I'm shootin babies, no ifs ands or maybes
When it comes to music I think I, like Brad Pitt via Jennifer Aniston via Vanity Fair, am missing a sensitivity chip. Things that people find appalling in mixed company seem perfectly okay to me. It's just art, ya know? Turn up the volume, sing along, as long as children aren't in the room to ask you what things mean, what is the problem? Case in point, I was playing vehicle-DJ in a car full of friends. A song came on that I particularly love. As the booming, cocksure voice filled the car, menacing, playful and ridiculously precise, I felt the other passengers cringing. Not just cringing, but actually shrinking into their seats. My feeling of elation dampened somewhat. It was "Did I say the wrong thing?" in song form.
Dead Wrong (feat. Eminem)/Notorious B.I.G. (mp3)
Yes, everything Biggie says in this song* is hackle-raising, taken seriously or no. It's meant to be. It's a million miles away from politically correct. Nevertheless, it's no different than Nick Cave reinterpreting Stagger Lee. It's a man telling you how hardcore he is. Should you laugh? Should you run? Well BOTH if you so desire. But don't deny it's power.
Luckily, I didn't lose the radio controls that day. By the time Biggie got around to the unexpected and deliciously sing-songy "Because you know I love it young, fresh and green" the ice broke, thanks to some nervous giggles from the couple in front. Point taken though, not one for polite society, best saved for one on one listens.
Buy Born Again by Notorious B.I.G. on Amazon Digital.
* Yes, Marshall is in there too. While I'm fond of his verses, with their neat little internal rhymes, they belong in another song entirely. Not really his fault, since he recorded this after Biggie's death so it's not exactly a joint venture. Nevertheless, Eminem's lurid and fantastical story is clearly a character talking. He's playing the crazy man screaming at the walls. Biggie's lines, on the other hand, vile as they may be, are meant as braggadocio. He's play pretending too, the part of the big bad man, but his words are aimed directly at the listener. They seem to come with a little wink and a head nod. Which strangely, make him the more frightening of the pair.