Diamonds & Wood: The Restaurant That’s Less Of A Restaurant And More Of A Butthole, Mobb Beef, Trina, Slang You Can’t Say And More

"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 don't know if they have a Golden Corral where you live, so let me explain it:

Golden Corral is advertised as a buffet-style restaurant, but, really, it's death. There's an awful Walmart near my house that you only go to if you want to (a) steal stuff, or (b) get into fist fights in the parking lot. Golden Corral is like that, except they serve popcorn shrimp and banana pudding too. It's the worst place on the planet. I imagine if you nabbed some Libyan mother who'd had her twin six-year-old daughters deathed by spin-stabilized mortar bombs on their birthday and took her there for dinner, she'd be like, "Oh my God. This is the most disturbing thing I've ever experienced."

Anyway, I went to go eat there on Tuesday. I probably go there once every two or so months because that's how long it takes for me to forget that inside it smells like a homeless man's foot. It was as traumatic as it always is. While I was there I saw:

-A man who had sweated completely through his long-sleeve jean button-up shirt.

-A woman who had paperclips in her hair, which is definitely the second weirdest place I've ever seen anyone hold stationary. (In college, a handful of dummies money-dared a guy named Daniel to put a ballpoint pen in his butt. He didn't even consider not doing it. It was like he'd prepared his whole life for that moment. It remains the worst $15 I've ever spent, just barely beating out the time I bought 50 Cent's Before I Self Destruct in 2009.

-A wicked old man who looked like he'd just finished digging a grave in his backyard for someone's child that he'd stolen from the grocery story.

-A man who thought it was acceptable to pick up rolls from the bread station with his bare hand, inspect them, then put back the ones he felt were undesirable. I don't imagine any rolls have ever felt worse than the two that he felt weren't up to his standard. If you get turned away by that guy, you might as well shut your shit down. Go be some pumpernickel bread or something.

-Two children, one probably six and the other probably four, absolutely destroy a tin of apple cobbler. Fat Mexican kids eat sweet foodstuffs with the same graceful fury that Usain Bolt has closing out the 100 meters. It's less an act of obesity and more a godlike dalliance. We should all aspire to such things.

Lunch lasted approximately 40 minutes, during which I consumed a devastating amount of fried shrimp (there is a definite correlation between how long I'm willing to risk contracting tuberculosis and the amount of breaded crustaceans I'm allowed to put down my gullet for $10) and proactively absorbed the music that played while I was there.

The mix included Macy Gray's "Still," which made me want to stab myself in the eyeballs with cutlery, Prince's "1999," which made me sad that I'd not properly partied on 1999, James Taylor's "Fire and Rain," which made me wonder if Damien Rice listened to a lot of his music (and spiraled into a conversation with no one about opening a restaurant that would only play music by musicians that share names with food), Boston's "Amanda," which made me want to work on a carburetor, the song they play during Karate Kid 2 when Daniel LaRusso is falling in love with that girl (BTW, the bad guy in that movie had just about the best abs of all. Look it up, for real.) and a handful of others.

I don't know why I kept track of the songs and I don't know why that lady had paperclips in her hair and I don't know if I could break more than three pieces of ice in half with a karate chop were I at my absolute strongest and I don't know anything, really.

But I do know that when I left I had a pocketful of Gummy Bears, so I guess it's even stevens.

1. Havoc, "Separated (Real From The Fake)"

Oh how things have unraveled. This is the diss track Havoc fired off at Prodigy, formerly his group mate for about the last 1000 years. If none of this makes sense to you, just pretend. That's always the best way to handle those types of situations.

2. Trina, "I'm Back"

Trina's back. That's cool. She's, like, 80-years-old now, right?

3. E-40, "Turn It Up"

It is always amazing that E-40 says the most ridiculous shit and it sounds absolutely wonderful. I mean, even his most rudimentary slang is too complicated for most. To wit, in the first verse he says, "outchea," a variation of "out here." Try and say that to someone without sounding like you have a learning disability.

You: Hey, you ready?
Guy: Yep, ready. You outside?
You: Yeah. I'm outchea.
Guy: …
You: …
Guy: You're what?
You: …Outchea?
Guy: …
You: …Sorr--.
Guy: Don't do that shit again.
You: Okay.

4. Ludacris, "Jingalin'"

Luda flexes a bit here, and that's cool, even if it does get overshadowed by the video. You know what I miss? Uncut on BET, that's what. Remember that show? It'd come on around 2 a.m. and show all sorts of boobs and butts and whatnot. And they'd always play that one awful video from that group that wanted to know what that thang smelled like. Man. Let's talk about that, not about goddamn Chik-Fil-A or whatever. Sigh. I miss you, Olde America.

5. The Story of MF Doom's Mask

This isn't a song. Sorry. (You have the Internet and you have fingers so you'll be fine, I'm certain.) What this is is an interview with the Blake Lethem, the guy that made MF Doom's mask. Doom is an absolutely fascinating personality and a brilliant musician. If it were possible, I'd have a version of his mask permanently planted to my face. It's not possible thoug, so I have to settle for a bunch of MP3s tucked into my phone. Blech. Science needs to catch the fuck up.

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.

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  • http://www.gracegordon.com GG

    wow chill i like u but this trina slander will not abide

    • https://twitter.com/sheaserrano Shea

      haha. Were I female, I would definitely become a stripper and call myself Trina Slander.