It was Q-Tip who famously shouted out Ma Bell, to inform the telephone company he had the ill communication. By then Ma Bell was just a colloquial shell term, once applicable to a monopoly in wired services. For his upcoming New York Telephone record, Uncommon NASA is adopting the outmoded pay phone as a symbolic token for a bygone New York City to demonstrate his ill communication to the past. New York Telephone transports the listener to a pre-9/11 Big Apple, before Bloomberg swept Times Square sterile, before Williamsburg was its sister neighborhood of bougie tourist gawkers, and before the bodegas were replaced with Whole Foods.
On “This Bodega (Is Trying To Kill Me)” Uncommon NASA is joined by Elucid of Armand Hammer to partake in some old fashioned paranoia over a Black-Tokyo beat that invokes the danger-funk production that ushered in Company Flow and El-P.
Before we were noided by the mutations from GMOs and Monsanto, it was the looming fear the dusty products on bodega shelves were overly exposed to rodents and cockroaches. As NASA puts it, “how’s that owner drive a Lexus? / while selling all this food that’s lined with Tetanus.” Elucid is his usual lucid and abstract self, winding through scenarios built from decades of memories in NYC bodegas; from his little dun days of grabbing groceries for the family to the teenage days of purchasing 40ozs to drink in the park.
Uncommon NASA’s New York Telephone is out August 26 on Uncommon Records and available for preorder here. We recommend the deluxe package that includes a Ma Bell-inspired t-shirt, cassette tape, and refrigerator magnet.