Tracy Chapman, ‘Baby Can I Hold You’, 1988 and 2020 VS Pop Smoke posthumous New Yorker review, August, 2020

I found a copy of The New Yorker in a free library two blocks from my house and tore out pp 78-79 to read or reread about Pop Smoke. I own a Pop Smoke t-shirt. I bought it on the internet. I think, and we can verify using the handy search function that I mention Pop Smoke previous, above. Above in the sense of earlier in time, previously. Sometimes I say “below” as in scrolling down.

I am certain or certain enough if you trust me here that on my other computer, not the one on my lap the one next to me, my handheld — ok they are both Apple, all hail Apple — no logo no logo no logo — I just said three “nologos” — that I will sort of recognize the hook to the one Pop Smoke tune I have already prepaid $10 per month to and for and downloaded, got the load down, on the down low, as it were.

I think the hook is something about how if I knew at age 20 what I knew at age 40 and when I was single, I would have dated different women for different reasons, perhaps. Unless that’s a Rod Stewart song. Rod Stewart or Rod Straight –that’s a subtle shout out to my friend Keith Boykin. Also, if you excuse the to digression — did i write digroisson? — William Cook, the dead gay Dartmouth professor. My favorite type of gay black Dartmouth professor is a Billed and Cooked gay black Dartmouth professor, innit? He’s not Indian, but he’s inn it, like Occam. God bless.

I think the hook to a Pop Smoke jam is something about throwing it back. Which I thought was what they do in Chicago when the opposing team hits a home run. Throwing it back chewing Wrigley gum versus spitting in the hole and tuning again. Which is Shakespeare. Bevington, even. Harry Carey versus Henry Five versus Ron Santo versus Napoleon Solo up in Cincy, cinch.

And whilst I am tap tap tapping here — what Vonnegut might call swooping not bashing — Tracy Chapman is singing thricely and nicely “Baby Can I Hold You”. Although I got lost in my own words — thinking about ’69 or 2000 more precisely, or 2004 — the machine jumped ahead to “Give Me One Reason” which is off the reservations, so to speak; not in my Reserve Corridor.

Words don’t come easily, she says.

Carrie Battan — not as a death march but of a dead guy — actually two dem, Pop Smoke AND Juice WRLD — not Nipsey Hussle or Tupac or Biggie to my knowledge — did I mention my name is Weiss which in German means “I know” but also “white — Lick? Like? Look? — Ick! Learning, loving, looting. Where’s the loo?

I meant to compare Tracy’s real version to that of Grace Rem out of Detroit I found on that same internet. Grace Rembinski. She is 17 just barely but moving to Nashville where she has a promising publishing administration deal. I suggested on her youtube site that she try some Laura Nyro, perhaps “Stoney End” and “And When I Die” — Laura Nyro is perhaps in a band in heaven with Pop Smoke and Biggie Smalls. Maybe they are lovers. Who’s to judge?

I love you is all that you can say. Years gone by and still. Words don’t come easily, nor likely does Laura Nyro, even in heaven.

Grace Rembinski also has a tape of herself singing Star Spangled Banner at a Tigers game, as compared to the fact that Claudell Washington the former A’s star was the one who hit the ball in real life that Ferris Bueller caught on his day off. Also there is a chain of nightclubs in NorCal and a record label founded by a health food entrepreneur from Berkeley who also caught Barry Bonds’ most famous home run. (And caught on his day off is a Jeffrey Toobin joke, especially if “toobin” becomes a verb).

See how it all fits together so nicely in Plastic Alto. I’m Slick like Grace, give me Wings.

Say goodnight, Grace. I mean: Good morning! (Maya Angelou – -I met her: Mark the Mastodon).

Ok here is a lift or sample from Carrie Battan – what is she a twirler? — about Pop real name Bashar Jackson:

Pop Smoke quickly became the figurehead—and the greatest commercial hope—of the scene, owing to his charisma, his magazine-cover looks, and his vocal tone, which was so low, rich, and gruff that his aunt once told him that he sounded like “he could control people.” On “MPR,” when he rapped that he needed “money, power, respect,” it seemed like an inevitability rather than like a wish or a plea. His unflinching cool was broken only by ad-libs: machine-gun trills, guttural “Baow!”s, and ecstatic interjections of “Woo!,” which hinted at a greater vocal elasticity than he usually revealed. 

And the only Pop Smoke song I know is “Dior” which goes she like the way that I blog, she like the way i “edita” — edit to add; she like the way that I tap tap tap. Christian Dior he a Jew; All on my page, holding my wad; Get me Lyor Cohen and a 360 wraparound deal, feel me? What is the sound of six Pop Smoke fans clapping I’m up in all the stores. And heaven. And apologies to Laura Nyro and Andre Loblack who we will reschedule real soon now.

And1: my neighbor Julian from Cork tells me that Real Real is for real in Palo Alto with a line out the door. He said so from behind the mask. Actually they sell Jerry Garcia masks at Keen across the Street from Real Real like in a big yellow box vending machine only a few blocks from 3 sites associated with Jerry Garcia — which in Palo Alto passes, strangely, for street.

andand: Bashar and Andre says “Glock-30 on me” which reminds me of Lou Renza of Dartmouth saying that The Great Gatsby was a pun on his gun, his gat.

This is a horrible placement but proving Tom Robbins’ point — that Hal Riney tried to steal for See’s Candies then had to throw it back — that it is never too late to have a happy childhood, here is Grace Rembinski, age 16 doing Tracy Chapman, the third single from her first album, two lifetimes ago in Grace’s world. And I want to add that Tracy’s producer also worked on Joan Baez “Diamonds and Rust” and Joe Jackson “Look Sharp”. David Kershenbaum, if we can believe the internet.

And lastly I want to thank Tracy for being a good person and being kind to my mother Barbara Hayms Weiss, even if in doing so it seemed to annoy her partner Alice Walker, long story. Tracy Chapman is one of the best people ever in the music business and I hope singing these words so convincingly stays with Grace. Or as Molly Tuttle said about her former neighbor Remi Wolf: I hope to meet you again some day in the real world. Tracy, Molly, Remi, Christy, Maureen, and Grace and even Jill. And of course Gaye.

bw (backed with – -if you are new here I sometimes start a whole new topic under the first topic — bw like A Side and B Side on an old 7 inch, which are really only six inches and 11/12ths early in the morning six months of the year sometimes seven)

Maya Wiley is running for mayor of New York City, I am rooting for her and telling all our mutual friends and classmates. She called to thank me for the EMILY which thrilled me. And then just today I realized that the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine has a two page ad for the endowment or giving that has her picture the words THE CALL TO LEAD. But also I think it is signficant that the picture shows Maya wearing dreads or at least fancy braids. I think it is signficant that Dartmouth uses as an examplar a woman with Black hair. I met Maya in Spanish 3 which is fairly advanced for Freshman fall, 1982. She also has a law degree and was teaching at The New School.

Summarizing, and I can put this at no extra charge and with a wee bit of FOCUS in “tags” below, our guests today are: Tracy Chapman, David Kersenbaum, Grace Rembinski, Bashar Jackson pka Pop Smoke, Biggie Smalls, Tupac Shakur, Maya Wiley, Napoleon Maddocks pka Napoleon Solo, Ron Santo, Harry Carey, William Shakespeare as if he was a person and not a team –debatable point; Gaye Adebalola; Barbara Hayms Weiss aka Mom z”l; Maureen Roddy, Christy Wolf; Remi Wolf; Molly Tuttle; Alice Walker, Laura Nyro; Joan Baez, Jill Rembinski RN or NP; Joe Jackson; Hal Riney; Tom Robbins; Jerry Garcia; Julian from Cork; Andre Loblack if that’s your real name, or not; Lou Renza; Jay Gatsby although he was fictional, real enough for Plastic Alto; Lyor Cohen; Keith Boykin; William Cook; Christian Dior, 1905-1957; Carrie Battan;

About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player, and blogger; he also sang in local choir, fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32 Reads 'Howl' and owns a couple musical instruments he cannot play
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