Monday, September 29, 2008

Pete’s Rap for the Day

For dixiedevil,

Yo, baby. Word to yo' moms. Schools is in. Petah is the teachah. Doncha know?

Today's lesson is brought to you by the letter "R" as in rap, and the number one, as in "Won," as in "we won #1 on the charts." Rap-a-tap-bap-a-bee-bop-a-beat-box-of-rap. *Old* *school*. Not yo' ol' schooled white-bread pap.

Straight from the streets of NYC direct to your frontal earlobe. Zap!

I grew up in New York City during the rap revolution of the Soul Train / Disco era. Reggae music from Bob Marley and other Caribbean singers was socially influencing the black community. Tribalism was in. I was part of the tribe from NYC. Subway tokens and public school. To me, Soul Train was rockin'. American Bandstand was too-often bland. Disco and club-scene music was rapidly evolving and devolving into other types of music, from New Wave a la Devo and Cyndi Lauper to Punk a la Clash and The Ramones. MTV was born. You also had the oddball nearly beat-poet abstract lyricist-eclectics like Talking Heads. Music was the talk of the town. Talk was the town of NYC. And rap was the street beat.

For rap you can actually enjoy, check out the ancient and perennial wonderful "Rapper's Delight" from 1979, and then the edgy 1983 cocaine-addled "White Lines (Don't Don't Do It)" from Grandmaster Flash.

Then check out anything by Run DMC or the Beastie Boys for just stupidly fun music.
My college roommate, Todd Goldman, used to always sing, "Ho-tel, Mo-tel, Ho-li-day Inn..."
I remember my sister cranking up the tune and dancing: "Cane! Sugar! Cane! Sugar!" I liked the music, but worried about the social phenomenon of drug addiction. We were all pretty young and innocent. AIDS was just getting talked about. Crack was just starting to hit the streets.

You'll notice the music video for White Lines was done by a then-unknown film student Spike Lee, and his young actor friend pal Lawrence Fishburne.

Eventually the song became re-popularized by that British boy-band Duran Duran in a 1995 re-release.

In the dance of life, Sugarhill Gang taught me this, “If your girl starts acting up, you can take her friend!” It sounds a bit surprising, yet really, it's just time to dance and have some fun.

In that vein, I had another session of "The Talk" last night, you can read in my journal on OkCupid.

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