Category Archives: Music

Shock G and Me or: The Case For Digital Underground to Make the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

In the heyday of Knowingly Undersold circa 2010, I saved a number of draft titles for future posts I intended to write. In short order this blog largely dried up as life raced ahead, and these drafts sat unacknowledged and disregarded until three years ago, when I launched into the Set of 400. It was then I unearthed my long-forgotten plan to pen “The Case for Digital Underground to Make the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.” They hadn’t been eligible until 2014 – 25 years from their landmark platinum-selling debutso I figured I had plenty of time to start banging the drums and getting the momentum rolling. Or, as befits the rest of the early Knowingly Undersold catalog, it could at least be fairly amusing, or fall flat in glorious immolation in the effort.

On Digital Underground’s Sons of the P in 1991, young Joe was introduced to the concept presented in the second song, “Heartbeat Props,” whereas you’ve “gotta start giving the props to the living…why wait until the heartbeat stops? Yo, go on and give my man his props!” Had this nudged toward the forefront of my mind over the past decade, I could’ve recognized that the clock was a-ticking, and maybe the time to put this post together was sooner rather than later. But come on, what was the hurry? The members of D.U. were still relatively young – there was plenty of time to gather up the laurels and shout from the rooftops. There was no rush.

But, there were signs along the way that this might’ve been a more pressing necessity. The band officially broke up in 2008, after the release of the sixth and final full length album ..Cuz a D.U. Party Don’t Stop!, which was itself a decade beyond their previous album, Who Got the Gravy?, with only a handful of greatest hits compilations rolling out in the intervening years. Greg Jacobs, a.k.a. Shock G, a.k.a. Humpty Hump, a.k.a. Edward Ellington Humphrey III, a.k.a. MC Blowfish, a.k.a. Piano Man, had expressed an interest in doing more non-funkadelic style music, and to continue to lean into his successful producing career. It doesn’t appear there were hard feelings from the other main, surviving members of the group – drummer/producer Chopmaster J and stalwart rap partner Money B – and even though full tours were halted, a number of Shock G/D.U. live shows still popped up in the following years. They weren’t super frequent, and there was little evidence that Shock was keeping busy producing either – after 2010’s final Digital Underground release, The Greenlight EP, and a number of singles from a SoundCloud rapper who has 40 followers. But still, everyone seemed relatively happy and fairly busy, and a career as a nostalgia act is one that can stretch for quite a while. Time, I felt, was still on my side.

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Things That Suck: Please Come to Boston

(This is another entry in the series of things we always thought were okay and inoffensive, but have turned out to be horrible, following my complete smackdown of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, found here. Herein I extensively and exclusively reference the song “Please Come to Boston” by Dave Loggins. If you are unfamiliar with it, you will find nothing wondrous in what’s to follow. Please seek out, and then return here for the vivisection. That is all. In fact, here, watch this, then read, if you like. Sorry about the crap, homemade YouTube quality.)

Also known popularly as the “I’m the number one fan of the man from Tennessee” song, “Please Come to Boston” is the sort of sappy love song that is pretty much forgettable as soon as it ends, but people generally hold in good opinion. I’m no music critic, it might be the greatest slice of music genius since “Minnie the Moocher” and I wouldn’t know it. I can say “It’s catchy” or “It’s got that cool funky beat” or “I can relate to 99 Problems, cause my bitch ain’t one!” but I can’t really break it down further than that.

However, musicality aside, I’ve got a pretty serious problem with “Please Come to Boston.” There are a lot of facts presented in this piece of work that show without a doubt that a) this guy was absolutely right to get the hell out of Tennessee in the first place but b) presents no reason why he even still communicates with this harping shrew of a woman.  Let us begin at the beginning. Continue reading

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