“Teach These Cats How To Live In The Ghetto…”

08.07.08 9 years ago 11 Comments

Role Reversal

Looking back on my pre-high-school excursion to my friends’ rural, middle-Michigan cottage, a weekend theme of “Ghetto Supastar” seems somewhat amiss. I mean we were 13-year-old suburbanites being chaperoned to a two-story cabin, for Pete’s sake. There was nothing ghetto about it.

But, music is music, no matter what the title suggests, and occasionally it can transcend into something much more than song.

With the fresh-out-the-cardboard sleeve CD single getting a summer’s worth of burn to, fro, and every second in between the four-hour treks, it’s no coincidence that Pras’ only US solo hit will forever go hand-in-hand with that momentous trip that united and ignited a few life-long friendships.

Upon the first strum of that Wyclef-assisted bass-line crescendo, I’m immediately brought back to missing teeth, marshmallow-infused sibling rivalries and my mans’ prized Tommy sandals floating off into a fresh-water oblivion. When I hear ODB wailing the echoes of the first refrain, I can remember John, who will be on his second tour of Iraq in September as an Airman, falling asleep on the car ride to the cabin, banging “Supastar” on repeat from his disc-man at max volume, then denying it when we called him out on it. When I hear Mýa hypothetically trying to reel me away from reality with her super-catchy hook, I’m reminded of my un-tit-touching mind frame falling in love with the newcomer’s innocent voice, as I optimistically hoped, “God, this chick is going to be huge.”

And, then she was. Essentially, because of this song.

It was everywhere, and for good reason.

See, I wasn’t the only who couldn’t relate to the proclamation of the song name. You’d think the would-be target market had seemingly been set in stone with the inner-city connotation. But, instead, the feel-good, almost uplifting, nature of the song and music, coupled with the subliminally welcoming subtitle, “that is what you are,” made it such a crossover hit that it appealed to just about anyone who heard it. Including MTV, Billboard and the Grammy committee, who all nominated the song in their yearly award ceremonies.

If you heard “Ghetto Supastar” during that cherished summer of 1998, more than likely you weren’t one. But, it didn’t matter. It also didn’t matter where you were from, what color you were, or what type of music you frequented, it was just ‘your’ jam. It was everybody’s jam.

Really though, I didn’t even need to tell you that. All you had to do was simply look at Warren Beatty up top.

Pras Feat. Ol’ Dirty Bastard & Mýa – Ghetto Supastar (That Is What You Are)

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