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The American C.R.E.A.M. Series (Part Two)

Photo credit: Carlos Nunez

Photo credit: Carlos Nunez

Periodically, Bonus Cut writer Victor Anderson will be sharing his American C.R.E.A.M. Series, a story where hip-hop is just the tip of the iceberg.

…continued from Chapter One: The Bloch Motel

Three days had passed since I first laid eyes on the intriguing creature named Talia. She had moved in to the room next to mine, Room 11. I couldn’t help but wonder who she was and why she was there. There was only room in this motel for one long lasting tenant and that was me. I knew my reasons for staying at The Bloch but what could her excuse be? Was she running from something or hiding out? It was hard to say because her visiting hours to Room 11 were random and nearly unpredictable.

During the day she was comfortably clothed in band t-shirts, tank tops, denim jeans and sneakers. At night it was a different story. She was dolled up and was dressed to impress.

I’m sure to her my existence was as unknown as an undiscovered species in an arctic jungle, but I didn’t mind, I enjoyed being the man behind the two-way mirror. But I knew one day I wouldn’t be able to settle for just being the observer, I needed to take action and fast because I had no clue how long she was planning on sticking around. But as often as I dreamt about our potential interaction, I was not prepared for what was to come.

I think it was the second day of Talia staying there when I went down to the manager’s office to ask him a few questions about her. He went by the name of Curly and he was a rather plump individual with a certain bubbliness about him. We shared a few moments together throughout my first week at the motel; getting coffee and paying nightly visits to the local strip joint up the road. He seemed to like me because he was always buying me drinks and dances. He wanted to get me laid, so anytime an attractive young lady would check into the motel, he would text me their name and room number. Now that I think about it, Curly must have been the clever mastermind behind Talia’s room assignment.

Anyways, I’m chatting with Curly asking him what she’s like and all I really got out of him was that she was pretty quiet but possessed a set of flirtatious eyes. “If only I was 20 years younger and a few pounds lighter, I would’ve pursued that pudding pop,” he would say. He also mentioned that she seemed a bit anxious and happened to be a bit on the sarcastic side.

Curly did his best to help me understand her but if I wanted to get to know this character, I’d have to do it myself. Unfortunately, she was not around at this point during the evening.

Suddenly, we were interrupted by the rapid mashing of the bell on the check-in counter. Curly shouted from his office to notify the new tenant that he was on his way but he soon changed his tone and agitated facial expression half-way out of the door when he notice the woman in front of the counter. She happened to be a tan, young, attractive blonde from Florida and was dressed accordingly. Curly peeked back into his office only to deliver me a wink, signaling that she was some sort of hottie. “How can I cater to your needs, ma’am,” he spurted out as he assumed his position behind the counter.

I exited Curly’s office only to pass this short-haired bleach blonde whose elbows were resting on the counter. The curvature from her back to her ass was impeccable. Her malty pupils met mine and I bashfully averted my eyes to the displeasing carpet. I glanced back for one more peek before I left. She noticed and responded with a shy grin. I’m sure Curly put in a good word for me so I could gamble that the cards might be in my favor on this one. I posted up outside of the office to smoke a cigarette and found myself enjoying the chilled breeze. I was preparing for my possible encounter with Florida by trying my best to embody my inner Cary Grant. His cunning charm and wittiness is definitely how he got the ladies in the pictures, so I was sure it would work for me.

Florida, or Drew as she liked to be called, stepped from the office into the outside air with her round Samsonite suitcase in one hand and her room key in the other. These room keys had large diamond shaped key chains attached to them with the room number imprinted on it. Hers was 7. She kindly greeted me and proceeded to leave distance between us until I caught up with her and offered to carry her key. She thought I was going to say bag and then giggled at my lame attempts at a joke. She invited me in and I would’ve been a fool to refuse. She wasted no time and immediately began to jump on the bed as if it was a trampoline. I stood there watching and laughing because I didn’t know what else to do. I was really concerned that if I joined the fun, the bed would collapse and I don’t think Curly would’ve been able to afford it. Soon she collapsed onto the mattress and admitted that this was one of her rituals when entering any bedroom.

Her position on the bed was similar to that of a pinup model. As she spoke, I admired her beach-surfer body and was distracted by the golden thighs that sprouted from her cut-off jeans. She had my attention and I was soon invited to join her on the bed. I made no moves but I was putting in the ground work through general conversation about her whereabouts.

Strangely, she was on her way to British Columbia, Canada to begin a grow operation with a gentleman she had met online. She was the most attractive botanist that I had ever seen. She had been growing marijuana since the age of 16 after living with her drug-dealing uncle who knew a lot of shady and dangerous characters. She began an intimate relationship with a man twice her age that cultivated copious amounts of marijuana crops. She eventually surpassed her teacher before he was seized by the DEA and began inventing her own strains of the plant but for her own use. Soon, she figured out the potential profit for her creation and is now on the journey to her cousins up north to cash out on her cash crop. Needless to say we got really baked in her car that night.

I invited her to my room for a drink and a movie. I wanted to introduce her to Federico Fellini since we were under the influence and could possibly enjoy the experience of an artistic, experimental or baroque film. We sat on the bed with our backs against the headboard and I hit play on my computer to commence the screen staring. Unfortunately, these films aren’t for everybody and she began to nod off. She fought the battle to stay awake and ultimately gave in to the unconscious urge. Fortunately for me, her head collapsed onto my lap. I was in an odd predicament but I did the nice thing and rubbed her back to wake her up. She didn’t move her head but she began to hum and purr out of enjoyment. Then she started to maneuver her hand towards my thigh and it continued to escalate until the laptop was on the ground, along with our clothes. I had entered the golden gates and I was in heaven. I’m not even sure if Fellini got laid because of Casanova but I wish I could thank him. The film is damn near three hours and we were just finishing up by the time the credits rolled. She left shortly after to get some rest before her drive in the morning. I walked her to the door and received a goodnight smooch before she trotted away and down the steps. I treated myself to a cigarette while I was outside and from my peripheral I noticed her coming back up the stairs but I didn’t want to turn my head and seem eager. I just waited until I felt a touch on my shoulder or something but to my surprise, it wasn’t Drew, it was Talia getting back from where ever she had come from. I turned to see her and she smirked at me as she unlocked her door. I didn’t take my eyes off of her until the door to Room 11 had sealed shut.

To be continued…

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The American C.R.E.A.M. Series

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Periodically, Bonus Cut writer Victor Anderson will be sharing his American C.R.E.A.M. Series, a story where hip-hop is just the tip of the iceberg.

By: Victor Anderson 

THE BLOCH MOTEL 

A motel isn’t the living quarters one would typically choose to spend more than a night in, let alone a weekend. Usually families or individuals on their way to a location more appealing decide to settle for a cheap, crummy place to rest for the night, but then it’s back on the road in the morning to potential paradise. Establishments like motels are also the venue for things like adultery, prostitution and prom date hook-ups. Needless to say, not many positive things come to mind when the word, “motel,” is mentioned. So, why have I been living in one for the past two weeks?

Originally it was because I thought I needed an escape, an escape from everything that I was accustomed to. A lot of the kids I knew who went away to college took advantage of attending out-of-state universities or was granted the chance to study abroad in a foreign country but I didn’t stick around school long enough to get that opportunity. I wasn’t even given the normal college student campus living experience. I commuted from home because I wasn’t fortunate enough to have parents that could afford to pay for housing. It probably would’ve been a waste anyway because it only took me a year and a half to completely become fed up with the tedious and mundane work ethic that came with being a good student. The only times that I enjoyed were times that involved non-related academic activities. Having a social life and doing things that I enjoyed was a lot more important to me than cramming for tests on subjects that I had zero interest in.

Almost a year had gone by since I had abandoned my parents dreams of me becoming a college graduate. I was on the way home from my lame job at the cellphone accessory kiosk in the mall when I decided to stop at my favorite convenient store to pick up one of my daily lotto scratch off tickets. Long story short, I won $8,000–after taxes were taken out. It must have been my lucky day.

Now that this hefty sum was all mines, I didn’t have to work for a while and I could truly focus on mapping out my life with no distractions. I left my home that I had been raised in and now for the first time, I’m on my own.

The Bloch Motel is located off of a secondary feeder road on the side of an interstate highway. It’s in a rural town on the outskirts of a major city. The Bloch is a two-story lodge that is coated in fainted pink and blue pastels and has 14 rooms in total. My room number is 10 and I’ve grown pretty fond of it. The exterior of the building is a bit weathered down considering it’s been around since the early ‘60s but the interior of the rooms have been kept in a rather impressive condition somehow. The burgundy drapes that keep the light out match the lamp shades and the blankets on the bed. The wood paneled walls provide a certain type of aroma and style to the room that gives me a sense of warmth for some reason. I’m not the biggest fan of the puke green carpet but it’s whatever, it’s just the floor. There’s a fridge, a microwave, a television and a bathroom and I couldn’t ask for more at $37 a day.

Since I’ve secluded myself here, I’ve been really pondering my future and narrowing down my options for possible career paths. After Day 2, I realized that I wanted to be a thespian—-an actor. It’s cliché but I think I’d be good at it and it sounds like it could be some fun. Not only the job but the dough is rather appealing to a guy who has recently found out how nice it is to get his hands on a good bit of it in a short amount of time. But I’m no sap; I’ve been taking the time to truly study the craft. In my first week here, I spent my days downloading and watching nothing but early silent films. Soon, I upgraded to foreign films; Spanish films, French Films, Japanese films, German films and Italian films. Slowly, coffee became a large part of my diet. I began to take note upon note of the emotions, expressions and voice inflection that were being channeled through the actor. I discovered and became aware of Constantin Stanislavski, Lee Strasberg and the technique of method acting. Soon, people like Marlon Brando and James Dean enticed me as I made my way through the ‘50s cinema era.

When I ventured out into the world, I would sit in coffee shops, bars and restaurants and people watch, choosing interesting looking individuals to study and thus jotting down my observations on napkins and menus. I’d take note of every single mannerism and facial tick and try my best to figure out what was going through their brains when they chose to demonstrate or execute any specific action that was natural to them. Sometimes, I would imitate them in the mirror when I would get back to The Bloch, or home as I liked to call it. I met a couple of truck drivers in the parking lot my first week there. Of course they happened to be pulling in and crashing for the night. I would approach them and strike up a conversation as a character that I had observed and practiced. After talking to these men who know the roads of this country like the back of their hand I realized that they have seen things and they have stories to tell and that’s what makes them real. I had to figure out a way to make my characters authentic and appear as if they had lived an entire lifetime.

One night I was drinking whiskey with a gentleman from Cleveland who had stopped in for the night and we were leaning over the balcony drunkenly and irrationally strategizing how we would survive the zombie apocalypse and that’s when I first noticed the 1988 navy blue Camry pull into the parking lot. The headlights went dim after the engine went to sleep and the driver’s door casually became ajar. From the car emerged a slender denim leg. The sole of their Converse was placed firmly on the pavement and out stepped a brunette dressed in a black t-shirt. She glanced at us with her two emerald eyes through thick rimmed glasses and briskly walked into the front door to meet the key clerk. That was the first time I had laid eyes on Talia Leslie and it definitely won’t be the last.

To be continued…

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Album of the Week: “I Wish My Brother George Was Here” by Del tha Funkee Homosapien

brother george

Del tha Funkee Homosapien
I Wish My Brother George Was Here
Elektra Entertainment, 1991

Daniel’s Thought 

“Hey yo Del”
“What?”
“What the fuck is a funkee homosapien?”
“It’s a human being fool, a funkee human being.”

On the opening track to Del tha Funkee Homosapien’s debut album I Wish My Brother George Was Here, we enter a realm where we in question ask: what exactly is a funkee homosapien? As Del gives us an immediate response while “What Is A Booty” slowly fades into the second track, the full answer isn’t laid out until the completion of the album.

I Wish My Brother George Was Here is more than just a representation of Del and his first-person narrative and perception on life. In fact, it’s a culmination of varying factors that eventually builds up to this. For one, Brother George is a strict ode to George Clinton and his bands Parliament and Funkadelic. Riddled with samples from Parliament, Funkadelic, James Brown and The Meters, Brother George takes the influence of funk and warps it into danceable hip-hop. The album also, almost unconsciously, bridges the gap between East and West Coast hip-hop: the hard-hitting breakbeats are often accompanied with silky p-funk grooves and live instrumentation creating an ominous West Coast style (something that should be credited to executive producer Ice Cube, Del’s cousin), while Del’s lyrics and rhyme drawl mask that of De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest.

What’s most important to note however is Del’s approach on his debut album. Brother George scans and scours the everyday lifestyle, whether it’s about his frustration towards the city bus system (“The Whacky World Of Rapid Transit”) or explaining his morning routine (“Sunny Meadowz”). Moreover, it’s not just that he covers life on a grounded plateau, it’s that he re-directs the focus from harder artists like his cousin Ice Cube and shows us that he’s someone we can easily relate to.

This isn’t the only tune Del marches to however, because some of the best songs on Brother George are the ones that delve into societal issues. “Mistadobalina” takes shots at those who misrepresent themselves to fit into a stereotype (“The little two timer resembles Aun Jemima / With jeans and a dirty white hoodie”). And on “Ahonetwo, Ahonetwo,” Del attacks social norms and his ability to be his own creative self (“And I giggle when I see ya liver prune / I’m a funky human being not a monkey or a coon” and “I plan to grow dreads but first a nappy fro / The longer the hair, the easier to scare a foe”).

At 18, Del tha Funkee Homosapien unleashed a record that mixes tributes to funk legend George Clinton, stances against social and political issues and the notion that hip-hop can also be enjoyed when it covers the everyday grandeur of life, instead of the exponentially singular themes that more concise concept albums possess. It also helped bridge the gap between East Coast and West Coast rap, during a time when hip-hop was unaware of what was going to happen in the near future. Brother George is good for any debut artist, let alone Del tha Funkee Homosapien, and its this eclectic mix of subject matter that really pushes it to the top. It’s a calming voice of reason with a stab of realness, and it’s a constructed piece of social matter with varying calm-me-down songs. In essence, Brother George is what hip-hop is and always will be.

Gus’ Thought

When the 1991 release I Wish My Brother George Was Here by Del tha Funkee Homosapien was released, it came in accordance amongst the racism, turmoil and oppression of California in the early 1990’s. This was a post Civil Rights Vietnam era that was still reeling from the crack cocaine epidemic and the annihilation of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. Additionally, this album debuted after N.W.A. released Straight Outta Compton in 1988, only months after the Rodney King beating and just before the L.A. riots in April, 1992. This was a time when hip-hop was just being indoctrinated into the commercialization that is popular culture. Needless to say, there was a lot of subject material for MCs to discuss in their music.

Beyond the social, political and economic context of the early 90’s, it is immediately clear that I Wish My Brother George Was Here is a musical masterpiece. Drawing from legendary funk groups such as Parliament, Funkadelic, the Meters, the Monkees and James Brown, this album pays homage to a time where Funk and P-Funk would have been heard blasting from record players. For example, “Same Ol’ Thing” is constructed entirely of Meters classics, including “Cissy Strut” and “Hand Clapping Song.” A sample of the Parliament classic, “P-Funk (Wants To Get Funked Up)” can be heard on the 10th song, “Sunny Meadowz.” What’s more, the “George” referred to in the title is none other than the funk architect himself, George Clinton. Produced by The Boogie Men, Ice Cube and Del himself, I Wish My Brother George Was Here is a production masterpiece that perfectly balances the art of making a good record with pointing out the dire situations that were a result of generations of racial discrimination in Los Angeles and Oakland specifically.

Perhaps the best part of Del’s lyricism is the fact that he raps about what he knows, what he has experienced, and how it effects his community. In “Hoodz Come In Dozens,” he describes the mercilessness of gang violence. “Hoodz come in dozens, read it in the papers / Seems like everyone caught a little vapors / You can’t escape em’, so don’t even plan it / Gangsta Boogie fever has taken over Planet Earth / Now your life is worth a pair of Jordan’s?” And again, on “Dark Skin Girls” where in the hook Del proclaims, “Dark skin girls are better than light skin / Light skin girls ain’t better than dark skin.” On this song, Del is deconstructing the socially created notion of attractiveness and is challenging the concept of beauty. It’s an important thing to rap about, especially in the wake of 15 year old Latasha Harlins’ murder  in March, 1991.

As you listen to I Wish My Brother George Was Here, the funkiness jumps right out at you in the best kind of way. So many of the classic hip-hop songs feature jazz samples, but how many utilize the grooviness that was Funk and P-Funk? The brilliance of this album lies in the fact that many of these songs and their funk samples make you want to get out of your seat and dance. And yet, the lyricism of Del takes you right back to the struggle against oppression and generational fight for true racial equality in 1990’s California. This was a serious time in the cities of Los Angeles and Oakland, and Del tha Funkee Homosapien harnesses this significance and juxtaposes it with a brilliantly produced record that pays respect to the revolutionary music that existed before hip-hop. George Clinton’s music was great because it was groovy, and also revolutionary. Del tha Funkee Homosapien is able to harness the energy of funk and a revolutionary spirit to make people dance and think just like Parliament, Funkadelic, and James Brown.

Must-Listens:
“Pissin’ On Your Steps”

“Hoodz Come In Dozens”

“Mistadobalina”

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