"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.
Here is an exchange I had on Facebook on Tuesday:
Person: How you been, family? Haven't spoke since y'all featured me like a year ago.
Me: haha. Yeah, people stop talking to me after I cover them because then they don't need [me] anymore, but then they hit me back a long time later like, "Oh, hey, it's been a long time. So, listen, I got this new tape coming…"
Me: So hit me with the link to your new music.
Person: Nah. I ain't gonna hit you with that. I haven't made nothing I liked recently. Well, maybe a record or two. I'm one of those weird guys. It's a gem. Not oversaturation. I'm actually just seeing how you've been, you cynical bastard.
Me: Right, right.
Person: Hitting me with that editorial journalist swag.
Person: [link to song] Still, probably the nicest nigga you never heard of from here. So there's your wish.
That sort of thing happens quite a bit. People send music a lot to my email or Facebook or Twitter account or whatever. And that's cool. I get it. I'm fine with it. It's part of the job, I suppose. But mostly when that happens I just ignore it. It's just never fun or exciting or clever or interesting.
Until it is.
Here's an email I received Thursday at 2:49pm from an email address that was really a phone number that I did not recognize:
"Have you ever teleported? Have you ever met God? Have you ever seen God do magic? Are you a Crip? Do you know about the Atheist monument?"
That's it. That's all there was. There was no picture attached and no song attached and no link to anything else or anything. A while back I'd picked up an email assailant of sorts. I'd assumed this was him, so I ignored it.
At 2:52pm, this email came across:
"Have you ever been raped?"
To that I replied, "Several times, thank you."
The next email:
"I got raped in confession one day for African American ex altar boy gangs."
My response, "Eww."
I just couldn't think of anything to say.
Three hours later:
"My dad's death was the result of democide. That's when the government kills you."
Me: "Was your dad gay, because if so then that's also a hate crime and that's terrible."
"My dad was straight."
Me: "Okay. So it wasn't a hate crime then. Or, but was he black? Because if so then yes, hate crime."
Nothing. Then at 6:16pm:
"Joined Bush Jr. in bullying me."
I didn't respond to that one because I didn't understand what was going on anymore.
"And then I went to jail for threatening to kill him."
"One day I got kicked out of the Catholic Church in my town. The security guard told me I wasn't Catholic. Now I won't go."
"I sent Obama a letter after my wallet got stolen telling him that I would never get a new ID, SS card or birth certificate."
I don't even know. Or, rather, I didn't even know. But really I did.
Tucked in the middle of all those messages, apropos of nothing, and connected to even less: "Check out my one song at www.reverbnation.com/sneakyofficial."
Me: "I mean, I guess I kind of have to now. This was the most creative fishing tactic of all. Nice work."
So that's what we're going to do in this space this week. We will sacrifice, in the name of bizarro ingenuity and accidental interest, to highlight Sneak Official, an Alabama rapper whose bio page has nothing on it besides: "What up. This yo boy Sneak Official! I been doin' this rap shi*t for years. I ain't no beginner." The music isn't very good, but that's hardly the point.
Go here. Click around. Flourish. Celebrate yo' boy Sneak Official.
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.