Archive for the ‘Tupac’ Category

Combat Jack Throwback: Tupac Shakur Stayed Having The BEST Weed!

March 26, 2009

All good things come to an end and the kids go back to school next week. Being that I’m headed outta town,
as promised, here’s a throwback of my world famous, award winning blog series recapturing my Top 5 gulliest moments I experienced first hand in the music industry, shit you won’t hear about anywhere else on the whole effin planet but here!

PREVIOUSLY: #5, #4, #3, #2

Courtesy of Byron Crawford

#1. The Time I Smoked A Blunt With Tupac ([||] and sorta)

Back in the early 1990’s, I was working with some more gully Mount Vernon niggas. One’a my former clients, Kenny Smoove landed a label deal with Atlantic Records because of his hit production on the group “Intro”. He discovered and broke the group “Changing Faces” with their smash hit single “Stroke You Up” produced by and featuring R. Kelly (no Michael Jackson pederast). Shit was looking extra good for Kenny. His next project was a rap group called “Ground Zero” who were supposed to be like the East Coast version of NWA. Don’t worry if you don’t recall hearing about them though, they were dropped from the label like about a week after this story took place, but I’m telling you, these negroes were really crazy, like, not right in the head.

They were all cousins (I think maybe inbred) and when they weren’t rhyming or writing “hot shit”, they’d get all smoked out and drunk and start fighting each other for real. Bare fists and knuckles real. Dudes were so crazy even, and if I’m lying, I’m dying, that there was this one incident when, in the midst of a drunken spell, they started fighting amongst each other in middle of the street, said fight eventually escalating into a “friendly” game of gun play where one of ‘em shot another one either in the arm or the leg. Real shits and giggles these guys. Believe me when I say these cats were effin idjits!!! Good dudes though, just not too mentally balanced. Anyways, they had a “road manager” who went by the name of “Easy Lee.” Easy was one of those pretty boy [||] type of dudes with a million dollar smile who was in all actuality, real grimy, so much so that that you wouldn’t wanna trust him near your cash, your girl, your moms, your kids, your video games, your gear, you flat out couldn’t trust this fucker. I wonder why he didn’t just call himself Greezy Lee.

Anyways, Ground Zero stayed producing joints in the studio with Kenny, shit started gelling, sounding mad proper and eventually they ended up getting a gig to perform way out in this ghetto ass club in Queens, New York. It was a promotional date and they were one of many acts opening up for the legendary, late, great Tupac Shakur. This was around the time that ‘Pac was starting to establish his name on the fact that he just made his acting debut in the film “Juice”. I’m thinking “Above The Rim’ also. So on the night of the scheduled performance, Me, “Greezy”, Kenny, Ground Zero, and a few other cats drove out to the club. When we got there, the place was packed with a line going around the entire block. To make matters worse, this was like the coldest night I ever experienced in my life!!! I’m talking a few years before this global warming thing, where it was seriously 2 degrees with a wind chill factor of like negative 25! Some real BRICK shit. Outside, there were hundreds of chicks waiting to get in, hoping, praying to catch a glimpse of Tupac. I gotta give it to them ’cause they was out there dressed in the skimpiest of halter-tops and opened toed shoes. I didn’t get it because I was wearing like three pairs of socks and a pair of 40 Below Timberland boots and being that it was so cold, my toes felt like they were being sliced and diced with razor blades.

To make shit even more horrific, the bouncers at the door didn’t give a rat’s ass who the eff me, Kenny Smoove or Ground Zero were and most definitely were not letting us in. After waiting for like an hour, Tupac shows up with his crew (including the future G.O.A.T., Biggie Smalls, who at the time was content playing his position as one of ‘Pac’s weed carriers). To this day, I’ll never figure out how, but Greezy Lee somehow managed to slip into Tupac’s entourage and disappeared inside the club alongside them. Five minutes go by, I know for sure that my feet are frostbitten and that I’ll probably have to have one of ‘em surgically removed thus becoming gimped up, Ground Zero start getting antsy, cussing at each other, shoving and looking like they’re about to start fighting, shooting in the crowd and at each other when Greezy pops out the club with out his million dollar smile and a bouncer, points in our direction and tells dude to let the us in. Me, Kenny and Ground Zero gets escorted in and right as we’re about to pass security, this other bouncer let’s everybody else in and cuts the flow by sticking his meaty ass hand in my chest, thus blocking my entry. Freezing, stuck and knowing that I just blew my last shot at getting into the ghetto ass club with the name I forgot, I sadly watch the posse enter, doors closing behind them.

So here I am, stuck out in the frozen tundra, toes all blue, with about 500 ghetto ass, open toed shoe wearing half dressed 2pac crazy bitches, with no ride home and no opportunity to see my group perform. Fortunately, I had the keys to the group’s vehicle, so I hop in the whip, turn on the heat and wait for like 2-3 hours for the crew to get back. Around four in the a.m., Greezy, his smile, Kenny and Ground Zero wake me up from out of my slumber by knocking on the window and we all head back to Mount Vernon. They inform me that although the bouncer allowed the group into the club, the promoter took one look at them and said there was no way in hell he’d allow those crazy niggas to get up on stage and perform. They did decide to remain inside (and at my expense) in order to watch Tupac (and Biggie’s) performance. That evening was a wrap.

Anyways, we drive back to Mount Vernon, get to Kenny’s crib when Greezy proudly announces that while he was “backstage” (how the fuck did he manage to get backstage?), he started “going for his” by grabbing all types of shit – others people’s belongings and stuff – until he came upon this real plush looking black leather Pelle Pelle jacket with an image of a black stallion embroidered on the back. Realizing he “just had to have it,” Greezy slipped it on under his coat while Tupac and crew were performing and then casually blended back into the audience. So dude takes out the jacket and I’m like “Yo man, that’s really fucked up, I don’t get down like that!!! ….. Um, what’s in the pockets?” Greezy then goes all up in the pockets and produces a wallet containing none other than Tupac Shakur’s driver’s license! That’s when we all recognize the jacket because ‘Pac had done a lot of promotional shit for “Juice” rocking the same jacket. We all remain silent, not believing that Greezy just jacked “Bishop” when from the other pocket, he pulls out the largest, ripest, pungent most beautifullest pillow sack of Chronic weed I had ever seen in my life. We were all in awe because in New York and around that time, most of us still wasn’t privy to Chronic other than what Snoop, Dre and Nate Dogg over on the West Coast were rapping and sanging about.

As we lounged back and smoked the Chronic, Greezy and his smile was like our hero for a coupla hours, and I, for the life of me, couldn’t get out of my mind the image of ‘Pac’s tiny ass [||] being ushered out of the club, wrapped all up in blankets and sheets, just in order to keep warm, with no coat on and no weed to smoke, middle finger pointed high in the sky for the niggas that ganked him, his wallet, his drivers license and his smoke. I don’t know what Greezy ended up doing with the jacket, and ‘Pac’s license, I just don’t fuck with cats like that anymore. I think I remember something about how he made mad money selling off the rest of that bomb ass weed though. I just hope that this incident wasn’t the camel’s straw that eventually triggered that crazy ass nigga Tupac to go off the deep end, resulting in him hating B.I.G., Puffy and just about anything else East Coast related. On the real though, good looking out for that solid ‘Pac, Thug Life and all that my nigga! R.I.P. You mos def kept some of the best weed I ever had in my life!


Lil’ Wayne Finally Beats Tupac As Most Overrated Rapper Of All Time

February 5, 2009

It’s going on four years since Byron Crawford posted my exclusive drop where I exposed Tupac Shakur as being way overrated. At the time, mad fatherless “thug lifers” the world over commented in anger and disbelief as to how I had the cojones to blasphemously prove their rap idol false. My how things have changed. With regard to Mr. Shakur, it seems as if even the most die hard of ‘Pac stans have come to their senses and have moved on. These days, one would be hard pressed to spot anyone other than short Mexican busboys wearing anything made by that horrible Makavelli Branded clothing line. Even the wigsters over at Blender felt the climate safe enough to jump on the bandwagon last year when they shamelessly bit my classic piece in claiming that ‘Pac was the most overrated person in music ever. Really? No shit Sherlock.

So now we have Lil’ Wayne jockeying for the spot as the Greatest Rapper Alive. And fans across the globe are actually fighting each other to the glorious death in getting their vote in to lock dude firmly in that position. I kinda blame myself for initially contributing to all this blind Weezy mania. See, back in 2005 when I was working at MTV, I gave “The Carter II” a cursory listen to and shared with some of my then co-workers how amazed I was at how Wayne had markedly improved from being in candy cane Lil Bow Wow lane to someone who finally got comfortable with the most rudimentary of skills as a rapper. You know, something along the lines as to how Jim Jones has gone from being just a weed carrying wannabe rapper to now being a former weed carrier rapper. Not that either of them are great mind you, just that they’ve improved to the point where at best, they’re listenable, better than former hit maker Nelly and current punching bag Rick Ross, near where Memphis Bleek (maybe) and Fat Joe have been stuck at, for like ages, but nowhere near Black Thought, Wale, or even Joe Buddens.

Then again, with hip hop being so interwoven into the fabric of America’s pop culture, everyone can rap. Come to think about it, even the young dude that delivers my mail occasionally spits a hot 16 as he tries to get me to listen to his demo from time to time. But back then, in the mid 1st decade of the new millenium, my dudes at MTV was like “fukouttahere” until they gave TC3 a listen to and agreed that Dwayne really stepped his game up. I even remember giving the homie Dallas a call telling him how I felt the internets was giving Wayne too much of a hard time as he was now “somewhat” decent, and waiting for him to joke me out. From there, I guess the word spread like wild fire as to how Wayne was the most improved rapper alive, a title which he then rightfully deserved.

Now I gotta hand young Mr. Carter credit. Shortly after “God MC” Jay-Z’s “retirement”, Dip Set dumbing New York rap down and wrecking rock star shop, the Clipse getting locked up behind label politics, Fabolous still not being able to make that classic lp, 50 morphing from under dog darling to Conan the Barbarian, Mos Def being distracted by that Hollywood money, baby momma drama and white stripper wifey ex-wifey chicks, and everyone else on the East Coast being too busy beefing with each other all arguing about who was gonna be the King of NY, solid southern hits by the likes of Mike Jones, Slim Thug, 3 6 Mafia, Young Dro and Young Jeezy began to flood, pummel, dominate and overtake the airwaves, 106 and Park and of course, the internets. It didn’t help that Eminem took a much needed break, Nas was still trying to find himself after “Ether”, DMX finally succumbed to his inner demons and the promising new comer Game ended up battling G-Unit for like forever.

In addition, the age old business model of the music industry began to crumble under it’s own hefty weight gained by years of greed and the raping of countless talented acts, and in it’s drunken and ignorant state, the shunning of the new digital age which would come back to kick it’s ass viciously and with a vengeance. In it’s collapse, it realized that it could only continue to survive solely by ekeing out anything sounding like it was recorded south of Washington, DC. Not that I’m shitting on all southern rap, just that it became a much depended on crutch for a severely weakened industry and thus forced down our collective throats until we all accepted it as being the proverbial cat’s meow. The game became saturated with ‘Lil’s, Yung’ and what not. I can’t forget to mention that little thing where, as a result of all of us still being shell shocked after the towers’ collapse which allowed a cunning George Bush to thug him and his crew into his second term, said second term further cementing into mainstream consciousness the concept of dim being way too cool. We all welcomed, and without a fight, were dragged down the rabbit hole into what I like to call the “age of ignorance”.

So with all this divide, conquer, ignorance, warring egos as well as actual war, and all else being turned topsy turvy, upon realizing that he finally graduated from laughable to basic rapper status, and armed with the work ethic of a demon channeling Tupac Shakur counting his every last live moment on earth, Mr. Carter, supported by a weakened but still all controlling industry stretched, contorted and molded his much deserved “most improved” status to the point where he was able to manipulate the masses into believing his bold claim as to him being the “greatest rapper alive”.

We all need our heroes, especially in the rap game. Shit, I’m a grown man and still buy comic books. We rabidly seek our rap heroes out, constantly looking for the next latest and greatest. Hip hop is the most competitive art-form known to man. We cling to our so called rap heroes like Linus to his blanket. And in the absence of an actual viable rap hero, and being bludgeoned senselessly, week after week after effin week by yet another Weezy mixtape here, a cameo there and a freestyle everywhere, intrigued by yet another rapper clothed in wierdness and rock star swagger, he claimed it and we eagerly gave it.

I am not hating. Nothing comes to those that are not prepared to put in superhuman amounts of work and we all know how much work Lil Wayne put in. His time in the game has earned him the edge to outlast most of his peers. His ability to remain relevant in a field where most rappers have a shelf life of like three to five years is extraordinary (he claims to have been an artist for 14 years). I’d argue that Kanye West even, might deserve the Greatest Rapper Alive title, solely on the fact the he’s incredibly talented as a producer and has been successful in convincing me that he’s also transformed from being a non rapper to a decent rapper. Especially because before Graduation, I never paid attention to him as a rapper, and Graduation made me pay attention because it was incredible and I really dug his flow. But Kanye is off somewhere with his “questionable” in vogue friends chasing his fashionista dreams and effectively expressing his emo aspirations. Hovie’s back too, sometimes, and as much as he IS the Greatest Rapper Alive in my eyes and in my heart, and he’s been in the game for something like 20 years now (really) it’s been way too long since he’s spit that murder-murder-murderous, sarcastic, sneering and cocky classic Jay shit, that shit that made me believe that he still lives up the block from me, past Nostrand Avenue and up into the smoked out, piss scented halls of Marcy. Plus, I can no longer imagine what it would sound like hearing Sean Carter spit acid on a hypnotic dense and dangerous sounding Preemo track. Get that billi though.

So kudos to Wayne. I truly wish him continued success. And a long happy and healthy life. I’m tired of seeing young brothers cut down in their prime. As much as I cringed every time he struggled to sound intelligent in his much celebrated interview with Katie Couric, the same way I cringe when a Black person of moderate education attempts to sound intelligent around white people in order to sound smarter but doesn’t, Wayne came off sounding way smarter than Sarah Palin did last year. But that’s because Wayne is smart and Sarah Palin is not. Or at least smarter than Sarah Palin. I give him that. So maybe that’s another reason why we claim him to be the Greatest Rapper Alive. But he’s really not. He’s The Most Improved Rapper Alive. And somehow, these days, most improved equals greatest, but it doesn’t. Tupac is finally and truly dead, may he rest in peace. Long live Lil’ Wayne. I can’t and will not knock his hustle. I tell you this though, I faithfully await the day, maybe three to four years down, when even the most die hard of Weezy stans come to their senses and have moved on, when no one but short Mexican busboys rock tee shirts with Weezie’s painted on image and wigsters in mainstream media will feel the climate safe enough to jump on the bandwagon and shamelessly bite this post.