Sunday, April 20, 2008

Rap Star Obama-Z

If you feelin like a pimp nigga,
go and brush your shoulders off

Ladies is pimps too,
go and brush your shoulders off

Niggaz is crazy baby,
don't forget that boy told you

Get, that, dirt off your shoulder

-Jay-Z "Dirt Off Your Shoulder"

Brush It Off
By MAUREEN DOWD
Published: April 20, 2008

Like Barbara Billingsley in Airplane, Maureen Dowd can speak Jive, old school style.
Barack Obama, who says he listens to Jay-Z along with his “old school guy” favorites like Earth, Wind & Fire and the Temptations, alluded to the rapper’s 2003 hit “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” on Thursday to sweep away concerns about his pugnacity.

After conceding that the Philly debate was tough, he brushed the imaginary lint of Hillary, George and Charlie from his shoulders, in a wordless reference to Jay-Z’s lyrics in his anthem about not letting anyone crimp your ride as you cruise from the bottom to the top: “Got some, dirt on my shoulder, could you brush it off for me.”
First off, changing "pimp your ride" to "crimp" is old lady lame. And Maureen catching onto the not-so-subliminal Jay-Z reference wasn't all that earth shattering. The hidden message of the shoulder brushing was immediately apparent to most of the blogosphere where it battled an alleged bird flip as the most debated hand gesture of his speech. It didn't take long for the YouTube stars to mash up the song and the speech so that there was no mistaking the diss (audio NSFW - it's Jay-Z, duh):



Having been on the campaign plane with Barack, Maureen starts fantasizing about how cool an Obama presidency is going to look.
There’s no doubt the cat is cool. It’s easy to imagine the wild reception many parts of the world would give a President Obama as he loped down the stairs of Air Force One in his aviator glasses, the chic and chiseled Michelle on his arm.
The hot/cool metaphor is just too painful to diagram. It's tedious even by Dowd standards. Obama last loped in the column where he snuck up on her on the campaign plane while eating barbecue. And unless you've covered as many Obama rallies as Maureen you may not be aware that Obama uses a certain Stevie Wonder chestnut as his campaign stop closer:
But before it’s signed, sealed and delivered, as his campaign song goes, Obama will have to balance his cool with some heat, as J.F.K. did. He seems too imperious about the power of hot-button values issues that have proved so potent for most of his lifetime.
But according to Dowd, he has switched to something more patriotic as he focuses attention on defusing the fervor behind McCain.
Even though his supporters raised Cain about ABC, Obama is smart enough to know he will need a better game against a canny war hero. Campaigning in Pennsylvania on Friday, he seemed eager to show he was not highfalutin. He said he and Michelle weren’t born with silver spoons; he shared how “burned up” he was when his sick mother could not get health insurance; he hugged a disabled veteran who thanked him for getting into the race, and he left a rally with a lusty “God Bless America.”
Dowd slips in the phrase "better game" (maybe Mystery can become a campaign consultant) to show that she's hip to the lingo, but also proves that she speaks fluent Fogey by slipping in "highfalutin" as the closest word to "uppity" she dares attempt.

If she really wanted to prove how down with the hip-hopper she was, she'd be using "99 Problems" as Obama's reaction to the increasingly irrelevant Clinton Campaign:
99 problems but the bitch ain't one
If you're havin' girl problems I feel bad for you son
I got 99 problems but a bitch ain't one
Hit me
But instead Maureen tries to talk like she's ever seen a copy of XXL.
He’s trying, as Jay-Z says, to get flow.
With that kind of clunky phrasing, we don't have to worry about Dowd getting crunky any time soon.

1 comment:

Grace Nearing said...

99 problems but the bitch ain't one

Oh, Mo MoDo, that was wicked.

I'm trying to imagine a suburban 50- or 60-year-old NYT subscriber reading that column -- "get flow"??? -- giving up, and then switching over to the Personal Health column on bladder and prostate problems.