Tuesday, September 7, 2010

And for the record... Top 10

While I was makin lists, I figured why not... One of the most common questions we get at the restaurant is: Top 10 dead or alive? Here it is. (disclaimer: i'm not sayin this is the top 10 to end top 10s, its just what I like. feel free to leave ur own in the comments.) Of course, with any list like this, there will be blood.... Let's keep it to a minimum haha

1) Biggie
Ready to Die is a perfect album. The closest second IMO is Illmatic, but it only had 10 joints... I just don't think there is anyone with 2 better albums than Big. If you took Reasonable Doubt, Blueprint, and Black Album then put the tracks side by side and compared it against Ready to Die or Life After Death, Big wins. If you look at each album as a complete work, Ready to Die still has a better throughline and narrative. From the INTRO, him and Puffy got you... intro to things done changed to one more chance to juicy to big poppa to unbelievable to suicidal thoughts ... untouchable.

Its the blueprint for a rapper introducing himself to the public. Quintessential rags to riches, against all odds, ashy to classy American story... To me, Big is a dude that America didn't want to come up, but he circumvented the system and got paid through hip hop. It hasn't been the same since. After Big, people were LOOKING for the next one cause the "man" saw he could get paid with hip hop too. The struggle was different. There will never be another BIG. Hip hop, feminism, and most other counter cultural movements is for anyone who couldn't get paid the same amount for the same amount of work. We all just tryin to get money, power and respect. Wall St. may not value what we do; we have to find our own audience and consumers. And we did. Big embodies what the post-Rakim era was about? Gimme the loot...
Favorite Track: Unbelievable or Things Done Changed

2) Jay-Z

Man... I repped Hova hard up till the beef with Nas and only recently can admit that he has the better body of work. I used to put more value in Nas because he always had "something to say". Back to Africa, political, philosophical statements, etc.  But after a while, I started seeing Nas as the Professor and Hov as the hustler. Jay is actually the dude gettin it in outside the ivory tower... He's a business, man. Most prolific rapper of all time. The Black Album put him over the top. Moment of Clarity is one of those tracks that really completes an artist's story... After hearing that track, Jay made a lot more sense to me.

Like Public Enemy birthed NWA and Rakim birthed BIG/Nas (rhymes w/in rhymes), Jay-Z birthed all these rappers that talk about hip hop as a business... What's next? Well... if we look at other industries, there's usually a movement to "independents" and "organic". The "boom" is over. I think rappers/labels will figure out how to commodify music once again (post-napster) and package it in a way to get the money more direct to rappers. Its always a push and pull between "state and federal" so to speak. I think Hova moved it federal and the artists will bring it more local in the future. With a move like that, we're looking at more experimental, less concentration of thought, and cultural divisions. I think it's a good thing. Big Krit, Currenssy, Whiz Khalifa, Kid Cudi, Soulja Boy (this dude blew up the myspace hustle, can't knock it), Wale, Jay Elec, etc.... All got skills.
Favorite Track: 99 Problems

3) Cam'ron

This is the most controversial of my top 10. "Tragedy is easy, comedy is hard." First off, Cam isn't even trying. Imagine if this dude WANTED critical acclaim. He just wants ur girl to wear the dipset chain. That's the extent of his ambitionz. During the Nas beef, "Show You How to Do This" was the hardest track that came out of the Roc. "Call me 10 10 winds/in 22 seconds I gave him the world/took his chick wit me/came back gave him his girl." No one got range like Cam... He had all of harlem wearing magenta, he shouts out king jaffe jo, spacely sprockets, ATM, MTA, and hood legends like steady b.

He can take "Oh What a Night" by The Four Seasons and remix it for all the homies on parole. He took "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" and had every one doin the two step. He will piss old mother fuckers off by rhyming over Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get it On" and I still bump that shit! Cam'ron on the politics tip? I see u Chuck D and I raise you the No Homo Lobby and the Stop Snitchin Movement. This dude had the greatest O'Reilly appearance of all time. He made JIM JONES relevant. COME ON! Beans one of the greatest to come out of illadelph all time and Jay couldn't take Beans platinum this dude Cam took a weed carrier Jones platinum. Where's Jungle Nas? Where's Spliff Star Busta? Nobody put they peoples on like Killa and 50. Don't make me put my two arms up...Touchdown.

But in all seriousness. How can I put Cam above Rakim? People have stigmatized hip hop as ignorant... Cam'ron embraces that, he eats it up, he plays bojangles, but in the end, he's laughing at you. He's got you being the stereotype. You're the one being bamboozled cause he's telling YOU to "sing" (killa cam on purple haze) and he's getting paid. The jester is the sharpest... He may not be W.E.B. Dubois like Dice Raw, but he is a reminder that hip hop for a lot of artists is still in that Booker T. Washington cast down your bucket in harlem mindset... Not every one wants to show the world who they really are, some just want to eat your lunch. He is one of the most selfish, independent, gully mother fuckers on the planet and I love that shit.

Favorite Track: can't say... he is missing that "moment of clarity" track and that's what people will hold against him... speak ya mind cam

4) Rakim - The original paid in full rapper who took hip hop from ABC rapping to what it is now... Pioneer shit.

Favorite Track: I Aint No Joke

5) Nas - pound for pound greatest album of all-time, made the comeback with stillmatic and god's son, but then I think fell back off. Marley carried the last album. It Was Written is a classic though. People sleep on that album. I think it's top 25.

Favorite Track: Ether or Halftime

6) Dr. Dre

I really didn't want to put Dre here, but as a kid, Chronic was my shit AND... as a producer, he had more influence on the 90s sound than anyone not named premiere and maybe even more. Lyrically, yea.... But content, production, style, etc. Can't put him any lower.

Favorite Track: Lil Ghetto Boy

7) Ghostface tied w/ Raekwon

Nobody does the stream of consciousness non-sensical but sensical flow like Ghost. When he gets on a track, he just demolishes the shit. Even on the slower joints, Ghost goes nuclear like "back like that". I like how he's mad random with the banana nutrimen, strawberry/kiwi/baked ziti, and of course blue and cream "ima rock it this summer" haha. He's one of the biggest personalities in hip hop and I give him points for that.

Rae is credited w/ having the quintessential NY flow and slang. I think Rae bridges Mob culture/style/word play and the hood better than anyone else and many a rapper shark bit him. That mid-90s tommy hill, polo, nautica style can be chalked up to Raekwon and Snoop's Letterman appearance. When listening to Cuban Link just picture yourself playin' c-lo at Rao's.

Favorite Tracks: Spot Rusherz (i know, i know... i just like it) and Triumph

9) Outkast

I can't split em up. Every one likes to say Andre is superior but I can't do it. They're just different. Yes, Andre got that metaphysical, soul, futuristic flow and content, but that doesn't mean Big Boi is cold pizza. He had the best album of the summer and you could see how much he brought to outkast. That Jazzy Belle, electric guitar, daddy fat sacks facet of outkast is all him.

Favorite Track: Elevators

10) Eminem

I really didn't want to leave off Big Pun cause he had the illest flow of all time but I think the white boy has more significance culturally. Lyrically, Eminem can't be touched. His last two albums are straight doo doo on a stick, but the first two are bonkers. His story has an important place in hip hop. He's the Jackie Robinson of hip hop... I'm not saying anyone "tried" to keep white people out, but Eminem kicked down a lot of stereotypes so give him his props. I don't think people were open minded enough to embrace acts like Kanye (every one was hating on his style when he first came out), Kid Cudi, Drake, or B.O.B. if Eminem didn't come first. He took hip hop from Hot 97 to Z100. It's not always a good thing, but there's historical significance and a lot of people got paid... He had the better verse on Renegades, he had the best verse on Forever, and he also completes Dre's catalog. Put the D on the map... Took a bunch of bums platinum with D-12 and 50 doesn't sell 15 million copies w/o Eminem putting him on.
Lastly, If you ask any rapper the top 5 rappers they don't want to battle, I think it goes: Nas, Eminem, Jada Kiss, Jay-Z, and KRS-One. At this point, I'm asking why he's this low on my list, but it's late and I need some sleep.

Favorite Track: Rock Bottom or Just Don't Give a Fuck

Most Slept on Album of All-Time ... Camp Lo: Uptown Saturday Night

My personal fave artists who won't make anyone's top 10: MF Doom, NORE, 50-Cent, DMX, Cool Breeze, T.I., Nature, The Clipse, Lupe, Keith Murray, Jay Elec, Gemini w/ Danger Mouse, Too Short, E-40, Master P (sorry), UGK, and Currensy.

And a question for yall.... at what point does Kanye enter the top 10 convo?

5 things FOOD needs

So, someone showed me this video recently. Its better than the time I ironed frozen chimichangas at a bachelor party and called myself an Iron Chef. True story. Watch the video... a minute in ur like, "is this girl making a cake with a cake? ... like she bought a angel food dutch, gutted it, stuffed it with sprinkles and called it a kwanzaa blunt?" Yes, Kwanzaa blunt FTW.

I know the video's from 2008, but I wasn't watching food network pre-death of rap city so bear wit me. The shit was so amazing it inspired me to make a list of things that the game needs. I mean, Sandra Lee is #1 with a bullet, but let's take her out of the equation cause we don't want to crush the competition like that. Kwanzaa Cake has the "greatest things to happen to the food game" on smash. Ima treat Sandra like a dead rapper, make a top 10 list without her....

5) Anything But French Schools - I don't know how culinary school works, but I do know that every cook I interview and went to school says that they were "french trained". They then proceed to put butter in all my recipes and fuck the shit up. There has to be another way..... But yea, because I know that someone will misquote me... I 'll say this. French is dope, I just think some diversity wouldn't hurt. Modern doesn't equal Western... all I'm sayin.

I can't wait till Charles Oakley opens a Cooking School next to his car wash (http://www.yelp.com/biz/oakleys-carwash-brooklyn) and students come to me saying "I'm Brooklyn trained." HIRED.

4) Young, Of Color, or Crunk Reviewers - This has gotten better in recent years. The homie Sam Sifton tweeted he had 8 .38s today, Ligaya Mishan is Filipino I believe, do you even need to ask why I fux wit the Times? BUT, its not enough... Jenny 8. Lee, is it too much to ask for you to become a food critic? Haha. Or even Kenny Powerz, Bill Simmons, or Al Bundy, they would kill it as food critics. "You have food like a dickhead." - Kenny Powerz

3) Duane Reade to Table Restaurants - This is the movement! Fuck locavore. I want that high fructovore shit. Cheeto Fried Chicken, Gummy Bear Casserole, Shaved Frozen Laffy Taffy on Lychees. Ohhh, that laffy taffy, that laffy taffy.... RIP Duane Reade, shopping for ingredients won't be the same without you. 

2) Asian Chefs x Ass Parade - Collabing with fashion night out is gonna be dope, but I'd rather collab with the internets' finest. Morimoto x Kelly Divine? How funny would it be to see this mother fucker roll up w/ Kelly Divine to the James Beard Awards? Someone with photoshop make this happen. Michael Bao x Alexis Texas. Me x Brianna Love. It was meant to be baby girl, don't fight the feelin...

1) Food Trucks on Dubs - Baohaus on Spinners. GAME OVER, it's the takeover... Chef Hugh, can we put the bus on sprewells and roll out to "off the grid" the right way? If I rode down to SF on spinners, shit would be over before it started.

My MAN (no homillz) Akira Back

Wuts good, Akira! Holla back, Paris! I never met Akira Back before today but we were on a panel at Asian Feastival (hyun got video tomorrow). Dude was hilarious. I like that he played ball and snowboarded before becoming a chef. Renaissance man steez gives you perspective. If you are ever in Vegas, try his thai (golden eye) snapper at Yellowtail. I had "live" golden eye snapper a few times before with a slight torch and it's one of the best cuts of fish I've ever had. The flesh stays firm because they paralize the fish. Sounds worse than it is... Trust me, fish love being paralyzed. It's their favorite thing to do besides stinking up ur fridge so don't feel bad.

On that note, my 5 favorite cuts of fish

1) Yellowtail Belly

2) Kanpachi (amber jack)

3) Sea Urchin from Maine

4) Golden Eye Snapper

5) Grouper Cheeks

Don't eat bluefin. It's the shit, but is it really necessary? Come on yall.....