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Gynecology for Songwriters

May 4, 2013

I like songs, but sometimes it grinds my goat that the men who often sing them seem not to grasp the basics of female anatomy. We can thank Royce da 5’9″ for getting this party started. I discovered him accidentally on iTunes, which is what I now do instead of going to a music store or talking to people. One fine day, chillin’ in my “Recommended for You” list, there was “Writer’s Block.” It had the word “dick” in the chorus twice. SOLD! I discovered a few other smokin’ joints on the same album, including “Where [sic] My Money,” now my standard walking-to-work-on-payday track. (‘Cause I’m stackin’ cake like a baker on crack.)

“ER”–the song in question–is a feast of violent, clinically questionable medical imagery (very) loosely arranged around the concept of Royce resuscitating rap music. Among the lyrics, just before the chorus hits for the first time, is:

We ridin’.

We gon’ W-I-N.

I will check a bitch ass like a OB-GYN.

And every time I listen, my mental reaction to this tricolon is like,

Yeah that’s nice, I like car rides too.

Good luck! Your ambition is commendable.

ROYCE SERIOUSLY WHAT IN THE NAME OF SWEET FROSTED CINNAMON COCKS?

I get that rappers don’t necessarily work closely with editors or fact-checkers, they’re not journalists for crying out loud, but how is it possible that nobody called him on this before the album dropped? A concerned friend could have done it over a leisurely brunch one morning. “Man, you know I love your lyrics, they are tight, but that is not what an OB-GYN is. Have you ever seen a woman before? Asses and vaginas are not the same thing. An ass doctor is called a proctologist. Can I get more hash browns?” Royce would have been all, “Sure, there’s lots. Shit, I think you might be right. What should I do?” “Easy–just change ‘ass’ to ‘pussy.’ Or if you want to preserve the syllable count, how about ‘cunt’; you never hear that word in hip-hop. You’d be a real pioneer! Hey do you want me to soak this frying pan? There’s some potatoes caked on the bottom and it’s gonna be mad difficult to wash.”

Crisis hypothetically averted! Unfortunately, nobody thought to actually initiate this conversation with Royce. Are all his friends intimidated by his height or something? Because 5’9″ is not even that tall.

Next: Kanye West. Yeezy is the John Updike of rap: he’s a douche, but he sometimes writes well. “Monster” is one of his best tracks, with cameos from all kinds of people, including Nicki Minaj doing the most lyrically and vocally competent performance of her career thus far. “Monster” is going along great and then we come to this part, delivered with trademark pomposity by Mr. West himself:

….You will never get on top of this,

so, mommy, best advice is just to get on top of this.

Have you ever had sex with a pharaoh?

Auugghhhh,

put the pussy in the sarcophagus.

I love this verse. It’s my favourite rap lyric about Egyptology, and I still laugh at it two years later (especially because I know what’s coming next and that it ends in “esophagus”: you can probably work out the rest). As he wrote the above, Kanye may or may not have been aware that etymologically sarcophagus means “flesh-eater,” which just, wow. For a rap-loving classicist, it’s a lot to take in (as it were).

But now just try to visualize the metaphor at hand. You have a cock and a pussy, the usual straightforward combination, and the cock has been established as the sarcophagus–but wait, then how can the pussy go in it? Wouldn’t the pussy go around it? But now the metaphor doesn’t work. Fuck. Really, the sarcophagus enters the pussy, but that makes no sense, unless we visualize the pussy as an underground tomb, but now the whole verse needs rewriting and the pharaoh thing is kind of lost… Auugghhhh, indeed.

And finally: the Rolling Stones’ “She’s a Rainbow.” Unarguably the most terrible thing ever written, this “song” combines asinine lyrics with somebody who should know better playing a grating melody, for lack of a more accurate and less complimentary term, one of those little-kid tinny-sounding fucking tiny pianos. I have written in colourful [eye roll] detail about the awfulness of this song, so right now let’s just take a look at this line:

“She comes in colours everywhere.”

No she doesn’t, Mick.

No. She. Doesn’t.

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