Thursday, May 04, 2006
I’m perplexed to think of another album that was retrospectively made politically incorrect to the degree that "fuck new york" was. I mean, you can’t even say "fuck new york" anymore without people dropping their noses at you and staring with extreme hatred. What you gotta understand about O and Joe, at the time, though, was that this was just straight & simple retaliation, pretty much justified. This was right in the middle of the east coast west coast shit, snoop knocking down buildings along 5th avenue, and an even more so direct response to Tim Dog’s cut "Fuck Compton." Yes the same Tim Dog that Dr. Dre opined in a skit "yo step to me and let me suck your dick," and the answer was "Things that Tim Dog would say."
I think this was all coalescing in my cranium because I just read the joyous news yesterday that, apparently devoid of rumours this time, the ultramagnetic MC’s are actually back together and cutting an album. Now, I know Tim Dog was not technically a member, but if memory serves, he was in on that ultra shit, and somehow intermingled in the lexicon. Major league hat tip to Robbie over at Unkut, for directing knowledge of said events. In fact, if you’ve got a jones for things ultramag, I can’t think of a better place, his Ced Gee files are, to put it mildly, vast.
But I don’t wanna get caught up in all that just now. Back to Rodney O & Joe Cooley. I had settled my mind on them, thru the intermingled pathway of kool keith, ultramagnetic, tim dog, fuck Compton, fuck new york, then Rodney O & Joe cooley, and come back to something I’d always opined in the back room by the pool table, staring at the purple 4 ball like hamlet lasering yorrick’s not quite decrepit skull, that general jeff just got no respect.
Ok, I just did a little googling (er, yahooing) and found this interview with Rodney O. Fascinating stuff, really, you should read it. A lot of it is about how him & Joe don’t get no respect, how they were west coast pioneers, but all new york & the east coast sees, west coast wise, is snoop & dre, all valid points, and there’s some other nice nuggets of info in there, including some vanilla ice references, but NO MENTION OF GENERAL JEFF. It’s like he didn’t exist. Joe is mentioned excessively, how he’s an incredible DJ, how him & Joe, mixing it up, ain’t nobody can do it old school like that, maybe Fresh prince & DJ Jazzy Jeff, whoever else, all true, but general jeff, he was your main rapping sidekick joe, for, whut 3, 4 albums? More? Before fuck new york and the hitmen and pookie duke, general jeff was the man! He was there for "let’s do it like this," he was there for "everlasting bass" he was there for you & joe, he had his new edition reminiscent leather general hat on front and center for every album, up until you fired him, he left, he died, I have no idea, so not only do you NOT include his name in the title of the group, you never mention him after the fact, it’s as if he didn’t exist. After he’s gone, you just get Joe to rap (a painful, heartbreaking, but funny, and oddly entertaining venture). When you bring in Pookie Duke to be Jeff’s replacement, you have more respect for POOKIE DUKE and thus change the name of the temporary group to the hitmen, cognizant that no one else would just be the other rapper, rapping roughly half the album, with NO MENTION in the name of the group. I still can’t figure it out.
General Jeff, where are you? How did you master the art of egolessness to such the degree that you were allowed to disappear completely from the rap landscape of which you helped create? Did you really exist? Were you some kind of casper friendly ghost that emitted from the 808 kick drums once the studio session started, a silk screened effigy made up by underground automatons with corporate dreams? Are you sitting in an apartment in Albuquerque doing bong rips with Russell White? I need to figure this out.
OK, after more yahooing, I found Russell white. He’s not on the green couch with the fold out bed and cheeto bags lying around everywhere inhaling chronic smoke with General Jeff (phew). He’s a happily married high school coach father of two in Palm Springs California. No wonder I couldn’t find him for a few years. He was hiding from creditors after his last cut from the 49ers in 96, 80K in debt and contemplating his fall from grace. More than ten years after not taking the cash and instead finishing his degree he doesn’t regret a thing, is back on good financial ground and happy doing what he loves and with people he loves. Good for him.
That still leaves general jeff in the dimly lit cheeto bong room. Please help. Don’t send money, send info. Jeff, where are you? We want to help. We have fruits and vegetables. Put down the cheetos. Come to the light. Jeff? General?