The New Style
What’s up party people. TRUEBOY here, getting the biggest high possible. I’ve got so many styles I’m like an ice-cream sundae, stiff, bright and art poppable. Multi-layerd im dripping with flow that’s untoppable. All u other bloggers are choppable. Faker stylz that aren’t the least hip-hoppable…
I’ve been recording my 3 turntable djing and playing it thru all of my pirated software. I switch up the pitch and drop the beat. I make samples out of my samples. It reminds me of when I was little, and used to cut things out of my mother’s old magazines—not just pictures, but phrases and cover story headlines in their bold font. Tiny bits of glossy paper speckled the kitchen tiles.
Im writing rhymes over the beats the way Daniel Johnston wrote lyrics over the demon voices in his head: thru them, with them, around them and above them.
One of the records I copped (coppable?) at the yard sale was Invisible Touch, by Genesis. It’s wild cuz it’s one of the few vinyl albums I owned as a kid. Most of my collection was made up of tapes, but my mother used to drag me with her to a Super Pathmark every Sunday and weirdly enough, part of what constituted the superness, in addition to its airplane hangar size, was that it offered LP records and a wide range of magazines to buy. (With a hard to reach top row that included Playboy and Fangoria and High Times, back when I only had the faintest notion what all of those pretty plants were for) The Billboard top20 or so albums were there as well as standbys like the Beatles and Rolling Stones. Occasionally my mother would offer to buy one for me, as my stereo did have a turntable on top sealed in beneath a clear plastic cover. Invisible Touch was among these purchases. I can almost remember it sticking out of the plain brown bag it had been slid into as I held it in my lap on the car ride home with all the groceries sloshing around and the smell of the fresh baked bread spilling out of its cellophane bag. I loved Land of Confusion. I still do. It’s got this wild march kinda beat. I tried to explain this to Sterling, when she came home to find her living room usurped AGAIN by my records spread out all over the place.
“Hey, listen,” I said, already apologizing before she had a chance to say anything.
“I know this isn’t great. It’s not the OPTIMUM state of tidy.”
I heard the pitter of her chuckle, which was a good sign.
“I fully plan on getting this all back together in a jiff, so no worries,” I promised emptily.
Sterling seemed not to hear or care as she flopped into the pleather E-Z chair and pulled the Dunhill green from behind her ear and stuck it in her mouth. She reached into her pinstriped trousers and pulled out a book of matches before I could reach over with my new Deathshead zippo, which for some strange reason I was still shy about busting out in front of her or Fitz.
“What you should be worrying about is your taste. What the fuck are you spinning?”
“You don’t know this? This is Genesis—Invisible Touch!”
“This is 80s lame.”
“Land of Confusion is on this. That song RULES and you know it.”
“Give me a break,” she said as she examined an album cover that had been rammed in between the seat cushion and the side of the chair.
“The Gories? People are going to think you’re one of those rockabilly lesbians,” she chuckled as she flipped open a long silver comb and brushed it over her bleached blonde pompadour in one fluid movement.
I popped out a few pieces of peppermint gum and winced at the menthol blast as I crunched down. The sweetly suffocating discord of Tonight, Tonight, Tonight went on forever, adding a horror movie element to the vibe. As much as I liked the tune, it seemed overwrought in this moment, and fought against my urge to get up and move the needle to the next track, Land of Confusion—my fave on the album.
“Genesis is so unapologetically artsy,” she complained.
“And that’s what I love about them!” I said. “They marry that over-the-top trained musician wankery with straight-up pop sensibility.”
Sterling pulled off her black leather batting glove, revealing two metal hooks where the ring and pinky finger should be on the left hand. She ignored what I said and scratched at the spot where the stumps and metal met.
“You don’t get what’s going on here,” I said, and then burped.
“Oh yeah, I do. It’s called taking up djing even though yr too old.”
“I’m not taking up DJIng—I’ve done it before! In England. And what’s this bullshit about too old. I’m not even 30 yet.”
“You almost are.”
“Almost doesn’t count. Besides, I look even younger than my age.”
“Whatever,” she said, taking a deep drag. “Tonight, tonight, tonight” finally ended and we sat there listening to the fevert opening and first verse of “Land of Confusion.” I sat on my hands, barely able to contain myself while Sterling stared at the clouds of smoke she exhaled, seemingly unmoved and uninspired by Phil Collins singing to us from what was over 20 years ago but felt like today:
“There’s too many men, too many people, making too many problems. And not enough love in this world.”
“Don’t forget—I’ve added a third turntable to the traditional set-up. The goal is to find three records pitched perfectly together, weave in some samples, and rap over it!”
“This is one of the songs?” she asked.
“It’s one of the songs of the songs,” I corrected.
She pouted and gave one of those half-smiles that she reserves just for me.