• So last week the better half and I were watching this 100 Greatest Rap Songs of ALL TIME, or something like that. (I think there’s a TSM thread about this.) I have no idea why we were watching this. I had it on because it was late and I was curious to see if there were any “Where are they now?” features to the hip-hoppers I grew up listening. Mrs. kkk was watching just to laugh at the names (bitch got a slap for dissing my “Q-Tip” from A Tribe Called Quest). It was down to the last two songs and she asked me what I thought they would be. I said “Rappers Delight” should be number two and “The Message” should be number one. I was right on “Rappers Delight.” This is my all-time favorite song of any genre, and I’m talking about the 15-minute version – not the hippie 4-minute radio/video friendly airing.
I knew “The Message” wasn’t going to finish first because it was already mentioned, so the better half asked my thoughts on Number One. I actually pondered this during the commercials and said the following: “It will probably be something political and overrated – 'Fight the Power' by Public Enemy."
I was right.
Look, I like “It Takes a Nation of Millions” and “Fear of a Black Planet,” but “Fight the Power” is NOT the top hip-hop song of ALL-TIME. Put it at Number Three, but “Rapper’s Delight” and “The Message” are in a league of their own.
Speaking of “Rapper’s Delight” I have a childhood trama story regarding this tune. Back in its heyday, this song was often played by my two half-brothers. This of course got me listening to it on a frequent basis. For some reason, as a kid my favorite part of this epic was the verse that starts out, “Have you ever gone over to a friend’s house to eat and the food just ain’t no good?” I memorized this verse and suddenly this talent of mine to recite this urban poem of unacceptable dinner cuisine was something I was called on to perform whenever the old man was talking with one of his friends/acquaintances. Here is how most of these recitals began:
“Son, sing the ‘Cheese Song’.” (See the bolded text below for why it was the “Cheese Song.”)
“I don’t want to.”
“SING THE GODDAMN SONG~!
”Have you ever have you ever went over a friend’s house to eat and the food just aint no good? I mean the macaroni's soggy the peas are mushed and the chicken tastes like wood. So you try to play it off like you think you can by saying that you’re full. And then your friend says momma he's just being polite he ain’t finished uh uh that's bull. And so your heart starts pumping and you think of a lie and you say that you already ate. And your friend says man there's plenty of food so you pile some more on your plate. While the stinky foods steaming your mind starts to dreaming of the moment that it's time to leave. And then you look at your plate and your chicken’s slowly rotting into something that looks like cheese. So you say that's it I got to leave this place I don’t care what these people think. I’m just sitting here making myself nauseous with this ugly food that stinks. So you bust out the door while its still closed still sick from the food you ate. And then you run to the store for quick relief from a bottle of Kaopectate. And then you call your friend two weeks later to see how he has been. And he says I understand about the food baby bubbah but we're still friends.”
Even with these childhood memories, this is one AWESOME SONG. In fact, now that I’m older, there’s another verse that I prefer over the “cheese” verse.
I go to the halls and then ring the bell
Because I am the man with the clientele
And if ya ask me why I rock so well
A big bang, I got clientele
And from the time I was only six years old I never forgot what I was told
It was the best advice that I ever had
It came from my wise dear old dad
He said sit down punk I wanna talk to you
And don’t say a word until I'm through
Now there's a time to laugh a time to cry
A time to live and a time to die
A time to break and a time to chill
To act civilized or act real ill
But whatever ya do in your lifetime
Ya never let a mc steal your rhyme
So from sixty six ‘til this very day
I’ll always remember what he had to say
So when the sucker MCs try to chump my style
I let them know that I'm versatile
I got style finesse and a little black book
That's filled with rhymes and i know you wanna look
But there's a thing that separates you from me
And that's called originality
Because my rhymes are on from what you heard
I didn’t even bite and not a god damn word
And I say a little more later on tonight
So the sucker MC's can bite all night
A tick a tock y’all a beat beat y’all
A let’s rock y’all ya don’t stop
Ya go hotel motel whatcha gonna do today (say what)
Ya say I’m gonna get a fly girl gonna get some spankin
Drive off in a def oj
Everybody go hotel motel holiday inn
Ya say if your girl starts acting up then you take her friends
A like that y’all to the beat y’all
Beat beat y’all ya don’t stop
A Master Gee am I mellow?
It’s on you so whatcha gonna do?
I think the best part about this verse is about not letting Sucka MCs stealing rhymes when that’s just what the verse-teller actually did.
The first simultaneous DJ and MC in hip-hop history, Grandmaster Caz is perhaps best known for rhymes he didn't even perform -- namely, the uncredited verses that Big Bank Hank borrowed for the groundbreaking Sugarhill Gang single "Rapper's Delight." The fact that neither Caz nor his group the Cold Crush Brothers ever recorded an official full-length album also doesn't help shed much light on his legacy -- an unfortunate injustice, considering he was one of the most important and influential pioneers of old school rap.