"Diamonds & Wood" is an ongoing series in which music critic Shea Serrano breaks down the 5 hip-hop tracks you need to hear this week.
I decided in July that I wanted to start keeping a daily log of things that were going on each day. (Again, it’s a “daily log” and NOT A JOURNAL, BITCH). I settled on the idea because I thought that once my sons (6-years-old, 6-years-old, 9-months-old) grew older, it’d be cool to hand it to them and let them read about all of the ridiculous stuff they did as kids, but also because after doing it for long enough I’d accidentally write my way into an idea for a proper book.
As it were, the idea can only ever reach half of those wishes. The part about giving the boys a chronicle of (at least bits) of their own days, that one’s fine. That can definitely happen. But the part about the book, nope. That one is a nothing.
Up until this point, I’d operated under the assumption that my hours were productive and smartly occupied—that I’d built myself into an actualized man, that I was at least a little bit of worth. Sadly, that is not the case. Mostly, I’m just a saggy bag of flesh and knee caps that only ever manages to do (at best) inconsequential things or (at worst) unintelligent things. To wit, some of the things I did this August:
August 4th: Recorded Step Up: Revolution, so I could watch it at a later date. That’s basically it. Oh, also, I checked the mail. There were a bunch of lizards outside when I walked down there. I told my wife. She seemed unimpressed. I told my sons. They seemed unimpressed too, “I saw a bunch of lizards outside yesterday too.” Bitch, fuck you. Yesterday’s not today, today is today. Also, why aren’t people more concerned about all these lizards? This shit could get real heavy real quick. I need to earmark this page.
August 13th: Wanted to watch up Step Up: Revolution. Turned it on, then one of the boys ran by me and tried to karate punch me in the wiener, so then I spent 30 minutes body slamming him and his brother on the big bed upstairs. Had to finish some writing stuff, so whatever. Is this really the only part of my day worth remembering?
August 18th: Found a new place near my house that sells tamales. God touched me.
August 26th: School started today. I missed it. I’m happy to be back. One of my kids has (I think) a blind eye. And a different kid spent all of sixth grade trying to stab people. He seemed pretty chill today though. I definitely missed teaching.
August 27th: Couldn’t watch Step Up: Revolution tonight because I have an article due tomorrow morning, but also because Challenge: Rivals is on and I NEED to watch that. I think this is the one that they’ve been teasing where the guy with one arm* battles the two black guys in the jungle. Fell asleep after Rivals was over. Didn’t write what I was supposed to write. Will have to wake up at 3:45 a.m., so I can write before I go to work. Semi-related, Rivals was fucking dope. The one-armed guy and his partner ended up beating the black guys in the jungle. I’m not sure a greater upset has ever occurred.
*He doesn’t really have one arm. He has a half-formed hand. One of my nephews has the exact same thing. I always think of him when I watch that show. Maybe that’s why I root for him. (The Rivals guy, not my nephew, though I do root for him as well).
August 28th: Finally got to try to watch Step Up: Revolution. Fell asleep on the couch next to Wife about 40 minutes in. Woke up very confused. Looked at my cell phone, saw that it was only 11:17 p.m., considered writing the article I had due the next day, but decided against it because the computer was in sleep mode and I didn’t want to have to re-enter the password to get it to come back on. I mean, I’m not Hercules. Went back to sleep. Woke up again, but only halfway. I bit the F out of Wife*, though I’m not certain why. Tried to get her to have sex with me.
*She told me the next morning that I did this. There was even a mark. Don’t watch Step Up: Revolution, I guess. That shit’ll fire you up.
August 29th: Stared at my hand. I wonder how much easier life would be if I had six fingers? Probably not that much. I don’t know. Who cares? I’m gonna try and watch the rest of Step Up: Revolution tonight. Fingers crossed.
See? Infinite sadness.
1. Roc Marciano, “Shit Hard”
This is just Roc Marciano doing what Roc Marciano does, which is basically just rapping better than a lot of other people, but not better than all of them. He has a cool voice. I wish I had a cool voice. My voice sounds like how I imagine a lesbian sounds when she’s really angry. That’s just a guess though. I’ve never had a lesbian get really angry at me. I’m definitely pro-gay marriage.
2. Cam’ron, “Welcome To My World”
This is some Cam’ron nursery rhyme silliness. The part about the park in the beginning is especially weird (if you’re not going to listen: Some lady asks Cam to go to a park with her, to which he tells her to fuck off), but it gets included here solely because he describes ejaculating on a woman’s face by saying, “That’s just a baby shower.”
3. Eminem, “Berzerk”
Welcome back, Em. We missed you.
You can stream his whole album for free if you like. But you really should just go buy it. It’s wonderful. I’d anticipated Wiz Khalifa’s wormy charm at least influencing Juicy’s style a tad, but it didn’t. Juicy is so clutch.
5. Slim Thug, “Coming Down”
This is the best Slim Thug song in years. I wish it was 200 hours long. The production is perfect and the guest features are perfect (even Kirko, who, at the onset, figured to have been swallowed up, did an enjoyable job). Give Slim Thug all the money.
Shea Serrano is a writer living in Houston, TX. His work has appeared in the Houston Press, LA Weekly, Village Voice, XXL, The Source, Grantland and more. You can follow him on Twitter here.