Sex and the Radio: A Weekend With 97.9 The Box
Usher & Rick Ross.
For those who may not know, being a blogger and writer also means you sort of have to support yourself with a 9-5. Some chose teaching, others chose busting their ass at a prospective company.
Somehow I chose to be a town-car driver. An entrepreneur, a goddamn transporter of people. There are perks here and there, most notably the one where I get to be a certified night owl on the weekends and can seemingly laugh at those with regular 9-5s but aside from that it's a suit, a tie and a badge, dealing with the other side of airport security.
Since such a chosen life derails me from becoming the next (insert big-name writer here) and since I'm confined to the front seat of a car, I have few options for entertainment. Either it's sports talk or the music stations across town.
I decided to torture -- wait, let me say this correctly -- endure myself to one particular station for 48 hours during this past weekend, one that saw me awake at 4 a.m. and go to sleep around 1 a.m. the next night.
Yes, my job sort of sucks in the most awesome way.
4:30 a.m. (Saturday): On cue, I'm listening to 97.9. I have to be in the Med Center at 5 to take a woman back to IAH. She was sweet earlier this week, becoming the first customer I've ever had to tip me in Chick-Fil-A. Sorry, food goes a long way with this line of work.
Almost immediately I'm slapped in the face with Usher and Rick Ross' "Lemme See." I'm not immediately shocked considering Usher has the No. 1 album in the country, but good Lord, it's 4:30 a.m. -- the last thing I want to think about is Rick Ross' man-boobs sauntering in the air while around guy sings about his shirt off.
6 a.m.: Drake. I'm sitting at the airport by now, half sleep and then I hear the awkward crooning of Drake telling me something. I think it's "Take Care" with Rihanna. Somewhere a house DJ is still spinning this record to a thousand fist-pumps. Me? I'm sitting in a car wondering why in the hell is he damn-near whispering about being a shoulder for some woman. The Drake Whisperer.
7:15 a.m.: Ah, 2 Chainz. The aura of Teta Chico in the morning feels a bit weird. Like, he's the perfect club rapper: Nonsensical at times, yet fluent in crafting meme-worthy lyrics. Here's "No Lie" for example: "Got your car note in my cup, and your rent in my Swisher!" Exquisite.
Also, Drake's here as well, although he's not whispering at all. He's more purring and braggadocio about treating Grammy winners like nominees. I doubt he's ever had a sex with a woman who was India Arie and then treated her like Katy Perry.
I'm sleepy. We'll restart this in an hour.
8:15 a.m.: I'm awake. The car is cued back to 97.9. Oh shit, it's Waka Flocka Flame's "No Hands." This early? I mean, I'm all for strippers but at this point I'd be downing my Dreams of Houston sorrows in some Waffle House.
8:22 a.m.: - It's taken all of four hours of this experiment to hear a Beyoncé song. And it's "Love On Top," arguably the happiest, kindest and most gentle song she's ever done. Or in fact, in the annals of human history. I dare you not to want to dance to this record, period. Shame on you, 97.9, for making me wait this long.
8:30 a.m.: Holy diversity, they're playing the Justin Bieber "Boyfriend" remix. Or the moment where Justin Bieber's reverse-crossover move results in a faux "Like I Love You." 2 Chainz is here again, I think he'll be here a good damn while too, so is Mac Miller (who sounds like Justin Bieber if he were rapping (odd).
For the record, I like adult Bieber. His fans are still maniacal but he's still a swaggy little kid. Oh crap, I said swaggy. Time to move on.
10:00 a.m.: Usher and Rick Ross. Again. Shit.
Drake, or "The Lemur Whisperer"
11:16 a.m. - An hour has passed, all of which consumed by a trip and the god forsaken closure of a portion of 59 North. Never in my life did I think I'd have to pull off some stunt-car driving to get three kids and a nice woman (see a theme here?) to the airport, but dammit I did.
The soundtrack after my feat? Fat Joe & Chris Brown's "Another Round." It's almost a B-side to Breezy's "Strip." Same theme, somewhat, except here I'm supposed to be taking lessons from Fat Joe (who is now skinny) and CB, who believes pouring chocolate on somebody's navel is the freakiest thing in the world.
Chocolate? Ice? That's the freakiest thing you can think of, Chris? "You ain't never had..." usually revolves around something she literally has never had. Like putting her foot on a dresser while eating a drumstick from Frenchy's. That is something she's never had. Damn R&B singers selling pipe dreams.
1:15 p.m.: Maybe the afternoon drive will have fewer sex mentions. Crap, we lead off with "2 Reasons", Trey Songz and T.I.'s version of... Trey Songz and Nicki Minaj's "Bottoms Up."
Sigh, it's one thing to be an R&B singer who sings about sex a lot. It's another to make the same song over again, with a less wry and psychotic feature. Also, there's a third Trey Songz cut "Heart Attack," which features the more-than-interesting "Trey Songz Crying Face".
1:19 p.m.: MERCY. (Which means more 2 Chainz!) Arguably the best song on the radio right now, because it doesn't feel like a radio record. I'd ask for a follow up with Big K.R.I.T.'s "I Got This," but then I'd be begging to the pagan gods for something great.
1:24 p.m. Wiz Khalifa rebounded nicely from that clunker that was Rolling Papers in "Work Hard, Play Hard". See, here's the thing. It's not that this single is terrible, it still have a driving beat (and has been played I think twice or more already), it's the chorus. Infectious? Yes. "Black and Yellow" infectious? No. If nobody has turned this into a social experiment, then you know it's an okay lead single.
Let's start this over tomorrow. Hopefully my mind can clear out the day's tattooed Rick Rossery.
2 p.m. (Sunday): Our early-morning ride this time included Ca$h Out and his "Cashin' Out" track. It's like the little brother of "Racks," except you can understand what the fuck is going on.
By this point, I'm looking at myself wondering why exactly did I tell myself I was going to endure this? Usher's back. So is Rick Ross. I think I'm enjoying this song... or am dying a slow sexual death to it.
2:04 p.m.: Travis Porter's ode to the Luke anthems of a decade-plus ago slides in here. This is about sex, except you're in the club or some party or something. Here's a question -- when the hell did these things become so effin' instructional?
Like, I swear if my sex life were dictated by a song on the radio, I'd be done in like four minutes. Followed by an advertisment for "SomebodyHitUs.com" and a cartoonishly hilarious small kid telling another one that they got hit.
By the way, no playground fight ever ended in such a manner. Ever. Nobody spouts off about a Web site after getting punched in the face by adolescent firepower. I think this may lead to a change in today's theme.
2:09 p.m.: Rihanna and Chris Brown, "Birthday Cake". Nope, the 97.9 sex hour continues. At this point, thoughts of Rihanna's magic box begin circulating in my head. She's reached Erykah Badu levels of coitus mysticism now.
The crazy factor is up there, I just don't want to have to throw a bottle at someone if she were ever to leave me. At least she had the decency to tell the guy to strap up before she takes off her robe -- +1 to Rih Rih for safe sex!
2:13 p.m.: Ne-Yo, "Lazy Love." Wait, this is the new Ne-Yo record, right? Why are we talking about lazy sex? Oh, no he means his girl leaves him sexually spellbound that he doesn't want to do anything.
Well ... you did write a song about it, so therefore you can't say she's supremely lazy. I think Michael Berry would refer to this woman as a Welfare Queen or something, since she makes dudes lazy after sex.
Did I mention 97.9 is promoting their Hip Hop For HIV Awareness concert during all of this? No? Well they are. A lot. Does this make sense when listening to the playlist? Nope. There's no such thing as a celibate rap song. CONSPIRACY!
4:07 p.m.: After a long trip to Sealy and back to IAH, we return with an off-balance whammy of "Sex Ain't Better Than Love" from Trey Songz, "Crew Love" from Drake, Young Jeezy's "Leave You Alone" and Beyoncé's "Party." Here's what to take from that:
if it's not Nicki MInaj's "Right By My Side", then you will be smacked by Lil Wayne's "She Will" or Tyga's "Rack City" from the Young Money sex files. Either way, you're going to hear about your dick game from either one of them. Whispery Drake is here also. I swear he's the world's greatest bushy-eyebrow lemur rapper.
Also, two days and only two Beyonce records. I'm so appalled.
5:50 p.m.: Holy crap, an actual love song from someone not named Trey Songz. It's Justin Timberlake. Good Lord, we've reached an apex. I now see why the whole "Quiet Storm" portion of radio has been killed off, sex is here all damn day.
5:56 p.m.: Guess. "Lemme See" by Usher and Rick Ross. Sonofabitch, I'm now at my wits end with this thing. There's no way in the world that I should think about sex and then think about Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman but oh leave it to Rick Ross to aide this. My sex life is soon to plummet now.
6:05 p.m.: Wait, am I listening right? It's T2's "This Is For My" record with Slim Thug and E.S.G. Well, it's not going to change anything about my sex game, but it is going to tell me a few things. One, I have to do things for the baby hustlers apparently. You know, these guys:
Two, what happened to T2? He had at least three songs perfect for my age group at the time. "I Got That", "Back To Ballin'" and this. Last I heard he was in jail for something like robbery or something. Anybody know?
Third, E.S.G. makes mention of Lil Flip and The Source. This was in '03 or '04, if my memory serves me right so this was before the "Lil Flip's Braids Still Have A Career" phase of Lil Flip's career. Might be one of the more under reported things in Houston rap history.
It's been two days, and my experiment is going to conclude. Here's what I've learned:
- a) 97.9 knows plenty about sex, so much so that I'm going to either use some of these Travis Porter/Drake tips in my next sexual conquest.
- b) If I were to use sex as a weapon via the radio, I'd have to be a quick pumping, three minute legend who knows that chocolate & taking shirts INSTANTLY lead to sex.
- c) Rick Ross has skewered the Trayvon Martin case for me.
- d) I'm back to not listening to 97.9 for the foreseeable future.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.