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Flippin’ the intricate like Asian origami

A yellow origami boat on a blue background

Image: Alex via Unsplash

  • Track: 3 Feet Deep
  • Artist: DJ Format featuring Abdominal & D-Sisive
  • Album: If You Can’t Join ‘Em… Beat ‘Em
  • Year: 2005

It’s over the UK we go now (with a little help from a couple of Canadians) to take a look at DJ Format’s 2005 banger, 3 Feet Deep.

There are many reasons to love this tune:

  • tight, funky beat
  • complex, funny and clever rhyming
  • a brilliant video that’ll delight gamers especially
  • 14 similes to dissect

I’m pleased to see Abdominal and Format are still kicking around. 2017’s Still Hungry is a really good album, if more mature and introspective than their earlier stuff. I only noticed it had come out in March of this year. Finger firmly on the hip-hop pulse there. I’ve not had a proper chance to evaluate it for similes so it’s to Music for the Mature B-Boy that we turn.

The track’s title is obviously a cheeky reference to hip-hop royalty De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising.

Ready player one? Press any button to play, and let’s take a closer look.

The lyrics

View full annotated lyrics on genius.com

[Abdominal]

We’re ready to begin so grab your spot on the floor
As if you didn’t know
My name is Abdominal and on the sophomore
Format release lots in store cos we dropped again but this time with a slight twist
I brought a friend
Also hailing from the snowy north shores of Canada
Format fans, I introduce to you
The man of year but I would even stretch so far but to say the decade
Watch him go crazy when the records play
So please join me ladies and gentlemen in giving your nicest Format welcome to emceeeeeeee D-Sisive

I won’t pretend to know much about D-Sisive, but I really like Abdominal. He’s got a great flow, and the themes of his tracks are wide-ranging and eclectic. He might rap about the breakup of a relationship one minute, and his love of fast food the next.

[D-sisive]

(Thank you, thank you, no really you’re too kind )

Since nineteen eight to the o I’ve been taking control
Blazin’ the glow with the blue flame flow
On a chase for the throne with the flow so dope and smooth you’d think I was a toupee’s owner
And I can’t stop, til my name’s known
And I got love like Ray Barone
Hip-hop proclaim, illest master of ceremone ever born on Canadian soil

As far as entrances go, this is up there with the best of them. It’s not obvious to me why owning a toupee makes you smooth, but maybe that’s the joke.

If you’re roughly my age you’ll probably remember Frasier/Everybody Loves Raymond double bills on Channel 4 on weekday mornings. Golden times.

Even if I got a sore throat and a cold sore formed on the corner of both lips makin’ it harder to open my mouth and blurt out these dopest hits
I’mma rock til I don’t exist
Alongside Abdominal and Format
Watching the crowd throw their hands up like Horshack

D-Sisive drops in his second US sitcom reference here. Horshack is a character from some obscure 70s show called Welcome Back, Kotter. Along with DOOM’s reference to Mork and Mindy, that’s three US sitcoms in just five tunes. Are we unearthing a common hip-hop theme already?

Now it’s over to Abdominal to lead us into the chorus.

[Abdominal]

Abdominal flippin’ the intricate like Asian origami
Behind me a wake of devastation like the course of tsunamis
And swarming armies couldn’t force me from my chosen path
A juggernaut with a microphone in his grasp

Abdominal deftly slots two similes into just four lines here. This is a prime example of what he’s capable of when in full flow.

Abdominal and D-Sisive rap the chorus together, knocking the words bath and forth. My ‘database’ isn’t sophisticated enough to cope with that, so I’m going to give the one simile that appears in it to Abdominal.

[Chorus – Abdominal & D-Sisive]

Check (check) the (the) way (way) that (that)
You can’t see us like needles in haystacks
When (when) we (we) rock (rock) mics (mics)
Roadies know where to focus the spotlight
On (on) D- (D-) Si (Si) sive (sive)
And Abdominal then amplify the hypeness
With the beat (beat) by (by) disc (disc) jocks (jocks)
Format we’re not just tight we’re zip-locked

As per the rules, we’ll allow a simile in the chorus, but only once. Pity it’s a bit of a run of the mill example, but you can’t have everything.

[D-Sisive]

Calling all cars, we just got warning
D-Sisive and Abdominal’s on a song
Taking the law in their own palms back to back
In a pose similar to Jean-Claude

Superimposed in the poster as both men playing his own twin brother in the plot

I love this lyric like I love cheesy 80s and 90s action films. They were a staple of my youth.

1991’s Double Impact saw Jean-Claude van Damme, at the height of his powers, testing his acting chops by playing twin brothers hooked on avenging their father’s death. Ignore the film’s 28% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s a must-see. Those losers know nothing, and I’ll round-house anyone who disagrees with me in the FACE.

Erm, anyway, I should also point out this is the first time we’ve seen a simile in its purest form: one that uses ‘similar to’. One for the rap simile history books there.

[Abdominal]

And you can root for the Leafs or follow Man U man
You unanimously call on this olive tanned
Jew with the two-man borderline-albino
Crew for your musical needs
Cause over looped up beats
We weave effortlessly in and out of snares, bass, kicks
Coming tighter than a Cher facelift
Do you believe in life after love?
I hope so, cause
Once you touch the mic you get no love from any zone yo
D, grab the mic and just drop your fucking poem

More tricksy poetry from Abdominal. Could do with a couple of more similes, but never mind.

The Cher line is sure to raise a smile from anyone who’s not Cher (her face is incapable of smiling). But Cher’s not the only singing legend that Abs and D-Sisive turn their sights on in this track…

[D-Sisive]

Ready to blast off and blast y’all with just one strum
Like Luther Vandross getting handjobs from a tanned blonde
With her pants off but her hands on his man sausage and his own song on the soundtrack

Well. This needs a bit of discussion. Firstly, the genius transcription (and therefore the rest of the internet) has it as: “…his man sausage in his own tour of the sandwich”. Which is kind of gross, but also (I think) completely wrong.

I hear: “…his man sausage and his own song on the [something]”. I don’t know what that final word is, so I’m going with soundtrack for lack of anything more inspired.

It’s also worth noting that this a really long simile, if we take the entire description of just how ready D-Sisive is to blast off. At 33 words, that’s easily our longest simile yet, taking in premature ejaculation, handjobs and the narcissism of Luther Vandross. Well played, D-Sisive.

Although as those that knew Vandross knew he was gay, we must dock points for accuracy.

[Chorus]

Check (check) the (the) way (way) that (that)
You can’t see us like needles in haystacks
When (when) we (we) rock (rock) mics (mics)
Roadies know where to focus the spotlight
On (on) D- (D-) Si (Si) sive (sive)
And Abdominal then amplify the hypeness
With the beat (beat) by (by) disc (disc) jocks (jocks)
Fomat we’re not just tight we’re zip-locked

Here comes the weird intermission bit.

Y’all cats rap fast, I can’t grasp that
All them big words I done thought I misheard
Then I rewind, god you’re worse the second time
Abs, D-Sisive, Format
Sorry boys but you’re crap

[Abdominal and D-Sisive]

Abs will pick up the paddle to kick off this lyrical table tennis
Spit sacred like phlegm in a sink of the Papal dentist
(And I could win a mic fight by using the same line twice
Ripping me is like a Mike fight)
Versus Vincent Van Gogh
, sorry, Van Gogh
Even the Pillsberry Dough Boy says you’re damn soft

I tried for so long to find a suitable image so I could use that first simile as the post title. So long. It was like pulling teeth, though, so I used the origami one instead. But this is a beauty.

And so’s the second one. Mike Tyson is still best remembered for biting Evander Holyfield (twice) during their 1997 fight. One bite took out a chunk of Holyfield’s ear, and the fight was stopped. Fighting old Vincent would have been a waste of time for Tyson.

(Abdominy ziggy star, y’all can’t touch us
Like a dirty tampon with pants on)

The illest can’t comment easy to see
(We getting played all the way to the BBC)
Leaving you 3 feet deep like a dead midget
(Floating in the river like a widget in a Guinness
Pissed cause he couldn’t make the swim team)
So just swam his final race, up shit’s creek
(So don’t forget we crazy swift)
I’m Andy Bernstein
(And I’m Derek Christ-

We’re coming to the end of the track now, but still room for a few more similes. To go from Vincent van Gogh to used tampons is quite the change in direction. I’m not even sure that particular simile even makes much sense.

The other two bring a title drop and a fairly random reference to a can of Guinness.

Off pissed off with kids who spit soft
Rip-offs, contaminated hip-hop with shit songs
They like Kriss Kross their careers need pit stops
When we’re in the mix – PAUSE

Wondering what happened to Kriss Kross? It didn’t end well.

The stats

Similes:14
Words:752
Words per simile:53.71
Length:4m 24s
Similes per minute:3.18
Ears:1

1 Comment

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