Friday, November 29, 2019

The Truth about Indica and Burritos: a brief essay about capitalism


I remember probably 8 years-ish ago in Riverside chilling with my friends Elizabeth and Brian, having a conversation where Elizabeth showed me a story about a dystopian future and two signs: one said “get fucked senseless” and the other was “have love made to you tenderly” and the line for “get fucked senseless” was astronomical, included most of the population and the “love made to you tenderly” line had basically no one at it. There was some late-capitalism context to the story but the commentary it was making becomes clearer to me as I age.

I remember I used to be annoyed when I’d see a given ethnic food place joint only populated with people of that ethnicity. “Shouldn’t we be sampling other cultures’ cuisines?” I thought. Now I know people are so stressed out from the day-to-day grind of modern life that they are just seeking familiar comforts. Comfort food.



I remember I used to be into cannabis sativa because I could stay awake more on it, it helped me wake up happily in the morning, they made my thoughts a little trippier; kind of the more stereotypical version of what getting high in the middle of the twentieth century was like. Now I’m more into indica because I work, I’m older, my body hurts more, my stomach and head pain, my tiredness. Another part of why I and a lot of other people are more into indica as we get older (and our tolerances get higher...) is that an indica is more likely to give you that stoned-off-your-ass-spacing-out-couch-lock feeling that makes you feel like you’re 16 and trying this shit for the first time again. We like to let the feeling wash over us and have an excuse to do nothing. A related result of late-capitalism is that indica is more popular because it's the more "medicinal" of the types: everyone is convinced they need maximum CBD for muscle relaxation and pain relief, don't want the potential anxiety of the more cerebral sativas. This is all part of everyone feeling so rundown all the time trying to keep up with modern life's material demands.

The older and more battered by late-capitalism we get the more we just want a) someone else to do all the work of intensity in our lives b) familiar comforts that nurture us spiritually and physically.

Growing up I remember girls eager to dispel myths about penis-size preferences, often going on about a good mid-size fit is ideal, the intensity of feeling like you’re being stretched out not always being desirable etc. but as I age and in particular observe people who feel especially whipped about by the economy I hear more women talk about wanting a big dick to distract them, desiring something intense enough to make them feel fucking something, anything amidst the stressed numbness their day to day has become.

We want to be fucked senseless because we don’t want to have do the work of distracting our consciousness from what tires us. The idea of a big thing being done TO us becomes more attractive as we become more tired and jaded. We don’t think it will make us happy – just a comfy warm distraction, at least in the afterglow of detachment. We southwesterners want the massive burritos we grew up on. Capitalism wants us on indica because it's the one that makes us sleep and consume. We want indicas because we see ourselves as in pain, as tired, as needing our muscles to be relaxed. The psychedelic creativity stimulation of sativa falls by the wayside as it doesn’t provide the gut-hit THC-pleasure-blanket around your abdomen that indica does so we forsake the intellectually stimulating for the more obvious physical comfort. 

For me this idea is also apparent in the classic Tool song “Stinkfist” which is about needing something more intense to get a kick/high/satisfaction after instant-gratification society has numbed our senses.
What made me want to write about this is the cannabis aspect and thinking about what I miss when I don’t indulge in the more physically subtle but still cranially rewarding sativa and observing mutability in social circle sexual dynamics that I didn’t previously expect.

Social media’s culture of bragging about being emotionally distant to me is reminiscent of the loneliness of the “be loved tenderly”-line in the story Elizabeth shared with me. It’s not just that people in their desire to have an experience happen to them want to be fucked senseless but also that the idea of being tender and intimate with a stranger sounds like a lot of work at best and intense discomfort at worst. What is worth having or experiencing is not easy and automatic and all that.

While I understand these aged weathered hungers for fuck, food and fun ultimately I don’t think any of it’s an excuse and I’m saying that out loud for myself as much as anyone. I’ve become an indica-monger for real and need to, at least from time to time, put more sativa into my herb diet so I can have those transcendent mornings again. I stay pretty adventurous in terms of food when given the chance and in terms of sex well I’m lucky enough to have a long-term partner and I don’t really have to pick between two anonymous sign-holders like in the anecdote above.

But the indica thing gets to me, I’ve noticed it about myself and I want to do better. It reminds me of a larger trend of age – that the optimal little touches I often enjoyed in my early and even mid-twenties just go by the wayside as life busily and loudly marches on. I feel the awareness of these forces and dynamics in life are a good start to resisting them and really want to encourage you to think about what the hustle and bustle of life’s stresses stops you from trying, experimenting and enjoying and resist it. Smoke that sativa, try that new food, make tender love. Might be worth the extra effort.

Tristan "Tanjint Wiggy" Acker is a staff writer for Zus Entertainment, a Jooseboxx and Untapped Hip-Hop contributor, and member of the Inland Empire, California based nerdcore hip-hop group the West Coast Avengers

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Mystic Talks with Beats on The Boxx After Winning the Whats Beef Beat Battle (Part 1)




Mystic talks with King Dice about his career so far, switching from hip-hop to EDM, winning beat battles, and the equipment he uses to make music.

Follow Mystic @SoundsByMystic

Follow King Dice @KingDiceSays

Follow JooseBoxx @ http://www.JooseBoxx.com

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

BRAC: The Sacrifices Moreno Valley and San Bernardino made for global peace



Wise up about the region’s recent history

Moreno Valley and San Bernardino used to have a big Air Force base employment sector due to March Air Force base. Then the Cold War ended and President Clinton, the first post-Cold War president, in recognition of this enacted BRAC, Base Realignment And Closure, because the country didn’t need to maintain so many full capacity military bases in the wake of the end of our decades long struggle for power with Russia. So the Inland Empire, being a politically not-that-powerful region for a few reasons ( as a conservative part of a liberal state, it was unlikely to be a factor in flipping the entire state in a given race) was on the chopping block. We were to help pay for America’s peace dividend: and so, March and Norton Air Force Bases two of the area’s most important economic engines had their operations drastically reduced and even partly privatized in terms of the campus’ use if I’m not mistaken.

So we laugh at San Bernardino and Moreno Valley for being ghetto and poor but these are the harsh realities of society: people don’t want to pay for militarism forever and Bill Clinton was actually trying to reduce the military industrial complex’s massive pervasiveness a bit in a time when that was politically sellable. Sometimes unpopular things are the right thing to do, sometimes the right thing to do has unfortunate consequences. Sometimes smaller pictures suffer in service of the bigger picture. I’m not justifying any particular side of a debate on these issues I’m just saying know the context. Know that it’s more than just “haha so ghetto and poor i could never”. 

Tristan "Tanjint Wiggy" Acker is a staff writer for Zus Entertainment, a Jooseboxx and Untapped Hip-Hop contributor, and member of the Inland Empire, California based nerdcore hip-hop group the West Coast Avengers

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Shots Fired: The under-discussed classism of dismissing California’s Inland Empire


It’s hypocritical to yap about Reagan all the time and then leave poverty out of your analysis of the I.E.


It’s wild how we love to give rappers passes for stuff we don’t give anyone else passes for.
Jokes about how ghetto the Inland Empire and San Bernardino are about class, about making fun of
people who struggle economically, don’t have pristine environments and struggle with poverty.


To take the semantic stance of “oh he didn’t say the I.E was bad just that he was glad that he wasn’t
raised there” is to work very hard to ignore the class implications of dismissing California’s Inland
Empire a region that includes Temecula, Victorvile, Corona, San Bernardino, Muscoy, Redlands,
Riverside, Fontana, Ontario, Rialto, Highland, Colton, Grand Terrace, Hesperia, Lake Arrowhead, Lake
Perris, Crestline, Upland, Cucamonga, Bloomington, Alta Loma, Etiwanda and more. 

photo of gathering at Serious Cartoons Records & Tapes in San Bernardino, CA; submitted by Noa James


As the word “ghetto” finally fades into tackiness, people look for other ways to make fun of people that
are poorer than them and for some Southern California residents, “San Bernardino” or something like it
are shorthand for that. This is why it’s important to educate people about social justice, socioeconomics
and numbers more broadly: it’s not like it’s a city of people who decide to be poor or “ghetto” or “dirty” or
“shady” or whatever: statistically over ⅓ of the population of San Bernardino is actually literally living in
fucking poverty. Half of the city is receiving government aid of some kind. People who run cities and
municipalities have to look at a region’s “taxbase” in other words, who is paying the taxes to fund a
government and a society: when half of your people are on government aid and ⅓ in actual life or death
struggle with real poverty then you have a very small taxbase to fund services and make things better
with. This isn’t hard to understand. But some people still want to joke about Sanbernaghetto like a bunch
of people just decided to make a shitty city.


There’s a lot to factor in: a city slow to take advantage of the potent cannabis economy, going through
bankruptcy, high rates of violent crime. In the last 35 years the Inland Empire has lost jobs at Kaiser
Steel in Fontana as well as military-base shutdowns in Moreno Valley and San Bernardino and these
are cited as the biggest factors in discussing the last few decades’ poor economic performance for the
region. During the recession we were hit particularly hard and were slower to recover. Countless people
lost their homes in Fontana, Upland and Cucamonga around 2008 and left to cheaper Bernardino,
Moreno Valley and Rialto in the decade since. 

Dark city?


That’s something I don’t get: American media is so obsessed with both the stories of races co-existing
and post-industrial towns economic situations. The Inland Empire is all of that and more than most
places but still it is dismissed as dismissible, forgettable, “ghetto”, meth-ridden. It’s almost as if lots of
activists, media figures, corporations and more that say they care about minorities and quality of life for
the unfortunate do not actually care.


Ta-Nehisi Coates, who wrote the famous Atlantic Case for Reparations article in 2014, talks a lot
about how the dominant American narrative has always indoctrinated us to think that people of color
invite their challenging circumstances with particular short-comings in work-ethic, “family values”,
“strong male role models” etc. but all studies show that when you factor in structural barriers to normal
healthy economic and family life installed into the superstructure of our society by centuries of white
supremacy and imperialism, black and brown people are not intrinsically less likely to work or be there
for their kids or have good values etc. So to bash areas like the Inland Empire full of impoverished
brown people working their asses off is to victim-blame. When rappers like Tyler or Jay Z or whoever
dismiss poor people and poor areas firstly it’s not a coincidence that that is the area that they chose to
bash and secondly, it’s part of the same right-wing white supremacist ideology espoused by the old
white guys pictured with Reagan people are always meming about, the same philosophy that birthed
Trumpism, the post-Paul parts of the Tea Party movement. 


This is not to say any rapper that says shit like this is a war criminal in the class struggle but rather
just to say be aware of this train of thought’s origins and context. Realize when framing is causing you
to elide class in your analysis of something.


                                               THOPFest Ontario, CA photo by J. Sevilla


What does all this have to do with hip-hop?


Personally it doesn’t bother me that much that bigg-ish rappers say stuff like this from time to time.
I’m even starting to like it because it helps me find other social media accounts of people that live in the
I.E. but what does bother me when I see people co-signing the bashing of the Inland Empire because it
reminds me of how ingrained into us hatred of the poor is by American culture. It’s one thing to say it’s hot
or to complain about the struggle but I disagree with comments about the area or its people being
intrinsically uncool or whack and I object to comments about “it’s bad for creatives/we don’t support
creatives”.


Imagine going to the home of a family that is hungry and criticizing them for pirating music online or not
having nice enough art on their walls. That’s what it is to say the I.E. doesn’t support its creatives: yeah
Mo Val, San Bernardino, and many more have major economic issues, why wouldn’t support for the arts
be part of that context? That’d be like a city being on fire and you kept complaining about this one random
part of the city that’s on fire as if the rest of the city wasn’t on fire.


Anyway yes: there is less city by city support in terms of dollars for the arts in the I.E. than in an area like
Long Beach that is both more affluent and staffed by city leaders that prioritize a more progressive vision
of culture and the arts. Because so many people are struggling economically, it’s harder for artists to
make a living off of solely a regional customer base. Harder but not impossible granted. But in terms of
the people? In terms of the talent? 


It’s just wrong to say there’s not opportunities. I’m from San Bernardino and the proximity to San Diego
and Los Angeles and my own diverse area has allowed me to achieve a healthy amount of my artistic
goals and has since given me as much of a platform or shot as I could ask for to try to tackle the rest from.
If someone wants to show me how per capita (controlling for population) compared to x, y or z region
there’s less opportunity, given the economic context I’d be very open to such an argument but to say
there is no opportunity and that “people don’t support each other” is factually incorrect.

photo credit: China Tokyo Japan, submitted by David Dee


Given the economic challenges of the Inland Empire, people should be amazed at what HAS been built: the Common Ground, a massive legacy continues, THOPFest, Punch Line Kings battle league, a cannabis friendly record store venue in Serious Cartoons and way more….this is just the stuff that’s still happening right now. 


Stop twisting it in your head to something that it’s not: the I.E. is a region with talent like many others
and it’s also a region with massive swaths of impoverished people. These are two distinct categories
but these identities intertwine, so when people try to dismiss and then people try to say you’re crazy
because you’re feeling a certain way about it just remember your correct feeling of there being something
wrong about such dismissals is you knowing deep down that this is all part of the only argument that ever
really mattered: the one about valuing all humans regardless. 


Stop twisting it in your head to something that it’s not: when they dismiss the I.E. they are spitting on what
they perceive as lower-class people. Class struggle is real and social media and the internet allow people
to tell on themselves about whose side they are on; we’re not haters for keeping note on when people
reveal themselves.


Tristan "Tanjint Wiggy" Acker is a staff writer for Zus Entertainment, a Jooseboxx and
Untapped Hip-Hop contributor, and member of the Inland Empire, California based
nerdcore hip-hop group the West Coast Avengers 

Friday, August 30, 2019

Leap of Faith by Aye Sincere- A King Dice Experience (Album Review)



I won’t do this often, I’m not Anthony Fantano and I really have no desire to be. I’m an emcee, a producer, and a damn good artist.  With that comes my ability to find, analyze, and promote good music. Aye Sincere is an artist I’ve had the pleasure of watching grow. I jumped at the chance when I was invited to his album listening party for Leap of faith. I pulled up to Serious Cartoons Records in San Bernardino and settled into a nice spot on the couch. As I became one with the cushions the lights were dimmed and Sincere spoke briefly about the project. Then he hit play…


1.Leap of Faith- The album opens with a skit setting the theatrical tone of the album. The opening track is an introduction to the “live instrumentation” feel this album has. This track feels like goodbye to rapper known as Young Sincere.
2. Are you Okay- the influence of Anderson.Paak is obvious, but with a twist. On the second track we get introduced to the new persona of Aye Sincere, shedding the veneer of Young Sincere for a more mature tone and higher level of artistry.
3. Let Go- Nicklaus Grey can be heard lending his voice to the hook of Let Go. Propaganda does a great job of complimenting the voices and styles laid before us on this song. The trio really create magic on this song
4. Leap Down- This song is an upbeat one.
5. Fall Away pt. 3- Aye Sincere creates a haunting vocal intro that bleeds into another upbeat song. By this song I was craving something new, not because the songs are bad, but I began to feel the diversity in the album was lacking. Had the song adopted the identity of Nicklaus Grey’s bridge It would have been a well needed break from the 1-2-3-4 up beat songs we’ve gotten so far.
6. Glide- Ask and you shall receive. This song is a demonstration of the ability for Aye Sincere to show his ability to craft songs from tapping in with Nicklaus Grey for vocals again to utilizing CJ Wesley’s ability to blend in with the established feel of the album.
7. Earthbound- another song you could hear at Forever 21 or Charlotte Russe. There is definitely a deliberate intention to capture this specific sound. Instead of being another rapper in a sea of sound-alikes, Aye Sincere does a great job of setting himself apart in a way that I think will set him up for huge opportunities and future successes.
8. Come Back Home- if you go to buffets and like to get a little bit of everything, this song is for you. I mean, I like it, it IS a good song. I just feel like the artist I just spent 7 songs getting to know is lost on this track. Again, not a bad song but if I heard this song first and listened to the rest of the album, I feel like I would think they were two different artists.

Aye Sincere is Anderson.Paak plus Chance the Rapper times Childish Gambino circa Because the Internet with a generous helping of West Coast I.E. flavor people have come to expect from this region. This album feels like you’re sitting in on a well-polished band’s practice sets, the chemistry pours through the speaker even when guest features grace the various songs. It all just works. The growth can’t be ignored. All too often artists grow and change in name only but Young Sincere becoming Aye Sincere isn’t just a superficial transformation. The songs, the vibe, and the skill has evolved. August 30th the album drops.