Brian K. Vaughn, Bronx/Brooklyn rap rivalry, Chris Claremont, comic books, Doug Moench, Firefly, Forever Knight, George Lucas, Geraint Wyn Davies, Gerry Conway, giallo, Jaws, Jeckyll & Hyde, Jim Starlin, John Byrne, Joss Whedon, Marvel Comics, rockabilly, Star Wars, Steve Englehart, Steve Gerber, Steven Speilberg, Sun Studios, Superman OTR, The Cramps, The Designated Victim, third eye cinema podcast, Y the Last Man
We continue to pick up the pieces of what might have gone down in October, had the wife and I not been stricken and laid many weeks low with the viral plague she picked up from the great unwashed of geekdom at the NY Comic Con at the dawn thereof.
A few recent reviews here aside, most of our energies have been directed in the direction of Weird Scenes, as edits continue on the two upcoming shows recorded just prior to that and research and prep took place for a third show to be recorded this coming weekend. But what of Third Eye, you ask?
Well, to keep the faithful in good spirits, we’ve gathered a selection of recent posts and discussions relating to music, film and comic fandom that you’ve not seen before – unlike prior collections of such, these have not in fact previously appeared on the Third Eye Facebook page.
So without any further ado, we present…well, this collage of thoughts and discussions, to which you as fans of cult music, film and culture are now privy. Enjoy, and stay tuned!
Wow. Rediscovering and reassessing quite a few films during a long, long fight with this hand me down virus, and thought last night’s wonderfully perverse In the Folds of the Flesh was the pinnacle…but this may run neck and neck.
This Decadent aesthete with an insti-built homoerotic dominating relationship to ostensible lead (but decided bottom) Tomas Milian comes courtesy of The Designated Victim, a giallo take on Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train, gone ten times as perverse…only 40 minutes in and positively enthralled with the sleaziness and overtones of the whole thing. Highly recommended (ditto on the aforementioned In the Folds of the Flesh) for the Decadent film aficionados out there…
Damn. Have to thank (a certain someone in our circle) as the latest in a long line of folks to try to interest me in the merits of Firefly.
Tried it or its followup film once or twice previously but it never worked – the grotty modern TV pallete and visual aesthetic, the more Renegade than Blakes 7 or Farscape vibe, and even the difficult to like characters stymied all efforts to date…even this one at first (my wife still despises it from our shared 2 episode attempt).
The secret to this one is dont expect SF…its more the Lamas/Kinmont cheesefest than it ever is Farscape, much less Whedon’s more famed Buffy (all of the above save perhaps Renegade being longtime faves in their first few seasons).
But more importantly, and this was our problem…make sure some dumb fuck doesnt stick disc 4 and its questionable unaired and final episodes in the disc 1 slot. Seriously.
Watch it in order and you’ll be won by Baccarin (picture Deadpool’s smokin’ hot wife as a higher class Chiana from Farscape), dazzled by dangerous femme fatale Hendricks and appreciate the cool gruffness of lead Fillion. You may even be tantalized by the unrealized back story behind (of all people) Barney Miller’s Ron Glass…the others are on you.
Count me in among the browncoats, almost 20 years late.
Forever Knight Season 2: What The Fuck Happened?
What was always one of my favorite domestic (well, Canadian, with German funding) TV series has been getting a revisitation of late, starting with the excellent Rick Springfield starring TV movie Nick Knight and moving through an amazing (if occasionally amusing – remember “Fankill! my fans must die?”) first season.
Season 2 cuts back on the decidedly Decadent flashbacks, while often devoting more time to them…they become pedantic, less moody and affecting.
They also lose the likeably gruff, but often deep Chief of the first season, to be replaced by a Margaret Cho lookalike with dentures (or whose mouth is wired shut), giving a Martha Raye tone to her already stiff delivery and icy demeanor. Bleh.
Then the writing goes right down the crapper. A coroner who can’t handle a burned corpse? Right here. Want to see Schanke nearly divorced? Right here. That whole Janette/Nicola relationship of Season 1? Nearly absent – this ones all about homoeroticism between Nick and LaCroix (an element that was present in Season 1, but ramped up to chart bursti levels here).
And worst of all? The show has devolved into lame Leftie issue of the week. Abused women. The homeless. The insane. Whatever lame, bullshit “cause” you could ever wish were given the Hallmark treatment, with simplistic “fixes” and “feel bad” heavy handed endings, they’ve devoted at least 3 episodes to it…
Even my wife is bitching about it. How did this elude our notice in the past? I remember the second season taking a bit of a downturn…but this?
The only improvement over last Season is the occasional inclusion of LaCroix’ gig as “the Nightcrawler”, a talk radio/sex therapist type, which is amusing…but damn! Something went VERY wrong behind the scenes between seasons!
Heretical post of the day, apropos of nothing:
I don’t give a fuck about Star Wars, and never really did, even as a child. (Caveat follows)
The obsession of friends and eventually mass culture for those films baffled me as a child. My mother saw it twice before even taking my father and I, and even at that wee age, I only thought it was OK – certainly not up to her excitement.
I had one or two figures tops (other friends like, but not exclusive to, a certain Texas Twister got the entire line or close to it), and the X and Tie Wing fighters, and I was good. The toys interested me more than the film, thouhnI liked the giant snake in the garbage disposal and had some mild affection for Han and Lando. Hated Luke and Leia…wasn’t my kind of sci fi, and still isn’t. I think I saw it one more time on early pay cable, that was it for all these years.
Empire came out 3 years later, and here’s the caveat – THAT blew my mind. It was just like real life, the bad guys win! Had the novelization, got a few more figures (yoda, boba fett) and a land walker, but still – one theatrical viewing, another when HBO finally hit our area.
Then came the stinker of a conclusion with its teddy bear heroes and Disnified feel, and I wondered why any of us ever cared…hated it with a vengeance right then and there in theater.
I never acknowledged Lucas’ continual reworking of practical effects to bad CG, pulling the original versions off the market to release a series on ongoing “upgrades” and re-edits of narrative flow throughout the 80’s and early 90’s…and hence, theatrical viewings of all three and contemporaneous pay cable rewatches of the first two aside, have only seen a very differently edited, awkward version of Jedi at a party since those days, and won’t bother trying to rewatch or reassess until the original theatrical versions are reissued.
They finally did it was Star Trek the Motion Picture, and it was as good as I remembered it being in theatrical (yes, while later ones can be fun for fans of the TV series, it’s the only Star Trek film worth watching, being actual concept driven hard SF, 70’s style). Time to put the original versions back on the market, already.
And for more recent fans, no, I never acknowledged all the cash grab reboots and renumbering of the original trilogy. Clones, Amadala, Annakin, Maul, Jar Jar…zero interest. Saw 5 minutes of one after another movie ended and we snuck into the adjacent theater…bored enough to walk right back out. The rest, trailers and TV making of promos were more than enough to ensure my utter disinterest…
I’ve never been shy about my distaste for Spielberg and Lucas, the men who dumbed down Hollywood and sci-fi and allowed the majors to kill the independents and regional/drive in theatrical chains – without these big budget phonies, we’d still have proper exploitation films and smaller studios and production companies.
In recent years, I’ve come to appreciate how good Jaws is (at least as a direct homage to Howard Hawks) and have always been open about my affection for Empire…but seriously. For all the damage they’ve done, one film apiece does not justify a career, much less what they’ve done to pop culture and film both “highbrow” and “low” alike.
Beyond a still running germ warfare assault, my wife’s Comicon experience led me to check out an indie series I ignored back when we were still reading the current stuff (dropped Marvel with Civil War’s pro-Dubya bullshit and DC after the awful yet overhyped Hush and the first 52): Y the Last Man, by a guy whose Marvel work didn’t exactly impress me: Brian K. Vaughan.
Honestly, having plowed through 60 issues worth of trades, I’m still not sure how I feel about it. It was well dialogued, even clever at times (though hardly on the level of another new series I read and enjoyed earlier this year, Squirrel Girl), and the art was acceptably generic/cartoony (as indie/Vertigo titles tend to be – The Invisibles and the first Authority miniseries aside. Hint: hiring a real artist works wonders…).
It should also be noted that the series could be quite gripping in the sense of wanting to get to the next chapter to see if all these loose ends would ever get tied up. It’s a postapocalyptic road series, so it could have been more siloed (I.e. many small side stops that have nothing to do with each other, often by different artists and/or writers) and boring (as those tend to be), so it’s to Vaughan and Guerra’s credit that they didn’t go for that approach. One writer/artist team, many small stories and chapters/phases, but one very blatant ongoing story arc – never happen with these sort of series, or at least never WORKS if tried…here, it did.
That said…I’m not sure what it was saying, in the end.
On one hand, there’s the grand statement, which needs to be shouted from the rooftops: for all the female empowerment stuff (and remember, the artist is a woman), feminist theorizing is held up to scrutiny and shown to be false indoctrination time and time again (one of the first and worst baddies is a radical feminist cum cult leader, the one I was so satisfied got an axe to her head the other week)…
…and most importantly, that the lie of a “gentler matriarchy” is exposed as the utter bullshit it is. In fact, the all-female gangs, factions, military and government are worse than men ever were, in this series…wonderful to see identity politics lies exploded throughout. So far, all good.
The problem, though…nobody gets a happy ending. Not even close. Every time a relationship is established, someone gets betrayed, someone gets killed off unexpectedly…it all goes wrong 24/7 and all were left with is a bleak, nihilistic cynicism, a pessimistic view on love, humanity, aspiration. Characters continue to strive, but knowing they’ll fail, or forcibly deluding themselves in order to maintain sanity and press on in their respective pyrrhic quests.
I mean, broadest strokes, just the main character. He spends the entire time trying to get to Australia to reunite with his girlfriend and pop the question, only to be stymied by one emergency road trip and mini quest after another. Meantime he falls for his butch protector (though it takes till the end of the series for her to even show a sliver of interest) and bangs a few girls along the way (all but one of whom are killed off immediately).
He finally finds the girl, discovers she was planning on breaking up with him before the plague hit, admits he’s hot for his protector…who reciprocates now, only to immediately get killed (a recurring thing with him) and winds up in a marriage of convenience for his bastard daughter’s sake (the one girl who didn’t die…). Next we see, he’s locked in the attic like a madman, only to make one final old age escape…end of series.
SAY WHAT?!? Was that supposed to be a satisfying conclusion? Life is aimless struggle, everyone you love is taken from you, then you die?
Shit, I love 70’s dark cinema, am or have been a goth, punk and black metaller and am known for being a very grim soul beneath the humor…but what the fuck is wrong with these people?
Sheesh. World’s most gripping love letter to slow suicide? They’re making a TV series out of it next year, hopefully it’ll be half as good…but a whole lot more optimistic!
A quote appropriated from an unrelated personage out there on the internet: “I liked the Golden Age Superman when he first premiered. He was a depression era wish fulfilment in a world of unpunished gangsters, uncaring wealthy magnates and a bought-off law enforcement. He was no goody-goody boy-scout. He was a blue collar tough guy. His chivalry only extended to the law-abiding citizens. Criminals and other callous types were subjected to bullying and humiliating treatment. I loved it. Almost all other Superman stories that came out after that, forget it.”
I’m amazed someone else said this…the only Superman (beyond the old Bud Collyer radio shows) the wife and I acknowledge is the one in the first few Archive volumes, when Siegel and Schuster had him as a very pragmatic everyman fighting crooks, gentrification and developers who used inferior building materials…effectively the same sh**heads everyone seem to think are perfectly fine “legit capitalists” these days.
If they had money and power and ripped the everyday people off, Superman would put ’em in their place, and wasn’t exactly using kid gloves. Same thing with the Golden Age Green Lantern, and a few other comic book heroes of that era (and even moreso on radio).
THAT Superman was the real deal…not this death ray eyed interplanetary Boy Scout with weird mores (who we despise).
It’s weird, some things hold up remarkably well…better than you remembered, in fact.
I’ve been on a several month revisitation of the good half of the comic collection (I.e. The 70’s and the first year or two of the 80’s, before it all went flat and corporate), and for the most part, it’s been amazing –
I’ve learned that Chris Claremont was a MUCH better writer than I remembered (and I ain’t just talking X-Men, kids…its every run or fill in issue the guy stepped into, regardless of title!),
that Doug Moench paired with a decent artist can work magic (with Sienkewicz on Moon Knight, with Gulacy, Zeck and especially Gene Day on Master of Kung Fu),
That Gerry Conway could be amazing, if invested (his Amazing Spiderman with Ross Andru is the pinnacle of the run, no competition…and his Thor was pretty damn top tier as well),
and that Len Wein was a MUCH better writer than his depressive clone Marv Wolfman (seriously – happened on SpiderMan, Thor, FF and elsewhere – same story every time), who had some fetish for breaking up couples long before fucking up Dick and Kory in the Teen Titans (and his own bitter divorce that came soon thereafter!).
But I have to say, enjoying the Rich Buckler, George Perez and first run John Byrne art as much as I did (this is before he lost the art and tried to become writer and adopted a very different art style), the FF was a bit of a letdown.
I had cherished childhood memories of all these Roy Thomas, and as it happens, Gerry Conway, Len Wein and Marv Wolfman issues, and to be fair, the concepts and plots and revivals of long forgotten minor baddies from the earliest days of Stan and Jack were pretty damn solid…
…but so much of the writing is just…bleh. Roy injects his own issues with nascent feminism and divorce from his first wife into Sue’s irrational breakup with Reed and the character of Thundra (who I must confess, I always loved), Conway delivers some of the worst issues of the decade involving yeti and Xemnu of the 5th dimension…awful stuff. Weins stuff sorta works, Wolfman’s doesn’t (and again, involves a breakup, this time of the team)…and while the artists named are great, you also get iffy work from Keith Pollard and surprisingly boring work from John Buscema (who’d done so much better on other titles and in the past).
When a title like Black Goliath holds up better than a lot of the flagship title, yeah, there may have been a problem…still love it more than Byrne’s overhyped ’80’s run, but that’s not saying a lot (yes, I’ll revisit that soon as well…)
From all the recent delves into the collection, here’s my favorite writers:
- Chris Claremont. Surprised to see how strong even his fill in issues were on titles like Black Goliath or Tigra, much less his more notable runs on Doctor Strange, Power Man, Ms. marvel, Spider Woman, Marvel Team Up, Iron Fist, XMen and so forth.Pretty much everything he did through 1983 was absolutely golden, and even though things got overly convoluted, his XMen didn’t really fall apart until John Romita Jr. left the title, his New Mutants was passable (saved more by Bill Seinkewicz’ all too brief run), as was his time win Alan Davis on Excalibur.
- Doug Moench, whose runs on Man Wolf and Werewolf by Night were decent, but didn’t really hit his stride until his work with Seinkewicz on Moon Knight and his long run with Paul Gulacy, Mike Zeck and Gene Day on Master of Kung Fu…two titles that rival the three Claremont/Byrne titles as the absolute pinnacle of the medium.
- Steve Gerber, whose Defenders, Marvel Two In One and Howard the Duck brought comic absurdism to a medium once intended as disposable fodder for kids…if the last two authors didn’t prove that the 70’s was a golden age run by and for college kids and hippies trying to make sense of life and our place in the universe, Gerber’s work certainly did.
- Steve Englehart, whose Doctor Strange with Frank Brunner and Gene Colan remain the strongest that title or character ever was (despite admirable runs by Ditko/Lee, Thomas/Colan and Claremont/Colan/Sutton), whose Thor, Avengers and Defenders were lovably dark and off kilter and whose runs on Justice League and Detective with Marshall Rogers were the hands down best of either title/character, screw Adams/O Neill…
- Gerry Conway, who despite bearing the dubious distinction of being the original Jim Shooter (his brief run as editor in chief resulting in multiple defections to DC), still gave us the best run of Spider Man the character would ever see, and whose work on other titles (Thor in particular) was always pretty decent (an abominable if brief shot at Fantastic Four aside)..plus the best runs on All Star, Secret Society of Super Villains and Super Team Family (where the Atom teamed up with various folks to find his crazy girl Jean Loring)!
- Jim Starlin, the only writer/artist outside the hilariously didactic Steve Ditko worth discussing – he was one note, but trippy, and built a self contained universe that only he could properly write or us, for decades, yet!
- Don McGregor, whose Killraven and Black Panther were so wordy, they made Claremont come off like a grade schooler…but what prose! Two amazing titles, and by far the best run on either character.
I feel like I’m missing someone important…but those guys are who spring to mind.
I’ll further give a nod of respect to Len Wein, who followed Conway on Spiderman, Thor and FF, the first two of which were respectably close to being as pinnacle era of the title as his forbear, and the latter of which, while perhaps not so essential, was easily far superior to Conway’s non invested stint thereon!
My top ARTISTS of the 70’s would be
- John Byrne (everything at Charlton and Marvel pre-departure from Xmen, and absolutely nothing thereafter),
- George Perez (everything at Marvel and DC till he changed style later in Titans – I think around the late 20’s or early 30’s),
- Keith Giffen (All-Star, Kobra, Defenders and other Marvel work, plus Dr. Fate in Flash and Legion before the “banana people” thing he pulled around the Baxter series)..all three of them would change style for the worse come ’83-4…it’s their earlier work I love),
- Gene Day (as inker on Marvel Two In One and Master of Kung Fu, but on Avengers as well, but especially as penciller/inker after ZEck left MoKF),
- Marshall Rogers (Detective, Mr. miracle)…After that, it’s hard to narrow. Probably either
- (Tie) Mike Grell or Dave Cockrum (both on Legion, Dave on Xmen pre-Byrne), with
- Bill Seinkewicz (Moon Knight and New Mutants),
- Jim Starlin (Captain Marvel, Warlock)
- Frank Brunner (Dr. strange),
- Steve Ditko (Shade, Mr. A) and
- Mike Nasser (various DC titles) all in the running for 6th place…
and don’t forget
- Gene Colan’s excellent work on Doctor Strange, Tomb of Dracula and Son of Satan,
- Michael Golden on Mr. Miracle and Micronauts…
…I know there are others, like the mighty Neal Adams (who like Steranko and Barry Smith I consider more of a 60’s artist).
Walt Simonson and Frank Miller would have good runs on Thor and Daredevil come the early to mid 80’s, but neither did much prior (a Dr. Fate one shot and Metal Men impressed more than his rough and ready Manhunter, and none of them were on the level of his Thor work),
Alan Davis would bring his UK Captain Britain style to prominence Stateside on XMen and Excalibur…that’s about it for the top tier.
And as remembered, Byrne’s attempts to serve as writer as well as artist, matched with a much uglier, more thin lined art style, left his overhyped FF run mostly readable, but only “impressive” in light of the competition…and filled with misguided ideas (Sue’s miscarriage? The Torch fan who burns himself to death? Reed’s father? Alicia with Johnny? The constant changes to Ben’s rockiness? The Mephisto thing? The sideways issue?) and lame baddies (Terminus? Charisma? Doombots every other issue? Putting himself in the comic several times? Nuff said…)
In ’83-5, the only decent titles were
- Seinkewicz’ Moon Knight and New Mutants (with Moench and Claremont),
- Simonson’s Thor,
- Miller’s Daredevil
- and the Claremont/Romita Jr. X-Men (after lesser runs by an ill Cockrum and Paul Smith)…and most of these were over or had already seen their best days
- (ditto on DC’s Legion under Giffen and Levitz
- and Titans under Perez and Wolfman. )
This seems like a lot until you realize it sums up to 5 Marvel titles and 2 DC…a far cry from the dozens of interesting to excellent titles of the prior decade, and buried under an avalanche of misguided toy and TV tie ins, corporate crap and Ill advised new lines
- (New Universe,
- a kid friendly line,
- titles run by sentimental, mostly female editors turned writers
(Louise Simonson and her Power Pack and X Factor, Ann Nocenti the title killer, of Spider Woman, MoKF, Doctor Strange’s final issues, whoever did Power Man/Iron Fist, etc.),
- a whole lot of Al Milgrom and Don Perlin art, etc.
The first few years of the decade had these 7 titles/runs to their credit…and literally nothing else. By ’84, most were done…and within a year, all would be memories. And even by comparison to all the (notable) titles referenced earlier? Byrne’s work kinda sucked (much of his Alpha Flight run aside, that was his one last win, post-X-Men).
I said it years ago in an unpublished essay: Byrne was one of the greatest artists of the 70’s…what he was NOT…is a writer.
There was a discussion about thrash metal. And like a lot of scenes currently bolstered by a small if seemingly vibrant band of youngsters doing their damnedest to recapture the sound established and which flourished well before their time, there’s often some confusion, as if the new breed were somehow equivalent.
And while their efforts to revive and inject new life into a genre long since dead are certainly appreciated…we’re talking two different animals, like a Beatles cover band or Elvis impersonator contest populated by teenagers. “Hey, go for it, not too shabby an attempt, there!” But in terms of the real thing…it’s been done, already. Nobody’s adding much to the canon.
’85-’87 were the most exciting years for underground and thrash metal (Bathory would later birth black metal, Death would singlehandedly create death metal (sorry, Possessed, nobody followed your uniquely progressive blackened style…but think about it, how many dozens of Death clones can you name?), both dropped their first and most important records during that time as well).
I was there…this was “my” scene far more than others like what later got classified as US power metal, glam, or even shred (all of which I loved greatly…well, not so much the poseurs like Bon Jovi LMAO).
Thrash had, as you can clearly see from a perusal of the albums released during those years, some very strong releases through ’91…but it was much spottier, and the good stuff hailed from new and different bands…the old warhorses began to show some decidedly premature signs of senescence well before grunge put paid to all and sundry.
In point of fact, earlier bands in the genre released MUCH weaker albums between ’88-91 – Testament couldn’t follow the Legacy. Death Angel couldn’t follow The Ultra Violence. Overkill couldn’t follow Taking Over. Slayer couldn’t follow Reign in Blood. Dark Angel couldn’t follow Darkness Descends, and lost Don Doty to boot. Anthrax couldn’t follow Among the Living.
Even the stronger releases had issues – loved Megadeth’s Rust in Peace for all the Marty Friedman work, but was it half the album Killing is My Business and Peace Sells were? And the one between those and Rust remains a total piece of crap to this day…don’t even have a copy in the collection, it’s THAT bad.
Kreator muddled their way through Coma of Souls and had a fair album in Extreme Aggression…neither of which held a candle to their earlier work (particularly Pleasure to Kill and Terrible Certainty, their most aggressive underground and polished thrash albums, respectively (think Hell Awaits and Reign in Blood, same stylistic shift).
And Sepultura trudged along through Arise, but peaked around Schizophrenia if not earlier, with Beneath the Remains being somewhat middling (and much overrated)…
…hell, even Metallica never did another song worth hearing past the Garage Days ’87 EP (and Master before it), and Exodus lost it totally post-Pleasures of the Flesh.
So yeah, there’s really no argument here. Thrash was hottest from ’85-’87, with the latter year being its unabashed heyday.
Here’s a weird one for ya. Someone said they detest country, would rare eat Brussels sprouts or hear nails scraping against chalkboard than hear it. And my first reaction was yep, dead on…totally agree.
But then there comes the elephant in the room…
I feel exactly the same, except. Have you tried old 50’s rockabilly?
I mean, forget the “big names” (I.e. Borderline) like Cochran and Gene Vincent…just dig right in to the Cramps (some punk there, but 90% rockabilly revivalists mixed with 60’s garage rock…they were one of my two big gateways to the real deal, and their frequent covers are extremely accurate), Charlie Feathers, Joe Clay, Wanda Jackson…hell, early Johnny Cash and Hank Williams are close enough to qualify for some on the country side. (My father loved old country like George Jones and the “outlaw” crowd, and used to sing songs while he drove or worked that I only heard a decade or two after he died…turns out he had great taste, they were all classic rockabilly, as it turns out!)
And of course, my other gateway, and a major influence on too many rockabilly records I’ve heard: Elvis in his early Sun Studios days. Can barely listen to his later stuff sometimes…put on “blue moon of Kentucky”, I’m back to doing Elvis impersonations like back in high school (I was known for that).
Amazing stuff out there, I can point you to some stellar collections (one radio DJ even has 17 volumes of Cramps-picked rockabilly and garage rock obscurities legally downloadable for free!)
So yeah, generally speaking, hate the stuff…unless you step outside the mainstream and grab the rockabilly end of the spectrum.
Much as with country, so it is with myself and rap. Hate it so much, in fact, you wouldn’t believe…
…except for being one of the first (white) rap fans in the entire area, if not anywhere (another thing I was known for back in early HS), back when Whodini and Run DMC, Jeckyll and Hyde, the Boogie Boys, Lovebug Starski, Twilight 22, Dana Dane, etc. Etc. were just debuting (this was when it was all 12″ singles…albums came later, and were the one or two singles and their B sides with a lot of talking and filler between!), and later stuff like Kool Moe Dee, Big Daddy Kane, etc.
Long since walked away from the stuff when a friend dropped Biggie Smalls (himself a traditionalist stylistically, drawing from that earlier era and flipping it to all that “gangsta” shit) on me…and ridiculous as the posturing “criminal” lyrics are, you can’t deny his appreciation and apprehension of a far older school flow and style than that of his peers.
But that early stuff, those early days (when it was all about Brooklyn and the Bronx…West Coast didn’t exist, and gangsta? Please. Spoonie G was the only name, the approach was the butt of scene jokes and much laughed at) is my exception.
Bottom line: any sound, style or medium can or does have some degree of merit…if only at its extremes, or buried in the mists of time and dust, in its earliest, rawest and most pure forms.
You know. When it actually mattered.