Cold Cuts: Bun B vs. Byron Crawford
Participants: Port Arthur-bred Texas rap legend Bun B, who, with recently paroled rapper Pimp C, formed the hugely influential duo UGK, versus Byron Crawford, bomb-tossing St. Louis blogger who recently was hired on to write his amusing and outrageously opinionated columns at XXL's Web site, which was where this beef was launched. (Crawford has already famously beefed with Kanye West -- indeed, West's mother even intervened on the superstar's behalf.)
Opening salvo: Crawford stated that backpackers had been eclipsed by Southerners as the most obnoxious fans in rap, which would have been a fair point so long as he stuck to vilifying the type of Dirty Dirty fan and pseudointellectual critic who defends the abomination that is "Laffy Taffy" just because it's Southern. But then he went on to say that Pimp C was a weak rapper and that he should be sent back to jail, and later admitted that he had judged Pimp C's merits as a rapper off one guest verse on a recent album.
Counterattack: Of course, all of this enraged Bun B, whose "Free Pimp C!" crusade was the second-most-famous catchphrase to emerge from Houston's rap boom of the last couple of years. ("Who Mike Jones?" would probably be first.) Bun tempered his anger long enough to pen a coolly efficient riposte, in which he called Crawford an "Elks lodge habitatin', Masters in Augusta wanna-be, finger-pointin' behind the bushes, throwin' a rock and runnin' ass nigga." He also told Crawford he could take his opinion and "stick it in yo pussy!" and added that long after blogging and XXL become things of the past, the raps of UGK will survive. "Will your triflin' rants sustain?" he closed.
Parting shots: Crawford came back with a lawyerly post titled "Bun B is a Girl," in which he stated that Bun didn't answer any of his criticisms and was too scared to beef with 50 Cent over the New York rapper's similar recent comments. (Fiddy didn't say anything about Pimp C, though, and that is likely what set Bun off.) He also claimed not to have said that all Southern rap is wack, which he actually didn't, but let's just say that readers could be excused for thinking that's what he meant.
Sabrina Carpenter: The De-Tour
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Winner: XXL.com, of course. This beef was the talk of Hip-Hop Nation a couple of weeks ago, and the site's hits went through the roof.
After six concerts on four tours in two countries, I've got one thing to say to Green Day: I quit. You guys had me, but it's over now. I'm tossing my records out the window. Kerplunk! The Green Day patch I ironed on my backpack? Riiipppp. I wish I'd never met you, Billie Joe Armstrong.
It was the summer before sixth grade when I got my first boom box, and I bet you can guess the first CD ever spun. Yup. Dookie. That disc was the soundtrack to the first time I sneaked out. I had my first slow dance to "Longview." We moshed in the junior high halls, singing "Basket Case." I even dyed my hair green for you guys.
Punk purists still get pissed when Green Day is mentioned without the "pop" prefix, but that didn't matter to me. I was rockin' the suburbs. It was a great summer for me, but it was an even better year for you, huh, Billie?
Dookie's enormous success launched the entire pop-punk genre. Green Day became the Godfathers of MTV2. Thanks for that. I really appreciate Simple Plan. They're awesome. Oh, and New Found Glory? So cool, those kids. I can't even imagine what the world would be like without Yellowcard.
You probably felt bad, didn't you? I know you did. I saw the VH1 special. But you know what? Oakland got it right: Green Day sucks.
The charm and swagger lasted only through Dookie. Nimrod (1997) was where things started to go really bad. Imitators had already made three-chord mock-serious pop-punk into a clich. And that's what Green Day delivered. Right up until track 17. I don't believe for a second that "Time of Your Life (Good Riddance)" was an "unexpected" hit. The song had A&R fingerprints all over it. That klutzy piece of schmaltz made all the girlies go rubber in the knees. It was no surprise when it became the year's most popular prom song.
That was also the last year Green Day changed its live show. Seriously. Even with three discs of new material, the show hasn't changed in nearly ten years. Let's see, for a cover of Operation Ivy's "Knowledge," they bring up three kids for a makeshift band. One kid gets a guitar and a gob-smacking man-kiss. It takes ten minutes, and it was cool the first time I saw it. The last few times, I went and got a beer. Count how many times you've seen dancing bee-suit guy for "Queen for a Day" or watched Billie Joe fake-climax. It's a simple formula: Take the number of times you've seen Green Day. That's the answer. Every time.
To be fair, the albums Green Day was putting out were awful. Warning? Shenanigans? No one wanted to hear that crap anyway. Then along came American Idiot, the "brave," "daring" and "important" rock-opera concept album. American Idiot is a deserving moniker for anyone who bought this overhyped, pretentious piece of drivel. Tugging at our heartstrings with images of soldiers and droning on for nine minutes at a time, these songs are completely uninspired. The state of American politics is indeed a weighty topic, worthy of serious exploration. Green Day, not so much. -- Ray Hafner
Between the Cracks
Band name: Next Exit
Web site: www.myspace.com/nextexitmusic
What's in a name, particularly yours? It stands for always taking risks and going further.
Personnel: Parker Stotts (guitar/ vocals), CaRloS Medina (bass), Landyn Lyerla (guitar/vocals), David Givans (drums).
When did you form? We started in July of 2005.
Who or what do you think you sound like? We have a lot of sounds, but we are a unique mix of progressive and punk rock: kind of a mix between Metallica and Blink-182.
What are some of your noteworthy recent feats? Getting our first show and always meeting the attendance quota at every show.
What artists have had the biggest impact on you? Blink-182 and Incubus.
How do you pay the bills? What is your day job? David works at Gamestop and Parker works at a seafood restaurant.
Finish this sentence: If I didn't have to worry about money, I'd... play music all day long.
Finish this sentence: I'd rather be... in Hawaii.
Who would play you in the screen adaptation of your life? Brad Pitt.
Where do you see yourself in five years? Playing in a sold-out stadium.
What's the biggest misconception about you or your band? That we aren't serious.
See them at: Fuel Cyber Cafe, 120 Main, Humble, 281-540-3170, on Friday, April 21.
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