The Popstream: Heavy D. & the Boyz, "Don't Curse"


Maybe you've heard of 15 year-old McKay Hatch and his No Cussing Club, probably in the context of running across some story about him online and subsequently starting office pools with your friends as to how many swirlies this kid will end up getting by the time he graduates high school. But if you don't take him seriously, rest assured that someone does -- namely Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors member Michael Antonovich, who actually declared the first week in March No Cussing Week in the city that made stars out of Ice Cube and Axl Rose. We (well, I) here at The Popstream are (uh, am) terribly alarmed at this development for a number of reasons: unless I've been reading my numbers wrong, something like 80% of my 20,000-weekly readership originates from Los Angeles County, and I assume that this whole No Cussing Week thing extends to advisories against the citizens of L.A. actually reading cuss words as well. This means I will have to go and censor all the cool new swears I was hoping to incorporate into my posts over the week -- words like dwrangler and skneader and f***ateer -- in order to keep my column's hit count from plummeting. It also means that I am going to have to be careful what videos I post -- fortunately, I found a classic of golden age hip hop that won't damage anyone's delicate sensibilities.

"Don't Curse" comes to us from Heavy D. & the Boyz's (Boyz'?) 1991 album Peaceful Journey, and the title says it all, really: it's one of those routines where everyone goes over the pitfalls of cursing but self-consciously stops themselves from actually using toilet talk, or at least finds radio-friendly ways to skirt the boundaries. It's a potentially corny gimmick, except that this track involves EVERY GREAT-IN-1991 EAST COAST MC EVER: Kool G. Rap ("Drop some verses for the bucks/Every word that you heard is cause I didn't give a f-- aw, shucks"), Brand Nubian's Grand Puba ("I'll take a famous curse word and just say kcuf" -- pronounced "koof"), CL Smooth ("Go ahead ask me, when I kick a curse in a verse, I say nope/Grab you by your hand, wash your mouth out with soap"), Big Daddy Kane ("the smooth rap inventor that enter/Parental discretion's not advised so there's no need to censor" -- though I can't think of a PG-friendly reaction to the flow with which he spits that second line), Q-Tip (who justifies his no-cussing stance in this track by letting slip that his mom's a big fan of Heavy D) and Pete Rock (who provides the classic boom-bap Booker T. & the M.G.'s-derived beat). It's as good as hip hop gets while staying "inoffensive" -- that word's in scare quotes because you may be personally offended by Heavy D's outfit and its futile attempt to prove that pinstripes are slimming.

Download Peaceful Journey on