(Author’s note: I am stealing an idea from Sean Keane and expanding upon it. I am assuming his mantle as a distinguished scholar in hip hop theory, philosophy, and technique. My first lesson will go to a time before Mr. Keane’s seminal essay and analyze “Nuthin’ But A G Thang” by Dr. Dre and featuring Snoop Dogg.)
The song in question is a tale of mutual loyalty and general badassery. Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg not only illuminate the listener as to their individual and combined strengths, but also pass on individual life lessons that young listeners can apply to their own lives, lest they get burnt.
Snoop Doggy Dogg, in only his second official foray into released recording, begins the proceedings. We are tipped off to the potential lethality of an alliance between Compton and Long Beach. Worse for all aspiring challengers to their throne, Dr. Dre and Snoop are paragons representing the danger and menace emanating from their respective hometown. As a result, they are loc’d out to the point of insanity. This is a good tactic, as it establishes a potential alibi based on insanity for any actions that may injure, maim, or kill their opponents in the future. Snoop, foreshadowing his future role as “The Doggfather” and “King of the Motherfuckin’ West Coast (Baby)”, urges the listener to be wary of engaging in sexual relations with an unchaste woman without proper contraception. Such carelessness can result in the sucka getting burnt, as a bitch who would engage in such risky sexual behaviors will have no qualms infecting her lovers with various STD’s that may weaken an otherwise healthy and strong man. Not to be putting a damper on the entire arena of sexual relations between gangsta and ho, it is acceptable to take a small piece of some that funky stuff if the earlier suggested precautions are in place.
The second verse, as a sign of his elder status, is bestowed upon Dr. Dre. Having recently escaped the villainy and absolute control exercised by Jerry Heller upon Dr. Dre and his NWA cohorts (please listen to Ice Cube’s “No Vaseline” for more information), Dre is eager to pass on the lessons that enabled him to earn a doctorate in the rap game. From the beginning of the song, the listener may have experienced an uneasiness, a newness that cannot be explained or described by human speech. Dre explains that this is all a function of his ability to rap and control the maestro, in an understated display of his supreme status in rap. This advanced technique has the ability to make the listener feel as if he or she is under the influence of “The Chronic”, a particularly potent strain of marijuana originating in Dre and Snoop’s home state of California. Any alarm one may encounter should be taken in stride, as an inability to do so will render the lessons Dre and Snoop moot and unintelligible. While this has no effect on Dre and Snoop, as they have already mastered the subject matter, they are showing an uncommonly magnanimous nature in urging the listener to learn and better himself so that he may deign to attempt an approach to their seemingly unreachable skill level.
Not one to become complacent and rest on his laurels, Snoop follows and augments the Doctor’s lessons. Snoop, perhaps feeling that the listener has digested the earlier lessons and is ready to take a further step in her development, describes various things that enable him to approach Dr. Dre’s level without the formal study undertaken by the Doctor. Some necessary ingredients include a hellafied gangsta lean, getting funky on the mic like an old batch of collard greens, showing much flex when it’s time to wreck a mic, and pimping ho’s and possessing weapons like 1970’s blaxploitation icon Dolemite. While the exact nature of combining these elements to become an analog of Snoop is kept secret, their mere revelation may shave decades off the studies the next generation will have to engage in. Unlike the ancient Egyptians and Aztecs, who left no hints as to how they created their architectural marvels, Dre and Snoop leave a record that can be studied by future generations in an attempt to duplicate their accomplishments. At long last, the listener is ready for some muthafuckin’ G shit. Ostensibly feeling the pride a mama bird must feel when her chicks leave the nest and take their first steps into the cold world, Dre and Snoop both agree that the listener is ready to receive a piece of their wisdom, undistilled and raw. This is the only way that their wisdom can be received. Watering it down would be akin to reading a Bible translated into text speak rather than one written in the original Hebrew.
At this point in the proceedings, the listener may be thinking, “It’s not hard, what Dre and Snoop are up to. I can do this too!” Oh, the folly in such thinking. Dr. Dre did not receive his doctorate through an inferior institution like the University of Phoenix. He attended the School of Hard Knox, where only the strongest survive and complete the rigorous curriculum. As a result, Dr. Dre’s mic skills can make challengers crumble in the way a properly made Pecan Sandie or chocolate chip cookie yields to firm pressure. One should be wary of ignoring these entreaties and challenging Dr. Dre, as Snoop will aid him in destroying any fakers, haters, punks and perpetrators. One should take utmost care in not allowing the Doctor to slip. Allowing this slippage may force Dre’s hand in using his cache of firearms to protect his status and honor. Further, Dr. Dre is operating at a level so far above that of the normal person that he can project the illusion that he never rests. To attempt to pierce this illusion will have deadly consequences. It is therefore not advisable to ever challenge Dr. Dre. The listener may increase his skill level, but never far enough to mount a serious challenge to Dr. Dre.
Finally, the customary pledge of allegiance is made to Dre and Snoop’s respective hometowns of Compton and Long Beach. In a twist, however, the duo emphasize the catastrophic consequences this pairing of ferocious California municipalities will have on the rap game. This is a shift from the usual technique of MC’s from different areas engaging in one upmanship when describing the danger and sinister consequences faced by outsiders venturing to their hometown. It ultimately has the desired effect in chilling any potential challenge to the reputation for murder and mayhem possessed by either Compton or Long Beach. This technique also has the additional benefit of discouraging field trips to either locale, as such a decision is likely to result in death and dismemberment for any suckas who dare to attempt it. The economic benefits for this warning cannot be understated, as it prevents a deluge of claims against insurance companies that would threaten a destabilization of this nation’s already fragile economy.
At the time this song was made, one could have dismissed it as mere hubris. After all, Snoop was an eighteen year old, who had somehow already served four years in the county jail with hardened criminals and thrived in that environment. He had no professional accomplishments to speak of at that point. Dr. Dre, having just completed his residency with NWA, was making his initial foray into solo practice. The years have shown that this early song was a harbinger of the colossal accomplishments each man is credited with. Even more impressive, this initial pairing had the desired result of propelling both Snoop and Dr. Dre into the forefront of the hip hop community. They were rewarded for their early hard work and experienced massive success, as a graduate of Harvard may experience in the area of commerce. Few have sustained the high levels of achievement Dr. Dre and Snoop have sustained in the nineteen years since this song was released.
Until next time, keep it real.
The following is by my good pal and artiste extraordinaire Lora Enfield. You can contact her at her Facebook page.
Constant creating can take a toll, but with regular maintenance, we can refill our well. Things that help recharge:
Hope you found this interesting! Feel free to share any comments you may have.
So, today I was hanging out with my friend Lora. Since I am not very interesting and Lora must secretly loathe my unintentional awesomeness, she decided to tell me a story related to her by a friend of hers involved in social work.
Quick tangent: Why call them social workers? It’s like calling a garbageman a sanitation engineer. We need to start calling them what they are: “Nice people who deal with the crazy and unfit parents in our society so that their children will not rob me and you at gunpoint in sixteen years and two months”? Or we could go with the German word: “Fuckedupnügen”.
This social work friend (SWF) is the guardian for thirty children in need of caring. She also teaches a parenting class. Here’s the thing with parenting: It’s easy to be mediocre and hard to be good. Seriously, as long as the kids are fed and clothed and reasonably integrating into society, you’re not going to have Child Services knocking on your door. My mom made it a point to tell me the myriad ways I had ruined her life, yet no one ever said, “Hey, we need to move that rakish, excessively handsome boy into another home.” Anyways, the parenting class is filled with people who lack the life skills or motivation to be even mediocre parents. This is where the story became glorious.
One of the moms is a stripper. By itself, choosing this vocation isn’t a problem. The problem is that this woman’s concept of proper dress is as skewed as Focus on the Family’s views on homos. She thinks it is perfectly normal to:
a) cut the butt portion of her pants out so they become assless chaps and then go about her day as normal and
b) wearing a shirt that says “I Have The Pussy, So I Make The Rules” t-shirt to a supervised home visit.
While funny, this story stressed me out. The questions came pouring out in a torrent of terror and self-doubt:
Then I snapped back to reality, and the real questions came pouring out:
I’ve lived in the US for 21 years now, and there are a few things I can’t identify with:
I’ll address the first two issues another time. Today, let’s look at public sector unions. This article from the Wall Street Journal is a good primer on the issue. (Yes, I know the WSJ is pro-business. If you don’t like it, find your own link.) I was originally against all unions, but changed my view after seeing the massive evil private corporations are capable of. Private sector workers are like David, fighting the Goliath that is the company. The union functions as the slingshot that helps even the playing field. Public sector unions are like a cat, feasting on the tuna that is the government and the taxpayers.
The most execrable of these groups are the teachers’ unions. These unions, rather than ensuring the best teachers are rewarded and protected, have become a machine for their members to get enviable job security and benefits that most Americans have little hope of ever attaining. Union advocates argue that the unions are supposed to get the best deal for their constituents. This is a viable argument for private sector unions, where the employer could replace all the workers. This would be at a great cost financially and in terms of productivity, so it is in the best interests of the employer to negotiate with the existing workers. Public sector unions represent government workers, who are employed by essential departments in the government, As the WSJ article says, ”The union chief for teachers, transit workers or firemen knows that the city is not going to close the schools, buses or firehouses.” The public sector unions use this fact to their advantage, extracting extravagant benefits from the taxpayers and protecting the mediocre and incompetent.
The Wall Street Journal decided to have Meg Cabot, she of the books with light blue and pink covers, write about why men won’t watch romantic comedies. I have a few bones to pick with Ms. Cabot’s analysis. I do not claim to speak for all men, only myself.
Romantic comedies, by contrast, are released in many fewer cities, on fewer screens, with pre-release buzz that tends to consist only of whatever real-life romantic travails their stars are currently enduring. Such lackluster roll-outs make the idea that “guys won’t see a romantic comedy” a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy.
I’m not sure whether or not Ms. Cabot watches TV, but romantic comedies such as the abominable 27 Dresses, the vile The Wedding Planner, and the horrid Love and Other Drugs got a publicity blitz that would equal the Sunday night promos shown on CBS during the 3pm NFL games on Sundays in the fall.
The appetite for female-driven movies—whether romance figures in the story prominently or is just a subplot—is bigger than the industry seems to think….
None of this is to say that movies with exploding robots or gleefully malicious pirates shouldn’t be made. I’m a fan of those films as well. But we need to be honest and admit that women and men alike can lose themselves in a range of stories, including those that give the leading roles to women.
The main reason I hate romantic comedies is because they encourage behavior that is vile and narcisstic. Let’s take The Wedding Planner as an example. J-Lo steals another woman’s man and dumps a second guy at the altar, while Matthew McConaughey abandons his bride to be at his wedding and then runs to catch up to J-Lo in the park. In any other context, these two people would be scorned and shunned. But, in the world of the romantic comedy, it is A-OK to disregard the feelings of others and destroy lives, as long as true love prevails in the end. This rotten core is coated with saccharine romance and false light heartedness to make the ideas more palatable to these movies’ brainwashed aficionados. Let’s set aside the Italian dude and McConaughey’s rich fiancee. What about the wedding guests, many of whom spent a lot of money to come to the Bay Area? What about the people on the bridge as McConaughey rushes to stop J-Lo from leaving? (Note: This may not have happened in the movie, but I refuse to watch it again to confirm) It is this sort of horrible tripe that encourages Bridezillas and perpetuates the myth of the “soul mate”.
Romantic comedies also perpetuate a myth of love and romance that has no applicability in the real world. Mature relationships aren’t developed by happenstance and love triumphing over all. These movies often end with the two people getting wed or finally kissing. Cut to scene. Why not show the star crossed lovers ten years down the road, when the man has a beer belly and the woman is frigid and shrill? Because this wouldn’t sell tickets to the legions of teenage girls and gullible women who help ensure that Julia Roberts, Katherine Heigl and Jennifer Aniston can buy new mansions every year.
Bridesmaids was successful because it is a good movie. Perhaps it is an indictment that the movie is such a departure from the usual romantic comedies. Don’t get it wrong: Bridesmaids is a romantic comedy. But it brings a fresh sensibility that is not present in 99.9% of the usual romantic fare. It is well written, and the script isn’t the same hackneyed template that most of these movies follow. Many critics pointed to the failure of The Sweetest Thing as the reason that it took so long for Bridesmaids to come about. This is like blaming your hatred of France on one bad experience at Charles de Gaulle Airport (Editor’s Note: Ha ha.) The Sweetest Thing is a great movie for its first 30 minutes. After that point, the movie plays out like the writers and studio said, “Enough of this innovation. Get some love stories and chance meetings in there. We need to sell tickets.”
I sincerely hope that the next wave of major studio romantic comedies can actually respect their audiences and take some risks. I expect this to happen around the same time Fox News begins to actually report the news in a “fair and balanced” way.
A pal of mine is an attorney, and was doing a deposition related to a mesothelioma case in Illinois.
He asked the witness how long he worked each day. The guy replied, “You want to know how long I worked, or how long I clocked in?” My friend asked him to explain.
“Well, I’d clock in at 8am, then go have some coffee and read the paper,” he said. “After doing that, it was time for lunch, so we’d all go to a bar and have a few drinks. I came back around 2pm and checked to make sure my machine was working OK. Then I went home and took a nap. I came back at 4.30 to clock out.”
“So how long did you actually work on a normal day?” my friend asked. “About 40-45 minutes,” the witness replied.
And people wonder why all the manufacturing jobs are going to Asia and Mexico.
[But the real question is, why do Conservative Republicans hate America so much?]
Because they don’t want to live in a country with people who aren’t white. Except for Asian people, who are useful for programming computers and daughter-in-laws for their entitled sons. And Mexicans, who can pick vegetables and clean houses. Well, Conservative Republicans, they just don’t want to live in the same country as black people. Except for that one nice family down the street who work hard and never complain. But just that one family.http://www.metafilter.com/105464/South-California-for-51st-state#3810149