I was listening to some Curtis Mayfield over a lonely dinner (that’s right ladies, I’m a big, sad teddy bear) and I heard a line that I had to go back and listen to again.
On the title song of his 1973 album Back to the World, Curtis (not that one, silly) drops this none-too subtle jab at the teen sensation:
Soulja boy ain’t got no job.
Download: Curtis Mayfield – Back to the World
I’d hesitate to say that Soulja Boy will be out of a job anytime soon. He’ll host a reality show or two before he’s out on the street. He’d also be a fine candidate for Dancing with the Stars. Though some may argue that Curtis Mayfield passed long before he could watch and respond to Soulja Boy’s YouTube shenanigans and that Back to the World is about GI’s returning from Vietnam, I think the evidence speaks for itself.
Diss or not, this gives me an excuse to post a classic song from one of my all-time favorites. Curtis Mayfield was funky as hell and still smooth enough for soul audiences. His distinct voice can be heard over some of the finest compositions ever, many of which are heavily sampled in rap music. Listen to any Curtis Mayfield album (especially Short Eyes) and you’ll hear a lot of familiar music. Aside from having a classic sound, he was exposing the perils of the hood long before N.W.A. On Pusherman, he assumed the role of a dope dealer – a convention that’s as much a standard in rap music as saying your own name during the intro of songs.
Rap music owes a lot to Curtis Mayfield. And if he doesn’t like Soulja Boy, nobody should.
As a side note, there have been far too many posts about Soulja Boy on ML these days.