Friday, April 1, 2011

Drake (ft. T.I. and Swizz Beats) -- "Fancy" (2010)

You fancy, huh?
You fancy, huh?
Nails done, hair done, everything did
Nails done, hair done, everything did
You fancy, huh?

"Fancy" fascinated me the very first time I heard it, and it still does.  I will never leave my car when this song is on the car radio -- I simply must sit there and listen until it's over.

"Fancy" is about what I find to be some very mysterious mating rituals.  It wasn't that hard to decipher the song's lyrics -- with a little help from my friends at Rap Genius (shout out to my brother Mahbod!) -- but that doesn't mean that I really understand what's going on here.  

It's like trying to figure out what's really going on in the minds of the men and women in a Jane Austen or Anthony Trollope novel.  You understand English so you know the meanings of the words the authors use.  But can an American living in the 21st century really appreciate why the characters in a 19th-century English novel do the things they do?  Only to a very limited extent, I think.

It's like that with "Fancy."  I'm an old white guy, and the guys who sing "Fancy" are not.  There are plenty of other things that distinguish us, too.  So I'm sure there's a lot of subtle stuff in these lyrics that goes right over my head.

In the first verse, Drake raps about a woman who takes a long time to get ready to go out at night:

You getting ready so I know we goin' be here awhile
In the bathroom, flat irons and nail files
Spending hours in salons on your hairstyles
In the mall steady racking up the air miles

I figured out all by myself that the last line referred to the woman earning frequent-flyer miles by using a credit card to buy things at the mall, but Rap Genius explained one detail that I wouldn't have figured out for myself. 

Drake is Canadian -- which makes him an African-Canadian, I guess? -- and "air miles" specifically refers to the "Air Miles Reward Program," a popular Canadian customer loyalty program that rewards members with points based on how much money they spend at participating retailers.

While waiting around for this woman to get ready is annoying, Drake admits that she is worth the wait:

Time heals all, and heels hurt to walk in
But they go with the clutch that you carry your lip gloss in
And look I really think that nobody does it better
I love the way you put it together

Not only that, Drake's woman is well-educated, and he's always liked his women "book and street smart."

The T.I. sneer
 T.I. picks up the song at this point.  (T.I. is one of my favorites, partly because he can curl his upper lip in this really cool sneer when he sings.  I so wish I could sneer like T.I.)  He's surprised when a woman he meets seems to be motivated by considerations other than money:

Well aren’t you a breath of fresh air
From all these superficial gold-digging bitches in here

T.I. is used to being hustled, and the woman who catches his eye -- she's drinking at the bar with some girlfriends -- surprises him when she declines his offer of a free drink.  She's financially independent, not looking to hook up with an NBA player or other professional athlete or celebrity.  

He's interested, so he checks her out a little more closely:

Naked ring finger (check)
M3 beemer (check)
Champagne Range
Triple white Jag
Closet full of brand new clothes and hand bags
Alexander McQueen, Prada, Gucci, Chanel
D&G, BCBG, Versace, Louis and Bebe

In other words, she's not married and she has plenty of money of her own -- how else would she be able to afford a BMW M3, a Range Rover and a Jaguar, not to mention a closet full of designer outfits and handbags?  

NARS blushes
A little later in the song, Drake alludes to another brand name: "Orgasm" blush, a cosmetic product sold by the NARS company.  NARS also makes "Super Orgasm" blush, which it describes as "the universally flattering shimmering peachy pink blush [that] gives the effect of an ultimate super uh huh afterglow."  (Thing kind of thing is why 2 or 3 lines desperately needs a female intern.  Or at least it's one of the reasons.)

T.I. sums up his initial impression in these words (rather crude, but he makes his point clearly): 

You ain't needy, greedy or easy 
As these other breezies
Who f*** for bottles of Riesling 
Or bowls of baked ziti.

In other words, don't expect this woman to go to bed with you just because you bought her some wine and pasta at a cheap Italian restaurant -- especially when the wine is completely inappropriate for the cuisine.  

Drake takes over again for the last part of the song.  Like T.I., he is surprised -- but pleasantly surprised -- by a woman's refusal of his offer to pick up the tab.  He admits that he used to go for cougars, especially if they were educated and had enough money of their own to pony up some cash if he was a little short, and then mentions his friend Jason, whose girlfriend Tammy had a purple Bentley.  (The MSRPs for Bentleys range from $177,600 to $267,000.)

We go to dinner 
You don’t even look at me to pay
Mature women with more than me 
Were the first to tempt me
And Jason had this girl Tammy 
With a purple Bentley
How she got it I ain't never get to ask
Yeah, but shout out to the homeowners
The girls that got diplomas
And enough money 
To loan us a little something extra
Should we ever need it

It sounds like Drake is quite taken with this young lady. He's been looking for the woman of his dreams for a long, long time, and is surprised and pleased to have found her at last.  At the same time, he is a pragmatist:

Better late than never
But never late is better

Well put, my African-Canadian friend!

The "You fancy, huh?" line from the chorus of this song has become an oft-used catch phrase of mine -- so oft-used, in fact, that my 16-year-old gives me that look whenever I use it in his presence.  (You parents of teenagers know what I mean by that look.)  I find it suitable for use in many different situations, and I feel so very, very cool when I use it.

Here's "Fancy."  (The complete lyrics are in the first comment to the video if you'd like to sing along.)

Here's a link you can use to buy it from iTunes:

Fancy - Thank Me Later

Here's a link to use to buy it from Amazon instead:

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