Thursday, February 21, 2008

El Negro Calde...

While I am rarely moved by celebrities, or anyone for that matter, I have to admit that occasionally I become fixated on people. I am willing to admit to an irrational obssession with Snoop Dogg that lasted from the time he first emerged on the scene on the Deep Cover soundtrack until 2005 when he released Drop It Like It's Hot. Great song, but I was horrified by the video in which, as many of you know, he featured his children along with shots of scantily clad booty girls, shots of him doing the crip walk, and shots of him getting his toke on. Up until that time, he'd put me through many changes as I tried to stick with him through the No Limit Soldier years, through the ridiculous MTV shows and those pigtails he seems so fond of, and even through the -izzle schtick he continued (excuse me, continues) to ply even after he heard countless white people co-opting. 

God knows, I tried. I tried, Snoop. 

But after the babies and the weed and the booties and the crip walk all together on film, I realized it was not to be. I had to let him go.

Anyway, now I've found someone new, but I feel much better about him, it's Tego Calderon.  I'm not ashamed to go into a store and proudly place his CD on the counter and say "Yes, I'm ready, ring me up, please."  I only felt that way once about Snoop, when I bought a replacement copy of Doggystyle, years after I'd purchased the original. 

So, o.k., this man makes me tingly all over. I don't know what it is exactly. There's something incredibly sexy about him. I once read him described as being "perpetually craggy" it fits, at least aesthetically. I could go on to describe why I find him handsome, but I'll spare you dear reader; my tastes often lean toward the unconventional. I just have to say that he has the most beautiful skin color. Amazing. You just don't find that tone among Black Americans, even with the many lovely hues you do find among us, it has to have something to do with the Spanish rather than English (or Scottish, rather) part of the mix.

Anyway, I haven't seen him speak or be interviewed, although back when I was plugged in I had VH1 Soul (the one thing I miss) and saw him in Bling'd touring Africa to learn about blood diamonds. I have only one of his albums (do the kids still say that these days?), the first, El Abayarde and it is really a piece of art. I'd had it over a year and I'd listened, but about a month ago, I really listened. It's quite masterful and so hip hop. Reggaeton, for all intents and purposes, I find wack. That's just my personal opinion, that was strengthened when I learned that artists like Ivy Queen, Daddy Yankee, and Don Omar were clowning at the Latin Grammy Awards a few months ago when Calle 13 won album or artist of the year, I don't remember which one it was. Who knew they served haterade at awards shows? They actually walked out in protest and then made it worse by speaking on it in interviews!!

For real? It's like that? So not hip-hop.

It was astounding because Calle 13 is really, really good. Really interesting and creative. Perhaps I don't understand the world of Reggaeton and if that is any indication, I don't want to. I also understand that right now I could be sounding like white people debating the issue of why a group like Arrested Development represents ground-breaking hip-hop while slamming say, Grand Puba or X-Clan.  However, I do know that hating--even though we all do it from time to time--is not cute.  Especially not on live television.

Anyway, Mr. Calderon, did not walk out. He is actually the model for a character in a book I am writing. I'd love to interview him someday, that is if I didn't get too tingly. 

He has great sensibilities, at least as conveyed through his music. Really innovative.  Did I mention he has a lisp and it sounds cool.  He's not the first MC with a lisp, but...anyway, enough...

I'm no longer conflicted.

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