Gas Face Friday. THIS IS A LONG ONE. I HAD A LOT OF TIME ON MY HANDS.
As I vacation in beautiful Hilton Head, SC, I had my eye keenly focused on those willing to put their names out there in order to get the Gas Face this week. My friend, John Brown, wanted to nominate Republican Superstar and Florida Sex Symbol, Marco Rubio, for his disparaging statements about our President. Let’s just put this out there: Until further notice, lifetime Gas Face to the GOP until they give back the rights to women and gays.
Another Gas Face nominee was the LAPD. Again, when I read the Dorner letter and realized that those who have behaved in prejudiced behavior are rewarded prominent roles in the hierarchy of the PoPo in Lost Angels, I could see the wrong once again needing a defender of truth. If they were to spend that amount of effort on the war on crime and gang violence as they did in searching for one man, I might have a different opinion. But even 25 years later, NWA’s mantra still rings true.
I am not sure if many of you know this, but in 1989 the NYPD wrongly shot and killed a teenager in Brooklyn who was walking through his projects with his back to the policeman who called him to stop. They suspected him of robbing a corner store. He was blasting his Walkman and could not hear the cops telling him to stop or “they’d shoot.” The cops shot three times, all entering the young mans back, to his heart and chest. The Post reporter who covered the shooting was told by witnesses that when the young black male’s head hit the ground, his headphone popped off. They told the reporter that the song they could hear bleeding from the headphone as he laid there bleeding to death was “Gas Face.” A song the reporter explained to his readership was a song about “smiles.” I remember sitting in the Def Jam offices reading the piece and thinking how sad it was that the reporter really didn’t know what the song was truly about, and if he did, he would see the symbolism to the song in retrospect to the incident. More little white lies, I guess. Anyway my point being that since we have all been small, we have seen the terrible actions the boys in blue have done, and even though Dorner killed two innocent people, deep down many of us in Hip Hop were rooting for him to speak for those not able to speak for themselves, and to create justice where there has not been. I don’t care if the charred body they found in the lodge was him or not, there is a small part of me that wants him to have pulled a MacGyver and show up at Mark Fuhrman’s house and put three in his chest. Just saying…that scumbag does not deserve to be Commander of Legoland, let alone LAPD.
I thought that this week I would take a more somber approach to who gets the Gas Face. I have decided to take the suggestion of a dear friend and combine the Guest Gas Face of the week and mine.
This week’s Gas Face goes to….
CBS for running the credits over LL Cool J and Chuck D at the end of the Grammys
Like many of you, when I heard the flat promo of an LL performance, I winced. I see LL as an actor now. The way I see also Will Smith and Queen Latifah as actors. The Ladies Love Cool James on NCIS LA. He has one of the most successful shows on the tube, and for that, he represents Hip Hop culture to the fullest. I really am ok with the fact that he hosts the Grammys. It makes total sense. He is a huge recording artist selling thirty million records, and has American Music Awards and Grammys to his name. So when he kept promoting his performance, I winced. I watched, applauded, rooted for the winners, enjoyed the performances, and then I saw Hip Hop power. As The Dream went up with Frank Ocean and Jay Z to receive their Grammy, Jay allowed Frank and The Dream to have their moment in the sun. As Dream was finishing blabbering, the walk-off music began to rise, and then as they walked off, Jay made a last-minute decision to step to the mic. The music was about to crescendo, but as Jay was to utter his first syllable, the music dropped. Note how I did not say “fade.” NO, IT DROPPED. It was as if even they were afraid to diss Jay. I would like to see the note to the conductor which had specific instructions on how much time to allow speakers before playing the walk off music, unless it’s Jay Z. “Unless it’s Hov.” “Unless it is Hip Hop.” I was so moved by that simple gesture, that when LL promoted he was performing, I winced more. LL could not top that Hip Hop moment. No performance that night did, although J.T. and Jay-Z came close.
Just before what turned out to be the final commercial break of the evening, the announcer spoke of LL’s performance and I winced-until I heard the line up: LL, Chuck D, Tom Morello and DJ Z-Trip. I stopped wincing. I was open, wide open. In the memorable words of Reakwon on the Wu banger C.R.E.A.M., “the combination made my eyes bleed.” I was glued to the set. Then it started. The song was aiight. The track was decent, but seeing Chuck D on stage had me mesmorized. Then Z-Trip was killing “Rock The Bells” and Tom Morello was making his guitar into a turntable. The single LL was performing was called “whaddup”. It was a medium, at best, but his performance was captivating. As they approached the third, and final, verse, I was at the end of my seat waiting to see what was next, and I found out. Drowning out Chuck D’s powerful voice was the announcer telling me who the voting members of NARAS are. WHO CARES?!? LEGENDS ARE ON THE STAGE, DUDE. LET THEM PLAY. Honestly, when will we see that again? I know, I know: NEVER!!!!
Look, this might seem trivial with all going on around us, but I would not have the life I have if not for Hip Hop culture. And when Hip Hop is buried and not given its proper due, it is like the music playing over Jay Z’s comments. It is not going to happen, not on my watch.
CBS: Gas Face Given
What’s your opinion? We’d like to know.
Guest gas face goes to:
Definitely John Boehner for the visual personification of haterationalism shown on his face while the POTUS gave the State of the Union Address. Dude was crowned king of haters yesterday! lol
AND YES, LIL WAYNE GETS THE GAS FACE, TOO.