The hip-hop world is a less than sensible place - lots of times, you're even required to clarify when bad means bad and when bad means good - so once a week we're going to get with a rapper and ask them to explain things. Have something you always wanted to ask a rapper? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The dynamics of a dance track's ranking within the rap ecosystem is exceedingly curious. It seems that, despite everybody's identical intention to score as many fans as possible, just about everybody in the industry that has never directly profited from a boogie track like "Stanky Legg" hates them. So when we ran into one of the representatives from Them Island Bois, Galveston's hip-hop trio that had everybody buzzing about their "Johnny Bravo" track, we set it down to get them to defend the merits of said tracks to the public. This Week's Rapper: Them Island Bois This Week's Subject(s): Boogie tracks; the awfulness of Lil' Flip's "Kim Khardashian"; how important it is for white kids and Alvin and the Chipmunks to like your music Ask A Rapper: We fully admit the appeal of these types of songs. When you're in a club atmosphere, it's damn near impossible not dance when "Stanky Legg" comes on. They're fun. And we like them. That said, for the duration of this interview we will be playing the role of Snobby Music Critic/Hip-Hop Head. It will be your job to defend dance tracks. Think of it like a courtroom and you're the defendant, except we can't send you to jail or anything, we can only needle you subtly. Thug thizzle. Let's get started. There have always, always, always been dance tracks in hip-hop, but they seem to have really just gotten out of control these last few years. Why is that? Is it because of the success Soulja Boy? Is it Dallas' fault? What's going on? T-Moe: Basically, yeah! The mega-success of Soulja Boy has created the influx in the dance craze songs. Everybody trying to achieve or accomplish that, but with their own song. Ike Jack: Us youngsters are just trying to make our mark with this music in our era of Hip-Hop music. This is our era, whether the older generation likes it or not. No disrespect.AAR: The "Johnny Bravo" song is clearly very catchy. It's not quite "Stanky Leg"-catchy, but it's up there. How much better would you say it is than Lil' Flip's "Kim Khardasian"? 70 percent? 80 percent?
Big Blake [smiling]: The fans decide that one. Ike Jack: Lil Flip is one of my favorite artists so I can't compare the two. T-Moe: I'm from the 7-1-3, so shout to the whole S.U.C., ya dig?AAR: How do you pick the title for the dance of the song? We mean, besides most of the subjects of these songs being somehow traced back to something seen on television (Superman, Halle Berry, Ricky Bobby, Kim Khardasian, etc), it seems kind of arbitrary.
Ike Jack: It just depends on how you vibe with the track or dance at the time. The name is important and should be used to catch everybody's attention so it's always good to attach someone or thing that everybody can relate too.AAR: Is it a steadfast rule when coming up with a song like this that you are to pick a noun (preferably a proper noun) and then turn it into a verb, like "Superman that hoe"?
Big Blake: Nah, it just gives instruction or claim to the dance. It's like our signature... so "Johnny Bravo, Hoe!"[Ed. Note: If you really must know, click here, but don't say we didn't warn you. Yuck.]
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T-Moe [laughs]: I have no idea. Big Blake [shrugs]: I don't know. Ike Jack [laughing]: Me either. AAR: Is it another rule that, at some point in the video for a boogie track, you have some young black kids doing the dance in a parking lot? We spend an inordinate amount of time of time watching videos for these songs on the Internet. That seems pretty standard. Ike Jack: Nope. It's just a spur of the moment thing. The parking lot is just were everybody at. T-Moe: Yeah and no. The parking lot just allows you the space and freedom to get a bunch of people together to do the dance. It's important but not a rule. AAR: Conversely, is it a sign that you've made it when you see a bunch of white kids upload videos of to YouTube themselves doing the dance? Is it a sign that you've gone platinum when you see videos on Youtube of Alvin and the Chipmunks doing the dance? Big Blake: It's a good sign when anybody uploads a video of themselves doing your dance. It's a sign of appreciation and acceptance. Ike Jack: Not really. It's a sign of it catching, but not going platinum. T-Moe: It shows interest in our movement. AAR: After the success of a song like this, how do you combat the One Hit Wonder curse? That almost feels like it has to be a part of the process, like fallout or something for putting it out there for the world. Ike Jack: Just keep coming with that heat and tight tracks. Big Blake: Yeah, you just keep coming with it and don't bore your audience. That's the key don't get boring. AAR: These types of songs are largely derided among not only critics, but also a fair number of rappers. Does that concern you all at all? Ike Jack: Not really. It's a dog eat dog world. Either you going to survive or you not. We're all men and we all want the same thing. Either you're going to get yours or you're not. "Johnny Bravo" is Houston/Galveston's mark on the dance movement. Either you with it or you not. Get all of your T.I.B. info online at MySpace, YouTube and Twitter. For booking, call Danny BOI at 281-808-0118