One of the advantages of being self-employed and working from home is that I am able to play lots of really loud hip-hop, and rap along at the top of my lungs in an excruciatingly awkward thirtysomething-white-man fashion. In a more conventional office workplace this would be somewhat embarrassing, if not entirely inappropriate, but in the comfort and privacy of my own studio I am free to really let rip. There is, however, one significant problem with the practise. As a guilt-ridden middle-class liberal of impeccable credentials, there is.... a particular word that I am literally unable to say. Even in the privacy of my own studio, where there is no-one around to hear or be offended. And, unfortunately, it is a word that is used a lot in a lot of rap songs. I mean, really a lot. You know the one, it begins with 'N'.
This has caused me minor consternation for years, as when happily rapping along to The Roots or Nas in my pleasantly ridiculous fashion, I am forced to either simply skip over the word, performing a self-imposed mental version of a radio DJ pressing their cough button, or substitute a random incoherent mumble for the offending N-word. Either of these take a certain amount of memory and concentration, which are not exactly my core competencies anyway, and generally end up messing up my otherwise formidable Flow. Even worse are the rare occasions when I fluff the procedure and the word slips out, causing me to spend the rest of the afternoon in the throes of a crippling liberal guilt attack and worrying that my subscription to the Guardian will be revoked.
As you can see, this is a major problem for me. I would go further, in fact, and describe it as a major social problem for our times. However, it is a problem which I am happy to say I have totally solved. And all it takes is the easy substitution of the word 'ninja' for, you know, the other word. This is perfect, as:
a) it sounds almost the same anyway so the lyrics still flow perfectly
b) it renders even the hardest-to-excuse examples of gangsta rap into songs about ninjas. And I don't know about you, but I find that pretty amusing.
fig. 1.1 - The Wu-Tang Clan, Shame on a
fig 1.2 - Geto Boys, Damn it feels Good to be a Gangsta (Ninja)
fig 1.3 - Gangstarr, The Militia (Ninjafied Version)
My only regret is that this is without question the single greatest idea I will ever have in my life, and yet it is one that will almost certainly never make me any money. But that's it, my gift to the world and to future generations. You can thank me later.
Gangstarr, The Milita. Greatest video of all time? Very possibly yes.
Geto Boys, Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta. Doesn't it, though?