Some young musicians perform on the stage and in music videos with the pipes of professionals and the swagger of seasoned veterans — and both kids and adults love it! What gets awkward is when these underage stars confidently sing lyrics that creep into adult territory, either laced with profanity, violence or sexual innuendo. Soul Train has rounded up some of this genre’s biggest offenders and their eyebrow-raising tunes.
Roxanne Shanté vs. Sparky Dee
Roxanne Shanté’s famous on-the-fly rhymes came in handy during her on-wax battle with fellow lady rapper Sparky Dee. During this particular sparring, Roxanne claims to get heated and lets loose a flurry of curse words and unflattering observations about her opponent — many that we can’t repeat here! This bout was just one of many during the famous Roxanne Wars of Golden Age Hip-Hop, and though the disses may sound tame by today’s standards, remember that Shanté is merely in her teens at the time of this recording.
“Let’s Get Busy”
With a name like Teen Dream, fans were probably expecting lyrics dealing with heartache, hitting the mall and crushes on the boys in homeroom. Lisa, Terri, and Nikki pushed the latter topic a step further with their 1987 moderate hit. Male singer Valentino croons, “All I want to do is make sweet love to you,” to which the teens respond, “Feel the same way, too/Whatcha gonna do/How I’m cravin’ your body/You should make your move.” All innocence is further lost on the repeated, hormonal chants of “let’s get busy” throughout, followed by one of the more blatant lines: “Like a Marvin song, let’s get it on.”
“Just Can’t Handle It”
“She said she would do anything/Just so she could hear me scream”, Tony Thompson wails on one of Hi-Five’s earliest tracks. What’s learned earlier on is that he’s 16 and the woman he’s pursuing (or vice versa) is 25! As far as we know, that’s statutory in most states. Thompson’s defense may include ramblings about the girl being fly, having a “funky walk”, and not being serious about their forthcoming encounter, which all were apparently enough to make him forget about school to go to her place instead.
Penned by Prince, Tevin’s fan-favorite features the 17-years-young singer lustfully seducing his lady friend. The track isn’t all class, though, as Campbell drops memorable lines such as, “In the daytime?/Uh-uh, I think not/I’d rather do you after school like some homework/Am I gettin’ you hot?/In my bedroom?/No, ’cause then we have to stop/I’d rather wait ’til everyone’s fast asleep then do it in the kitchen on the table top.” Such a change from the shy-guy persona introduced in “Can We Talk”, which appeared on the same album.
“Can U Get Wit It”
Along with a then-named Puff Daddy encouraging a young Raymond to cut class in the video, he also gave him a very ’90s-sounding slow jam (complete with references to Roger & Zapp and a laidback West Coast feel). The few romantic lines, “One day we could be together/’Cause you know that I wanna be down”, sound sweet, but Usher gets straight to the point with more direct prose: “But right now we can all forget it/You know I gots to get around” and “I’m not tryin’ to be funny/But it’s only a sexual thing.”
“Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number”
The title alone is questionable, but is especially eyebrow-raising given that a teenage Aaliyah was briefly married to singer and this song’s writer, R. Kelly, who later had legal problems related to his alleged dating habits with underage girls. Though bump ‘n’ grind smooth, the late songstress was 15 at the oldest when she recorded the almost cringe-worthy “Take my hand and come with me/Let me show you to ecstasy/Boy be brave, don’t be afraid/’Cause tonight we’re gonna go all the way.”
Foxy Brown feat. Blackstreet
“Get Me Home”
So, Foxy was about 15 when she dropped a few bars on the remix to LL Cool J’s “I Shot Ya.” Within the year that followed, she lent verses to classics such as Case’s “Touch Me, Tease Me” and Jay-Z’s “Ain’t No N—-.” Problem was she was still a teenager, one who regularly quipped every slang term available to describe female anatomy, as well as cursed up a storm on her own hits, “I’ll Be” and “Get Me Home.” Both from the Ill Na Na disc, which itself has connotations, “Get Me Home” is perhaps the most “whoa” inducing, as Foxy balls at a nightclub, drinks, and hooks up with a guy she just met.
“Crank That (Soulja Boy)”
Along with being called “what’s wrong with Hip-Hop” by Ice-T and other rappers, a then-17-year-old Soulja Boy also claims ownership of this No. 1 hit from 2007. While massively popular thanks to a catchy dance routine that appeared in the music video, speculation has arisen that the song takes on a more salacious meaning, specifically the terms “crank that” and “Superman that oh!” (or the letters in reverse, depending on how you listen). We’ll let you visit UrbanDictionary.com for further explanation.
Joel Lyons is a New York City-based aficionado of dance, pop and R&B. Experience his appreciation at www.ThatsMyJam.net.