Friday, December 05, 2008

Guilty Pleasures (Episode Two)

It's time for the next installment of Guilty Pleasures. Click here for episode one and the basic premise.

Today's theme: Age of Innocence: Old School Hip Hop.

Okay, so not old old school, and not so innocent. But oldish. Let yourself drift back, back to a simpler time. Back when the words gangsta rap were just a phlegm ball in the back of Dr. Dre's throat. And let these three prime selections serenade you as you linger on the interwebs. Finally, it is interesting to observe several things that tie these tracks and artists together: 1) Storytelling. Rap (at least some mainstream rap like Tone Loc and Will Smith) had this thing for telling long, cheeky stories about mishaps and misadventures. Rap is still a narrative medium, but it is often hard, edgy, braggy, and in your face. LL Cool J's "Mama Said Knock You Out" (not to mention Easy-E and NWA) is kind of a precursor to all that. But compared to much of contemporary rap and hip hop, Will Smith's "Parents Just Don't Understand" astounds me in its kind of wide-eyed, countrified middle-class tameness. That could be due to Smith himself as an artist at that point in his career, or the fact that these artists are being promoted by major labels with certain target audiences and the resulting self-censorship requirements. 2) All three of these rappers went on to launch extensive acting careers. Although I think it's safe to say that Smith's is a bit more successful and respectable.

And don't forget to vote for your guiltiest pleasure and then comment on your criteria for voting. Sentiment? Shame? Deliciousness? Mmmmmmm.

Tone Loc - "Funky Cold Medina"

Okay, this could be kind of creepy, but please note that it's from the pre-roofie era. Remember: innocence. And a careful examination of the lyrics reveal a fair amoung of raciness (caution sensitive readers), but no malintent on Tone's part. Just good old-fashioned fun. Tone Loc's voice is indescribably cool, a voice that turns every word into gravelly butter. "This is the 80's and I'm down with the ladies," and many, many other lyrical gems abound. Look for Tone in classics like Surf Ninjas, Spy Hard and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.

Tone Loc - Funky Cold Medina

Found at

LL Cool J - "Mama Said Knock You Out"

"EXPLOSIONSSSSS" and "lyrics that'll make you call the cops." In 1991 it worked for me. And let's face it, it still does. Definitely working in a diffent sub-genre than Loc and Smith. And nice abs.

DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince (Will Smith) - "Parents Just Don't Understand"

Hey Mr. Big Film Star. What do you have to say about this?

Just enjoy. Although, for some reason embedding for this vid has been disabled by You Tube. So you get a link instead.

And if you still want more, here's In Living Color's very funny parody of LL Cool J: