This. CD. It looked like… I really can’t even explain its levels of wrong. Imagine the worst possible images you have ever seen, all in one spot: the worst possible fonts, the worst possible colors, the worst possible photoshopping, title, spelling...
When you’re really busy, it’s easy to forget normal things like “Where are my keys?” or “Did I blow out those candles?” or “When was the last time I showered, cuz my hair kinda smells like a dog?” or “Did I already have a tampon in?” or “Did I already have a tampon in and now I have two tampons in?!” or “Where are those two tampons I had in?!” and then you end up at the emergency room because you think you have toxic shock syndrome, only to discover that you had no tampons in. That kind of stuff. Easy-to-forget stuff.
Other times you can forget entire major life events: “So, wait, I didn’t tell you I starred with Ashton Kutcher in that pilot where I had to make this kid steal stuff from a liquor store, and he peed his pants?” (Tell you ’bout that one later.) It’s just normal. Everybody does it.
I tell you this so you understand how it could've slipped my mind that I may have discovered a white rapper in 2005, and that I should, maybe, check in on that.
That was the year I moved from Texas to Los Angeles, and it fucking sucked. So no shit I forgot that day. I’ve basically blocked out that whole year. In those days I was very aggressive about my hatred for LA—looking for any and all excuses that involved even sort of getting away from the shitstorm I associated with everyone and everything LA-related. So, when Texas friends …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead rolled into town to record a new album at Interscope, I was there in a second. I would’ve moved into the Interscope offices if I could’ve, solely because it was in Santa Monica and not LA.
Anyway, I ended up spending a lot of time at the studio and eventually did vocals with Conrad as a way to kill time. After a while, though, you just start to lose your mind, and that’s when Conrad and I decided to go for a drive by the beach.
It was a Saturday afternoon, and there was no one else in the building other than a security guard. As the guard unlocked the doors to let us out, I lost my step and almost tripped over this crazy pile of stuff that was blocking the front doors. I looked down. It was… CDs. Yep. Compact. Fucking. Discs. There was this ridiculous mountain of CDs that people had just left at the front doors of Interscope. People still do this kind of shit?! I thought. The whole give-your-tape-to-a-radio-station-and-pray-to-the-radio-gods-that-you’re-gonna-get-“discovered”-like-Elvis-Presley style? I, genuinely, had no idea. My mind was blown.
Naturally, Conrad and I dropped to the ground and went in on this scattered pile of pain. Basically, it was like an immediate unspoken competition to find the best-worst with “Oh man” being said at almost every CD we turned over. It was a rough group—a world of douche chills and grossbumps. My leg hairs were growing at record speed. I’m half-Persian, so my leg hairs already grow at quite an impressive rate. So, just imagine that… doubled.
THEN… It happened.
It was like the world stopped and everything was in slow motion. My eyes widened and my vomit face replaced my shocked face as I turned over the one. It pretty much glowed. This. CD. It looked like… I really can’t even explain its levels of wrong. Imagine the worst possible images you have ever seen, but all in one spot: the worst possible fonts, the worst possible colors, the worst possible photoshopping, title, spelling, whatever—everything—the worst. It made me straight-up uncomfortable. I felt bad for even gazing upon it.
In hindsight, I couldn’t remember his name. All I remember is that it was made by this white rapper who didn’t have a traditional rap name. But that cover. THAT COVER. I will never forget that cover. I didn’t understand any of it. I was having a hard time even believing that it was real and not just the perfect joke.
Obviously, this little number was the winner of the beach drive soundtrack competition.
We started driving, put the CD in, and braced ourselves. Honest to God I was filled with a pure joy that I can only describe as Christmas morning or maybe the pleasure a bully gets watching something really mean go down… like the meanest type of happiness, waiting to hear just how bad this CD was going to be. I mean like pee-your-pants-smiling-from-ear-to-ear-giggling-playing-hide-n-go-seek-thinking-you-have-the-best-spot-ever-and-you-know-you’re-either-going-to-be-found-or-just-pee-all-over-the-place kind of anticipation. And, oh my God… THAT COVER. It was immediately seared into my brain.
So, basically, my expectations were high.
We waited for the perfect moment as we hit the Pacific Coast Highway and hit play.
“OK. Next song.”
“OK. Next song.”
Our heads bobbing. A little.
We just looked at each other.
“It’s kind of good. Like, it’s really, really good. What the fuck,” I said. There was nothing more to say. I think we even went back and listened to some of the songs again. And then, maybe, just maybe, again. And then perhaps once more. Fuck. Fuuuuuckkkkkkk.
We made the decision at that moment that we should put it on someone’s desk at Interscope. I mean, no one was in the office. It was Saturday. And Conrad had said that he knew which desk belonged to the head of A&R for rap/hip-hop.
So… that’s what we did.
We put the CD right there in the middle of the desk of the head of whatever it was, and I attached a Post-it that said something like “Important: Listen ASAP.” I mean, if it’s right there in the middle of his desk with a Post-it… I feel like, if I were that guy, I would think I probably, really needed to listen to it. And no one is going to suspect that some that “indie” or fill-in-the-blank stereotype kids from Texas decided one afternoon that they would be the heads of A&R at Interscope. So, why would they not listen to it? Especially, if it said “important”?
We felt pretty proud of ourselves, and wished it well—like Prince as he let go of that dove with, like, a note or like some kind of message of positivity. (Yeah, I’m trying to say that I, casually, felt like Prince.)
Years went by and, like I said earlier, I fully forgot about the whole ordeal. So, I never checked to see if anything happened to that guy, this dude who had created such a singular aesthetic and sound. I mean, what are the chances that somebody at Interscope picked it up, right? And since I didn’t remember the guy’s name, I wouldn’t have known how to check even if I wanted to.
Then, recently, I was in the studio recording with Dave Sitek. We were bullshitting, exchanging stories of how certain people were “discovered” or whatever and suddenly I remembered that day with Conrad back in 2005.
I was telling him the story with this big big build up… and then, it kind of just ended with me going “So, yeah. I don’t know what happened with that.” Dave screamed, “WAIT WHO WAS IT??” He persisted, and all I could say was “Yeah. I don’t know.” Then Dave stopped and said, “Um. Was it… YELAWOLF???”
I justd stared straight into the ether. Thinking. I wasn’t really familiar with his music… but wait…
“Well, he did have a name that wasn’t a typical ‘rap name’…”
Holy shit. Was it?
Then I thought, THE COVER! I will never forget the cover!
So, I looked him up… I looked up YelaWolf.
And it was like Jesus Christ had said, "Go, my child," and put his hand on mine as the cover popped up. A cover that made me fully speechless and most importantly—nauseated. It was the same cover.
It hit me remembering that the “ho” in the background was wearing this denim backless thing. I remember having been very concerned that I looked like a “ho” stereotype, because I pretty much had the same exact outfit. I actually stopped wearing it for a while after that solely because of that girl on the cover.
I checked out the song titles… “Pissed On,” “White Boys.” Those aren’t titles you just forget. You may want to. But you really can’t. Try it sometime.
The album (shout-out to Google search) is a mixtape called Pissin in a Barrel of Beez, released in 2005.
So… I’m not fully positive… but… I might have… could have… maybe… discovered Yelawolf?
So, yeah. There’s that.
For more strange brushes with rappers, check these out: