Yesterday a friend sent me this track, and while I listened to it all day (without a clue who the artist was), I was debating whether it was truly serious or a parody of some sort. After keying in some absolutely ludicrous Google searches (“read a book rap song”; “read a mothafuckin’ book song”; “wear deodorant + it’s called speed stick rap lyrics”), I think I found my answer.
This song, Read a Book, is by Bomani “D’mite” Armah, who identifies himself on his MySpace page: “I’m not a rapper, I’m a poet with a hip-hop style.” Raised in D.C., Armah calls himself an educator, performer and activist (but definitely not a rapper). All of which sounds very serious, but doesn’t lessen the levity of Read a Book, clearly a parody of the Lil Jon school of rap. Although, I almost feel guilty saying the song is humorous because my best guess is “D’mite” is using it to make a statement. In the intro line (preceded by a Lil Jon-esque “yaaayeeeah”), he says, “I usually do songs with like hooks and concepts and shit, right? But fuck that, I’m trying to go blacker.” In that sense, it’s a bit reminiscent of De La Soul’s brilliant concept on De La Soul is Dead, which spawned countless imitators.
When the song kicks in, we get a Jeep-worthy beat (backed by like Beethoven’s Fifth or something) and repeating verses of lines like, “Read a book, read a book, read a god damn book” and “raise yo’ kids, raise yo’ kids, raise yo’ god damn kids” and (my favorite) “your body needs water so drink that shit”. Seriously, it goes on even more, either mocking the Southern style of rap or exposing the ills of society (or, more likely, both).
The more I think about it the more I can appreciate the not-so-subtle tone in which the song makes its point. One last thing: Brush yo’ god damn teeth.
Bomani “D’mite” Armah | Read a Book