Tag Archives: Music

Profound Hip Hop Quote #16: Homage to Philly Edition

23 Apr

“Oh Ohhhhhh
You got it!
The glamorous life!”

—Cool C, “The Glamorous Life”

Cool C Glamourous LifeClick here to watch the original video!!

The homage to Philly rappers continues.  There truly are so many talented Philly rappers, past and present, who have made an impact on this culture and on me.  Last week, I discussed Three Times Dope, so of course I must acknowledge EST’s rival at the time, who came out with a song “dissing” EST’s philosophy on “Funky Dividends,”  Cool C (Christopher Roney) with his song “Glamorous Life.”

“Glamorous Life” is definitely a classic party song with a chorus that beckoned all listeners to sing along.  The “oh ohhhhh” is even still utilized by some party goers today, some twenty years later.  Are these specific lyrics actually profound?  Not quite.  But they speak to a deeper societal issue that apparently plagued Cool C later on in his faltering rap career.   Also, so many of us are willing to compromise our ethics and will stop at nothing to attain this appealing “glamorous lifestyle.”

In 1996, Cool C was involved in a botched bank robbery in Philadelphia where he brutally shot a female police officer, Lauretha Vaird, resulting in her death.  Cool C proclaims to be innocent  though the evidence against him proves otherwise.  He was scheduled to be executed by lethal injection in 2006 but was granted a stay of execution.  “How glamorous is it to take another person’s life for riches?”

What is the “glamorous life” anyway?  Is it wearing only designer clothing, living in a luxurious home, driving a fancy car  and attaining all of the materialistic items you desire?  Of course, I admire those people who have worked hard, paid their dues, and are now reaping the benefits of a fabulous lifestyle where they want for nothing, but what about those who are willing to rob and kill to attain them?

Perhaps you haven’t robbed or killed anybody , but you have been perpetuating the image of this so-called “glamorous life.” Has it caught up with you as a result of the recession?  Naturally, people want to feel good about themselves or simply want to attain the “dream” of having it all: who doesn’t?  But how glamorous is it to have designer clothes but still live with your parents at 40?   How glamorous is it to receive an eviction or foreclosure notice on a place that is well beyond your means or to to have this wonderful place but only have enough money to pay the mortgage and can’t keep the lights or heat on regularly?  How glamorous is it to see your fancy car being towed away by a repo truck or to not be able to drive it because you can only afford the car payments, not the insurance or gas to fill the tank?

The term glamorous is relative to whom you ask.  Nevertheless, something to consider is once “you got it,” whatever that “it” might be, will you truly be happy?

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
Cool C employs an excellent technique to engage listeners and party goers in the chorus of the song “Glamorous Life.”  Chants are common in many African cultures and are usually quite rhythmic.  “Oh ohhh….You got it!  The glamorous life!” is by far one of the most memorable examples of a chant from the late 80s early 90s Philly rap vault.


Profound Hip Hop Quote #12: Special Women’s History Month Edition

26 Mar

“It’s been three weeks since you’ve been looking for your friend
The one you let hit it and never called you again
‘Member when he told you he was ’bout the Benjamin’s
You act like you ain’t hear him then gave him a little trim
To begin, how you think you really gon’ pretend
Like you wasn’t down then you called him again”

—Lauryn Hill, “Doo Wop (That Thing)”

Oftentimes, I hear both women and men utter disparaging remarks about the other in regard to behaviors and treatment and that they’re only after “one thing.”  But do people acknowledge their own roles as enablers in the way they are being spoken to or treated.  For example, some women will say guys are nothing but dogs.  Even though I do not necessarily agree with that statement, let’s analyze it for a moment.  If guys are dogs, there is no denying that they still come in different breeds and will require proper training based on their breed.  Also, I ponder over why these very same women who claim that men are dogs allow these “dogs” to take them for walks instead of the other way around.  They say, “A dog is always going to be a dog,” or “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”  Curiously, some women never stop these “dogs” who are “barking up the wrong tree” then seem so surprised when they receive ill treatment, are used or are only sought after for sex when the “dog” made his intentions clear from the beginning.

In honor of “Women’s History Month,” I would like to acknowledge an exceptional female lyricist and vocalist who is still revered by true followers of hip hop music.  Even though people are still awaiting a follow-up CD to Lauryn Hill’s “Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” she will always be one of the most powerful female rappers of the 90s.  Even in 2011, many female artists aspire to have rhyming skills and a stage presence that she has.

In “Doo Wop (That Thing),” Lauryn Hill drops knowledge about a circumstance that occurs more frequently than most would like to admit: relationship misconceptions.  When people enter relationships, the hope is that they will make their intentions known.  Nevertheless, there are people who ignore the signs and pretend that they didn’t know what the “deal” was until everything starts to unravel.  How can you make a person love you let alone like you when he (or she) has made it clear that he (or she) is only there to dog you or use you?  Most people know that sleeping with a person is not the answer, yet they find themselves traveling down this route anyway then wondering how they ended up stranded on the highway of love and desertion.

Take heed to what people tell you and show you early on in a relationship rather than ignoring the signs; then you may be able to avoid heartbreak in the future.  As Lauren Hill says, “You act like you ain’t hear him then gave him a little trim.  To begin, how you think you really gon’ pretend.  Like you wasn’t down then you called him again.”  Too often do people, not just women, compromise their values, ethics and standards to be with this guy or girl who has made his or her intentions clear: a relationship with a rock solid foundation is not the objective with these people, so why think that is what you will receive?  If you want more out of a relationship and want to be treated with a certain level of respect, you must first treat yourself with respect, and accept nothing less from those with whom you come in contact.

Women’s History Month is drawing to a close.  Don’t let it go by without expressing yourself by paying homage to those women who have impacted you directly or indirectly.

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
Lauryn Hill abbreviates the word “remember” to “member” for dialectical and meter  purposes.

Profound Hip Hop Quote Week #10: Special Women’s History Month Edition

12 Mar

Yes, I’m blessed, and I know who I am
I express myself on every jam
I’m not a man, but I’m in command
Hot damn, I got an all girl band

—Salt n Pepa, “Express Yourself”

How comfortable are you with expressing yourself? Sometimes this task can prove to be difficult for women.  How does a woman successfully express herself while gaining the respect she deserves from her male counterparts without being perceived as overly aggressive or too emotional?  Should women even care about how they are perceived when they are expressing their “true” selves?

In honor of “Women’s History Month,” I would like to acknowledge two great female lyricists who truly paved the way for female MCs who preceded them.  Salt (Cheryl James Wray) and Pepa (Sandra Denton) are one of the most powerful female rap duos of the 1980s and 90s.  They addressed issues such as being independent, love, partying and enjoying life  and even practicing safe sex.

In “Express Yourself,” Salt n Pepa encourage the listeners, both females and males, to be themselves and not feel the need to assimilate or to follow behind others just to fit in with the crowd.  Specifically, in the lyrics provided, Pepa rejoices in knowing how blessed she is and declares, “I know who I am.  I express myself on every jam.”  Do you know who you are, or are you a mere carbon copy of what you think people expect you to be?  Pepa also acknowledges that she does not have to be a man to be “in command”  without bashing men.  Instead, she acknowledges her own achievements in having an “all girl band.”

We are all “blessed,” in one way or another and mustn’t be afraid to express our “true” selves.  Women, especially, must hold their heads high and be proud of who they are.  Isn’t it wonderful to know that you are original?  There is no one in the world like you.  Even if you have an identical twin or a doppelganger (out there somewhere) your personalities and fingerprints are not alike.  So why would you not want to be you?  Your uniqueness is what makes you special.  Knowing that I am special with unique talents and gifts has definitely helped me  with embracing the idea of expressing my “true” self.  Don’t let this Women’s History Month go by without expressing yourself by paying homage to those women who have impacted you directly or indirectly.

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
Salt n Pepa use the standard couplet rhyme for these specific lyrics.  However, she does employ  an internal rhyme in the second couplet focusing on the assonance of the “and” sound: “man,command,” “damn” and “band.”

Profound Hip Hop Quote: Week #1

8 Jan

“Never lookin’ back or too far in front of me
The present is a gift, and I just wanna be…”
—Common, “Be (Intro)”

How often do you dwell too much on the past or focus too relentlessly on the future without acknowledging what is going on presently? This is something that I have constantly struggled with until I heard Common put it so simple yet so eloquently.  Of course, it is important to evaluate my past to avoid making the same mistakes again.  Yes, considering future goals and aspirations is necessary in order to establish a game plan and be successful.  However, I know that I must take time to live in the moment and appreciate my present accomplishments.

Where are you presently?  Is it where you want to be?  If not, then it might be pertinent to examine what you have done in the recent past and plan to do in the near future so that everyday will be a present or gift for that matter.  Were you inspired by the same line or a different line in this song?  Please feel free to share.


Bonus English Lesson:

Even though Common does not utilize the word  “present”  in an indelicate way, it is a good example of  a double entendre because present presents some ambiguity with two meanings: “a gift” and “related to time.”