It's running diary time!
6:00 PM - We kick things off with a 10-second "Clash of the Titans" graphic that's somehow cheesier than 1981's 10-hour Clash of the Titans movie. Did you know that Sir Laurence Olivier played Zeus? He would later reprise that role in 1989's No Holds Barred.
And, as if everyone involved with this debacle couldn't possibly embarrass themselves any more, here's ESPN's very own Stuart Scott with a 50 Cent/Kanye West tale of the tape. He knows this whole thing is staged, right? Can someone please talk into his good eye?
6:02 PM - Your hosts for the evening are Terrence and Rocsi, who replaced longtime "106 & Park" hosts A.J. and Free. Umm, or so I've heard. Terrence is wearing nondescript jeans and a blue polo shirt, while Rocsi is rocking a short, shiny black dress. And, in record time, Mrs. Bootleg has dropped the "she looks like a hooker" line.
Do all Black women turn into judgmental Republicans as they age or did I find the only one?
6:05 PM - This is, apparently, still a video countdown show. Hey, I'm as shocked as you. Anyways, the number 10 video is "I'm So Hood" by DJ Khaled and about 100 guest stars. If ESPN forced us to accept "now" as an adjective, I suppose "hood" gets a pass, too. The video only runs for about 30 seconds, but from what I can gather "hood" is the new "ghetto", which means white people will be using it in another year or two.
6:06 PM - Terrence and Rocsi are back out to tell us that a flip of a coin determined who would perform first between 50 and Kanye. The unemployable adolescent studio audience is eating up every word of this manipulative tripe. The wife tells me that "106 & Park" is a corner in Spanish Harlem which, uh…pretty much explains everything.
6:08 PM - Here's 50 Cent with a live performance of the single "Ayo Technology" or, as I like to call it, "Magic Stick, Part VI". Fortunately, G-Unit member Tony Yayo was able to appear on stage, too. I assume Lloyd Banks had to work a double shift at Yayo's street corner gyro wagon to make this happen.
Sample lyric: "…ooh, she wants it…aah, aah, she wants it…"
6:15 PM - 50 Cent solo interview time. He seems a little…off. His speech is slow and laborious as he rambles through the possibility of releasing another album later this year, the Wal-Mart "deluxe edition" of his CD, rumors of a relationship with Ciara and the possibility of Jim Jones joining G-Unit.
I'm probably showing my age, but the only above topic of conversation that I could bring myself to remotely care about is the Wal-Mart thing. Not because I want the album, it's just that I thought Wal-Mart didn't sell "dirty versions" of any album. Thank Allah they've still got guns and ammo, though. All those "Parental Advisory Explicit Lyrics" deaths won't be on Wal-Mart's watch!
6:20 PM - 50's "Follow My Lead" video airs. It features Dustin Hoffman as a psychiatrist and Robin Thicke on the hook. Mrs. Bootleg appears shocked that "Bernie Focker" would lower himself to appear here and then she tries to wow me with the "Do you know who Robin Thicke's dad is?" trivia question. Why did I let her out of the kitchen?
6:25 PM - We're back live and it's time for something called "50 Cent's Cash Challenge". Marquita (natch) from the studio audience has been selected to enter the "cash chamber" where all kinds of currency flies around and she's tasked with grabbing as much as she can in 50 (get it?) seconds. With Mrs. Bootleg openly rooting her on, Marquita grabs $1,300 out of the wind tunnel. You be safe on that drive back to the Hamptons with all that cash, Marquita.
6:30 PM - We blow through five-second clips of the numbers seven and six videos for the day: "Money in the Bank" by Swizz Beats and "Promise Ring" by Tiffany Evans. Did I miss numbers nine and eight or did BET skip right past them and assume no one would notice? Back in MY day, countdowns were 10 thru 1, they showed whole videos and "Batdance" held the top spot for the entire summer of 1989. Vicki Vale…Vicki Vale
6:35 PM - Another live performance from 50 Cent and this time it's "I Get Money". Quite the unexplored avenue in rap, no? Now, at the risk of pissing away the last threads of my credibility…I like this track. It's ostentatious and obnoxious, but hey, it's kind of catchy and a great sample. These days, 50's best work is the up-tempo club anthem. He remains a mediocre live performer, though.
And, his reputation takes another hit when he invokes the crowd to do that "hey-ho" side-to-side arm waving thing that hasn't been seen since 19-Naughty-3.
6:40 PM - It's time for the day's number five video and it's Keyshia Cole's "Let It Go" featuring Missy Elliot and Lil' Kim. We just get the first verse, but it's a hot little cut. Extra points to Missy for finally dressing like a woman after all these years. Anyone know if Missy and Tweet ever got
6:41 PM - Our number four abbreviated video of the day is T.I.'s "You Know What It Is" featuring Wyclef Jean. Y'know, next to Tupac Shakur, there's not one artist out there still suckling from 1996's teet harder than Clef. He killed the Fugees, he ruined Canibus and The Bee Gees…really, who's left? Fine, Clef…finish off T.I., and then just go away.
6:45 PM - Kanye West is finally out to perform "Champion". The response from the audience is positively muted compared to the cheers for Fiddy. Mrs. Bootleg points out two white guys in the audience with the same disdain she has for bruthas who date outside the race. She even throws in a "What are THEY doing there?" This from a woman who likes Justin Timberlake. I know, Mathan, I know…
This isn't one of Kanye's better live spots. His voice is cracking all over the place, which hinders the effectiveness of this cut. He follows this up with "Can't Tell Me Nothing". It's a terrific song and an excellent choice for the first single (radio-friendly, but still risky). The crowd is practically sitting on their hands in an inexplicable silence, though. Have that many Black women ever kept their cry-holes quiet for this long (about four minutes and counting)? Not in my company, kids.
6:50 PM - We're on the interview couch with Mr. West as he addresses his earlier comments toward MTV's Video Music Awards show last weekend: He was apparently promised the main stage/opening act sequence prior to the network handing it over to Britney Spears. It's actually a measured, believable explanation that's further strengthened with an accusation that MTV then promised a stage performance for Kanye as a compromise, only give it to Justin Timberlake, instead. (West's performance was held in the "suite" area, as opposed to the main stage).
West punctuates this mini-diatribe with "Sorry, middle America. Sorry, red states". Hard to believe I hated this guy for so long.
6:53 PM - Fortunately, "level-headed Kanye West" steps aside for his delusional doppelganger. In a terrific back-handed slap, West asks and answers his own question of why an artist of his caliber would collaborate with hacks like Lil' Wayne and T-Pain. In West's words, his albums are "like a time capsule". They're a "snapshot" of the current music scene. He could've just as easily said, "Wayne and T-Pain are kinda hot right now. That's the only reason they're here."
And, did you know that the CD cover art will actually "increase in value" years after you've purchased the album? Kanye said this, so it must be true. Surprisingly, the sycophantic hosts let this bit of bullsh*t go unchallenged.
7:00 PM - Kanye's video for "The Good Life" is played and while I wasn't feeling the acid-trip animation, it's an excellent song…and actually features T-Pain. Am I going to have to stop changing the channel whenever T-Pain appears on my XM Radio? The answer is "no". But, this is a great cut, nonetheless.
7:10 PM - The final live performance of the evening is Kanye's "Big Brother". Another powerful track that's actually helped by the fact that West's voice is almost gone at this point. The song serves as an open letter to Jay-Z and…wait, I need the :o emoticon for this: Jay-Z, himself, comes out in an ensemble that answers the question: Who bought all of Missy Elliot's 1983 b-boy gear?
7:20 PM - We wrap things up on the couch as the hosts, Terrence and Rocsi, collectively kiss both 50's and Kanye's asses. Four things of note: (1) The crowd is heckling 50 pretty hard and he seems torn between shooting the entire audience or beating them with his bare hands. (2) Kanye and 50 are practically in each other's lap, which annoys Kanye to the point that he sits up on the back of the couch…the rest of the interview is with 50 and Kanye's knees. (3) The "Kenny Chesney Question" is brought up and quickly dismissed. (4) A mumbling, distracted 50 cent compares himself to Muhammad Ali, which leads to the line of the night from Mrs. Bootleg:
"He sure sounds like him."
See, she's talking about the Parkinson's version of…ah, never mind. Oh, and your number one video for the show is…50's "I Get Money" and Kanye's "Can't Tell Me Nothing".
Now you can all sleep easy tonight knowing that.