"Yeezus," the new and almost pathologically anticipated Kanye West album, was leaked online two weeks ago and then, probably out of custom, released legally last week. Upon first listen it reminded me of Nine Inch Nails, Death Grips, and my dad—but not because West now has a two-week-old child with girlfriend Kim Kardashian.
When my father was in undergrad at a small HBCU in the Midwest, he joined the storied black fraternity Kappa Alpha Psi. Fraternity chapters, despite their ethnic and regional differences, will nevertheless always share some DNA, and so it shouldn't surprise you that my dad's frat was big on giving people nicknames. Some brothers were called things [...]
Because of my mixed heritage I have been confused for pretty much all of your swarthy, hirsute ethnicities at one point or another—Jewish and Italian, obviously but also occasionally Hispanic, Greek, and even once, by a cab driver who unrelatedly treated me to a crash course in Syrian profanity, as Lebanese. I am a dark and hairy man, and that's part of the deal. (This is also why I won't get bed bugs.) Still, I am irritated every time this holiday (this holiday is Hanukkah, or however you spell it) rolls around and I am accosted in the street by furtive Hasidic men who look at me with [...]
Soon after moving to New York in 1995, I was walking down Avenue A one afternoon when a guy with a frown on his face beckoned me over to him. He was a black guy, standing next to a suitcase he'd placed on the curb. "Excuse me," he said. "But could you hail me a cab?"
I looked out on onto the street, where there were many cabs with their vacancy signs lit up driving past us. I looked back at him puzzled.
Dear Everlast from House of Pain,
I'm sorry for calling you a "Leprechaun of Rage."