Hot 16…Or More…”She’s Ridin In My Hooptie”

Back when I thought I was gonna be a a big deal R&B songwriter circa 2004, I started honing my chops by writing ditties over instrumentals of whatever was hot at the time – mostly Hip-Hop. This lead to the eventual composing of 30 songs over such beats.

I was a fan of the revolution that was going on with the handful of innovative R&B producers who were changing the game by not simply crafting songs with singers belting and riffing their hearts out over some hip-hop sampled beat or knock-off of a hit sound. No, what these new movers and shakers were doing was creating a new sound that was comparable to the Hip-Hop club bangers so much so that rappers began freestyling over those beats, and they were coupling them with clever lyrics and melodies that were more dense and nimble. This wasn’t the new Jack swing era. It wasn’t just singing like a church boy over a remix of  “The Benjamins”, it was a genuine marriage of R&b flair with hip-hop sensibilities.

Unfortunately, from these kinds of movements, the bastardization and microwaving has spawned and given us the rap & b subgenre, full of love songs filled with slang, autotune and singers delivering their verses like rappers. This works 2 ways with me; as a listener, I absolutely HATE hearing this kind of crap from professional R&B singers who call themselves artists. It’s disposable. However, because I am a rapper, I applaud it when I hear rap artists expand their boundaries and make these kinds of songs employing vocals and use of melody. I figure if a rapper is going to sing or get melodic, it should definitely maintain the rap nuances and not sound like a complete crossover into sappy territory.

As a songwriter, I’m less discriminating. Whatever gets the money is my motto. I know, it’s bad if I contribute to the very thing that I despise, but I still wouldn’t do anything cliche, eye-roll inducing or wack. It’s always going to have my style in it. Creativity comes first. And if nothing is truly new under the sun, then I will always find a way to say the same old thing differently.

So out of my seminal batch of 30, I tried the conventional and the conceptual. In the midst of  this came one gem of a song to me that I thought was so dope, I might just keep for myself.

Inspired by the purchase of my first car, I penned a song over the instrumental to 8Ball & MJG‘s “Look At The Grillz” off of an instrumental mixtape that I bought to help write the 30. It was screaming for a concept. It was street, but I could make it clever. I decided to play up on the car angle and make a cute track about love that prevails through struggling times…The struggling times being embodied and exemplified by a broken down old ride. I lost the beat, couldn’t find that version of it again, and after 2 years, decided since nothing was going on with it, I would in fact use it for myself. So I actually went to one of those crazy mixtape sites to re-find that mixtape that I originally got it from and wrote 2 rap verses for it to fill it out and keep it Hip-Hop. I wasn’t sure what my singing voice would be like for the style that I wrote it in, so I wanted to make sure my rap verses were just as present and memorable.

Since it was one of my first recordings in 2006, it became the song that rounded out my first ever project, The Crazy 8’s. It’s one of my most popular and among the favorites from my listeners. Having that said, here’s verses 1 & 2 from

 

“She’s Ridin In My Hooptie”


“(Look at the grillz)

On them hoopties – you see ’em ridin’ past,

feet on the gas brake – they screechin’, speedin’ and ridin’ fast.

Cause they’re embarrassed – don’t want you to see ’em ridin’ that,

they park 10 aves up from where they need – then they ride a cab…

(Why is that??)

Cause a pinto is a pinto, and it’s hard to stay in pimp mode,

when you can’t get out your car, without rolling down the window!

When the dealer gives you lemons, you should make lemonade,

but you can’t pick up no women when your whip is missing paint.

Ain’t no T.V. screens, DVD’s,

Negro please!

You see these things??!

Those (are) called tapes!

You probably don’t know how they look if you were born past ’88!

And my car…

Is older than my nephews and nieces,

I keep a couple things together with a special adhesive…

Called gum,

call uhmm…

Triple A – guess you need it,

when your car ain’t got no hydraulics – but it’s definitely leaning!

Now I’m sittin’ sideways, and I didn’t even mean it,

but as soon as I fix it – you sittin’ right there when I need it

(now sing it).

 

VERSE 2

 

See?

my 4 do’…

car,

is a Toyoooo…

ta,

and I got old…

Parts sittin’ in the back – that need to be attached, cause the truth is,

I don’t knoowww…

Just,

what they’re all fo’,

an’ that’s why I take off slooow…

cause it’s a habit that if I give too much gas, then I know that the brakes gon’ stall…

And I can’t be crashin’,

cause it just happens,

that they made this car waay-waay back when,

they ain’t install and equip no airbags in the dash yet!

My CD player’s hooked to a tape cause I need a beat…

But my gas light come on, so my car cuts off in the street!

And I ain’t complainin’ – it gets me from A to B and I keep it,

But damn, I’m sayin’ man, where’s Xzibit when you need him??

(Or)

Maybe I can fix it myself,

get a whole new system,

cause my speakers only play on the left,

and I need new rims man!

(Hey!)

This’ for my 10 dollar players – puttin’ $6 on the gas,

who save the other $4 for comin’ back later,

cause it gets pretty bad!

(But back to what really matters)

She know it won’t always be,

like this, and my chic is the baddest, because she ridin’ with me!!”

 

Hope you learned something…

Click the Pic of the cover below to listen to and download this track.

 

 

 

Bye Bye Veen!

Okay, This is Painful. Yesterday I had to say goodbye to my Hooptie of 1 year, that like all of my cars, was named after one of my sisters. In this case, the car being named after the Youngest of my Older sisters, Melvina. What an ordeal. You could imagine the experience, waiting for the tow truck in the cold with my pops and my boy Brandon, only to take it to a garage blocks away and have the mechanic tell me to ‘Kiss my baby goodbye’.

That’s what I get for buying a used American car. A Pontiac at that! They don’t even make those anymore!

I bought it around this time last year for CHEAP price, So I guess that I got my Year’s worth. I don’t feel so bad. I didn’t like it as much as the Toyota I had before that which was 9 years younger. That car was given to my mother for her birthday last year (Think I’m gonna send her to Disney World This year), and it’s STILL running might I add. As a Matter of fact, I didn’t like this car much at all.

It’s American for one, which Iam against, it’s GREEN for God’s sake!, and I had to put way more money into fixing up little things over the course of last year than I ever had to when I was driving Rasheedah, the Toyota(yeah, that’s my other sister – the reliable one).

So maybe naming it Veen, the nickname for the sister who used to be my favorite, was appropriate. At one point in time, me and Veen were as thick as thieves. She is partly responsible for putting me on to hip-hop, along with my cousins.

In her 17 -20 year old days, she was my female rolemodel. How cool was she with her Generation X hairstyles and fashion sense. I thought she was the missing member of En Vogue!

She is and always will be the coolest.

But things change, people get older and grow apart.

the more I noticed how aggy she would be at things, I realized she’s pretty moody – which doesn’t mix well with me. The unpredictable Veen made me keep my distance, and once she gave birth to my nephew, mom-mode killed all the last free-spirited Jersey girl swag left.

Much like this car, which looked cool at first and had all kinds of bells and whistles that I got comfortable with quickly, I discovered how out of nowhere, it would flip and have some random thing occur with it, from stiff steering wheels, to spontaneously breaking brakes. It had it’s time to be cool…

So having that said, New Year, New Gear.

My sister stays forever. The car doesn’t.

Peace.

Bye Bye Veen!