Hi! My name is Panama Jackson, you may remember me from such musical expositions as Tupac Back: You Can’t Be A Thug Angel If You Won’t Die N*gga and The Areola Heard ‘Round The World: Aretha Franklin and You. Well today we’re going to discuss a genre of R&B that is quite prevalent and has its roots in both the African griot community and the halls of ghetto America: hoodrat R&B.
Hoodrat R&B is the arena that appeals most to hoodrats. One might ask themselves, how does one appeal to hoodrats? Good question. Very good question. To see how we do this, we will use the pre-eminent album in the canon, Teedra Moses first rendering, Complex Simplicity. This album is a study in hoodratism and general f*ckery. And it is to be loved by all who beckon to the booty gods.
Full disclosure, upon first hearing this album I hated it. I thought it sucked more nuts than two squirrels at an AVN convention. I even trashed it publicly on my old website. Then shortly after, on a cold November night, I placed the spherical disc in this machine…a machine of discness and compactibility. Then my world changed. I actually met Teedra Moses a few years back and apologized. She had no idea why, nor did she care. Either way, Complex Simplicity is a great album. It’s also everything you ever need to know if you want to specialize in hoodrat R&B.
Are you curious why?
The Teedra Moses Complex Simplicity Blueprint Model for Hoodrat R&B
1. Exhibit hoodrat characteristics
Look, I don’t know Teedra. But what I do know is that she got knocked up by a rapper who has spent more time on the run than Carl Lewis. Who is her rapper baby daddy? Ras Kass, one of the better rappers that nobody really remembers. His Soul On Ice album and title track should be bronzed, but it won’t be, cuz dude spends more time in jail than Gucci Mane. The most important part of setting the standard for a genre is to dress for the job you want. I think getting knocked up by a jail loving conscious rapper is par the course. After all, he will make you see LA like Ed O’Bannon. Get it, UCLA = you see LA? Forget it. Call me now!
On to the music.
2. Focus on topics that hoodrats will be able to relate to and rally behind.
The opening words on her album, in the song, “Be Your Girl” are “don’t know if you got a girl, don’t mean no disrespect but thoughts of you rule my world…”
From jump she’s like, look, girl or no girl, I need to be your girl. You are on my mind booboo. All the time. Right now, I’m studying for my final exam at Everest College with the light skinned jumpoff from the commercial…you remember her, and I can’t focus because I’m thinking about you. Hey, I wonder, do you even notice me at all? You got to feel me. I mean, I would love you good, I just got to be your girl.
See, hoodrats focus is on snagging the crush. Girlfriend? Wife? Boothang? No worries because she said no disrespect. That means its fair game. Hoodrat logic.
Which reminds me, the scene in Talladega Nights where Ricky Bobby says that by saying with all due respect he can say what he wants is another example of hoodrat logic co-0pted by country white people.
Topics on Complex Simplicity include: songs that clearly state that a man’s backstroke keeps her around (explicitly stated by the way), how she’s the bomb diggy and if she decides she wants a man, it’s going down (no Joc), which is obviously part 2 of “Be Your Girl” since she’s just now catching the interest…he just doesn’t know he’s about to get got, “Caution” he’s falling.
3. Use hoodrat rally calls and nomenclature
The opening words of the single “You’ll Never Find ( A Better Woman)” – a dope song by the way featuring Jadakiss – are, “ooooooooooooh cat daddy”. That is the hoodrat Thundercat cry. In fact, every time I go to the hood, all I hear is women yelling “oooooooooooooooooh cat daddy” from the windows and from Corrollas, Prisms, and Sentras, the official cars of hoodrats. Thing is, Teedra’s voice is so insanely dope that when she says, as a cat daddy, I want to walk towards her and let her tell me that I’ll indeed never find another woman as good as her. And minus the prison loving baby daddy she might be right.
4. The Beat-A-B*tch Anthem
Teedra’s album contains one horridly mixed song produced by Lil Jon (a hoodrat connoisseur) called “You Betta Tell Her”. You see where this is going. It’s about some chick around town claiming her man, surely a topic all hoodrats can relate to, understand, and sympathize with. So what do you need to do…not only do you better tell her…you better get that b*tch told tonight. Yes, homey, you, with the other chick claiming you, go get that b*tch told. All up in the club. Or her little 4’11” arse will be on that a** like white on rice. I think if she released this song today in a better mixed format, it would go number one in every country with a Black woman.
I”m not sure if you spend any time on Twitter, but it’s a hoodrat heaven. It’s a little place where all hoodrats can go to talk about their haters, get b*tches told…but in a surprise move, be remarkably deep and inspirational with such gems as: If u c it, u kin acheev it. Lt ur h8trs b ur motivators. God luvs u. Jesus wept for ur h8trs. You see, hoodrats, despite the circumstances they’ve found themselves in are generally brimming with angst and otherworldlyness and ultimately, like Xscape, are only looking for understanding. Sure they might beat you down, but at the end of the day, the lament the society that put them in a position to do so. It’s a sort of complex simplicity if you will.
AHA!! Album title. Contradictory depth. All hoodrats can appreciate terms like complex simplicity as its how they define themselves on Twitter with handles like, LoudlyQuietThugMisses or (for the male hoodrat) Mis-terUndastoodHoodPain, or InnerTurmoil69 or SaveTheChirrenKillANi99a. You get the point. Teedra comes with this in spades. She has songs about the depth of her struggle. Like “Complex Simplicity” and “For A Lifetime”.
6. The odd cosign
See, hoodrat R&B singers all need a major cosign. Hers? Motherf*cking Raphael Saadiq on the song “Take Me” a dope as a mug song. In hoodrat, this is the mentor with major pull who finds that hoodrat that they want to help out.
7. The Mama Song
Tupac perfect it and its been duplicated to much less than stellar results ever since in hip-hop, but singers can generally never go wrong. And Teedra can sing. A lot. Her song “I Think of You (Shirley’s Song)” dedicated to her mother who passed away complete with an intro that uses the word “situation”. Hoodrats love this word because they always have situations. And mamas.
After all that you might be saying, hey, this is wrong. Everybody knows that Mary J. Blige is the blueprint. I’d agree except 1) she was well before her time; and 2) even on What’s the 411, she went remarkably vague. All of those songs were hoodrat in theory, not in practice. If you sang those words over more mainstream beats, you’d have had hits.
What about Monica? She gave it a go, but she was more hood as a person than she was in her music. Trust me. Destiny’s Child tried to go that route but ultimately they had to tone it back to sell records. They didn’t give it a full run.
Plus, they all heavily predated the genre in order to come up with a fully encompassing body of work like Teedra Moses and Complex Simplicity. It is an album that deserves its rightful place at the head of the hoodrat r&b table. Male singers like Ideal, Profyle, and Jagged Edge tried but were ultimately unsuccessful at fully connecting.
Teedra Moses is an icon. A beacon of R&B goodness. And ultimately she’s a testament to miss, thug misses, shy misses…and it doesn’t matter because you’re my misses.
If Teedra released her album today, it would go platinum, she was just a few years before her time, but roughly all of the music created by male and female R&B singers nowadays sounds like an offshot of the direct, straight from the hip deep and complex mind of Teedra Moses and they all owe a debt of gratitude to the Lioness. No Amil.
-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka TANGLE JIG P aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL HE A 3