Every week, Micah Peters surveys the world of music—from new releases to bubbling trends to anniversaries both big and obscure—and gives a few recommendations.
More often than not, a music video spotted in the wild might stick with you for a few hours, maybe a day or two, and then degrade into recent-memory goop like so many pieces of media that seem urgent and essential when you first come across them. Other times, though, that music video is “Shut Up” by Trick Daddy, and you spend the better part of two decades wanting—needing to drive a candy-painted El Camino onto center field at the old Orange Bowl.
“Shut Up” was the lead single for 2000’s Book of Thugs: Chapter AK Verse 47, Trick’s third album, which turns 20 on Saturday. “Shut Up” also wound up on the Any Given Sunday soundtrack, which led to some mislabeling in the Kazaa era: The “various artists” in question were Trick, of course; two guys named Co and Deuce Poppito, neither of whom I ever heard another verse from; and Trina, in this heroic headdress.
The real star here, though, is the Northwestern High Marching Bulls, the marching band from Trina’s and Trick Daddy’s high school alma mater. From the shaggy line formations to the high kicks to the now you done fucked up horns that still whip the football fans at stadiums all over the country into a frenzy. During his 2011 special Elephant in the Room, late comedian Patrice O’Neal imagined what the crowds at high school games might sound like if football was anything like the gladiatorial bloodsport sportswriters often make it out to be. If there were ever a crowd that looked like it might leap to its feet at an injury to chant “HEEE’S PARA-LYYYYYYZED,” it’d be the one filling the stands in the “Shut Up” video.
Trick Daddy’s previous album, 1998’s www.thug.com, went gold and spawned a minor hit, which brought about some matter-of-course questions for a young rapper from Liberty City whose star was rising. At the beginning of the “Shut Up” video, Trick is badgered out of an album signing by a local news reporter wanting to know how he plans on doing it again. Trick says, with no small amount of confidence, “I’mma let the band deal wit it.”
Every hip-hop record with a marching band is fire, because every hip-hop record with a marching band is anthemic. It’s the quickening drum patterns that make you want to drive your knees, the brass section punching up the bass line so you can feel the downbeat in your bones. I’m talking mid-2000s Polow da Don and his fondness for angry tubas: There was Fergie’s “London Bridge,” Rich Boy’s “Boy Looka Here,” Young Buck’s “Get Buck.” Music videos with marching bands are also a fun variation on standard big-budget video fare—instead of little parties, little parades pop up everywhere. On football fields, in front of payday loan businesses, at the corner store up the street.
Listen, I like every hip-hop song with a marching band. I like the soundtrack cuts that turn into rallying cries, like the Ying Yang Twins’ “Halftime,” which now belongs to the Who Dat Nation and not Coach Carter. I even like tributes to players on opposing teams like “TD Celebration,” which Hit-Boy made during Cam Newton’s MVP season. I like the slower, more stroll-y versions of 50-yard-line freakouts like Outkast’s “Morris Brown”; I like the faster freakouts, too, like Destiny’s Child’s “Lose My Breath,” which is technically only hip-hop leaning.
Come to think of it, every song with a marching band is fire. Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl” was one of two songs I regularly heard pounded out on cafeteria tables and school desks coming up—the other was “Grindin’” by Clipse. Last spring, I had to pull my car over to the side of the highway when I heard the Grambling State marching band sneak a Cameo interpolation into Beyoncé’s “Before I Let Go” cover. I was exhausted with Lizzo’s “Good As Hell” by the second listen, but I can’t deny that it is a song with a marching band that broke top 10 on the Billboard charts. Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk” is incontrovertible proof that good can come from cocaine and infidelity and that, should you need to take a sharp creative turn to re-energize your career on your 12th album, you can always throw in a marching band. Evidently, it works like gangbusters.
All that being said, if you just want to hot step at the guard railing and twirl your sweat rag above your head or flash your gold fronts with Edgerrin James while posting up with the dance team, marching bands are great for that, too.
Key Glock, “Word on the Streets”
Rising producer Bandplay, who loaded up Key Glock and Young Dolph’s 2019 mixtape Dumb and Dumber with near-infinite replay value, lends more sinewy production to Key Glock’s recently released Yellow Tape. First comes “Dough,” which is like if Drake’s “Nonstop” had diamond canine teeth, then comes “Word on the Streets,” which takes a lazy trombone slide and runs a power line through it.
Brent Faiyaz, “Fuck the World (Summer in London)”
Do you have any idea how good a song needs to be to begin with a line like “Fuck the world I’m a walking erection” and still be something I’ve recommended to everyone I know?
Pop Smoke, “Foreigner”
I find the enjoyment of Pop Smoke a little mood-dependent—his music not only makes more sense but gets better the longer you expose yourself to it. Take last Friday’s Meet the Woo 2: “Invincible” is intriguing, then Quavo shows up and raps about shooting people while on shrooms on “Shake the Room.” By the time you get to “Christopher Walking,” the fourth song, you’re invested. You begin to consider “Foreigner” to “Sweetheart” as one of the better two-song runs you’ve ever heard. Then you realize they might just have the same exact beat.
The Supremes, “It’s Time to Break Down”
Internet people Mitch Goldstein and Liam Goslett have a weekly playlist series called OK Mondays, the aim of which seems to just be starting your week off on the right foot. OK Mondays aren’t chiefly composed of a single genre, but I mostly get reacquainted with oldies as I listen to Goldstein’s playlists. This past week turned up “It’s Time to Break Down,” a Supremes song from their 1970 album New Ways but Love Stays, which DJ Premier sampled for a Gang Starr record called “JFK 2 LAX.”
I’m really posting this song for the guitar solo, though, which I haven’t been able to stop thinking about—it begins at the 3:41 mark, and I wish it went on forever.
Slowthai’s Tonight Show performance
This performance, specifically the bit where Slowthai bops across Jimmy Fallon’s desk and then writhes on the couch, should be in the dictionary next to the verb “commit.”