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#1 Stunna. Manny Fresh. Lil Wayne. Goodie Mob. These are a few of the many reasons Southern (atlanta, new orleans, carolinas, whatevers) hip-hop is crazier than all other brands. It really does exist outside the norm. The artists, despite their excessive investment in fresh gear, platinum and ice, always manage to look like they work the day shift at a scrap metal yard. I don't know what it is. Identifying characteristics of a Southern rap artist: dark-skinned, very sweaty, either too thin or too fat, and a mouth so sloppy with gold fronts that it looks like he (or she) just finished eating a whole bag of solid gold oreo cookies and didn't bother to brush or floss afterwards. That's the dirty dirty archetype.

One of my favorite Southern artists is Petey Pablo primarily because he, more than most of his peers, appears to have just walked right off the street. He has dents in his head and a wide-spread torso that owes its shape to the Convicted Felon Workout Program. Pablo looks like a pit bull standing on its hind legs, and most of his videos find him running around from barbecue grill to grill, in various states of removing his tank top. Pablo's first really big single was "Raise Up", in which he delivered some very complicated instructions to listeners. He insisted they remove their shirts and then spin them 'round (over their heads) like a helicopter. He should have also issued instructions to resist the temptation to shout "wheeeeee!" as you spin your shirt, because that shit is kind of fun. I liked this song because it took the art of call and response to a new level. Jay-Z was satisfied with hearing "nigga who?" in response to his "nigga what?" Old school rappers made it easy by standardizing. Every single artist had the same request: throw your hands in the air and wave them like you just don't care. (some artists would build on this. biz markie would sometimes add things like "and if you got clean socks and underwears everybody say 'oh yeah!'") It was easy to learn, and easy to follow. But Petey doesn't care. His call and response requires disrobing, gannt charts, storyboards, etc.

So it only makes sense that his new single has taken Pablo's body of work chest-deep into the absurd. The single is called "Blow Your Whistle", which is probably a tribute to the soul searchers song of the same title, and to a sort of lost phenomenon of whistle-salutes that accompanied soul and dance music in the disco-era, though I keep trying to figure out if it also means something dirty. (fingers crossed) Here's the thing that's brilliant about the video for "Blow Your Whistle". The song is an elaborate imperative, asking people to blow their whistles for Petey Pablo, even if it drives parents and other authority figures insane. The video, however, actually contains tons of footage of people BLOWING WHISTLES. And not just those crappy crossing guard whistles. These instruments are hot - long, plastic slide whistles.

In the video, men, women, and children are all seen blowing whistles, and Pablo himself (still not far from a recent incarceration) can be seen leading a group of hoodrats, Pied Piper-style down the street of his neighborhood. (just before disappearing into a manhole for reasons unknown to me) He has his own whistle, too, but there's no way Petey Pablo is going to be seen carrying a colorful plastic whistle. He's got a pimp-flute: a slide whistle made of platinum, and encrusted with diamonds. Yes. Yes he does. Now blow it.

I think there should be a museum dedicated to everyday objects that have been inappropriately bling'd for the purpose of serving as props in rap videos. The whistle is definitely a personal favorite, and holds a spot in my heart right beside the diamond-studded children's school desk used in Ali's "Boughetto" video earlier this year. (scroll down to the video dated "3.02.02" and get booji and ghetto at once.)

WE FIRST MET ON 11.14.2002

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