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Heavy Rotation with Shea Serrano

Me

Words by Daniel Isenberg (@StanIpcus)

It’s rare that a writer makes me literally laugh out loud, but Shea Serrano (above, top left) gets me every time. Dude is mad funny with the pen, straight up. And it’s not like he’s out here trying too hard. It comes off very naturally, and it’s the type of witty comedy related to hip-hop and fatherhood that I as a fellow Rap Dad can appreciate, which is why we reached out to him to be a part of our recent Father’s Day Feature back in June. And his skills aren’t limited to just writing. He did the illustrations for Bun B’s Rap Coloring and Activity Book, and he’s cooked up other brilliant stuff online like the Drake-ing Bad Tumblr and the Illmatic Influence Infographic.

Basically, Shea’s one of the most entertaining and talented guys around. Whether he’s contributing to Grantland (where he’s now a staff writer) or simply tweeting out daily musings, it’s always a must read. So we asked Shea to return to NahRight and share what he’s been listening to lately for this week’s Heavy Rotation feature, completing a very strong trifecta of rap writers dropping gems on the column (big ups to Jeff Weiss and David Drake). Check out Shea’s selections below.

1. Devin the Dude “Zeldar” (from 2002’s Just Tryin’ Ta Live, which is a perfect album)

Several years ago, back when I was writing for the paper here in Houston, I was working on a feature on Devin the Dude. We’d arranged to meet at a nightclub where he was hosting a listening party for whatever album it was he was promoting at the time. So I showed up, went in, then wandered around for a bit. When I finally saw Devin, I attempted to walk over to him to say hello. Despite how slowly he appeared to be walking*, I could never quite catch him. He was like the human version of that philosophical principle about how you can always divide the distance between you and an object by half and never reach zero so it’s impossible for you to ever really get anywhere (this, I’m aware, is an obscure reference to make here, but that’s the sort of nonlinearity that writing about Devin the Dude causes).

Finally, after several minutes of pursuit, I got near enough to get his attention. I said something like, “Hey, I’m Shea, the guy you spoke with on the phone about meeting up for the interview.” And he looked at me and he smiled and he smiled for a bit longer and then he said something like, “Yeah, right on. Nice to meet you.” And then he took a sip of his beer and then evaporated into mist as I was staring at him and I never saw him again. Devin the Dude is so dope, man. “Zeldar” is amazing. It’s probably the best song of your whole life.

*It’s probably less accurate to describe his movements as “walking” and more accurate to describe it as “floating.” He just sort of glided everywhere, which makes sense if you’ve ever listened to any of his music for more than two minutes.

2. Maxo Kream, “Trigga Maxo”

We have a list of things that, by decree of my wife, are not allowed in my house. It includes, but is not limited to:

Frogs: She is terrified of them. TERRIFIED. Her seeing a frog in the house is no different than her seeing a crocodile in the house. I tried to explain to her that she is approximately 100,000 times bigger than a small frog, but it was to no avail. I thought them not being allowed inside might be because they’re gross looking, but it has to be more than that because if gross was the only thing then our twin sons would’ve never made it through the door after they were born because they 100 percent looked like goblins in their first few weeks of life. Who knows?

Guns: I had a gun once. I used to have it in an apartment I lived in several years ago. Do you know where it is now? Me neither. Because I lost it. I just legit lost a gun. So no more guns for me. (This one’s fair.)

and

Maxo Kream: He’s a rapper from Houston. He is very good. He creates what is probably best described as a sonic dystopia. In his most impressive moments, he makes music that sounds like how nightmares feel. He makes music that sounds like how it must feel to be the victim of a home invasion in a nice house, which is a much less clever analogy than it would appear to be when you consider that he made a music video last year where he and his friends perpetrated that exact crime on two white people.

There was a time when Maxo wasn’t banned from our house, but his was only ever the most tenuous of room rentals. So, in his most recent song, “Maxo Trigga,” where he rat-a-tats threat after threat through his gold teeth, when he sniped, “In a SUV, black like a motherfucker // Aiming for the car seat, I’m a crazy motherfucker,” that was enough to earn a permanent ban.

3. Jack Freeman “Juke Joint”

1. Jack Freeman is a heretofore undiscovered R&B singer.
2. This is my favorite song he’s done.
3. It’s the last track on his 2011 tape, Lynnie’s Juke Joint.
4. He has more music out and a lot of it is good (listen to his most recent EP, Bliss) but this is the only blues song he’s ever done, which is very sad because he’s very good at it.
5. I think he might’ve blocked me on Twitter because I was doing something like asking him to be my boyfriend or whatever. You know how that goes.
6. That’s not true.
7. I mean, it’s kind of not true. I don’t know. Who knows.
8. Whatever.

4. Run The Jewels “Blockbuster Night Pt. 1”

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH <3

5. Feist “Graveyard”

Feist. Best rapper alive.

Follow Shea Serrano on Twitter.

Previously:

Heavy Rotation with David Drake
Heavy Rotation with Jeff Weiss
Heavy Rotation with Joell Ortiz
Heavy Rotation with The Black Sheep Dres
Heavy Rotation with Alex Wiley
Heavy Rotation with Smoke DZA (Kush Edition)
Heavy Rotation with Chase N. Cashe
Heavy Rotation with Tree (Chi-Town Edition)
Heavy Rotation with Eddie Huang
Heavy Rotation with Doley Bernays
Heavy Rotation with Black Dave
Heavy Rotation with Mistah F.A.B. (Bay Area Edition)
Heavy Rotation with Hannibal Buress
Heavy Rotation with Chuck Strangers
Heavy Rotation with Sean Price
Heavy Rotation with MTV’s Rob Markman


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