The Holy Book of Hip Hop
Black Glove Publishing Ltd.
This is basically a thorough-ass, 300-plus page catalog of original songs that have been sampled by hip hop artists. The book is split into two sections: Soul and Jazz, and in each section, the artists are listed alphabetically. For old school albums, song by song, you can see what hip hop groups have jacked. The references go from the obvious (i.e. the 158 tracks that sampled “Funky Drummer”) to the rather obscure (i.e. did you know that on “Lacking Precipitation,” Sixtoo sampled the title cut off McCoy Tyner’s 1974 Sama Lyuca album?). If you know your records a bit, this baby can be a dope and informative tool. My only complaint: there should have been an index at the end, listing all the hip hop groups and on which pages they appear. And for all those who cry snitch, at least this ain’t half as bad as those Strictly Breaks comps. Hey, maybe five years from now they’ll put out a book of all the keyboard sounds Swizz and Timbaland used.
Lenny Bruce is Dead
Coach House Press
The order of my favorite sentences from my new favorite book:
3. “Josh liked doing it doggie-style because Mimi had an ass full of personality.”
2. “Her feet smelled like his childhood.”
1. “After he creamed her ass, he just wanted to be thrown into an open grave.”
Lenny Bruce is Dead is the cleanest dirty book I have ever read. It follows Josh, a horny Montreal Jew, after his mom dies and his dad gets weirder. Josh copes by having sex or thinking about having it. But there’s no real narrative. Our protagonist is not living a linear life. Each paragraph inhabits an entire world in a handful of sentences. Josh skips through his days, his past and present, like he’s playing memory hopscotch. There’s a bit on that girl, bit on mom, bit on sad dad, bit on girlfriend’s ass, bit more on mom, bit from work, bit of tits, bit more ass, some cunt, ears, eyes and soup. Writing like this, plus maintaining the story’s integrity and a reader’s attention, is a very hard thing to do. But this book is like a small box of bon bons and every separate paragraph is always delicious and exactly what you hoped for. Don’t try this at home, though. Goldstein is a goddamn poet. Shitty writers who tackle simple ideas in fancy ways always end up like those show-offs who jump into the shallow end from the highest point on the roof. They are crippled, made fun of, and never heard from again. This guy can probably fly.
By Jeff Koyen
Back in the heady days of 1997, Crank was one of the biggest zines around. It was like a slightly fluffier version of ANSWER Me! in that it coupled misanthropy with juvenile zine scene pranksterism. But this was a good thing because it always remained entertaining and hilarious while at the same time being angry and bitter. But then editor Jeff Koyen disappeared for three years without so much as a trace, only to reappear in the summer of 2000 on his web site announcing plans for a seventh and final issue of Crank. And as a final fuck-you to the scene he was leaving behind, the press run would be limited to a mere 265 copies. Luckily, I was one of the first to pre-order a copy (it’s only number five that’s pictured here because I refused to loan VICE a copy). It finally arrived in my mailbox last month, complete with 66 pages of new material, reprints of issues 1 through 3, and a hand-bound sheet metal cover. The new content deals with everything from free sex UFO cult leader (and frog) Rael to the current obsession of certain Japanese pedophiles—little girls who wear those pollution-quashing surgeon’s masks. We also get to read a painstakingly long narrative concerning Jeff’s recent divorce from his wife. But, alas, all remaining copies are long gone, so you’ll have to settle for the web site (www.crank.com), where all the content is posted. Believe me, it’s well worth it. As an interesting sidebar, I never actually sent Jeff the $12 required for the issue I reserved. I’m not sure if I should be grateful for his incalculable trust or gross disorganization. In any case, thank you Jeff, your money’s on the way.