Songs About Fucking: On the sex-positive, intersectional qualities of Bmore club

City Paper

Electronic drums drop mid-pump and a smooth-talker with a little bit of a lisp begins: “Bitches had enough? Now, bitches want the big dick?/ Don’t ask me where the weed at, yo, if you really need that/ My Eastside niggas say, my Westside niggas say, my Southside niggas say, my D.C. niggas say/ GIMME SOME HEAD, GIMME SOME HEAD, GIMME SOME HEAD.” Then, whinnying pop-Penderecki strings from film composer Bernard Herrmann’s ‘Prelude’ off the iconic score to “Psycho” poke the increasingly energetic beat and the whole thing loops, like it’s got a good stroke going, and ends up sounding like Ginger Baker jazzily drumming along to two house anthems at once with a dick-joke-packed Rudy Ray Moore party record looping in the background.

It goes on for seven minutes and 20 seconds. The song is DJ Booman’s ‘Gimme Some Head’ from 1999, sort of a Blowfly-like riff on Busta Rhymes’ 1998 hit ‘Gimme Some More,’ and but one of literally hundreds of Baltimore club songs about fucking constructed since the city’s home-brewed party music hybrid began in the early ’90s. 

City Paper’s annual Sex Issue seems an ideal time to look at the genre this city spawned and appreciate its sex-positive outlook. Baltimore club was born out of the queer-friendly Chicago and New York house and disco scenes and the lewd Miami bass sound, popularized by the freaky libertarianism of Uncle Luke (“If you believe in having sex say, hell yeah,” the 2 Live Crew figurehead and free speech advocate screamed on a 1989 song of pretty much the same name; DJ Class would quote it on 1999’s ‘Tear Da Club Up’).

You hear these influences right from the start, on what is arguably the first Bmore club music record ever, 1991’s “The Sounds of Silence,” credited to D.J. Scotty B. (better known as Scottie B) and The Equalizer. Their track ‘All About Pussy’ features a chugging hip-house rhythm and haphazardly sampled clips of comedian Andrew Dice Clay (“I’m all about pussy, I’ll tell you that much . . . I live it, I dream it, I fuck it”) and on the throbbing breakdown, raunchy porno clips (“fuck that pussy fuck that pussy fuck that pussy, oh yeah”!) complete with cheap VHS crackle.

Baltimore club wouldn’t look back after that, and a club mix to this day isn’t worth much without similarly minded songs such as Rod Lee’s ‘Hit Dat Ass’ (“Hit dat ass from the back, girl how you make your pussy jump like that?”) or DJ Technics’ ‘Get Up On It’ (“get up on it and ride that thing, I get up on it and ride that thing . . . bang bang choo-choo train, get up on it and ride that thing”) or a few songs that talmudically quote, sample, interpolate, or are at least heavily indebted to them. DJ Technics, by the way, is something of a master of intimate eccentricity with tracks like ‘No Money, No Licky,’ ‘Sho Dem Toes,’ and 1997’s bonkers singsong ‘Lick Yo Clit,’ off “Theo EP,” featuring a vocalist who cannot be contained (or properly mixed, for that matter), cackling “I would like to lick your clit, if you suck my dick, I’m gonna lick your clit,’ stretching the “i” sound in “clit” like he’s Minnie Riperton on ‘Loving You’ or something.

If it all sounds rather middle school and aggro that’s because it totally is, though as Theo’s chant there suggests, there’s room on these songs to demand an exchange of services which puts straight men and women on an even playing field on the dance floor, which, of course, doubles as the bedroom. 

A few telling favorites: DJ Snoopy and Lil Momma’s ‘Clits and Dicks,’ whose hook is a proto-Rye Rye chirp of, “Where da bitches who suck the dick?/ Where da niggas who lick the clits?”; KW Griff and DJ Booman’s ‘Git Ya Freak On,’ which demands all the “ladies shake [their] tits” and all the “fellas grab [their] dicks”; and K-Life’s ‘I Get Too Much Pussy,’ which riffs on Scotty B and Equalizer’s early contributions to the genre (‘All About Pussy’ and another “The Sounds Of Silence” track, ‘Much Too Much’). And because club governs itself, ‘I Get Too Much Pussy’ removes the meathead Dice Clay samples and instead excitedly asks, “Who’s that girl with that good pussy?” and adds a meek vocal that just says, “your pussy taste so good.” It’s actually kind of sweet.

Still club music is mostly a straight boys’ club and what black feminist Tricia Rose said of hip-hop (it’s “basically a locker room with a beat”) certainly applies to most club, though it’s still a far more inviting variation on hip-hop, not entirely held down by the misogynistic mores of the dominant rap culture. Club music’s mid-2000s renaissance mind you, was helmed by DJ K-Swift, which means that for a whole generation of kids rocking off, club music was mostly delivered by way of a woman. Then there’s Blaqstarr, whose mumbling soulful vocals often took on an R&B quality (if club music is for fucking, then R&B is for “making love,” and Blaq appropriately, sensitively, blurred the borders between the styles), and from there, you get Rye Rye boasting of her “bangin’ ass body,” out-‘Milkshake’-ing Kelis on ‘Shake It To The Ground’ and TT The Artist’s ‘Pussy Ate’ from 2013. 

‘Pussy Ate,’ punctuated with ecstatic naturalistic moans (a more realistic take on porno grunts and screams of the genre’s early days), recalls Scotty and Equalizer’s ‘All About Pussy,’ but answers the past 20 years of lip-smacking, mostly male club: “Don’t want no car, don’t want no cash, don’t want no date/ I just want my pussy ate.”

One of club’s biggest stars was Miss Tony, a gay male vocalist in drag closely tied to Frank Ski, club producer and radio DJ best known for Baltimore club’s most popular song to this day, ‘Doo Doo Brown.’ In 1992 Ski would release ‘Tony’s Bitch Track’ as a follow-up to ‘Doo Doo Brown.’ It is a provocative soliloquy with Tony howling that he’ll “take your boyfriend” and boasting that he possesses a “PhD in dickology.” 

And if you flip Scotty and Equalizer’s “The Sounds of Silence” EP around, you’ll find ‘Angel’s Groove’ credited to “Angel Terrell as Angel X” on the B-side. Angel’s a gay vocalist boasting of riding “on a 15-inch hard dick,” and telling listeners, “I live it, I eat it, I suck it, and yes I will fuck it,” which means the “first” club record devotes an entire side to queerness, a fact about the genre that is almost entirely overlooked.

There, Angel kicks off the tits/dicks equal-opportunity fuck songs that would pop up in club music in the ’90s and bring us all the way up to the more corrective present where Abdu Ali can boast on the demonic club rap ‘Say Something,’ that he has both a “dick” and a “cunt.” See also: Schwarz remixing Nicki Minaj’s ‘Only’ into a vogue-oriented, ass-eating banger that includes a sample of Jay-Z from ‘99 Problems’ decontextualized from its rebel-rap tough talk to just say, “you can kiss my whole asshole,” puckishly turning one of rap’s most corporate and, these days, safest rappers into an anilingus enthusiast, which hey, he may very well be, but hasn’t yet revealed in song.

Club music finds hetero men and women partaking in the raunch of club together willingly and comically. Meanwhile, emboldened queer voices like Miss Tony’s course through the genre to this day. Club’s sexuality, fun, malleable, and engaging, must cater to everybody in the club—male, female, trans, gay, straight—and as a result, enables a kind of pragmatic intersectionalism. Hell, even DJ Booman’s ‘Gimme Some Head’ is the B-side to ‘Scrubz,’ a sped-up, disco-tinged take on TLC’s 1999 anti-basic-boys anthem ‘No Scrubs.’ 

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