How the Rob Ford Smoking Crack Scandal Is Just Like ‘The Wire’
The allegation that a crew of drug dealers had a video of mayor Rob Ford smoking crack has resulted in a prolonged and sad controversy in Toronto. Our city’s once triumphant king—who we have heralded for his ability to charmingly pose for terrible photographs, or conquer his rivals after getting fired—has become a political pariah while keeping both ass cheeks firmly on the throne. After the firings and resignations of several disloyal staff members and some accusations from the Globe and Mail that his brother Dougie used to sell hash, his other brother Randy kidnapped a dude who owed him money, and his sister Kathy (who was shot in the face by her boyfriend) hung out with Nazis, the once sparkling face of the Ford dynasty is now looking pimply and scabbed up.
What with City Hall, the police, Toronto’s drug dealers, and the media playing a major role in events, there’s no real-life parallel to this evolving story—it’s more like a work of fiction, specifically David Simon’s much-lauded TV series The Wire, and even more specifically the really implausible plot points in season five. (You can imagine a writer pitching a hard drug–abusing mayor to Simon and Simon tossing that suggestion out for being unrealistic.) But if Toronto’s crackgate (or whatever we’re calling it now) is The Wire, who are the analogues to the major players in the scandal? Here are the answers I came up with.
Toronto’s Rob Ford, the World’s Greatest Mayor, Smokes Crack
There came a point on Thursday afternoon—after learning that Toronto mayor Rob Ford had taken some time off from an important city-council meeting to wander around a parking lot sticking “Rob Ford” magnets to cars—that I figured it would be time to update you about the ongoing saga that is Robbie’s intoxicated reign over the Kingdom of Toronto. Way back when, before the already infamous crack-cocaine scandal of May 2013, the magnet controversy of 24 hours earlier didn’t seem so important. That is, of course, until Gawker broke the story that some guy, somewhere, has a video of King Robbie smoking crack from a glass pipe. And the footage is for sale. Until someone buys it, you can always watch the Taiwanese CGI reenactment.
Gawker—who have decided that this is not an “alleged” or “supposed” crack-smoking incident, given that they’ve got a graphic that reads “Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Smokes Crack” on their homepage—have caused a major firestorm for King Robbie the First in the City of Toronto. The Toronto Star, an ungrateful and petulant organization that is hell-bent on taking down the mayor, has viewed the tape “three times” but was clearly too cheap to buy it and stream it for the royal subjects of the Rob Ford empire. Plus, according to them, they saw this video on May 3. Why keep all this crack-smoking mayhem a secret? And what kind of incompetent blackmail-video salesman is behind this controversy? How can you mess up on monetizing such a golden piece of footage? One must assume they’re ready to let it go at fire-sale prices right now.
A City Doesn’t Suck Just Because You’re Stupid
Hey everyone, there’s a new controversial blog post to get mad about! This particular rage-freakout-du-jour is wildly misogynistic and narrow-minded, and it makes a poor attempt to drag down all of the women in Toronto with comments like the “women are obese” and there are “too many Asian and Indian girls.” The latter sounds like a bonus to me! But yikes, where to begin?
The article in question, titled “15 Reasons Why Toronto Is the Worst City in North America for Men,” was posted yesterday on a wildly inconsequential website called RooshV. It appears to be a follow-up to an article written by the same author entitled “15 Reasons Why Washington DC Sucks for Guys.” Interesting. Is it these cities that are “sucking,” or is it you, brah?
Of course, it’s always just better to let articles like this fester in the sadness of their own morally bankrupt, lukewarm bath water—without giving them any extra attention—but the reality of viral “hits” and social media news feeds is that crappy articles like this will always surface in front of peoples’ eyeballs and then everyone will have to get mad about them. So let’s get this out of our systems now by taking a look at a couple of the more boldly offensive claims that this article makes. I won’t go through everything, because then I’d be here all day.
“If you make just one mistake with a Toronto girl, you will be rejected”
Firstly, this whole branding of a “Toronto girl” is a bit problematic, don’t you think? What can really be the common denominator among an incredibly beautiful diaspora of females that Toronto—and many other “multicultural” cities boasts proudly—besides a common set of area codes and a mutual understanding of where the CN Tower is located? So this phrase is totally dumb already, but beyond that designation, the whole idea that women in Toronto have particularly low patience does not make sense.
THIS WEEK IN DRAKE - BIRTHDAY EDITION
Drake turns 26 today, which means a lot of things to me. I don’t like to discuss my age, but let’s just say that we could have gone to high school together, had he moved to El Cajon in lieu of dropping out to pursue acting. We hate it when people in our general peer group become successful rappers, or something. I guess it’s similar to how I watched this kid I knew when I was seven pitch in the playoffs this year and even though I hope dude gets Best New Pitcher I’m still pretty glad his team didn’t make it to the World Series, you know? Despite the fact that I’ve never had any desire to be a rapper or athlete I still sometimes feel like they’ve accomplished exponentially more than me. Not that I’m not doing all right—I can afford to buy several adult beers and Chipotle and a pint of ice cream at least four nights/week—but I do use the terms “tuxedo” and “suit” and “blazer” interchangeably, whereas these dudes are going on private jets. Life is ultimately meaningless and no one wins, so it’s fine. It’s fine.
26 is an important year though, because it means that Drake has one year left to do dangerous drugs before he will automatically die from doing them. Now I don’t think that Drake really does the drugs that kill people, but if I were him I would probably make this the last year that I mess with lean, just in case. I don’t want 2013 to be the year they start letting rappers into the 27 Club.
Last night my bud Drew Millard and I wrote the definitive “Happy 26th Birthday Drake” article. Read it at Noisey.
Hey, looks like Drake’s at “college girl who doesn’t realize everyone knows she’s sad” these days.
Have you been to Club Paradise? It is a nice club. It is a pleasant club. Peaceful. You will like Club Paradise. You are allowed to drink underage there (sort of).
I myself have been to Club Paradise, its final night, held on the Summer Solstice in Raleigh, North Carolina. Well, I was there, but I was so engulfed in the OE that I can’t really recall that much of it. But I will report what I do remember of the evening. I cannot say with one hundred percent certainty, but I am fairly sure Drake tried to have sex with me. He didn’t come out and say it. But I could feel it, and that was enough.
I think this is the attitude that Drake tries to project as a performer, this sort of aura of being sexy/formidable that somehow feels explicit, though nothing is explicitly stated. Teenagers fucking eat that shit up, and moms are totally okay with it. I know this, because I saw at least two five year-olds at Drake’s concert last week, and about one million teenagers, all of whom were drunk. A stadium-sized rap concert featuring Drake, Meek Mill, J. Cole and 2 Chainz could have gone one of one ways: A bunch of fucking teenagers were going to show up, and Meek Mill, J. Cole and 2 Chainz were going to be less appreciated by the screaming masses of teenagers than Drake was going to be.
2 Chainz is quickly garnering a reputation as one of the funniest dudes working in rap today, flexing a savant-like ability to craft verses that come across as both stupid and amazing. If you listen to rap radio, he’s a guest on perhaps 40 percent of the songs you will hear, a miracle of statistics not seen since the heyday of Lil’ Wayne, right before he became the Michael Jackson of this rapping shit. Consider what has become perhaps Tity 2 Necklace’s (this is 2 Chainz’z nickname) best-known couplet, from his stunner of a verse on Kanye West’s “Mercy”: “I’m high and drunk at the same time/Drinkin’ champagne on the airplane.” DO YOU GET THAT JOKE??? HE SAYS THE SAME THING TWICE AND IT RULES. Reportedly, 2 Chainz owns $4,400 leather pants, but the pants he was wearing when he performed looked like they cost maybe $800. That was disappointing.
While 2 Chainz is hip-hop’s clown prince, Meek Mill might just be rap’s most formidable bridesmaid. Signed to Rick Ross’s Maybach Music label and effectively the Gilligan to Ross’s hugely fat Skipper, Mill’s been responsible for some of the biggest rap hits in recent memory. However, people aren’t really that familiar with his work as his and his alone. Most of the hits, such as “Tupac Back” and “Imma Boss” feature Rick Ross just as prominently as they do Meek. His most recent hit, the “Best Song Of 2012” contender “Amen,” features Drake, so he’s not making anything of a concerted effort to buck this trend. But here’s the thing. He’s always the best part of these songs. His flow is at this point un-fuckwithable, and he can be totally terrifying when he wants to be. He’s best when he raps didactically: He is literally teaching you a lesson as he murders you, which is cool. Something that is uncool: Meek Mill is on probation, so Meek Mill is not allowed to do any drugs.
The world of hunk-rap has been shaken to its very core today: The news has broken that Chris “Breezy” Brown (as himself, Tim Westwood and nobody else calls him), “Drizzy” Drake and Meek Mill all had a bit of a tear-up last night. According to Hot 97 (which is Reuters for this kinda shit), Drake and recent recording partner, Meek Mill, rocked up into NYC’s Club Whip, presumably looking for a swift half and a quick go on the Deal Or No Deal quiz machine. But, low and behold, rapper, dancer and “world’s most positive man” Chris Brown was in there. Shit kicked off.
Details are sketchy, all we really know is that “bottles were thrown”. And of course, Rihanna, the Lil Kim-esque femme-fatale of modern hip-hop, was involved. According to Hot 97, everything is “effed up now”, but, until the CCTV footage gets leaked we don’t really know how the fight went. Luckily, with my Tekken 3-based fighting experience, I have enough combative expertise to speculate who would have thrown down the best.
The question is, Drake, Chris, or Meek? WHO YA GOT?
Alright, his musical output doesn’t really suggest a man who’s spent much time in the MMA Octagon, but I think Drake is tougher than the second half of Take Care suggests. First of all, as anyone who’s ever walked around the Reading Festival campsite on a Sunday will tell you, emos can be tougher than they look. All that emotional repression and heartbreak has to go somewhere, and more often than not it manifests itself in violence.
Drake looks like he might just switch on you, I mean, he’d cry whilst doing it, but he’d switch on you alright. It’d be all slaps and spits and yelps, but faced with that kind of pugnacious lunacy, even Kimbo Slice would play dead.
No doubt Breezy is the worst kind of fighter, the guy who thinks he’s Bruce Lee, but is actually a little bit more Bruce Hornsby. He’d probably stand about slapping his thighs saying, “motherfucker, WHAT!” and “I got you baby!” for half-an-hour before anything happened. He’d take off his shirt, put it back on and then take it off again. It would be a tedious routine of posturing designed to make him look up for it, but when the shit hit the fan, he’d get battered.
All woman beaters are like that, all mouth and no balls. Either that, or his most-positive-man-in-the-world act is more than just a PR rouse and he really has had a road-to-Damascus couple of years. If that’s the case, he’d probably go in for some hugging action, shouting “It’s ok, they no not what they do, baby” whilst the Maybach goons stomp him.
VICE Mag tumblr team would like to add that violence is not the answer, but that sometimes it’s cool to get the answer wrong on purpose and be super excited that your favorite singer beat up your least favorite.
Last night, Drake tweeted one of those generic rap truisms that he loves so much: “The first million is the hardest.” And while normally this Drakeism would go ignored, Texas oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens felt that he needed to add to the conversation. So he responded that “The first billion is a helluva lot harder,” to which @Drake responded “@boonepickens just stunted on me heavy.”
A few notes on this, besides the obvious “T. Boone Pickens knows who Drake is, and vice-versa, and they had a conversation, and we got to watch! The internet is weird!”
-Of course the first billion is a “helluva” lot harder than the first million; a billion is one thousand millions. Like, have you ever quit smoking/drinking Rockstar energy drinks/etc? The first week is the hardest single week, but know what? The first thousand weeks are totally way harder than that one week.
Every time I think I’m done writing about Drake, Drake pulls me back in.