By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
He became one of the network's most recognizable faces and a Page Six fixture. When a pair of solo masturbation videos surfaced, it became a major scandal. "Times had been lean a few years earlier, so I had to take my dick in my own hands to pay the rent," Rex laughs. "My MTV bosses were cool, though. They said that so long as the sex tape didn't involve animals, my job was safe." The falcon fucking would come later, after Rex transitioned from being a talking head for a Viacom subsidiary to traveling in the orbit of raunch-rappers Mickey Avalon and Legacy.
In the world of raunch-rap, his mass-market masturbatory indiscretions were the equivalent of 50 Cent getting shot nine times. Once Nasty, Legacy and, especially, Avalon blew up in the Vine Boulevard vortex, their bona fides were unimpeachable. Managed by Wolff, the crew reigned as Sun Kings of the Sunset Strip until Avalon abdicated the throne in 2008, leaving the tight-knit collective and laying low while rumors of drug use abounded. The parting was neither amicable nor filled with animosity. "Mickey's a talented guy, and I wish it had ended better, but few friendships last a lifetime," Rex laments.
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"It was like a divorce," Wolff says. "Mickey wanted to be as big as Katy Perry or Fall Out Boy, and I thought we were on track to be the next Marilyn Manson or Iggy Pop. There were a lot of people in his head, and stress and personal issues. We tried not to let the tension affect our relationship as partners and friends, but it crumbled internally."
The departure of Shoot to Kill's biggest act ostensibly spelled doom, but the sold-out Roxy and online metrics offer a different story. Nasty has even acquired backing from unlikely quarters, including gutter-rap royalty like the Alchemist, who produced Nasty As I Wanna Be.
"People are too serious — especially in rap," Alchemist says. "I hate people like that. Imagine a really serious interview on MTV with some serious artist talking about his career and a bunch of snooze-worthy bullshit, and in the middle of his sentence an obnoxiously loud fart erupts. That fart is Dirt Nasty."
"If hip-hop had more hilarious dudes like Simon, it would be in a better place," says legendary New York underground hip-hop DJ Stretch Armstrong, who hosted Nasty's recent White Album. "But he's more than just a joke — he's improved immensely as a rapper. He follows the battle rap scene closely and loves hip-hop."
Outside the Roxy, the audience disperses, save for one trio of underclothed and overpainted teenagers. Although they don't really want to answer, the girls eventually explain why they like Dirt Nasty.
"It's just like fun."
"Why is it fun?"
"Why do you think it's funny?"
"It doesn't matter. It just is."
And, among the garish lights of the 21st-century Sunset Strip, they also dissolve into casting call anonymity.
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