Week 31 – Brian Weeks

Posted: October 30, 2011 in Brian Weeks, Week 31

I wrote this piece for a writing club I was in – the theme that week was “A song you can’t get out of your head.”

 

“I Thought I Told You That We Won’t Stop”

Built around a catchy Diana Ross sample, “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems” by the Notorious B.I.G. was the unofficial anthem of Summer 1997. The song was inescapable.

Pulling into the local McDonald’s any given night, you could hear the then ubiquitous ditty blaring from no less than fourteen cars at a time. MTV played the hell out of the video—the first single release since the rapper’s shooting death that March. He appeared posthumously on a video screen, flanked by dancing girls, and with Puff Daddy and Ma$e adding extra verses to Biggie’s in-depth musings about the problems of being wealthy. Even in dance clubs you could not hide from that song. Remixers Razor n’ Guido manipulated that three minute hip-hop jam into an eleven minute schizo-techno epic. The local radio stations in central New Hampshire did not play much “urban” music, but the color barriers were forever shattered when the song topped that charts.

One night that summer, I was at my friend Jenn’s house, preparing to go out. She was the designated driver (as she was the one with a car) as we, Jeremy, and Chuck prepared for the night’s festivities. Us guys had all had more than our fair share of Boone’s Farm wine and Mad Dog 20/20, and were dressed in our phattest outfits straight out of “The Source” magazine. We crowded into Jenn’s Dodge Neon and headed down to The Weirs, a lakeside neighborhood that doubled as a teenage hangout on long, hot summer nights.

We finally found a parking spot and spent the evening walking around, meeting up with friends, just seeing and being seen on the teen scene. Puff Daddy was experiencing a banner summer, as not only did he produce the monster hit for Biggie, he had also produced hit records of his own, and for Mariah Carey, MC Lyte, and L’il Kim as well. The man was everywhere. His words spoken over the intro of every song he touched reverberated in my brain like a mantra: “I thought I told you that we won’t stop—I thought I told you that we won’t stop…”

By two in the morning, I was on the verge of losing conciousness from all the booze—on top of what we had drank before we left Jenn’s, I had stashed a bottle of Sambuca under the back seat earlier in the day, and we had polished it off about an hour prior. After going down by the boat launch for some “herbal refreshment”, I had stumbled back up to the boardwalk with an epiphany.

Not only was Puff Daddy completely incapable of an original though or idea (every one of his remixes were built around a catchy sample of a prior hit for someone else), but he HIMSELF was the ultimate remix! Take a sample of Momma Daddy’s DNA and a sample of Poppa Daddy’s DNA, put them into a sequencer for nine months, give or take, and then debut the newest Bad Boy release—little Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs.

It was shortly after this epiphany that I got into the back of Jenn’s car and passed out. However, my thoughts of Puff Daddy’s world domination were not contained to my waking moments.

The world looked the same, but something was different. I was in my room at home, and had turned on the television to see the President of the United Stated addressing the country. However, it was not Bill Clinton on the screen, but President Puff Daddy. He was in the middle of announcing that his new single—the Bad Boy Remix of “The Star Spangled Banner” with his now classic Bad Boy Remix of “Hail To The Chief” on the B-side, would be dropping next Tuesday.
I sat there slack-jawed as he announced his cabinet—a virtual Who’s Who of the hip-hop game at the time, and he had even appointed a special “East Coast / West Coast Diphiphoplomatic Relations Task Force” that would be meeting in the first ever summit between Russell Simmons of Def Jam and Suge Knight of Death Row.

It was as if MTV had merged with C-Span and had produced an illegitimate love child. Vice President Ma$e was on a goodwill mission to England, bringing rhythm (and a very enthusiastic George Clinton) to the pasty white men of Parliament, so that they could, as noted in the New York Times, “tear the roof off this sucker”.

Just as CNN was reporting a billion-dollar national budget surplus due to proceeds from President Puff’s concert/lecture tour…. I awoke, still in the back of Jenn’s car, now parked in her driveway. The sun was up, and birds were chirping off in the distance. From the second story apartment across the street, I could hear the very familiar refrains of “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems.

Even if I hadn’t heard that song at just that moment, I probably would have threw up all over the driveway anyway.

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