Aftermath: Z-Ro Listening Party For Crack

Better Than: Hearing that stupid day-job conversation on Monday where Lady A asks Lady B how her weekend was and Lady B responds with “Not long enough,” and then they both fake laugh and walk off. Ugh.

Download: Anything from here

7:10: An unexpected bonus for this event: driving up towards the locale and seeing a ton of posters outside the building advertising “Crack.” Certainly, this is what Dave and Buster had in mind when they opened the place.

7:15: I thought I’d wait until a little after seven to show up since this thing was scheduled to start at 6 p.m. You know, that way everyone could see how cool I am because I show up late to events. Only thing is, when I walk in there are only about seven other people here, none of whom look entirely impressed with my grand entrance.

7:18: Z-Ro is easily one of my favorite rappers of all time. He sits somewhere near legendary status for me. The only thing that supersedes my admiration for him is my fear of him. At this point, he’s more of a caricature of a person than an actual person. I’ve concocted a ton of Z-Ro myths in my mind that I assume to be true: he drinks vampire blood; he rides around at night on the wind pulling teeth out of the mouths of children; things of that nature.

7:20: They’ve got the tables in the showroom done up all nice with these white and red table covers and some fancily folded napkins. The business-like vibe though is somewhat thrown off by all the condoms and fliers with a guy smoking crack on them thrown about.

7:28: I see this one guy that I met about ten months covering another event. I walk up to him, smile, give him the I’m-not-Black-But-I-Listen-To-A-Lot-Of-Rap hand grip and half hug thing, then have about a two minute conversation with him before I realize I’ve never met this guy before in my life. Shit.

7:37: Ohshitohshitohshit. They just turned the lights down real low in here. Actually, I’m only assuming they turned the lights down low. It’s also completely possible that Z-Ro just walked in and his mere presence made the lights fall back, like whenever a ghost shows up in a scary movie and all electronics start going all wongo. After about 15 seconds I deduce that Z-Ro did not in fact walk in because nobody is dead. Yet.

7:46: Okay, they’ve set up the dishes for the food now. I wouldn’t be completely surprised if when they remove the covers of the chafing dishes they’re filled with nothing but dead cats and broken glass.

7:47: Nope, I couldn’t have been further off. They’re serving nachos, those tiny burgers, and some crab cake looking things that I’d rather not try. Another thing: while I’m standing in line getting my food the guy in front of me turns around and says, “God damn!” and then smiles and turns back around. I laugh, but mostly because I’m uncomfortable, not because anything is funny. Why did he say that? Do I have too many tiny burgers on my plate? Three seems like an adequate number of burgers to take. I mean, they’re freakin’ tiny.

7:49: Z-Ro’s DJ is a rather large fellow (muscular large, not fat large) and as he works the room the performing DJ gives him a shout out for showing up, then starts calling him DJ Macho Man Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan Jr. As a general rule, it’s usually not a good idea to make fun guys bigger than you, but that goes double when said guy is somehow affiliated with Z-Ro. That’s like making fun of great white shark that has the ability to walk on land and has a key to your house.

8:15: MC Wicket Cricket has made an appearance, and he’s every bit as small as his name would imply.

8:20: They’ve (finally) started playing the CD and the second song is almost a love song called “Baby Girl.” It’s really well produced, but something just doesn’t seem right about Z-Ro being in love. Imagine if you saw Freddy Kreuger holding a kitten, that’s what this song feels like.

8:22: I just tipped the bartender $5 for a Sprite. Mind you, I didn’t want to, it just happened to be the only bill I had. I’m going to eat a shitload of tiny burgers to recoup my losses.

8:24: This guy in front of me has cornrows and the braids hang down his neck. You’ll see people accent them with beads occasionally, but on the end of his he’s got some actual toolbox-type metal nuts. It’s kinda cool, but only because he’s big and he’s sitting right in front of me. When I get home I’ll probably realize that it’s totally weak.

8:29: “Call My Phone” is playing now and it’s top notch stuff. He opens with a little throwback to “No Help,” (from Trae’s Restless album) easily one of my favorite songs from a Houston artist in the last few years.

8:36: Still no sign of Z-Ro.

8:39: “Lonely,” is blaring now and it’s a bit more in line with his bitter precedent. In the best line of the song he clearly states, “Fuck tryin’ to please a mother fucker that can’t be pleased.” He fell out of love fast. One part of the song he says, “I don’t want to die lonely,” and it resonates as incredibly authentic. He probably won’t top this song.

8:43: Man, I really want a tattoo in my neck. This guy at another table has one and it looks so boss. I’m afraid that it won’t have that same I’m A Tough Son Of A Bitch vibe if it’s on my size 14 ½ neck though. It’ll probably be like the time I tried to wear a bandana around my neck like Lil’ Wayne but ended up looking like Fred from Scooby Doo.

8:53: Okay, Z-Ro is officially in fine fashion here. On “You,” in which he makes a statement about someone and then follows every one with “That’s you” (which is incredibly cooler to hear than to read) he drops a “Throwin’ pussy at your homegirl’s husband every evening, then try to convince her that he’s cheating. That’s you.” Dope.

9:02: Not to give too much away here, but one of the last songs of the CD is another of Z-Ro’s famed freestyles. It doesn’t top the “Mo City Don Freestyle,” but it ranks high up there. The whole album feels incredibly polished –perhaps a bit too much so for his longtime fans- but generally speaking, it would get the more, not the lesser. (If you didn’t get that, you’ll need to step your game up.)

Critic’s Notebook

Personal Bias: Not a single one. Nope. Everything is completely objective.

Random Detail: Disappointingly, Z-Ro never makes an appearance. The DJ claims that he ducked his head in for a second and then cut out but I find that hard to believe seeing as how everyone is still shank free.

-- Shea Serrano

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