First Hit #1: June 3, 2006
Ridin’ is a weird case where a song is actually highlighting a serious social problem – police harassment of young black men specifically – while also being absolutely terrible. Chamillionaire specifically is both the wronged party and a massive prick, since he’s being searched for unreasonable reasons but also is driving along in an obnoxiously loud car with some ill conceived modifications. It’s a song that, unintentionally, makes one sympathetic to the police, who should not be a sympathetic party in this context. After all, Krayzie Bone’s verse admits to all kinds of impaired driving, and they are bragging about being armed, as a fellow road user I do actually want them pulled over, because they’re a lot more dangerous than they’re admitting.
Besides, Jay-Z covered the same topics much better in 99 Problems, AND didn’t accidentally make the police harassment seem almost justified – in that song, the harassment was depicted as unreasonable and explicitly race-based, rather than because someone can barely keep his Excursion on the road like in Krazie Bone’s verse. Because, honestly, it is a real problem, it’s just that in this case Chamillionaire and Krazie Bone try so hard to be disrespectful to authority that they manage to make you understand the police’s perspective. It’s a good tactic to sell records – young people love rebelling against authority – but it also kind of makes you understand the perspective of the authority.
It’s also a song that is far too repetitive for something that’s over three minutes long. I don’t think it took a minute before the constant repetition of the chorus began to get on my nerves.