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Monday, November 1, 2010

What If: "I Started This Wanksta Sh*... Is the Motherf* Thanks I Get?"

11:00 PST

This morning, Ja Rule held a press conference to officially side with Jay-Z in his hardly-escalating beef with Oakland, California rap pastor Hammer.

Ja stated that he understands what it means to have people take shots at you, assured Jay-Z that their friendship was still intact, and shamelessly showed footage from the "Can I Get A..." music video and the motion picture "Backstage". When asked by a tabloid journalist why he was needlessly inserting himself into this mess, Rule responded, "I started this wanksta shit... Is this the motherfuckin thanks I get?"

Hammer's camp has been quiet, but strongly hinted that due to budget constraints, the response will not be as well produced as the Jay-Z attack.

Jay-Z has declined comment on either matter, but smiled at the paparazzi and mused, "Holla, holla."

No major news stations were present to record this occurrence; however, FOX News did show up an hour later and report "Live" from the scene.

What if...?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Flicks: The Town (or so they call it...) **NO SPOILERS**

Whoa... I know it's been a minute. Things have been hectic in the life of Mr. Smiff, and for some reason I let that stagnate my writing. My bad...

So what brought me back? A promise to a friend that after I saw the new Affleck-directed movie, The Town, that I would write a review. Not one to break a promise, here I am, keeping my word.

Certainly a cops-and-robbers movie intent on recapturing the chilling suspense and brazen emotion of movies such as Heat and The Departed, the storyline in The Town revolves around a small gang of Boston bank robbers and the federale intent on bringing them to justice. Of course, these are no ordinary bank robbers... No, these elusive thieves live in the ghetto of Charlestown (aka "The Town") which is apparently a breeding ground for only the finest of bank robbers. The leader of the gang is played by none other than Ben Affleck (Dogma, Daredevil, Gigli) who also directed the film. Now I know, the idea of Affleck playing a crime boss is somewhat tough to imagine, but he does a decent - if not believable - job and was smart enough to cast Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) as his trusty and rather unstable second in command. The rest of the cast is filled with familiar-yet-unrecognizable faces and names who all do a pretty darn good job in their respective roles.

Through the film, Affleck takes us to and through his clearly imagined rough-and-tumble home-town of Boston where the law is apparently everywhere yet incapable of stopping his gang from victimizing bank after bank so long as he is masterminding the schemes. Naturally, Ben's character quickly falls in love with a witness to one of the bank robbers (Rebecca Hall) who is not aware of his identity. Not surprisingly, she is a very plain white girl. More surprising, she is NOT played by Elektra - err - Jennifer Garner. This twist (the part about her being a witness, not the part about her not being his real life wife) makes for an interesting storyline, and I must say they do a good job of not slowing the movie down with boring banter. This is, after all, an action movie!

Eventually Ben's character, being a nice-guy at heart and merely a product of his super-ghetto environment, decides he wants out of the game... And the plot again thickens.

While rather unbelievable, I submit that this action drama was done pretty darn well. There are some compelling scenes, and some cornball scenes. A few very good chase scenes and a good climax. Plus a recurring theme that snitching is not cool. Not unlike a Friday night at the club. The only real gripes I'd have are a) I don't think there were ANY minorities in the movie, b) the over-inflated and annoying Boston accents, and c) the fact that everyone in the movie was borderline stupid, except for Ben Affleck, and naturally, his father (played convincingly by Chris Cooper).

Other than that, it was a good date night flick. I won't be buying it on DVD though. Good standalone movie, but certainly no Scorsese or De Niro masterpiece.  B+

Monday, April 12, 2010

Debauchery: We Win 2.0 Charity Show - Salem, OR

So Saturday night I drove down to the Capitol so I could be part of the second We Win charity show at The Coffee House in downtown Salem. Much like the first, the second show was a success and I thoroughly enjoyed making the crowd scream "They Don't Want It" with me and making the building shake. In fact, my dude Chris' wife was in the bathroom of the bar next door and said we made the mirrors shake. Good business...

I am awaiting footage and pics from the event, but in the meantime thought I'd drop some video from the first We Win event. Here's the set that I rocked the first go-round. If nothing else, skip forward to the 16:16 mark and watch how live the crowd gets when I come with the hit.


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Debauchery: Victor Shade Album Release + Twista Show

So it's been a while... For that I apologize, but I'm back like I never left (in fact, I never left) with more stories for ya. I know you're thirsty... So as I sit and listen to Trox's "Small Hands Big Slaps" beat tape, I contemplate the last few wild days I've had.

Victor Shade Album Release
I drove up to Seattle on Saturday night (and missed Massive, sadly enough) to rock with Luck One at the Victor Shade album release party. Now I had no idea who Victor Shade was, nor am I particularly impressed with his music after the fact, but I'll tell you who I was impressed with. But first...

So Luck and I arrived to the party location at 11 - an underground loading zone in the heart of downtown Seattle - and the only person there was a setup guy who insisted that they'd get started around midnight and that "it's gonna crack". Doubtful and upset I'd driven to Seattle for a wack show, I went and got some food and an energy drink. By 11:30, people were circling the block and hanging out near the building... By 12, the doors were open and there were a few dozen people dancing to the smooth spins of DJ 100 Proof and picking up drinks from the makeshift bar.

So DJ 100 Proof... Now that's one cool white dude! Even though he'd done a monster job scratching over my track "For the Gifted" for the Cut Em Or Pay Em record, I'd never actually met him and was really impressed with how he spun for our set. Also, he works with an entertainment group called Members Only, and I think we might see some collaborations in the future.

Oh yeah, our set... So Luck wanted to do They Don't Want It and let me tell you IT WENT HARD!!! We rocked about 12:30 and the place was packed. There were at least a hundred people packed in that cargo bay and they were jumping up and down, W's up still from when we did Warrior, yelling THEY DON'T WANT IT!!! Ha ha... Then the homies Jose and Nelson started getting me drunk... Yup, It "cracked"!

But before I took in too much liquor, I peeped a set by another Seattle mainstay I'd never actually met, Fatal Lucciano. Dude's only about 5'2" but he gets busy! His cadence is eerily similar to Biggie's so perhaps I'm partial to his style. Regardless, dude knows how to rock a crowd and we had some good convo afterwards.

Oh, highlight of my night actually came the next morning when I came out of Luck's apartment to find that my car had been towed... Boo!!!!

Twista in Eugene
After taking a day of rest on Sunday, the homie Nick drove me down to Eugene where I opened for Twista with my Salem family, Matty and Payne at The Blueprint This whole day was a crazy one and I'd love to explain why but I fear the FCC. Anyway, I just want to say ON THE RECORD that I'm hella jealous of Twista's security detail. Them dudes took over the club and at one point - while Twista was sound checking - they moved all of the "other artists" into a lobby and guarded all exits.  I felt like I was in a refugee camp.

The team performance went very well. The crowd was huge, and we owned it. After we finished, Mr. D.O.G. (who is really should not rap with his t-shirt tucked in) took the stage and continued yelling "They Don't Want It, heyyy!!!" Effin biter. LOL. On a random thought tip, I found that there's a nice population of Black folks that live in Eugene and are not students. This was very surprising to me, but very interesting...

Twista's set was amazing. As we already know, dude's got an incredible repertoire of hit records and he peeled them off effortlessly. From hard hitters to panty droppers, he wrecked shop for about 40 minutes before his security escorted him to the VIP area - as if he were the president.

Then came the hater move. Twista's impressive security squad - which appeared to be made up of former football players, MMA fighters and WWF stars - locked down the VIP section (which the other performers previously had access to) and only admitted pretty women. Sooo... after Twista rocked, the party was full of underage kids, thirsty men and goofy gals. This one thirsty male groupie followed me around the entire night and kept wanting to shake my hand... Who does that??? So we dipped back to Portland; and I had to drive because my "driver" got drunk. Ha ha!

Still had a blast tho... See?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Flicks: Shutter Island (No Spoilers)

Admittedly, I see a lot of movies. And while I like to critic and over analyze things, I feel I have a talent for taking things at face value. I like funny movies if they are hilarious, zombie movies if they make me jump, and action movies if people get to majorly jackin'. In other words, you'll never hear me hate on Die Hard With A Vengeance because the plot was unrealistic. Got me?

That said, I saw the above trailer for Shutter Island sometime last year (I think before Terminator: Salvation) and was instantly intrigued. That said, I've spent quite some time in eager anticipation for this movie to drop. Problem was, I wasn't sure what to expect... Whatever it was, I was thoroughly satisfied.

Scorsese and DiCaprio (the latter of whom I used to unabashedly hate on) have created another masterpiece here. A real cutting edge thriller where no one - including the viewer - can trust what they see or hear. The messages here center on sense of reality, trust, and the fragility of the human mind. In laymen's terms, this movie's a real mind-fuck (if you're looking for the definition of mind-fuck, see Requiem For A Dream) but also pulls together some brilliant acting, visual imagery, and an impressively appropriate score to create massive suspense at every plot twist.

What I once highly anticipated I now highly recommend. Spend the ten bucks and get freaked out. Shutter Island. One.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Debauchery: Birffday Weekend - Part 2

I know, it's been a week since I posted the first half of this "dualogy" but I really had to do some research to find out what the hell all happened on Saturday... I'll continue with the chapter structure.

Friday Night? No Thank You
So after partying from 8 PM Thursday till 7 AM Friday, I woke up at 11 AM - yes, Friday - got fresh and headed out. What can I say, I go hard... Besides, who cares about significant sleep when there's a Tour of Italy waiting for you at Olive Garden? What a breakfast! Then I hit the multiplex (as my friend from Yamhill calls any theatre with more than one screen) and peeped Book of Eli. Now I'm not a very religious man, but this here is a movie worth seeing. The messages are so deep... and the twist at the end? Ridiculous. I'd blog on it but I hate writing spoilers.By that night my phone was going nuts, but I wasn't going anywhere. Me and the fam stayed in and played Mario Brothers Wii all night, and when everyone else bowed out, I played Modern Warfare till 5 AM. Now that's how you spend a birthday.

"It's mutha fuckin Tony Touch!"
My Saturday officially started around noon. Exactly why I refuse to indulge in sleep I have no idea. Maybe it's because my stomach starts grumbling and I know that there's always mad food in my fridge? Anyway, I spent the day eating, texting, blogging about Modern Warfare 2 (see earlier post), ironing clothes and randomly yelling out "IT'S MUTHA FUCKIN TONY TOUCH!!!" as his songs streamed through my speakers. You see, I've been a fan of Tony Touch since I was knee high to a grasshopper, and he was Djing at the Crown Room that night, so there was no way I was going to miss it.

Hennessy Privilege with a Rum and Coke Chaser
Around 7, the homie Term ( hit me up to ask if I was pre-funking. I was like, "Am I?"What promptly followed was an invite to la casa de G. Will ( where I showed up around 8 with a liter of Coke & Bacardi Dark solution. We listened to rather irritating Bay Area music which G. Will insisted upon, then hit the road so we could hit the LIQ in the Pearl District before it closed at 10. I had no idea that there was a liquor store in the Pearl open till 10 so I was super-pumped already! What's hilarious is that they run it like a club, and they have bouncers and everything!! We scooped some Henny Priv (yeah the good stuff), and I commenced to drinking that while using my Rum and Coke as a chaser. Tasted great at the time... but probably not the best idea in the long run.

The Crown
Anyhow, we arrived at the Crown Room before 10:30 but still got charged to enter. False advertisement always brings a sour taste to my mouth but I was really not going to let five bones ruin my spirit... Especially not with a half a pint of Henny in me! Besides, in case you don't know, the best bartender in Portland (possibly on Earth) works at the Crown Room, and she pours me triple shots of Henny - for the price of one - for no apparent reason. (I wonder if Christina has a Twitter-page... Hmmm...) Everyone and they mama showed up; far too many people to mention by name and I damn near lost my mind. I kicked it in the VIP, danced on the stage and the floor, lightweight hated on Epp for getting to rock his set (just playing, it's all love) and bought a LOT of drinks. Not with my money though, people seem to know that Christina does me good at the bar *pause* so they often volunteer to buy my drink if I'll order theirs. Needless to say, this works for me just fine.

I Run This Town Tonight
By midnight I was pretty hammered, and I'm not sure but I think I still owe DJ Fatboy ( a drink cuz it was his birthday. Sorry bro, I get ADHD when I drink and I can't stand still. At one point, I was outside (no, I don't smoke, I just need clean, non-funky oxygen every here and there) and ran into Annie ( standing in line with her friends. Not really sure how or why this worked, but I yanked her and her friends out of the line and debo'd them into the side door, free of charge. I just remember yelling at the bouncer, "Do you know who this is?? You can't have celebrities standing in line in the rain!!!" Wow, I got 3 girls in the club for free and couldn't even do that for myself. Crazy. Later on my best dude Will showed up late - exactly when I'm not sure - but I was very happy to see him and gave him a hug like I hadn't seen him in ten years. Didn't see him again that night... or maybe I did and I just don't remember.

"Where is Mutha Fuckin Tony Touch???"
At this point, I was really diggin the spinning that Doc Adam was doing, and was fully accustomed to the fact that DJ Ronin Roc yells the lyrics to every song in the microphone... But I still had one drunken question, "WHERE THE HELL IS MUTHA FUCKIN TONY TOUCH?!?!?" Soon after loudly repeating this phrase several times, the man himself walked in the door, and I hardly recognized him. The skinny Puerto Rican kid from my pre-teen years is now approaching 40 and easily tops 200. He got busy on the ones and twos, and as I got drunker, I often forgot he was there and continued to complain that he hadn't shown up yet. Oh boy. Around 2 AM, a friend of mine - who came solely to wish me a happy birthday but whom I'd dipped on countless times already - notified me that she was leaving. Amazingly, I did realize at this point that I was beyond faded, and had her drop me off.

The Hangover
The next day, I woke up at 11... I was still drunk so I went back to sleep and got up at 3 PM. This is where I realized that the Rum and Coke chaser (some of which might still be in Arriana'a car) was not such a great idea. Sunday was certainly the lower end of my sin-curve weekend.. I'd say never again, but I'd just be lying to you. And we all know I keep it 100... Hollerrrrr.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Debauchery: Birffday Weekend - Part 1

So as you've probably picked up on, last weekend - more specifically, Friday - was my birthday. By no means did I reach any major milestone, but I figured that turning twenty-nine on the 29th will only happen once in my life, so I might as well live it up!

My initial plan was to go super hard from Thursday night till Saturday night, but as I'm realizing, recovery times are getting longer and longer as I approach the magical age of thirty. So, graphically speaking, my levels of debauchery - if charted - looked more like a sin wave than a standard deviation curve... (I know I just lost some of you with that one, but it's cool. You'll be back.) I could probably write a novella based on my escapades this weekend, but that would probably get me in trouble with various people and probably a few government entities... That said, I'll take the other path and break this up into a a few quick sections.

The Dookie Show - And no, I'm not talking about Tony Ozier's Dookie Jam, I'm talking about a show I rocked that had a boo boo crowd. Thursday night at Berbati's reminded me why NO ONE ROCKS AT BERBATI'S ANYMORE. First of all, it was an all ages show... Seemingly only because half of the artist's girlfriends were under 21. So, put immature hip-hop fans downtown with immature rap-and-leave artists and watch what happens. The attendance started off thin, but gradually started to fill in. At one point, the event had enough people that it could actually be called a crowd, then some kid started arguing with a homeless guy outside (why anyone inside a warm venue would engage in an altercation with a hobo outside in the cold is completely beyond me) and the crowd dissipated. The promoter also broke the too many rappers rule, and by the time I hit the stage people were pretty tired of live acts. I managed to rock the 20 or so people left in the building, but... Come on son? Twenty people?!?!

Funny note: I have a friend who always dates chunky girls (says they pay like they weigh), and I ran into one of his ex's and she looked GREAT. I complimented her on her physical transformation - just to be nice, really - and now she's after me. Damn my swag...

Midnight - Escaping Berbati's arond 11 was a good look. Fortunately the bartender there did pour nice glasses of Henn, so I was good and buzzed by the time I left. So I dipped up to the Candlelight Cafe where I knew a few of my friends were getting drunk and dancing wildly to a cover band. More Hennessy ensued, and I was rather surprised when people started texting, calling, FaceBooking & Tweeting me at 10 till. It was then that I realized that my watch was running slow (gotta get that battery changed now) but more importantly, I remembered how many friends I do have. I also got a really nice call from my bro, and that was the highlight of my night.

Bom Bom Di Whopna!!! - So when my friends at the Candlelight got silly drunk (one girl started freestyling and another recorded it on her phone - can you say blackmail???) I decided to part ways and see what else was going down. Got a clue from a friend that it was going down at the Crown Room, so I headed that way. When I got there it was reggae night, and the place was packed! The friend who'd texted me wasn't there though, and then I got a text saying the crew had just left. So as I was about to leave, I ran into Leigh Feldman (if you don't know, you should really, really ask somebody) and he was kind enough to buy me a Hennessy.

Now I'm not sure what it was, but that Hennessy had me on one... I remember a random but really cute white girl dancing way to close and almost falling on or away from me a few times. I danced with her out of pity (and for safety sake) but then she started trying to make out with me... And, umm, I'm good. I quickly vanished and reappeared and within minutes she'd found a new victim. Thank God. Nonetheless, the house DJ there (whose name I never remember but whose Jesus-like beard I can never forget) really did his thing. The music was fresh and the crowd was fun. So around 2 AM I was set to leave and go home. Then I got a text, and the debauchery continued... I recall being lost amidst waterfront condos, getting angry, being calmed down, and getting home after the sun came up. Whoa.


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Games - Call of Duty 6: Modern Warfare 2

 - A nearly new PS3 (courtesy of the homie Aracelia ( $200
 - Bluetooth Headset: $30
 - Used copy of Modern Warfare 2: $55
 - Cursing at little kids that play M-Rated games online: Priceless

OK... So I know I'm late but I must admit that while I have no problem paying $45 bucks for a bottle of Hennessy Privilege, I sincerely disdain paying the sticker price for new video games. So I am the type that waits a few weeks for everyone to agree that a game is super-dope, then I go buy it used when some kid's overly-strict mom returns the terribly inappropriate birthday gift. Yes, I win.

So for the last month or so, rather than standing in line so I could be first to buy the most expensive copy of Modern Warfare 2 available to man ($70), I borrowed a co-worker's husband's copy - yes, with his permission - of the first Modern Warfare and decided I'd treat it like a bootleg movie. Needless to say, I was rather impressed with the game, spent countless hours playing it, and built up my own internal anticipation for the new one. In fact, I enjoyed the first installment so much that I started to question what could possibly be improved upon and debated whether I should even get the second!

But everything can be improved on, right? So this weekend (which just happens to be my birthday weekend - details of debauchery to come) I went out and bought Modern Warfare 2 for myself. I was also gifted with a wireless headset. I win again.

I haven't even begun playing the critically acclaimed Campaign Mode yet - which apparently has a level so offensive that the game has an option upon first load to turn the level off (yes!!!) - and I'm already saying that this might be the most amazing game I've ever played. The online multiplayer mode is amazingly clean, and I think I'm actually better at the new one than I was at the prior! There are so many options, and the level-up system in online mode is as intriguing and addictive as I've ever seen in any multiplayer game. The graphics are cleaner, the precision is ridiculous, the arsenal's are nuts, and the competition is amazing. Seriously, I played a little in the evening, went to bed at 11 PM, woke up at 1 AM and played till nearly 6 AM. And I'm not really even into games all like that... 

So anyway, I woke up this morning (I know, I don't sleep much) and had the urge to blog on it. If you own a next-gen system, I implore you to acquire a copy of MW2. If you own a PS3 - and you should - I dare you to add me online and get whooped! My gamer tag is "MacSmiff"... Imagine that. 

Aaaaand I'm out!

~Mac Smiff

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Music: Northe'n Lights - Cut 'Em Or Pay 'Em

My first music blog might as well be in regards to a record on which I'm featured, no?

The production duo known as Northe'n Lights - comprised of Sonny & Terminill - have created a record which exists outside the bubble known as Northwest Hip-Hop. By capturing the voices of a variety of artists and melding them over hi-energy, synth-heavy beats, NL has created a sound which shatters the perception of local music. Long known for it's grimey, underground sound, the NW Hip-Hop scene is forever changed by the level of production offered by the duo's freshman project.

As eclectic as the creators themselves, the record draws from a variety of sources yet manages to maintain a shared vision. To name just a few, Cut 'Em Or Pay 'EM boasts features from:
- Portland-area mainstays Cool Nutz, Braille & Kenny Mack
- Battle circuit heavyweights Illmaculate & 9DM
- Nationally recognized non-local artists Playboy Tre and Punchline
- R&B veterans Toni Hill and Arjay

Throw in proven up-and-comers such as Luck One, Grynch, Mikey Vegas, Serge Severe and... *ahem* Mac Smiff (shameless plug, I know) and you've got as diverse and talented a cast as could be found on any commercial record. In all, 33 artists grace the album with their voices

... And make no mistake, this IS a commercial record. Despite a cast of largely underground artists, the production work on the album is top notch, making it consumable by the widest variety of hip-hop fans. No basement recordings or stock beats here, Terminill and Sonny have delivered a high quality product which by all accounts seems ready for mass distribution.

So don't sleep on this one! Check it out, and pay special attention to track 13 "For The Gifted"... Why? Because that's my song and it's hotter than liquid lava. I also seriously dig Cop Cars (Kenny Mack), Soldier's Burden (Toni Hill) and On Dat Other Shit (Playboy Tre). But - to quote Lavar Burton - don't take my word for it; check it out for yourself. Cut 'Em Or Pay 'Em is available for download and preview at the following sites:

If you prefer your music on a disc and in a case, holler at me here or on my Twitter page and I'll be sure to hook you up. By far the best $10 you'll ever spend.

Signing out,

Mac Smiff

Northe'n Lights - "Cut em Or Pay 'em" from Chase.Freeman on Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Introductions Necessary

Welcome to my blog. I've created this page because as an aspiring artist and social media nonpareil, I have been told on countless occasions that I should blog. So, as usual, I am giving the people what they want.

I dedicate this page to everything that is Mac Smiff--from art to science; from politics to satire; from consciousness to debauchery; from order to chaos. So hold on to your seats, and check back often. I'll be here, making the most of every moment, and bringing you life through a slightly different lens.

So without further ado, I bring you...