There is a man, nay, not a man. Because there are things that men do not know. No, let me take it again. From the top.
There is a Payne Stewart hat wearing super computer that only sort of looks like a man, who calls himself Nardwuar the Human Serviette. When it comes to music, there isn’t a better interviewer in the world. That’s not an exaggeration. People with way more credibility than me have called him as much.
The Nardwuar Internet wormhole is the deepest and widest chasm that I know. It will rip from you years of your life and send you happily spinning down into a question and answer abyss that you’d be a fool to try to rise up out of.
Tumble and twirl into the no-star darkness of space as he asks Questlove about his father’s old band, Lee Andrews & the Hearts, and how his parents used to wake him up at 1 in the morning to watch Soul Train. Go to a place with no noise and no air as Big K.R.I.T. is shocked over the fact that Nardwuar knows about the 300 block of his hometown, Meridian, Mississippi.
The last couple days I’ve been on a 48 hour long rediscovery of the Nardwuar YouTube cannon and it is as thrillingly informative as it is exhausting. He’s unapologetically the same in each and every interview. He doesn’t try to be cool. Like, not at all. He speaks in something just beyond a squeak and he only ever tries to show appreciation for the artist.
He’s partnered up with Pharrell Williams in recent years to periodically contribute to Pharrell’s new website/video channel “I Am Other”. Nardwuar interviewed Williams some years ago and, after his typically impressive display of shockingly in depth research and questioning, Pharrell became taken with him.
With the partnership has come even more access. With that access he’s been able to step outside the world of music some and interview people in other fields. Hannibal Burress. David Cross. And, in one of the cooler interviews in recent years, he got an opportunity to speak with one Metta World Peace.
World Peace, despite the elbows and the antics and the Hennesy at halftime, really seems like a good dude.
In the interview, Nardwuar unveils a pretty beautiful hidden gem: A compilation album released by Epic records in November of 1994 titled B-Ball’s Best Kept Secret. The album, a sixteen track wonderland of 90’s flavor, features NBA players recording songs with hip-hop artists. We’re talking Dennis Scott. We’re talking Gary Payton. Jason Kidd. J.R. Rider. Jason Kidd. Cedric Ceballos. BRIAN SHAW. You guys. BRIAN SHAW RAPPING.
The track list is below:
- “Hip Hop Basketball Genie”
- “Check It”- (Dana Barros)
- “Lost in the Sauce”- (Malik Sealy)
- “Mic Check 1-2”- (Shaquille O’Neal and Ill Al Skratch)
- “Earl the Goat”
- “Flow On”- (Cedric Ceballos and Warren G)
- “Anything Can Happen”- (Brian Shaw)
- “Sumptin’ to Groove To”- (Chris Mills)
- “From the Bay to L.A.”- (Sway & King Tech)
- “What the Kidd Didd”- (Jason Kidd and Money-B)
- “Funk in the Trunk”- (J.R. Rider)
- “Phat Swoosh”
- “All Night Party”- (Dennis Scott)
- “Livin’ Legal and Large”- (Gary Payton)
- “D.J. S and S Represents”
- “Ya Don’t Stop”- (Dana Barros, Cedric Ceballos, GrandPuba, Sadat X, AG and Diamond D)
I’m not going to go through a track by track review of the album because you’re busy and you don’t have anywhere near that kind of time. You’ve got families and jobs and Breaking Bad to get caught up on. And, sadly, because apparently they hate you, Spotify doesn’t have the album. Sean Parker ought to be locked up for that.
I will tell you that you have to listen to “Livin’ Legal and Large” because Payton says he’s “Got a fat bank account and a bunch of credit cards” and that’s a gift you should give yourself.
The song of the album, though, is “Flow On”. Warren G joins Ced Ceballos and it’s just a complete and utter masterpiece.
Ya start to wonder, I know your name is Stevie
Dont think about it fool, cuz you know you can’t see me
Which, you know, just proves that it’s always been Ced’s world and he’s just gracious enough to allow us to live in it. It didn’t win any Grammys because, as I’m sure you’re well aware, the world sucks. If you make time for nothing else, watch the video. It’s a triumph of 90’s entertainment. Ceballos refers to himself as “Deuce Tre” throughout. Warren G is wearing a Cherokee Parks Duke jersey and a volleyball hat the whole video. It’s just something you need to see.
Never play for slips unless you’re sure you’re going to win. Mess around and watch Ced drive off in your jet black BMW with three pretty girls in tow, leaving you with nothing but a skateboard and a scowl. Flow on.