Chamillionaire feat Krayzie Bone – Ridin

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.

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One Response to Chamillionaire feat Krayzie Bone – Ridin

  1. RBerman says:

    It’s less a “poor innocent me” song than a “catch me if you can” one. This is the rap version of obnoxious populism, like all the country music songs that talk about how brave country folk are for putting up with snobbery from city folk. Christian music had a lot of this victim mentality in the 80s as well. (And one Christian rapper of the early 90s combined the two with a rap/reggae song about cop racial profiling… by Satan! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkE9uS9eRkA) Billy Joel is a counterexample. He writes a lot of songs about how great New York is, but he doesn’t feel the need to talk about how wrong are the people who don’t share his opinion.

    However, none of that matters for me, because when I hear this song, what I see in my head is this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9qYF9DZPdw . Anyway, interesting to see one of the Bone Thugz still getting work ten years after their one hit wonder status. The underlying chord progression is decent, although it ought to change up more between the verse and chorus.

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