No Mas has so many things going for it :

a) terrific action wear (albeit pricey, but imaginative copyfright infringement ain’t cheap)
b) a name culled from The Hands Of Stone
c) they’ve not hotlinked to an image hosted by CSTB in fucking ages, meaning I can save the Cock Soup for persons more deserving.

If that weren’t reason enough to make No Mas a regular stop on your daily browsing marathon, get a load of their take on ESPN’s super clumsy “Ali Rap” program, now available on DVD.

Was anyone impressed that EOE managed to assemble a series of quick-cut Ali clips set to a boilerplate backbeat, loosely arranged to emphasize the bleeding obvious (Ali Was Funny, Ali Was Profound) and otherwise retell a story that has been told better in about a thousand different productions? Christ, it didn’t even look that good – it looked cheap, thrown together.

As for the all-important hip hop question, every now and then some rapper, M.C. Lyte for instance (looking like a soccer mom) says something like, “Ali is everything to rap,” or Doug E. Fresh says, “Ali is hip hop and hip hop is Ali.” Chuck D tries a little harder to provide the Ali/rap connection, but even he embarrasses himself, standing uncomfortably in a very-fake-looking boxing ring and reading lines that I can only hope he didn’t write himself:

  • “All the great rappers can move people with their soul-cutting words, forcing us to take a closer look at who and what we are… so too did Muhammad Ali force us to watch and listen…”
  • “In the modern streetborn jargon of rap, humor often has more impact than high-decibel rants… no one knew this better than Muhammad Ali…”

With these criteria, I found myself wondering if Teddy Roosevelt didn’t invent rap.