Sunday, April 29, 2007

songs that will still blow me away years from now, vol. 3

Positive K scored his biggest hit in early '93 with "I Got a Man," a battle-of-the-sexes rap duet/battle along the same lines as Otis Redding and Carla Thomas's cover of Lowell Fulson's "Tramp." This may be my favorite rap song of all time; I love the way the samples (Junior's "Mama Used to Say," Take 6's "Spread Love," A Taste of Honey's "Rescue Me," etc.) come together, as well as the back-and-forth energy of the lyrics. I now present you with some of those lyrics ...

MALE: I don't know, tell me is it so / Do you get a kick out of tellin' brothers no?
FEMALE: No, it's not that / See, you don't understand / How should I put it? I got a man
MALE: What's your man got to do with me?
FEMALE: I told ya
MALE: I'm not tryin' to hear that, see

MALE: Well, look, I'll treat you good
FEMALE: My man treats me better
MALE: I'll talk sweet on the phone
FEMALE: My man writes love letters
MALE: I'll tell you that I want you and tell you that I care
FEMALE: My man says the same except he's sincere

MALE: You want lovin', you don't have to ask when / Your man's a headache, I'll be your aspirin / All confusion, you know I'll solve 'em
FEMALE: I got a man
MALE: You got a what? How long you had that problem? What's your man got to do with me?
FEMALE: I got a man
MALE: I'm not trying to hear that, see

Now, if you've never heard "I Got a Man," the lyrics I just quoted may seem a tad aggressive on the male end, but I promise the song doesn't end with Positive K's arrest and charges of sexual assault.

I haven't named Positive K's duet partner yet because—spoiler alert!—there isn't one. A couple years ago some friends told me that the female MC in "I Got a Man" is really just Positive K's own voice processed through a synthesizer or some other piece of studio equipment. At first I was disappointed to learn this. Then I realized that my favorite rap song just got even better. See, the woman in the song really does already have a man—herself! She's the man! I mean, he's the woman. Or ... well, whatever the case may be, Positive K is a postmodern meta master of the masturbatory! Pure genius. There's nothing wrong with being a one-hit wonder if your one hit can stand the test of time and reveal something new with each listen.

The video for "I Got a Man" has an actress lip-synching the female half of the lyrics, just like that model who stood in for Martha Wash in C+C Music Factory's "Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)" video in '91. YouTube also has the video for Positive K's "Carhoppers," from the same album as "I Got a Man," and it too features gender-manipulated vocals, this time lip-synched by no fewer than three different actresses. "Carhoppers" is a lot like "I Got a Man," which may explain Positive K's one-hit wonder status a little bit better than before.


  1. at your service:

  2. Thanks, Mary! And my memory was wrong -- more than one actress lip-synchs the female part in this video as well.

  3. oh yeah, I've got this album, pretty funny stuff. Didn't know the female rapper is Pos-K.

    "Carhoppers" is lousy as a second single, but the strongest song on the album is "Night Shift", which is about how the women he has sex with are so smitten that they immediately become his prostitutes -- "when I shoot the gift // the next day, got ya workin' on the night shift". Tongue in cheek, and actually fairly funny the way he pulls it off, but still way too misogynistic to be released as a single in '92. Of course these days it would not be misogynistic *enough* to be a rap hit.