Thursday, December 11, 2008
Iceberg Slim - "Reflections" CD
Ah, reflections. But in this case, they're not of the sensitive, lovey kind. These reflections are straight from a life of crime and pimpin'. Iceberg Slim (aka Robert Beck) was a (literal and literary) genius. He lived quite a storied life, rising from poverty to become the leading author of 'urban' fiction in the 60's and 70's. His past life as a real pimp gave him a wealth of tales and experiences to draw from. His books (and this CD) have been major inspirations and influences on the rap scene, and some really major artists (Ice-T, Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z, Dave Chappelle) have professed allegiance to the 'Iceberg'. 'Reflections', his only audio poetry release, first arrived in 1976, and has been reissued a couple of times since then (notably once in the 90's on Henry Rollins and Rick Rubin's Infinite Zero imprint).
Iceberg was a natural showman, and his smooth, confident, and authoritative voice here anticipates the future hip-hop scene, with his sly rhymes and cadences. These tales aren't for kids - plenty of references to whores, drugs, lurid sex, deceit, and treachery. But he does it always with an abundance of style and charisma, so it's a pleasure to listen to. Whether or not these are real-life stories is a moot point. Slim creates vivid scenes with his words, like all great writers, and that, to me, proves to me that Iceberg was indeed a legend in his time.
A film adaption of Iceberg's book 'Mama's Black Widow' is reportedly in the works, featuring pop star Rihanna, Mos Def, Anthony Anderson, and Macy Gray, among others.
more info on Iceberg and 'Reflections'