Thursday, March 02, 2006

life is . . .

respond2bass is starting to heat up with some unexpected action! I really thought that the San Quentin yarn was going to last us all for a while, and everyone would have to get their freaky tales from elsewhere as I continue to unravel that experience in my head and through countless phone calls with the Bishop. But, alas, it was not to be, for less than a week later I received another unexpected, can't-miss opportunity: A personal invitation from Too $hort to watch the filming of his new video for "Blow The Whistle."

"REALLY? CAN I?!?!?" I completely lost my cool over the phone when he suggested I come check it out. It was a very generous offer, especially since we had already conducted a good telephone interview (the fruits of which will probably emerge in print in a month or two, so I'll save the juice). I didn't necessarily need more, but I obviously jumped at the chance.

It was much easier to pick out what I was going to wear to this shoot, versus the fashion trauma that was going to prison. This time it was my favorite DJ shirt, which says "No Requests" on the front, and "I Don't Care if It's Your Birthday" on the back. (What DJ can't relate to that? Can I get a witness?) And, cuz the man's got soul, my "School Girl Funk" heart locket. Again, as with San Queezy, I left the booty shorts at home. Thankfully, everyone else did too. It was clear who the featured females were, but several of them were certainly more casual, laid-back and, frankly, more fly than the New York and Miami model/stripper chicks that live on BET.

The video was shot at club Mingles in Oakland's Jack London Square, now a bustling destination which I hadn't been to since, oh, junior high or so (when it wasn't quite as such). It was directed by Bernard Gourley, who also did E-40's recent video for "Tell Me When To Go." Apparently I have trouble following direction(s), so I had to wander around the area a bit with my ear to the ground for some bass -- which, of course, is something I'm used to doing, but it got a little frustrating for a minute there before I called Ground Control for assistance.

Soon enough, I was soaking up the early afternoon, outer Mingles environment, which included a van full of youngsters who pulled up, filmed a video to a rowdy song (something about "Dead! Beat! Dead! Beat!"), and then peeled off as fast as they came. Clyde Carson from Oakland's The Team (one of my newer local favorites) passed out cans of his new Hyphy energy drink. Unfortunately I didn't get one because I wasn't willing to jump in with the vultures, who couldn't get enough of it. Bishop says it tastes like grapple (the grape/apple genetic disaster). I'm still recovering from drinking CRUNK!!! so I'll have to approach the Hyphy with caution. Maybe I could handle it better, since I'm a Yay Area native.

"Blow The Whistle" is a really cool song -- I can still say that despite having listened to it on infinite loop for so many hours today. It was produced by Lil Jon and is a brilliant fusion of old-school $hort with new-school hyphy sensibility. Jon's been an avid fan of the Bay Area forever, but has particularly been soaking in these recent almost crunk-esque sounds; his mind-meld of the two is en pointe.

I also like it because it reflects $hort's dual citizenry of the South and West in more ways than one. I didn't get tired of the continual playbacks of him shouting out, "Bun B -- that's Texas, baby! Ball and G -- that's Memphis, baby! $hort Dog -- that's Oakland, baby!"

Too $hort is blowing the whistle on the fake motherfuckers, and throwing light on the real ones.

I wasn't allowed to use a flash on the set. So I didn't get a knockout shot of $hort even though I was there for 9 1/2 hours, which was a bit of a blow to my wannabe photographer ego. However, I did manage to get some good hyphy action shots (which will come in another post, along with an explanation of what that is) as well as snaps of the real $hort Dog:

He's already got the pimp swagger down, and he's only three.

I'm just sayin'. . .

How many years do you think it will take before $hortie fits into this hoodie?

Or starts Dirty Mack'N?

Aaand this is what happens when you ask a video girl to take your picture. Nah, just kidding, she was actually pretty intelligent. I was the dumbass and forgot to take it off of the 'no flash' setting since the battery was right about to fizzle. I suppose only die-hard fans will recognize Mr. Shaw in this picture. Its warm fuzziness is starting to grow on me, actually. You can't read it, but his shirt says, "Love is for Suckers." Awww.

Check out Too $hort's "Blow The Whistle" via this link to Dub CNN's news archives. And, if you missed it before, check out the unpublished excerpt of my interview with $hort from CFS over in the "Yay Scholastics" department at Pacific Standard. More with Teemoney and Too $hort soon . . .


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