It’s 2001. You’re somewhere around adolescence and starting to feel the constraints of living with your dingus parents. You want to do something that will make them scream, but not take away your Nintendo 64. What options do you have? You could run away, but last time you tried that you ended up sleeping in your friend’s tree house for an hour before coming home. Your mom didn’t even notice you were gone.
Frustrated, you sulk. You’ll never find a way to express yourself. Then, one day, it happens: You stumble upon a song with a lot of dirty words. You don’t know what all of them mean, but you know Afroman is talking about sex, drugs and malt liquor: “Colt 45 and two zig-zags, baby that’s all we need, we can go to the park after dark, smoke that tumbleweed.” You download the song on LimeWire, crossing your fingers it’s not a virus, and it finally hits that beautiful, blue, 100-percent. Within a week, you and your band of angsty chums know every word.
The track truly has staying power, a rare quality. College kids go crazy for songs like “Mambo No. 5” and “All Star,” but the difference is that “Crazy Rap” was never on the radio. It grew to the behemoth that it is purely through word of mouth. It’s a tale of shenanigans and reckless abandon, two things that many college students are a little too familiar with.
“Crazy Rap” symbolizes the same thing for everyone who likes it. No one is quite sure when they heard it the first time, but when it comes on at a party it’s an instant crowd pleaser. Technically, it’s just a slightly above average rap song. The beat is catchy and the flow is solid, but it’s a classic song because of the loose, candid style. Afroman may embody many of the negative stereotypes of hip-hop, but his storytelling is endearing. He isn’t someone you can take home to mom, but he’s sure to be a hit when you’re kicking it with some amigos.
Like Odysseus before him, Afroman’s epic journey takes him across the seven seas. His adversaries include a Klansman in Eastside Palmdale, a green-haired siren in Hollywood and temptresses from all over the globe. We, his loyal listeners, may not be there to help him through his tempestuous tour, but we can rap along with him.
“Crazy Rap” is a classic because it gives the crowd what it wants. Whether you’re 11, 21 or even 31 (dare I say it), singing along to Afroman’s mischievous exploits will put a smile on your face, a 40 in your hand and a blunt in your mouth.
Picture a Midwestern basement full of teenagers: denim couches, a foosball table, bowls full of Hershey’s kisses, a tinny-speakered iPod dock. A Cubs game is on mute on the TV, and the teens are interacting as harmoniously as a group of 15-year-olds can possibly interact. Darts are involved. Things are going well. Then you hear a voice come from the speakers: “Wait a minute man, hey check this out, man, tell it. It was this blind man, right, it was this blind man, right. He was feelin’ his way down the street with a stick, right … ”
Goodbye, harmony. Immediately, the whole group beelines for the speakers. Up goes the volume, darts clatter to the floor, foosball games are abandoned. The whole group crowds around on the iPod dock, and proceeds to sing in unison:
“Colt 45, and two zig-zags. Baby, that’s all we need. We can go to the park after dark, and smoke that tumbleweed. And as the marijuana burn, we can take our turns, singin’ them dirty rap songs … ”
And it doesn’t end there. There are other verses. So, so many others — too plentiful or too lewd to quote directly in this article (future employers, this is where you stop reading and hire me).
Now, I don’t hold grudges … except when I do. For those of you who didn’t have adolescence that involved basement-and-billiards get-togethers, the “song” to which I am referring is “Colt 45” (alternatively known as “Crazy Rap”) by Afroman (alternativey known as Joseph Edgar Foreman). It’s a six-minute, shooting-the-shit, tour de force rap joint that consists of a bunch of outlandishly chauvinistic sexcapades told in succession over some handclaps, guitar and bass. And it’s all brought to you by the fine gentleman who put “Because I Got High” into the universe. I smell time capsule!
I don’t hate “Colt 45” because it’s demeaning, vulgar and stupid. I like plenty of other things that are demeaning, vulgar and stupid. I don’t have any feminist-related indignation, despite the propensity for most lines to closely resemble the “I ate that pussy like shrimp fried rice” line. It really boils down to one simple quality that I can’t overlook: “Colt 45” is, plain and simple, a really, really fucking annoying song. And it doesn’t help that it goes on for-ev-ER. Forever, I tell you. The thing just doesn’t quit.
And the other most annoying part? Being able to recite every single dumb and dirty verse was a no-fail barometer of your Cool Status in high school. Like, oh, that 14-year-old white Jewish kid who doesn’t smoke weed, has no idea what seeds and stems are, and is mispronouncing “tumbleweed” as “tub of weed” knows every line of “Colt 45?” Yeah, man, he must be cool. Please.
Why was it that every time “Colt 45” came on at a party in high school, all other activities would cease so a fake rap battle could ensue? And by rap battle, I mean a bunch of posturing suburban kids trying to yell over each other about banging chicks from Hawaii, a KKK-affiliated father and an ’83 Cadillac Coup Deville. Yes, because all of that hits so close to home. The kids who loved “Colt 45” were either stoners, wannabe stoners, wannabe gangsters or kids who just didn’t want to feel left out for not knowing the words. In a word: poseurs.
All this, for a song that prided itself on being obscene instead of actually good. Now that is something I can never understand.