsychO’s”, drawing largely to its offbeat sense of humor and good storytelling. While admittedly, it’s not for everyone, for those who like pop culture trivia, random callbacks to niche films, and shows like Columbo, Murder She Wrote, or Moonlighting, then chances are they’ll really like Psych.

Essentially, the premise of the show is based largely around the son of a type A, Santa Barbera, retired police officer, who is in his late 20’s, and a slacker. Through sheer dumb luck, this slacker, Shawn, opens up a detective agency with his childhood best friend Gus (played by Dule Hill) and they become special liaisons to the SBPD. What makes this different from any and all cop/detective shows is that Shawn has an eidetic memory, but poses as a psychic, and consequently, has the reputation of a “psychic” detective. On its face, Shawn is a brilliant detective, however he can’t ever let on that he is not a psychic because reputations and cases would be obliterated.

Throughout the show’s history, there are a number of memorable episodes and guest cameos, but for my money, not only is the episode “Juliet takes a luvvah,” one of the best episodes in the show’s history, it might also be (pound for pound) one of the best written episodes of ANY show written for television. This episode (season 7, episode 2) is written by Steve Franks and Andy Berman (the bellhop from the Jamie Foxx Show). Franks (the creator of the show, also known for writing the Adam Sandler screenplay, Big Daddy) and Berman wrote 97 episodes together, all of them pretty strong, but “Juliet takes a luvvah,” happens to be next level storytelling. 

What sets this episode apart is there are four storylines tied to the main thread. As in all good detective stories, there is a crime that must be solved. The crime in this particular story is a series of murders. The police believe that the victims were all linked to a dating service which leads them to believe there is a serial killer loose in Santa Barbara (most crimes on the show take place in Santa Barbara. Who knew it was such a haven for the criminal minded?).  The serial killer storyline is the vehicle that drives the episode with all the quintessential red herrings and dubious suspects. 

Story Line #1  “Shawn moves back home”

At this point in the show, everyone is pretty attached to the characters, and there is a sense of attachment to each of their lives. Shawn’s father, Henry is recovering from being shot in the cliffhanger from season six.  Shawn moves back home to help Henry (who is long divorced) around the house. We get a cameo from Moonlighting alum Cybil Shephard, as Shawn’s mom. She briefly moves back into Shawn’s childhood home, and they are all together again as one big happy family. But not so much. Shawn’s parents have been divorced since he was 12 and he is not feeling this new arrangement for many reasons–especially as his parents get chummier by the day. There is a real time regression shown not just in Shawn’s living circumstances, but also in his behavior and soon, it’s like he is 12 years old all over again.

Story Line #2  Shawn and Gus

Throughout the show, Gus has a pattern of falling for every woman he meets, and almost always, the woman in question ends up being a suspect in the case they are trying to solve (or she is just flat out cuckoo for cocoa puffs). In this episode, Gus meets a woman on the same dating app where all these women are getting offed. Gus is preoccupied with this woman, who turns out is hiding something, but also, he isn’t readily available to commiserate with Shawn in his newfound living circumstances. This episode does a great job of sifting through Shawn and Gus’ relationship as well as giving us some insight into what makes the two of them tick. Shawn does his best to wedge his in between Gus and his new love interest. Part of this is Shawn looking out for Gus because of Gus’ poor romantic judgement, but also out of a smidge of jealousy. This of course, causes a bit of friction between he and Gus.

Story Line # 3 Juliet goes Undercover

By this point in the show, Shawn has become fully involved with one of the homicide detectives on the police force, Juliet (played by Maggie Lawson–a poor man’s Alicia Silverstone) and she has taken the lead role on the murder case. To solve the case, she must go deep cover as a single woman on the hunt for a man. This causes some friction between her and Shawn, as Shawn is slowly feeling isolated and can’t get the emotional support that he needs. His parents have scarred him for life, and both his best friend and his girlfriend are both occupied as well. Further complicating things is that Shawn can’t even go near the case because it’s an elaborate sting operation in which he is of little use. The friction increases as the story moves along because Juliet has to keep going on blind dates to catch the killer. Part of Shawn is dismayed that Juliet seems to be losing herself in the case, as she is clearly irritated that a “Mr. Perfect” from the dating app won’t respond to any of her direct messages. To top it off, she wants Shawn to move in with her, and can’t figure out his resistance to the idea (especially in light of his current housing situation).

Story Line #4 Henry and Madeliene

As noted above, Henry is back home recovering from his gunshot injuries, and the love of his life is back in the house, taking care of him. In this loop of the thread, we get a little glimpse into Spencer family dynamic. Henry and Madeliene seem to be getting along swimmingly, cuddling on the couch and watching movies Things even get hot and heavy throughout the course of the episode. For reasons unknown to the viewer, this bothers Shawn a great deal, and we never really get to the root of his discomfort by the end of the episode.

One of the major selling points of the show Psych is that the audience is as much involved in the story and cases as the characters. Nothing is ever spelled out until the very end, and all the clues are extremely subtle. This episode in many ways, succinctly gives allows fans the insight (psychoanalysis) to every major character’s motivation throughout the entire show. It’s really brilliant, and though I wouldn’t start anyone unfamiliar with the show on this episode, I do contend that it is a top ten episode and possibly the strongest in regard to writing and plot development. Being on a cable network like USA kept it from hitting mainstream appeal, but it also helped it grow and slowly build an audience without unrealistic expectations weighing it down. So, if you like detective shows, and you have a decent sense of humor, have a bowl of slice pineapples and check it out. It is a very solid series worth your time.

Bob E. Freeman


Does the World Really Need a House Party 3?

28 Jan

The world did not need another House Party movie. In fact, the world didn’t need a House Party 2, and outside of a few classic cameos by Bernie Mac and Freez-Luv, the world didn’t need a House Party 3. I watched the trailer to this new House Party reboot, and the timing of this film’s release seems poor. With all the existential threats we Black Americans face in our current day to day, it’s hard to accept the ridiculous premise that two house cleaners could find a way to throw a party in the social media era at Lebron James’ house and neither he, nor his people find out. 

Just for kicks, I threw on the original House Party on the screen to see if it still held up, or if nostalgia had me feeling stronger about the movie than it deserved. There were some gags that still had me cracking up, and some gags that I didn’t think were as funny now that I’m in my mid-forties. Overall, it was still enjoyable, however; even in its original form, it would be considered a superfluous film. The fact is this movie was just a snapshot of an era that was already on its way out the door. Here is a list of what worked and what didn’t work.

What Worked

The cast was superb.

There are some great casting decisions that at the time couldn’t have been pulled off by any other actors (I’m not talking about Kid or Play we’ll get to them later). Robin Harris as Kid’s father carries a lot of the film. His quips and sharp humor at the time were ferocious (Chicago comic!!!) and memorable, calling teenagers test tube babies, and roasting the hell out everyone he came across. Sadly, he would die shortly after the film was released– at the age of 36 (he looked much older, and in hindsight, it’s kind of distressing seeing him in this condition).

John Witherspoon has some classic cameos, which at the time were hilarious, but when looking back at all his roles as Pop in Friday, Pops from Wayans Bros, and Grandad from Boondocks (don’t forget his role in Boomerang). The Public Enema scene was hilarious to me for two reasons: 1) Martin’s character really was playing Public Enemy at a house party, and 2) Somehow Witherspoon’s character knew it was Public Enemy. 

Full Force’s scenes were all side splitting, unfortunately some of the language in their dialogues could not be replicated today (for better or worse). The dynamic of the three was pure slapstick, but every interaction they had with other people and within their group were hilarious. 

Clifton Powell (who is most famously known for his role as Pinky in Friday and Chauncy in Menace II Society) makes an appearance in what to me is the funniest written scene, as we take our first trip in the movie to the projects. Chauncy opens the door to Tisha Campbell’s character, Sydney, and he is talking to his homeboy on the phone, about going to a party (“12 o’clock! He says. Black people don’t go to no party at 8 o’clock,” he tells him). I’d never listened to the conversation before, but he is telling his homeboy to “leave his ugly girlfriend at home because there were plenty of girls going to be there already.” The whole project scene is for my money, the best written part of the film. You get a chance to see how Sharane and Sydney interact despite being from vastly different backgrounds (Sydney’s parents may be Boule, and Sharane’s parents don’t seem to be in the picture). Every joke in the scene lands, from the family gathered round the television watching Flash from the Five Heartbeats do a commercial to the final punchline of Peanut (young Trey in Boyz in the Hood) putting too much sugar in the Kool Aid. 

Other Cameos of note:

AJ Johnson in the “follow the drip” scene.

Daryl “Chill” Mitchell bumping the DJ table.

Stanley from Friday in the scene where Play kicks everyone out the house.

Shaun Baker as Clinton X -episode where Tommy brings the white girl on the ski trip (Snow White).

The use of music in the film was good too. I never noticed until this most recent viewing that the music supervisors were Marcus Miller and Lenny White, two jazz legends–even at that time. Luther Vandross’ Having a Party is the perfect intro to the film, setting the tone for what was to follow (even giving us a little foreshadowing in the lyrics).

What Did Not Work

The most notable folklore about this film is that neither Kid nor Play were the first casting choices for this film. The movie was originally written with Will Smith and Jazzy Jeff in mind. There was a dispute with New Line Cinema over the song, A Nightmare on My Street, and the way it played out, made this scenario a non-reality. While Kid N Play did okay jobs as their first major acting role, their scenes seem a little forced and at times, overacted. That being said, it’s impossible to imagine this movie with the Fresh Prince and Jazzy Jeff in those two roles.

Kid’s (Christopher Reid) scenes were especially hard to watch. He is such a cornball, and every scene with him seemed a little extra. His punchlines typically landed flat, and I could not be convinced that two best friends would be fighting for his affections.

Play behaved like someone who’d never had his ass beaten before. The dude was wildly disrespectful to his friend Bilal (strangely similar to the character he played in Boomerang). Play’s sense of entitlement and dismissive attitude towards everyone around him made it hard to sympathize with his mama’s toilet getting clogged. Of all the roles, his character seemed to lack any real backstory (other than what Robin Harris’ character gives us). His character does redeem himself in the end, helping his friend Kid in his time of need, so I guess there is that, but the film could’ve given us at least a phone call with his parents to show him in a light that wasn’t so flat. Although I must admit, I did like the “Project girl” conversation he had with Kid explaining the logistics of how they should divvy up the booty (Although, later when he lies about kissing Sharane in front of Sydney, how does it not get back to Sharane by the next morning at school?).

There were two scenes that I thought were unnecessary to the development of the film: Kid being chased by Full Force and him trying to freestyle a Boule party, deejayed by George Clinton, and the jailhouse scene. I understand why they may have thought it was a good idea. But the execution of both turned out to be lame gags and just made the run time of the film longer than it should have been. Both scenes should have ended on the cutting floor.

Other Random Thoughts

Kid N Play were way better dancers than they were rappers. Every time either one of them picked up a microphone I tuned out or checked my phone for text messages. It was 1990 so I get it, but whenever people say the Golden Age of Hip Hop started in 1988, Kid N Play is probably Exhibit C of wack emcee’s from that time period.

At the 40:45 period, Sharane says to Sydney, “You Go Girl.” with Bilal sitting in the front seat of Play’s hooptie. And thus, the premise for Martin is born. Speaking of Martin Lawrence, he nails every single scene he is in, from slow dancing at the party comparing chick to a buttermilk biscuit, while she boredly blows her bubble gum, to getting dissed by the ladies because of his hygiene, and my favorite scene of all, with him in his bedroom kissing his Jet Beauty of the Week cut outs that are pinned to his wall (my older cousin had a similar shrine around that same time).

The nod to Animal House where they drop off Groove at his mama’s house is a great gag.

This movie hit differently as a Black father. All the bad things happened to Kid happened because he disobeyed his father and left the house. He endured a couple of near beatdowns, almost got hit by multiple cars, got gaffled up by the police, and lastly, almost got his manhood snatched in the jailhouse. Had this not been a comedy, there are so many ways this story could’ve ended tragically.

Closing Thoughts

The endearing quality of that first House Party is that it’s a snapshot of that late 80’s era. It hints at what is to come for Black American culture, with Martin Lawrence ascending and John Witherspoon’s career arc peaking with the Friday franchise and every gig that came afterwards. Tisha Campbell as Gina, A.J. Johnson ten years later for her role in Baby Boy. Robin Harris sadly would not see the next decade, and Kid N Play was “played out by the time House Party 3 came about in 1994. 

The 90’s would become more rougher, more dangerous, Middle class black neighborhoods would dissolve into hoods and gentrified parts of town. The premise was simple and relatively innocent: Someone’s parents are out of town, and they have a party. The complications are the bullies, Kid not listening to his father, and eventually, Play’s toilet getting ruined. It would be rare to see such innocent fun in Black cinema going forward. Black movies for the next 20 years would get heavy on the drama and violence, and the few comedies to come out, would be slapstick and nonsensical.

Which brings me to this is “new” House Party. From what I saw in the trailer, this could’ve been named anything else. The plot’s premise is a non-starter for me. I’m okay with suspending my disbelief for the sake of story, but in the age of social media, it’s hard to believe that someone can have a party thrown at their house and have people they know attend it without them finding out is a bridge too farfetched (even for me). I personally think that House Party holds up to those people born in and of that era of 80’s nostalgia. I would love to know how a Gen Z person would receive the movie had it been released today.

Bob E. Freeman

18 Dec

There was a period of time

(between Post Office and Women)

where Bukowski reportedly was celibate

for ten years.

Ten years. No nookie. What the hell?

I woke up the other day

and realized I was almost halfway there.

Again. What the hell?

~Bob E. Freeman

Geeking Out on Vonnegut

11 Nov

Connecting Flight in Phoenix

27 Dec

I found the change of scenery to be surprisingly uplifting, the heaviness that had weighed me down for so long was subsiding. Catching my connecting flight in Phoenix, I wondered about the chances of running into Charles Barkley, or Steve Nash.

Looking out the window, running along the conveyor belt, I wasn’t sure what to expect–what to look forward to.

Maybe I’d be able to get over her during this trip. There was definitely the prospect of other women, both young and old, but I was also going to get some fresh air, and a few early morning hikes would do me good.

An old friend was meeting me at the airport with the possiblity of revisitng old desires, harking back to a time when I made it all happen, yet was lucky if I could buy groceries for the week.

Things had completely changed, and for the better. With all the questions going into this trip, there was no question about the theme. Whether it’d be Eugene, Oregon, Toronto, or New York City, it was certainly time to move on. 

~Edward Austin Robertson

Mr. Glancy Was Right

2 Nov

It hit me at that very moment

crumbling herb at some party

in my t-shirt and blue jeans

that maybe my Spanish teacher

was correct.

True I was not hanging out

at the local Dairy Queen

and P & S,

but I wasn’t that far removed

from that reality.

High School graduation was already

2 years ago.

What was I doing?

I took a look around the room.

Everyone holding a drink

was either going or transferring

to a big university.

I didn’t even have a plan.

Working as a parking attendant

at the race track wasn’t sustainable.

What turned out as a minor curiosity

became an escape.

That night was the first inkling

that my emptiness

was something I could no

longer afford to ignore.

~Bob E. Freeman

Fall Playlist

30 Oct

Not For Long: How the NFL pushed fans like me away from the game

3 Aug

This is a post that has been long overdue. And it should’ve been written years ago, but there were more pressing issues to think and write about. But now on the heels of the NFL trying to place a stranglehold mandatory vaccine initiative on its players, I figure its time to get it all out in the open.

There was a time when football was my favorite sport to play and watch. From 1989-1995, it was my sport. I remember when the NFC East was the the NFC “Beast” and anyone winning that conference was all assured of winning the Super Bowl. Sure I was a die hard Cowboys fan, but the Eagles had Randall Cunningham, and the New York Football Giants had legendary defensive players and had an epic Super Bowl run in 1990 that cemented my fandom. Throw in the big time, bone crushing hits that made the sport popular, and it was the perfect balance of brutality and ballet.

My fandom waned as the Cowboys star dimmed, and my interests in other things intensified (school, girls, drugs, music) but you could catch me watching some fool’s ball on the right Sunday if a matchup was intriguing enough. Even if I didn’t watch, I still kept up with who played for what team. But with each passing year, I noticed subtle changes the competition committee would employ to make the game more exciting for the casual fan. I would say by the mid 2000’s, the league was obviously trying to push the league in a direction that would benefit players like Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and Tom Brady. Now, the NFL is glorified Arena League ball, or comparable to flag football on steroids. But there are a number of reasons why I don’t watch the NFL. Like to hear them? Here it go.

Reason #1: The Death of the Big Hit

I fell in love with football because it was a gladiator sport. If you were a receiver going across the middle, chances were you were going to get crushed into smithereens. Big hitters like Steve Atwater, Ronnie Lott, Chuck Cecil, Andre Waters, Thomas Everett would take a receivers had off. Yes it was violent, and it was dangerous, but that was the fun of it. The Ravens-Steelers rivalry from last decade was the last penchant of real football left. Now the league has legislated all the big hits out of the game. Defensive players can only hit the quarterbacks between the numbers on their uniforms. Hits above the shoulders or below the knees get flagged and they introduced a “defenseless receiver” rule where if a player isn’t looking, they can’t be hit. Whatever. I blame fantasy football. So much money and viewership is made from gambling and fantasy football participants–many of which never really cared for the game until they started playing–that the league has a vested interest in keeping the offensive players healthy; even at the expense of the defensive players (who still have to make their money somehow).

Reason # 2: Thursday Night Football

You can pinpoint both an uptick in injuries and a drop off in quality of games right around 2006, when the league introduced Thursday night games. The thinking was that Sundays and Mondays weren’t enough football for the week, the world needed more product which would equate to more money for owners and a crumb or two for the players. How the NFLPA agreed to this, I don’t know. But it has been proven time and time again that they have the weakest player union in all of sports (one could even argue that in a sport driven by Black athletes, it is a microcosm for the larger world, where Black faces like Gene Upshaw and DeMaurice Smith, serve as “representation” for the larger population, but only obtain benefits for a small minority). The Thursday night games as a whole have been mostly poor quality, filled with turnovers and injuries. Players often complained about the shortened week after a Monday night game, where there is a quick turnaround and less time to recover from the week’s previous game. Now a team can play on Sunday and then turn around and play four days later. Most players say that they are usually still bruised and aching up until Friday of a normal week of play. To add insult to injuries (pardon the pun), the NFLPA agreed to a 17th game; starting this upcoming season. All I can say is that we teach others how to treat us. The NFLPA is as fangless as the Congressional Black Caucus.

Reason #3 The Plantation Model

The NFL is just one big plantation. It really starts back when players are in college, playing for these huge programs that generate millions of dollars for universities (Football generally makes money for the rest of the sports at a school) and their coaches. Players have to keep in line and if they so much as speak up about an issue within the program or in society, they can get their scholarship revoked or playing time culled if they offend a coach or donor. This feeds into the mentality of the pro player who becomes conditioned to just shut up and play. The optics of this looks real bad when consider there are no Black owners in the NFL, and only one Black general manager–in a sport that is about 70% Black (especially at the skill positions). There are only a handful of Black NFL head coaches, and for a long time, you would be lucky to see two or three Black starting quarterbacks.

Then there are the uniforms. The league is extremely particular about how a player should look during the game. A player can get fined for having the wrong colored socks or cleats. Any messages written on their uniforms–no matter how well intentioned—can be garner a fine of tens of thousands of dollars.

To top it off, players couldn’t even openly celebrate without their team getting penalized on the field and garnering a fine later in the week. The NFL is the king of squeezing out the individuality of its players in favor of a “uniform” look.

Lastly, there is the issue of Colin Kaepernick. While I can agree that the NFL is a private industry (that somehow garnished non-profit status while raking in billions of dollars) and they have the right to give a job to whomever they want, as a consumer, I also have the right to support or not support that industry. There was a large contingent of fans (and let’s face it, most of the owners are huge GOP donors) offended by what Kaepernick was saying in the media, and by what he was protesting. Was there collusion to keep him from landing another job? Probably. Kaepernick didn’t have to opt of his contract with one year remaining, and he didn’t have to sign that settlement. But he is probably better off for doing so. He made millions in a sport where your livelihood can be taken away in one play–which reminds me– NFL players are the only sport without guaranteed contracts. They can rip a player’s contract up at any time and send them out in the street.

Reason #4 Roger Goodell

I could write a whole article about the buffoonery of Roger Goodell if it weren’t already well documented. Its no coincidence that the quality of play in the NFL dropped around the time Commissioner Paul Tagliabue stepped down in 2006. Goodell anointed himself the judge, jury, and executioner of “The Shield”. Players were now being fined and disciplined for off the field matters in addition to what they did on the field. Goodell bungled high profile scandals like “Spygate”, “Bountygate”, the referee lockout of 2012 (which was an embarrassment), (the alleged) CTE cover up by the NFL that resulted in Will Smith making a movie and using a bad accent in it, and also the Ray Rice fiasco. I couldn’t figure out how such a bumbling idiot was able to keep such a profile job until I read that the NFL had made the most money it had ever made with ole Roger Dodger manning the helm.

As it is, with a lot more adult responsibilities, I don’t even think about the NFL very often. Sundays are spent with family, or working on projects. I don’t miss it. In fact, I missed it more when I was watching it–pining for the good ole days of Ronnie Lott and Bo Jackson, and Mike Singletary. But it was a good run. I’d go as far as to say 2012-2013 was the last year I really had any vested interest in who won the Super Bowl. Every year thereafter, I just hoped it was anyone but the Patriots (which could be another post in itself). Who knows, maybe I would’ve outgrown it anyway. All that being said, I guess I’m happier without it. Even if it is America’s favorite sport.

Geeking Out on Live De La

3 Jun

MM..Leftovers: Random Thoughts from Binge Listening to MF DOOM for an Entire Month

1 Feb
  1. I wasn’t listening to much current hip hop by the time Operation: Doomsday came out. I bought one new release in 1999, and it was The Roots, Things Fall Apart which at the time, felt like the most important record to come out that year. Its hard to listen to DOOM’s first album with my ears from that time. Life was drastically different–especially New York. I don’t even know if I would have liked that album then. I had a huge bias for West Coast rap, then my preferences went South, then Midwest and finally to the east coast. Seems backwards I admit, but to a southern boy who had yet to visit the Mecca of hip-hop, New York may as well have been the moon. I loved Wu-Tang, but Wu-Tang was universal, but other than that, I wasn’t checking for much rap coming out of the east coast. Audio wise, Doomsday has that rawness of Enter the 36 Chambers, so there is a chance that I would’ve loved it had I heard it when it was first released, but as a 19 year old, chances are slim that I would’ve had the insight to understand it.
  2. My palette wasn’t sophisticated enough back then to appreciate it had someone dropped that album down in front of me. I can see why Mos Def immediately vibed to it, and why ?uestlove didn’t quite rock with it. Thinking back on how differently things were in the late 90’s there was nothing like this out. Operation: Doomsday has that DIY, punk rock aesthetic that feels so fresh among the other types of production and albums coming out back then. I see why it was so influential for fans and artists who championed it. It is a very charming record, but is still hardcore and street, with an undercurrent of the ethos that hip hop originated in. For those disillusioned with the direction rap music was going (consider for example, Nas at the beginning of that decade to the music he was making by the end of it) I see why this album was so revered.
  3. It is an absolute shame that the KMD album Black Bastards didn’t get released when it was supposed to be. It was completed in 1993, had it come out that year, it would’ve held its own place in the Canon of that year. I think it is as strong as anything that was released–this includes Midnight Marauders, Enter the 36, Doggystyle, Enter Da Stage, Digable Planet’s Reachin’ ,and 93 Til Infinity. The production is tight and the beats are warm and rich–so good that I still haven’t had a chance to study the lyrics(you can even see a little hint of future DOOM production if you pay attention). But I do think had I come out the year it was completed, Black Bastards would be regarded as a borderline classic album instead of this uncomfortable and unfortunate footnote.
  4. In 2004, when Champion Sound, MM FOOD, and Madvillain came out, I was drinking tea with white chicks and listening to boring old jazz records on my turntable. Later that Fall, I discovered Post-Rock music. I couldn’t be any further out of the hip-hop loop that year.
  5. One thing I love about DOOM’s production is that he samples songs that my parents and aunts and uncles listened to when I was growing up. Some of the beats take me back to Saturday mornings filled with the smell of Pine Sol the sounds of Anita Baker and Sade.
  6. It makes me feel good to hear all these stories from others who revered MF DOOM and those who knew him perfectly. His streams and music sales spiked considerably since news of his death and that brings a smile to my face. I hope his family and estate are getting some fat royalty checks.
  7. Listening to DOOM this past month has been pretty therapeutic–as well as educational. He wasn’t my favorite but he should have been. The man was a pure artist. DOOM was one of our last links to that final golden age of New York hip hop–a long and fruitful career that spanned 3 different eras. He started out as a break dancer and graffiti guy, then moved on to rhyming and production and performing. When I think of hip hop purist, DOOM and Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def) come to mind. Funnily enough, DOOM though of himself as more of a hip hop novelist than just a guy who rhymed. He was more interested in creating worlds and characters and writing good stories, as opposed to just rhyming over beats. There is a consistent level of humor, levity and brilliance that runs through all of his projects. Listening to DOOM’s music feels like a celebration; reminding me all of what’s important and good in the world. I am angry there wasn’t someone around to make me sit down and listen to his music earlier than when I finally did. I’ve always considered myself a DOOM fan, but now I’m a recent convert to a DOOM-head. He was definitely one of the best to ever do it—many say THE Best. Hip Hop lost a legend last year.
  8. If you think about DOOM’s life, it actually feels like a comic book. Smart, mild mannered man encounters tragedy and hits rock bottom, but has the vision and drive to become one of the most legendary rappers of all time. Considering the hand that was dealt to DOOM, it would’ve been easy for him to give up his dream and get a 9-5. But it didn’t break him. To endure that kind of adversity and become who he was shows how much confidence and positivity the man must’ve had. Respect. His is a story that is very inspiring.