Profound Hip Hop Quote #15: Homage to Philly Edition

16 Apr

“EST is the one that’s so original 
The boy so live should have his name on your cereal 
Instead of Swatch you wear a sinister watch 
Worn by the suckers who be swearin they clock 
Cause ain’t nobody takin’ my place, you know what I mean? 
Instead of Guess you wear some ES jeans 
Tight around your putang, so when you shake that thang 
Everybody wants you shake it again !”

—Three Times Dope, “Greatest Man Alive”

Three Times DopeClick here to watch the original video!!

This month, I would like to pay homage to some of the Philly rappers from the past and present who have made an impact on this culture and on me.  When I think about a rap group  who not only put Philly on the map on a national and even  international level but also put my neighborhood on the map, I think of Three Times Dope consisting of EST (Robert Waller), Chuck Nice (Walter Griggs) and Woody Wood (Duerwood Beale).

I was in middle school when I was first introduced to this “Acknickulous” trio, and I loved their style while many guys tried to don EST’s hair cut.  As a result of the members being from my neighborhood, the anticipation of possibly meeting them was something else.  Classmates and friends would often claim to be their relatives or neighbors.  These guys really made me feel proud to be from Logan.

Three Times Dope released the song, “Greatest Man Alive ” around 1989, and it was an instant hit and party song.  The beat was booming, and the lyrics and delivery were tight.

What is it that makes these specific lyrics so profound?  It’s the content.  EST was so confident and put forth an entire song full of bravado which was way before it’s time.  In the late 1980s and even early 90s most rappers would simply brag about what type of designer clothing they are wearing lining the pockets of many companies giving them free advertisement in their songs.  But EST cavalierly states that in being the greatest man alive that people should don clothing and even eat cereal with “his” name on the label.  “Cause ain’t nobody takin’ his place!”   Now, almost every rapper has either a clothing or footwear line or perfume or cologne.  The artists are starting to get it!  No if only the rest of us would.

What makes you the greatest “man” or “woman” alive?  Is it what you wear, what you eat or how you present yourself?  Do you follow what the masses do, or do they follow you?  Who’s setting the trends?  EST even embraced being the “unusual” fellow or the “original” while many people just want to fit in with the crowd and sheepishly follow the herd.  Are “you” the greatest man or woman alive?

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
EST of Three Times Dope uses a double negative to stress his point which is commonly used in raps songs, “Cause ain’t nobody takin’ my place, you know what I mean?” It is not uncommon for rap lyrics and many types of creative writing, to use a specific type of vernacular or common day speech because it is the voice of the writer or the persona or it has a better flow or sound because of the syllables or meter in the line. Keep in mind that many rappers who are well-versed and considered lyricists tend to familiarize themselves with the standard grammar rules prior to breaking the rules in their lyrics.


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