Irregular Vegetables #145

3 new songs you oughta know, by Masta Ace & Marco Polo and more + the weekly 420-friendly hip-hop links roundup

Irregular Vegetables #145
Marco Polo & Masta Ace. Photo credit: @mrwattson

This newsletter marks the latest installment of Irregular Vegetables, a weekly series of CABBAGES emails where I share links to recent writings from other hip-hop/rap/cannabis journos and critics, squeezing in my own work as I see fit.

Enjoy this week’s reads and keep scrolling for another edition of Crudites, where I recommend three recent singles/videos from hip-hop artists you may not be familiar with yet.

Mekhi Phifer Answers Every Question We Have About 8 Mile

"I almost turned it down. Because I was due to start ER, and I was really excited about playing a doctor. And when they told me, “Look, there’s this movie that Eminem is doing,” I was like, “Come on, you gotta be joking.” Because the only thing I’ve ever seen him do before '8 Mile' was that movie 'The Wash' with Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre — and it wasn’t anybody’s finest hour. So I thought it was just a joke. But then they told me that Curtis Hanson was directing. I was a huge fan, I thought he was a great storyteller, and he had just done 'L.A. Confidential' and 'Wonder Boys.' They wouldn’t release the script, so I had to go to Curtis’s office to read it, and I loved it. So that got me excited, and then they flew me to Detroit so that Eminem and I could hang, since we play best friends in the movie. So we hung out for a few days, and then producer John Wells at ER said, “Yeah, we’ll wait for Mekhi to finish this movie.” And so the first thing I remember when I think about '8 Mile' is, Damn, I almost turned down my name in an Oscar-winning song. That would’ve been a fool’s move. (Read more at Vulture)

Offset Hits Reset

As far as creative dry spells go, that might sound brief, but to the Atlanta rapper, who pumped out hits as one-third of the rap group Migos—alongside Quavo and the late Takeoff—for over 10 years, it felt like an eternity. He had just kicked his lean habit and, being done with codeine, instantly bettered his marriage, family life, business relationships. But progress in the studio was a different story. “I had a little creative block,” Offset says. “My own mind was telling me the lean was the potion.” It’s an understandable fear, considering what Offset accomplished while under that particular influence, like writing the hook to “Bad and Boujee,” which cemented his group’s rise to the stratosphere. So he prayed on it, realizing that tethering his God-given talent to drugs was just an excuse to indulge. He kept making music until he finally produced tracks worthy of his pedigree. Then he trashed those and went harder. (Read more at GQ)

An Interview With Bryson The Alien

When it came time to legitimize his pursuit of music as a career, Bryson moved not to Chicago like Chuck Inglish and Mikey Rocks, nor New York or LA like so many others. He went to Portland, where the people are as weird as the sounds he creates. In the years since he’s been in the predominantly white city where rock-oriented music prevails, the hip-hop scene has grown far beyond Damian Lillard mixtapes. Bryson has been at the center of it, performing at every venue around town and working with an eclectic crew of local artists, like Just Alfa and Tezmanian of his own Sumalienz imprint. Portland allowed Bryson to grow into himself, but the music took off when Covid lockdowns forced him to retreat, like the rest of the world, into the internet. (Read more at Passion Of The Weiss)

After Sexual Assault Suits, Are Sean Combs’s Empire and Brand at Risk?

Mr. Combs has long been trailed by allegations of violence, and he has been arrested three times on criminal charges. He was either acquitted or the charges were not pursued in those criminal cases, and the incidents did not affect his public standing very much. But the suit by Ms. Ventura, even after its settlement, and the two cases that followed, have seemed to put his legacy and brand at risk. Dream Hampton, the activist and filmmaker whose television series “Surviving R. Kelly” has been credited as playing an important role in finally bringing Mr. Kelly to justice, said she had no doubt that a reckoning was coming for Mr. Combs. “Puff is done,” she said. (Read more at the New York Times)

Two hours of independent and dope hip-hop/rap...

Three new tracks for you to snack on...

Masta Ace & Marco Polo, "Life Music (feat. Stricklin, Speech, and E Smitty)"

Jay Cinema, "What A Day!"

504icygrl, "Kitchen"

New episode: Fat Tony & Fatboi Sharif!