The Passion of the Weiss

Sometimes I rhyme slow, sometimes I rhyme quick. But most of the time, I don't rhyme.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

How 2 Live Crew is Responsible For Most Bad Southern Rap

So let's just say hypothetically that you had a blog, a lazy Sunday to kill, a package from Sampson Simpson eying you longingly and the burning desire to reenact the Box's video line-up from late 1992, where do you think you'd wind up? That's right. You'd watch yourself a little Bell Biv DeVoe, you'd watch yourself a little Snow, you might even watch yourself a little Scatman. But if you wanted to be faithful to the content booming out of Miami that year, you'd most certainly be watching 2 Live Crew. Perhaps the epic love-ballad "Me So Horny" or "Pop That Coochie." And ultimately, by the time the orgy of scantily clad video hos ended, you'd be certain of two things: that video ho's got exponentially hotter sometime starting in 1997 and that 2 Live Crew are directly responsible for the majority of bad Southern hip-hop.

You see prior to 2 Live Crew's entry in the rap world in the mid-1980s, rappers were expected to write coherent lyrics and be able to display fierce skills usually honed in MC battles and stage shows. Accordingly, the genre's biggest names were guys like Run DMC, BDP and LL Cool J, with a couple of novelty types thrown into the mix like The Beasties and The Fat Boys. But the success of 2 Live Crew proved that by pandering to the lowest common denominator and continually trying to top themselves with more and more profane lyrics, rappers could ride their lack of skills all the way to the bank. Have nothing to say? Who cares? Talk about "poppin' coochies" or how horny you are. Watch the public eat it up. (Gross imagery, unintended).

Granted, no one listens to groups like 2 Live Crew for the lyrics. No one ever has. No one ever will. But in the annals of rap history, few verses have ever been penned that you were more than inane from Fresh Kid Ice's Second Verse from "Me So Horny."
Worst Instance of False Advertising Since Stoner's Pot Palace

"It's true/you were a virgin until you met me/I was the first to make you hot and wetty-wetty/ You were your parents that we're goin' out/Never to the movies, just straight to my house/You said it yourself you like it like I do/Put Your your lips on my dick and suck my asshole too."

Yes. He actually used the phrase "wetty, wetty." And miraculously, it's one of the better verses on the record, a work that included: "Put Her in the Buck," "Dick Almighty," "The Fuck Shop," "If You Believe in Having Sex," and weirdly enough, "Reggae Joint." Of course, I'm aware it was supposed to be a joke. All in good fun. And you can't deny that songs like "Pop That Coochie" and "Me So Horny" are catchy-as-all-hell. But putting issues of misogyny aside, there still ain't nothing cool about a guy named Fresh Kid Ice bragging about how he likes rim jobs. Nothing. Besides, if I have to pick sides, I'm riding with Snoop and Dre in their beef against the Crew (see the Luke Skkywalker dart-board that was the "Dre Day" video.)

Ultimately, you kind of have to respect guys like 2 Live Crew. While, they certainly couldn't rap and they were certainly far from being lyrical masterminds, the dudes invented a new type of schtick and found a way to capitalize on it. Can't knock the hustle. But what you can knock is the talentless copy-cats that studied 2 Live Crew's blueprint and managed to shamelessly and humorlessly imitate them. With 2 Live Crew proving exactly how viable misogynistic shock-rap could be, it opened the floodgates for no talent crunktards like L'il Jon, The Ying Yang Twinz, & Dem Franchise Boyz to sell millions of records predicated on their belief that they too could "beat that pussy up." But the influence of 2 Live Crew hasn't been merely relegated to Atlanta Crunk-rap and Miami booty bass, as last year Baltimore hipster icon Spank Rock rode 2 Live Crew's formula to great success, essentially doing a note-for-note re-creation of As Nasty as I Wanna Be.
Thank You 2 Live Crew. For I Would Never Want to to Live in Ying Yang Twins-Less World.

All in all, 2 Live Crew weren't completely bad. Their songs hold up as fun, if not ridiculous party records, In that vein, they serve their purpose. But it's a little sad to think that as soon as studio executives picked up on 2 Live Crew's formula, it was only a matter of time before they'd start trying to find their own Dem Franchise Boyz', or Ying Yang Twinz, or L'il Jon's., all inspired directly by the Crew. Maybe you disagree. Maybe you think the Ying Yang Twinz are brilliant auteurs eloquently illustrating life in the south (Though, if that's the case, I would appreciate whatever it is that you're smoking...seriously, call me) But either way, I think all of us can agree on one thing. "Pop That Coochie" is a truly excellent video.


At 5:57 AM, Anonymous doctashock said...

I am very interested in your ideas and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Seriously though, I have to say there's some pretty good reasoning behind this theory. Having lived in Georgia from 96-99 though I have to say that sadly life has started to imitate art and those songs are unfortunately (well I guess that depends on how you look at it) somewhat reflective of the attitudes I encountered everyday from both males and females.

What you failed to mention about the crew and their imitators is how brilliant they were with innovations on an 808. Those beats are FRESHHH YO!!!

On the real though... I'm liking this blog.

At 7:04 AM, Anonymous floodwatch said...

I can see the Lil' Jon and Ying Yang Twins' direct lineage to Nasty, but Spank Rock doing it note for note? Hmmm... a bit of a stretch. Regardless, I will never forget those halcyon middle school nights of tender, innocent slow-dancing with my then-girlfriend to "Pop That Coochie." It was our generation's "Always and Forever."

At 10:14 AM, Blogger skinny said...

with that essay, you've earned your BS in gender studies from Oberlin. now pack that bong, let's get a few rips in before we meet up with Danny and Kristin at the Talib Kweli show.

At 10:37 AM, Blogger GentleWhoadie9000 said...

I don't think "ignance" is regional. I see 2 Live Crew falling much more into the vein of Ghettotech, Booty House and Baltimore Club. The parallels work on a number of levels.

I'd say Ying Yang etc., owe a lot more stylistic influence to Too $hort.

Also, this post needs a mention of the seminal "Fuck Compton"

At 11:07 AM, Blogger skinny said...

and "a very luke christmas." real talk.

At 11:26 AM, Anonymous jamie radford said...

Here, here.

I guess there's something to say for 2 Live Crew's genius as marketers. Watching that video, you realize that they really pulled out all the stops, and filled in a void with completely profane music that others had been reluctant to do until that point.

That being said, I guess there's something to be said for social responsibility. Some dude who comes up with a great way to sell a lot of crack is, you know, pretty smart I guess. On the other hand, he's .. you know .. selling crack. I think Andre Benjamin made that metaphor exactly somewhere on Atliens.

They're doing thier thing/so I guess I can't complain/Or can I/Selling those hooks like crack to black folks... Something like that...

At 1:39 PM, Blogger Dallas said...


I'm sure that I have your e-mail addy in my stash so when I get back to my base computer tonite I will send you the father of Miami bass/stripper rap. Dude's name was DJ JIMI and he came from N'Awlins. I got introduced to his sound in the late 80's early 90's when I was a drug mule going O.T. into Atlanta and Charlotte.

He not only birthed Miami's bass rap scene, but all the stripper rap songs that tell girls to drop their drawls come from this dude. It is so retardedly infectious and so underground. This dude was the model for moving shit from the back of the car trunk. Every strip club in Atlanta played his shit. Al Capones, Magic City, Club Nikki's.

Good times, good times.

Anyhoo, keep doing your thing Passion, I see you out here.

At 4:58 PM, Blogger Passion of the Weiss said...

I'm intrigued to hear it Dallas. I also am wondering when your autobiography will drop.Because if its not being written now, it definitely sounds like it needs to be.

At 5:28 PM, Anonymous silawe said...

Wait..."Me So Horny" and "Pop That Coochie" are 2 different songs.
This might change my life.

At 8:56 PM, Blogger Mo Diggs said...

Interesting. The same year bad rap is
invented,bad comedy is spawned with the Dice special.

At 5:11 PM, Blogger Nate said...

You mean lil jon didn't invent the genre? What!?!?!?! Oooookkkkkaaayyy!

Where's Chappelle when you need him?

By the way, if you really wanted to see 2 live crew like "ignant" videos, you should have checked out BET uncut when it was around.

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