Scenes from a Picnic

Willie, Dylan, Kinky and the Ghost of Bob Willis descends on Fort Worth. Wack is there too.

The feds get heavy with an angry Arab-American gangsta rapper/baggage handler

Bassam Khalaf is a bit stressed these days, what with all the attention his rapping alter ego, the Arabic Assassin, has been getting from the media. "I'm fucking all paranoid and shit now," says the native Houstonian, before mentioning a recent trip to Carter's Country. "I wanted to get me a gun, just for protection, man, but it's like, I don't, 'cause I don't want to take that path, you know?"

The Assassin isn't considering going all Second Amendment because he's worried about people taking advantage of his success. His debut, Terror Alert, has never been pressed, and it's received little buzz on the Net. Wack listened to some of his tracks a while back, but we never got around to writing about the Assassin; most of the lyrics were dirtier than Bobby Brown's fingers, and we would never, ever give coverage to someone just because of controversy. That would be beneath Wack's lofty journalistic sensibilities.

Kinky Friedman's latest gig/book-tour stop/stump 
Kinky Friedman's latest gig/book-tour stop/stump speech

And now, the hullabaloo: People are all over the Assassin's ass because he got fired last week from his job at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, where he had worked for six months as a baggage handler. The reason for his dismissal was "authorship of songs which applaud the efforts of the terrorists on September 11" and making further terroristic threats, according to the termination letter he received from the Transportation Security Administration office. Chalk up another victory for the war on terror, and hell, while you're at it, add a tick mark for serendipitous marketing.

"They fired me because of my rap stuff, you know, like my lyrics and my name -- that was the only reason," says the Assassin. "I'm trying to tell people, it's only one song, and it's not even a full song. It's just a couple of lines where I mention that shit."

From the song, "Bringing the Pain," here are the lyrics in question: "Nigga, what you don't want, it with this Arabic / I'm a crash a fuckin' plane in yo buildin', bitch / Nine eleven o five, be ready to die, I show no mercy for ho ass tricks."

All of which makes us wonder: What's the big deal? So long as you're not a ho ass trick, you've got nothing to worry about. And what ever happened to freedom of speech? We haven't seen a case more ready-made for the ACLU since the ouster of NAMBLY the Clown.

The Assassin couldn't agree more: "I'm tired of people twisting the story around, talking about, 'You're the Arabic Assassin. You're an Islamic Muslim.' I'm not even Islamic or Muslim, first of all, I'm Christian. And what they're implying when they say that is that all Islamic Muslim people are terrorists. That's messed up too, you know?"

The track, he admits, was meant to court controversy. "I write for shock value," he says. "That's the fucking genius, man. If I had an album out, it'd be even smarter."

Well, no one's going to argue with that. -- Keith Plocek

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