Posted by: Mark Nielsen | October 13, 2007

Renaissance Rapper


Tonight I watched an episode of one of my favorite shows, Monk. The rerun they showed tonight featured rapper Snoop Dogg, playing a character that was sort of a cross between Tupac Shakur, P Diddy, Shug Knight, and Snoop himself. I had to force myself to watch it.

I should say right up front that I hate Snoop. He’s crass, unapologetically criminal, and at the most basic level he never progressed beyond about age 12 or 13. (I spend my days with 12-year-olds — trust me, I recognize the signs.) Nevertheless, I have to admit he has style… or should I say stuzzyle?

I also dislike him because he’s overrated. He’s a bad actor, which is to say he never sounds like anyone other than himself. (Even in a wheelchair, in the Denzel/Ethan Hawke flick Training Day, he’s still Snoop… silly ol’ Snoop, winking as he violates your sister, smoking a big fattie right in public, skating through life, a modern day minstrel show that the smarter members of the African American community are rightly critical about.) But like that other arrested development guy Adam Sandler, Snoop has carved out a nice niche for himself. He’s fooled enough people to make a whole lot of cash.

I suppose I also dislike Snoop because his music features the kind of boasting that’s so easy it’s become a cliche in rap music. He tells a story now and then, but it’s all about him, and what he did, and how he’s gonna mess you up if you get in his way… that kind of thing. Nothing political. Nothing instructive. Barely even clever. Just verbal fireworks.

I was thinking about this style of rap, really good rhymes about really dumb stuff, as I watched the Monk show. I thought, “I can write better than this. I have much more to say, plus I have a sophisticated style all my own.”

All of which inspired me to write the following (call me if you want to buy the rights to the song… I’ll sell them to you cheap. Either that or you can help me choose my stage name and score a record deal):

Renaissance Rapper

I’m the new old school
I ain’t no clown or fool
And I’m fixin’ to tell y’all
What a man with skillz can do:

I can quote Shakespeare
Drink a High Life beer
Then buy a round for my homies, I got nothin’ to fear.
Turn around the next day
Pick a great Cabernet
My life’s a cabaret
Just like the song say.

I know the ins and outs
Of what Dr. King shouts
Of what St. Francis whispers
And Dylan sings about.
Fastest flame in the West
I make a stir fry the best
If you wanna good lasagna mine is gonna pass the test.

I can learn to tango
Or point out a Van Gogh
On the page I’m Beckett, on the stage I’m Brando.
I’m the next DeNiro
I’m a guitar hero
Been to Cairo and to Paris but I love Chicago.

I’ll fill an inside straight,
Throw out a man at the plate,
Discuss the state of the union when I’m out on a date.
We go to see the ballet
And take a walk by the lake,
Where I spin my girl some rhymes to make her sweet booty shake.


     In the sky I can point out Orion the Hunter
     When it comes to teaching I’m the Seventh Wonder
     I’m the Minister of Peace, can you hear my thunder?
     One nation under God? Are you sure, my brutha?

You will feel my wrath
As I ply my craft
I make a sinner think twice and take a different path.
I make a saint think three times, he don’t know jack
If he thinks the way to glory is to stab me in the back.

If you call me a friend
I will be there till the end
And if we’re lucky, even longer ’cause I won’t pretend.
I will not imagine
That there’s no heaven
John’s a poet and a prophet but he’s no theologian.

Love to celebrate
The things that really make
Life fun, like my kid, y’know he’s really great.
Or an antique trunk
Or a Michael Jordan dunk
Or some classic old Aretha with a side of P-Funk.

When you look for me
In future history
You will find me as an entry in the Wiki-P
I’m a dream come true
And I’ll look for you
To dream a dream of your own and  lay a rhyme down, too.



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