This past Christmas, Mrs. Bootleg upgraded my iPod from Nano to Supernova. I'll never use up the room for 7,500 songs, but I'm currently well past 700 and always in search of something to add to the mix.
It's no secret that my musical tastes don't tend to stray too far from what most of you know as "the rap music". In fact, just last week, while wearing those ubiquitous earbuds in the office, I was stopped by one of my myriad of managers who enthusiastically asked, "What'cha listening to?"
Now, for the record, let me just say that I love the middle-aged white man.
He signs my paychecks, he broadcasts my favorite sporting events and he fathers the girls that I hope my son will one day wed.
So, forgive me for generalizing, but it's just that most of them react to rap with either dismissive condescension or righteous indignation. And, at 9:15 in the morning, I get enough of both for my work-related activities.
I told my manager "Lenny Kravitz" and he seemed to approve.
In actuality, I was listening to a song off of Snoop's almost universally unlistenable No Limit Records debut, Da Game Was To Be Sold… I've got a soft spot for entertainingly awful audio. I'm talking about the music that's so bad, it's capable of doubling back to decent.
It might be because it unlocks a latent memory of a time that's long gone by (like, say, my 20s). Maybe the beat superseded the ridiculous lyrics or vice versa. Regardless, while I fully acknowledge that several of these songs suck in their own weak-ass way, they'll always have a home in my iPod.
Unless, I ever need to actually make room for more music.
Here are the ten "worst" songs currently in rotation on Aaron's iPod:
10.) Must Be The Money - Deion Sanders: That Nick'a Guy and I tore this album apart for Inside Pulse, but that doesn't change the fact that we were still the only two who bought this sonic abomination. "Prime Time" dives into this with such an insufferable bravado that all I can do is marvel at anyone with the balls to put out something this bad. Y'know how rap has gotten so materialistically empty? This was the blueprint!
9.) Santa Claus Goes Straight to the Ghetto - Snoop Dogg: Off of the little known (or sold) Death Row Records Christmas album, this one makes nice use of an Isaac Hayes sample and clocks in at nearly six minutes. Snoop's only on it for a verse or two, but the festive references to "passin' out spliffs" just says "Xmas" to me. Throw in a Nate Dogg hook and a couple of timeless nods to wanting a Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo? I'm sold.
8.) No Panties - Trina feat. Tweet: Don't be fooled by the deceptive title. The song explicitly states that no panties are coming off and your love is gonna cost. Missy Elliott wrote (and, if I remember correctly, also produced) this vacuous, vampy track and even made sure that her lesbian co-conspirator Tweet had the hook. I'm pretty sure I keep this one around solely because Mrs. Bootleg abhors explicit chick rappers.
7.) Rollin' - Limp Bizkit feat. DMX, Redman & Method Man: I have no problem admitting that I purchased a Fred Durst album although, I honestly can't remember the circumstances. This was the remix to the single that blew up in 2000 (I think), but features an absolute parody of what DMX once was (bark! bark! bark!) and the beginning of the end for the relevance of Red & Meth. Hey, it's a good workout song.
6.) My Band - D12: I'd argue that there probably hasn't been a more divisive song all century than this one. Lyrically, it's actually pretty clever, but the formulaic Eminem "first single" production and intentionally off-key hook can make anyone's ears bleed. It was also strategically self-effacing as it was released during that whole "Eminem said the N-word" dust up, which we all swept under the rug and agreed never ever happened.
5.) Jump Around - House of Pain: 15 years later, I still love that opening instrumental before the lyrics begin. I'm only including it here because, like everything else in rap from back then, it's been overplayed to the point of abject saturation. Funny thing is that this was a pretty significant song in a historical context. It was one of the first to be singled out for its violence towards women ("if your girl steps up, I'm smackin' tha ho") before Snoop Doggy Dogg perfected the practice a few months later.
4.) Keep Their Heads Ringin' - Dr. Dre: "Ring-ding-dong…ring-a-ding-ding-ding-dong"…To this day, I can't explain how this song was the west coast anthem for the summer of 1995. That would be my last year in Long Beach, before I moved down the coast to San Diego. And, despite not knowing Mrs. Bootleg at the time, most of the, umm…"things I got into" back then would still probably be grounds for divorce. Let's just call it a "good workout song" and move on.
3.) Air Force Ones - Nelly & The St. Lunatics: Wait, I can explain this one. We'd recently bought a CD burner for our computer. One of my co-workers heard about this and asked if I'd burn a copy of her Nelly album. I asked no questions and burned one for myself, too, because I'd just started reviewing albums for 411mania and needed material. Hey, I'm didn't say it was a good explanation. It also wasn't a good review.
2.) Snoop Bounce (Roc n' Roll Remix) - Snoop Dogg & Rage Against the Machine: This one's from the never-released Doggumentary EP and can only be found on 2001's Greatest Hits album. The rock-based production sounds like stock music from any generic catalog, but it's light years better than the original off of Snoop's terrible Doggfather album. In the summer that this was supposed to drop, Puff Daddy remixed the All About The Benjamins single into his own rock n' roll cut and rode the ghost of Biggie and back fat of Lil' Kim into the hearts of America.
1.) Hoochie Mama - 2 Live Crew: OK, so I uploaded the soundtrack from the movie Friday and removed all the superfluous cuts but this one. I finally deleted it today, but for the last several months, whenever I'd have the iPod on "shuffle", this song would always come up. I'd tell myself I'm going to get rid of it, but never did, until now. For all those Dirty South acts who'll gleefully coon for a dollar, I hope all of them are giving residuals to Uncle Luke for opening the door.
Thank you, Luther Campbell.