“Everbody talkin’ ‘bout pistols.
Gats is boring.
Came with a new topic to flip you:
Vats of urine.
Born of the pleads that needs
the peeing geniuses.
Broads don’t see it since they don’t got these…
Rapper: MF Doom (a.k.a. Danger Doom), “Vats of Urine”, off the album The Mouse and the Mask
Grounds for entry: trail-blazing juke-outs
MF Doom is one of my top 5 favorite rappers. No wait, top 3. No other MC works so conversationally, like someone just asked him a question and he decided to hold a sort of informal clever lecture on the subject and run a beat under it. Indeed on most Doom tracks one can infer an unposed question that he’s engaging with. In this case, the question is “Doom, what do you think about the violence in contemporary hip-hop?” The thing is, he always ends up answering some other question that no one would ever think to ask. Here, that question is “Doom, to what end can and do men piss in beverage containers?” The result is a minute-long poetic meditation on vats of urine.
These lines are pure Doom. It is difficult, within the context and constraints of a hip-hop track, to justify rapping about pee—he pulls it off in 4 lines. The opening really is an open-palmed slap at the lazy, blubbery body of contemporary hip-hop and a deft, extraordinarily funny separation from that corpus at the same time. Also golden is the second collection of lines quoted here, where Doom uses a favorite trick of his: the skip-a-beat misdirection. He (or rather his DJ, Danger Mouse) disrupts the flow of the song and then, because of the context and rhyming clues he’s given, leaves the listener no choice but to mentally conjure the word “penises” in the painful absence of a beat. Doom, of course, opts for the euphemism “conveniences”, makin’ you feel all dirty and silly for having conjured not just the word “penis”, but its still-lewder plural. What a rapscallion he is!
Oh and also, Doom refers to women here as “broads”, which recalls a glorious lost era in American cultural history when men wore hats, and spoke out of the side of their mouths, and the rhetorical question “See?” was an acceptable way to end a declarative sentence or command.
Totally aware-like of history, yet forward-thinking.