Mike Jones & Dirty Rap by Jillian Weise
Mike Jones got his start by writing songs for strippers in Houston.
“[M]y name took off quick because I came up with nice strategies for the strippers,” Jones says in an interview with Sway for MTV news. “Like when I did a song for Strawberry, all of a sudden Coco came to me, ‘Oh, you got to do one for me!’ Then Alize came in, and next thing you know I had a whole fleet that I would do it for.”
The songs elicited attention from club owners and then Paul Wall and Slim Thug joined him on “Still Tippin” and now he tops the charts with “Drop & Gimme 50.” Jones explains the lyrics here.
He wears his phone number on his shirt. It took a couple of days to work up the nerve to call. No luck. Out of service.
This was disappointing. I really like the guy’s voice, laugh, fashion sense, and rhythm. I find the beats of his songs along with the unapologetic vulgarity of his lyrics appealing. Maybe it’s because I spend most of my time in a politically correct place, University America, where I do a lot of problematizing. I’m so unbinary during the day that by nightfall I’m ready to play rap and pair words, twosome for twosome, tippin and cruisin, bitches and hoes. I’m afraid without Mike Jones I might read between too many lines and go cross-eyed.
Running 4 President Chopped Not Slopped came out February 5, 2008 from Ice Age Entertainment. My favorite track on the album is his chopped version of Fantasia’s “When I See You.” Jones takes the song, slows it down to a drawl, and replaces her lyrics with dirtier, raunchier ones.
Here is the first line of Fantasia’s “When I See You”: “I put your picture on my mirror.”
Here is the Mike Jones rendition: “Little mama she fine than a motherfucker.”
Here is how each handles a chorus.
FANTASIA: You’re always on my mind. When you come around I get shy. Baby, when I see you. When I see you. Never know when you might walk by. So I gotta be right on time. When I see you. When I see you.
MIKE JONES: Go on and do your thing and Ima do mine. Go on and do your thing and Ima do mine. When I see you later on we’re gonna bump and grind. Yeah girl, it’s going down when I see you.
There’s much to appreciate in the Mike Jones version. First of all, there’s a truth to Mike Jones. When I listen to him, I believe Jones believes what he’s saying. Sometimes when I am reading a poem, I think: “Where’s the truth? Do you believe what you’re writing? Because it reads like you don’t.” Secondly, while Fantasia evokes sadness and longing, Jones evokes roughness, gentleness, meanness, sweetness, funniness, sadness and longing. I like how Jones uses “Ima” instead of “I’m going to.” Another variety of this dialectal neologism occurs in Rocko’s “Umma Do Me.” I can’t think of the last time I read a neologism in a poem. Oh, wait. Yes I can. “Say Otherwise” by Kristi Maxwell features “The ass-y bloom.”
If I ever get Mike Jones on the phone, I plan on asking, “How do you choose songs to chop? What’s the best part of hustling? Do you believe in binaries? True love? Marriage? Will you hustle me?”
*For a more astute discussion of rap, see “The Aesthetics of Rap” by Mtume ya Salaam in the African American Review, Vol. 29, No. 2.
**For the official Mike Jones web page, go here.
***For further dirty rap: Can I Kick It? – A Tribe Called Quest; Just A Lil Bit – 50 Cent; Wait (The Whisper Song) – Ying Yang Twins; Ballin is a Habit – Swishahouse & Lil Flip; Oops Oh My – Tweet; Touch It – Busta Rhymes; You Can Do It – Ice Cube; Doin It – LL Cool J; Shoop – Salt N Pepa; Mr. Me Too – Clipse; Hey Ma – Cam’Ron; Ching-a-Ling – Missy Elliott; What Ya Want – Ruff Ryders; Smack That – Akon; Backyard Betty – Spank Rock.
How to Write a Mike Jones Inspired Poem
1. Chop a Commercial Song, Or Several
2. Sex, Or the Intimation Of
3. Invent a Word
4. Minimum of One Obscenity
5. Write to a Stripper, Or From the Persona of a Stripper, Or From the Persona of an Actress Who Once Played a Stripper
When I See You (The Lindsay Lohan to Wayne Miller Remix)
All I wanna do is zoom zoom zoom when I see you,
half-asleep & hungover at the Hilton. Boo, why
do you go to these conferences on “The Metaphysics
of the Metaphormosis” or what-the-fuck-ever-it-is,
how would I know, I only convene on the screen.
If we’re going to me & you zoom zoom zoom
than you need a shave, a move to L.A., a Blackberry
& some aviators. You’re way older than me
but I’ve got more hits to my name. So do you
wanna zoom zoom zoom at the Chateau Marmont?
Is that trill enough for you? When I see you,
on my daily blow through blogs of poet dudes,
having exhausted my costars, my deejays,
all I wanna do is zoom zoom zoom.
Poet Wayne Miller, courtesy of http://jjgallaher.blogspot.com/2007_03_01_archive.html.
Jillian Weise wrote The Amputee’s Guide to Sex (Soft Skull 2007). She looks forward to her debut in an anthology, Satellite Convulsions: Poems from Tin House, which drops sometime in October. Next year she will be in Patagonia, on a Fulbright, writing poems and playing with Charles Darwin.