By Emma Pollin
Editors' note: Talk about timing. The very day Ms. Pollin turned in this column, heavily based on Akon, the Christopher Columbus Drive locale of his now-deceased manager's label Block Royal Entertainment was raided. The Jersey City Police said they seized 700 grams of cocaine and crack, $30,000, four handguns, hollow-point ammunition, four vehicles, and a bulletproof vest.
The problem is this: When I hear the mellifluous voice of Akon, I act irrationally. “Smack That” comes on the radio and basic decency -- never mind political correctness -- demands that I change the station. But I do not. I reach for the dial and, veering from my good intentions, I turn it up. I then proceed to roll down the car windows to air my apparent self-loathing for all the world.
Nor is the problem limited to Akon tracks. I also crank up Dr. Dre’s “The Next Episode,” in which the shorthand for woman is “somethin’ to poke on.” I join my sisters in shame singing “Got Your Money” by Ol’ Dirty Bastard. ODB exhorts us to give him his money and we, in unison and all too eagerly, acquiesce. And I can’t seem to stay off the dance floor when “Ain’t No Fun” comes on. This Death Row ditty, with its deceptively upbeat bassline, irresistibly melodic synth, and sing-along hook, is in the great “posse cut” tradition; each rapper gets one verse to elaborate on the theme of, in this case, hoes. The not-fun situation of course occurs “if the homies can’t have none” of the young lady the narrator is already enjoying.
Even way back in the eighth grade, I shuddered when my dad asked me what my favorite song was. I answered bravely and honestly, if not quite proudly.