Category Archives: Rappin + drivin

You will get a sentimental feeling when you hear…“No Diggity” into “Flava In Ya Ear”

  Last Christmas, I gave you my heart/But the very next day you gave it away, you JERK! This year, I’m giving you some peach Optimos and a picture of me in my new MG’s McLemore Avenue shirt. Don’t fuck up again, please.

Future husband, please understand that the small of my back is a playground of good feelings for me. (There must be a billion nerve endings there, and I love them all.) I’d like you to be pro-choice, pro-union, and pro-Pro Tools and pro-Pro Keds. I’m surprisingly forgiving when it comes to the contents of other people’s record collections, but yours is no doubt fresh anyway, so the matter doesn’t need to be addressed further. I’d like you to be able to correctly use “screamo” and “sissy bounce” in a sentence, future husband, and I’d like you to understand that 72% of our time spent together will consist of riding in the car, listening to music (we live in LA), and responding with our hands and mouths to all bangers as we hear them. (Hands up high in ecstasy; our mouths singing along, and making out). Please kiss me and tell me It’ll be OK when I talk about how I was born in the wrong era and should’ve been a teenage girl when David Ruffin was seducing teenage girls on the radio in 1966. Although I love my iPod, future husband, I’m in love with the radio–Power 106, where hiphop lives, and Hot 92.3, old school and today’s R&B, 93.5 KDAY, back in the day, of course the Whole Foods liberals on KCRW, and the nonstop oldies of K-EARTH 101, where you can often hear an old Wilson Pickett song called “Mustang Sally,” which, like 30% of Fabolous’ songs, is about a lowdown, unappreciative woman who drives all over town in a pretty car that her man bought for her. Its lesser-known remix is a song called “Prius Logan,” about a music dork with hips and skinny legs who drives all over town, singing along with her car radio.

And now, in no particular order, The Best Songs I Heard on the Radio During My Drive Back to LA from Mom’s House After Christmas.

1. “Two of Us,” The Beatles. 

Because: 1) Spector produced it.
Industry rule # 4,000-somethingorother is that the men with the most unfortunate combination of brain chemicals are always the ones who make the sweetest melodies. Hearing this one also satisfied my Spector hunger in the absence of Darlene Love’s “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).” Fuck off, radio gods, for not playing Darlene Love. 

2) It’s the perfect BPM, the speed of a horse galloping. It’s the musical approximation of riding next to your best friend of a hundred years with whom you are fighting. You’re both sad and bitter, but the tightness in your chest says that the relationship is worth saving. You shared a good chunk of each other’s lives and you know you should talk about where things went wrong but what’s the point, and dammit, there it is, you just forgave all her trespasses in the span of about 3½ minutes thanks to Spector and his 4 little elves playing instruments.

3) “You and me chasing paper, getting nowhere” sounds like a sweet line from a capable MC who is part of a duo, referencing the early days before they made any money from rapping. Maybe Bun & Pimp C? More likely: Mos & Talib since they seem more willing than UGK are to acknowledge there was actually a time that they weren’t rich.

4) the moments from 03:00 – 03:08. The bass outro, too. Paul is really just the worst with his schmaltzy lyrics and big stupid ego, but he’s forgiven here. It turns out a Beatles block was happening on the station when this song ended, and the INSUFFERABLE “Long and Winding Road” came on instead of “Across the Universe,” like baby Jesus, the birthday boy, would have wanted. I glared at my car radio like it had eyes and/or a human brain capable of detecting hatred, then turned it to KCRW, where THIS pleased me because sometimes the radio gods aren’t so bad after all:

2. “Christmas Day,” Desmond Dekker & the Aces. 

Oh goodness, these Jamaican singers and their voices filled with sweetness and light, yet punch-you-in-the-mouth masculinity at the same time (Barrington, Tenor Saw, Lord Creator)! My feelings about the island are always in conflict, as it is a land teeming with anti-gay sentiment and deeply-entrenched misogyny. Rastas also have that whole anti-oral sex thing, which makes them a people that cannot be liked or trusted. All this goes out the window for the moments that Desmond’s voice is filling my car, though. It’s Christmas! And he’s got his barrow in the marketplace! God bless us, every one!

3. “The Third Eye,” Roy Ayers.

Secrets of numbers, secrets of sound/Secrets of numbers, secrets of sound/Secrets of wisdom will be found/Baby, baby, baby, look to the sky/Seeking to find The Third Eye. Don’t tell Roy, but I’m pretty sure Del found the Third Eye sometime in the late ’80s. He turned it into one of the freshest icons in music and never looked back. Ah well. Like Del, Roy’s yet another space cadet dreamboat who lives in the warm depths of my heart. And like Mos Def, Roy enjoys writing songs about the sky and about Brooklyn (“Mylifemylifemylifemylife in the sun-shiiiiine”; “We live in Brooklyn, baby” – Roy; “Brooklyn BK BK blunts, stars nighttime, beautiful lady, champion lover not ease up, ism/schism, NASDAQ, skyline, stars, stars” – Mos). A man named Doug Rhodes plays drums on the album from whence this song comes, which is an adorable musical joke made just for me by the universe – like someone named Bob Zildjian playing keys! I’d also like to point out that Roy’s from LA just like J-Swift, and I bet you only 2 or 3 degrees separate us, friends-wise, just like me and J-Swift. I’d like to meet J-Swift. I really would. Before a bad fate befell him (chemicals), he produced this group the Pharcyde, an excitable bunch of rapping goofballs – including their song “Passin’ Me By,” which samples Roy Ayers’ “The Third Eye.” It’s true. (I read it on a blog.)



4. “Dream On, Dream On,” Ice Water Slim.

When I made it safely back to apt. 680 I could only find the version linked above, which, even while coursing into my ear canal through my precious, finely-crafted Sennheisers, sounds like it’s playing on an AM radio a hundred yards away while I’m standing in a UPS warehouse. Yet the entire MMG squad makes their lousy material on million-dollar equipment – this is the universe’s solemn reminder that sound quality will always trump sound quality.

A 1971 b-side produced by Johnny Otis, who was bosslike and from Vallejo just like E-40, this ain’t nothin more than a melodic wail by a dude who dreams about a pretty lady. But it is a fact that, currently in the United States, the #1 R&B song is “Lotus Flower Bomb,” about grenade-shaped perfume bottles and lady-areas being like flowers. This fact offends me not only as a person who buys perfume, but as a human female and a resident of planet Earth. Ladies should not smell like explosions or wartime, and we have enough to worry about without Wale laying out rules about our nails and handbags and how tight our, um, flowers should be. I wanna be reminded of tightness, I’ll watch Parliament live in ’76 like I did on Christmas Day with my family all on the couch, marveling at the interplay of brass and woodwind and cocaine. 


5. “You And I,” Lady Gaga. 

We gotta a whole lotta money, but we still pay rent/’Cause you can’t buy a house in heaven. The single greatest country banger that Prince Rogers Nelson never wrote (his version would be called “U & I,” of course), hearing this one satisfied my hunger for a Prince banger in the absence of “Another Lonely Christmas” (Of all the ones I dream about/U are the one that makes my love shout, see/U are the only one I care for). Because the Internet is for sharing embarrassing moments: I actually teared up in H&M last week when this came on. I was tired and overstimulated from all the other humans in the store breathing up my air, but also because of this song’s Prince-ian chords and overall lyrical content. It’s been two years since I let you go/I couldn’t listen to a joke or rock ‘n’ roll/Muscle cars drove a truck right through my heart/On my birthday you sang me “Heart of Gold”/With a guitar hummin’ and no clothes/This time I’m not leaving without you. (PRINCE. It’s so very, wonderfully Prince. I see you, Gaga. Also I’d like Prince to do a cover of “Heart of Gold,” turning a bittersweet song about the passage of time into a 16-minute-long burning plea by his guitar to get the ladies in the house to cry and take their dresses off). Master manipulator Gaga plays my girly emotional insides like a piano, and Queen was a really fucking great band, plus I got a really cute bikini at H&M. So shoutout to the combined efforts of producer Mutt Lange, the H&M speaker system engineers, and the people hired by the H&M corporate office to select the songs for the playlists. Non-shoutout to me, however, for a pop song making me get weepy, rather than the fact that I was buying from a company that sells cheap cotton items made by underpaid workers in Bangladesh (not the producer Bangladesh, which would be so dope). Tangential shoutout to Elliot Mazer, who produced both Harvest and Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death, displaying some real Rick-Rubin-esque range.

Gaga was on American Idol once and coached one of the kids to keep his mouth on the mic. “It’s your girlfriend,” she told him, adding that it’s also his money and telling him to “Make love to it,” which is the most sex-infused piece of technical advice I’ve ever heard. I love it. I love her. I am human and I have ears so of course I love this song. Gaga is a controversial choice, I get it, but there’s no arguing with me on this. It’s just like with Cameron Giles, Duke basketball, and Miracle Whip: you can’t change my opinion about any of those things, either (I hate them). Therefore, I say we stick to less controversial topics, like the artistic merits of Lana Del Rey and the best way to restructure the BCS.

6. “Change the Game,” Jay-Z/Bleek/Beans, into “Mass Appeal,” Gangstarr. 

Yeah yeah, Jay. You. Will. Not. Lose. We hear you, Jay. Easy, tiger. Now please repeat after me – there’s only one rule: RICK ROCK 4 EVS, 4 EVER & EVER. “Change” is one of the few Rick Rock productions with which I am not fully in love. Like “Can I Get A,” it is the very sound of Clinton Administration pop radio, shiny and hand-clap-py, so it’s just dated and that’s not the song’s fault, but it NEEDS MORE SNARE AND/OR BASS, says my soul, which does not understand the limits of space and time and the notion of something being “dated.” My soul does not care. More bass, please. It’s impossible to separate the song from its horrendous video, which features rappers not named DMX trying to convince me they ride motorbikes all around the city for fun (“NOPE” – my eyes, in response, just like back in September). But this one’ll always warm my heart. The boys all look happy and not beaten down by the industry, and Sigel Sigel in the house is fun and sing-song-y. It’s sweet that those 3 dudes could all be in the same room together at one point in history, which is really all a lady can ask for given the amount of crybaby-ness among rap professionals. I also like that it gives me an excuse to post the video of that time Robert Goulet spent the afternoon with Shawn and his coterie of ne’er-do-wells. The mix into “Mass Appeal” was nice, too, for this lady in 2011 driving her vehicle to her apartment in Los Angeles, years after these songs were made by dudes from New York and Massachusetts. “This ain’t just a car,” K.R.I.T. says, “This my time machine.”

7. “Run Rudolph Run,” Chuck Berry. 

“It’s dangerous, because it’s slick and catchy” – US counterterrorism officials, regarding a popular song on YouTube (2011).

“It’s dangerous, because it’s slick and catchy and done by black men and it might make our daughters want to have sex” – white US grown-ups, mostly regarding rock & roll music, but really, all forms of good music (1954-present, & forever & ever).

Promo is promo, meaning promotion, people talking, records sold, i.e., MONEY, and even in the ‘50s labels knew what they were doing when it came to making their stars sound badder than they actually were. Teenagers and their allowance money were a powerful bloc. They were also sullen and disrespectful, and thought they were real badass, and therefore bought the 45s of men whom they believed to be tough. This was mostly because they fell for promo tactics. But Chuck Berry! I’m pretty sure Chuck was/is a truly depraved gentleman, a genuine dirty bird, the real deal, who served actual jail time due to his taste for sweet young things and, years later, with the barometer for what he found stimulating raised higher throughout his life, his taste for odd and really unsexy things. It might’ve been promo, but that’s a hell of a commitment to promo, right? Even though I strongly want “Run Rudolph Run” to be a critique of what were socially acceptable gifts for American children in the late ’50s (the boy wants a guitar; the girl wants a doll), I am able to suspend this desire if I so choose. Just let it ride, Logan. This one’s just happy and Christmassy, it’ll make you stop wondering What in the hell must’ve happened to Chuck when he was a kid to make him so fetish-y? and instead it’ll make you think the much more pleasant How fucking hyped are you if you’re Chuck Berry and Mos Def does his hair like that and plays you in a movie!* Plus you got the essential Marty McFly element, and all those reindeer names sound like they could be A$AP crew members – A$AP Comet, A$AP Donner, and most especially, A$AP Blitzen.

*Not quite as hyped as David Ruffin would be if he knew beautiful human specimen Leon played him in a movie, but still. Pretty hyped.

8. The Outfield, “Your Love.”  

OHHOLYFUCK, screamed my whole body when this came on, my inner Drunk White Girl showing all of a sudden. My hand could not physically move fast enough to the volume knob, and even though I didn’t get to proclaim Josie’s on a vacation far away (I caught the song halfway through the first verse), I still got to participate in some great sing-along parts (Stay the night but keep it un-der-cover) and savored the delicious wrongness of a song about a dude wanting to sleep with, and then sleeping with, someone other than his live-in lady. I have a fair amount of self-respect but even I would probably fall for I ain’t got many friends left to talk to; may I please cry upon your shoulder? (aww!). The proper feminine response to this is a wide-eyed Would it help if I took my dress off?, which I have ON LOCK because I’m softhearted and have a compulsive need to soothe others. In closing: sorry if you were in the lane next to me on the freeway last night and I almost killed you with my swerving 4-wheeled piece of Japanese machinery.

The Internet and my brother tell me that the best outfielder was probably Rickey Henderson, whom I’ve heard of despite my lack of interest in the stupid sport of baseball, because my dad always liked the A’s and because I always liked dudes who can self-promote in a verbally stylish fashion instead of a Kanyesian (“I’m 34 but inside I’m still a 13-year-old boy who is sad and mad that none of the pretty girls in class are looking at me”) fashion.

9. “No Diggity,” Blackstreet (I refuse to type BLACKstreet, because I am a grown-up), into “Flava In Ya Ear (remix),” Biggie Smalls & a bunch of people not named Biggie Smalls.

Perfect mix, whatsyourname who matched these two up on KDAY. They basically have the same BPM and I guess I never noticed it before. Hearing Craig Mack reminded me that I only drink the finest breast milks, and hearing Teddy Riley inspired me to proclaim “Finna bring back no diggity in twenty-twelve, along with vainglorious and honey dip” out loud to myself in my car. Let’s just skip over that unfortunate video with the puppets & Dre in a fucking Emmitt Smith jersey, and ignore Teddy’s sad attempt at hitting that note in “by no means avvv-raaaaage,” sounding so wobbly, like he’s crossing a stream and stepped on a rock that looked secure but, oh no, oopsie!, it’s loose! He might fall down! Shaky-voice! Let’s just focus on the greatness of this song, the story of a honey dip who drives a nice car and has dudes open all over town, probably because she is witty and knows a lot of musical trivia and has a blog in which she writes about Blackstreet and Bill Withers in equal measure. Let’s also focus on finding out why exactly Teddy moved his studio to Virginia in the early ‘90s. There must be a story there, right? TEDDY, WHAT HAPPENED? And did you know this hideous Clams beat completely boosts your ’87 sound? And where is Timbaland? Just heard “Are You That Somebody” and it holds up so well.

Like me, the young lady in the song has all kinds of hustles and isn’t satisfied with a man unless he makes tons of money. So if you are poor, you and I will never have sex or even go on a date. However, because I’m nice, I’m providing you with the criteria for getting hired by UPS. (Don’t be mad!) Like being my lover, a job at UPS is no walk in the park (except, of course, when you and I go for actual walks in the actual park). “It may be fun and exciting, UPS warns, “but it’s also physical and fast-paced” (just like being my lover!). “Package Delivery Drivers must have excellent customer contact and driving skills, including the ability to operate a vehicle equipped with a manual transmission. Qualified applicants must have a valid driver’s license issued in the state that they live. This is a position that involves continual lifting, lowering, and maneuvering of large items,”  HEY-O, that sounds familiar, doesn’t it? No? Last night, in the bedroom? Remember? PS, a physical exam is also required (for both jobs).





10. “Rhythm Changes,” The Counts. 

Unpleasant facts of life with which I must make peace include:

that there are actual human females who brag about giving their precious inner-thigh parts to charisma-free yet famous human males Fabolous and Juelz;

that Wiz Khalifa makes his living as a professional musician (side note: EAT A CHEESEBURGER, CAMERON);

that “Maneater” preceded “Part Time Lover” by 3 years, so it would appear Stevie boosted the bassline from Hall & Oates, not the other way around, WTF;

and finally: I have big fat trouble coming to terms with the fact that I live in the entertainment capital of the world, yet “Rhythm Changes” is not on a constant loop on at least 2 of the 4 R&B stations in this city. I only heard it on Christmas night because programmers were given a little more leeway than usual. I believe it was Minaj who said something like, “This song just remind me of/Everything radio deprive me of.”

11. Emilio Santiago, “Bananeira.”

Bananeira não sei/Bananeira será/Bananeira sei não/Isso é lá com você/Será no fundo do quintal/Quintal do seu olhar/Olhar do coração (“Banana tree, I don’t know/Banana tree, maybe/Banana tree, I don’t know/That’s up to you/Maybe deep in the backyard/Backyard of your stare/The stare from the heart”). I mean, right? Exactly, Emilio! You nailed it!

Hypnotic and hip-friendly and more about the backing track than the lyrics, just like everything Jay Elect releases into the world, this is probably the best song about bananas since Dwayne Carter rapped over that one about being the best and fucking the world. This one also makes me forget about the banana trade in Brazil, an industry that’s a symbol of the income disparity that’s existed for hundreds of years. Bananas go bad really quickly, they can be racist, and their namesake spiders will kill you if you’re not careful. But at least Afro-Brazilian men can sing silly songs about bananas while still retaining their masculinity (it helps if you, like Emilio Santiago, have a deep, Scott-Heron-esque tone to your voice). Huddled with my family on the couch on Christmas Eve, “Cosmic Slop” on the TV, I was reminded of the sad reality of Black American manhood needing to disguise itself in fluffy hats and diapers in order to be less threatening. Um…merry Christmas?

.

Can I get a suuuuuuu (e)

Ghosty’s being sued by a cranky old man playing the Iron Man card 11 years down the road (I believe the name Jack Urbont says it all – he’s a jerk, I can just tell. And he smells bad). Mr. Urbont has discovered that musical performers like to reference and pay tribute to the characters of fiction that have inspired them, so of course a lawsuit is the next logical step here. Apt. 680 was brought to its knees by this news for a minute. Nothing bad should ever befall Ghost, and nobody round here wants words exchanged between grown-ups — unless it’s me v. Rawss, or Reggie Miller v. the Knicks (ESPN reruns! An enjoyable summer tradition), because those kind of conflicts are entertaining. Copyright-infringement anything is not entertaining, however, and this whole suit is baseless, your honor. Who can say what’s right or wrong when it comes to proper boundaries between showing love for something that’s inspired you, and outright idea-jacking? Who wants to get into a discussion of the differences among appropriation, endorsement, and reification? Nobody! Stop it! The whole suit makes me worry about Ghost’s finances, because I don’t want him to get taken, and those are just useless, fretting thoughts that wear me out. I don’t need anything deflating my euphoria balloon when I’m out driving and “Hii Power” comes on, with that melancholy beat that makes every scene in the neighborhood, the dog-walkers and stroller-pushers, look extra dramatic and meaningful. I also like when that Rihanna song about murder guilt comes on; it’s fun to make the case that it’s like her “Bohemian Rhapsody,” except her version’s got notes that I can hit since her vocal range is somewhat limited.

There were the fretting moments that seemed that they’d never end. But I’ve realized that this thing will die down. I promise. Urbont’s just looking for attention and this is the best he can do without a blog, a Leica, a bikini collection, and a bunch of F-words to emphasize his love/hate relationship with Power 106′s playlist. And luckily, nobody buys rap albums anymore, so other composers won’t be similarly inspired by his greed quest. Are the Goo Goo Dolls gonna sue Lil B and Clams for denying them profits reaped from SoundCloud? (No. They are not. Because there can’t be profits when the shit’s free). Shouldn’t have legally fucked with RZA, though, Ghost! I had to bring it up! Sorry, buddy. It’s my understanding that the world is round because whatever you throw out will come back in time, but with the heat of speed gathered along its journey so it’ll be extra painful when it gets back to you. Probably it’ll hit the back of your neck, too, where the skin’s really sensitive. I’ve heard older folksy types caution against spitting in the wind, and they talk about how the things that come around are usually the same things that go around. For better articulation of this, I turned to my adjunct English professor at Baller U and language jedi master I keep on retainer; when reached for comment about litigious rappers who get theirs a couple years down the road, karmically speaking, E-40 said, “I think it goes: you live by the dirt, you die by the shovel.”

.

Sometimes I fear that you do not understand the degree to which I have the music nerd game on lock.

Anthony Hudson, designer of album covers for Geffen in the ’70s, begat one Saul Hudson, top-hatted, amazing-haired Gibson wizard.
SLASH’S DAD DESIGNED JONI MITCHELL’S COURT AND SPARK COVER.

TOM SCOTT’S SAXOPHONE (ON “TODAY,” A FEW YEARS BEFORE HE GUESTED ON COURT AND SPARK) IS THE HEARTACHE BREAK IN “T.R.O.Y.”

Me n Joni, demonstrating the poses that come naturally to each of us. (I’m also doing a composite impression of my mom in 1975 and that girl in those shorts in that video for that remix of that Khaled song.)

“Racks on Racks” is the current THISMYSONG champ on Power 106 when I’m out driving, and Berner’s & K.R.I.T.’s “Yoko Ono” is almost there (despite the presence of Wiz), but “Welcome to My Hood” is welcome in my car when it comes on the radio too. It is godawful and catchy, and Luda’s verse has more stereotypes than a Tyler Perry movie, plus he says WHOOOO in response to his own lyrical hotness and I hate it when dudes do that, I HATE IT, but his glasses-wearing makes up for those things. Plus foxy-and-wise-older-man-on-whom-I-have-a-crush Bun B says Lotta dudes sayin that they can but they don’t/Lotta boys sayin that they Gs but they ain’t/Mess around, get layed down in the paint, a reference to Emeka Okafor’s experience in downtown Los Angeles last night.

.

Random Tribute: gator raps!



“What did we see today?” went the Robert Bly poem in an email from my uncle this afternoon. This seemed like a sign, the universe telling me to do some more bloggy preachin. The single greatest thing seen today was a LOS ANGELES RAIDERS license plate frame on the DeVille I was driving behind (Temple St., 4:43 pm PST). I love, love team loyalty. Plus people think Raider fans don’t like nice cars or use turn signals, and the dude today left both of those terrible stereotypes in the dust.

The most hiphop thing seen today was a girl and a gator in a fashion editorial (the lovely 5’7″ Camille in Jalouse mag, looking foxy in this spread despite its ridiculous swampy theme). I let my mind get free and loose with the associating and here we go: mentions of gators in rap songs!

Grizzly Bear has a nice song about alligators, which is the only animal that hasn’t been used yet for talking about heterosexual love in music. It bares teeth, extra sharp, that’ll cut you in the heart/It attacks really quick, try and fight it with a stick/There’s no use, give it up, this is life and this is love/You are my alligator. Beautiful. Bonnie Prince B also has that “Gator” song. But gators in my world means gator shoes, which are not beautiful at all. They are hideous and garish. They’re creepy and I hate them. But rappers make them pretty appealing. Just like how everybody in rap regardless of age or geographic region or crew affiliation talks about pretty ladies, ugly ladies, international diplomacy, cars and the details of their interiors and exteriors, family members fucking up, sunny days, eating, and memories of being a kid, everybody in rap talks about gators!

Gators are ugly as sin but if you’re from the south I think you kind of grow up loving them.

Scarface
Houston (Southside, south-southside)

“Betrayal” (Gang Starr)

It’s called betrayal
He on a mission to become a ball player
Flip big Benzes, flossin all gators
Had it all mapped out, 6’8″ 12th grader
Fresh outta school, he fin’ to go make paper
He had a brother who was hustlin, collectin his change
Never let his baby brother stick his neck in the game
Told him all he had to do is just enjoy the ride
And he ain’t have to worry about money cause that’s in time

“Betrayal” is about 12 BPM which isn’t usually my taste, but I guess they can’t all be “Know the Ledge” when it comes to hiphop warnings about the dangers of being a little too committed to trife life, hm? The first part of this verse is the plot of ATL (big brother unsuccessfully trying to save baby brother from getting caught up). Then it gets into “Just to Get a Rep” territory. I told you: family members fucking up (all MCs have a story about ‘em. And gators.) Because Face is made of blood, guts, and good stories, and has been able to successfully rise above that whole Office Space thing with his integrity intact (your cousins, my cousins, all rappin “No Tears” while driving. Don’t act like you don’t remember. Sigh.), he makes the tale of a high schooler dreaming of wearing gators believable and sad. I’m just like, Ohh, Scarface said it? Well then it must be true. His DMV name is Brad, which he has also overcome, thanks to his baritone and his Army sergeant way of carrying himself. Brad tells you a story to music and if you have it in your head when you’re shopping at Vons, it feels like everything’s in slow motion–eerie, like you’re about to run up on some dude from behind and stab him, and then sneak out the back to go to church and cry about it. You’re a murderer, but you’re still human, you know? You still have that human-guilt thing.

Bun B
Port Arthur, TX

“I’m Ballin”

Got me some bread, made some paper
Costly fabrics, minks and gators, bitch I’m ballin’
Diamonds on my chest, keep me looking good
Got diamonds on my chest, keep me looking good

I said, I got me some bread, made some paper
Costly fabrics, minks and gators, bitch I’m ballin’
Diamonds on my chest, keep me looking good
Got diamonds on my chest, keep me looking good.

This Week in Annoying featured LAPD officers, LA County Sheriff’s Department officers, Dipset operatives rhyming a word with that same word in verse (also part of This Decade in Annoying), that fucking blond patch in Khalifa’s hair, John Legend’s level of success being inversely proportional to the degree of soul in his voice (I FUCKING HATE HIS VOICE AND WHOLE MANUFACTURED STYLE, I do; where is Anthony Hamilton?), 50′s cover-of-LowRider glamour shots (W T F), and people not from Texas trying to get away with using “trill” in music conversations (you see this a lot in the 2DopeBoyz comments sections).

It’s not Bun on the hook quoted here, but still: it’s a Bun song! It counts as one of his! He can rhyme good with good, and it ends up sounding pretty good! Plus he says the words “David Banner” in this song, which is just heaven–2 of my 3 Texas boyfriends in such close proximity (Scarface is the third; Devin is sometimes my fourth one too, when I can make time in my schedule to see him).

I also really really enjoy the use of “I said,” an old-timey bluesy thing you hear in songs to introduce the next verse (AAB rhyme pattern). Jazzy Pha’s doing his impression of Blind Willie McTell here. AH SAY-YID. See also: that Mike Jones one (you know exactly what I’m talking about!; nice try playing dumb, music snob). Anyway, Bun’s calm, fatherly delivery, established history of dustin these gators off ,and proven affection for footwear (he’s a shoe whore) is enough to get me to consider that gators might not be hideous–even though he did a song with noted awful monotoned Canadian rap carpetbagger Drake, who always sounds like he’s yelling at me on the radio.

Gucci Mane
Atlanta, GA

“Atlanta Zoo”

Gorilla goons with the tool down to act a fool
Birds in the living room, like Atlanta zoo
Lions, tigers, minks, crocs, and gators for my shoes
Monkey n—s in my hood, I’m living in the zoo
Birds in the living room, and the kitchen too
I’m a tiger in the bedroom–ask your baby boo
I got lions, tigers, bears in my hood and closet too
But my gun can stop an elephant just like Atlanta zoo.

I’m a rap apologist and I know it. I know it. No need to email me a description of how your opinion of Gucci is much lower than my opinion of him is, although it’s sweet of you to want to connect with me on that level. Gucci’s got that Dr. Seuss flow but at least he’s in on the joke, which is more than I can say for everybody’s darling K. West. I have to be honest and own up to the fact that I already had a particular bias toward this song even before I thought about songs with gator mentions–because later in it Gucci calls somebody else’s jewelry a fugazi, which I love due to its Brasco connotations (swoon/sigh/YES/oooooh).

This verse took on an unexpected somber tone when I did some research: in 2008, an elephant died at the Atlanta Zoo. She was 26 years old and pregnant. (She did not die from a gunshot, luckily–it was natural causes. I mean, as natural as can be when you’re a huge, gentle creature that’s been forced to live in jail your whole life)

OutKast
Atlanta

“Return of the G”

Man a ni—a don’t want no trouble
a playa just want to kick back with my gators off
and watch my lil girl blow bubbles
But still ready to rhyme
standin’ my ground never back down
Willin’ to rob steal & kill anything that threatens mine
But good luck couldn’t be bought see
many a fights had to be fought G
for a n—a to ride these Vogues
oh so close to the sidewalk to be gawked at
watch your side my n—a ’cause we got gats
the first n—a to buck is gon’ be the first n—a we attack

“Gator” rhymes with “Decatur.” I would appreciate an explanation as to why this fact has never been taken advantage of by OutKast. Thank you.

I also love that gators have this strong association with men who excel at selling the bodies of women, but Big Boi’s kicking his gators off in order to spend time with his daughter in a defiant display of helping to ensure her self-esteem stays high. Ooh, subversive!

T.I.
Atlanta

“Stand Up”

You got a alligator mouth and a hummingbird ass
Your mouth writing checks that your ass can’t cash
145 and I’m out of your weight class
Want to survive, you better scramble like eggs and break fast

There are groupies in the world. I’m not one of them. But, BUT: T.I. is so physically stunning that, you know what?, maybe this dress would look better on the floor than on my body. Thank you for T.I., universe. Thank you for him. (He’s little, though, which is the universe’s way of reminding him to stay humble. He carries those 145 lbs well because he’s only like 5’5″. I’m quite sure that small stature of his is part of the reason he is so fond of firearms–they are a classic virility substitute.)

T.I.’s mention of his actual number of pounds reminds me of how few MCs reference their weight in lyrics. I guess every one of us is sensitive about that stuff. We all think we’re either too big or too skinny, but the difference is most of us have the sense not to talk about it into a microphone. Like, you know, if I were Rawss I don’t think I’d say something like “Pull up in a sleigh/Hop out like I’m Santa Claus” if I had his thyroid issues.

Curren$y
Repping: New Orleans, LA; my heart

“Money, Drugs, Bitches, Liquor”

You know I’m not playin, man
You want a concert, well you gotta pay the man
Look at the shirts and socks, call him the gator man
My crossover good, that’s how I shake them haters, man.

A few things I’ve realized thus far: Nothing fazes Curren$y; the dude is made of blood, guts, THC and klonnies (Young boy never been attracted to madness/I’m inside watchin re-runs of “What’s Happenin”). Nobody ever notices when I get a haircut because I always look exactly the same. The best R.E.M. song is “Nightswimming,” I don’t care what anybody says. I always like 50 best on other people’s songs (love how he gets more sing-songy and playful with his delivery). And whether they’re gators or Crocs, any kind of footwear named after a reptile is ugly. Coming from Curren$y’s mouth, though, you realize that gators are tiiiiiight. Or, in Louisiana-ese mixed with his mouth being a little dry, taaaht.

Aw damn, I forgot! You’re right–“Daysleeper” is great too.

Lil Wayne
Repping: New Orleans, LA; America; Mars; the soft ladyparts of your girlfriend; iTunes; Clear Channel; MTV; Gatorade (ha, how appropriate in this particular post); Hanes, Geico, Pizza Hut? (probably just a matter of time); your psyche

“Upgrade You” freestyle:

Hollygrove gator, ain’t nobody greater
Leave you with some bullet holes the size of craters.

Gator boots with the pimped-out Gucci suits/Ain’t got no job, but I stay sharp, said Wayne’s friends some time ago. Wayne is small but vicious, has sleepy eyes, and comes from a swamp, just like an alligator. While not about ugly shoes, this little couplet still makes me love gators because it makes me love everything, because it’s Wheezy and he’s got that power. I am bearing a ton like Leee-vy, he also says in this song, which is a great line–even better than I pay these n—s with a reality check, a line I heard this week that is so simple and terrific. Bad yellow bitch keep my passenger seat warm, he also says. Pretty ladies are just like expensive things in that they are accessories used to display one’s wealth. And just like the quest of getting a pretty lady, making a reptile into a pair of shoes is hard and dirty, and requires focus:

After the gators are killed with a stab to the brain, they are skinned and sorted: heads and claws for the French Quarter souvenir shops, meat for the Cajun restaurants, guts for turtles, dogs or anything else whose tastes run that way.” I cannot condone wearing animal skin in the name of fashion; however, I also cannot condone the posting of underclothed ladies on the Internet and yet I’m complicit in that as well.

8Ball & MJG
repping: Memphis, TN (I can’t get away with saying “Ten-a-Key,” all casual like nobody would notice)

“Look at the Grillz”

Don’t try to ever take my cash from me
You might as well jump off a cliff, you fucking crash dummy
Like that’s my last money
This for my n—s who be bussin back to perpetrators
We don’t discriminate, we’ll hurt you now, hurt you later
But I ain’t worried, I smoke one on you fucking haters
And I’m hiding gators under refrigerators

YOU FUCKING CRASH DUMMY, he said! Jump off a cliff, you dumb fuck! (sorry, Mom. sorrysorry) MJG turns into Don Rickles here–he insults you but it’s so strong in flair it just makes you want him to come at you more and more. Making Easy Money, Pimping Hoes In Style; that’s the mantra, and that’s what Memphis means to me (along with Stax, Derrick Rose, and this fucking white girl side hustle opportunity I missed and it kills me still even though it’s been a few years and I should be over it by now).

Rich Boy
repping: Mobile, AL

“Throw Some D’s”

There’s hoes in the parking lot
But I still got my glock cocked
New money motherfucker don’t you see the big knot
Don’t you see the big chain
Don’t you see the big rims
Wonder who they hatin on lately
Baby it’s him, candy paint,
Gator skin seats, call me Dundee
pope in your hood I’m the one that you wanna be
Haters wish they could feel the wood in my ’83
Ridin’ with no tint so the motherfuckers know it’s me

(2 verses later)

Hit the block on some new 10 thousand dollar wheels
Can’t explain how I feel
Touch the gator on the wheel
Got peanut butter ice cream
Peter pan seats
Just gotta fresh cut
Now we looking for them freaks
Take a bad yellow bitch
Make her drop them draws
I’ma show you how to ball
middle finger to the law

You do a post about gators, of course there’s going to be some heavy Southeastern Conference MC representation. You call yourself Rich Boy, of course there’s going to be some talk of expensive things in your songs. This one provides the only gator-on-the-wheel moment in this post, which is a little more attractive than gator-on-your-feet, but not by much. There is something charming and innocent about the desire to impress your neighbors, really such a silly way to behave when you think about it (“HEY I KNOW!, let’s put chopped-off, dried-out, tanned reptile skin on the steering wheel. I’M RICH.”). We’ve also learned how to make ketchup packets into shivs and convinced our females that putting plastic sacs under their skin makes them more attractive. Humans are incredible. Anyway, this song is one of the greatest rappin + drivin songs my Civic has ever had the pleasure of pouring from its speakers, and between Rich Boy’s stated fondness for yellow-bone girls and Polow’s documented fondness for, um, ladies with a skin tone similar to mine, this song is of course a tribute to ME, stunting in LA traffic with the radio on. Oh and the Alabama lean he gives to the word “baby” (01:24) is basically what a real man should sound like.

Elzhi*
Repping: Detroit, MI.

“Dirty” (Slum Village & ODB)

Yeah, you know how Slum do, when we come through
Gumshoe, Air Force is a pair of Air Jordans
Pelle Pelle, or old school with gangsta white walls
Tailored suits, coordinatin’ with the gator boots
Before you hate on what we do, it’s a D thing
You flamin’ at a cabaret offa Alize
Where the ladies at, pushin’ back your Baby Phat
Make it clap like 80 gats

The only way out of class shame is conspicuous consumption (see: me and my Alexander Wang bag, winter 2010; can’t pay my rent cuz all my money’s spent, but that’s OK, cuz I’m still fly!). As evidenced here by El, when you’ve made it as a member of the Leisure Class, little matters other than holding onto your money, producing an heir, and looking really fresh–even though bragging about labels as proof that you’re a member of the Leisure Class is prissy and unmanly. It makes you seem like that Billy Zane character from Titanic. And Jesus, the only thing uglier than gator shoes are gator boots. But you know what makes me love gator skin, gator shoes, gator boots? DILLA. The song was produced by Black Milk before he was Black Milk, doing his best Dilla impression back before everybody else was doing their Dilla impression. Therefore, gators are attractive footwear, as long as they’re talked about in a nice rhyme pattern over some warm Dillaesque drums.

*A Detroit MC on this list covers the entire Great Lakes region (I didn’t want to have to try to think of any boring ass Rhymesayers lyrics).

Kool Keith
From: The Bronx, but c’mon–
Repping: Los Angeles, CA since forever

“Girl You Know”

I sport the real gators, Lucchese and Tony Lama
Y’all act like divas with a flat ass like Madonna.

Keith is the only dude I know* who can brag about labels without sounding prissy and unmanly. There’s really nothing more to say here; Keith is one of the greats, just an all-around super guy–funny, bossy, smart but still unpretentious, a generous and innovative lover, appreciative of a girly shape and girly dresses, tweakin bass like he’s Jimmy Castor, and that’s everything I need in a sex/life partner. When I did an image search for him in my computer to accompany this section, an oldie that I had saved came up:

I had forgotten about it and its various comical aspects (I added the chubby pink hearts, a symbol of love, for emphasis. ‘Cause I love the entry so much):

1. a) Someone calling sex positions “sex styles.” b) Someone typing “sex styles” into the Google blank box, you know, just doin some research. Some sex research. People say “handstyles,” and people say “hairstyles,” because those are actual things. “Sex styles,” though!; nobody talks like that;

2. Someone turning to Wikipedia as part of research on sex positions (this makes me sad because it belies a whole lot of social awkwardness on the part of the searcher, and because Wikipedia is wrong so often that I don’t think I’d trust it as a source for learning new sex acrobatics);

3. Wikipedia kindly redirecting searchers to the “sex positions” entry without judging them or giggling, although I would argue that this redirection isn’t particularly helpful since listening to Sex Style will give you all the lessons you need, pumpkin.

* in my head

“Bamboozled”

Two cases on Stoli’s, eight thousand for this, man you owe me
I left the V.I.P. section lonely
Me, white folks, Don Juan played the back
The women chose me over guess who? Pretty Toney
Kid I got your lady signed to Sony
Girls tell Bobby I’m the real tenderoni
New York’s best verse carrier
You better scoop her, before I marry her
Award winner without rims
Tap your dimepiece without spinners
JVC, LL soapbox with the antennas
I get hard on aspirin cups full with Guinness
The Ernie Onassis, with masters, with Marc and Jack Jasper
Sunday clean gators on the pastor
Go ‘head player, you’s a wallflower
Scared to talk to her, I’ma ask her
Rep it at the casino, walk in your presence
Miami’s biggest problem
Wack rappers want me out the game like Al Pacino

1.One time Kutmasta Kurt emailed me and asked me to be in a Keith video—shockingly, they needed blondies willing to be dress-up dollies and, hey, what’s that, they thought I might be a good fit. How odd; who could have predicted.

“Would you be interested to dress up 70′s and be in the dr dooom video?” he asked. I declined, because I’m an idiot, and thereby missed out on one of the great white girl side hustle opportunities of the last 10 years. Sorry, Kurt. My poor decision-making means I will probably die without Kool Keith ever touching my bottom with affection and then taking me to the arcade, but a girl can dream.

2. I like beautiful large-bodied displays of American muscle in vehicle form (’74-’82) but the hustle of a dude trying to get a girl out of her dress by bragging about his car is a hustle that cannot be respected. Award winner without rims/Tap your dimepiece without spinners, says Keith, with much more dress-removing success than you can imagine. “I’m broke” raps are the best.

Mac Mall
Repping: VALLEJO, Cuddie!

“Crest Creepers” (Mac Dre song, ’98)

I’m out to conquer the globe
Might start off in Vegas, hookers bringin’ more of those papers
Boss mackin’ got me scuffin’ my gators
Call me Luke Skywalker, the alien stalker
Cuddie, fuck your friends, your folks, even your potna
Lil’ soldier got a chopper plus he gone off one
And OG’s think the penitentiary is fun
So he’s ready to kill, and ain’t scared to die
Nuclear age titan up out the Crest side

Annnnnd finally, northern Cali in this. There’s a line from Ghetto Stardom in which Mac alludes to reality-based paranoia–”Uncle Sam finding ways to fit computer chips in my dome.” This is a concept only slightly more frightening/psychologically violent than Uncle Sam successfully convincing us that buying stuff and displaying it on our bodies/cars/women is the way to freedom. The whole blue-collar tone of his stuff is what makes his mention of gators (ugly ugly footwear) acceptable. Boss mackin got me scuffin my gators. I come from proletariat stock, as most of us do–union members, people who didn’t hate their jobs but hated jobs in general, so signs of wear and tear on a dude’s shoes is a positive thing. Mac’s a man of the people. Some soldiers ain’t never gonna see the streets/That’s why I keep servin’ game over my beats.

In terms of gator-rap representation by the Bay Area, I thought for certain I’d be posting something by E-40. Cuddie, I’m telling you, I could come up with a verse for him–gator rhymes with hater, sooner or later, and of course Bay Areyerrrr. E-40′s Fatburger has been closed for a while, but I recently thought of it when

a) I sent the following text to my little brother: JAMAL MASHBURN IS ONE OF THE GREAT SPORTS NAMES (just out of nowhere, as is my habit. Probably influenced by all the Fab Five talk everywhere, though)

b) He wrote back IT REALLY IS. HE OWNS A BUNCH OF OUTBACK STEAKHOUSES (FUN FACT)

and c) I responded with IF IT WERE JERRY, THEY’D BE STACKHOUSES.

d) He texted back HEY-O, having grown up with me and knowing that my ego craves this kind of cheerleading, but that’s beside the point. The point is that E-40 would appreciate my pun, and his decades-long commitment to his various hustles (records, dope, women, restaurants, guest appearances on other people’s records) means he gets a place on this list, gators or no gators. But if I stick with the rules of the post, he does get a gator association in that he’s friends/songmates with Gator Mane (I’m still listening to “Since the ’90s”).

Andre Nickatina
Repping: San Francisco, CA

Fist Full Of Dollars/Green Eyes”

Revvin’ like a Cutty that bangs on the block
Baby can I have your keys, I hate to pick your lock (I just love this)
Snappin’ like a gator, never waitin’ like a waiter
Cherry is my flavor when it comes to Now & Laters
When it comes to gettin’ greedy, man I get green eyes
And I gotta get it like Muslims slang pies.

“In all the 5 boroughs, I’m known,” this song Yet another Brasco connection! Twice in one post! (my next post will be Random Tribute: Lefty Ruggiero raps) Like the Wicked Witch, I gotta jump the broom/Screamin fuck you by the light of the moon. Screamin FUCK YOU by the light of the moon

OK, this one’s about actual gators, as in the animals, but Nickatina runs 12-Step groups called Ballers Anonymous in his spare time, and he no doubt has said something at some time about gators, as in the footwear (I didn’t have time to try to think of another gator lyric from among his 18,000 songs). Rich in pimping history, the Bay Area is replete with men who love a fine-looking kit–a nice suit, expensive footwear, baubles. And so, like MCs from the states of Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama, anyone who can successfully throw around the term “playboy” in verse can also convince me that gators are all right. This means you, Bay Area rappers. Oh, Gibbs too. Gibbs could definitely get away with saying “playboy.”

Nickatina
Repping: C’MONNNN CUDDIE, pay attention

“Color of the Benz”

I wear my Air Jordans with my Anchor Blue jeans
I like to spread my wings when I’m out on the scene
You can break me down on a triple scale beam
The color of the Benz same color whip cream

You want that, man do you like how I flaunt that
Because I know I’d go to jail or hell if I bought that
Man like a court case caught that
and like a boxer in Vegas to box, yo I fought that
I like steak and potatoes, ice cream gators
I never say nothin yo to none of my neighbors
I do it like Parliament, don’t get wet
I do it like a gambler, make that bet

Like water off a duck’s back, Cuddie. Every verse of Nickatina’s makes me feel relaxed and confident, like I can handle anything, the highest compliment one can give an MC. This one’s from A Tale of Two Andres which forces me to ask: Have two more lovable rappers ever existed than Dre and King Nicky? NOPE. I’d shove you out of the way in the club or at the grocery store to get to either one of these gentlemen. Nothing personal. Nickatina’s like 8 feet tall and he’s toothpick-shaped and I hear he’s a basehead/ex-basehead from my ex-SF cab driver friend, so he is just clownish and odd enough to pull off wearing gators. It would be more weird if he didn’t wear gators, you know?

Cam’Ron (I cannot bring myself to use the apostrophe. It makes me mad)
repping Harlem
“Cookin Up”

You the soda bottle huh, i’m twisting ya’ cap
and i’m luxury girl, come sit on my lap
her friends like “dont go that s**t is a trap
he’ll have you traficking, swallowing, s**ttin’ smack”
they pigeons in fact, how you gon’ listen to that
you the flyest one in ya’ crew them bitches is wack
start at the smile, I knew that the shit was a wrap
her friends were right though, she gon’ be pitching some crack
i’m a true champ, you glance, four door, two tramps
fuck my money, honey, bring ya’ foodstamps
go ‘head you dance, an elephant to you ants
chain – Alaska, bracelet – nebraska
crib – well disaster, forty two plasmas
royal blue Maury’s, shortie you bastard
only thing I dont know, what resort we in
I tell a bitch “get over here” like Scorpion
cars, order in flavors, you order from Avis?
come around me, why, they know my aura contagious
and i’m sorta courages, plus the kids smart
forget Biz Mark, he gon’ catch more than the vapors
next door at ya’ neighbors, they said all of you haters
set ya’ up the very moment I offered them paper
and the law from the mayor, and my kicks?
the University Of Florida, of course that they gator

UGH. God. Cam showed up in the post. I broke one of my cardinal blogging rules when I started HFS several years ago. Sometime y’all get crimey crimey, grimy grimy. Lately Tim Tebow is the Gator that’s been in the news (he is a Jesus freak who is afraid of female sexuality, as is typical of Jesus freaks). eBay $1,250.00
Nike AIR FORCE 1 LUX ’07 REAL GATOR SKIN 24K GOLD SZ 12, says the eBay posting I saw yesterday. Crocodile Birkin bag, $65,000

Jadakiss
repping: Yonkers, NY

“Gangster, Gangster” (Styles P song–produced by PETE RAWWWK, lordhavemercy)

Few contract and inkpens later
Turn into boss respect, mob ties and kingpin paper
Mountin the D, Cardi frames and pink gators
Gotta learn how to deal with the weak link haters
Don’t even think about the top 10, just think Jada
Never eat no less, then I think greater

Chin down, mouth open is something that photographers say to girls to get sexface out of them (please see above; also ask me because I could tell you some stories), but, in keeping with this post, it also happens to be something that paying customers probably say to girls to get sexface and sexotherthings out of them. It’s probably more often Chin UP, but still. There’s still that whole “bossing a lady around” theme, the gators-are-for-pimps theme. If you’re convicted of pandering in New York state, it carries a fine of $10,000. I’m just saying. You wear pink gators and you’re just begging to be stopped and questioned by vice. Pink gators are for Detroit players, Jada! You dummy! Others have forgotten about you rapping on Mariah Carey songs, but not me.

* YOU SIMPLY MUST PICTURE ME WALKING DOWN THE STREET TO THIS, because goddammit I’m picturing myself walking down the street to this. (I have a sundress on). The “Get to Poppin” instrumental, too–but that one’s not made for a sundress. It’ll always be a Logan-walking-down-the-street-in-jeans-that-may-or-may-not-be-a-little-too-tight-don’t-judge-me theme song.

Rae!
repping: Brooklyn, NY

“My Favorite Dred”

On graduation day he threw me a towel
He came through, heavy like fuck, suit flammable
Ill pair of gators he copped in Beirut
Had his man wit him, just stare, don’t stand with him
If assassination strike, he gotta make plans with him

This Week in Wonderful included USDA prime rap beef, all 3 plays of “Ignition” (the remix, duh, hot n fresh out the kitchen) on LA radio while I was out driving (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday), single-word album titles, single-word song titles, my precious Sennheisers, and my precious precious Lakers who, what’s the phrase?, go hard in the mother fucking paint. Switzerland, beige Timbs, heavy like fuck. I’m outta here/showin love like Zorro.

Gang Starr (Guru and Premier, respectively)
From: Boston and Houston, respectively, but c’mon–
Repping: BROOKLYN (respectively) since forever

“Work”

Now I’ma start collectin props, connectin plots
Networkin like a conference, cause the nonsense is yet to stop
Jakes shake me down, haters wanna take me down
Break me down, clap–all they heard was the sound
I scoped it out, I took your weak dream and choked it out
Your bitch don’t really got no ass, she just poked it out
on the d low, I’m sayin, you versus me though?
We can do this shit right here, in front of your people
See time is money kid, and BS walks
And to me, it’s funny kid when you meatheads talk

Bangin your thoughts with the hot onslaught
A kid got shot on the spot for goin where he should not
Viciously, I make history, instantly
Those other lame ass loser ass n—s, they can’t fuck with me
I’m doin my thing now, to lamp later on
Paid in the shade, with some fly gators on
But now I’m grimy as they get, mud on my pants and shirt
I bet you n—s out here know, I be puttin in work.

FIRST of all, there’s nothing wrong with a girl poking out her bottom. Let me make that clear. All the other real-world ladies and I have to find a way to compete with fantasy-ladies’ benefits of airbrushing (magazines), and perfect lighting, slow-motion jiggly shots, and professional makeup artists (videos)–unless you’re Syd, who gets along fine in her trusty red hoodie and looks stunning all the while. I forgot what else I was gonna say. Dude it’s Guru. Gators are anecdotal more than anything–a symbol of wealth. Guru never wore them. But that’s OK, kid.

Big L
repping: Harlem

Stretch & Bobbito freestyle, ’94

Here’s another smooth song, so get your groove on
Violate or try to fake, jacks or you’ll get moved on
Peace to all my n—s with the thousand dollar shoes on
Pushing rides with full-length minks with gator shoes on
I’m known for rockin tours, picture me moppin floors
Only fuck with ki’s and not the kind that be locking doors
The type of nigga that be gaming your freaks
While you out working hard I’m putting stains in your sheets

If you bite then tell your man what type of flowers you like! I’m chillin makin sure this money is right/Sippin Sunny Delite and hittin every honey in site! This post has gotten out of control, having turned into less of a Random Tribute Gator Raps post and more of a Random Tribute to Big L’s Wordplay post.

“Halfsharkalligatorhalfman.” Three alligators behind me, feel my skin is hard/Transvestites and people watch space parasites/I left his head in the store, legs in the street/Body in Wilcox, with blood dripping off my feet/LAPD through gray clouds couldn’t see me/I first turned rainbow, closed my eyes, watch my brain glow/People got scared and ran away, they think I’m weird/I was born this way. Mosley, Fante, Joni Mitchell, Axl, Eric Wright, Warren Zevon and Keith are tops when it comes to describing the Los Angeles landscape.

mp3.

.

I’m grouchy (real quick Note on a Theme)

RapRadar’s unfortunate photo selection to accompany their RIP post.

OH WAIT -
7:39 am – They changed it to something more appropriate and respectful! Nice job, gentlemen.

“Lay Low.” Fellow drivers of Civics within a 50-mile radius of LA County, I know you’re with me on this one. There’s Nate’s perfect vocals, of course, but also KEYS.

mp3.

.

Look at this sorry ridiculous dumb bastard who will never ever see me naked NICE SHOES, sir!


Sour mash surgeon, heavy glass up at the Wally bash.

“A reveler takes a sip of bourbon as he sits next to a sleeping man on a couch during the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club parade on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans on Mardi Gras Day March 8.” (Patrick Semansky/Associated Press – The Big Picture)

Yo Gotti & 8Ball – “Walkin in Memphis” (Wally Sparks mix). Because I needed a Wally something or other to complete the post, of course, but also because Memphis meant “city of white walls” in ancient Egypt. And because the Civic has stock rims and nearly-bald tires, but this song is always on the playlist during hot sunny days driving around LA and it feels so good I’d swear I have gangster whites.

mp3.

.

I’m in love with my car radio, episode 34,000


I’m your Internet girlfriend and I don’t ask a lot of you, other than daily shoulder rubs and you laughing at my jokes. And every once in a while I want you all to pay close attention when I start to go on and on about individual songs on popular radio. This is as close to egotism as I get.

(PS, I’d also like everything I do to be written about in Futura Bold Italic against a red background, like in a Barbara Kruger piece or a Supreme anything. Other than that, I am humble and lack egotism).

On the mighty 101 freeway this evening, I heard some fine pop music; 64 miles, 94 minutes, 10 radio stations, and 7 “Bottoms Up”s later (SEVENNNN, I swear to god, I counted), I have made my selections and here they are: the best “driving back to LA from Mom’s after Thanksgiving” songs and what they mean to me. What they mean to all of us.


“This Christmas,” Donny Hathaway. And so it was decreed on this day that the only Christmas songs allowed in apt. 15 are this Donny H. classic, “Christmas in Hollis,” that Pogues one, Prince’s “Another Lonely Christmas,” and “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” with Darlene Love’s crybaby vocals ripping up the insides of my heart (the effect it was supposed to have, probably because Spector was poking her with a hot wire hanger just outside the booth to get the best performance out of her).

When I’m between salon visits, my hair starts to turn reddish because my highlights are fading. It is during these times that several people have commented that I resemble noted American pornographic thespian Faye Reagan. I don’t see it, other than you can see my freckles when I don’t wear makeup. But that’s ok, because she is pretty. I’ll take it. Sometimes I also get Anne Hathaway with lighter hair, because we both have those too-large eyes (baby deer lost in the forest). “Anne with highlights,” my mom says. I’ll take that too, because Anne Hathaway is pretty and because the comparison makes me feel close to Donny Hathaway. Anyway, Donny’s version of this song is the gold standard, the beginning and the end, the only one, pure, uncut, straight from the fields of Afghanistan. This is the ONLY version of this song you’re allowed to listen to. I mean it. I will turn this car around. You can have Kanye and your other false prophets; I’ll take Donny and his quiet suffering, his turtlenecks, and his doomed, beautiful voice.

“Bottoms Up,” Trey Songz. This was played 7 doggone times during my time on the freeway tonight, you guys. I guess the evil little playlist-compiling elves at ClearChannel were thinking that that this would be good to drink to at your uncle’s house. I was mad at the frequency with which I heard it, and yet I have not lost any appreciation for the song’s woooahhh-oh-ohhh intro, with Trey doing his moaning Kels impression*, the drumroll at 00:47, the double-timed “up”s during the last part of the hook, or the way the whole song is put together. Nice job, KaneBeatz. I hate Nicki’s verse, though, where she does babytalk and starts off with a list of different kinds of booze. It’s like in “Monster,” when Jay just lists a bunch of scary things (demons, ghouls) and then asks what they have in common. UHHH THAT’S NOT RAPPING, SHAWN.

*I can sing this whole part, with no breaks or pitchiness. I also nail every single I know in “Ain’t No Sunshine” whenever it comes on the radio. BREATH CONTROL.

Vince, who I swear I’ve seen around my neighborhood, getting his American Spirits at the store on my block.

“Linus and Lucy,” Vince Guaraldi. Of course this is burned into our childhood memories, the Peanuts kids dancing to it, but please disregard that and listen to the whole thing with fresh ears, as it is lovely and trance-inducing. My brother also informed me that this song powered a Pat Duffy skate part. The only other jazzy tune I know of in the history of skate parts was “Traneing In” in Video Days. And now, as always, I am thinking about how much fun being a boy must be. Girls don’t have that gene that makes you guys want to hurl yourselves off of things, and that’s fine. But every time I see a good skate video part, or hear anything from It’s Dark and Hell is Hot, I get jealous and think being a dude sure seems like it would be fun. Luckily, being a girl is fun enough for me ’cause we get to wear cuddly lounge-y cashmere underthings*. Also fun: this song’s meter changes while battling traffic at the 101-405 interchange. That’s some joy in my Japanese coupe right there, you blockhead.

*

want/need. Thank you in advance, based god.

“Sunny,” Bobby Hebb. I never said a proper goodbye to Bobby and I should have. But hey, have you ever heard James Brown’s hot burning fire version of this song? You should.

(best YouTube comment:


Lady Gaga, you piece of crap. Watch God’s incarnation of groove, bow down to Sir unbeatable electrifying unreachable Mr. James Brown and repent, you good for nothing illuminati bitch.

I’d say it were time for this person to attend anger management class, except I completely agree with him.)

“Shotgun,” Jr. Walker & the All-Stars. They say guns clap just like people do, right? I done been down this road before, all pleased with myself for realizing that Jr. Walker and Dilla both decided to call one of their songs “Shotgun.” Must be a Detroit thing. This one’s about high heels and shooting somebody, just like all the best Clipse songs, and of course it all makes wonderful and perfect sense.

“The Return of the D.ST,” De La. 1) Handclappy intros are the best. 2) If something’s, uh, coming, it’s always a nice touch to announce it. Just a couple times, though—if you start saying it too far in advance, and too often, the other person who’s there stops believing you. HI MOM.

mp3.

“No Hands,” Waka. Stripper songs, stripper songs, guess which one of your favorite nerdy lady bloggers loves stripper songs. All we ladies want in a man is 1) a combination of Wale in “No Hands,” 2) Obama, and 3) our dad/grandpa/nice uncle. That is, someone who sweats out weaves, has a powerful presence without resorting to shouting, and tells us Don’t ever change, you’re perfect and beautiful, but still calls us on our shit since someone always agreeing with you is boring. It took me a little while to give in to Waka and his lovely cheekbones, but here I am. (Thanks for saving me a seat, you guys; nice to see you all here!)

I have many questions about life. So many questions. How come nobody told me about the MF Based mixtape, for example. When will Nipsey and Wiz eat a cheeseburger (so skinny, those boys!). How come Jay-Z never did a verse in which he referred to himself as having x amount of JIGGA WATTS (Back to the Future on TV earlier today). Where is Jeezy. Why doesn’t Plies go by Algernod Washington instead because that is a far superior name. Whyyy. And finally: how long will oddballs rule the rap game, bodying everything and everyone with their siren songs. Rap is only going to get weirder in the world in which we live, our own Theatre of the Absurd. I cannot wait.

“All I Want is You,” Miguel feat. J. Cole. All we ladies want when a dude is mean to us is for him to lose some sleep and be very very sorry. There should be some karmic payback for every cruel deed committed, just to make some sense of this crazy world. This song’ll get that estrogen flowing, like when Gaga comes on the playlist loop at H&M and me and all my sistren among the racks of $25 skirts have that tiny, private moment of joy and sing along in our heads.

I wonder sometimes/I wonder if I was wrong/Tryna do right by you got me here/Now all I am is alone. Ah yes. Of course. I recognize an “I cheated; I’m an idiot” lyric when I hear one. ‘Cause her eyes, and those hips/And that ass don’t compare at all/And at best, all they do is distract me. Goddamn right; perhaps you should not have strayed from the hips and ass that were waiting for you at home, young man. Aw damn, I love it though. The pathos. That heavy bass drum and the sad echo applied to the vocals makes my progesterone level spike 50%. Salaam Remi produced this, along with “Fu-Gee-La,” and I therefore love him forever and ever amen.

“I Got 5 On It” (original), The Luniz. Much like how I become an honorary Latina every time “Suavecito” comes on, I am suddenly and without warning straight from Alameda County whenever I hear some Luniz. I believe it was my beloved OG rap crush El-P who once said Just because radio don’t play you/Doesn’t mean that you great. The inverse of this is also true, and has become the theme for this whole list–just ’cause you hear it on the radio don’t mean it’s not great. The remix of this one has Dru Down’s entertaining You can bend her over the table/But be sure that you bring my stallion back to my stable, a callous reference to the trafficking of women’s bodies, but unlike people at the Voice, I have the ability to separate my real life from my enjoyment of song lyrics (sorry, I can’t let this Odd Future thing go). The remix also has Richie Rich’s verse, and Shock G’s. But the original has the superstylish Pass it ‘cross the table like ping pong, I’m gone/Beat-ing my chest like King Kong. Only it sounds like gaowwwn, and Yuk rhymes it with King Kawwnnng. The line I got more growing pains than Maggie never has gotten enough love in this lady’s opinion, either.

In 1996 Oakland, Ebonics was introduced, the concept spread throughout the country, and everybody in America either laughed or got upset. In 1995 Oakland, The Luniz put E-40 on their remix and he became a young Logan’s after-hours language tutor–teaching me to think differently about English, like Robin Williams did for those kids in Dead Poets Society.

.