Ever listen to a song, think you know the lyrics to it, something in particular makes you wonder about what the artist really meant by it… and then you find out that you just heard it wrong? Yeah that recently happened to me.
Waka Flocka Flame’s track “Hard in Da Paint” came out in 2010, but it’s only recently that I first heard it.
For those not yet in the know, this is Waka Flocka Flame.
Interestingly enough, I first heard the song as part of this video parodying the Windows 95 launch.
After watching that, the song was in my head the rest of the day, so I had to have it on my playlist. I bought that track on the iTunes Store and then I was rocking that song in my headphones. I must have listened to it like 10 times in a row as I was pimp walking through town, running errands… like paying for my son’s ice skating lessons and picking up some groceries, that kind of stuff.
Each time I listed to the track, there was something I kept hearing though that got me wondering…
For those that never heard the song, here’s the music video
A number of times in the song, Waka Flocka or his hype man in the background would yell out something that sounded to me like “BRIDGEPORT!”
Wait, Bridgeport?… as in Bridgeport, Connecticut?
Now, calling out the name of a city and referencing it a number of times in a rap song is not unusual in itself. It’s basically a way of announcing to all the hood you represent and the people you grew with back in the day.
Mobb Deep represented Queensbridge projects and would give a shout out to Queensbridge in their songs.
Wu Tang would shout out to Shaolin, referencing Staten Island.
Listening to the lyrics and looking at the music video, he looks like from the streets, so I was originally thinking he must come from some really hardcore neighborhood. Maybe Compton (the MV took place in Los Angeles), but his style definitely sounded more from down south, Atlanta more likely in my mind. I didn’t Wikipedia him yet, so I just was building up these assumptions in my head as I was jamming to the track, hanging on a strap in the crowed MTR train.
But that shoutout in the song, was tearing through these assumptions I had. OK, I figure, so he’s from Bridgeport, Connecticut then. That’s OK right. Wait a minute, that can’t be right, right?
I have to admit, the reason this seemed strange to me is because I tend to associate Connecticut with probably all the worst stereotypes of preppy, upper class life. I had this picture in my head of Bridgeport, CT looking like a J. Crew catalogue, filled with preppy, uptight, country club membering, beemer driving, Arnold Palmer drinking, pastel wearing, “Caddyshack” movie villains.
I figured it would be the kind of place where guys wear brompers.
I start wondering, did Waka Flocka Flame really come from “the streets?” Or did he go to douchebag prep school or something? By hard in the paint, did he mean the polo grounds or worse… the croquet court?
Please say it ain’t so!
I figured, I must have a warped idea of Bridgeport, Connecticut… Bridgeport must be one of those towns with the rich douchebags on one side of the tracks and all the street cred and coolness on the other side of the tracks. Kind of like that movie Airborne with Jack Black and Seth Green.
For those that have never seen Airborne, it’s like Gleaming the Cube, but with rollerblades instead of skateboards, and no one dies, and it’s funnier, and I think there’s no romance in Gleaming the Cube…. OK, on second thought, it’s nothing like Gleaming the Cube. Check out the trailer though.
So now I’m thinking to myself, maybe Waka Flocka grew up being part of the cool, roughneck kids of this town, maybe even joined in on their hockey matches for bragging rights against the rich douchebag crew. It’s possible he even was one of the guys in on the big race at the end to stick it to the man once and for all.
OK, so at this point, I figure I’m letting my imagination run too wild. I decide to find out for myself what’s the deal with Bridgeport.
I look up on Wikipedia and it seems that I did indeed have a warped idea of Bridgeport. This doesn’t seem like some bastion of upper class, coked out, yuppies. Bridgeport actually seems like a chill, little, seaside working class town with a Planetarium and museum dedicated to circuses.
So feasibly, he may have gotten his street cred in the industrial parks of this sleepy seaside community… with the help of a surfer dude that just moved into the neighborhood and a Jack Black looking guy.
No! I needed to get to the bottom of this mystery. I needed to, once and for all, determine what was Waka Flocka shouting out to in his song.
I head over to genius.com where they have lyrics to like every song ever made… and finally get my answer.
1017 Brick Squad. It’s the name of his record company. Founded by Gucci Mane and also the label of Young Thug. It’s his record label that he’s doing shoutouts too. Thank you Wikipedia!
OK, so I felt like a fool. Shows how’s out of the loop I was, I never heard of Brick Squad. I’ve heard of Gucci Mane and Young Thug, but still this is a generation of hip hop artists that I’m only slowly getting acquainted with as my playlists as still jam packed with 80s and 90s rap.
I also, looked up Waka Flocka’s true origins… born in South Jamaica, Queens, New York (just a quick ride from where I was born), and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. Ah hah, so I was right. Yeah, he’s not from no boring Bridgeport, Connecticut. Fuhgedaboudit.
In either case, it was all just a misunderstanding. Sorry Waka Flocka.
And on that note, time to check out some more of Waka Flocka Flame’s tracks.