hip hop hooray

August 19, 2003
Hip Hop Mysteries of the Moment
So we had a party this weekend. It went ok but didn't jell quite as well as our last one. I felt bad because I kind of pushed out John Sawer's new mix with my old traditional one, but I really think that to get my crowd dancing, there's no substitute for that early-90s hiphop. That said, here are some random thoughts I've been having on some of the biggest hits in the genre.
You're on a mission and you're wishin'
someone could cure you're lonely condition
You're lookin' for love in all the wrong places
No fine girls just ugly faces
From frustration first inclination
Is to become a monk and leave the situation
But every dark tunnel has a light I hope
So don't hang yourself with a celibate rope
--"Bust A Move" by Young MC
In the early 90s, were we really struck with a crisis of young men throwing in the towel and joining monasteries, even in a metaphorical sense? How many guys, when faced with difficulty getting female companionship, are really like to adopt this kind of "sour grapes" stance? "Feh. Women! Who needs 'em? I'd rather be celibate."

The next half hour was the same old thing
My mother buyin' me clothes from 1963
And then she lost her mind and did the ultimate
I asked her for Adidas, and she bought me Zips!
[...]
Ok. Here's the situation.
My parents went away on a week's vacation
And, they left the keys to the brand new Porsche
Would they mind? Mmm, well, of course not.
--D. J. Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, "Parents Just Don't Understand"
So this goofy cheerful rap seems to have a bit of a dichotomy. Are the utterly fashion-ignorant and sensible sounding parents really going to buy a Porsche? It's such an odd detail, this song is all over the map, swinging wildly from "What's Happening" to "The Cosby Show". (Maybe it's that cross-cultural ability that let Will Smith transcend mere Fresh Princeness to attain Big Willie Style and save the planet from alien invasion like three or four times over.)
So, fellas! (Yeah!) Fellas! (Yeah!)
Has your girlfriend got the butt? (Hell yeah!)
Tell 'em to shake it! (Shake it!) Shake it! (Shake it!)
Shake that healthy butt!
Baby got back!
Sir Mix-A-Lot, "Baby Got Back"
This is an insanely popular song at parties, it really gets people dancing. I think mostly because woman (including white women, even though they kinda sort aren't as much the subject of the song as they seem to think) like being reminded that sexiness is not confined to twig-like models. (Though it's kind of odd that Mix A Lot mentions having a small waist twice in the song.) However, for men dancing along with these women who have a steady relationship with one of them, I do not recommend shouting "Yeah!" too loudly at the "does your girlfriend got the butt?" point in the song. Just some advice.

Quote of the Moment
"Repitition is the only form of permanence that Nature can achieve."
--George Santayana. Chapter starting quote for the book "The Electric Meme", which was rather long and tough to follow but argued that memes most resemble "prions", in the way that they are brainstuff that replicates via causing other brainstuff to take its form, unlike viruses that have their own genetic payloads.