Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Clipse -- "I'm Good" (2009)

Today is a good day
Ice cubes on my chest

When you listen to "I'm Good," you just hear a song.  Maybe you like it, maybe you don't . . . either way, it's just a song to you.

When I listen to "I'm Good," I hear a virtual Christmas fruitcake, full of sonic pecans, raisins, and chunks of pineapple, dates, and cherries.

Every time I stick my thumb into "I'm Good," I pull out a plum -- metaphorically speaking, of course. 

In this case, my plums are not drupe fruits with an epicuticular wax coating that gives them a glaucous appearance, but rather are lines and phrases that pay homage to other rap lyrics.

The lines quoted above are an obvious reference to a famous rap song.  Can you name the song and the rapper who recorded it?  

No?  How about you?

Anyone?  (Bueller?  Bueller?)

Surely you've  heard of the rapper, Ice Cube?  Ice Cube (who was born O'Shea Jackson) was an original member of the greatest gangsta rap group of all time, N.W.A.  After leaving N.W.A., Ice Cube starred in movies (e.g., Boyz n the Hood, Three Kings, and Barbershop), produced and starred in the TV series Are We There Yet?, and had a successful solo career as a rapper. 

One of his big hits as a solo rapper was "It Was a Good Day," which gets a shoutout in the lines quoted above.  

Ice Cube
That's far from the only reference to a famous hiphop lyrics you'll find in "I'm Good."

The first line of today's featured song is "You can find me in the streets," while the first line of 50 Cent megabit, "In Da Club" is "You can find me in the club."  (Coincidence?  I think not?)

50 Cent
"I'm Good" mentions "yellow diamonds," which brings to mind Gucci Mane's "Lemonade," a fabulous rap song that mentions yellow diamonds several times.  (According to Rap Genius -- an authoritative source if I ever did see one -- Gucci sports yellow diamond earrings and a massive diamond pinky ring.)  

Gucci Mane
And who could hear Clipse's line, "Cruisin' on them twenty-twos got me sittin' pretty" and not think of the inimitable T.I.'s great "What You Know," which includes the line, "See me in your city, sittin' pretty."

What does all this mean?  It means that 2 or 3 lines pretty much knows the rap oeuvre cold.

I can't tell you how pleased I am with myself that I know so much about rap that I can pull these references out of my head like others can decipher the lyrics of American Pie.  (Which is child's play . . . just sayin'.) 

You don't master a pop music genre by taking a class or reading a few books, boys and girls.  No, you can have to live the music.

Believe me, it's not easy for an old white guy to live rap music.  Believe me, the expense of going to strip clubs, popping bottles full of bub, and making it rain would discourage a less determined observer.

But if that's what it takes to speak hiphop like a native, then 2 or 3 lines is ready to make the necessary sacrifices.

The Thornton brothers
Clipse is a rap duo that features brothers Gene "No Malice" Thornton and Terrence "Pusha T" Thornton, who hail from Virginia Beach, Virginia.

"I'm Good" was released on Clipse's third studio album, Til the Casket Drops, in 2009.  It features a guest appearance by Pharrell Williams, whose single "Happy" recently became insufferable virtually overnight.

Here's "I'm Good":

Click below to order the song from Amazon:

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