Thursday, June 12, 2008

Insights and Highlifes: Review and Interview from the RawDawg Torrance Stephens

America's backyard is a culinary masterpiece served over an eclectic array of flavorful scents and spices. When all is said and done, and the gluttons have feasted, there remains a beautiful lining of leftover crumbs and ingredients typically overlooked but adorned by the elite as the most important proponents of all the dishes, the metaphorical "love" that went into every entrée, the heart of the country, the dirty fucking south.

Acclaimed author Dr. Torrance Stephens (Raw Dawg B the All M-I-T) delivers his blend of political opinions, satirical views, and straight hard body perspectives with a dash of southern comfort in a truly compelling collection of essays, "Dirt Behind My Ears". Entrenched with a libertarian position, (not liberal you numbnuts, visit the Cato Institute for clarification), on the gritty undertones on everything from music, fashion, and women to politics, the economy, and bitches, Dr. Stephens provides a refreshingly dope angle amidst all the extremely bias nonsense floating around the factory now of days. I mean, dude has a Ph.D. and he's rocking some sick aqua nikes and lampin on a rifle posted up over acres of backwoods for the cover of the book, tough.

While seeing eye-to-eye with every viewpoint is inherently impossible, ala Einstein's theory about this unique universe, Dr. T.S. hits it right on the money with his comparison of the Republican Party's excessive spending to that of the Democrats of yesteryear. (I couldn't agree more, they did a great job cutting taxes but how about controlling cash flow fellas?) One of my favorite pieces in the book was a small contribution entitled, "Sacraligi-Fried", where Stephens concludes the essay with the fact that you should always have "bread" at the crib because it would be sacrilegious to have a gorge of a meal without some bread to go with it, nah mean. The piercing perceptions laid out across the canvas are anything but mundane. Calling out all these new cliché phony rap acts as the age of the fuckboy and alluding to Hitchcock's "Birds" in another entry allowed me to certify this book as a b-b-b-banger, Pimpin' Pens stamp of approval homie!

So, Dr. Stephens crafts a fine piece of work allowing us to reconsider some of the world events that we have so prematurely brushed off this decade. From our country's overreactions to minuscule events blown out of proportion to our under appreciation for the loss of certain greats like Richard fucking Prior, Dr. T.S. drops some valid opinions on how we so conveniently forget to clean up the dirt behind our ears.
Review by Los Diablo for Pimpin' Pens

Bonus-Bonus-Bonus Bitches! Exclusive Pimpin' Pens Interview With Dr. Raw Dawg Buffalo Stephens Himself:

*DISCLAIMER: The following interview was composed from 3 sets of questions, a few from each of us here at Pimpin' Pens. - With that being said, behold the realness spewing from this exclusive Q&A session with the All-Mi-T!

For the lames out there who aren't aware of the infamous Rawdawg Legacy give us a quick little bio.

Well mane, Memphis born and bread. Although folk been up in this camp since age 17, I'm still a Memphis mac first and foremost. I was born and raised in Castalia Heights, but moved down a few blocks away to south Parkway, then to parkway terrace. I guess it all started then. No detail with dirt, but I did have a pool in my backyard and gave the fi'est parties in flip town back in the day. Folks just started calling me all - mi- T. Used to be tBone. But the greatest good proffered divinity for your folk, being god by nature and such.

Then I went to Morehouse. Can't mention dirt – let's say I ran shit and kicked it there BDS (Big dic style too).

Whats' a typical day for the allmighty starting with the "Breakfast of Champions"
how did that come about and who are you musical influences.

Well really, when I had a woman, it would be her, followed by me tending to my kids. Used to coach aau basketball and lil league base ball. Had my boys since 4 to 14 then they went to high school. And the breakfast, just a morning cocktail. Tequila with a shot of hot sauce, mainly on weekends - like I said I got kids. Other wise that with a deuce deuce, what gives folk?
Used to be a time I'd go to Emory University, or Morehouse school of medicine, write some papers for scientific journals, wrote some grants, and I can't forget the travel to and from to Africa. Been blessed folk. Lived in Nigeria, Seneghal, Ethiopia and South Africa, and been to a host of other African Countries.

But I have to read a couple few news papers a day, check my investments, clean my guns, check on my flowers and walk my 11 acres. Most importantly kiss my kids and tell them I love them. Talks to a few ladies at night – I'm finished with dames and broads, write and read some history, philosophy or what not. A good day means we make a few songs so I can ride around in my pick up listening to them.

You were in the midst of a milestone in music history. What was the Memphis music scene like back in the day and what are you views on the current state to Memphis Rap.

Well most of the folks that made it were basically hit the clubs as DJs. Chanting of fat beats, or they were basically selling stuff on the streets. Like *ball & MJG, Skiny Pimp, Gangsta Pat, DJ Squeeky, Tom Skeemask, Criminal Mane and folk like that. And in the clubs, strip clubs included, all you heard was Memphis cats dropping Memphis ling of Memphis heavy bass and strong high hat beats. You could go to Overton Park on Sunday and everybody would be slanging tapes. It was cool then. The only problem was like I said, the Bluff city, one-town, flip town or Memphis was click tight and none of them folks wanted to work with nobody or else they would be literally tearing the club up. Then there was the fact that pimping was bigger than hip hop at the time and more loot could be made from that.

You mention that you bump a lot of NWA and Oldschool Memphis shit like Playa fly, Gangsta black, - who else do you consider you fav. emcees/groups.

Well Three six, UGK, Mos Def, Reakwon of the Wu, Jean Grae, Rakim, Big L, , Immortal Technique, and mayb a few more. But of the new cats, DG Yola, and many of them folk my boys Mook B and Born Immaculate be lacing beats for on Bankhead.

What drove you to pursue a writing career, and who are some of your favorite authors and books. Are you into Hunter S. Thompson, Burroughs, Vonnegut or any of the "Beat writers?"

Truthfully, don't really favor none of them folk. Me like, uh, Voltaire, Langeston Huges, Iceburg Slim, Herman Hesse, Albert Camus, Pablo Neurda, Countee Cullen, Sterling Brown, Nella Larse, Edgar Poe, Trey Ellis, Maya Angelo, Alexander Dumas and Aniss Ninn (sp) are some of the few that come straight off the dome, ficton and verse that is, but I really prefer history and philosophy and science. I really dig Chekih nta Diop, Hegel, Satre and and thinking folk like them.

What music do you bump that isn't of the rap/hip-hop genre?

Tchacoskivy (love William Tell overture and 1812). Linton Kwesi Johnson, Gil Scott and Of course my favs, Funkadelic and Prince. And jazz, Sade, Oscar Peterson, Milt Jackson,. Love me some Zepplin, Lynard Skynard, Almon Brothers, Steely Dan, you name it I love muzk. Al Green.

You often claim South Parkway, describe to me the urban backdrop of South Parkway. Any memories of you as a rambunctious youngster with soon to be future rappers getting into trouble on the streets of South Parkway. Also I hear the term SPV thrown around a lot, but never was able to decipher its meaning. I figure it is an acronym for something, but what?

I was one of the only folk to have a pool in my backyard, so I gave parties and it was the shit. Eating Paynes BBQ smoke sausages and Jack Pyrtle Chicking and drinking Fight Cock Whiskey and chiefing – the life.

We just kicked it and its close knit. My best friend to this day folks founded the 4th largets black ins company in America and 12 largest black bank. So those with loot AND WITHOUT LOOT AND INBETWEEN KICKED IT LIKE FOLK. But its raw dawg folk, if u can make it in Memphis you can make it any where. Everybody think they the shit.

Well me is click clack. Every body know everybody. Im from Shophertown (sp like a car driver) in between Castalia and Glenview park. Memphis is a town were slang is created, from folk and main, to calling everybody Jones – generic. Like pimp jones, Gay Jones, weak Jones. Ect. We also make phrases. My books are all about Memphis and my charcters are mainly Memphis niggas. We used to say "Fast N gamin, never changing". Or pimp was professional in the management of a prostitute, until I came up and we spelled it PPIMP (putting paper in my pocket." So Three 6 made a lot of loot off of stuff all cats said in the clubs, like "Tear the club up:, "Make a stang – we used to have cats from cali and NYC come up in our camp thinking we slow, so we play the slow card and jack them – not me of course never.

You've been on the peripheries of the Memphis hip-hop music scene since practically its inception. I'm sure you've seen a substantial amount of emcees come and go. In your mind, is there one enduring quality that an emcee might posses that separate them from the rest of the herd. It's amazing how many talented young artists have fallen by the wayside over the years.

You've inspired the Pimpin Pens crew to become more politically conscious with your blogs and their socio-economic and political slant. What newspapers, and magazines help form your passionate opinions and social commentary.

The Wall Street Journal, I love political op-eds, used to watch and adore the mind of the posthumous William Bucly, The Paris Review, the Economist, the Jersulum Times, Das Speigal, Miami Herald, Atlanta Jounal Constitution by default, Finincial Times, and some other papers mostly in Africa.

I understand that you are an avid NPR (National Public Radio) listener. What is it about NPR that you find so appealing?

Original no slant eporting on things that make a man think. And the use great grammer and sentence structure. I like my kids to listen to it instead of the fuckboy shit on the radio and it may lead to a semi descent vocabulary for them one day.

I see that you've recorded over 7000 songs since 1987; do you have formal training in any musical instruments?

Since 1984. I read and write music. Played in jr and high school band – precussion. Was the Tympani, chimes, bells and marimba player during concert season. Other wise tenor drums and cymbals – love cymbals, they loud. And sang in church choir growing up since a youngin'.

You hold yourself and your community to very high standards, do you ever get into disagreements with your folk in the rap game regarding the often less then savory material found in their records.

Yes I do, a lot of these fol are merely studio or microphone gangsters. The True True don't even desire to get down lie that. Lie when Jeezy gave a scholarship for a thousand dollars – laudable true, but It will barely buy books,I done seen Jones drop 17 stacks in a strip club. That's fouls fuck boy shit to me, so I mentioned it at a press conference he had bragging on his 1 stack scholarship – wasn't taken well and I will leave it at that.

There you have it, Raw Dawg at its finest courtesy of the one and only Pimpin' Pens familia!


Mr. Sche Interview

T-Rock Interview

Lord Infamous Interview


Anonymous said...

Great interview� he so multifaceted that�s its exciting learning more about him. He reps Memphis HARD! Loves that!

All-Mi-T [Thought Crime] Rawdawgbuffalo said...

thanks for the love folk, i curtsey and bow my head in humble respect and humiliation - im more than flattered folk

paisley said...

as a new disciple of the raw dawg,, and with me being way white and having to catch up on the linguistics,, i have to say,, it is a pleasure to be in such literate company... thank you so much for the showcase,, it gave me a wider more accurate view and i likes what i sees....

dc_speaks said...

I see that the raw dawg is in full effect. the review and interview are just what I expected to hear.

Nice Job on the interview, fam.

T, gets mad love in the blogosphere. I'm not surprised at all.

Clay Lowe said...

once again raw dawg proves that he is a multi dimensional character.


Garth Sullivan said...

nice interview.

Eryn said...

i loved the interview! i am new to the world of the all mi t, but this was a well rounded interview that shows pimpin knows what he's talking about. i'm digging the honest, but humble responses. what a good look!

Babz Rawls Ivy said...

Fabulous interview! Pimpin Pens did a great job of coaxing the good Dr. Stephens into opening up in a very personal way. The quality of the questions rival that of any NPR interview.

I am a huge fan of Dr. Stephens and now I am a bigger fan of Pimpin Pens!

This comment has been removed by the author.

Your right he is always thinking ahead, family, the blog, braincell, the books, teaching and so much more, he always educating using the above forms and I respect that, the interview and review are amazing "kiss the kids" that's what it's all about FAM and Mr. All Mi T were share some of the same music artists : ) Love Three six, been listening to them since I was 16, love them.

Pimpin Pens much love to you always wonderful to see "us" giving each other props.

And I will come back to read more of your work.

Good look

Big Man said...


I didn't see you mention OutKast in you list of great musical acts. Don't tell me you ain't feeling my boys?

Also, I need to get down with grant writing if it can finance multiple trips to Africa.

Unknown said...

I've been slowly becoming of fan of Torrance since I found him which is not that long ago...But I'm a bigger fan now after reading this..

Great Interview!!

Keli said...

That's what I'm talking about!

and RawDawg, you always keep it trill...likes UGK and Prince...then you are all good with me, lol.

Keep doing you.

Unknown said...

Hey Pimpin' Pens! Very cool interview! Excellent! I visit T's blog on a regular basis and all the love and kudos he is receiving is very well deserved!

Peace & Love!