One of my daughter's nicknames is Phophus. She asked about this today and I realized that it had been years since I listened to the album that was my favorite in the world in 1996: Broun Fellini's Aphrokubist Improvisations Vol. 9.
At the time, I had been on the Internet for about three years and people in the mainstream, still just getting their AOL disks in the mail, believed that race was something that couldn't exist online. Add to that the insistence by blackademics that we were facing the crisis of the 'digital divide' and the failure of hiphop to be anything but madness and a perfect storm was set off in my mind. It fell out a little something like this:
There's probably not a better way to describe all that I engaged as the boohab than exactly the above. It was an exercise in metaphysical provocation which had something to do with creating a framework for actually *meaning* culture when saying "black culture". The project was impossible precisely because when people say 'black culture' they mean what racially black people do now, as opposed to something like an artistic school created by nominally black people to transcend or bypass static and reductive definitions of race. I don't remember how long it took me to recognize all that I could never replace 'blackness' with 'brounsity', but I went to the logical conclusions of the boohabian project, it failed, died and was buried.
the image of the black man with clenched fists is the symbol of rage. black rage exists, boohab's metaphysics transforms black rage into noble passion which generates acts of civilization.
i'm here as a character first and then as a significant part of myself. the character boohab is a kind digital presence which reminds me, in particular fora of the world wide web that i am here for a reason and that is, if not cultural production, is an acknowledged kind of anthropological statement in progress. boohab is a kind of interactive seeker and sly provocateur of a mellow metaphysics. boohab only knows what he knows and in that way is very organic and casts himself as a 'black persistent object' for the sake of illumination. in that boohab is all about difference rather than some type of undeniable eclecticism.
boohab thinks about great diarists of literary (oral, published, corresponded, e-transacted, vulcan mind-melded) traditions of the past, present and future and recognizes it is the uniqueness of contributions that makes for their value. universally is assumed not for any purpose but merely as the acknowledgement that language is fathomable and reading / hearing does affect everyone.
boohab loves the specific, the idiosyncratic, the unusually dense and almost impenetrable complexity of narratives whose influences are traceable. causality is a fetish. your idea is my idea. all we 'own' is process and experience. yet as soon as we share them here, it makes no difference. but 'here' is just one funky little corner of the web, and boohab is not me.
Nobody has called me 'boohab' in what seems like a decade but is probably more like 7 years. And nothing I've done to resurrect the memory of all things boohabian has kept me interested more than a couple weeks. The last such effort was called something like 'boohabian slamdance' or somesuch.
I listened to Dreamstate this morning and it took me way back. The music sounded just as good as ever, the lyrics overcomplex, naive and hopeful but surefooted and nimble. Anyone who could appreciate, as I did at the time, the prospect of a Borgesian vision to rebuild a nation while asleep, could appreciate the Boohabian project at its deepest level. I would say that there are probably 20,000 such people in the entirety of the Western Hemisphere, 43 of which have ever bench pressed more than 150 pounds, a third of which I already knew personally.
I expect my daughter will be slightly offended by the rather cavalier attitude of the Fellinis as they rap about the 'room full of freaks' which diverts their attentions from the oppressions they feel in common with the ordinary Joes, but don't actually suffer. That is if she bothers to listen so closely to the lyrics. Still, it's got a great sound and is probably the most culturally intellectual approach to that thing that has never actually been accomplished outside the minds of the Borgesians.
So crumbled the Throne of Flavor.