LL Cool J — “Mama Said Knock You Out”
The song begins with a radio announcer praising LL Cool J’s “triumphant comeback.” LL Cool J takes umbrage at this comment — his recent success is not properly a comeback, since he has been plying his trade for some time. His many detractors will be reduced to tears when faced with the power of LL Cool J’s heavy bass sound. LL likens the heaviness of this sound to an explosion, and himself to a giant. His lyrics are so aggressive that listeners will call upon the police for help. He will destroy his competition in the music world, and anybody who looks at him for a prolonged period.
LL Cool J notes that his mother has goaded him into his present fury. She has directed LL Cool J to physically assault and incapacitate anyone who dares denigrate him on any level, and he intends to do just that.
To regard his music and lyrics as anything but extraordinary, LL feels, is to miss the point. His talent and ambition are limitless — establishing his supremacy on Earth is merely the first stage of interplanetary conquest. LL feels his ability to rap is comparable only to Muhammad Ali’s ability to punch people in the face. Why would anybody challenge him? He will slay any foolish challengers, for he is a psychopath, and has a strong command of the English language.
It is his mother who has taught him to behave in this manner.
As soon as LL Cool J heard an unnamed song on the radio, he began preparing to assault the song’s author. The song apparently implied that LL was inexperienced as a rapper. He maintains otherwise, and proffers his forthcoming tour (not his first) as evidence. During this tour, he intends to injure anyone who does not show him the proper respect. His mother directed him to do so. Nor will LL be satisfied to injure others. He intends to murder them if necessary, resorting to gun violence.
LL feels that both his mother and God Himself will approve of these extreme actions.
Warren G ft. Nate Dogg — “Regulate”
“Regulate” is an example of narrative poetry, in which the drama takes place over three acts. First, in the prologue, Warren G calls upon his “regulators” — friends who protect him (for unexplained reasons, Warren G cannot defend himself). Here the song takes a self-reflexive, somewhat postmodern twist: just as Nate Dogg steps in to “regulate” the streets and make them safe for Warren G, so also does he “regulate” the song itself, providing a much-needed hook through his vocal performance, thus “saving” Warren G’s character in the fiction and Warren G’s single in reality.
In the first act, Warren G heads into the streets in search of one or more women. At the same time, Nate Dogg heads into the streets to find Warren G. Nate sees a car full of women (what Warren is looking for) but cares little. Warren, meanwhile, has become distracted and attempted to join a dice game, only to be robbed at gunpoint. The women in the car, while checking Nate Dogg out, are distracted by his physical beauty and crash. Nate then glimpses Warren being robbed — instead of fighting back, Warren wishes for wings so he might escape, an ineffective strategy. Nate, luckily, has loaded his gun with 17 bullets (a full clip and chamber) and murders the would-be robbers, saving Warren. (Kindly, Nate credits Warren with also being a “regulator” of the streets, perhaps to soothe his bruised ego.)
In the second act, unconcerned by the just-committed murders, Nate mentions the crashed car of women to Warren. The two agree that having sex with the women, rather than taking them to the hospital or sanitizing the crime scene, is the best course of action. All drive to a nearby motel to have sex.
However, the third act finds Warren and Nate not having sex but lecturing both women and listeners on the genre of G-funk. In G-funk, bass and treble are of equivalent importance. Rhythm and melody combine unerringly. Both chords and string progressions are prevalent. G-funk is not merely a musical genre — it transcends musicality to become philosophy. One should smoke marijuana while listening to G-funk.
Nate Dogg will kill you “if your ass is a buster.” (“Busters” are unlikely to appreciate G-funk.)
Snoop Dogg ft. The-Dream — “Gangsta Luv”
Snoop begins the song by exhorting his producer, The-Dream, to abandon production duties and instead sing the song’s hook. Snoop believes that this hook will hold particular appeal for the female gender. The-Dream complies, and in doing so establishes the song’s poetic conceit (an overarching metaphor that will give the song structure). The conceit is that the everyday activities of gangbanging find meaningful parallels in the act of sexual courting — for this reason, gangsters make the best lovers.
Although Snoop might be expected to develop this conceit, instead he more or less abandons it, only making passing reference to gangsters. Instead, he describes himself and his lovemaking abilities by reference to the Marx Brothers. Among the many things he intends to do to his lover is bite her, as a dog might. Snoop then indicates that The-Dream should resume singing.
The-Dream attempts to return to discussing gangsters, and reiterates the metaphorical relationship between gangsters and lovers. Snoop refers to himself as a gangster, and states that it was during his gang tenure in Long Beach that he learned to properly satisfy a woman sexually. Presumably, this was part of his gang initiation. However, Snoop spends most of the verse describing his lovemaking prowess without reference to gangsters. He reiterates his claim that he intends to bite his beloved, and suggests that he is a vampire. The-Dream is commanded to resume singing.
The-Dream once more attempts to return to the subject of the song. Snoop parries by instead bragging about his lavish lifestyle and sexual prowess. The woman he chooses will benefit from both. Snoop ends by stating that he is also a gangster, by the way, and that The-Dream should sing once more.
The-Dream obeys Snoop, and the song ends with The-Dream reinforcing his claim that the song was, in fact, about “gangsta luv,” despite Snoop’s apparent unwillingness to cooperate.
Rihanna ft. Drake — “What’s My Name”
Rihanna begins the song by singing gibberish to establish the melody, a common musical technique — she continues to sing gibberish even after the melody is established. She then asks, “What’s my name?” This is a rhetorical question. Rihanna does not suffer from amnesia or an identity crisis. Rather, she says this to increase her sexual pleasure during coitus.
Drake announces that he has heard of Rihanna’s sexual appetites second-hand from an unnamed source. He attempts to complete a math equation, unsuccessfully, hoping to arouse her sexual interest. Drake then tries to convince Rihanna that, if the conditions are right and include both marijuana and white wine, he might be able to please her sexually. After they undress, she appears dissatisfied and attempts to leave, but Drake convinces her to stay for at least 20 minutes because traffic is bad anyway. She later leaves, and he texts her suggestively.
Though it may sound unimpressive to the listener, Rihanna states that this has been her most fulfilling sexual encounter. She looks forward to her next lovemaking session with Drake. She hopes that he will be adept at orally pleasuring her. She desires intense sexual pleasure that she believes can be achieved only through surrendering her body to a man like Drake. She then asks Drake to repeat her name.
Rihanna would rather be with Drake than any other man. She is open to any suggestion he might make. She implies, metaphorically, that this includes anal sex.
For the confused listener, who doesn’t understand how Drake has managed to elicit this level of commitment from Rihanna when he couldn’t convince her to remain in his company for more than 20 minutes, Rihanna explains. In that time, Drake determined precisely how her body might respond to various stimuli. He thus drove her to the point of madness. Perhaps this also explains the gibberish.