Tag Archives: Goodie Mob

EVERYTHING I GOT I OWE TO MY MOMMA

This was obviously supposed to get posted yesterday, but really we should be honoring our mothers every day, right?

Goodie Mob – Guess Who

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OH, GREAT

I don’t know why, but today I inflicted the Rolling Stone “50 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of All Time” list on myself, in its entirety.  I know that “Greatest of All Time” lists are inherently dumb, and complaining about them is even dumber, but this particular one seems so especially dumb that I think it might not be excruciatingly dumb to criticize it, as long as I can keep it short and un-ranty.  So I’ll put aside as many personal biases that I can and try to actually play by the guidelines of a list like this.  These kinds of lists measure things like historical significance and cultural impact, and they worship “firsts”.  “Great” in the sense it’s used here isn’t an extreme form of “good”, it’s an attempt at objectivity about something inherently subjective by looking at factors like a song’s sales, chart positions, and the population’s general familiarity with it.  Framed in this way, it’s easy to see why lists like this are dumb, because those things aren’t what’s actually interesting about music.  But this list doesn’t even follow through on that flimsy objective.  It is unsurprisingly biased towards old guard “Golden Age” sensibilities, and yet still finds ways to overlook many obvious old school contenders as well.  Hardly any of my personal favorite songs are on that list, which is to be expected, but there are so many truly relevant-to-our-culture artists, songs, and movements that aren’t even touched on that I think it would be worthwhile to create a new list in response:

DRIVE SLOW’s Top 15 Artists Somehow Completely Ignored by Rolling Stone’s “50 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of All Time” List

1.  Too $hort

2.  Lil’ Wayne (or anyone from Cash Money)

3.  TI

4.  Bone Thugs-N-Harmony

5.  Gang Starr

6.  Goodie Mob

7.  Slick Rick

8.  Ludacris

9.  Gucci Mane

10.  Three-6 Mafia

11.  DJ Quik

12.  E-40

13.  Nate Dogg

14.  Ice T

15.  2 Live Crew

But nobody really reads Rolling Stone anymore anyway right?

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NO INTRODUCTIONS NEEDED

When I see a track with a lineup like this, I always get really excited right at first, and then almost immediately really worried that it won’t be able to live up to the sum of its parts.

Big Boi – Gossip (feat. UGK & Big K.R.I.T.)

In this particular situation, you’ve got a lot of potential pitfalls: one of the dudes on the song has been residing in the spiritual world for the past four and a half years, two of them are very established, approaching middle-age rappers from different parts of the south, and one is a young and aspiring artist from yet another part of the south from everybody else.  Ideally, with a song with this many strong talents on board, it would be best for all of them to spend some time in the same room together to get on the same page and get all of their comparably genius creative minds pointed in the same direction, but in this case, that would clearly not be an option (see reasons above).  But in my opinion, aside from the Pimp C verse sounding a little uncharacteristically unsmooth and out of the pocket, this track actually does a pretty good job of living up to its lineup.  Plus, Big Boi in the first verse makes reference to one of my favorite non-Soul Food Goodie Mob tracks.

Goodie Mob – They Don’t Dance No Mo’

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CONSTANTLY READING EVERYTHING ABOUT MORPHOLOGY, C.R.E.A.M.!

Raise your hand if any of these mean anything to you: N.W.A., U.G.K., KRS-One,  D.I.T.C.,  TLC, Y.M.C.M.B., MondreM.A.N., E.P.M.D., O.F.W.G.K.T.A., Big K.R.I.T., M.J.G., RZA, GZA, M.O.P.?  If not, you better pay more attention when you read this blog.

When it comes to abbreviations for shit, rap’s got everybody beat.  I’ve always taken this phenomenon in hip-hop for granted, it never crossed my mind to examine it closely until I somehow stumbled across this explanation of where the word “O.K.” comes from.  If you think you know, you might be surprised, because apparently there are a lot of incorrect stories out there involving everything from ex-presidents to French seaport prostitutes, but the real explanation, though less colorful, actually makes a lot more sense.

The etymology of OK was masterfully explained by the distinguished Columbia University professor Allen Walker Read in a series of articles in the journal American Speech in 1963 and 1964. The letters, not to keep you guessing, stand for “oll korrect.” They’re the result of a fad for comical abbreviations that flourished in the late 1830s and 1840s. Read buttressed his arguments with hundreds of citations from newspapers and other documents of the period. As far as I know his work has never been successfully challenged.

The abbreviation fad began in Boston in the summer of 1838 and spread to New York and New Orleans in 1839. The Boston newspapers began referring satirically to the local swells as OFM, “our first men,” and used expressions like NG, “no go,” GT, “gone to Texas,” and SP, “small potatoes.”

Many of the abbreviated expressions were exaggerated misspellings, a stock in trade of the humorists of the day. One predecessor of OK was OW, “oll wright,” and there was also KY, “know yuse,” KG, “know go,” and NS, “nuff said.”

This explanation brings up another interesting point too: intentional misspellings.  Just like in rap, sometimes words are misspelled in a way that reflects how they’re actually pronounced in that given time period and region; “nuff” instead of “enough”, “yuse” instead of “use”, “oll” instead of “all”.  Other times, a certain misspelling is chosen that actually confuses the meaning of the expression instead of clarifying its pronunciation such as “know” instead of “no”, “wright” instead of “right”, or “korrect” instead of “correct”.  This is also a very common device used in rap music.  Have you ever listened to Z-Ro before?  How about Suga Free or OutKast or Salt-n-Pepa?  Or Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire?  The list could go on indefinitely.  It’s interesting that in the 1830s version, they combined the two devices into one, first misspelling the words and then abbreviating them, while in rap it tends to be more one or the other, but both devices are still at work in both arenas, and rap has another interesting practice of taking existing words and acronym-izing them after the fact.  2Pac famously put the word “nigga” in a positive light in “Never Ignorant, Gettin’ Goals Accomplished“, while K.R.I.T. took on the negative form of that word to draw attention to the traps that he feels too many of his race fall into: becoming “another Naive Individual Glorifying Greed and Encouraging Racism“.  Cee-Lo told us in ’94 about how “the GoodDie Mostly Over Bullshit“.  Killah Priest puts forth a pretty surprising evaluation of the Good Book given his chosen moniker in “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth“.  Once again, the list goes on.

But why would anybody want to do this?  Superficially speaking, it seems to create a barrier between writer and reader.  It takes words that everyone is familiar with and obscures them with confusing mangling and mutilation.  But where language purists see verbal disfigurement, rappers and writers see verbal hot-rodding.  Why does a car need to go 160 miles per hour, or have doors that open in every possible way except the normal way, or have 26” rims and a wood grain steering wheel?  Because it’s cool.  And I don’t mean “cool” in a diminutive way at all, in this case “cool” plays a very important social and cultural role that should not be scoffed at or underestimated.

In the case of the custom car world, any or all the modifications mentioned above could easily get in the way of the normal functioning of a car in the same way that all the transformations words go through in the hands of rappers might get in the way of someone immediately understanding what is being said.  The same thing can be said for rappers’ extensive use of slang.  But for people who use these linguistic devices, part of the message being conveyed goes way beyond the literal meanings of the words being used.  Part of their reason for rapping is to convey a certain access to a set of knowledge only available to a select group of people.  If you can’t decipher the message that’s being put out there, then it probably wasn’t for you in the first place.  To understand what is being said, you have to either be born (or at least raised) in the culture that gives rise to these word modifications, or study really hard and learn it as a second language of sorts.  Some might argue that this is an unfair and exclusionary practice that makes people feel left out, and under certain circumstances I might be inclined to object to these practices, but in this case I don’t, because I feel it’s aimed in the right direction.  This is not a case of powerful people of the world imposing an obscure coded language onto a lower class to marginalize those who can’t gain access to the cipher, it’s a tool used by people in positions of societal weakness to have something of their own that they can relate to each other about and gain some shred of power back from those who have more of a say over how their lives go than they’d like.  They might get lower wages, get put in jail more often, have more difficulty voting, and not get proper justice for crimes committed against them, but they can at least make you feel really “uncool” when you hear “bickin’ back, bein’ bool” or “MOB Piru Damu” for the first time and have no idea what they’re talking about.

Wu-Tang Clan – C.R.E.A.M.

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YOU DON’T WANNA HEAR THE TRUTH, SO I’MMA LIE TO YA, MAKE IT SOUND FLY TO YA

When I put on Future‘s new album today while cruisin’ around T-Town, I had a few expectations going in.  Like I mentioned back in this Rap Journey, I first heard Future featured on the bubbly, triumphant hit from last year, “Racks” with YC, so I figured there would probably be a little of that.  Since then he’s also displayed some less pop-oriented, more aggressive flows on some mixtape tracks as well as snagged some pretty high-profile, well-established names for his singles leading up to the release of Pluto, so I knew there would be some tracks along those lines as well.

What I didn’t expect to see was a couple pretty prominent Dungeon Family references on the album, the first of which being the intro, which features the super-old-school ATL spoken word afficionado Big Rube.

Future – The Future Is Now (Intro) (feat. Big Rube)

Future’s not the first rapper to get Big Rube to set the mood for their album, and I can’t blame him in the slightest for grabbing Rube to perform this duty.  I can’t think of a voice I’d rather have setting the scene for an album I’d created.  But until now I’d really only heard him in more “alternative” rap contexts like OutKast’s “Liberation“, Cee-Lo’s “Scrap Metal” (before Cee-Lo was a household name), and on the intros to albums like Goodie Mob‘s One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show and Nappy Roots‘ newest project, Nappy Dot Org.  None of these albums strove for mainstream success like Pluto does, and all of these examples appear in the same family of Atlanta musicians, namely the Dungeon Family (Nappy Roots isn’t in Dungeon Family, but that particular album was entirely produced by Organized Noize, so I still consider that album to be Dungeon Family-related), of which Future is not a member.  The only time I’ve seen any relation between the two is on the “Ain’t No Way Around It” remix that features Big Boi for one verse.  So it’s interesting to see Future give a nod to his less mainstream predecessors on this very radio/club oriented album.

The other reference comes in the hook to this track at around the midpoint of the album.

Future – Truth Gonna Hurt You

Here’s yet another Dungeon Family nod, this time to the closing lines of this track from Goodie Mob’s Still Standing album.

Goodie Mob – The Experience

I’ve thought for a while now that Future is much more than your average, run of the mill, fame-seeking, mainstream rapper, and it’s nice to see him confirm that with some pretty blatant homages to the roots of Atlanta rap on his debut album (that also happens to feature appearances by R. Kelly, Drake, and Snoop Dogg).  Hopefully he won’t lose that respect as he gets more and more mainstream attention, I think it’ll serve him well.  Turn Up!

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NOBODY NOW

Remember when this video came out right after we screened “Do the Right Thing” on the coffee shop patio?  Well they got a new video from that same album that just came out, and while it’s not quite as amazing or serendipitous as that first one was, it’s still definitely worth watching if for no other reason than the cute kids dancing throughout it.

Nappy Roots – Pete Rose (feat. Khujo Goodie)

The other cool thing about this video is the appearance of Khujo on the track, he’s definitely one of my favorite Dungeon Family dudes, so I always like it when he makes an appearance.  It’s also cool that he happens to be making reference to an earlier track of his from back when he was with Goodie Mob (or maybe he still is, I’m not sure if Goodie Mob is still a thing or not) that has an absolutely killer video.  Definitely one of my favorite Goodie Mob songs.

Goodie Mob – Cell Therapy

I’ve been waiting for an excuse to post that video for a while honestly, I’m glad a video came out for that Nappy Roots song so I could bring that one to light for y’all.  It should come as no surprise that it came from the group that coined the term “Dirty South”.

Goodie Mob – Dirty South (feat. Big Boi)

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