You Want All This Game for Free?
Mang, fuck mang!
I know, I know. It’s been a minute. Actually, it’s been like two and a half months, which is a lifetime for a stack as young as NOTs. Apologies are in order, but really, I promise I’ve been busy...
Busy getting disrespected! Whether it has been disrespect from pubescent voice-crackers, travel-weary homies, or surly oldheads, it’s all the same. Maybe it is all of you who should be the ones apologizing to me because I’ve been going through such a tough time. In spite of the various levels of disrespect, I’m still going to feed the streets. I’ve got to! You can’t get “FREE GAME” like this anywhere else. Get in line and grab a plate because it’s time to eat.
As the slightly washed but still serviceable Ghostface Killah says, “Yo, the sun could never be pussy, he always come out.” Damn it, I’ll never be pussy and No Oldtimers always come out!
NOTS V. Long time coming. Rest assured, I’ve been cooking up mentally. Betty Crocker type beat-looking ass. Dig in.
In this Stack:
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Am I The Dude That I Think I Am? Am I That Savage?
Ayo fuck music!
NOTs is a book club now!
That’s right—I’m out here reading, and man, do I feel alive. Nothing better than putting my nose to the grindstone that is the lowly Kindle and getting deep into the nitty gritty. (Don’t worry, I got that ebook plug so I don’t have to give evil corp a single centavo of my hard-earned stipend.)
To keep it a buck with you, though, I’ve not been reading anything good. Normally, I read pop culture pieces (ever heard of Daily Mail?) and sometimes I dabble in fiction—something slight, nothing too serious. This time around it’s a little number written by a newcomer named Sean Thor Conroe. His resume includes 962 Instagram followers, a podcast called 1storypod, and now his first novel, Fuccboi.
Fuccboi was published by Little, Brown and Company and, for better or worse, it has fools around the world hitting the books. It is an absolute riot. Fuccboi follows a character who shares the author’s name (“but most definitely not his story”) on his journey to find himself and create art (his art!) while grinding through life as a Postmates delivery man. Several tragedies occur along the way, but what actually makes the book intriguing is Conroe’s uncomfortable-yet-admirable writing style. It is curt, rambling, and littered with modern parlance, all as a way to appeal to people who proudly proclaim that they’ve not read a book since high school (a noble cause!). In fact, the style is the only reason to even attempt reading Fuccboi. Mind you, this dude Conroe is thirty years old, and he starts his entry to the world of autofiction like this:
Got into a thing with the Fresh Grocer lady over coffee filters.
It honestly wasn’t a biggie, but why say they’re on sale if they aren’t, all I’m sayin.
She was like This muhfucker. What aisle.
I told her what aisle and we went and checked. Together.
Well we started to, but then she told me not to follow her when she noticed me following her.
I was like Aite, fasho, putting my hands up. Like I’ll hold it down. Man the reg’.
When she came back and said No du’, they ain’t on sale, I snapped.
That’s why I tried to come with! I said. To show you they are.
So we checked, actually together this time, she hemming and hawing the whole way.
Honestly can’t remember whether they were or weren’t, but I’ll never forget that incident.
It connected us. It marked the start of a long, fruitful, and strictly nocturnal friendship.
Not to mention Conroe started his career at Ivy League-killer Swarthmore College, attempted to walk across the entire continental United States (in classic lost dude fashion—shoutout Mike Posner), received a Master’s degree from Columbia, and moonlights as a SoundCloud rapper. He’s got all this worldliness, and he starts his work like this? (well, maybe his SoundCloud side hustle says it all.) Obviously, he’s doing his thing—much respect, he’s the man—but it hurt me. As much as it hurt me, though, I had to keep reading. It was the kind of hurt that made me feel good. Like a big, ugly, green bruise that you know is going to get worse and worse, but you can’t stop poking it and making people look at it.
Fuccboi is wrong. Fuccboi is brash. Fuccboi is uncomfortable. But I’ll be damned if Fuccboi isn’t captivating, at least in the beginning. At its essence, the book examines what it means to be a man in this day and age, and Conroe says some inadvertently hilarious shit along the way. Early in the novel, when Sean (the character) is riding his bicycle in a snowstorm to deliver a slice of pizza to a grad student, Conroe (the author) writes:
Could feel the Under Armour rubbing against the rash below my right pec, extending into my right pit.
Shoulda vaselined that bih.
Forgot to vaseline that bih.
Gotta remember to!
These little quips cover the first half of the book, and they’re awesome. The prose in this bih is unlike any other, and that should be celebrated, but shit, some of these lines (like those above) kill me. Even worse is, once the shock and awe begins to dissipate, Fuccboi begins to crumble beneath its own weight.
And it starts with the way that Conroe talks about Sean’s ladies. For much of Fuccboi, Conroe writes about the various women (exclusively referred to as baes) in Sean’s life with a sort of disregard. They’re a Lazy Susan of baes: side bae, editor bae, artist bae, autonomous bae, unfamiliar bae, peripheral bae, roomie bae, and ex-roomie bae, circling in and out as Sean desires. Sometimes he’s into editor bae, sometimes he’s fucking with autonomous bae, and sometimes he’s with artist bae. This sums it up pretty well:
I couldn’t stay focused.
So many baes.
Too many feelings.
And never enough to fill the hole inside.
Damn. Who could fill that hole? Only one person: ex bae. Ex bae is never circled around—she’s always on Sean’s plate or propped up on a pedestal for all baes to be compared to, even though she doesn’t want to be. She was Sean’s reason to live, but she cut things off with him several years prior to the novel, and he’s still reeling. Without ex bae, the book would be nothing but empty slang. She’s vital for Sean, for Conroe, for me. And Fuccboi hurts because of this dependence.
Somewhere down the line, what little charm there is to the prose suddenly dies off, and in its place are vast expanses of internal rambling and questionable, red-pill flavored personal beliefs. At one point, Conroe begins discussing Karl Ove Knausgaard’s Min Kamp 6 (no surprise there!), works his way over to Knausgaard’s thoughts on Mein Kampf (naturally), and then says something truly astonishing about his thoughts on Knausgaard’s thoughts on Mein Kampf:
There were things about which one mustn’t speak.
About which it wasn’t right to.
Things deemed—and understandably / not wrongly so—taboo.
Taboo for understandable / not wrong reasons.
But that didn’t mean people didn’t have these thoughts.
Didn’t mean repression was the way.
Repression and shame were what created monsters.
Were what, lowkey, created Hitler.
Now that there. A sizzling take, I know.
Writing was one way to even start tackling repression and shame of taboo thoughts/impulses and unspeakable traumas.
Writing wasn’t speaking.
Writing was a silent thing.
Was ‘remaining silent.’
Books required silence / concerted activity to tackle.
Books didn’t force anything onto anyone.
People could stop reading a book at any time.
Not stopping—getting the reader to not—in fact, was the challenge
Facing both writers and readers of.
… (Jim Note: had to trim the fat…shit was too long)
The attempt to express the inexpressible was the antidote to the other option: wallowing helplessly in repression, shame, as you grew more alienated, hateful, consumed by suffering, till eventually you became a school shooter or Hitler.
Till your body was left with no choice but to start lashing out, fighting back. Deteriorating. Expressing that which you were neglecting to in words/writing.
Bc the body knows, bro.(← The ‘bro’ that broke the camel’s back)
The body will feel what you decide, mentally, you’re not gonna.
The body will say what you won’t.
And when the thing you won’t say/write ain’t pretty, best believe how your body lashes out won’t be either—
Hmmmm. This man blames his crippling eczema on the fact that he doesn’t feel comfortable expressing his darkest unspoken thoughts? And by not feeling comfortable voicing his innermost ideations, this dude goes on to put himself (and his atopic dermatitis) on the same plane as Adam Lanza and Adolf Hitler and whatever drove them to do what they did? That’s crazy. And brave. But at this point, he has almost completely abandoned his hip, young, cool vernacular, instead choosing to use some big boy words to prop up his half-baked theories. It doesn’t work, and it takes the book from entertainingly wrong to just plain boring and wrong. The colloquialisms made Fuccboi intriguing, and when he abandons phrases like “O.D. boo’d up,” “side bae tryna get it,” and “mishing it out,” Conroe essentially gives up on his vision.
Not much is right about what Conroe is doing, from the fucked-with-them, fucked-without-them attitude toward women to the empty-ass plot to the abandonment of millennial/gen Z slang, but between the vast slabs of draining banality, there are some delightful little moments. Conroe says some honestly rather insightful bits about XXXTENTACION and throws down about Murakami, the shishosetsu tradition (the I-novel), and the burakumin class. These moments remind me of little flowers trying their very best to grow between the otherwise lifeless cracks in a city sidewalk.
The most intriguing part about Fuccboi, for me, though, is that Conroe and I appear to be quite similar (or so I’m told). Apparently, I speak the same way that Conroe writes (i.e. in a cool way), and we like a lot of the same things! How can I hate when the Fuccboi mastermind and I have so much in common? He loves hip-hop—I love hip-hop. He loves large books and fucks with poetry—I love large books and fuck with poetry. He loves being a silly billy—I love being a silly billy. Hell, we even have the same grocery shopping technique! I can’t deny it: I buy shit in a similarly hare-brained fashion, and create culinary art centered around potatoes, onions, eggs, and Cafe Bustelo. Maybe I would write the same book if I were given his platform, but instead of extreme eczema, I would battle moderate-to-severe asthma. And instead of the elusive ex bae, I’d be haunted by my decision to obtain a Bachelor of Science while majoring in English Language and Literature.
However, I would never, ever say shit like this when questioning my manhood in the face of a fellatio-related existential crisis:
Could I live up to whoever she thought I was.
Was I the dude she wanted me to be.
Was I that savage.
Honestly didn’t know.
Didn’t think so.
Same time, wasn’t about to pass up on finding out.
I’d like to think I have a little more nuance than that, but I’m not so sure. Maybe I would say something like:
Oh shit. This is some serious shit. Am I about to let my nuts hang or am I going to show my ass? This is big time—a real make or break moment for me. Let’s hope I show out.
I don’t know. It’s not better, but then again, I would never actually write anything like this. But who knows? When I’m thirty, I might really be feeling myself and want to flex. We’ll have to wait and see.
But shit, maybe I should write a book. A collection of vignettes of my life. My brief career as a landscaper. The men who wished I were a woman while I was working as a receptionist/intake specialist at a massage studio. The fact that I’ve been living without a bathroom door for almost two weeks. Maybe I’ll call it Beast Mode or Alpha Male or Apex Predator or Speed Demon or some shit like that. Whatever I land on, I know I’ll be able to find solace in that my autofiction (my art!) will at least be better than Fuccboi.
Stunt on These Heaux
You know that one meme? The one used when your favorite underdog and under-appreciated individual faces the biggest stage in their respective world? The “stunt on these hoes” meme? No? You don’t? Well, now you do.
That’s an accurate depiction of me any time Steve Buscemi does anything. That’s my guy! I love him, and I want to see him stay winning. The love affair between Mr. Buscemi and I started in 2018 via a forced comparison in which my face was somehow animorphed into his. At the time, it made me a bit sad—I didn’t want to look like old-ass Steve Buscemi!—but I’ve since realized that he fucking rules. He’s a good actor and a good director, and he deserves to do well in life. Fuck, I deserve that, too! He’s simultaneously my supposed celebrity look-alike and my celebrity crush. (What can I say? I’m a narcissist.) We are brothers in arms (err, large eyeballs?)—when things are good for him, things are good for me (and vice versa).
However, Steve just did something that has left me truly befuddled. On February 7th, Kith (streetwear for idiots) dropped the lookbook for their Spring 2022 collection, and who else should make an appearance as a model in the collection but The King of (Eyeball)Pop himself! And he looks incredible. He oozes confidence and is guaranteed to drop jaws (and maybe even some bragas).
That rules, but I’m torn—this is Kith that we’re talking about. Kith does not rule—it’s like if all of hypebeast-dom were concentrated into a single brand. They take good things and wring the life out of them with abandon (looking at you, Coca-Cola x Kith collabs…). They’ve not done much to gain the trust of discerning tastemakers like myself, but this is different. They’ve taken someone very near and dear to my heart and made him the face of their campaign! I don’t know what to think. I just don’t.
Maybe I’m being a hater. Maybe Kith did something right. Maybe the glory days are back. They’ve managed to make a 64-year-old look so sick. The clothes are cool enough, I suppose. The headwear and eyewear are solid. Even the footwear is nice! This is all very tough for me to process.
In the end, though, I’m a Stevie B guy til the day I die, and I’ll support him in any and all of his endeavors. Go ahead, Steve. Stunt on these hoes.
The Latest Collection from YSL
Dear Young Thug,
You had a nice, long run, but now your time is up. The music was awesome! Until it wasn’t. I Came from Nothing 2 was a audacious little introduction (especially “I Know”—fucking right track, dead sound), and it only got better as you developed, from Tha Tour and Barter 6 to I’m Up, the Slime Season series, JEFFREY, and Beautiful Thugger Girls. You collabed with Camila Cabello and made the number one single in the US! The bar was raised higher and higher and higher, yet somehow, you always managed to reach it. And then you dropped So Much Fun. You were at the absolute peak of your powers, and the people couldn’t get enough. Hell, you hit number one on the album charts! That’s crazy. You were unstoppable.
With So Much Fun, you fully entered the mainstream, but at what cost? You lost that twinkle in your eye. That fire beneath your buns. The spice of life. You found what works for you, and you’ve stuck with it. Out were the missteps and the misfires, and in were the variations of the formula. Everything became homogeneous. Accessible. How do I know this? I heard your music playing at a Spanish grocery store (“Hate the Game,” I believe it was). I was dumbfounded, but I was not surprised.
I’ve wanted you to hit the big-time for a long time, but how was I to know that you’d make it by doing shit like this? I wanted you to break big by staying true to yourself! Not by compromising what makes you a fucking freak! I think it’s time for you to hang it up. Move into a more A&R type role. You’re good at it. YSL Records rules. Your proteges are solid. Gunna, Strick, Lil Keed, Lil Gotit…all pretty good. Yung Kayo especially. You’ve really found the one with him.
Anyway, I’ve said too much already. I need to stop before I get emotional. Thank you for your service, but the little homies have got it from here. Just lay low and do you. Drop a song every so often. Whatever. I won’t listen, but I will be happy for you. Just keep pushing the homies. They need you. I need you, even if I never want to hear your music again.
Longtime listener, first-time caller,
Jimmy from No Oldtimers
P.S. Your appearance on Chillin Island shows that you’re a lovely person who is pleasant to hang out with. I’m down to hang anytime, as long as we don’t have to listen to any of your new music. Think about it.
I can’t say it enough: Yung Kayo fucking rocks. Young Thug started playing it straight, and that’s whatever, but now we have Yung Kayo to keep things twisted. His new album is good. It’s called DFTK (Down for the Kount), and it’s everything that I’ve ever wanted in a new Young Thug album. It’s big, it’s wild, and it’s weird. I love weird. Kayo bucks and coos over tumultuous and maximalist beats, but he doesn’t really say anything. He doesn’t need to (and I don’t want him to). He sounds cool as hell, and that’s really all that matters. His guests sound cool as hell, too, especially Eartheater’s take on a soothsaying wailer on “hear you.” I haven’t heard trap like this in a minute. I missed her.
Let’s give it up for DFTK and its brainbox. “down (one kount)” rules, “YEET” and “iPic” are absolutely silly, “hear you” is world-ending and slightly frightening (particularly when Eartheater is in the mix), and the final tracks from “kiko” to “it’s a monday” are worth the price of admission alone. I hope Yung Kayo doesn’t end up like Young Thug.
Turnt Shit, no burnt shit, you feel me? Potshots has been in the oven too long—burnt. Time to start over from scratch—turnt. This shit is homemade and from the heart. Handcrafted by me, an individual who cares. I poured my soul into these selections. Loosen your belts and eat up.
“Call më” by Yëat
The quëstionably-turbanëd champion of TikTok that nobody askëd for yët ëverybody fucks with is back! His nëw album 2 Alivë is rëally no diffërent from 2021’s Up 2 Më, in that it is anothër imprëssive hëlping of mind-numbing, bass-blown ragë rap. It has thë samë altërnatively-ënunciated, slang-fillëd bangërs accëntuated by wëirdo ëlectronic flourishës, but this timë it’s morë rëfined. 2 Alivë has përfected Yëat’s rëcipe for succëss. This shit is likë caviar—ëxquisite and ovër thë top.
Yëat, always thë wild card, doës find ways to switch it up somëtimes, most notably on thë surprisingly swëet “Call më.” Surë, hë still talks about thë big body Tonkas and thëm përcs, but hë lovës it up a bit and asks somë hard-hitting quëstions: Will his girl still lovë him whën hë’s on tour? Will shë still lovë him aftër hë shows hër thë world? Will shë pray with him whën his dëmons arë calling? This man has his doubts, but hë’s still fully devotëd—hë’s ëven willing to stëp away from thëm përcs to fully give himsëlf to hër. And thë bëat is just too damn cutë! If this isn’t lovë, I don’t know what is. Good.
“Like Exploding Stones” by Kurt Vile
Kurt Vile is old, but he still knows how to get down. You can’t even try to tell me this man doesn’t face spliffs and delete beers (on the weekends only—guy’s got a family). Look at him! He deserves all the respect in the world, and he knows it, too. He’s the only man that can get away with wearing skinnies in this day and age (he looks bad, but it’s cute). “Like Exploding Stones” is a victory lap of sorts, celebrating all the years he’s been in the game. After a long pandemic spent with the wife and kids and starving his fans for some new music, KV is back! Oldie but goodie.
“Driponomics” by Soul Glo featuring Mother Maryrose
I cannot believe I’m about to say this, but the hardest rap song I’ve heard in a long time was written and performed by a hardcore band. Fuck Death Grips. Soul Glo is four slightly old but still relatively hip men who fuck. Mother Maryrose is not a name I recognize, but she’s cool, too. Together, they shut down hypebeasts and shout out Teejayx6. It really doesn’t get much better. Good.
“No Good at Goodbyes” by Gridiron
You know that song “Boom” by P.O.D.? The namesake track for the 2012 masterwork Here Comes the Boom starring Kevin James? This shit is a lot like “Boom,” but with way less Christian influence and fewer questionable dreads. Sinfully good.
“C’mon Baby, Cry” by Orville Peck
This one is for all the ladies of No Oldtimers. We appreciate you. Fellas, you can still listen to this (I did), but this is meant for the ladies. Somewhere down the line, it was decided that Orville Peck is not for straight men, and who am I to question that? Not my place.
“Behind a Bleeding Heart” by Catcher
I don’t know a thing about these guys, but this song makes me want to link up with all my boys and do some reckless shit. A body needs to link up with his homies and get up to no good. It’s human nature. Good.
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