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She talk so big like she could fit Godzilla in her mouth

Godzilla in a still from the 1954 film

Image: imuttoo via Wikimedia Commons

  • Track: Polka Dots
  • Artist: Dr. Octagon
  • Album: Moosebumps: An Exploration Into Modern Day Horripilation
  • Year: 2018

Well here we are, one year on from the beginning of this perfectly pointless project. It’s been good fun, and readership has steadily grown (look, it’s grown, ok?). Looking at the data, I think most people get here by mistake, but I’ll take it. Your birthday cards must have gotten lost in the post. I’ll chalk that up to our current catch-all excuse: Covid-19 disruption.

This track takes up to nearly 300 similes catalogued, categorised and filed away in my database that’s still not an actual database. At the end of today’s look at some very odd similes, there’s a brief overview of some of the most common themes we’ve seen over the past 12 months.

To mark this, ahem, proud landmark, some very basic ihhsdb.com simile stats:

  • Similes (including this tune): 275
  • Number of rappers: 32
  • Number of tunes: 18
  • Average posse size: 1.78

It’s a fitting anniversary post in one sense because Dr. Octagon’s first album was one of the first hip-hop albums I fell in love with. Most excitingly, this track from 2018’s follow up is now the most recent hip-hop tune I’ve analysed.

Kool Keith’s Dr. Octagon persona is a pornography-obsessed murderous gynaecologist and surgeon. In the middle of a global health crisis, and in a week when we lost a UK hip-hop legend to this fucking virus, we have to support our key health workers. Even deranged killer ones.

Supporting my theory that a lot of rappers have very nerdy sounding real names, Kool Keith was born Keith Thornton. You might be more familiar with his work with the Ultramagnetic MCs. He’s also been known as Dicky Long Docking and Underwear Pissy. It’s fair to say he’s quite the character.

Kool Keith claims to have invented horrorcore. This album, ‘an exploration into modern day horripilation’, was produced by long-term Kool Keith collaborator and all-round hard worker Dan “The Automator” Nakamura. He’s a legend of underground hip-hop, and this isn’t the first of his tracks to go into the database.

While the 2018 album Moosebumps is good, it’s no masterpiece, especially compared to 1996’s Dr. Octagynacologist. If you like your hip-hop daft, filthy and off the wall, Kool Keith is for you. his lyrics and approach to music make him a unique force in hip-hop today.

Like quite a bit of his work, I’ve got next to no idea what this track is all about. It’s actually remarkable to think that he can come up with 500 words that are so out there, yet still sort of make sense. Like the Beastie Boys in their prime, Dr. Octagon is clearly proud of his pimped-out Volkswagen. Beyond that, your guess is as good as mine.

Wikipedia describes Kool Keith’s lyrics as ‘often abstract, surreal, and filled with non-sequiturs and profane humour’. This obviously presents a challenge for any lyrical transcribers out there, so hats off to whoever worked all this out. It might not be 100% accurate, but it’s close enough for me.

There are a bunch of references that are too cryptic or too American for me. ‘Random’ doesn’t do this track justice. As one reviewer puts it, Kool Keith spends the album ‘dissecting the English language and stitching it back up in a way that only he truly understands’. Just what you might expect from a crazed serial killer surgeon.

This track isn’t exactly stuffed with similes, but the ones that are here are funny and as weird as you might expect. Don’t take this one too seriously, simile spotters. That’s good advice for Kool Keith’s career in general.

Now steady yourself, because our first simile arrives almost immediately.

The lyrics

View full annotated lyrics on genius.com

[Verse 1]

Microsoft acetate, she got a nice ass and waist
Centre I gotta pick it up like the Barkley, hip-hop hooray

My ignorance of US sport is well-documented. But as a child of the 90s I’m assuming this is a reference to basketball legend Charles Barkley. I remember his monster dunks fondly from playing way too much Lakers vs Celtics on the Mega Drive.

The dock into the Mandalay was sway
The text spray air wake I parlay
They still ride around confused over Safaree
Lamp with Sadé
Y’all wearing Buster Brown
I’m wearin’ Moray’s
My testes got a line going down like a Stingray

This verse acts as a good barometer for just how odd Kool Keith’s lyrics and style can be. The rhyming is erratic, but clever and joyfully cryptic too. Google is being pretty useless here, so I’m just going to roll with it. It sounds as if Moray’s should be a clothing brand, but all I could find was this adorable range of moray eel themed children’s clothes.

The simile itself is rather brilliant. I can’t imagine another rapper coming up with this. At first I assumed stingray referred to the fish, but there’s a distinct lack of lines there. So I think this could be a nod to the Corvette Stingray. I know even less about cars than I do about US sport, but some pictures of it do have a big stripe going down it. Good enough for me.

Buster Brown is the only reference in this entire bit that I’m confident about. He’s an early 20th Century cartoon character known for wearing a very twee pink suit.

Call Betty I’m ready at chicken and Corsetti
She went on pretty
Like Doctor Doo-Litty

I’m driving too silly
Right over your city
Filmin’ a bitty
Of women and titties

In case you hadn’t realised, Kool Keith (and particularly when being Dr. Octagon) is obsessed with sex. Unhealthily so. I think the simile is just a bit of silly wordplay so I’m not going to dwell on the fact that I don’t understand it.

Urban Dictionary defines ‘litty’ as ‘reaching the pinnacle of lit-ness. The ultimate expression of extreme satisfaction, coolness or dopeness.’ That fits nicely.

My masquerade
She Anne-Marie my escapade
The Cadillac roll, the Escalade
The baggage full with hands and legs
Disguise myself with longer braids
The jump shot fade
Gabrielle at the Western Union
I’m pulling up playin’ in girls bras like Dwayne Wade
The rock star with coats with strange coll-ars
At the end I like my

So to recap, Dr. Octagon is on his way to meet Betty, maybe at a restaurant called Corsetti. He’s filming ladies as he drives through the city, which seems reckless given that he’s got a car full of dismembered body parts. And he may well have disguised himself as a woman. Still with us? Good.

Back on intelligible ground, Dwayne Wade is a former basketball player like Charles Barkley, our first thread of a theme here. He’s also married to an actor called Gabrielle Union, so I imagine this is what this is all about.

The good doctor clearly isn’t that worried about being stopped by the police despite his car clearly not being the most inconspicuous…

[Chorus]

Polka dot Volkswagen
Learjet seats
Rocket launchers
[Chemical warfare
Earth automation]
Polka dot Volkswagen
Learjet seats
Rocket launchers
[Chemical warfare
Earth automation]

[Verse 2]

Like Dave Grohl
My beard grow to my vocal tone

Panda bears answer my phone
Whoever’s blind I’ma leave, show Stevie Wonder home
Put ears near the metronome
And lay up on the white couch
Like a white man versus a grey mouse

Octagon’s attention now seems to have shifted from athletes to music. Nice to see Nirvana and Foo Fighters legend Dave Grohl get a mention.

So now we find Dr. Octagon slumped on Stevie Wonder’s sofa, having kindly walked him home. This shows that even serial killers are capable of helping vulnerable members of their community from time to time.

The whole white man and grey mouse thing has me stumped. To me it conjures up the image of being a psychiatrist. Or maybe I just think Kool Keith could do with visiting one. But we’re nowhere near peak weirdness yet.

I can send my balls we hearin’ them through PayPal
Many fight back
Space man living through crack vials
Send the commandments out like Russell do to Kevin Liles

Indeed. Glossing over the complications of listening to something through PayPal, there are two possible Kevins this could be. The Genius transcription has it as Kevin Lyles, a sprinter. But peeking down at the comments, it’s clear this is actually referring to former Def Jam president Kevin Liles, who would have taken many orders from founder Russell Simmons.

Unless you unknown ladies want my cream on their coconut mounds
She talk so big like she could fit Godzilla in her mouth
Psychiatrist say she left her stained underwear up in Usher’s house
If you’re army why you hidin’ behind other mouse
Me and Automator goin’ to the President’s house

Here we have a textbook example of Kool Keith’s fondness for the puerile and filthy. But it’s kind of brilliant too, with undeniably vivid imagery. Just not images you might really want. It’s at this point I’ve basically abandoned trying to understand the narrative. It’s not really worth it.

While people move their bowels slow to get their product out
Too many wanna be Jimi Hendrix let ‘em rock out
Like Bill Parcells

Here comes another US sports reference that I don’t understand. I’m sure American football coach Bill Parcells did lots of great things, but I’m more interested in how he got the nickname ‘Big Tuna’. My extensive research didn’t turn up why he might be known for rocking out, but in my defence his Wikipedia page is very long and very dull. If he’s the Jimi Hendrix of American football, that’s good enough for me.

After that detour through the vivid imagination of Kool Keith, it’s back to the VW for another cruise.

The duration in this time after the song
Watch cats come out finicky and resign
They see me with the wig and glasses
Riding that polka dot Volkswagen I’m carrying

[Chorus]

Polka dot Volkswagen
Learjet seats
Rocket launchers
[Chemical warfare
Earth automation]
Polka dot Volkswagen
Learjet seats
Rocket launchers
[Chemical warfare
Earth automation]

[Verse 3]

Convertible beater bug lover
Undercover in a romance with this beautiful type of mama
The porno star genre
Body like Takara

Having slipped into incognito/secret agent mode, I did have a search for porn stars with this name. My efforts only turned up a couple of Japanese adult entertainers out there. Unless Keith is referencing an obscure toy company with a dodgy-looking logo, we’re going to have to assume he’s a connoisseur of the Asian bongo market.

Drive by I’ma hit that tomorrow
She get that butt bit off like piranha
Doctor’s laying out with the black briefcase in the sauna
Rock call me the one-man Nirvana
The crowd throw out they vaginas
Rappers wait onstage with sweat in their pantyliners
I haul hogs from San Francisco to South Carolina
Paint rap in the butt crack with a good primer
Over all the famous panties
We take a leak on your best designers
Y’all block reppin’ it with second hand rhymers

Say what you like about Kool Keith’s choice of lyrics, you can’t fail to be impressed by his rhyming and verbal dexterity. He somehow gets away with in a way that other artists wouldn’t. I suppose being in character helps.

This is our first piranha-related simile, but now joins sharks, red snappers and salmon in our illustrious fishy hall of fame. What would a bit off butt look like? Something to think about.

From Atlantic to Capitol
Even Def Jam I laugh at you
Stunt the ball over your mama like Darrell

A tricky one this, but I’ve got a hypothesis. Kool Keith brings the music business and sports themes together here. ‘Darrell’ could refer to a lot of people, but I’m arbitrarily plumping for Darrell Griffith to make it fit my theory.

It’s not clear what Keith’s actually saying, but I’m going with ‘stunt the ball’ to further hammer the round peg into the Darrell Griffith shaped hole. He’s another former basketballer you see. Again, I’m more interested in his nickname than his career: Dr. Dunkenstein. It’s too perfect not to go for.

Sporting personality similes are popular in hip-hop. This one might be a bit of a stretch, but we’ve seen ten others, and they make up exactly 4% of the total. If you’re wondering, hip-hop’s favourite simile sports are (in order) basketball, boxing, baseball and American football.

Seahawker stalker
Wear my helmet in the VW
I’m in love with you
Clean the engine you know how I cruise

With all the talk of fellating Godzilla, biting butts and stained underwear, it’s quite nice to find a plain old declaration of love hidden away at the end of this bonkers track. After one more blast of the chorus, we’re done.

[Chorus]

Polka dot Volkswagen
Learjet seats
Rocket launchers
[Chemical warfare
Earth automation]
Polka dot Volkswagen
Learjet seats
Rocket launchers
[Chemical warfare
Earth automation]

The outro lasts a good full minute. This naturally harms the track’s similes per minute score. But it’s always nice to hear Q-Bert’s delicious scratch technique, so I can’t stay angry for long.

As promised, here’s a quick look at some of our top simile themes after one year’s worth of extensive research.

Top metacategories

CategoryNumber of similes
Music26
Celebrities26
Musicians23
Food and drink21
Nature19
Religion17
Film17
Everyday things14
Sporting personalities13
Animals13
‘Everyday things’ may seem like a cop out, but you try coming up with a manageable number of categories.

Top specific things

CategoryNumber of similes
The Bible7
Basketball7
Marijuana6
Hip-hop6
Christianity6
Soul music5
Sitcoms4
Nation of Islam4
If you were tasked with summarising hip-hop in eight words, this list would be a decent effort.

The stats

Similes:12
Words:511
Words per simile:42.58
Length:4m 35s
Similes per minute:2.62
Proportion of this track understood:18%

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