One Up and One Down

The main components of rap music:

  1. title of song – a catchy slogan that’s either cryptically violent “Put You On A T-Shirt”, cryptically sexual “Bands A Make Her Dance” or not cryptic at all “Boats n Hoez” Then shout the title of the song a lot during the song.  It’s best if the last word of the title rhymes with a lot of other words, but this is not necessary.
  2. name of group – “Yeah wazzup this is the Beatles.”  “Lennon in the house”  “The Liverpool Legends baby” okay you don’t get this in rock music very often.
  3. catchy beat
  4. sweet instrumental loop or sample
  5. (optional) lyrics that rhyme and/or make sense

My first hit song that I produced in my head several years ago was “Get Down on It”  It samples the Kool & the Gang tune

Except my version had a lot of yelling “get down on it” and humorously misogynistic lyrics. The video was full of strippers.  The phrase caught on like wildfire, appearing across pop culture, including on t-shirts (which were banned at several schools) and eventually was referenced on SNL (sign that the shark had been jumped).  There was a remix.  Busta Rhymes was on the remix.

I told Karena about my plan for hip-hop domination.


Me: …so like this: “Get Down On It” [hums a few notes from the Kool & Gang song badly off key] then like “Get Down ON It!”


Me: There is!  But you can’t copyright a title.  And I’m going to sample it.  And I think it will be the next big thing because the lyrics are suggestive but not obscene.  People will argue, like “What does ‘Get Down On It’ mean?  Get Down on what?”  Controversy!


Me: Wait, you haven’t even heard the lyrics yet!  Come back here –  [lowers voice to mutter] – and Get Down On It.

It actually turned out pretty good though they changed the name of the song and didn’t yell “Get Down On It” enough for my taste, and released it 11 years before I had the idea:

Unlike some artists, I’ve stayed away from drugs, and haven’t squandered a penny of my royalties.  But my imaginary public has been wondering when I would release my next hit.  They need wait no longer.


Me (triumphantly): One up and one down!

Karena: WHAT

Me: It’s my new song.  Remember “Get Down On It”?

Karena: SIGH

Me: Oh yeah…one up and one down!  It’s a catchphrase.


Me: You don’t know?  You put one leg up and one leg down.


Me: Exactly.  Go ahead and do it – put your foot up on the table…  see if you can be in the video.


ps i declare Copyright just like I did on Iraq World, Motorized Pants, and License Plate Obscurer.  However if anyone has any actual musical talent I’d be up for a collaboration.


24 thoughts on “One Up and One Down

  1. It is interesting the evolution of rap, especially gangster rap.

    This was gangster in the 90s. See, in their video, they are depicted actually being in the hood, shit looks bad and stuff. They talk about specific gangster things they do in a very detailed manner. Also in other songs are basically like “Yo don’t do this” and even in this song wonder if they’re going to hell. This rap music is to try to empathize with the proletariat gangsters. Rick Ross couldn’t rap “Just another day, drowning my troubles with a 40…” Vs being a vague drug king pin who has a mansion and drinks Cristal with his hoes in all day, which I don’t think very many people can relate to. I don’t even know why modern rap exists, as nobody except other millionaire hustlers can relate to it.

    Don’t really listen to gangster rap anymore, but Mobb Deep is the best of the gangster rap genre far and away.

    This is Mobb Deep’s best attempt at making a song with your simple formula, though. Pretty good, Kanye produced it.

    Anyway, rap in English is dead. The future is Korean and Japanese rap.

    • All right, a few things to point out. I would say the turning point from the “life in the hood” to “diamonds and champagne” can be epitomized by the Notorious BIG. “Ready to Die” CD was mostly life in the hood.

      I don’t have any actual videos to illustrate this because by the time he was making videos he was rich. “Juicy” being a rags-to-riches type transition song.

      “Life After Death” was yachts and helicopters.

      When asked how come he changed, he said something to the effect of how is he going to rap about selling crack and being broke when that’s not his life anymore.

      You have to remember that most old school rappers were not making very much money at all.

      Two styles, two different types of fraud accusations:
      Jay-Z accusing Nas of not being “hood”: “You ain’t live it you witnessed from your folks’ pad/Scribbled in your notepad and created your life/I showed you your first tec, on tour with Large Professor /Then I heard your album ’bout your tec on your dresser”

      and nowadays (not bothering to find lyrics/video) it’s a common charge that the jewels, the car, the women are rented. google rappers that went broke

      “rap in English is dead. The future is Korean and Japanese rap.”

      i’m going to chalk this one up to some sort of strange imbalance in Celica-land.

      • Nah man, anything America does, Japan can do better.

        For example, there is a lot of great Japanese funk music, that can easily go toe to toe with American funk music. Also, there is a Celica in that video, coincidentally.

        Also this, too.

        The Japanese are simply better at stuff than Americans, even if Americans invent a thing, the Japanese perfect it and make it better.

        “In the 21st century, culture is power…Together with the Korean people we will foster a new cultural renaissance or a culture that transcends ethnicity and languages, overcomes ideologies and customs, contributes to the peaceful development of humanity, and is connected by the ability to share happiness.”

        —South Korean president Park Geun-hye

        So it is not just Celica-land, it is the world.

  2. You’re white and from a place no one in the rap game cares about, so you could probably be a big time indie rapper like Sage Francis or Atmosphere.

    Not only do you not have to even rhyme, all you actually have to do is come up with a sufficiently ironic song name and you’re set.

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