This So-Called Post-Post-Racial Life

August 28, 2009

“…The Bartender looks up and says…”: Surprising Old School Friday

Filed under: Old School Friday — Tags: , — pprscribe @ 7:26 am

My Old School Friday artists today sound like the start to a joke: Johnny Cash, Ice Cube, and Underdog walk into a bar…

I guess it would work as a joke because these seem like unlikely suspects to form a musical trio. And that, I suppose, is the point of this week’s Old School Friday theme: Songs Folks Would Be Surprised I Know (and Love).

Actually, this is going to be one of those difficult weeks for us OSFers. All of us seem to have pretty diverse tastes in music in terms of genres, artists, and historical periods. So anyone who has been following our OSF posts may not really be surprised at any song we choose for this theme. But I will go out on a limb and share some music that may come as a surprise.

A while back on a family road trip we bought a CD of Johnny Cash‘s greatest hits at a Cracker Barrel to give as a gag gift for someone. We ended up playing the CD for the remaining hours of our trip and keeping the CD for ourselves. Many of the songs in the compilation I already knew—though I could not quite place how I knew them. And “Folsom Prison Blues” has become my favorite song of the bunch. It doesn’t matter if your genres of choice are R&B and jazz. How can you not sing along with this one?

Ice Cube falls into the category of one of those artists I love—with an asterisk. In certain company I always have the urge to justify why I love his music—despite the misogyny and the extra helpings of the n-word and the homophobia and the violence. (I have posted about this issue in the past, and hope to do another post—along with some of the commenters to the original one—soon.) Bottom line is: sometimes it is just an Ice Cube kinda day. I am sure many people would be surprised, when they see me dressed in my conservative clothes in my conservative hairstyle and conservative car, to hear me belting out the words to “When I get to Heaven.” In fact, during the latter weeks of my struggle to complete my dissertation, this became my theme song—except I exchanged the “n****” for “student” and sang “They won’t call me a student when I get to heaven; no they won’t…” (Please be warned that song is NSFW)

Finally, I have a lot of children’s songs that are in heavy rotation on my iPod. The theme song to the Underdog cartoon is one of my favorites. In college one of my parlor tricks was singing the whole song—at breakneck speed—after ingesting an alcoholic beverage or three. To this day it seems I can only remember all the words to this song after a gin and tonic or mojito or glass of riesling. This unfortunate quirk aside, the song is just a great one musically and lyrically and I love the whole retro, lounge-y feel of it.

Well, that’s a wrap. You may not be surprised by my selections, but hopefully you have been entertained. Oh—and if you can think of the rest of my joke, drop a line.


As always, a big thank you to OSF hostesses, Marvalus at Conversations with Marva and MrsGrapevine.

Please check out the rules for joining and list of other OSF participants here.


  1. As usual, great choices of music. I get the Ice Cube. When writing my undergrad thesis I would go between the most vulgar Biggie songs, gospel and Fall Out Boy to get me through. There’s something aboug good rap, even with all its issues.

    And aren’t there a gazillion television songs that could fit under this category?

    Comment by Kim — August 28, 2009 @ 11:43 pm

  2. I divorced hip-hop a couple of months back, but I have to admit that I keep going back. It is an addiction…one that I no longer will even try to justify. Even with all of its faults, I still love what it is supposed to stand for; what, in my heart, it still does stand for.

    So when I need to get lifted, hip-hop gets the call.

    Good looking out on the Johnny Cash…Happy OSF!!

    Comment by Marvalus — August 29, 2009 @ 12:05 am

  3. I also liked the underdog theme song! I also love Ice Cube! Sorry but I was never a Cash fan, love country music just do not love him (I like the voice just not the songs!)

    Comment by Regina — August 29, 2009 @ 1:37 pm

  4. Thanks, Kim, Marvalus and Regina, for dropping by my OSF. I did not get to make my usual OSF rounds, but maybe I can save it for tomorrow for a hump day pick-me-up!

    @Kim: Biggie, gospel and Fall Out Boy work for me! LOL Sometimes you just gotta go where your mood takes you, past whatever boundaries there may be.

    @Marvalus—yeah, relationships with Hip Hop for many Black women are a little like enabling dysfunctional relationships. It is complex. (Which is probably why I still have not managed to write that follow-up post.)

    @Regina: Underdog was my man!!! “There’s no need to fear, Underdog is here!” LOL Oh, I also had a childhood crush on Racer X from Speed Racer. I thought him so psychologically complex and mysterious. 🙂

    Comment by pprscribe — September 1, 2009 @ 7:45 am

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