Owl Meat's Tipsy Tuesdays: Square hop, anyone?
I must say, I was a little puzzled at first by OMG's column about the origins of hip-hop. Then I read it some more, and started chuckling. Square dancing begot hip-hop? Who knew? Here goes:
Yo yo, Notorious O.M.G. on the blizzy, y'all.
Lemme lay you down some epic truth-swerve: Rap was invented by white people – really, really white people.
It's all about the beats and movin' your feets. When I hear some skinky thribby-throb, I gotta throw down some supa-phresh rhymes, like farmer's market fresh ... and call me some square. That's right. Square dance calling is hip-hop's baby-daddy.
That's some gnarly gristle to gnaw on – rap was spawned by calico dress-wearing, tractor-dancing, barn varmint, not so modest yahoos ...
Square dancing invented the hoe down get-down. Hip-hop pimped it out. Both have MC's rapping over music and bossing you around. The influence in early hip-hop is fairly obvious. Consider Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight", telling you to up-jump the boogie to the bang bang boogie. Swing your pardner round and round.
Even more square is Kurtis Blow's "The Breaks".
"Clap your hands everybody
Throw your hands up in the sky
And wave 'em 'round from side to side
(All right) Say ho-oo!
(Ho-oo!) And you don't stop
Keep on, somebody scream!"
Pure squarin'. Kurtis is callin' hard and no doubt his "Turkey in the Straw" rap would be killa. Until then who knew you could throw your hands in the air like you just don't care? Ain't no shorties do-si-doing that at the barn dance.
Coolio's "Ghetto Square Dance" and Sir Mix-a-Lot's "Square Dance Rap" pay homage to their hillbilly roots:
"Now grab your partner, take a bow
If you can't dance, I'll tell you how
Wave your hands and take two steps
Grab your hips and slide to the left
Get all in your partner's face
Swerve to the side and show your lace
If you're a freak then let it show
And grab your partner do-si-do"
That's all good clean fun, but rappers took it deeper. Life is nasty, brutish, and short and hip-hop reflects that. Before Schooly D or Ice T the original O.G., Brooklyn Masta Double B was making it real in 1950. You knew him better as Bugs Bunny. In the cartoon "Hillbilly Hare" he is a sadistic gender-bending cracker-bashing Brooklyn home-boy gangsta callin'. Is it a stretch to subtract the humor, add misogyny, and end up with Eminem? Swing your partner round and round, [do disrespectful acts of domestic violence], and promenade around the hood.
What is the future of hip-hop? It seems perversely logical to look to the ultra-pale scene in Scandinavia. Consider Swedish swing rappers Movits who rap about stealing apples or these fierce rap battling Stockhomeys. Only slightly more absurd than Eminem starting feuds with adorable homunculus Moby or hand puppet Triumph. Viking rap? It could happen.
For a truly epic battle check out legendary industrial hip-hop rap-slayer Kompressor versus nerdcore geek MC Frontalot on "Rappers We Crush".
"I'm representing for them Vikings all across the world (Still)
Hitting them corners in them Volvos, girl (Still)
Taking my time to wash with Neutrogena
And I still got love for IKEA.
Wörd to your moder."