Listening through this refreshingly personal best of 1998 rap list on RAP MUSIC HYSTERIA! I was struck by the M.O.P. track he lists not just because it’s an excellent song but because of its all too familiar title.
M.O.P. – Blood, Sweat, Tears
Maybe it’s because my brow was still a little furrowed from that weird MLK tribute video Future posted using his “Blood, Sweat, Tears” that obviously is not about MLK at all, or maybe I’m feeling like I’m on a roll chasing down cliche rap lines, but I decided to find out why these three bodily fluids in this particular order keep appearing in my listening history. Are all these rappers I like secret corny jazz/rock fans? Is this going to be the new Warren G sampling Michael Mcdonald?
Well you’ll be so very happy to know that the band that shares its name with these rap songs didn’t choose that name out of thin air. Some extremely deep (Wikipedia) research has revealed that the name is actually drawn from an Ace Hood album from 2011 – wait sorry that’s not how that works. No, Al Kooper chose to name the band after the 1963 Johnny Cash album of the same name on a whim when he booked the band a gig before they had chosen a name for themselves. Curiously, there is no song on that Johnny Cash album (or any other for that matter) called “Blood, Sweat, and Tears“, so how did he (or, more likely, his record label) divine this now quite influential title?
Winston Churchill – First Speech as Prime Minister, May 13, 1940
My very learned and esoteric sources tell me that this was not actually the first time Churchill used these key words together, and that there is an example of him using them in the order we’re more familiar with a year earlier. It does make sense that this quotation would come from a British dude, it just wouldn’t be very polite to list any of the other bodily fluids in public discourse, but there is actually some evidence that he might have lifted the phrase from Giuseppe Garibaldi or Theodore Roosevelt, who in turn may have been inspired by Lord Byron or John Donne or Cicero or probably some Sanskrit poet whose works were later destroyed by The Huns or somebody… Suffice it to say, these three words seem to have an almost archetypal response for us humans. These are the literal, physical things that come out of us when under stress and trial, and evoking their names will almost certainly summon at least some vague associations with our own struggles or ones we’ve witnessed, whether you’re being convinced to go to war with Germany or listening to a story about a brave engineer making a trip to the promised land.