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Ugly scary girl like Herman Munster

Fred Gwynne as Herman Munster in 1964

Image: Wikimedia Commons

  • Track: The Process
  • Artist: Jazz Liberatorz feat. Apani B Fly
  • Album: Clin D’oeil
  • Year: 2008

Greetings similephiles. Today I write with new-found respect for the good people of Genius.com (where I pilfer all the lyrics from). I wanted to feature this lovely tune from 2007’s Clin D’Oeil, so headed over there. To my horror, all I found was the lyrics of half of the first verse, riddled with errors.

Surely transcribing rap lyrics can’t be that hard? Well, yes it can. I’ve spent several hours listening at half-speed to five-second loops of bits of this track. After a while, you enter a strange semi-hallucinatory trance. Not altogether unpleasant, but do not do it while driving.

Anyway, it turns out transcribing rap lyrics is really difficult. But I reckon I’m about 90% there with this track. The hunter has become the hunted, Genius.com. Although, like being sick everywhere on my first day of school, it’s something I’d rather avoid doing again.

Maddeningly, some of the lyrics I can’t decipher occur right as Apani B drops some sweet, sweet similes. But I’ve spent too long listening to this tune to not include it, so here we are. At times it’s almost as if Apani B is being bashful about her similes, as if she doesn’t want the listener to properly hear them. Come on Apani, don’t B Shy. (Pause for laughter, applause.)

Living in a kind of hip-hop bubble as I do, I didn’t realise until recently that Jazz Liberatorz seem to be a bit of a cult thing. They do have a wikipedia page, but it’s in Spanish. Dios mío. Jazz Liberatorz comprises three producers from Meaux, France. So they are arguably pretty obscure, yet their albums feature such rap luminaries as Mos Def, Fat Lip and Sadat X (who we met last time out). They blend jazz with rap in a really interesting, chillsome way. I realise this probably makes me sound like a massive hipster (a hip-hopster if you will), but I love this sort of thing. Especially when no-one else listens to it.

This track brings us the 20th rapper to go into the database (over 11 tracks that’s 1.21 rappers per track, stats fans). But Apani B is only the second female to appear so far. I don’t think my taste in hip-hop is particularly skewed towards male artists (I hope not). So is this representative of the industry in general? Is 10% of female artists about right proportionally? Is this lack of diversity reflected in the music industry in general? SO MANY QUESTIONS.

I don’t have the answers. According to the New York Times,  only 22.4% of performers (of the ‘top 600’ from 2012-17) were women. That’s mainstream, hit-parade music. The picture in hip-hop might well be worse. It certainly seems that way

So my 10% hit rate so far does seem fairly representative, depressingly. Whatever the reason for this lack of diversity, as long as an artist raps in English and prefers the simile over the boring old metaphor, they’ll have a chance with me. My humble database is open to anyone, regardless of race, gender or religion. Apart from that Pitbull chump, he’s barred.

Anyway, on with the similes. Anything marked with a (?) is me admitting I’ve no idea what lyric is. I’ve done my best, ok?

The lyrics

View someone’s half-arsed attempted at the lyrics on Genius.com.

[Verse 1]

It’s not a random thing, Apani-branded swing
Nor manufactured bling
Elevate like I flow with wings
So catch the gist of the dope I sling

A fairly vanilla simile to get us started then. The track opens with the noise of an aeroplane for some reason, so maybe it’s linked to that.

King-size in the run at your skills, ghetto funded
Ugly scary girl like Herman Munster

I vaguely remember watching repeats of The Munsters as a very small child.

It’s a complete coincidence that this post is on Halloween week by the way. I’m not organised enough for things like rigorously planning my content out. But when I realised, I made this the post title so I could ride the wave of spookily-themed content you’re probably already sick of. I’ve sold out, is what I’m saying.

Hip-hop lover since P.S.K.
Had a rope chain nameplate, 14k
Diamond cuffs was tough
And my bralette, nugget ring
B Fly’s a way of life
Rock Timbs with plush mink
It’s just the way I think
My shit don’t stink
Go to work on beats like hot combs on kinks

Good lyrics these. Here Apani B describes the archetypal hip-hop getup beautifully. If you’re struggling, just picture All Saints during their edgier phase.

Schoolly D’s P.S.K. was an early (1985) example of gangsta [sic] rap, and you can hear the influence it had on Public Enemy, NWA and the like. I don’t think Schoolly D is a very intimidating name though, and I’d definitely say that to his face. He’s nearly 60 now.

And the simile? A very nice nod to Afro-textured hair care. As the Happy Mondays were fond of reminding us, afros tend to be kinky. A hot comb can help with that.

Make links wit’ cellies (?)
Speak my message like Nelly

This cheeky simile throws a jab at a now-notorious video for Nelly’s 2002 megahit Dilemma. Despondent at Nelly’s unknown whereabouts, Kelly Rowland appears to text him using Microsoft Excel. Memetic infamy soon followed.

A Nokia phone from 2002 with Excel running on it. 'WHERE YOU AT? HOLLA WHEN YOU GET THIS' is written in the first cell.
Maybe she’s written a visual basic script to send texts for her. Image: vevo via youtube

So hopeful
My rap’s nova (?) surpass over
Cop smokers like fasting Israelis
Can’t eat with nuttin’ not Kosher
Promote roots and culture daily
Won’t start now
My Jews never failed me

Slightly confusing verse, even though I think I’ve got the transcription largely right. If it’s not ‘cop smokers’ then I dread to think what else it might be. Apani seems to confuse Yom Kippur (when Jews fast) for Passover. Or maybe I’m being too pedantic and it just sounds good. Not all similes need to have meaning, but it would be good if they did.

And here’s the first appearance of the chorus. The lyrics subtly change on each of the three repeats. I’m nothing if not thorough.

I like it. It could be a love letter to mindfulness. Certainly chills me out.

[Chorus]

Stop
Forget it
Don’t waste your ink
Take time to think
Let the process sink
Don’t waste your ink
Just…
Yo…
Stop
Forget it
Don’t waste your ink
Take time to think
Let the process sink
Don’t waste your ink
Yo…
Just…huh
In and out, just breath
In and out, just breath
In and out, just breath
Relax, relate, release…aaah

Don’t know about you but I feel pretty relaxed after that. Refreshed and ready for the second verse.

[Verse 2]

You kids know how I do
Is you drunk off booze?
I keeps it cool as igloos

My mate moved into an igloo recently. The housewarming was a disaster.

After a promising first verse and opening to the second, this is where my transcription efforts start to go a bit awry. Bear with me.

Boombox, Sasquatch, gwaytoo (?)
Got beef? I’ll make mincemeat stew
Simmer heat on crews
Be flyer than my main veins bleed juice
Ooze truth
Bubble like a bomber goose (?)

This part of the verse is tantalisingly out of reach. There seems to be a food theme running through it, but I cannot for the life of me work out some of those lyrics.

Of the similes in this verse so far, I can only work out one of them. The other two, plus one below, means having three ‘unknown’ category similes in the database, which I don’t like one bit. That’s obviously the problem with self-transcription.

Let’s move on, unless you happen to know what a bomber goose is. The image in my head is of a goose down bomber jacket but I’m not convinced.

Trimmer trouble on beats
My pen abuse loose leaf
Rock enough bass to loosen teeth
Out ya face
Ya dudes walk around soup like bugya bass(?).

And so it goes from bad to worse. The simile in particular is frustrating, but I’ve got nothing. I’m clinging on to the vague food theme and declaring it to be soup-related. Top of any hip-hop lover’s list of ‘words that rhyme with face’ would be bass. But it absolutely beats me this one. And to be honest, the next verse is so littered with question marks you might as well skip it.

Chick chicks love to hate
Sour face all screwed up (?)
Chicken man love to date
And trick ya child support the dick up (?)
Guess it just sucks to be you
I can’t relate to
If fate knew
That this is bless music
Veteran approach a just true schoolin’ (?)
Tax reports like Jackson Hewitt

And so end the similes in verse two. It would have been nice if I understood more of this. But I don’t. But I did discover that Jackson Hewitt is a huge American tax company, so there’s that.

Cats rappin’ after me
Rapidly exit, sense catastrophe
Come naturally
Exemplary
Never raggedy

Unlike my less than exemplary transcription, the wordplay at the end of this verse should lift up any listener. Deep breaths now, as we head to the chorus again.

[Chorus]

Stop
Forget it
Don’t waste your ink
Take time to think
Let the process sink
Don’t waste your ink
Take time to think
Let the process sink
Yo…
Stop
Forget it
Don’t waste your ink
Take time to think
Let the process sink
Don’t waste your ink
In and out, just breath
In and out, just breath
In and out, just breath
In and out, just breath
Relax, relate, release…aaah

Now we’re all mindful again, let’s check out the final verse. Apani returns to more discernible grounds with this rap, which is a relief. Two of the following question marks are part of the lyrics.

[Verse 3]

A, B, MC
Reputation precedes me
Known for treating rappers greasy
Me and my grizzly 
Pump bars of iron
Been eatin’ my Wheaties
Try to get the fuck up out of the minors
I want it all, does that make me greedy?
Mess with my gees and see me
Transform from sweetie to gremlin
Put a big foot in your bumper
So what the?
Call my man Zee and Nice Gunner
Twist up the diesel in the funta (?)
Nowhere to run ta
Let no hater put asunder
Fronter
Know my joints is more butter than a mother

Some really nice rhymes here. And hip-hop staples like boasting about being hard and successful. The Gremlins reference brings our tenuous Halloween links up to two.

I doubt it’s ‘Nice Gunner’ but my interpretation made me smile: a friendly Arsenal fan, perhaps.

The (comparative) simile is right, I think, if a bit odd. I guess ‘butter’ is slang for ‘good’ and mothers are generally good, right? Mine is anyway. So that’s what it’s going in as.

Plus I keep the ghettos pumping
Hummers bumping
Summer’s coming
So my ladies need jams to shake they rumps ta
Retrofitted
This unique heat is custom
Like LL I need a beat

It’s cool how Apani subtly weaves themes into her verses. It was food earlier, and now it’s cars. Just gentle nods here and there.

After the earlier call out to Nelly, Apani refers to hip-hop royalty LL Cool J’s debut track. This came out in 1984, when he was 16. To put that in perspective, at 16 I thought being able to play a few Levellers’ songs on the piano was cool.

Perverted
How I lust ‘em
Me and my mic is closer than first cousins

I don’t have any first cousins so I can’t relate to this final simile.

[Chorus]

Stop
Forget it
Don’t waste your ink
Take time to think
Let the process sink
Don’t waste your ink
Yo…
Come on
Stop
Forget it
Don’t waste your ink
Take time to think
Let the process sink
Don’t waste your ink
Take time to think
Let the process sink
In and out, just breath
In and out, just breath
In and out, just breath
Yo, Relax, relate, release…aaah
In and out, just breath
In and out, just breath
In and out, just breath
Relax, relate, release, stop.

And stop we shall.

A solid 13 similes in this smoky, laid back, sleepy track. It’s like Valium for the ears. As Apani B advises in the chorus, best to just stop and let it wash over you for five minutes. You’ll feel better afterwards.

Where I work people always carp on about ‘process improvement’. Well, this is one process that can’t be improved upon. A classic.

The stats

Similes:13
Words:561
Words per simile:43.15
Length:4m 12s
Similes per minute:3.10
Frustratingly indecipherable similes:4

1 Comment

  1. Pingback:Burning them like charcoal - Internet Hip-hop Simile Database

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