So it was Christmas, and all day the same song was going through my head. “Santa Claus Is Coming to town”? “The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot”? “Santa Bring My Baby Back to Me”? No, nothing like like. It was “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” from the movie, Hustle & Flow. You know, “It’s hard out here for a pimp; When you’re trying to get your money for the rent; With the Cadillac and gas money spent; Got a whole lotta niggers jumping ship.”
First, let’s take a moment to marvel at those lines. That’s four lines with three slant rhymes. I really do think that’s the most important songwriting trends over the last few decades. Full rhymes tend to make songs sound silly. One of my more recent songs rhymed “gas,” “dad,” and “match.” Soon we’ll all be writing in blank verse. (Interesting, the last song I wrote that I rather liked was in perfect iambic pentameter, even though I didn’t know it at the time, “Angela’s drilling a whole like of holes.”)
Anyway, here is “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” from Hustle & Flow with Terrence Howard doing the lead vocals for the song:
I mentioned the fact that the song was going through my head to my nephew, because he was the only person at Chrsitmas who even knew the song. And he mentioned something that I didn’t know: the song was by the Memphis hip hop band Three 6 Mafia. They just used Howard’s voice. They used there own voices in their released version. I think it’s better:
I don’t know that much about hip hop, but as best as I can tell, it is an ironic art form. That’s not to say that the people making the music aren’t serious about the work. But they get the joke. Think of these lyrics the way a Phil Robertson might sing them: “It’s hard out here for a pimp; When you’re trying to get more money for your kicks; And all you did was talk some bigot shit; and a whole lot of sellers throwing fits.”
The problem, of course, if that the listeners—both of rap and of Duck Dynasty—think the shit is real. But least with the rap crowd, we get music people will be listening to decades from now. As soon as Duck Dynasty is over, no one will care about that rich family that pretends to be “authentic” on the TV box.
What’s worse: pimping out prostitutes or your own family while claiming what a good Christian you are? Give me an average pimp trying to make his rent any day.