"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.
There's this tiny Asian woman that I know. I mean, to be clear, I SORT of know her. I've never met her. And I've never even talked to her. But I know her. I KNOW her. More importantly, I hate her. Like, I HATE her. I hate her concretely and with absolute certainty. Basically, it's the opposite of how I know her, except it's with the exact same intensity.
If you're a sucker, you might know her. Or, I guess if you're sad about stuff, you might know her. Or if you stay up late at night or are off during the day then you might know her. If you own the Perfect Pushup, then you probably definitely know her. Because the kind of person that buys the Perfect Pushup is the same kind of person that buys workout DVDs that are advertised on television. I've done both, of course.
The Perfect Pushup? Fuck that. They might work. I don't know. I tried them for a week or so. Then I stopped because, turns out, it's easier to do no pushups at all than it is to try to do a perfect one.
The workout DVDs? (If there was a key on my keyboard that made a big sighing noise, I'd be pressing the shit out of it right here.)
I bought that stupid Insanity workout system or whatever a while back. I wish I could explain to you how unfortunately unnecessary of a purchase that was. When I was in college, I took my last $120 and bought scratch-off lottery tickets. I assumed that if I just bought a consecutive run of 120 of them, that one of them would win more than $120. I ended up winning about $80. I cashed those in for more tickets. (Surely the big winner will be in the next 80, my brain explained.) I won about $30. Then again. Then again. Then again. Then zero. Winning zero dollars after buying a couple hundred lottery tickets, that was a smarter purchase than the Insanity workout DVDs.
I made it through exactly 31 minutes of the first DVD (I skipped the opening part where you test yourself to see what you're capable of because clearly that's only there for the chumps). It was brutal.
I can run a few miles pretty easy. I play basketball several times a week. I can do 100 (imperfect) pushups without stopping. I can complete 18 correct pull-ups. Still, I was obliterated.
At the 31 minute mark, I was literally on my hands and knees, covered in root beer-flavored sweat, cursing at the aforementioned tiny Asian woman (she's one of the background exercisers).
She fucking NEVER stopped. Never. Never. NEVER. It was unbelievable. No hyperbole, I don't think she's a human. Or if she is, then she's definitely from the future, and her cardiovascular system has been replaced with the innards of whatever runs a 2142 Porsche Boxster. Or maybe her body is solar powered? Or maybe she's some genetically enhanced humanoid that China is developing. All three of those seem in play. (And if it's that third one, then it's fuck you, America.)
I don't know what any of this has to do with anything. It certainly doesn't have anything to do with rap music. And it's not some sort of parable with a lesson hidden in its center waiting to be unearthed (the only thing I learned from trying Insanity is that how racist I am towards Asian women on my TV is in direct correlatoin to how many more suicide jumps they can do than me). I guess it's just a thing about nothing, which, for those that like to pretend to be more intelligent than they actually are, kind of makes it a thing about everything. AND THAT MAKES IT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING OF ALL.
So, you're welcome.
1. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, "Thrift Shop"
This song certainly didn't come out recently, but that's not why it's here today. It's here today because of the story. This week, this song, THIS SONG HERE, became the number one song in the country (as told by Billboard's Hot 100). Do you know the last time a Seattle artist was number one on that list? It wasn't Kurt Cobain. It was Sir Mix-A-Lot with "Baby Got Back". These are the things you learn when you spend 80 hours a week on the Internet. (That, and that there's an entire website dedicated to making bread-based puns with celebrity names and then photoshopping those puns into existence.)
2. Maino and The Mafia, "Crack Rock Freestyle"
People ACTUALLY do crack. Like, you're on your iPhone reading about rap music and a bunch of poor people are doing crack. What the fuck, man?
3. Kyle Rapps, "Get It In," featuring Action Bronson
Take a guitar, noodle around on it a bit, add some bloops and claps and snares and then ask Action Bronson to GO FUCKING GO-GO-GO-GO on it. Winner. (Best of the week, I'd argue.)
4. Joe Budden Freestyles on ESPN's First Take
An aside: Recently, I drew a picture of Joe Budden for this rap coloring book thing I've been working on. I was up early working on it, right. It was, maybe 5 a.m. or so (it's easiest to get work done when everyone in the house is asleep). I was scrolling through Google Images looking for different angles of his face, right. And I get, like, maybe three pages in, right, and then blam-o—staring at me right in my face is Joe Budden's dong. Like, it was looking directly at me. I guess I forgot that the picture had leaked awhile back. Whatevs. So, I was looking at it and it was looking at me and my first thought was, "Man, it's too early in the morning to accidentally bump into Joe Budden's dong on the Internet." But then my second thought was, "Wait, so if it's 'too early,' Brain, then are you saying there's an appropriate time to come eyeball to pee hole?" And then my third thought was, "I wonder if anyone has ever made some sort of Celebrity Penis Matrix or something?" And then I heard, "Um, why are you looking at a penis?" behind me because my wife had come downstairs. And that's a whole separate story, the conversation that took place afterwards.
5. Master P, "Like Whaaaa," featuring Problem and Eastwood
MASTER. P. IS. SO. MUCH. FUN.
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.