Best Bum

Tucker Booth

You've seen him outside the Ben & Jerry's on Delmar, strumming his acoustic guitar as he covers Kanye West's "Gold Digger." Or in front of Smoothie King, koo-koo-catchoo-ing Simon and Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson." Or under the Vintage Vinyl awning, happily accepting requests for his most popular original, "Smoke Blunts." His guitar case is always open to accept change and small bills, but 27-year-old Tucker Booth also keeps a red plastic bucket of shrink-wrapped CDs at the ready. It's difficult to reconcile the shaggy brown hair, easy-going grin and social-butterfly demeanor with his status as an indie rapper and director of public relations for local hip-hop, DJ and anti-folk collective the Frozen Food Section. But for the Portland, Oregon, native, it's all about the journey, not the destination. The guy may have bummed rides for three years and crashed on friends' couches for months, but Booth has house-sat for Val Kilmer, won a $500 bet by proving he voted in 2000 and earned $1,700 in busking cash over two weeks during a recent northward trek through California. As he puts it: "It's all about having a positive outlook and being grateful for what you've got."
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