Monday, November 13, 2006

Fun With Litany: Dipset Edition

It was the late-summer anthem of the year. And then there was that horribly cheesy music video, which was like a caricature of a rap video. Girls, champagne, Lamborghinis (green screen with planes flying?). Around September, all you needed to say was one word and people would respond: “You knooow this!”

That word: “Baaaaallin!!!”

Jim Jones, a member of the Harlem-based Dipset crew, swooped down and saved New York from obsolescence. How did Jones do it? My theory is that he did it with his ad libs.

Ad libs are those things rappers say in the background during the main verse. For example, Diddy saying “Take that, take that” over Notorious B.I.G. on “Hypnotize Me”: classic ad libs. The nonsensical yelps of Lil Jon, the ominous barks of DMX, Young Jeezy’s drawn-out “Yeeeeeaaah”s: all ad libs.

[Sudden thought: What if contemporary novelists and short-story writers wrote ad libs into their prose. "I was born (What!) in the city of Bombay (Rushdie!)...once upon a time."]

Now, to begin with (begin it!), One-Eyed Willie, as Jones sometimes calls himself, is a horrendous lyricist. It’s even a stretch to call what comes out of his mouth lyrics. He really doesn’t care if you think he’s not Talib Kweli. In fact, when you hear him, you get the sense he’s intentionally trying to rhyme the most ignorant shit in the English language. Nowhere is this clearer than in his ad libs.

I’ve heard “Ballin” a healthy amount on my iTunes loop, and one of the things you notice immediately is how Jones takes ad libbing to the next level. The ad libs are almost more prominent – and definitely more absurd – than the actual lyrics. So, in another installment of Fun With Litany, here are (in order) Jim Jones’s ad-libs on “Ballin!”

Harlem, it would be advisable to stand up.

1. You hear that?
2. That’s right.
3. Yessir!
4. We in the building!
5. Money.
6. Ballin!
7. Choose one.
8. Twisted!
9. Twinkle twinkle!
10. Bankhead.
11. Flossin!
12. Do it.
13. Baaallliiinnn!
14. I think she like me.
15. What else?
16. Do it.
17. Slooow Dooown.
18. One chance!
19. Speedin!
20. Flossy.
21. Baaallliiiin!
22. What happened?
23. Got em.
24. Baaallliiiin!
25. What happened?
26. Money ain’t a thing.
27. Twisted!
28. Could you buy that?
29. Light change.
30. That Grey pu Pon.
31. Where?
32. I got back.
33. Get your money up!
34. Speedin!
35. Baaallllin!
36. Back.
37. Load it up!
38. Let’s do it.
39. Dipset!

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