D12 (with Eminem) — “Purple Hills” / “Purple Pills”

The first time I heard ‘Purple Hills’ (thank you again, MuchMusic), it was a silly little ditty that reminded me of old-school rap like ‘Rapper’s Delight’ — MCs goofing on rhymes and wordplay, not worrying about street life so much as just the beats and the microphone. But, yes, the aired song was bleeped repeatedly, so you don’t hear gunshots, or f-bombs, or the word that ends the line, ‘Young, dumb, and full of…’ — gee, I wonder? Perhaps the lack of cussing added to the air of light-hearted whimsy permeating the song. And even without the clown suit and cactus suit and the Joe-Boxer-wearing would-be Fat Boy coming onto midgets in the video, the lazy refrain of ‘and somethin’, somethin’, somethin”uh, I dunno’ always makes me happy. ‘I’ve been so many places, I’ve seen so many faces, but nothing compares to those blue & yellow purple hills.’ Country roads, take me home to the place I belong’

If only. The REAL version of the song, I soon learned, is actually called ‘Purple Pills’. Women wave your pantyhose, sing the chorus and it goes — ‘I take a couple uppers, I’ve downed a couple downers, but nothing compares to these blue & yellow purple pills.’ Damn it. Instead of getting in touch with their inner John Denvers, Em & his cronies are getting high on any two-bit chemical they can get their hand on, and the song goes up in smoke. I think the reason for the bleeps in the first version is to disguise the stupid shit the rappers are trying to flow with. Even the somethin’ somethin’, once oh-so-charming, loses its appeal in the midst of all the scorin’ & snortin’.

If you’re going to offend, do it with a wink and a smile. The first 20 seconds of ‘Reptile Haus’ feature enough shout-outs to ‘dookie’ and ‘doo-doo’ that it goes from stupid to silly to funny in no time. Dig, if you will, a picture of a Timbaland raised in a cabin in the Appalaichian Mountains, laying down the tracks for ‘Are You That Somebody?’ with the duck in place of the baby, and then dumping all the beats in a muddy puddle to make them Ol’ Dirty Bastard dirty. Atop that queasy beat, the 3 MCs that comprise Hawd Gankstuh Rapphus (Fly-Bot Van Damn, Guy Albino, Duke Crapmore) drop their peculiar type of knowledge — ‘The other day I went to the zoo, and what did they do? They put me in the reptile haus.’ I said a hip hop, the hippie, the hippie — well, the hippie probably got bit on the ass by these 3 freaks barking like hard-up dogs let loose in a mannequinn factory. But they definitely have the old-school flow down pat, even if the patois is a bit off-center. This wonderful little ditty is available on their Load Records release, entitled Wake Up and Smell the Piss. Such a lovely bouquet. Now this is the type of sunshine I’d like on my shoulders in the morning.