Pocket Full of Skipping Stones

(Channeling Scoop Jackson)

This past NBA offseason had to have been one of the quietest in recent memories. No big deals and no free agents trading zip code numbers for a different kind of math…

Sure, we had Fin-Dog and Nick the Quick jumping to the Riverwalk to earn that bling…Sam I Am and The Jazz Message of Cat Mobley to finally give the Clip Show that push…’Yell, D-Jones, and L-Hughes joining ‘Bron to bring that murda-murda-mo-murda back to Cleveland…

…but nothing Diesel-sized headed to the M.I.A.

And then again, one might have flown under our radar…

Woman Assaulter.

Parole Violator.


Street Baller.


Real Street.




Skip to My Lou. To the Hou.

Bringin that Rucker Park attitude. To the land of Chopped-and-Screwed

Just like Willie D, when he said, “I go to New York and kick they ass back to Texas”

Or for those who ain’t old school: “Back then, they didn’t want him…now he’s hot, hoes all on him.”

Skip earned his stripes. And1 Tour hustlin, Fresno State scufflin. Came up in Brew-town and headed North of the border. Broke out on South Beach and earned that NBA luchini. That Marcus-Camby-knows-damn-well-he-doesn’t-need-a-clothing-stipend money. Most of his And1 homies respected. He lived the dream.

But back up in the T-dot, Skip clashed with Sam Mitchell. Mano a Mano. Grown man talk. Tears were shed, but you knew they were tears of desire.

Then the call came. H-Town. T-Mac’s town. Ming’s Dynasty. Stro’s show. In a city with a championship tradition, but lacking that real killer instinct since the days of Mad Max, Kenny the Jet, and Dream Shakes 2 for a dollar…

So now he stands.


Street Baller.


Ready to get the Larry-O all candy-painted and tricked out and bring it back to The Fifth Ward.

(End Transmission: Seriously, we’re really excited to see Rafer Alston in Houston. And Eric Neel, if you don’t stop giving us highly ambiguous shout-outs, YOU COULD BE NEXT).


At 11/02/2005 2:03 PM, Blogger Ken said...

I played O-Line with Scoop Jackson at Ball State. -Jayson Whitlock

At 11/02/2005 2:07 PM, Blogger Ken said...

Scoop be killin it on the regular, shorty. Holla at a playa if you see him on the street.
-Stu Scott

At 11/02/2005 2:10 PM, Blogger Ken said...

Who is this brash young upstart? His commentary, though insightful and entertaining, may be a little too real for Middle America to handle. -The Ombudsman

At 11/02/2005 2:15 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

two things have happened to me in the past two weeks that have left me at a loss for words:

the return of billups

thc calling the rockets "the stro show"

At 11/02/2005 2:15 PM, Blogger Ken said...

The Raptors may never recover from the loss of Rafer Alston. I mean isn't this just like when Duran Duran spun off Power Station? -Bill Simmons

At 11/02/2005 2:28 PM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

with apologies to bethlehem shoals' relocation to houston, as well as houston itself being one of my favorite US cities, this post doubles as my I'M OVER HOUSTON proclamation to the blogosphere. i've actually been saying this privately for months, but given the tremendous disappointment of Bun-B's Trill album as well as my omnipresent hatred for irony/smugness, it is time. Rappers are not good because they have "charisma."

At 11/02/2005 3:16 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

some rappers are bad because they don't have charisma.

my three favorite rap/hoops cities:

1) HOUSTON: t-mac, skip, yao, stro show, DA, 'face, UGK, SUC, suavehouse, SCREW, color changin' clic, rap a lot. deep with talent, but will they ever win the crown?

2) BAY AREA: b-diddy, j-rich, ZARKO, biedrins, pietrus, e-40, keak, rick rock, federation, balance. still slightly underground, about to either blow up or totally collapse.

3) PHILLY. AI, AI 2, c-webb, dalembert, korver, freeway, young gunz, peedi crack, beanie. kind of slept on, so much heart.

At 11/02/2005 3:57 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

charisma is an integral part of flow, it's kind of the performative rap equivalent of whether a singer or musician has "soul." because it seems like there's only a handful of emcees you'd describe as having soul (not "soulful," that's some common circa these days bullshit).

thc, it was not long ago that you and i proposed starting an anti-houston audioblog. so don't think i haven't also suffered some h-town fatigue. but peep this--i'm going next level, moving there, trying to work for the rockets, and whatever else, to embrace the ideal that there is life after hype.

At 11/02/2005 4:56 PM, Blogger elandfried said...

It's a good thing most of New Orleans is covered in toxic sludge...otherwise Houston would still be the crappiest relevant city in America. Sprawling, horrible transit system, ass-hot in summer, full of Republicans...pretty much the antithesis of everything I like about cities.

On a side note, Todd, you gotta also give props to those Chinese kids singing that Backstreet Boys song wearing T-Mac and Yao jerseys...only adds to the hoops/music advantage.

At 11/03/2005 8:51 AM, Blogger emynd said...

Saying "Rappers are not good because they have 'charisma,'" is like saying "Basketball players are not good because they have 'style.'" That was the most un-free-darko thing ever said on this site.


At 11/03/2005 9:09 AM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

...and i'm standing by it. the standard has gotten so low, that charisma seems to be ALL that matters now. and no one gives a fuck about lyrics. Lloyd Banks has like zero charisma, but I'll take him any day over Juelz, 50, Jeezy, Lil Wayne...all the so-called "charisma" rappers.

At 11/03/2005 9:39 AM, Anonymous aug said...

What's with the stats inflation this season? It seems everyone is pulling down a near triple double the first 2 nights. Other former nobodies are getting good stats too i.e. SMMUUUUSSHHHH

At 11/03/2005 9:47 AM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

One qualification: I'm really talking about radio/commercial/"overground" rap. When it comes to indie/underground stuff, I really dont have any idea about who has charisma and who doesnt.

At 11/03/2005 10:13 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

not to turn this into a musicological wank-fest, but the difference between jeezy/current 50 and 50 of yore/juelz/lil wayne is that the former are actually terrible rappers by any standards, the latter are so deep up to their knees in a style dependant on their own quirky charisma that you can only judge them relative to themselves.

we could split hairs about who is a "competent" rapper (i.e. juelz's off-beat style is approaching technical perfection, while weezy still sounds like a crack baby muppet using a vocoder for a breathing tube who also happens to be able to stay on beat), but the point is that jeezy and current 50 would go back in time to any one of rap's golden ages and get laughed at, whereas juelz et al. would just confuse people.

for some reason i feel compelled to menton ODB right about here.

then there's TI, who is technically nothing special, nor nothing awful, but elevates the ordinary into something great through sheer charismatic will.

I AM ON CAMPUS, don't blame me for the tone of this

At 11/03/2005 10:29 AM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

i feel like i've had this argument 24 times in the past month, 7 of them with bethlehem shoals, so perhaps we should turn our attention back to STATS INFLATION. RICHIE FUCKING FRAHM, BITCH.

At 11/03/2005 1:23 PM, Blogger Rocco Chappelle said...

Not to belabor the point but I get where THC is going with this. I think people have begun to confuse Good with Fun to listen to. To me, saying that Jeezy is a good rapper is the same as saying that Rocky V is good movie simply because I've seen it over 50 times and would chose to watch it any day over a Bergman or Lean flick.

At 11/03/2005 1:26 PM, Blogger Rocco Chappelle said...

I just checked your site for the 1st time. Big Up to "Victory"!!! Baugghh!!! Bauuughhh!!! Bbaaaauughhh!!!

At 11/03/2005 2:09 PM, Blogger Ian said...

Let's just say the lyrical acumen of Swishahouse and the like have left me reminiscing about the good ol' days of Cash Money. Doesn't it say something when the same people who talked shit because I was listening to Juvenile instead of Rawkus stuff in 1998 are now going apeshit over Young Jeezy and Mike Jones?

At 11/03/2005 2:25 PM, Blogger Rocco Chappelle said...

I don't know if you've seen this already, but the GBs hit the nail on the head once again.

At 11/03/2005 3:46 PM, Blogger emynd said...

If Juelz and Weezy don't have lyrics, I don't know who does. Well, yeah I do: the Clipse.

Anyway, I was definitely one of those underground dorks who hated on all things commercial (i.e. Juvenile) and now embraces nearly all things commercial (though I still think Juvenile is a freakin' joke and "Ha" is atrocious).

Quite frankly, if we pay attention to the history of hip-hop, it's mythical to think that somehow "lyricism" is all that important to what rap music is. "Lyrical rap" had its hayday when we were all growing up, but not all of the "great rappers" of rap history were great "lyricists." This may be sacrilege to even suggest, but I don't even think Rakim is really that "lyrical"--surely his flow, swagger, and charisma are what ushered in hip-hop as we know it today more than his lyrics, no? The importance of "lyricism" is vastly overrated.

Regardless of what we want it to be, hip-hop is about the "how" (style, charisma, swagger, rhythm, flow, etc) not the "what" (content, lyricism, etc). Just like the League.


At 11/03/2005 4:57 PM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

just when i thought i was OUT, they pull me back in...

that's why i qualified my statement to refer to popular shit only...binkis, milk d, masai bey are some of my favorites, mostly for style/charisma reasons...i much prefer them to the lyrical lyricists lyricing lyrics about

on an "overground"/commercial level, i'm just saying..YOU NEED TO DISCRIMINATE. ghostface/clipse/andre = charisma PLUS lyrics. juelz, weezy, jeezy, juelzy, wuelzy, et al. = charisma...barely. ying yang twins = contrived charisma. i also think it's a little patronizing and highly questionable how lots o' elito-music-heads place such a high value on the STUPIDITY of rappers(not saying we're not guilty of this as well)...but seem to value different attributes of artists from other genres.

At 11/03/2005 5:06 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

face it, this is really just an argument about juelz.

jeezy just plain can't rap. his whole style is being charismatic. juelz has a weird, somewhat questionable style (as opposed to legit indvidualists like cam or clipse) that only works because he imbues it with charisma. whereas you can pump all the charisma you want into jeezy's flow and it's still just a crappy flow. juelz's you have to reserve judgement until you feel like his charisma does or doesn't justify it.

i'm not saying that i wouldn't rather hear someone who measures up on both counts, but there it's kind of interesting how the two can be fused.

rakim's charisma was at least in part because of how flawlessly sick he was technically.

anyway, what the fuck, i spend all morning typing about everything in the league and we're arguing about young jeezy?

At 11/03/2005 5:11 PM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

Shoals, for the record...I tried not to take it down this path. And we're not arguing about Young Jeezy, we're arguing about THE DEGREE TO WHICH Young Jeezy is not great.

At 11/04/2005 11:40 AM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

come on, people love stupidity in rock and always have. "louie louie" anyone? hardcore? the stooges? not that the stooges are dumb, but their music is arguably "stupid."

At 11/04/2005 12:02 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

does that mean we're being secretly racist here or excessively PC? i honestly can't tell. but that's usually the case on here.

At 11/04/2005 12:04 PM, Blogger emynd said...

The last thing I want to say about this stuff is that I really don't believe Juelz or Weezy are "dumb." Those dudes are both extremely clever. Jeezy? He strikes me as potentially pretty dumb (but still makes music I find compelling), but Juelz and Weezy aren't stupid dudes. Anybody who claims so, I think, probably hasn't heard enough of either of them to make that claim... especially Weezy.


At 11/04/2005 12:17 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

most rappers are far from dumb (rapping is hard!), but sometimes people in all genres of music CHOOSE to make "dumb" music. that was my point.

At 11/04/2005 1:05 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

calling rappers stupid who are/have been successful entrepeneurs in the music, promotions, party, or, of course, the drug business is patently ridiculous.

At 11/04/2005 2:07 PM, Blogger Rocco Chappelle said...

Although I typically try to avoid throwing around the term racist (I leave that to emynd, he handles that charge quite adequately), I find this line of discussion to be pretty racist. I feel that the need to validate or invalidate the intellect of rappers is in and itself racially driven in that it would be all but a moot subject when dealing with just about any other genre. It doesn't seem that white dominated genres are evaluated using that criterion.

I have a friend who when intoxicated has a habit of introducing me and then almost as a suffix saying, "He's one smart ass black dude". I know he means it as a compliment so I don't protest but I don't think he's aware of the racist assumptions that are the necessary foundation of a statement like that.

So let's all sit in front of our keyboards and evaluate how well the monkeys play with their shit.

At 11/04/2005 3:04 PM, Blogger emynd said...


Even though I was just defending my opinions of two rappers here, I do think in general you're right on the money.

Unfortunately, I think what gets lost in all my "this is racist!" proclamations is the implication that I've somehow de-programmed all of the racist tendencies that I've learned and am in a position outside of "racism" where I can stand safely and call things out for being "racist" --which I'd like to hope goes without saying simply isn't true.


At 11/04/2005 3:45 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

we for some reason think we can evaluate rappers as people through their music, just as, like i've said before, our sense of nba players as indivdiuals has something to do with their respective games. i think it has as much to do with the genre as with the need (which i'm not disputing) to figure out which black people are smart and which ones aren't

At 11/04/2005 3:48 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

the difference is, i think you can actually tell something about ballers from what we see of them on the court, since sports are fundamentally more earnest and less performative than hip-hop (or any kind of music, theater, art, etc)

At 11/04/2005 4:40 PM, Blogger Ken said...


That was from when I tried to relaunch my crappy site as a product showcase to get Amazon cash, for some reason I started (and finished)with my favorite Stallone/Pele flick.

At 11/04/2005 6:59 PM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

i can't believe i missed this whole discussion today. on the topic of "dumb," i'm not saying that people are calling rappers dumb when they're actually smart or calling rappers smart when they're actually dumb. i'm also not crying racist; i'm crying rockist or rappist or poppist (whichever of these terms means what i'm trying to say). here's are two bi-racial examples:

crime mobb's "stillettos" and paul wall's "internets goin nuts" are both undeniably dumb. they're also incredibly enjoyable to listen to, but nowhere close to as GOOD as a single song, intro, or interlude on those clipse "we got it 4 cheap" mixes.

the only modern rockers i can think of who are really lauded for being dumb are the unicorns and andrew wk. i just think folks are using different measuring sticks. and come to think of it, that's fine.


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