At one of the most familiar moments in his smash single, “Dey Know,” Atlanta-based rapper Shawty Lo says, “I don’t need this beat,” at which point the beat stops and he continues: “I can rock it acapPELLOOO!”
Put away the Google, because the word acappello doesn’t exist. His gift with the English language and his unique ability to invent never before used words, like acappello, has some music critics like Sasha Frere-Jones, of The New Yorker magazine-style publication, comparing Shawty Lo to wordsmiths like William Shakespeare, James Joyce and the Judeo-Christian God. (Actually, I’m not sure if Frere-Jones has actually said that, but I’m almost certain he will. Soon.)
The point is: anyone who recognizes genius will recognize that Bankhead’s own Shawty Lo is a genius. And geniuses are a reclusive sort, which is why I thought there was no chance in Hell(Oh!) that he would answer his phone when I called him earlier today. But I took the chance and to my immense surprise, he picked up the phone himself and said, “Hey hey hey! How you doin it's L-OOO!” The rest, as you will read below, is fake-interview history. (Click here to read my imaginary chat with rapper MIMS from last year.)
It gives Mik Awake: Unusually Tired great pleasure to present the controversial, the provocative, the enigmatic—Shawty L-O.
Mik Awake: Shawty, it’s really a pleasure to talk to you today.
Shawty Lo: HEL-LLOOO!!
Mik: Awesome. Now, a lot of people talk about how you’re the greatest rapper of all time. But I wanted to dig a bit deeper into who Shawty Lo the man is.
Mik: Indeed. I want to really find out things that people might not know about you. So let me ask about the things that Dey (Might Not) Know.
Shawty: DEY KNOW!
Mik: Yes, but one thing people might not know is that you have a favorite food. What is it?
Mik: Definitely! Who doesn’t love Jell-O? Here’s another question; I’m just firing at random here. You smoke weed, right? How do you feel after smoking a fat spliff?
Mik: Great answer, and the way you said it really makes me think of weed in a way that I’ve never thought about it before. You have a gift of seeing the world with fresh eyes, like some of the greatest writers of our time. Guys like Joyce and Shakespeare are mentioned when people talk about you. Who’s your favorite writer?
Mik: Of course! I should have known you were a fan of Saul Bellow. I just read The Adventures of Augie March last year. It was amazing, so dense--like you’re songs. Switching topics for a second, do you have a favorite instrument by any chance?
Mik: That’s a good one! You’re so worldly. Okay, listen. I don’t want to keep you any longer, but I just had one final question. What is your favorite color?
Mik: You still there, Shawty?
Shawty: Yeah, I’m here, Mik. I’ve just...You know, I’ve actually never thought about that, man. I guess, maroon maybe?
Mik: Uhh. Well…okay. But are you sure it’s not another color?
Shawty: Hmm, maybe turquoise?
Mik: No, I mean. Are you sure it’s not something like, I don’t know, a color closer to, you know, the color of the sun?
Shawty: Gold? No, not gold. I’m more about platinum.
Mik: [Shaking head] No. Not gold. But, arggh! C’mon, this is a no-brainer, Shawty. Let’s see... You know that famous Coldplay song?
Mik: No! Not fucking "Clocks." Come the fuck on, Shawty. You know what I’m talking about—what color rhymes with your fucking name—
Shawty: Listen. There’s no need for that kind of language.
Mik: Just freaking say it! What’s your favorite color!!??
Mik: Hel-lo? L-O?
Shawty: I’m not going to say yellow.
Mik: Shawty Lo, I don’t understand you...But you are a delight.