#2. "Boyz-n-the Hood" and "Nobody Move" - Eazy-E
Before Ice Cube was starring in family comedies and Dr. Dre was doing Dr Pepper commercials, they were in a rap group called N.W.A. with a tiny man named Eazy-E. And before Boyz N the Hood was a critically acclaimed 1991 gangster movie starring Ice Cube, it was a 1987 song by Eazy-E.
Eazy sadly passed away in 1995, but in his prime he went on an imaginary crime spree that shocked the nation.
On an encounter with a friend who tried to steal his stereo:
Chased him up the street to call a truce
The silly motherfucker pull out a deuce-deuce
Little did he know I had a loaded 12-gauge
One sucker dead, L.A. Times first page
It seems unlikely that the shooting of a single man over a stereo would make the front page of the newspaper in a city that averaged two or three homicides a day at the time.
Only if that sucker was famous or young and pretty.
But anyway. Maybe the guy stealing his stereo was the mayor or something. Then Eazy meets his girlfriend:
Went to her house to get her out of the pad
Dumb ho says something stupid that made me mad
She started talkin' shit, wouldn't you know?
Reached back like a pimp and slapped the ho
And here we were under the impression that real mothafuckin' G's used bats.
Here we're introduced to a theme that is going to be repeated throughout nearly all of Eazy-E's tales: his penchant for solving problems by slapping people. Which brings us to our second example from the Eazy-E catalog, "Nobody Move," detailing an armed robbery by Eazy and his crew.
This is a stick-up, everybody get face-down
Ren, gag their mouths so they can't make a sound
Take out the security guard with a slap of my hand
Yeah, he's wearin' a badge, but he's a old-ass man
Here Eazy takes out the guard with his superhuman slapping abilities. Again, in real life, Eazy-E was about the size of a middle school cheerleader.
Now it's time to deal with the closed-circuit security system:
Cover the lens on the TV screen
you know, so me and my gang just can't be seen
Eazy covers "the lens on the TV screen." Now, we're not the most tech-savvy people in the world, but even we know that that's not the way security cameras work. The "TV screen" part is what displays what's on the camera. The actual camera is somewhere else. Covering the screen will prevent Eazy and his gang from seeing themselves on the closed-circuit security system, but the cameras will continue to record. Nearly all problems in human society can be traced back to this "if we can't see it, it is no longer a problem" fallacy.
"How much you wanna bet this whole 'Hitler' thing just blows over?"
So the guys are robbing the bank and slapping random people when Eazy notices a woman he'd like to rape. During the robbery.
Peepin' at a bitch cause my dick's on hard
and then untie the ho, so I can start creepin'
I said: "Lay down, and unbutton your bra!"
She had the biggest titties that a nigga ever saw
But then the plan runs into a complication:
The suspense was makin' me sick
She took her panties down and the bitch had a dick!
I said: "Damn," dropped the gat from my hand
What I thought was a bitch, ain't nothing but a man
Underwear conceals so much.
Yes, the exact same scenario as played itself out in "Funky Cold Medina." Of all the problems to plague the inner city in the late 1980s, apparently having an attempted rape go south due to the victim being transsexual was at the very top of the list. It comes up a lot. We could start getting into the implications of this, but it really should be the subject of its own book.
Eventually the police surround the bank, and Eazy demands a helicopter "so we can get away clean, and take some pussy along if you know what I mean."
It doesn't work. Police shoot tear gas into the bank, and the guys get arrested, but only because Eazy's gun jams. We're not sure why he didn't just slap his way out.
#1. "Paul Revere" - Beastie Boys
Just like Will Smith, the Beastie Boys were in their 20s when their first hit album, License to Ill, came out in 1987, but played the part of teenagers in some of their songs. But then you have the Beastie Boys origin story "Paul Revere," which is not in fact about Paul Revere but instead tells of how the group became friends in the course of a crime spree:
The song begins with Ad-Rock (Adam Horovitz) riding through the desert on his horse:
Had a little horsey named Paul Revere
Just me and my horsey and a quart of beer
Riding across the land, kicking up sand
Sheriff's posse on my tail cause I'm in demand
Sure you are.
Why is he on a horse? Wait, is this an Old West tale? That would at least make it transparently fictional, and thus more honest than the other examples on this list.
The sun is beating down on my baseball hat
The air is gettin' hot, the beer is getting flat
I was lookin' for a girl
Hmmm ... no, he's wearing a "baseball hat." So that eliminates two explanations as to why he's on a horse -- he's neither a cowboy nor Amish.
So he's clopping through the desert, drinking a beer and looking for a girl to party with. Now, it's suspect enough that he should be looking for someone to have sex with in the middle of the desert, but he also has the cops on his tail. They couldn't catch him on horseback? Are the cops on foot?
The horse seems important to the story, since the song is named after him, but they never mention him again. Already this raises doubts in our mind.
Beastie Boys and their "horse."
Out of the blue, MCA (Adam Yauch) appears. MCA asks for a drink of Ad-Rock's beer, which Ad-Rock denies him. MCA replies by pulling his gun, introducing himself and demanding -- at gunpoint -- that Ad-Rock become his friend and get drunk with him:
He put the gun to my head and this is what he said,
Now, "I got the gun, you got the brew
You got two choices of what you can do
It's not a tough decision as you can see
I can blow you away or you can ride with me."
A guy with hair that silver might waste a dude for coke, but not beer.
Ad-Rock agrees, and we learn why he came to be riding through the desert on horseback:
I'll ride with you if you can get me to the border
The Sheriff's after me for what I did to his daughter
I did it like this, I did it like that
I did it with a wiffleball bat
This tale of rape is an anomaly in the rap universe in that the victim does not turn out to have both male and female genitalia. But still it raises more questions than we can cover here. Ad-Rock tells MCA he knows of a club that serves champagne, which will satisfy MCA's need for something to drink and will get Ad-Rock across "the border" and out of the sheriff's jurisdiction:
We rode for six hours then we hit the spot
To you aspiring criminals, this is why horses do not make good getaway vehicles. To get out of a sheriff's jurisdiction in America, you only need to get out of the county, an area just 20 or 30 miles wide at most. This trip takes them six hours.
They'd have gotten there faster by Segway.
Then again, the sheriff is still not able to catch them. Maybe the deputies are all confined to wheelchairs?
They reach the bar, and once inside, they see a guy who apparently knows MCA. They sit next to him, and he immediately stands up, announces that he's robbing the place and shoots two random customers:
The kid said, "Get ready cause this ain't funny
My name's Mike D. and I'm about to get money."
Pulled out the jammy, aimed it at the sky
He yelled, "Stick 'em up!" and let two fly
Hands went up and people hit the floor
He wasted two kids that ran for the door
Yeah, that we can believe.
Then he does something that really makes us doubt that he or any member of this group has ever successfully committed a crime: He tells everyone in the bar his name.
"I'm Mike D. and I get respect
Your cash and your jewelry is what I expect"
Then we are introduced to the unsung hero of this story:
... I grabbed the piano player and I punched him in the face
The piano player's out, the music stopped
We're talking about the club's piano player. Apparently, the pianist is so dedicated that during the entire robbery, multiple gunshots and two murders, he just kept on going. The music didn't stop until Ad-Rock punched him in the face.
"He's deaf and blind! This guy is Ray Charles squared."
At this point, the three gather up all of their loot, Ad-Rock abducts two women, and they leave (if you're keeping count, that's five people who had to pile onto the back of poor Paul Revere).
Presumably they chose to form a rap group shortly thereafter.
Be sure to pick up our New York Times bestselling book and learn who else has been lying to you.
For more from John and Dave, check out 7 Impractical Rock Star Fashions We Wish Had Caught On and What is the Monkeysphere? .