Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Kid Friendly Geto Boys!

I've decided I want to make the Top Mommy Blogs list. So for today's post, I decided to apply my expertise in hip-hop's obscure treasures and apply it to giving some fresh advice for the young mommies out there. And hey, you don't stop loving your favorite rap classics just because you've taken that first step into parenthood. In fact, I bet an awful lot of you find yourselves wondering aloud: I love The Geto Boys' "Mind Playing Tricks On Me," but how do I share this music with my K through First grader when there's so many swear words in it?

Well, don't worry, ladies; because like Master P said, I've got the hook up! The album might be a bit much for your little tyke; but did you know that the single features clean, curse-less versions of the the great ode to suicidal paranoia we've grown up with? And not just your typical radio edit with the bad words bleeped out or reversed, which today's savy youngsters can decode faster than we can. It features all new vocals, rewritten and performed by the Boys themselves.

Let's look at Scarface's opening verse. After a brief quote from their earlier hit "Mind of a Lunatic," he says:

"At night I can't sleep, I toss and turn. Candlesticks in the dark, visions of bodies bein' burned, four walls just staring at a nigger; a paranoiac sitting with my finger on the trigger."

Imagine if your kid recited that in the playground! Fortunately, an SFS (Safe For Schoolyard) version has been prepared with you and yours in mind:

"At night I can't sleep, I toss and turn. Candlesticks in the dark, visions of bodies bein' burned, four walls closin' in, gettin' bigger; a paranoiac sleeping with my finger on the trigger."

Now there's something you could play on the drive to school every morning. The word "nigger" has been removed, but all artistic imagery of burning corpses and a mentally ill murderer sleeping with his gun are safe and sound. The intro where Scarface asks "if this shit is on?" now has him being told to "cool out, we're on the radio." Willie D's drug dealer, scared because he's instead of dope he was selling Gold Medal flour? Scarface's abusive and suicidal husband whose irrational fits of jealousy drove his wife to leave him? It's all here.

"Hooked a left into Popeye's and bailed out quick, If it's going down, let's get this shit over with. Here they come just like I figured. I got my hand on the motherfucking trigger."


"Hooked a left into Popeye's and bailed out quick, If it's going down, let's get it over with. Here they come just like I figured. I got my hand on the gold-plated trigger."


"She helped me out in this shit; but to me she was just another bitch."


"She helped me out in this... but to me she was just another chick."

You get the idea. I've actually had the cassette single [pictured] since the day it was released. I'm still not sure how much radio play this got, considering how dark the subject matter still is; but there was a music video that used to get airtime.

I was once contacted by Pedestrian, who was in the middle of recording a satiric version of "We're All In the Same Gang" with the rest of the Anticon regulars using famous verses from other songs. He wanted to do Bushwick Bill's verse from this song, but was uncomfortable saying "nigga" on the track. I was happy to tell him I had the perfect solution to his problem in one of my many cassingle shoe-boxes:

"This year Halloween fell on a weeekend,
Me and Geto Boys are trick or treatin';
Robbin' little kids for bags
'Till the law man got behind our rags.
So we speeded up the pace;
Took a look back, and he was right before our face!
We were in for a squabble no doubt,
So I swung and tried to take him out.
He was going down we planned;
But this wasn't no ordinary man.
He stood about six or seven feet;
Now that's the creep I be seein' in my sleep.
So we triple-teamed on him,
Droppin' them Fifth Ward B's on 'im.
The more I swung, the more blood flew,
Then he disappeared and my boys disappeared, too!
Then I felt just like a fiend...
It wasn't even close to Halloween.
It was dark as death on the streets;
My hands were all bloody from punching on the concrete.
Ah man, homey,
My mind is playing tricks on me."

I typed that up for him in an e-mail. Unfortunately the song never came out. ...Where is it, guys?

And all of that? It isn't even the whole story. See, that's just the main, commercial single. Cassette or12", it comes in a picture cover, with the Radio and original Club versions on it, plus Instrumentals.

Even weirder, though, there's a promo 12" (also 1991 from Rap-A-Lot), with no picture cover and additional remixes. Some of the titles are pretty misleading. There's an R And B Radio Mix, which is basically the same as the Radio version from the mainstream single. You might expect, I don't know, some R&B elements? Some girl singing a fancy new chorus or different samples in the music? Nope, none of that. Just minor, inconsequential variations.

But then you've got the Club Extended Mix ...and also the Clean Extended Mix. They're the same as each other except one version uses the original vocals and the other the new ones. But the extended material, maybe you'd think it would be an extra twenty seconds of letting the bat ride at the end? Maybe a longer breakdown between the second and third verse? Nah, man, this is actually a nine and a half monster! It starts out with Indian singing and loud, distorted breathing. Then a weird dance beat slowly fades up and eventually the more familiar guitar loop and instrumental elements we're familiar with from the original come in. All four verses are here, plus some cool scratch breakdowns, cutting up pieces of "Mind of a Lunatic" over the track. At some points the guitar sample is juggled underneath the verses, other times the beats are doubled and it gets more of a demented dance track feel. Some other samples are mixed in, and sound effects are added to the raps. For example, there's a metallic "shnick" sound added when Willie D says, "I live by the sword." It's all kind of a giant mess, really. Parts of it are actually dope; but the whole thing is so disjointed and unwieldy, it totally undercuts the atmosphere and the drama that makes the original such a compelling, timeless song. It's just madness. The first time you hear it, you'll think your mind has to be playing tricks on you, too. There's no way this shit actually exists!

So, you know... just something to think about since it's almost Back To School time, right? No? Wait, maybe this will convince you:

1 comment:

  1. Pretty sure these censored lyrics are the same ones in the music video. I remember Yo MTV playing it on heavy rotation and the changed lyrics bugging me.