Music Schmusic: Worst Decade Ever Pt. 4  

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Hear that? That’s the sound of hip hop dying.
Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em – Crank That (Soulja Boy) (2007)

There are lyrics, and then there are lyrics. Take Sean Kingston’s 2007 hit “Beautiful Girls,” for example. (By the way, Kingston, I loved your collaboration with Sisqo) There’s a line in the chorus that sounds for all the world like “All these beautiful girls/they only want to do the durb.” It sounds incredibly dirty and hilarious, but eventually you come across the real lyrics and see that he’s actually saying “do you dirt” which unfortunately can’t measure up to the awesome line you hoped it was.

Then you listen to a song like “Crank That” which would succeed “Beautiful Girls” at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 later that same year. There’s this line in “Crank That” that is totally incomprehensible, and all you can make from it, even after listening to it again and again and again, is “I got me some bathin’ apes.” How did anyone come up with a phrase like that? What, if anything, does it mean? Is it ok for white people to repeat in front of black people? Who the fuck knows? Part of you doesn’t even want to think about it too much, for fear that it will drive you insane, and you’ll be reduced to a Dickenson hobo, staggering around town with a three-foot beard and pigeons nesting in it, dressed only in an overcoat covered in five different kinds of shit, grabbing young women at random and shouting at them “I got me some bathin’ apes.” But the part of your mind that demands reason and consistency keeps pushing you to figure out some meaning, until the inside of your head starts to look like John Nash’s tool shed.

Then you finally hear Soulja Boy’s full album – – and you realize, not only is the line actually “I got me some bathin’ apes,” but Soulja Boy has recorded another song, entirely built around that line. Both sides of your mind start going crazy in their own special way, but they can agree on one thing: It’s time to kill yourself.

Understand, “Crank That” isn’t just one of the worst songs ever. It’s one of the worst songs ever, which directly inspired at least three other songs on Soulja Boy’s appalling debut album. And lest you think it’s just the album that is bad, you can listen to his follow up – iSouljaboytellem – and realize that Soulja Boy is, in fact, the worst thing to happen to music. Ever.

As “Crank That” was the debut of the Soulja Boy dance, there of course had to be a sequel song, “Soulja Girl.” Then, because Soulja Boy thought he was such a clever wordsmith, he added the song “Bapes” where he simply shouts “I got me some bathin’ apes” over and over. He must have also felt that the “Crank That” line “I pass it to Arab” deserved its own four minute loop, because the album also includes a song answering to that description, aptly titled “Pass it to Arab.”

Imagine you sit down at a blackjack table, next to a person who is clearly mentally retarded. I’m not being facetious; we’re talking helmet and all. The deal comes, and the retarded person gets two kings against the dealer’s ten. The player splits his kings. “That will never work,” you might be heard to remark. “Everyone knows you don’t split your tens, especially when the dealer has a ten up.” But the cards come; two more tens. What does he do? He splits those too. “Now he’s going to get it,” you say. And he sure does, four aces come down, and he lands blackjack on all four hands. The retarded player looks at you and asks, “Whose retarded now?” That’s just about the best way I can describe Soulja Boy. Everything about the asshole screams “failure;” his songs strive to be irritating, his lyrics are at best meaningless and at worst completely incoherent, the quality of his sound and video production is so poor that it must be intentional, and he looks like he just stepped out of fucking Kris Kross. All this, and yet he’s remarkably popular.

How popular is he? So popular that old ladies are doing his dance on YouTube. Do they know what “Superman that hoe” means? How about “Super Soak that bitch?” I’ve got one good guess... Ok, time to kill myself.

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