As a white kid in the suburbs of St. Louis in the 1980s, I thought I was pretty effin’ awesome to have discovered rap. We called it rap then, not hip hop, ok kids? Which explains why I considered DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince rap. I did! I bought the cassette of He’s The DJ, I’m The Rapper, and I listened to it with gleeful abandon.
Of course, the main hit off this album was “Parents Just Don’t Understand.” I love “Parents Just Don’t Understand” so em-effing much, ya’ll! If things continue to go as they’ve gone during the 23 years since its release in 1988, I will know all the words to this bad boy till I’m cold in my grave. Hey future cemetery walkers, check out some garbled hip hop from the late 80s, right at that grave around the corner! Editor’s note: You tube is cracking down on embedding videos, yo. So click on over to youtube to watch these.
I will probably demand that “Parent Just Don’t Understand” be played at my funeral. You know, like in some legal document that some lie-yer draws up when I jet pack into their office in the 2190s. Yep, the 2190s! Fingers crossed! Although, I will always think that this song is perfect for funerals as well.
Did you know that this song was credited to a fictional group called Steam, but is actually by a pack of studio musicians in 1969? Share that fun fact next time you’re listening to it at some baseball game. Oh, and I love how the song is actually titled “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye”. You know those songs where the famous line in the chorus is the only part you can remember but really the song title is some obtuse thing you’d never remember? Maybe Bono thought of that. Anyway, not this song!
Back to the blog post at hand! Will Smith, no longer The Fresh Prince, is all over the entertainment news these days with his singing and acting kids and all the hair whipping and it’s parodies, and his Annie remakes. Hiphoppers (I sound like a grandad!) sure love Annie don’t they? Tell ‘em, Jay Z.
Jay Z drinks a purple juice drink in this bad boy! Worth the price of admission!
What I had forgotten, and wanted to share with you on this Forgotten Song Friday is DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince’s other popular song from He’s the DJ, I’m The Rapper, “Girls Ain’t Nothing But Trouble.” Take a listen, won’t you?
Here’s the thing I just realized. It’s basically the exact same song. ZOMG! What the eff?! It’s fine, I mean pop hip hop or mainstream rap as we might call it was really new at the time. Now we’ve got auto tune and repetitive lyrics about stripper poles and apple bottoms, then we had this. So here are the comparisons, in handy bullet point format!
- Let’s see. Same graffiti background.
- Same exaggerated self-confidence by the Fresh Prince. Braggadocio, you English major types might call it. Guilty as charged! In other news, Braggadocio would be a pretty sweet name for my next dog or cat. Well, it will go in the running with Wolfgang, Sir Pimps a Lot and Cedric. Here, Braggadocio! Here boy! Yep, sounds good!
- The Fresh Prince referring to himself as “a helluva guy.” Gotta love it. Will could have thought of another rhyme, but then, would we remember these ditties with such fondness?
- The Fresh Prince rapping both parts of wacky convos with questionable girls. In “Parents”, a 12 year old runaway, in “Girls,” Exotic Elaine et al. Speaking of, both songs have some highly suspect feminist politics. Sorry about that, friends!
- Both songs have the cops coming to bust up the Prince’s fun. I guess this is the Fresh Prince showing how street he is? And I like how the cops always resemble the Keystone Cops, which is always hilarious. Fat cops running in circles! Who can deny it?
- The Fresh Prince being afraid of being beaten. In “Parents,” by his own parents (with one of my favorite lines ever: “They took turns, one would beat me while the other one was driving.” See, back then we could joke about parents smacking their kids! Take that, helicopter parents!), and in “Girls,” by the cops.
- The use of the word “Toots,” which I simply must integrate into my regularly scheduled vocab.
And look at the clothes! Q: How back in are the late 80s? A: Very! I want that windbreaker and those shades!
It seems like my knowledge of every word to “Parents” is not so out of the ordinary. I guess I’m not special. Remember the opening of season 2 of Parks and Recreation? I first saw this in Sept 09, have watched it probably 7-10 times since, and I still can’t stop laughing. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you’re not watching Parks and Rec, run and rent season 2 then start watching the awesome season 3 Thursdays on NBC. Season 3 just started last week! Best comedy on the tube right now, boys and girls!
And in closing, I LOVE THIS, the other fairly popular song from He’s The DJ, I’m the Rapper, “Nightmare On My Street” as lip synched by some tweens.
If I could go back in a time machine and have you tube technology when I was 13…well, I’m not gonna finish that sentence cuz I’d already be in my time machine making my own lip synched videos to every song and video I loved as a child. But back then video cameras were seriously a grand and as big as a small child. I lusted.
Have a good weekend, toots!