Friday, May 19, 2006

Meditations on Hip Hop

I have more than my fair share of Hip Hop (Hip Hop, R&B, call it whatever you like) albums and songs.  There are many Hip Hop artists that turn out some fantastic songs.  Like any musical genre, there is a lot of crap as well.  I have a few suggestions that might reduce the level of crap that we hear within the Hip Hop genre.
1) From now on, we're just going to assume that you are "in the house."  No need to inform us of the fact.
2) Stop sampling.  Sampling is just a legal form of plagiarism.  Be original.  If you must sample, do not sample from artists that are still alive - especially ones who had a hit as recently as the late 80s.  Sample from old school blues artists.  Bonus points if you sample Leadbelly.
3) Random dudes shouting "Whoa" throughout the song do nothing to enhance your point.
4) We know you have a nice car.  We don't care.
5) Only sing about how much you get laid if you are also willing to sing about the associated STDs.
6) Your "bling" is your own business.  Keep it that way.
7) Songs about shaking your ass are still permitted, though we're quickly reaching the threshold.
8) Asking us to "wave our hands in the air" on a recording defeats the purpose.  Save it for the live show.
9) You're not the greatest and you never will be - no matter how much you say it.
10) We're also going to assume that you are "keeping it real."  We don't need to hear it.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Starbucks Speak

I'm not a coffee drinker.  I do hear many coffee drinkers complain about Starbucks taking over the world.  Many smaller coffee shops have been run out of business by Starbucks and the ones that are left typically hate Starbucks with a passion.  I'm here to help.
Starbucks uses a proprietary sizing convention for its drinks.  Tall = Small.  Grande = Medium.  Venti = Large.  This has somehow caught on which results in drink orders sounding much like someone reciting lyrics from Lady Marmalade.  In fact, this has become so ingrained in people that they continue to order drinks this way when not at Starbucks.  This - understandably - aggravates all non-Starbucks coffee shops.  Many non-Starbucks coffee shop workers will simply fill the order because they know what it means, others will pretend to not understand.  "Venti?  I'm sorry, I don't know what that is."  Those are fine tactics, but if we really want to thwart the spread of the Starbucks language then we need to fight back.
I propose that all non-Starbucks coffee shops create items named Tall, Grande and Venti.  Each of those items should be disgusting, yet edible and added to the drink at extra cost.  For example, Venti could mean dropping a sardine into the cup of coffee.  Grande would mean that you top the drink with cheese whiz.  You get the idea.  Of course, all of these things should be noted on the menu so that you are not giving the impression that you are deceiving your patrons.  Do this, and I guarantee people will be more careful with their language while ordering drinks in the future.
I'm Jeff Ford and I fight for the people.