Thursday, March 7, 2013

Rhymin' With Simon

Long before the days of rapping cartoons, kid shows, and pop tarts commercials, rap music was a unique musical form carving out a place for itself in our culture.  This was Pre Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer, (the beginning of the end), when rappers had crews and posses and all. It was a simpler time, when people wore pajamas and lived life slow.
This is not to say I’m from the streets, well my house was on a street, a Cul de Sac to be exact.  But we still laid the cardboard down and wore our parachute pants with pride.

UTFO, The Fat Boys, Run DMC, and The Beastie Boys were all a big part of my childhood.  My friends and I used to mimic their movements, gestures, and when no adults were present, their lyrics.  Duel cassette was a luxury few of us had, we made copies of tapes by placing two boom boxes together, pressed play on one and record on the other before tip-toeing out of the room. (Many of our tapes began with Shhhh, I'm recording!)
At the bus stop, videos were discussed and new songs discovered.  A pair of fat laces and parachute pants were must haves and accessorized my mullet in a perfect blend of eighties train wreck fashion.
In middle school, my cousins and I smuggled NWA (Does not stand for Ninja’s With Attitude) tapes into the house, scraping off those pesky Parental Advisory stickers and listening to the explicit content in wide-eyed amazement.
Today, with some years behind me, I’ve noticed that the influence is still evident.  Many of my playlists jump from extremes.  The other day an Avett Brothers song was followed by Talib Kweli, I had to laugh.
Just as generations before mine flock to Graceland, remember Woodstock (somewhat), or in the case of The Rolling Stones, sit in the AARP section at concerts, I find rap lyrics from over twenty-five years ago still rattling around in my head. And I've found that they make excellent nursery rhymes. 
This led me to some interesting thoughts.  When my generation grows old and gray and enters assisted living homes, will we listen to Eric B and Rakim beaming with a nostalgic twinkle in our eyes?  Will the poetic harmonies of Slick Rick and Doug E Fresh trickle down the hall from Old man Earnest's room? Will dance night consist of such sweet serenading melodies as Do Me and Shoop? 
It’s Grandpa, he’s in the hospital.  There was a dance off at Shady Oaks, he was poppin’ and lockin’ and threw his hip again. 
But back to my son.  My sing alongs already include sucka mc’s, bustin’ moves, and crews getting wrecked,   (I try to keep the gunplay to a minimum), one day I’m bound  to walk into the living room and to catch my son doing a backspin on his play pad.  Actually, that would make Daddy very proud.


  1. Brother, I was poppin' & lockin' to all of the above. I did, however, pay daily homage to Adolfo "Shabba-Doo" Quinones in "Breakin'". This was my Godfather, my Gone With The Wind,, Casablanca. I was how I solved all my problems in the day. Break dance fighting. No one left with a black eye, but everyone left knowing who was the best. Sucka'

    The Cheeky Daddy

    1. Breakin' was great Jason, I also enjoyed Rappinhood, very corny now but I was 9!