Skee Lo's "I Wish": The Most Well-Liked Song In History (Probably)
Last night, I was at dinner with some friends and in the course of conversation, the topic came up that one of us had once bought a bag of weed from the rapper Skee-Lo. I can't vouch whether or not the story is true because my friend got it second-hand from someone who'd purchased it from the one-hit wonder. However, I'm choosing to believe the story, mainly because you'd have to be a pretty weird dude to make up buying a sack off Skee-Lo. Think about it, if you were going to make up a celebrity drug-dealing story, Skee-Lo would probably the last person you'd think of (Woody Harrelson obviously being the first).
Of course, I relate this story not to mention drug use (hey...we have Justin Timberlake interviews for that) but more out of how remarkable it is that the man who wrote the most universally well-liked song in the history of rap usic may (or may not) be controlling the block. Granted, there is no tangible evidence to support the theory that Skee Lo's "I Wish" is the most well-liked rap song of all time. There are no Billboard Charts or Soundscan numbers to record likeability (though both "I Wish" the single and album were both certified gold).
However, I'm reasonably certain that "I Wish" is the one song in the hip-hop canon that is beloved by all segments of the population. Indeed from the elderly to the hipsters that clog the arteries of Los Feliz, there isn't a soul alive who doesn't know the words to "I Wish."Don't believe me? Just wait for the next time you're chatting with someone and an awkward pause in the conversation arises. All you have to do is calmly scratch your head and say: "Hey, you know what song was awesome?" Then of course, they'll ask you "what?" To which you'll calmly reply: "Skee-Lo's, "I Wish."
The joy of bringing back images of the spritely (yes, spritely) Skee-Lo mugging aroung on the basketball court and dressed up as Forrest Gump will inevitably make your conversation partner overjoyed. The two of you will reminisce over the halycon days when popular rap music wasn't dominated by songs about popular soups commonly served at Jewish delis or by rappers who brag about slanging 'caine (sadly, not made of candy).
There are other songs that come close to matching Skee-Lo in universal affability, with the Pharcyde's "Passing Me By," Coolio's epic "Fantastic Voyage," Young MC's "Bust a Move," and Snoop's "Ain't No Fun (if the Homies Can't Have None") coming to the forefront of my mind (despite "Ain't No Fun's tendency to cause seizures in the elderly.) Yet no other song brings joy to one's s face faster than "I Wish."
Coolio....Coolio...wherefore art thou...Coolio?The genius in Skee Lo's "I Wish" isn't that it's a very brilliant song. It's not. But that's why it's so well-liked. It never even tries to be anything but what it is: a self-deprecating and funny look at a day in the life of Skee-Lo. Indeed, Skee-Lo seems to have learned the secrets of the Jews well: i.e. if you complain enough people will find you funny. Therefore, Skee-Lo artfully illustrates the plight of all short, bald, unathletic people everywhere. It's like the "Revenge of the Nerds" but for rap music (or like Paul Barman except actually funny).
How bad was it for young Skee-Lo? Pretty bad, at least if you believe his video, where in the course of four minutes, Skee-Lo manages to dress up like Forrest Gump and lose his girl to a guy rocking a black tank-top and short shorts. Skee-Lo only manages to attract hood rats, he sits in the bleachers watching the other dudes play basketball, he drives a fucking hatch back, in which he of course, gets laughed at. Hell, Skee-Lo can't even cruise Crenshaw. Times were tough.
But apparently, times still are tough for the little guy and in a way I feel pretty bad. It's sort of impossible not to root for Skee-Lo. After all, all he ever really wanted was a "rabbit in a hat with a bat and a six-four impala." Is that really so much to ask? Apparently, it is. So right now right here, I declare that what America needs most in 2006 is more Skee-Lo. Like the Wyld Stallions from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, Skee-Lo has the power to align the planets and cause world peace.
But most importantly, now that Skee-Lo has built up the street credibility that he so sorely lacked in 1995, he will be able to fit seamlessly into the rap world of 2006. After all, if mediocre at-best crack rappers like Young Jeezy, The Clipse, L'il Wayne, and Rick Ross, can become rap's newest darlings, why not Skee-Lo, a man we can tangibly (sorta') prove deals drugs. So record labels, here's your chance. You have a proven commodity who happens to have produced the most well-liked rap song of all-time, and also deals drugs, enabling him to get the support of the all-too-important crack-rap obsessed world of music critics. You can't lose. Skee-Lo's wish is your command.
Odds of Skee-Lo Dealing Weed to Keanu Right Before This Picture: 74 percent