Download: “Mr. Jones,” from Mr. Jones’s new album, American Dream.
6:17: There are maybe six people here for a red carpet event that was supposed to start 17 minutes ago. However, the publicist promises that it’s about to “get crazy.”
6:19: I never understood the whole red carpet thing. Why red? Shouldn’t it be gold or shiny or leopard-skin or something? When I see red I don’t think “famous,” I think “whorehouse.” But maybe that’s just me.
6:25: Still not packed with people yet. There is, however, a gentleman wearing a blue jean vest and some khaki shorts. That’s kinda crazy, I guess.
6:31: Quanell X’s security dudes just showed up. Is there a rally after the show?
6:52: Bun B is here, with a female who is wearing a fabulous pair of black pants that look like they were made by Under Armour. He eschews the red carpet and simply strolls down the walkway next to it. Upon requests from the camera people, he takes his place underneath the tent set up at the end of the carpet and poses for pictures. As he walks away, inexplicably, the tent falls apart. Apparently, Bun B wrecks shit both figuratively and literally.
7:11: And we have our first infant sighting. The gentleman, holding the sleeping baby in a car seat, poses for pictures and loudly proclaims himself the winner of the “Baby Daddy of the Year” award. I love Houston.
7:15: There’s this guy walking around. He’s maybe 5’7”, 175 lbs, wearing tight, torn-apart jeans, a silver-studded black leather belt, a red and white track jacket about six sizes too small that doesn’t reach his belt, a pair of light brown leather cowboy boots, a fedora and super-gigantic sunglasses. Also, he’s not wearing an undershirt, so the bottom of his belly is hanging out, as is the hairy small of his back. I totally expected to see a wicked heart tattoo there. He might not be in the movie tonight, but he is unquestionably the evening’s biggest star.
7:27: The King of the Ghetto, Z-Ro, has made an appearance. I am officially intimidated. I heard that one time this guy looked Z-Ro in the eyes at a club one night and the guy turned to stone. Or his brain melted or something. Seriously.
7:28: Some guy is wearing a shirt that says, “I’m Da Shit.” He must be a star. I mean, only a turd would wear a shirt like that if he wasn’t actually super famous, right?
7:29: Uh oh. An AMC Dunvale employee rolled up to Z-Ro (I’m not saying “rolled up” trying to sound cool. He literally rolled up because he is in a wheelchair) and busted out into a freestyle rap. Z-Ro never breaks out of his tough guy face. I can’t tell if he’s just trying not to laugh or if he’s thinking about stabbing Wheelchair Rapper Man in the face. It is Z-Ro, so probably both.
7:31: Baby Daddy of the Year is now conducting an interview (still holding his baby) and is bellowing about being “Homecoming King and Senior Class Vice President in ’98. Everybody in Houston knows it!” Awesome. Does anyone know the number to C.P.S.?
7:34: Houston rappers are starting to filter in. So far, I’ve seen Scooby, Unique, Poppy, Stop 6, Spark Dog, Royalty, Giblet Joe, ButtaFinga Luva and Meaty Frank. Okay, I made those last three up, but c’mon. Would you really have known if I didn’t tell you?
7:36: Slim Thug and Killa Kyleon are making their way down the carpet now. Slim is a nice guy, posing for pictures, answering questions and doing it all with a smile on his face. There’s a guy wearing a cape trying to get his attention. Like, an actual velvet cape. Maybe he’s a superhero, and his power is the ability to look like a schmuck?
7:47: Okay, we have a winner for the Craziest Dressed Guy award. First off, he’s wearing a camouflage turtleneck. But this is no ordinary camouflage turtleneck. Oh no, an ordinary camouflage turtleneck wouldn’t be crazy enough. It’s complete with huge pockets sewn on the biceps of the sleeves and a Velcro strap that fastens across his Adam’s apple. The shirt is tucked into a pair of snug navy-blue cargo sweat pants that are themselves tucked into a pair of tan combat boots. Oh, and by the way, he has a hook for a right hand. I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.
8:10: We’ve finally made our way into the theater for the movie, which was supposed to start at 7 p.m. I’m going to set the over/under for the number of times a phone rings during the movie at 9 1/2.
8:11: Turns out that I am sitting directly behind Mike Jones and to the immediate left of a bodyguard. Great. I’m going to go ahead and concede that armrest to him and his massive left arm.
8:14: Two minutes into the movie and the first phone is already ringing. I hope you took the over.
9:56: The movie is over. You’ve probably never seen this movie but you’ve seen this movie. Guy struggles to make ends meet honestly, has little brother going down the wrong path, loves his grandma, meets girl way too hot for him, falls in love, friends make jokes, he makes bad decisions, faces adversity, starts making a name for himself, faces more adversity, overcomes adversity and everything falls magically into place. Highlights from the movie include a woman getting punched by a gold-toothed man and a scene where Grandma Jones instructs Mr. Jones to make music specifically for strippers at the “butt naked club.”
Personal Bias: Mike Jones seems very likeable in person. He brought his mom to the show and smuggled in a box of Crunch n’ Munch for snacking. He has a ring and necklace that are probably worth $100,000, but he brought his own snack. My kinda guy.
Random Detail: Stacy the Publicist is one cool cat. She was mingling with big-name rappers, making unimportant people feel important, doing interviews in the middle of everything, and didn’t even flinch when Velvet Cape Guy asked her something. What a pro.
By the way: Slim Thug parked his very impressive Mercedes in a handicap spot. Maybe his handicap is his inability to make original music. Just kidding, Slim. Please call me back. – Shea Serrano