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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Coke Rap, ’60s Style

posted by on February 28 at 9:50 AM


I’m putting the finishing touches on my piece on Clipse and coke rap for next week’s paper, thinking back to all the MCs who’ve rapped about street hustling and glorified criminality, and I hit a revelation.

The first coke rapper was Lightnin’ Rod, one of the famed Last Poets crew, who, sometime in the late ’60s, recorded the track “Doriella Du Fontaine.” The song is an nine-minute story about a New York hustler and his partner in crime, the unscrupulous Doriella Du Fontaine:

She said, “You be my man.
And together we’ll trick the land,
And I’ll be your true-blue bitch.
Although you’ll have to show me to those other squares,
I’ll take their dough and make you rich.”

And on the coke tip:

So next Saturday
I got real fly.
And I went to see Miss Du Fontaine.
I stopped off at my main man Joe’s,
Dude deals in snow,
And I copped me some cocaine.

Rod’s cadence and flow would decades later be mimicked by Butterfly of Digable Planets in his pro-choice track “La Femme Fetal.”

But what makes the track a super-standout and a pot of gold for diggers and serious rock devotees is the backup band.

That would be none other than Buddy Miles and Jimi Hendrix.

It’s a killer: one of the first-ever proto-hip-hop tracks about a coke-dealing, fly-dressing, booty-chasing hustler with Hendrix playing funky wah-wah rhythm guitar.

No YouTube, unfortch, but well worth seeking out.

RSS icon Comments


illuminating discussion on the topic here:

sort of past the point of being interesting now though, isn't it? this piece should have come out several weeks ago.

Posted by been_dare | February 28, 2007 11:14 AM

I really enjoyed Sasha's piece in the New Yorker on contemporary coke rap (Clipse and Young Jeezy), but the topic is fascinating enough simply for more extrapolation of early examples of the sub-genre. So I look forward to yours, sir.

Posted by Chris Estey | February 28, 2007 11:53 AM

that is an interesting discussion, been_dare, if only for the reason that it runs completely counter to the point of my article, and seems pretty far off base to me.

the new yorker is not "indie press."

that title goes to blogs and websites like pitchfork, where unrelenting praise for all things coke has been going on since mid-'05. to say that the indie press is damning clipse and jeezy for trap rap and coke rap is plaing wrong.

indie press and indie fans in general have been embracing coke rap blindly while castigating other types of hiphop for avoiding "real" issues.

im not gonna get too deep into it here; stay tuned for next weeks stranger.

as far as not being interesting, i disagree. clipse are on their first major tour since hell hath no fury (coming soon to a mostly-white venue near you, im sure) so now is as good a time as ever talk about what they do and why indie kids like it.

Posted by jz | February 28, 2007 1:31 PM

the link was not about the New Yorker argument but the pages and pages of discussion that followed, railing on the New Yorker piece for being absolute bullshit.

still looking forward to your piece. there's room for everyone online.

Posted by been_dare | February 28, 2007 1:51 PM

also, indie kids like it cuz it's ironic to like rap, they love coke and they're fucking trend jumping losers. that explains why the indie kids like Clipse.

Posted by been_dare | February 28, 2007 1:55 PM

oh shit, youre right -- there are 11 pages of that crap!


hopefully what i have to say will be a little more illuminating...

Posted by jz | February 28, 2007 2:05 PM

indie kids like it cuz it's ironic to like rap, they love coke and they're fucking trend jumping losers. that explains why the indie kids like Clipse.

So you took a poll of all "indie kids" and came to this conclusion? Some wouldn't like it for the clever wordplay, impressive flow, or amazing production? Nah, impossible.

Posted by Deb Occle | February 28, 2007 3:54 PM

As a representative for all coked-up, indie, trend-jumping losers everywhere, I like it for the Neptunes' production. I could kind of give a shit about a crack metaphor.

Posted by Eric Grandy | February 28, 2007 6:06 PM

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Posted by mbyr vwdpcn | March 10, 2007 12:15 PM

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