Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Best Moment of Lil Romeo's Career

The kid on the left: probably not better than Kanye. (The guy on the right, though, you already know what it is!)

Is it just me or has nothing interesting dropped the past few days? Maybe it's my sleep deprivation but everything I've heard lately has been pretty boring. This DJ Ayres Jeezy mix just highlights how Jeezy has fallen off since Trap Or Die. The Nas mixtape cut making the rounds reuses his verse off the remix of New York Shit. The Freeway month of madness tracks are all solid but all kinda sound the same. (I guess the same is true of all Freeway songs.) That B.O.B. Autotune joke isn't very funny. Common album - garbage. Brooklyn Go Hard - I mean, it's a lot better than Swagger Like Us, but it's post-retirement Jay, who gives a fuck? An Eminem/Dre reference track leaked, Em sounds like he's channeling Asher Roth now. It's interesting to hear how Dre's boring verses get made, though. Like how Em intentionally writes something as boring and six-trey obsessed as he possibly can. This Wayne/Shawty Lo/Trey Songz collabo is impressive for how generic two fairly weird artists can get. Same for this crappy 2nd single from Soulja Boy. Shit's like a bad Yung Berg song. Just when I was starting to become a fan of dude! And this new Gucci Mane!
I thought this was a really interesting song about doing "vitamins," until I realized all the vitamin C crosstalk in the background was from a weird pop-up ad I hadn't noticed I had open about pest control and aphids. Now it just sucks. (Crack rappers really should start that though. I mean, sampling home shopping network shit about magic vitamin supplements in their songs.)

So yeah, let's talk Lil Romeo. This is a skit, the intro, actually, off of that Tru album I keep writing about. So it would have been rekerded when Romeo was 7. (Shades, of course, of Bow Wow's skit on Doggystyle.) The beat's kinda like the cheap ominous "you know someone's about to get fucked" intro piano music you'd hear on an old 90s black porno. Or at least what I expect you'd hear, as I've never really seen any 90s black pornos. Which is weird because the skit's a conversation between Percy and his 7-year-old son, not, like, one of those stupid "listen to your favorite rapper get head" skits that were so popular in the 90s, where that sort of music would be appropriate.

The conceit is that Romeo is taking some kind of class on how to be a true player in elementary school and he's gotta study for a test, so P's going to test him and make sure he knows his shit. And what are all the questions about? The dos and don'ts that P's always talking about on his own skits and songs. Thou shalt not rap about another rapper. Thou shalt not player-hate. Thou shalt not depend on another man for thine income. What's interesting in a way is how formulaic and pat the No Limit ideology was at this point, to the point where a 7-year-old could recite it and get all the little cliches right. For instance:

Master P: If you hate another man for being successful, what are you?

Romeo: You mean like, if you rollin Benzes, they be, like, P'H'n you, the pigs be pullin you over because you black and you be sittin on triple, triple gold, like the niggas in the ghetto be hatin on you because you made it out?

Master P: Yeah, son. What is that, what you call that?

Romeo: Dad, that only be two words. [Beat drops out for a second.] Player hater.

It's a little creepy in a way to hear a little kid so thoroughly indoctrinated in such nonsense (and he's not even reading off of cue cards, it all sounds very extemporaneous). On the other hand, I guess it's no worse than going to Hebrew school. And who knows, maybe it's all performance art like Soulja Boy. Seriously though, I'm really interested in the big black-owned record labels in the late 90s, how the label replaced the crew and each one had its distinctive logo and sound and ethos and cliches that got repeated on every record. Not sure what I want to say about it yet, but it's an interesting period in hip-hop, and a skit like this is kinda the apotheosis of that. The skit ends on a pretty compelling note. P asks Romeo what he wants to be when he grows up, and Romeo, with this adorable first grader's lisp, goes, "I want to be a G like you. A No Limit Soldier for life. Fuck these haters, because we got millions," and KLC or whoever produced the skit puts the "because we got millions" on echo, underscoring the vastness of the Miller family fortune.

Master P and Lil Romeo - Intro.
Bonus: Master P - 1/2 On A Bag of Dank.

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