Friday, July 20, 2007


Ragged Retro Moment

Time flies, when you realize that some of your all-time favorite hip hop albums are now as old as some PFCs and Lance Corporals serving in Iraq. I only feel my age when my grammar-school-age nephews now have the same reaction to my 80s adolescent soundtrack that I had to my parents' 45 rpms from the 1950s and 60s.

Take, for example, my recent shining to the song "Krispy" by Kia Shine. In two decades, stylish young black men have gone from being FRESH to CRISPY. In another 20 years, I expect a new culinary-haberdashery connection ("Yo, man! Them Nike's is Sauteed! ") I've been duly informed by my oldest nephew, a high school senior, that all his friends hate the song. So Kia, consider my endorsement your middle-aged Kiss of Death.

Anyway, back to the Golden Years of Stetsasonic, Just-Ice, and Whodini. Before Afrocentric Fashion (and Fascism) and "Gangsta Street Cred" took over rap, LL Cool J was my main man. The fact that he went from being the skinny bad-assed kid in Run-DMC's 1985 movie Krush Groove (below) to "all swol' up" (as we called LL's Joe Piscopo-like transformation back then) in the course of one album, only made his 1987 sophomore effort B.A.D. (Bigger And Deffer) that much better.

B.A.D. was my top album that summer two decades ago. I played it to death on my radio show at Ohio State's student station. Ahhh, to be 21 again! The icing on the cake was that LL dropped his record in July, a full month BEFORE Michael Jackson's long-awaited Thriller follow-up with the same-title. By then, MJ was beginning his slow decline to High-Tech Howard Hughes status, and LL's album was like a Gen-X dopeslap to the so-called King of Pop.

As embarrassing as LL's moves are in the video for his album's title cut, it's a good thing he moved into TV and film acting and left the dance moves to the Moonwalker. Comparing the two BAD videos, Father Time gives us unintentional humor as Michael Jackson exclaims in the opening lyric of HIS "Bad" video (surrounded by young men), "You're butt is mine!" Luckily, for Michael, a recent jury did not concur.

If hip hop is not your cup of tea, pick up a copy of my man LL's workout tome. Mr. Smith hits the Big 4-0 next year, but no one will ever confuse him with the majority of pot-bellied, beer swilling slugs among America's other 40-year-old men ("You're the type of guy that says, 'My lower back is killing me' / Catch my drift?"). What LL neglects to tell unsuspecting readers who marvel at his physique on the cover is that (a) you need genes like his, and (b) 20 years of bodybuilding experience to get a figure like that. Take heart, however: Peter Lupus of Mission: Impossible fame is 75-years-old and still bench-presses at least 300 lbs. There's hope for some of us yet!

Next Month: Lose Weight the Easy Way with The Courtney Love Diet! (burnt spoons not included)

Update: If LL and Peter Lupus aren't enough fitness incentive, this prospect will definitely encourage a visit to the YMCA ...

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