Gangsta Rap Has Nothing on Filthy Blues of Old

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 5, 2009 3:47 PM CDT
A bloody knife.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Some complain about the explicit lyrics in rap, but modern MCs have nothing on early-20th-century blues singers. Compared to them, “the members of NWA are levelheaded concerned citizens,” says Cracked. A sampling:

  • "A to Z Blues," Blind Willie McTell, 1956: "I'm gonna cut A, B, C, D on top of your head; That's gonna be treating you nice like mama you ain't gonna be dead." Don't worry—he finishes the alphabet.

  • "22-20 Blues," Skip James, 1931: "Sometimes she gets unruly; An she act like she just don't wanna do; But I get my 22-20; I cut that woman half in two." At least James prefers the 22-20 to the "too light" .38.
  • "Shave 'Em Dry," Lucille Bogan, 1935: An ode to her own sexual prowess that "would make Lil' Kim blush."
  • "Whoopee Blues," King Solomon Hill, 1932: Not only does the singer murder his unfaithful girlfriend, but he finds her a new beau. "I said, Undertaker been here and gone, I gave him your height and size; You be makin' whoopee with the Devil in Hell tomorrow night."
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