Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Beastie Week: "Hey Ladies"

For as long as there's been music, there's been Shout Out to the Ladies songs. Every songwriter has tried and every genre is overflowing. But even when competing with the entire history of music, the Beastie Boys come out on top.

I'm not a believer that rap or rock lyrics are poetry. Poetic, maybe, but someone printing out 2Pac's lyrics in a book does not make them poetry. That being said, I like the lyrics to "Hey Ladies" more than I enjoy most poems.

Hey ladies in the place I'm callin' out to ya
There never was a city kid truer and bluer
There's more to me than you'll ever know
And I've got more hits than Sadaharu Oh

Ton Thumb Tom Cushman or Tom Foolery
Date women on T.V. with the help of Chuck Woolery
Words are flowing out just like the Grand Canyon
And I'm always out looking for a female companion

That blend of nursery rhyme innocence, adolescent humor and sly references set a high standard for hip-hop. Coupled with the Beasties' flow, a head-spinning mix of call and response, harmonies and interjections, the call is downright irresistible.

Much has been made of how with today's licensing laws, a record like Paul's Boutique and songs like "Hey Ladies" are impossible to recreate. Disregarding that barrier, "Hey Ladies" would probably still stand supreme. Listen for the breakdown after each cowbell rejoinder. They're all different, switching keys, vocalists and instrumentation, and each time it's organic. If you're dancing, a real possibility if "Hey Ladies" is on, you might not even notice.

Sometimes when I teach a large group of girls, I drop a chorus from "Hey Ladies" to fire them up or make them laugh. Every time it works, and every time I mind-thank Ad-Rock, Mike D and MCA. The Beastie Boys radiated so much cool that in some circles, anyone who can sing the Beasties can be one.

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