How To Translate Rap Lyrics, Volume Three
The third installment (here’s Volume 1, and Volume 2) of an ongoing symposium aimed at helping those not familiar with, and/or intimidated by, rap/hip hop music. It’s simple: I present the original lyric, and then offer up a cleaner, easier to understand alternative. Let us begin.
Lyric: I’m star studded/You muh-f*ckas not gon’ be able to cut it/Listen, b*tch, I’m a tough act to follow/Suck my d*ck and here’s a n*ts*ck to swallow -Mad Child of the group Swollen Members, from the song Watch This
Translation: I embody the physical properties of a giant burning ball of gas/You people who engage in sexual intercourse with the woman who gave birth to you are not up to snuff/Hear ye, woman who I respect no more than a female dog, it will be a formidable task to put together a performance superior to the one I have just displayed/Place my phallus in your mouth, and when you are done with that, begin work on my scrotum
Lyric: I never gave props to MC’s who don’t deserve it/Never smoked rocks, never had guts to serve it/Never had a glock, never seemed to be worth it/Never had I thought life was gonna be perfect -Spawn, formerly of Atmosphere, on the song Multiples
Translation: If I find the work of my colleagues in the rap wing of the music industry leaving something to be desired, I will not acknowledge their efforts with praise of any kind/I’ve always been a bit wary, and yes, afraid of hardcore street drugs/Owning a firearm with the potential to harm others has always seemed immature and trivial to me/I have no misconceptions about my place in this world – I know that things can and will go wrong at times, and it is up to me to be responsible enough to deal with these situations as best I can when they arrive
Lyric: Basketball is my favorite sport/I like the way they dribble up and down the court/Just like I’m the king on the microphone, so is Dr. J and Moses Malone/I like slam-dunks, take me to the hoop/My favorite play is the alley-oop -Kurtis Blow, Basketball
Translation: There are manifold ramifications to the choices we as a country must make at this juncture. For instance, while tensions with those pinko commie bastards run high (this song was written in the early eighties), we ourselves must not overcompensate by becoming a bunch of Ayn Rand-ian Objectivist a**holes. Therefore, let’s enjoy the game of basketball.
Lyric: I don’t have no trouble with you f***ing me/But I have a little problem wit you not f***ing me/Baby you know I’m gonna take care of you/Cause you say you got my baby, and I know it ain’t true -Ol’ Dirty Bastard, from Baby I Got Your Money
Translation: I would have no objection if you chose to engage in coitus with me/Although, if you were to decide against it, I would be somewhat vexed/Girl, I have the resources to support you physically and financially*/You claim to be carrying my offspring, but I know for a fact that you are lying
*Editor’s note – “take care of you,” in the arena of rap and hip hop, can also imply the threat of manslaughter, which could be applicable in the case of this lyric, due to the accusation that the woman is lying about being pregnant with Mr. Bastard’s child.
Lyric: I got the golden egg plus the goose/80 proof Absolut mixed with cranberry fruit juice, ginseng boost/I got your neck in a noose -RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan, from the song Reunited
Translation: I have harnessed great wealth, as well as the means to ensure more of it in the future/By partaking in this potent alcohol and berry blend, with the added invigoration of a stimulating plant root/I feel as though I am capable of anything, up to and including physically dominating you