Monday, May 07, 2018

COLUMN: Gucci Gang


I just can't ever get through the day without at least one person coming up to me and asking, "Hey there, award-winning columnist and man-about-town, Shane Brown. How do you stay so gosh darned COOL AND HIP all the time?"

The answer is simple: I keep my ears to the street. It's a pre-requisite for my favorite hobby of DJing. On the weekends, I spin records at clubs that feature both hipping AND hopping. This means I have to constantly be aware of the urban sound of today and appreciative of such a complicated and intelligent art form.

"But Shane," you say, "isn't most of today's popular rap music little more than recycled trap beats and throwaway mumble-rap made by stoned losers destined for tomorrow's one-hit wonder charts? Apart from a few special artists like Kendrick Lamar, Tyler the Creator, and Chance the Rapper, isn't this the worst era for hip-hop to date?"

"Pshaw!" I retort to you. Clearly you don't have an ear for the complex artistry that comprises today's chart-topping trap bangers. It might sound like talentless mumbling to you, but that's just because you've never taken the time to analyze and fully appreciate the lyrical genius and depth of today's best-sellers.

Take, for instance, the majestic chart-topper "Gucci Gang" by the renowned poet Lil Pump. Not only has this "song" graced us with its presence in the Top 40 charts for the last month, but it's also brought us some of the most ingenious wordplay of our day. Yes, it takes a real poet like Lil Pump to take a complex phrase like "Gucci Gang" and rhyme it with an equally complex phrase such as "Gucci Gang." And then when he only occasionally departs from rhyming "Gucci Gang" with "Gucci Gang," that's when things get truly interesting. Instead of finding any words that actually rhyme with "gang," he opts instead for some words he deems, well, close enough. I'm pretty sure he might even fall asleep at one point during the song, which is clearly a sign of an artist who lives and breathes for his craft.

Let's take a closer, family-friendly look at the words of "Gucci Gang," a wistful yet crowd-pleasing ode to his group of friends, whom he affectionately calls the "Gucci Gang."

LYRIC: "Yuh, ooh, brr, brr. Gucci gang. Ooh! Yuh. Lil Pump, yuh. Gucci gang, ooh, yuh, brr."
TRANSLATION: Yes, oh, I may be catching a cold. My friends. Ooh! Yes. I am Lil Pump, ooh yes, and I am a bit chilly.

LYRIC: "Gucci gang. Gucci gang, Gucci gang, Gucci gang, Gucci gang, Gucci gang, Gucci gang. Gucci gang, Gucci gang, Gucci gang."
TRANSLATION: My friends. My friends, my friends, my friends, my friends, my friends. My friends, my friends, my friends.

LYRIC: "Spend three racks on a new chain, my [expletive] love do cocaine, ooh."
TRANSLATION: I just bought a spanky new necklace for $3000. The bad news is that my female dog has somehow become a drug addict!

LYRIC: "I [expletive] a [expletive], I forgot her name brr yuh, I can't buy a [expletive] no wedding ring."
TRANSLATION: Yes, I just love my female dog, despite not being able to recall her name. I cannot, however, marry her, for I am a human and she is a dog and I am clearly a firm believer in traditional marriage.

LYRIC: "My lean cost more than your rent / Yo momma still live in a tent / Still slanging dope in the jects, huh yeah!"
TRANSLATION: The expenses of my drug addiction are greater than your cost of living. Were you to incur my expenses, you would be homeless like your mother. [Note: Ooh, sick burn, Lil Pump.] If you're inquiring as to whether or not I still deal drugs in low income housing areas, the answer is an enthusiastic YES!

LYRIC: "They kick me out the plane off Percocet / Now Lil Pump flyin' private jet / Everybody scream [expletive] Westjet!"
TRANSLATION: This is where Lil Pump and I think alike. A year ago, he was kicked off a flight for being under the influence of drugs and disturbing the peace. So, for his first national commercial single, he opts to use his 15 minutes of fame to insult the airline.

Bravo, Lil Pump. Honestly, I'd do the same thing. Well, except for the female dog stuff. But if I were to suddenly get MY fifteen minutes, I'd like to think I'd also use it to right some personal wrongs. My closest friends don't have a cool clique name, though, so my single wouldn't be called "Gucci Gang."

I fear my single would be more like:

"Jason, Linn, Sunnie, Dianna, and Reid,
Jason, Linn, Sunnie, Dianna, and Reid,
They're all the friends I need,
Jason, Linn, Sunnie, Dianna, and Reid.

Hunger pangs kept me up wide awake,
Late night drive-thru i did partake,
Came home to instant heartache:
Where's my chili? Curse you, Steak 'n' Shake!"

Sorry for the edginess there, folks, but sometimes that's what it takes to remain as gosh-darned COOL AND HIP as me. I just hope one day I'll be cool enough that Steak 'n' Shake won't forget to give me my chili.

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