Monday, 11 February 2008

TSP = Not Pimpin'

I might be about 5 years behind in this (seven if you heard it before the much more popular reissue), but whilst going about my normal daily business tonight I suddenly wondered who the fuck Fatman Scoop was, and why exactly he had any authority to be yelling at me in his one hit wonder song. Of course Wikipedia had all the answers, including something about it taking two years to clear the samples which would explain why I definately heard the track once or twice in 2001 before it disappeared.

Anyway, about ten seconds later after I’d gotten over this and my thoughts had moved onto other things I started to think about other songs with such blatant crowd pleasing audience participation as Be Faithful. If you’ve been in anything resembling a cheap and nasty suburban nightclub in the last few years you’ll know what I’m talking about. Never before has any song been so cynically geared towards making people join in. Quoth the Fatman himself,

You gotta hundred dollar bill put ya hands up!

You gotta fifty dollar bill put ya hands up!

You gotta twenty dollar bill put ya hands up!

You gotta ten dollar bill put ya hands up!

Single ladies! I can’t hear y’all! Single ladies, make noise!

Single ladies! I can’t hear y’all! Single ladies! Make noise!

All the chicken heads, be quiet!

All the chicken heads, be quiet!

All the chicken heads, be quiet

See what he did there? In a post-modern manouevre worthy of the greats there is even a section contending that anyone who is not joining in this orgy of lies (90% of people who put their hands up as having a hundred dollar bill look like they dress at Savers) is a “chicken head”. What that is will remain a mystery, but the implication is that it’s terrible and in the cut and thrust world of nightclub sleazing nobody wants to do anything that will put them at a disadvantage.

Back to Mr. Scoop,

All the good lookin women sing along - I cant hear ya!
If you’ve got long hair put your hands up

If you’ve got short hair make noise

If you’ve got long hair put your hands up

If you’ve got short hair make noise
If you’ve got long hair on your head, ladies

If you’ve got long hair on your head

If you’ve got long hair on your head from your ear

to ya sleeve even if you gotta weave

Yo can i get a

Ooh ooh

Can i get a

ooh ooh

And duly people start ooh oohing away. Even males if they’re absurdly trashed and unable to comprehend that they have just openly claimed to be female. Then we get to the best bit of them all, the one that really sorts out the men from the boys. When this bit comes on drop everything, or everyone, that you’re doing and look around to see how everyone reacts.
To all my niggas that wanna

Hit it from the back

That wanna have sex

With no strings attatched

Yo, Can i get a

What what

Can i get a

What what

Can i get a

What what

Oh oh

alf of the males in the room will go wild for this bit and give it “what what” like there’s no tomorrow in the hope that somebody will spot them and instantly offer a shag. To the best knowledge of everyone involved with TSP this has NEVER EVER HAPPENED IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD AND NEVER WILL, but try telling that to a drunken 18-year-old from Niddrie or a sleazy 47-year-old married man who is losing their hair. In the Fatman Scoop fantasy world they’re already having a three-way with two sisters.

A quarter of the people will sheepishly raise a hand to this even though they know it makes them look like a colossal twat, because after all you never know when scenario A is actually going to come true. Newsflash, it’s not - get over it. Swedish bikini models will not ignore the fact that you look like you’ve had your face smashed in with a brick, and that you’re wearing a ’salmon’ shirt with the collar up just because you wave your arms in the air to some guy shouting commands at you.

The rest will instantly stop anything they are doing and refuse to participate in this grim spectacle.

The first two will then spin their neck around so quick that they almost break it looking for any female in the vicinity who is showing interest in the next verse,

Who fuckin tonight? Who fuckin tonight?

Who fuckin tonight? Oh oh

Most of them, and none with you son.

Surely this is the key to getting your song flogged to death in clubs, straight into the charts and making you a fortune. Tell me that the chance to do the dodgy actions to Blame It On The Boogie hasn’t contributed to the continued popularity of that song over the last thirty years. The whole sunshine (opening hands above head), moonlight (whatever they do), good times (a hip thrusting pump for some unknown bloody reason), boogie thing is the only thing this side of Loveshack guaranteed to make the patrons of said shonky venue blow a collective gasket. Never mind that the moves seem to have been invented somewhere along the line. Watch the video, they never do these moves yet everyone seems to know them, and break them out as if it were the law. Why? Who knows, but it’s Audience Participation 101. Look at the Macarena and Boot Scooting - two mercifully short lived crazes that nonetheless made a lot of people a SHITLOAD of money because everyone wanted to be a part of it when it seemed to be popular. It’s all about perception. If you want to sell something make everyone think that the rest of the world loves it. Did 95% of the kids who ended up with a Pikachu doll for Christmas when that craze was running riot a few years back know what was going on? No, but they knew that their friends all probably had one and if that if mum and dad didn’t drop one off under the Christmas tree that they were going to tip the tree over and punch their sister in the face.

Off the top of my head I can think two other blatant crowd participation songs. One is the long forgotten (thank christ) “Clap Your Hands” by 112, which asked prospective punters;

If you’re sexy and you know it clap your hands

If you’re sexy and you know it clap your hands

If you’re sexy and you know it

And you really wanna show it

If you’re sexy and you know it clap your hands

thus leading to an inferno of people wildly clapping in case they were seen to not be joining in, and therefore not sexy. Incidentally I always thought that the line in this song where he claims his “drop top” is in the parking lot would have been much better if it had been his “choc top” instead, and the punchline was that he was a horny ice cream truck driver but that’s neither here nor then in this discussion. The point is that once again it got played an offensive amount because every ‘DJ’ (term used lightly, because you’re just changing CD’s pal) knew that the crowd would go nuts if it got played because they get to join in. Another instant fortune made from the sheep effect.

Less popular in these parts, but the finest work in the genre for mine was Ludacris’ “Pimpin’ All Over The World”, the end of which featured one of the finest ‘traps’ for nightclub horndogs ever invented. Quoth Mr. Cris;

Ladies and gentlemen as we ride out,

Could we have all the real pimps,

Please put both of your pinky fingers high in the air,

Queue everyone who considers themselves “Pimpin” raising the fingers at a million miles an hour.

Now ladies look around wit me, lets see if

We can weed some of these niggas out,

“Hold on, do what now?”
Cause it’s no way that all these niggas

could be pimpin,

If you happen to see a nigga wit two sweat patches up under his arms,

look like he been swimmin in shoulder height water,

please tell them. Put your hands down,

And thus begins the musical equivalent of Guess Who - as men everywhere suddenly realise they’ve been duped and drop their hands at a million miles an hour.

If you smell like you been

At work all day and Drakkar

please put your hands down,

Apparently Drakkar is both a cologne AND the building in which 58 French paratroopers were killed in the 1983 Beirut bombings. Your guess is as good as mine as to which one he means. Ludacris continues;

Now look up at the pinky fingers that are still in the air,

If you see a nigga ashy around the knuckles,

like the dude washed half of his hands and lotion three quarters of his body,

please say put yo hands down,

if your spinnin’ rims

Spin counter clockwise,

you are not pimpin’

How anyone is supposed to know that unless the song is taking place in the carpark is a mystery to me, but you’ve got to acknowledge his commitment to rolling people.

If you are dancin’ on the dancefloor

and you look to your left and your right and there is not a woman in sight,

Guess what? You guessed it you are not pimpin,

How true. Oh, how true.

If your vodka and cranberry is really really dark,

like blood, that’s because you didn’t order vodka buddy

that’s why it’s $3 a glass! Put your hands down.

This is why you never hear this song in Australia. Anyone seen drinking Vodka and Cranberry would have been bashed hours before.

Now look down. Now I need everybody just to

pull up your pants legs one time.

Okay, you see the nigga with the white socks? NOT PIMPIN!

>Unless…you’re part of the “Beat it” entourage.

if your shoes have a buckle on them…. you’re not pimpin…

By this time nobody should be left. Every single man in the joint should have been eliminated. Quality.

Alas the video doesn’t feature this quality lyrical smackdown, but it does feature attractive women - so get in you perves.

So, what other songs have a ridiculous audience participation element that have propelled them into making millions of dollars? Your suggestions please.

Update: Upon further consideration I’d like to add any song that commands you to “jump”, a’la House of Pain’s “Jump Around” or “Jump” by Kriss Kross. Also up for consideration is any number of the 20000 songs that have told you to “throw your set in the air and wave it around like you just don’t care”.

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