October 22, 2012
Close reading of Afroman’s Colt 45

I had to write this for a class, so I figured I’d write it in 45 minutes 2 weeks after it was due and share it with you all (nobody).

Say just a few words of the lines of Afroman’s 2001 single “Crazy Rap” or as it is also known “Colt 45” and you will be joined by any nearby youngsters.  The song was a minor hit internationally on the charts, according to Wikipedia but as I remember it my entire social group could repeat it line for line.  The correlation seemed to be that if you were close to or part of the amorphous party/slacker/stoner crowd you would be exposed too if not entirely saturated with this and other songs by Afroman, no matter how white your neighborhood.  The song is lighthearted and fun, also dirty and cheeky.  The lyrics tell the tale of Afroman’s journey through America and philosophy on life at large through the lens of alcohol drugs and women.  On the surface it is a comedy, a verse of black jokes, a verse of couplets, and then a verse in homage to the Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rappers Delight.”  What might be seen as generic upon closer reading actually lends itself to broad applications to commentary on culture and the diffusion of African Americans at large.

Take the rappers name for instance, “Afroman” while this may seem like some generic black superhero we will consider in this paper that what he is trying to achieve through his generic name and lyrics is not to detail his own exploits solely but rather to be an “everyman” of African descent.  The song starts with a joke, and laughter from a small crowd.  He then begins his story in a rap, rhythmic oral telling suits his style and lends itself to my interpretation that he is representing all of black culture and building on the largely oral African tradition.  He wastes no time getting into the song “Said colt 45 and two zigzags baby that’s all we need” he may be seen as a bit reductive at this point of the “we” is understood to mean “we African Americans” but none the less the idea here is that his culture is able to thrive with very little, and able to be expressive attractive and fun despite lacking material goods.  It is this skill of going without or making due that enables him and his culture to “Sell tapes from here to Hong Kong” or rather to create universally appealing ideas and art, which in turn support his lifestyle.

                Through this lens each line becomes more and more interesting. The initial verse is about his experience with a white girl in “a small white town” called Palmdale.  While is account is no doubt fictionalized he deals with, in a lighthearted and fun way some real issues regarding African Americans.  When Afroman  says “When the Afroman walked through the white land Houses went up for sale” it is easy for us to interpret “the Afroman” as not just our speaker but as a commentary on all African Americans and the phenomenon known as White flight, a centrally dynamic in the lingering effects of segregation.  So here he is in Palmdale as an outsider peddling his cultural ideas when he meets a little girl named Jan whom he allows to ride in his “Caddy” which is a rich symbol of American culture. A Cadillac is symbol of wealth and status which became subverted by African Americans to whom the luxurious and spacious style appealed.  The prevalent image of African Americans and their cars tends to be thought of as older cheaper but immaculately clean and maintained vehicles which suggest a status all their own.  So we can assume Jan was impressed by this Cadillac and was delighted to ride in it with the vibrant young Afroman and even to go as far as to have sex with him in her home.  During the ecstasy of their love-making Afroman uses some interesting images, among them the image that “She sucked my dick till the shit turned white” suggesting some kind of figurative mending of race relations or possibly blood loss in the appendage due to obsessive sucking.  Later he remarks to similar effect that she “Got my ass looking’ like a zebra” again conjuring images of racial mixing and cohesion.  This triumph however is swiftly punished by the white establishment in which it is taboo.  “The motherfucker whooped my ass all night” says Afroman of the beating he received at the hands of a racist and enraged father.  In a most touching turn of events however Afroman is able to in some sense forgive his oppressor and to stand his ground rather than retreat.  The line “But I ain’t mad at a prejudice dad/ That’s the best damn pussy I ever had!” makes this sentiment especially apparent and relevant to our interpretation.  Even though African Americans have been oppressed and mistreated they did not leave the south, they were able to create their own cultures within but without whites.  It is a credit to their race that they pressed the issue and demanded equality and got it, not only achieving their own freedom but forcing introspection onto their oppressors. 

                The song is rich with these meanings, in two separate instances during rhymed couplets women’s breasts burst open with some choice drinks.  We can choose to interpret this as a cheap joke, as a literal phenomenon or as a metaphor.  The metaphor here is that in the case of Dolly Parton whose “Titties were filled with Hennessey” is his way of saying that the land of America opened its bosoms to all who sought their milk that despite segregation or even slavery this is intrinsically a land where virtue will be rewarded with sweet sustenance. 

                The final verse is a reference to “Rappers Delight” as I have already stated which sets it up as a critique of his own culture.  It is also a description of black on black violence and the pressures faced from within the culture.  Even Afroman admits at this point he is “In the wrong neighborhood” and that he feels tremendous pressure to please the woman he is with.  When he is unfortunately found by the woman’s boyfriend he quickly remarks in an adlib that “I don’t bang” or that he is not affiliated with any gang activity.  This is no doubt to save him from any more harsh punishment than he already has coming to him and no doubt could be looked at as a criticism of gangs and their effect in the black community.  While he tried to go out and be productive, to have sex with a woman and achieve orgasm or the kind of shared bliss men and women are able to provide for each other he is unable to attain it due to trifling maters such as infidelity and inner city violence.  He does however offer a solution to these problems despite his disappointment, he posits at the end of the song that true satisfaction is found within oneself with the following line “You thought you had a girl to rock your world, now you still got to go jack off.”

August 24, 2011
When your glowsticks fade/ Identity fest ATL

When your glow sticks have faded and the sun has come up

I’ll be cooking breakfast and dub step will still suck.

 

Low frequency oscillations, something like 140 bpm and a halftime snare beat.  Most music sounds natural, almost instinctual because it is based on rhythm we hear from birth- the heartbeat.  Toe tappin’ a solid four beat has been the basis of our deepest blues and rockin’est heights for that reason.  Dub step on the other hand appears not to be based on this friendly familiar rhythm of the heart, as far as I can tell the basis for dub step is the fart.  Long mouth farts is what it sounds like.  As original as that sounds, trust me it is crass and exploitive.

 

"When the bass goes… When the bass goes… When the bass goes!"  Steve Aoki shouted while standing atop his Dj table hyping up the audience for an intense drop.  But the bass didn’t go anything like I thought it would.  The bass went WAHWAHWAHWAHWAHWAH in pounding oscillations.  Remember how the bass goes at the beginning of One Nation Under a Groove?  Remember Do I Do?  Did you ever listen to The Meters?  Sly and the family stone??  Jaco Pastorius???  This is what I think of when I get excited about bass.  I used to play bass and I’d like to say I’m a bass head, a lover of the low end, an appreciator of a broad spectrum of musical talent and even musical novelty but on top of that, I’m someone who knows where to draw the line.

 

That’s how I feel when I hear the wah wahs.  My friend was in rehab for a long time and he told me that people would inhale whatever products they could, shoe polish, paint, glue and it would give them the sensation of the “Wah Wahs”  where they would hear “wahwahwahwahwah” ringing in their head for a minute or two.  Being at a dub step show I think destroys your brain in a similar way.  Kids, I know I won’t change your mind about “dirty grimy bass” (I always thought that’s how Flea’s bass sounded but call it what you want) but wear some freaking ear protection, you’re going to want to be able to hear later in life.  Even if all people are saying is how dumb your gauged ears look. 

 

Anyway I’m writing this because I just went to identity fest which is a daylong electro tour that just came through my city.  I picked up some tickets when they dropped from 60 to 20 bucks to join my buddy who was going to be there on his birthday.  I was surprised by the lineup to say the least.  At around 5 pm who comes on but the Chrystal Method, probably one of the older and more respected electro acts of our day, in my book they’re up there with daft punk!  Followed by the disco biscuits, now I’m not a huge fan of the jamtronica scene but these guys blew me away a few years ago at Bonnaroo and they’re definitely seasoned pros by now.  Strange to see them playing to a meager 500 fans.  Then who comes on the big stage but the British dub step phenom Rusko!!  Let me tell you, this guy can get all his limbs going at once, I mean real jumping flails, I think at one point he was even dancing.  I think everyone there was pretending to dance, because that music is hard to dance too. But that goes back to my conspiracy theory that any show with that many young people present is actually a meeting ground for black market dry sex trade where low quality drugs are exchanged for clothed sexual simulations.

I think dub step knows that about our generation, I think they know a lot.  I think they’ve exploited a scene once ruled by good hardworking DJs and made a real shit show out of it for the youngsters.  They draw on this collective conscious of electronic noise and feedback sounds from old video games and cell phones.  Offensive sounds and beats that scare away parents or anyone old enough to pursue feelings from music besides the grime and destruction that comes from dub.

Anyway, I went to the other stage to check out Steve Aoki.  And for the most part he was good.  There is not a lot of performing in most electronic acts but he did his part to walk around and put his hands up and pop champagne.  His stage set up and lights were cool, he remixed the hits and while laying down heavy beats stayed away from straight on whoomp whoomp until the end.  Some good songs, some all right ones.  I felt rightly assaulted listening to his new collaboration with afrojack entitled “No Beef”  while not duby (listen to Augustus Pablo for as long as I have and it is hard to call Rusko or Bassnectar "duby" without cringing) it was totally unpleasant, it sounded like industrial saws in some god awful industrial factory farm.  Between that and the visuals of cows being cut apart I hypothesized that perhaps this is a simulation of the awful things we do to the lower creatures on earth.  Perhaps this music is not meant to be enjoyed and is instead a not so silent admission of our guilt for living in a society that is so brutal and at the same time so conscious of its brutality.  That was the meaning I took from this.

On the other hand Kaskade rocked it.  The visuals were intense and the music was danceable.  It was new, edgy and for the most part dope.  But is it really the kind of act that the Chrystal Method should take a back seat too?  I didn’t ponder this for long because DJ Shadow was about to start playing at the other stage so I made my way again through the glittered googly eyed nymphs and the glow stick ogling masses to the stage.

Dj Shadow is the man.  ”This is my job, I’ve been doing it for 27 years, I hope y’all enjoy” The Atlanta crowd was beat and coming down off a day of sunlight and cigarettes, music and drugs but they enjoyed all right.  I spoke to a wild looking Asian who told me he was there for DJ shadow only and not interested in rusko.  He said he came to see a Dj’s Dj.  Good to hear.  Between that and Kaskade those were the nuggets of joy I took from the day long festival.  I thought for a moment I thought I had one of those “Oh Shit” moments during Kaskade when you are just overwhelmed by the immensity of an event, a real moment of elation when you realize that this is it and it doesn’t get any better.  It turns out though that I just remembered I had a bunch of meat in the fridge that would go bad if I didn’t cook it soon.  Oh, shit.

August 9, 2011
found on the seat of Five points marta terminal in atlanta GA.

found on the seat of Five points marta terminal in atlanta GA.

July 27, 2011
Zab Judah is a bitch.

Let my start by first saying that Judah is a skilled and entertaining fighter.  His left uppercut is one of the prettier ones in the sport, he has some impressive wins to his credit and is admirably close to god and successful in his own way.  That being said there is almost no one I’d rather see get punched in the dick.

Here you can see him going down off a strong right hand from Kostya Tszyu, with some pretty hilarious commentary from Cedric.  He’s a slick counterpuncher with some tricky defense sure, his potshots have dropped some pretty stiff opposition but he is not Sweet P, he is not Floyd Mayweather, he is black-hebrew-renouncin’ no-eyebrow-havin’ bean headed Zab Judah.  Not everyone can just backslide with their hands low and head back and out maneuver world class boxers.  I should mention here that I just don’t like the cut of his jib, it’s kind of the same beef I have with Rajon Rondo.  I just don’t like his face, or the Celtics.  But with Judah it’s just so much more than a little home team beef, its an all out projection.  He is all flash and dazzle in the interviews, money this, the hood that, “gangstas don’t cry”, the black alpha male gangster personified.  But when it really gets down to it, and Miguel Cotto wants to throw some dirty shots he’s all “let me take a breather” and “ref that wasn’t fair!” If those nut punches really drained you then G up homey and crack Cotto in the cojones.  We know its not your respect for the sport or sportsmanship holding you back, shit Judah cracked the ref for stopping the fight after his little chicken dance in the video i posted for you up there.  He’s got Floyd Mayweather’s ego and nothing to back it up with.  Last Saturday when Amir khan stuck him a good one on the belt line he just stayed down.  Trying to solicit a point deduction form Khan perhaps? Or just gutted and defeated?  Either way its good to hold grudges, and even more satisfying when that grudge gets wanged in the nuts every few years.

Now having throughly expressed my distaste for Judah I can move on to another fighter who has recently made my shitlist.  I’m talking about you David Haye.

You probably don’t want to sit through the whole 12 minute face off after the fight was already enough of a waste of our time, just wait till they ask Haye’s opinion of the mighty Klitschko “Clearly he’s a Dickhead.”  LOL.  Well said.  Now I know I just about put you to sleep with my talk of class in boxing in reference to Zab Judah, but Haye is a bit of a different story.  First of all I who doesn’t love the british approach to shit talking?  As low class as it is its brilliantly entertaining.  Klitschko happens to be however about the worst guy you could employ these tactics towards.  Haye’s plan was to stir up the unflappable giant with some graphic language and T-shirts and general mouthing off.  He touted himself for a long time as the “saviour of the heavyweight division” and while he is an exciting fighter he certainly made us forget all about it during the actual fight.  He was essentially a no show, fighting quietly to a unanimous decision in the Ukranian’s favor.  I wanted so badly to root for the cocky Brit but by the time they were both in the ring I was overwhelmed by the class and poise of Wladmir.  The guy is a PHD, speaks 5 languages and together with his brother owns every heavyweight title worth having.  Meanwhile Haye makes a name for himself in the UK, talks his way into a fight with Klitschko and then goes quietly into that good night of corn rows and broken toes forgotten.  The biggest heavyweight fight in 8 years, the most anticipated boxing event of the year (by me) and boy did it lack luster.  Ask anyone, it should have been a knockout, the Hayemaker versus Dr. Steelhammer?? Hardly seems like the tit for tat jab-jab grab game of patty cakes it was.  All credit to the mighty Klitschkos their only hitch on the way to legendary status is that there is no meaningful opposition.


Anyway this is my blog, I am Alexander The Great (The Second) and I am the Internet Party Realass.  I won’t always talk about boxing, but when I do I probably will for a long time.  While you’re here why not check out my brother’s blog? Pomoradio on tumblr, god theres got to be a way to link to him yea?

While I figure that out give a listen to some oldies but goodies, Cymande, with some Calypso tinged funk.

Good night, and thanks for reading.

-TheGreatTheSecond

(Source: youtube.com)

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