Thursday, February 21, 2008


Whose credibility suffers more here? Celine’s rural Quebecoise-cum-world-class diva status is already a strange enough phenomenon without the b-girl image. Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas further proves he’s on the fast track to becoming rap music’s Elton John. Hmm...Celine, Will and Elton - did someone say "supergroup"?

Celine’s attempt to beatbox in her intro was kind of charming, I have to admit. Too bad it came from that “I-just-don’t-understand-this-stuff” breadbox corner of middle-aged humour. I guess that makes for a successful network special. That, and two of the most irritating figures in pop culture sharing a stage. What a time to be alive. Watch out, Fergie.

The N-word? You mean...Nas?!?

Photo by: Jazmin$Million

After unilaterally proclaiming hip hop dead with his 2006 LP, Queens rapper Nas is taking it to the next level on his upcoming album, which he wants to title "Nigger". CNN got his two cents on the Grammy red carpet, where Nas wore a t-shirt emblazoned with the controversial adjective. His wife, R'n'B singer Kelis, also wore a "Nigger" shirt, though hers was more discretely adorned with the slur across the back.

"The meaning of the word is supposed to be ignorant," Nas explained to CNN's Brooke Anderson, "so there is money being made off us poor so-called ignorant people. No longer are black people niggers. Today it's also me and you."

We all know the n-word gets bandied around left and right in rap lyrics. It's about time someone in hip hop gave it center-stage. Evidently the chairman of Island Def Jam, "L.A." Reid, isn't so sure.

The Beatles had their "white" album. Jay had his "black" album. Why shouldn't Nas up the ante with the “n-word” album?

First of all, it's going to be hilarious hearing white college hip hop deejays trying to figure out how to reference the record. Then again, we'll also see certain factions of whitey jumping up and down for the chance to say the word with full artistic license.

If the title gets the green light, we'll likely see Blacks divided between defending and blasting Nas. Personally (and I'm white - my vote doesn't count for much, let's face it) I'm all in favour of shit disturbance. If this move encourages dialogue, good for Nas. If it pisses everyone in the mainstream media off, good for Nas. If it sells records, well, that can’t be bad, either. I’m just trying to figure out which of these three things Esco really wants to accomplish the most. I’m going with number three.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Out For Shame

Photo by Rob Taussig, The Suburban

The Suburban, a local weekly primarily geared at anglophone families in the west end of Montreal, has declared a notorious tagger apprehended on this week’s cover. “Castro Found!” the paper boldly declares. Unfortunately he was lost again before the end of the article. The graphic seen above was the cover shot. Quite strangely, that is not Castro’s tag. "Is it art?" the Suburban wants to know. Really - is it even news?

This guy actively wrote his name all over every available surface west of St. Laurent Street for years, and then disappeared. Those with a keen eye for vintage vandalism have surely noticed that he’s back at it. Minus, it would seem his trademark “VC” crew. Feels like it must have been at least five or six years since I saw his lazy scrawl scribbled about town. He’s still out for fame, but besides managing to get named by a reporter and then bouncing, there’s nothing new happening style-wise. Reporter P.A. Sevigny gives Castro’s age as 27.

So why not show a Castro piece? Aside from the fact that there’s nothing to them, they’re giving the poor bastard more exposure than he ever needed by printing his real name. There is a criminal case being built against him, according to the paper. I guess the idea is not to cater to his ego by putting his work in print; just to convict him there. The guy is 27 and he still needs people to pay attention to his drawings. I think he’s suffering enough. Unfortunately I can't find a flick to post myself.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Too Old For Hip Hop

Welcome to The Bombsheltah. I'm Archie Bunker, a.k.a. Darcy "Darbles" MacDonald, and as it happens, today is my 30th birthday. I didn't plan this out. I just happen to be sitting here today, with nothing to do. I'm wearing my version of pajamas and a housecoat, I guess - dirty sweats and stinky t-shirt. I'm kinda hungover. Why not start a blog?

A few cover-all answers to projected FAQs and we'll move on.

Firstly - why Archie Bunker? Well, a couple of reasons. Firstly, someone once mistook my first name for Archie. That means nothing to you, but if you were constantly referred to by new acquaintances as "Darren" or "Darryl", you'd feel me. There was at least a phonetic value to the error that made sense. I thought it was funny. If your name is Archie you may disagree, I suppose.

The "Bunker" part is plain logic. C'mon now. This is the Bombsheltah.

The name Archie Bunker is a nod to the '70s TV sexist bigot with the heart of gold, who just didn't know any better. Does such a person deserve praise? Absolutely not. Praise implies worship. A nod simply happens when real recognize real. The real Archie Bunker, g-d rest his script, was on the cusp of hip hop - intolerant, indignant and indulgent. An O.G.. Way too old for hip hop.

I wonder how often "real" and "right" ever get to be the same thing. I don't promise to keep it real, or keep it right. I'll keep it light and tight, and as much as possible, polite. This blog is about hip hop culture and it's tentacles. Promises would be impossible. One man's Source article is another man's toilet paper.

Finally - why the played out "ah" replacement of the letters "er" in the URL to this blog? Nothing less than a perfect marriage of availability issues and bandwagonism.

Thanks for checking this out. I'll do my best to keep you informed on things I find noteworthy and leaving you appropriately tickled or pissed, as the case may be. Enjoy and please feel free to say whatever is on your mind.