Chris Kelly has died. He’s the one pictured above that’s closest to the camera as part of the Kriss Kross post-backwards clothing renaissance that was never truly reborn. Kelly is survived by his other rapping half Chris Smith, several others and - most prominently - his group’s legacy.
His rapping career serves as an important mythbuster for cynics today who believe music has never been dumber: Kris Kross was a Jermaine Dupree creation, marketed to propagate a fictitious rap war with rival children rappers Another Bad Creation, which was created in parallel by the Biv in Bell Biv DeVoe.
See, the kids of ABC wore their clothes inside-out, while Kriss Kross wore its clothes backwards - ‘cause inside-out is wiggidy-wiggidy-wiggidy wack. Your move, Ke$ha.
The opening salvo to Kriss Kross’ flagship hit single Jump asked you to choose between these two playground factions. Competition is good for business, so both Kriss Kross and ABC benefited from the battle; no one really “chose” a side. Meanwhile, actual gang violence was approaching its all-time peak in America.
Musically, Kriss Kross was part of the G-rated alternative rap offering for a hip-hop era largely defined by gangster rap. Young MC had already come and gone, and Kriss Kross arrived shortly after ABC in providing another alternative to DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, which itself had both grown stale and distracted by Will Smith’s success as an actor.
As is the case when previously-famous people die, the obituary transforms into a time machine. You hear that half of Kriss Kross died at 34 and instead of considering the tragedy of Kelly’s abrupt demise, you’re a child again, or you’re wearing your clothes backwards at a costume party in 1994, or you’re me at the Ohio State Fair that summer with a free ticket to see Kriss Kross shouting WARM IT UP, CHRIS! and hearing dozens in attendance shout back I’M ABOUT TO!
And while Kriss Kross has been no more for some time, now Kelly is no more, and once you get past the fond recollections of his fame you’re left with someone who died at 34, which as with all deaths so premature is perverse.
Thanks for the wonderfully stupid memories, Mr. Kelly. I will imagine you in the clouds with angel’s wings attached to the front of your ribcage.
The sky this morning when I left the house cast down a sense of gloom, gray clouds rolling in from the west, choking off the small stretch of open sky to the east. I headed out to run as confused and scared as everyone else. About a mile and a half into the run, I came to the Capitol, where the…
Yesterday, a photo of Steve Spurrier coaching shirtless made the internet rounds, mostly with incorrect information that it was a new/recent thing. In fact, the picture was from last year. The confusion, however was understandable as Spurrier is but one of a grand tradition of (mostly, but not…
It’s not too soon. Art Modell is dead and isn’t cold yet, but it’s not too soon.
It’s not too soon because Art Modell’s epitaph has been written for 17 years. It goes something like this: [who gives a shit no one cares] MOVED THE FUCKING BROWNS TO BALTIMORE, AND THEN HE [who gives a shit no one cares].
Northeast Ohio loves high school football as much as small Texas towns do. They’re passionate about college football in the same way that Birmingham is. And they obsess over the NFL the same way that everyone else in America does.
So like selling mittens in the arctic circle, selling football in Northeast Ohio is a relatively simple venture. You can even sell shitty mittens and still do quite well in the North Pole. Cleveland loved its shitty mittens. It still does.
The city was happy to accomodate Modell’s Browns in the same icky “let-the-common-folk-pay-for-the-stadium-so-the-rich-owner-keeps-our-team-here” way that the rest of the league operates, except that Modell wanted nothing to do it. He even issued a public moratorium on the discussion while he was secretly meeting with Baltimore, just to make things easier for him.
Once Modell erased the Browns, a dozen other NFL cities quickly used taxpayer money to build new stadiums for other billionaire owners. No one wanted this kind of episode to happen to their town. He made Cleveland into a cautionary example of what can happen if you don’t meet owners’ demands. Or - in Cleveland’s case - even if you do.
And with that graceless act of pure fucking selfishness, Modell wrote the epitaph that finally gets to be put to use today.
So no, it’s not too soon. Rest in peace, Mr. Modell. May your grave be afforded the opportunity to stay on the same plot in perpetuity.
My Sister Paid Progressive Insurance to Defend Her Killer In Court
I’ve been sending out some impertinent tweets about Progressive Insurance lately, but I haven’t explained how they pissed me off. So I will do that here as succinctly as possible. There’s a general understanding that says, “insurance companies— oh they’re awful,” but since Progressive turned their shit hose on my late sister and my parents, I’ve learned some things that really surprised me.
I’ll try to cleave to the facts. On June 19, 2010, my sister was driving in Baltimore when her car was struck by another car and she was killed. The other driver had run a red light and hit my sister as she crossed the intersection on the green light.