I used to work in a record store (back when those were a thing), and this guy would come in all the time to talk about music. One day he told me if my thumb and index finger created a tiny dip, then I was meant to do bumps of K (ketamine). He also had the entire Bloodhound Gang’s autographs tattooed on his calf, so he wasn’t exactly a reliable source. I never did K because I’m not a horse, but I know a rapper who did.
If Q-Tip’s Industry Rule #4080 is that record company people are shady, then #4081 is that publicists don’t answer a fucking phone once their artist blows up. It happens – he/she doesn’t have to chase the media for looks anymore; the media chases them. Sometimes though, when you’re writing for an outlet that has a total lack of dignity, they’ll find that one weed carrier who will pass the phone to an artist for a quickie interview. It’s very helpful, albeit pathetic.
Years back a certain rapper was on the verge of becoming a superstar. Getting an interview was pretty difficult, yet this one publication I worked for was small enough to fly under the radar with the labels if they got interviews through random members of any artists’ teams. So anyway, I get this assignment to speak to the rapper while he was in the studio recording a song for someone else’s album. The outlet had the cellphone number of like the third engineer’s intern twice removed or something (how sad). I was told to call that guy’s number to speak with the artist. I had to call at exactly 8pm or else I’d miss this opportunity of a lifetime (I’ve interviewed this person twice since then). I called at 8pm, and the guy answered. He had one of those nicknames no grown ass man should ever have like Scooby or Scuttlebug. So Scuttlebug says that the artist is in the bathroom and I have to wait until he’s done. Twenty minutes later, he’s still in the bathroom. I’m told to hang up and call back in 15 minutes, and so I did. The second conversation went like this:
He made the artist sound like Baby Jessica stuck in a well. That’s not a thing. Like, “Oh hey remember that time I tripped and fell into a K-Hole?” OK, given the vernacular that might make sense to someone on drugs, but to me it didn’t. People slip into K-Holes all the time – the world is a fucked up place, but I wasn’t really trying to deal with this right now. Plus, my hand didn’t have the magic dent destined for K, so I had no idea what the protocol was for treating a “K-Hole victim.”
I hung up the phone. About an hour later the phone rings and I’m told he’s “better” and wants to talk. I had to call back in an hour though. That would be around midnight. Whatever, this had to get done. I called back at midnight and Scuttlebug answers. There’s yelling in the background. “Hello? Yo, he’s hiding under the soundboard. We can’t get him on the phone. What should I do?” This is how people on the receiving end of 911 calls must feel. My response was, “How the hell should I know?”
Some people were laughing in the background as this multi-Platinum artist is calling for his mother from the floor. All I heard was cackling mixed with random shouts like “Ma! Help!” Scuttlebug thought it would be a great idea to put me on the phone with him. “Mama? Is that you?” the artist asked as the studio filled with laughter. I felt sorry for the guy, picturing him sitting in a tiny nook under a soundboard. “I’m not your mom,” I replied. “Oh. Can you find her for me?”
Scuttlebug comes back on the phone still choking from laughing and says right now might not be the best time to speak with him. No shit, Sherlock. He kept me on the phone for a little while longer in silence, just listening to this poor jackass carry on. I eventually hung up the phone like any dignified person would. Throughout the night, Scuttlebug called seven or eight more times, but I never answered.
I never did get that interview and never spoke to Scuttlebug again. Hopefully he was fired from his non-paying studio job. When my editor asked why I didn’t get the interview, I told him the artist wasn’t feeling too well. “Yeah, artists are so prone to getting sick,” he replied.
He had no idea.