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The best white rapper is Bubba Sparxxx

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And that's not a joke.

His first record, "Dark Days, Bright Nights" was quite good -- it featured some great Timbaland production, and Bubba's charming flow.

He really kicked it up a notch with his second record, "Deliverance." It was one of the best produced albums of the past few years, with some wonderful contributions from Organized Noise (in-house producers of the Dungeon Family), and some stunning work by Timbo. While on the first record, Bubba's "country boy" image felt like a gimmick, on this one, it felt like a manifesto. His flow on this record is still smooth and easy, but it's got a new passion, borne of commitment to his "New South" identity.

There's a portion of the South in the spirit of the song
Keep followin the fiddle, it'll never steer you wrong
I've lived a lot of life, so my innocence is blown
I'm headin to La Grange, to replenish it at home

Here was a white rapper who was rapping soulfully about *his* identity. One influenced by close ties with black culture, but nonetheless distinctively his own. Sadly, folks weren't really buying it.

Jimmy Mathis was the album's single, and it demonstrates Timbaland's remarkable combination of country signifiers and hip-hop aesthetics. A bluesy-country harmonica sample eloquently suggests the ties between poor rural blacks and poor rural whites. They pull of a similar trick on Deliverance (realaudio link). The LP was a great album, one of the best hip-hop records of the 21st century, but Bubba's image was so locked into the cartoonish stereotype Depicted in the video of his first hit record, Ugly, that folks just didn't buy in.

Bubba's got a new record coming out April 4th, The Charm, and I'm hoping it'll be as good as the last one. He's signed up with Big Boi's Purple Ribbon label, and he's had a few great tracks on their two compilations. If this work with the new Dungeon Family can match past collabs like Back in the Mud from Deliverance, it could be something special.

Here are two tracks from the new record that suggest my optimism could be well-founded:

The Other Side of the Room

Claremont Lounge f. Cool Breeze and Killer Mike

Pitchfork Music Festival

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One-time Sound of Young America guest Ted Leo is among the artists performing in Chicago at the upcoming Pitchfork Music Festival. There'll also be a clothes-n-crafts fair and a record sale. We have mixed feelings about Pitchfork, but for $30, you can't really complain.

Tickets just went on sale.

Ladies and gentlemen of the Academy... Crunchy Black!

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The Oscar-Award-Winning Triple Six Mafia.

If only it had been for "Whoop That Trick"

Let's talk celebs...

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I hereby nominate Bill Macy and Felicity Huffman for awesomest Hollywood couple since Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis.

Listen to them on Fresh Air.

Would you rather... Dino v. Omelette

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Courtest of Jim Real, the Master of Would You Rather:

WOULD YOU RATHER...

Be a crime fighting dinosaur

or

Have free brunch for life?

Discuss. I'll post the answer next week. And yes, there is a correct answer, this is not a subjective excercise.

Who knew Leno had some New Sincerity in him?

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Any man who gets pulled over on the LA freeway for speeding in a steam-powered car can't be all bad, right? (login required, or use bugmenot)

The Great Communicators

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This week, a classic from The Sound of Young America vaults. The theme of the show is "The Great Communicators," a tribute to Ronald Reagan. Our guests are Patton Oswalt and Chris Hardwick.

Each of these guys is a standup comic, but each is perhaps best known for (perhaps slightly embarassing) television series. Chris was the host of MTV's "Singled Out" in the early 1990s, a job which he followed up with a stint hosting the syndicated dating show "Shipmates." Patton is the co-star of CBS TV's "The King of Queens," a sitcom in the much maligned fat-guy-hot-wife genre. It's definately the best of those, though.

Chris is half of the music duo Hard N Phirm, who have often been heard on The Sound. He's also due to perform alongside KG from Tenacious D in a musical called "Rock of Ages," which features some of the "great" hair metal tunes of the 1980s.

One of my favorite shows in our history, certainly one of the funniest.

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Finally, some real satire!

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The always-wonderful Eugene Mirman has a new post up on his "Hello. I'm Eugene." blog. He takes on the heady topic of the Iraq war with typical Mirman aplomb.

Many of you were too young to remember when the second Iraqi war broke out a few years ago. You were probably still glued to Kurt Loder on MTV announcing that the latest Green Day influenced band was finally at maximum handsomeness.

The post contains some sweet movies, by the way.

Link

Eugene on The Sound of Young America (MP3)

Newsradio Season Three DVD is now available...

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It took NBC/Uni quite a while to get Newsradio DVDs in the pipeline, and when they did, series creator Paul Simms supposedly pulled it out of the pipeline for a while to add extras, but they're here, and they're wonderful. Season 3 just became available, and Season 1 & 2 have been available for some time.

Newsradio was an astonishingly underappreciated show in it's time. It had a loyal and significant following, but it was overshadowed by Seinfeld in the press and on NBC. Seinfeld was a game-changing show, but Newsradio may have been the second best sitcom of the 90s.

On last week's Sound of Young America, Andy Daly talked about how difficult it is to be a great straight man. Dave Foley's effortless work on Newsradio made it look easy. The best TV straightman since Newhart, says I. It's tough to get laughs working against the wackos, and Foley did it consistently.

And that's to say nothing of the wonderful work done by the rest of the cast. Phil Hartman was of course the most heralded among them, but everyone else deserves kudos as well. Andy Dick did the most consistently excellent work of his life as dim-witted cub reporter Matthew. Stephen Root was stunningly fantastic as the bombastic boss Mr. James. Maura Tierney and Khandi Alexander both got tremendous humor out of their sometimes-straight-woman, sometimes-nutty-woman roles. Even final season additions Jon Lovitz and Patrick Warburton distinguished themselves.

I had the chance to drive Dave Foley around for SF Sketchfest 2006, and we talked a bit about the show. He described it as the best job he'd ever had, and a joy to be a part of. It was certainly a joy to watch.

LA Comedy: Once you go black...

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Great lineup for this week's Comedy Death Ray at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in Los Angeles. Thye bill includes our pal Jasper Redd (pictured), one of the best comics to come out of San Francisco in the past few years.

The show's tonight: Tuesday, February 28th. For more info, check out FunBunchComedy.com. You can make reservations here.

Also... check out our show from July featuring an interview with Comedy Death Ray's founders/honchos, Scott Aukerman and BJ Porter (as well as CDR regular Greg Behrendt): MP3 Link

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