This week’s Over-analyzing rap lyrics comes courtesy of the always great Wu-Tang Clan. But as I was researching, writing, studying, and singing in the shower (my normal over-analyzing process) I made a startling conclusion:
Wu-Tang Clan wrote a Taylor Swift song before Taylor Swift was even Taylor Swift. And it’s called “Ex-girlfriend” and Taylor Swift is probably kicking herself (yes she can!*) for not having thought of it sooner.
“Ex-girlfriend”, primarily rapped by Method Man, is a song about a crazy ex who continues to plague the singer’s life even after they stop being romantically involved. Even though it has more references to guns and “boning” it can still be considered a prototypical break up song, the likes of which Taylor Swift has made famous. For example, at one point Method Man admits that he knew she was trouble when she walked in:
Shoulda listened when my momma told me, soon as I
turn my back you try to fuck my homies, that was then
this is now I got a new friend, ever since
I cut them loose ends you wanna bone me
Yeah, Method, you should have listened to your momma, but you couldn’t help yourself and got entangled with a person you knew was bad for you. Tsk Tsk.
Luckily for Method, he realized what a “mean” person she was and so cut off the relationship, and wants this song to announce to his ex, “We are never ever getting back together”:
And used up, pull your shoes up, all you need’s affection
but you’re headed in the wrong direction
Tryin to make this nigga jealous, with other fellas
All up in my face actin overzealous
Like you want somethin from Meth, I hope it ain’t love girl
Cause I ain’t got none left for you, plus you miserable
Misery Love Company, shit I’m livin comfortably, don’t need no
nigga huntin me down for fuckin round, with his kitty
Talk to him, before my brother put a spark through him
Won’t be pretty, the situation got my whole attitude shitty
And got you actin high saditty with your slut committee
And because Method Man knows that happiness is the sweetest revenge for a lover scorned, he doesn’t hesitate to point out how happy he is with his – heavily armed – new girlfriend:
Let me find out that you fuckin with Boo, and y’all gon’ feel it
Waitin for the day that you front, and catch a lump
from my black butterfly, that don’t pack a lullaby
Sleep on her, she said you bitches tried to creep on her
in the mall and didn’t know she had the reach on her
Pearl-handled twenty-two, my Boo
She go ahead and walk her dogs, and represent Wu
to the fullest, you and hon can shoot the fair one
I’ll bring the bullets, knowhatI’msayin? Stop playin
It’s kind of like he’s saying his new girlfriend made a rebel out of a careless man’s careful rapper, and boy does it feel great. Also, he’s apparently really confident in her dueling ability, so sure in fact, that he even offers to provide the bullets. (Also, I think he’s suggesting she walks her dogs in the mall, which is probably not allowed.)
It goes to show that if you peel back the crude and vulgar veneer of a rap song, even one by Wu-Tang Clan, it exposes a commonality with simple human desires that anyone would wish for: to love, to live happily, and to be left alone by a crusty ass crew. Amen, Method Man. Amen.
Taylor Swift never seemed like a hardcore rapper but if she ever gets tired of winning 18 awards per Country Music Award show, she should consider trying her hand at the BET awards. I see a “Best New Rapper” award in her future, and even Kanye can’t argue with that.
[Author’s Note: I’m no stranger to intense research and exhaustively getting to the bottom of a topic that I plan on writing about, but the sheer volume of Taylor Swift’s body of work is stunning. I had no idea she was so prolific, not just in writing songs but also in making music videos for them. Having only picked up a rudimentary working knowledge of TSwift (kids call her “TSwift”) by simply being alive during the 21st century, I knew I had to do a closer examination if I ever hoped to write this article. That led me to her wikipedia page which… is probably one of the largest wikipedia pages I’ve ever seen. This thing is MASSIVE. Taylor Swift has apparently done more than the entirety of World War II. Her page is at least four times longer than U2’s Bono and about as long as The Rolling Stones’ entry. Next time you see that little “donation” bar at the top of the Wikipedia home page, just realize that 90% of donations MUST go to the massive, and constant, upkeeping and updating of Taylor Swift’s entry. Whether that causes you to donate MORE to wikipedia or LESS, that’s up to you.]
*If you get this reference you are A) nearly as pathetic as me and B) worthy of a prize. Name the song and singer in the comment section and I’ll be impressed and possibly give you a prize. Hint: the reference isn’t that hard, you’re just really unhip.
Well, I hope you’re happy. You begged and begged. You signed petitions. You wrote emails. You created “buzz” from the ground up. Finally, you got your wish and the powers that be greenlit an Arrested Development season four. Only now it would be released in full on Netflix instant. I bet you were so happy, weren’t you? You probably posted immediately about it to Facebook. You probably didn’t even bother checking your newsfeed to see that 50 of your friends had already beaten you to the punch. It’s not your fault. You were distracted by which clever “inside joke” to use. You decided on Mr. Manager. Yeah, Mr. Manager was pretty funny.
Time seemed to stand still. You would sit there staring at the clock ticking away and it was unbearable to think you still had five months to go before the new season came out. You couldn’t take it! Ugh. You tweeted that exact thing – “I can’t take it! Ugh.” – and all of your friends knew what you meant. You got a ton of retweets.
You poked and prodded. “Did you hear, they’re making a new season of ‘Arrested Development’?” You asked co-workers, cashiers, strangers. “What?!” You’d scream when they said they hadn’t seen the show. You’d make it sound like you were offended, but secretly, you were delighted. You lived for this. Missionaries landing in the New World for the first time must have felt the same way. Finally, some potential converts.
Around a month ago, you noticed a change. Everyone was talking about the new season. Twitter could barely handle the load. All of your favorite blogs were buzzing. Even cable television (yuck!) had promos for it which was weird, like a radio ad for Pandora. Orange was everywhere. So was Jason Bateman. You almost forgot to call off work for the release day and tweeted about it. It got a ton of retweets.
Here’s the debate. Do you “live tweet” it at midnight or should you wait to blog about it after a few episodes? What would Walter Cronkite do? Didn’t journalists back then always carry around a notepad? That was like livetweeting, right? You decide to livetweet. Let the bloggers get scooped.
You read somewhere that the premiere would account for roughly 5% of Netflix’s total bandwidth. This was bigger than the moon landing. You felt ready. All day you had prepared. If the power went out during the show you would kill yourself. You tweeted that. No retweets. They’re probably all getting ready for the premiere.
It begins and it’s all there. The whole gang. The music. The familiar atmosphere of a night spent with the Bluths. But then a joke doesn’t hit. You begin to wonder what happened. You tweet. Your facebook is refreshing increasingly pessimistic views on the season. Someone you went to high school with writes “This new Arrested Development blows”. You are worried he’s right. You tweet that you didn’t like the first episode and a few of your friends favorite it.
You want the old show back. That’s all you ever wanted. You want to be seven years younger, sitting alone in your studio apartment relishing every witty inside joke. Now it just seems like some show. You want it the way it was. Jason Bateman seems a lot more tired. Everyone seems slightly less fresh faced. This isn’t what you signed up for. Not to mention, you can’t figure out any of the inside jokes. They are all so new. Where are the old ones? You begin to worry that maybe you aren’t an Arrested Development expert any more. Now you’re just watching the show like everybody else. You’ve lost the ability to identify potential converts. They’ve all seen the episodes by now. They are just like you, and even worse, you’re just like them.
What were you thinking? Did you expect this to live up to your nostalgia laced fever dream? That’s a laugh. It was never going to. Even worse, the show was out of your control from the second it got picked up. The writers could do whatever they wanted with it and you’d just have to sit here and watch it. It would never be as safe as those first three seasons sitting comfortably in a box set in your TV stand. It was going to make things different.
It might even take time to fully grasp the show. What if it takes seven years? What if you aren’t able to livetweet? How are you supposed to consume this? There’s no manual on how to digest a show that isn’t meant to pass through you in seconds. You’re used to television that passes from eyes to finger tips as fast as the nerve impulses will allow. Now, you feel full after a half hour. You feel bloated and tired. You begin to wonder why you ordered this at all. You didn’t even want this. It was too much, you weren’t ready. Or maybe you were past ready.