These Rappers Hate Ecstasy
When ecstasy became widely available three decades ago, it was largely consumed by suburban white kids wearing baggy cargo shorts who sucked pacifiers in abandoned warehouses, while listening to electronic music of some sort or other until they collapsed in exhaustion. Over the past decade, it seemed to fall out of favor with drug users, who veered more toward cocaine and other stimulants to fuel their partying needs. Then some narcotics-marketing genius (I’m convinced this is a real job) decided to rebrand MDMA, ecstasy’s key ingredient, as “molly,” and everyone from Kanye to Rick Ross to your little sister at this very moment is putting it in his or her mouth and asshole with reckless abandon. The hip-hop community’s embrace of the drug has been especially striking, since historical stereotypes dictate that rappers are normally more interested in chilled-out drugs like cough syrup and weed. But one hip-hop group from Brooklyn is not onboard. Stereo Marz, a trio who formed earlier this year, titled their debut track “Anti-Molly,” and the message is pretty clear: “Yo, this drug is fucking wack! / [they] ain’t fucking with that molly / and if you do you can’t come to my party.” I spoke with two of Stereo Marz’s three members, Desi Dez and Shaun “Bizy” Gabriel, about what was wrong with a drug that makes you love strobe lights and songs and sticking your tongue down some stranger’s throat all night long.
VICE: Why do you hate molly so much?
Desi Dez: I’m disgusted, in fact, very disgusted with all these artists being big advocates for this molly thing. We’re totally against that—for us, it’s weak. We don’t feel that.
Shaun “Bizy” Gabriel: The atmosphere in schools has changed in the past five years with kids doing molly. They’re selling it in candy wrappers, tricking kids.
Why do you think its popularity has increased so much over the past few years? Most rappers seem to love it.
Desi: That’s the reason! All these top-notch artists are the voice for this drug, so the younger kids see it as cool. Same with any propaganda, if it’s repeated enough, people just accept it.
Bizy: I don’t know if people are being paid to rap about molly, but I’ve heard people say that could be a possibility. It just came out of nowhere. What we do know is it’s being promoted every day.
Do you think molly will become a sort of new crack epidemic?
Desi: Definitely. It’s targeted at kids. That’s what it’s geared up for. The suppliers are going to put more stuff in to make it more addictive, and by that time, you’ve got a lost generation caught up on this, just like what the crack game did. It’s all a setup.
Do you have any parting words for rappers who can’t get enough of it?
Bizy: Man, pop the molly up your ass! We don’t respect molly.
More about molly on VICE:
The Dutch Love Ecstasy So Much Their Dirt Is Toxic
I Used My Stock Market Millions to Throw Raves and Sell Drugs
SiHKAL: Shulgins I Have Known and Loved
NY State of Mind #1
Hip-hop is having a renaissance right now in the city of New York, where it seems like every other day a new MC rises up out of the five burroughs with an even more unique style and approach to the music than what we thought was possible before. Motley crews like the A$AP Mob, the Beast Coast, and World’s Fair have given us a reason to love rhymes again. We’ve written a lot about this stuff, but sometimes words don’t do it justice. So, we’ve linked up with scene insider Verena Stefanie Grotto to document the new New York movement as it happens in real time, with intimate shots of rappers, scenesters, artists, and fashion fiends. Check back every week or so for more photos.
Kat Stacks Is a Real American Hero
Portrait of Kat Stacks courtesy of FVP ART GALLERY
A former prostitute turned loudmouth rap groupie seems like an unlikely poster child for the immigration movement in the US. But not only has Kat Stacks become a symbol for DREAMers—undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children and are fighting to stay—her story is so American, it should be printed on the flag.
For those who don’t read rap-gossip blogs, here’s the Kat Stacks story: Born Andrea Herrera, she came to the US from Venezuela when she was eight years old, and, like so many immigrants, ended up overstaying her temporary visa and became an undocumented immigrant. But instead of studying hard and graduating from the top of her class—like most of those who represent the public face of DREAMers— Herrera was sexually abused as a child and was forced into a life of prostitution at the tender age of 14.
She spent the next few years turning tricks and even gave birth to her pimp’s child. Eventually, she began hanging out with—and having sex with—rappers, and by the age of 20, with the help of YouTube and WorldStarHipHop.com, she was known by millions on the internet as an annoying, shit-talking rap groupie who put rappers on “blast” and more than once got beat up on camera in retaliation for her antics.
In 2010, she had a falling out with a promoter in Nashville who claims she took her money without going to the event she was hired for. In retaliation, something happened to her plane ticket, and after airport authorities did a background check on Herrera, they arrested her on an immigration charge. “How was I supposed to know she was flying dirty?” the promoter said at the time. “That just goes to show you karma is a bitch.”
The immigration judge who considered her case saw her online persona and decided that there was absolutely no way America could benefit by keeping a foul-mouthed Superhead wannabe who once bragged about having sex with Lil Wayne for $1,200. “The Court finds that the Respondent’s behavior as an online persona is a significant negative equity,” the judge said in his decision to deport her.
Snoop Through the Ages - The Clothes Made the Dogg, and Now Make the Lion
Photos by Terry Richardson
The 2000s saw fashion and style surreptitiously removed from the overmoisturized hands of high-end designers and busybody critics. It was snatched from them in the dead of night by forward-thinking bloggers, affordable boutique brands, and most importantly, rappers.
There is one man who, since the early 90s, has been a harbinger of the sort of unapologetically authentic style that is worn by anyone under 40 today. That man is Snoop Dogg—or rather, more specifically, was Snoop Dogg. Last year he renamed himself Snoop Lion following a trip to Jamaica where he recorded Reincarnated, a reggae- and Rastafarianism-influenced album that features very little rapping. It will be released in mid-April alongside a corresponding documentary about his journey to find Jah.
One of the first rappers to truly shock the public based on his lifestyle alone, Snoop was thrust into the cultural consciousness in the early 90s with the one-two punch of Dr. Dre’s The Chronic and Doggystyle. These albums served as a blueprint for more than a decade of hardcore, explicit hip-hop made by artists who lived the lives they were rapping about—gangbangers and miscreants from the hood who had no problem dealing, shooting, fucking, smoking, drinking, and all sorts of other activities that freaked out parents everywhere.
Snoop’s various looks followed suit, running along a larger continuum of style that has evolved into a glorious mishmash of skinny jeans, flat-billed baseball hats, oversize sweaters, preppy layering, limited-edition sneakers, flannels, vintage curiosities, weird screenprints, and whatever else makes its wearer look good without pretense. There are no rules anymore, and thank fucking God that’s the case because everything was getting predictable and boring.
With this in mind, we thought it only proper to revisit Snoop’s looks from years past for this American-themed Fashion Issue and interview him about them. He was even gracious enough to allow us to pull the real artifacts from his wardrobe archive. Suffice it to say that watching him slip on his purple pimp coat for the first time in years and adjust it while he glared into the mirror would definitely be something I’d check off my bucket list if I thought keeping one of those things wasn’t utterly gross and depressing.
A busy man without much time to spare, Snoop is a supreme multitasker, so, appropriately, we conducted this interview while a manicurist touched up his French tips.
VICE: I was worried you might not be into this idea—a fashion shoot revolving around your looks from the past—because you have reinvented yourself as Snoop Lion. But you seemed totally at ease with fully immersing yourself in the concept; even your demeanor seemed to change according to each style.
Snoop Lion: I mean, they never left, you understand? I always incorporate a little bit of anything and everything. I always go back to yesterday, and it’s good to be able to find yourself completely in that moment, in that era, with that mind state, and be able to capture that.
You’ve defined a lot of fashion just by being who you are, by wearing clothing you like and feel comfortable in. But we pulled some pretty specific clothing for the shoot, like the Crip suit. Where did that come from? Was it your idea?
The first time I saw that suit was on Coolio and a bunch of guys called the 40 Thevz—they were a rap group that were backing him up. He had the suit on and I liked it, so he turned me onto the guy who was making them—Perry White—and I started wearing them. Before you knew it, they became a part of my look because it was so symbolic of who I was and what I represented. It was the first statement of me being in the fashion world, to show that I did have style and understood what style was along with being gangster and West Coast.
Were you following any particular designers back then?
I was, like, more about what made me look fresh, you understand? If certain designers, like for example if Tommy Hilfiger had a tight shirt, I would get a Tommy Hilfiger shirt with some Capezio shoes or maybe some Girbaud pants or some Guess overalls. Whatever fashion I was on was whatever my money could afford, and at the same time whatever made me look good. It wasn’t dictated by a fashion designer or maker, it was more about the style, and certain makers had different styles that fit me that I would take and make mine.
The Dwight Yoakam Interview
Dwight Yoakam speaks with the wisdom of a man who’s seen and done more things in his fifty-six years of life than most normal, well-adjusted people could ever hope to do in Yoda’s lifetime. Yoakam came up in the early-80s Los Angeles rock scene, playing old-school country music with the sensibility of the punk bands he was often playing shows with, when his Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc. helped propel him to country stardom. But just because the dude’s sold 25 million albums doesn’t mean he’s not still a badass who doesn’t mind stepping out of his comfort zone: Yoakam has also acted in Sling Blade, appeared on King of the Hill, and also tapped Beck to produce songs for his newest album 3 Pears, which also astoundingly enough had Kid Rock singing on a track. Yoakam called me from Los Angeles to talk 3 Pears, drop some history on my ass, and explain what you’re supposed to learn in life.
NOISEY: Let’s jump right into it. How did you get hooked up with Beck for 3 Pears?
Dwight Yoakam: I just had a hunch that he and I might be interesting together, and I didn’t know whether he’d be interested in doing anything or not. Turns out he was, so he came over to my office and we sat around for about four hours, just talking music. He’s a real equipment aficionado, and really knew the gear, the old tube gear and stuff. He’d just recently acquired one of the original Capital Studios boards here in Capitol. He has an old EMI too; we’re not sure whether it was one of the ones The Beatles used or not. e called up and said, “Hey, I’ve got something I’m gonna maybe take a shot at doing for a TV show, and if you’d be interested in writing something or co-writing, getting together and co-writing…” Subsequently, before I went over to his home studio I had come up with this idea and it’s written—the song “A Heart Like Mine,” I said “I’ve got this thing, kinda Creedence-y, kinda “Bad Moon Rising.” He had an assistant engineer play drums and that’s the track that we created that day, “A Heart Like Mine.” Turned out as a bit of a template and a catalyst for a lot of the rest of the records, certainly how I was going to approach recording.
The record also features Kid Rock.
That was a song that only took 20 years and three hours to write. I’d had the song, the opening chorus and hook lying around for about almost 20 years, and I kicked it around for a couple of years and just thought “There’s something cool about that, I don’t know what I’m gonna do with it, though.” And Kid Rock’s got a place here in Los Angeles and was staying here for a week or so and said, “You wanna come over and try writing something together?” So I got there and pulled that out and said, “Here’s something I started to write years ago and never really finished.” And he said, “Finish that.” He lit a cigar and started pacing back and forth and typing. He’d be out on the balcony, puffing away, then dart back in the room and typing something up. Either he sang to me or I sang back to him, and we finished it out.
Juicy J on Strippers, Libraries
It’s strange having a conversation with Juicy J. Judging by his music, you’d expect to sit down and learn from him the proper way to hold a dollar in between your teeth so some stripper can grab it while swinging from a pole. That’s not the case at all. The former Three 6 Mafia kingpin is all about his business, and today he’s amped over his hit single “Bandz a Make Her Dance” going gold. The cut sends a nod to the bands of money that get asses shaking in the club. It’s just the kind of anthem that transcends age, and since aligning with Wiz Khalifa’s Taylor Gang it seems like Juicy discovered his fountain of youth. He’s prepping for this year’s release of Stay Trippy, tapping guys like Dr. Dre and Jay-Z to assist him. Always with his business hat on, he breaks down his career, which may include owning a strip club someday, and reveals the likelihood of another Three 6 Mafia album.
VICE: Congratulations on “Bandz a Make Her Dance” going gold!
Juicy J: Hey thanks a lot. I appreciate that.
Were you shocked by the news? Had you been following the numbers for the single?
Uh yea, I was shocked. I caught the numbers at first, when it first came out but I got so busy on the tour. A lot of times, I try not to let numbers and stuff like that keep my spirits up. I just try to keep stay working and that keeps my spirits up, you know what I mean? So at first I was on it, but next thing you know I was kinda trying to be like, what’s the next record? You know, I’m always trying to think about the next thing.
How are you going to be celebrating?
I’m going to Vegas tomorrow! I got to do a show in Vegas so I’ma go to Vegas and I’ma turn up a little bit. I’ma get back to work after that, but yeah. I’ma definitely go to Vegas tomorrow and just let it out.
Do you go to Vegas a lot?
Eh, sometimes. Here and there. Mostly a lot of times lately I’ve been going for a lot of shows. I’ve been doing a lot of shows out there so I’ve been in Vegas for the last…almost like, three times in the one month. So, it’s been great. Can’t complain.
For somebody like you who’s probably seen the craziest parties, would you designate Vegas as the top city for them?
Uh, yes. Yes, because anything that goes on in Vegas stays in Vegas. Yeah, evidently. That’s the Sin City right there.
Have you ever been to the Mustang Ranch?
I’ve not heard of, what’s it called? Mustang what?
It’s out near Reno and you like literally have a menu and you can order women.
Damn, I never heard of that. That sounds crazy.
Yeah, and there’s like little cabins and you have a menu and you order girls.
Oh, okay! Yeah, I’ve heard of that ranch. Yeah, yep! That’s an old ranch, yeah. I never been there though [laughs]. Nah. Nah. [laughs]
You’ve always said you’re a producer before a rapper, but when creating something like “Bandz A Make Her Dance,” did you keep the beat in mind first?
Lyrics came first. That came first for me. I was thinking of that earlier that day. And then later on that day Mike Will, the producer, sent me the beats over. When I heard that beat, I wrote everything else from there because I was like, “This beat could go perfect with this idea I got!” I put them both together and boom! On a $100 microphone. It was just like, just randomly made and then a tweet went out and here we are!
And you recorded it in an apartment or something, right?
Yeah, a two-bedroom apartment out in D.C. My engineer came through and yeah, some small equipment, $100 microphone, and we just did it. We were drinking some champagne, beer, we was smoking out, and uh, yeah. Knocked it out.
So do bands really make her dance?
Yes they do! [laughs] Yes they do.
Metta World Peace Declares War on Good Rap
It’s been repeated to the point where it’s something approaching conventional wisdom: “All rappers want to be basketball players, and all basketball players want to be rappers.” While that’s sort of a racist assumption, it’s undeniable that a shit-ton of NBA players have released rap songs, and there is a very competitive celebrity basketball league that has both Jim Jones and Asher Roth in it. The deeper truth here is that no one is ever happy with his job, even when that job consists of “dunk really awesomely” or “be Lil Romeo.”
While the Nas of NBA players-turned-rappers is indubitably Shaq—dude rapped like Lil B crossed with U-God and actually got to mumble a probably-ghostwritten-by-Method-Man-or-somebody verse on a Michael Jackson record one time—there is an illustrious history of NBA players making sorta-goofy rap songs that are interesting mainly for their what-the-fuck factor. Allen Iverson made a Ma$e-Will Smith mashup track that David Stern stopped the release of (presumably because it was too competent). Tony Parker did a rap thing in French and it was the worst. Did Gary Payton put out something that sounded vaguely like G-Funk? Yes, Gary Payton did.
These days, it seems, the NBA is in something of a rap renaissance. Marquis Daniels raps sort of well, at least by the standards of an alternate universe where everything is shitty. Delonte West could be a very thin-voiced Future. Iman Shumpert of the Knicks does spoken-word poetry and has been known to kick a freestyle or two. Kevin Durant raps and it’s not too shabby—he recently collaborated with Stephen Jackson on a song about winning at life and also presumably sports, which is the topic of 99 percent of NBA raps.
So last week Young Money third-stringer Mack Maine got into some sort of tussle with Chief Keef affiliate Tadoe, who’s best known for holding guns in Keef’s videos and getting pranked on video by his fellow GBE crew members, although he’s actually a way better rapper than the perception of him as another guy’s weed carrier might suggest. This being hip-hop in 2012 the beef quickly moved onto Twitter, with Tadoe calling Mack Maine a “BITCH” and Mack Maine responding with some vague nonsense about “peasants” throwing “pebbles” at the “throne.”
Tadoe was the clear winner in the exchange despite the fact that no one who’s not obsessively deep into the Chicago drill scene knows who he is, while Mack Maine is at least a name that’s familiar to pretty much any guy on the street wearing too much heavily branded streetwear. Mack Maine lost major points by fronting like he owns a throne when in fact his overall image is closer to a guy who lives in an Extended Stay America by the airport, while Tadoe earned about a million points for referring to him as “Mack Mané,” which is probably a typo but if you pretend the accent mark is some kind of super subtle burn it’s incredible.
All in all this is a completely uninteresting story that no one outside of Tadoe and Mack Maine’s closest friends should even care about, except for one thing. In Tadoe’s tweet where he calls Mack Maine a “BITCH” he also refers to him as an “opp,” and the beef’s blog coverage was the first time I had seen the term used outside of Chicago. In fact it was one of the first times I had ever seen it appear on the Internet outside of the comments section at Fake Shore Drive and the Twitter account of drill queen Katie Got Bandz.
Katie’s not only an up and coming rapper who critics all over the world are keeping tabs on, she’s also a teenage girl from a youth culture scene on Chicago’s South Side that’s kept itself fairly impenetrable to outside eyes despite the amount of media attention that’s been directed its way this year. So basically she knows about all sorts of crazy slang that the rest of the world has no idea about. Since about three-quarters of her recent tweets have had the word “opp” in them, and since the only results from an Urban Dictionary search for it are related to Naughty By Nature’s “O.P.P.”—which come on, it includes that definition right in the song—I decided to call her up and get the info direct.
VICE: Hey, what’s up Katie?
Katie Got Bandz: What’s up?
I wanted to talk to you about this slang term “opp” because I follow you on Twitter and you’re constantly calling people opps on there. I’m not sure exactly what it means but it seems like it’s something like “punk-ass.”
An opp is the opposition of a friend. An enemy.
Chippy Nonstop has been out on the road for the Group Hug Tour with Kreayshawn, Rye Rye, and Honey Cocaine, and we got her to sit down at a computer for a bit and put her art schooling to use for this tour diary. Feast upon it. Feast!