Dilla laid it down, and Common spit about it.
It’s been beating down the Mid-Atlantic region the past couple of days.
Jamiroquai had it in his heels. Tonight. Baby.
But I’ve never seen heat like this. Steel Reserve 211 is one thing, but….
“Canned Heat is a cocktail drink made from Sterno. For those not in the know, Sterno is a portable heating fuel, made from what is essentially ethanol and methanol and a couple of other things, none of which is good for you, to put it mildly. The Sterno is poured through a sock or rag to filter out the methanol and mixed with water or alcohol or whatever was on hand. Sterno was especially popular during Prohibition.
The famous blues man Tommy Johnson, was famous for having a penchant for Canned Heat, and one of his most famous songs is called Canned Heat Blues, which, you guessed it, is about a man addicted to Canned Heat.” — Bluescentric
It is difficult to watch television, listen to music, or shop for an item without witnessing some type of product placement. Formal commercials seem to have fallen by the wayside, as informal methods of positioning product has zoomed to the forefront. Are they effective, and get the products to subliminally “stick” in the minds of the consumer?
One might say that they are successful, that the repetitive nature of these products popping up makes them effective — you can only go so long without noticing something. How many times will you page through the catalog for a company like Pottery Barn, as you search for a sectional for your newly-refurbished living room, before you notice the bottle of No. 209 gin placed ever-so-covertly on the coffee table? As you envision yourself in this party, possibly working in the same office with such beautiful people, and finally focus on the main topic of the Bud Light Platinum being peddled, is there still room in your mind to absorb the TWO pairs of Beats by Dre headphones on the DJ table? I’m sure Budweiser hopes that their pretty blue bottle has taken up at least 98% of your attention by then.
We can’t all notice these subliminal maneuvers. I mean, how many of us focused on the bottles that Tony Stark had on his backbar as he poured a drink in The Avengers movie? Yeah, we noticed Scorpion Mezcal and a couple other brands, but would your girlfriend have seen them if you didn’t tell her? Maybe so, and that’s why you’re with her — but just in the case she didn’t, she’s probably similar to countless other people. Oh well, ponder that while watching the “Happy Hour” of Around the Horn & Pardon the Interruption on ESPN, shows that have everything in common with their sponsor.
“A Blind Pig (or Blind Tiger) was, more or less, a juke joint equivalent to a speakeasy. The building the Blind Pig was located in would have a false front; a business, storage, or simply boards over the windows in order to keep the illegal establishment hidden. those that knew the right people or password could gain access to the joint. Often Blind Pigs would have live music, gambling, moonshine and other alcohols.” — bluescentric
“A bit of Bix history lives on in downtown Cincinnati at the venerable Arnold’s Bar & Grill (established 1859)…I learned that there was no live music at Arnold’s during this era, but that when Prohibition hit, the establishment abandoned its public saloon role and became a restaurant. Its presence as an after-hours speakeasy is easy to establish, however, as one of Arnold’s well-known artifacts is their second-floor bathtub, used for bathtub gin, which is still on display, sometimes in the outdoor dining area and sometimes in local parades. So although Bix couldn’t have jammed at Arnold’s, he very well may have partaken of the product of that vintage bathtub.” — Bix Lives at Cincy’s Arnold’s Bar & Grill
The importance of language is sometimes taken for granted. In the world of instant messaging, shorthand, text messaging, and TweetShrinking, there is more than enough opportunity for certain parts of the King’s English to slip through the cracks and be forever lost. Luckily, there are tools that enable the lexicon of drinking culture to remain steadfast in personal communication.
Speaking of tools, what are they really worth to a craft? As most DJs have accepted the utility of Serato in their repertoire, the turntable is most likely on its way out of practice in future years. Contemporary musicians have shown their ability to record on computers — when was the last time you heard of an artist shipping a collaborator a two-inch reel to lay down a hook? Architects always say, “Learn how to draw by hand — what happens when the power goes out??” Answer: everyone will put their laptops on “Hibernate” and head to the local Starbucks and soak up some Wi-Fi!
One thing that bartenders have done for eons is pour drinks. It’s the essence of the craft and there is no other way around it…until those robots learn the difference between a Manhattan and a Rob Roy — but I digress. In order to pour, you must know how much you’re pouring — isn’t that an inherent part of the equation? One thing about our aluminum friend is that he doesn’t always say how much volume he holds, whether it’s a half-ounce, three-quarters of an ounce, a full ounce, ounce-and-a-half…you just might have to do your own measuring to be sure. But where do those measurements come from in the first place? A look back through history will show that the aptly-named Jigger Pony was traditionally used to measure one-ounce and ounce-and-a-half amounts of spirits — a pony and a jigger, respectively. So no matter if you’re battling yourself over using a jigger pony or not, or if you’re using a very snazzy and geometric one like in the photo above, you’ll know exactly what those amounts are and what they refer to linguistically. Bartenders do speak in the language of love, no? The spirits are known to warm hearts…
I didn’t know I’d be doing a eulogy today.
In a previous post, I referenced the spirituous exploits of one man that put Mount Vernon on the map in Virginia. Yesterday, we lost a man that put Mount Vernon on the map In New York through music. Heavy D came up in the golden era of hip hop, from the late 80s into the early 90s, and had a collection of seminal albums. While I’ll leave it to Wikipedia to run down his entire catalog, the Hevster had numerous classics, charting singles, party starters, fat tape bangers, whatever you want to call them: name a type of song, Mr. Big Stuff nailed it for that style of rapping.
The Congenial Hour illuminates connections through many areas of culture; the same can be said for Heavy D. His influence was not only felt in hip hop. While undeniably a hip hop artist, nuances of R&B flowed through much of his music, in addition to “New Jack Swing” in its heyday. Hev also did “Jam” with Michael Jackson, reaching an audience that few hip hop stars were able to. In recent years, through exploits in dancehall and reggae, Heavy D expressed his Jamaican heritage in gaining a nomination for a Grammy. As one of the first, if not the first, rappers of girth to step on the scene as a serious frontman, Heavy D had dance routines that would put smaller rappers to shame, fashion style that would make rappers with more athletic builds envious, and appeal with the ladies that made the toughest guys hold their tail between their legs.
While Hev is not the first rapper to be lost, it’s notable and somewhat heartwarming that he was not lost to anything we should be ashamed of, as alcohol or drug abuse. While Heavy D got his nickname for an obvious reason, he was not in any obvious indication of despair, as Big Pun was. I personally recall that when Pun passed away, it was the saddest I’d felt for any rapper, as he was truly trying to turn his life around. His music made you feel so good and truly put you in a congenial mood. The same was true for the Hevster. There is no limit to his songs that are some of my all-time favorites: Now That We’ve Found Love, Don’t Curse, You Can’t See What I Can See, Big Daddy, my personal playlist goes on and on. A friend recently created a cocktail called Blue Agave — a mix of mezcal and blue curacao. Maybe we can raise a glass of it, and for the purpose of a toast, rename it “Blue Funk” for the rapper that left an indelible mark on the hip hop game…here’s to you, Waterbed Hev.