Perhaps you are familiar with Rap Genius, a useful interactive site that aims to “discover the meaning of rap lyrics” by painstakingly explaining every single line of various popular tunes — at press time Lil Wayne’s “Hoes & Ladies” is exactly 13 percent explained, with Rick Ross’ “Made Men” at a far more manageable 55 percent. (The homepage also currently bears the headline “Lupe Fiasco: The Proust of Rap,” which is super promising.) Anyway, as a random example let’s take Das Racist’s “All Tan Everything,” currently sitting at 82 percent, and a veritable treasure trove of useful data.
Learn, for example, that the line “Danny DeVito in Roots/Burton comma LeVar” references the fact that “Danny Devito would be humorously miscast as the slave Kunta Kinte in the 1977 mini-series Roots (the next line refers to the actor, Levar Burton, who did play Kinte).” That “With a Mia Farrow-looking sparrow to help me re-up” is a somewhat nonsensical reference, given that “she is not necessarily known for helping people buy drugs.” “White owls/Black and mild” = “this is what you roll your weed in.” “I’m known to eat a sandwich” = “I’m not wafer thin like some sort of male fashion model.” Bonus points also for explicating “Figs on a table, call me Mabel Dodge Luhan,” which I had no idea about. And there’s 18 percent of this thing still to go, so if you have any idea what “Now do the booty scoop/Do the booty up/Do the booty-ooty-alley-oop” could possibly mean, please drop them a line.