We knew he'd snagged a gig traveling across the U.S. for Traffic.com this summer and blogging from the road.
But who knew he had such a hawk nose for a story?
In Cleveland, JGT went right for the greatest get around: He sat down with Dennis "Blazin' Hazen, who nearly 20 years ago was an aspiring rapper from the 'burbs, who sent a tape to MTV, hoping someone would discover the charms of "a middle class guy trying to express himself."
But the video sat, all that time, until recently when someone found it in a stock room, watched it, and uploaded it onto YouTube, where it has become of a sensation. Hundreds of thousands of people have watched, so many that as Johnny notes, the word blazed has entered the language -- as either being totally excited, or being totally made fun of.
So Johnny tracked down Blaze and presents on Traffic.com a Q & A that suggests it will be a while before anyone wrestles the mic from either of them. He asks the right questions, like. What were you doing when you realized you'd become huge on the small screen?
Turns out Blaze never stopped making his raps. For 17 years he honed his skills, "smoothing out my rapping," and getting an occasional email from a fan who stumbled across his Web site. No doubt, someone in Germany or the Netherlands, where they collect this stuff. Then, one day, he got about 1,000 emails. The next day, maybe 2,000. And 3,000 the next. Some guy named K-Maxx had posted it on YouTube.
Watching the The Video, it's not clear just how serious Blaze is. Is it a parody of a white rapper? Is he for real? Or is he just really bad, so bad he's good? He kind of looks like Jose Canseco before the secret formula, and he wears his hair long in the back in what one commenter called a Cameromullet. His raps do rhyme, we can say that for him:
My house is just middle class.
And every week my job is just to cut the grass.
And he really enunciates.
Johnny does a good job getting to heart of "The Average Homeboy."
JGT: Take us back to that time. What were your aspirations then?
Blaze: Hey, I just wanted a recording contract, just like I still do today. I've always been a leader type person, and I definitely like to make people smile. People go, "Were you serious with this Average Homeboy?" and I'm like, "Well, if I was serious, why would I say I like to shoot some hoops but not until I eat all my Fruit Loops?" I like to make people laugh, and that's part of it.
JGT: The goofiness is kind of what makes the video so popular. People are laughing at it. Are you trying to follow this up with more serious stuff?
Blaze: A little bit of both. A little of the goofy stuff, a little of the serious stuff. There's a serious video called "Popularity" that talks about, "Hey, I don't care what people think about me." The one thing you can do better than anybody else is be yourself. Nobody can be better than you at what you do. But I like to have fun. My favorite movie right now is Dumb and Dumber. I've watched that thing like 100 times. Life goes by so fast, and there's so many serious things. I like to just have fun, smile, laugh, and have a good time, and that's what I do with my music. Just give me sunshine, girls, and fun.
Sign them both up.