Carmageddon Playlist: 7 Songs that Namecheck the 405 Freeway
By Sheila Dichoso
Carmageddon is coming! We thought we'd remind you again about the three-day 405 shutdown. The media warns that chaos will ensue, so stay at home and smoke weed or something.
The San Diego freeway is notoriously loathed. Because of its congestion, we put up with way too many bumper-to-bumper dents and countless, insufferable radio plays of that LMFAO song (we prefer murder-suicide, thanks). The traffic drains us. The smog is slowly killing us. We are stressed. Tired. Wrinkly. The years it's shaved, the life it's sucked. We are as miz as the "Everybody Hurts" people.
But now that we won't have it (temporarily), we bet we'll kind of miss it. Hey - it's the lifeline of Los Angeles: It's our road to the Getty and Westwood; to faraway lands like the Valley and beyond, via LAX. And that northbound uphill you climb up the Sepulveda Pass and descend into the sprawling San Fernando Valley - have you driven by when the sky gets all orangey-blush as the sun's about to set? Right when you're ready to decry the 405 as another layer of hell, you see this gorgeous view. How dare they!
We all have our special 405 experiences and metaphorical moments - especially musicians. So let's spend Carmageddon appreciating the most congested freeway in the U.S. by checking out a Carmageddon Playlist of 7 Songs that Namecheck the 405. You can go back to hating it next weekend.
1. Thug Life feat. 2pac - "Stay True"
"Rollin' down the 405/Gettin' high/White boys done wrecked their shit/Tryin to check my ride"
Tupac's early '90s hip-hop group recounts L.A. hustling in this easy, breezy West Coast car jam. Survival, the California way, includes cruising the 405 to "pick-up some hoochies" to "ride back to the movies."
2. Neko Case - "In California"
"Another suicide on the 405/The black dahlia, she smiles and smiles/It's the same old town that bled her dry"
Any starving artist, musician or writer can relate to this gloomy little ditty's "I moved to this city to become an artiste but I hate it because I miss you" theme. But this can be good: With Big City loneliness comes inspiration. So put on your best Glasgow smile, dammit!
3. Jimmy Eat World - "If You Don't, Don't"
"Don't you know what I'm thinkin'/Drivin' 405 past midnight/You know I miss you"
We'll never forget emo of the early aughts. In other words, rock history's screaming, angst-ridden teenaged stepchild. Vocalist Jim Adkins declares himself a mess: He squandered all the money he could suck from his ex yet he never loved her back. While driving on the 405, he realizes he misses her! Ugh, maybe you deserve to be sad.
4. Mack 10 feat. Ice Cube - "Westside Slaughterhouse"
"Leaving blood stains on Broncos/In a Hertz rental I drive on the 405/Is he dead or alive/Jumpin' over chairs as I run through the airport"
This diss track was released in 1995, the height of the East Coast-West Coast feud, so you know, hip-hop was sort of a bloody Wild West back then. Which explains why Ice Cube attempts to convince the East just how ruthless he is by alluding to O.J. Simpson's infamous 405 car chase. Instead of surrendering, he heads to LAX to chill in the Bahamas.
5. Terra Naomi - "The Vicodin Song"
"You can drive you can drive you can drive/down the 405 to the 101 to my house/These highways are in so many songs/so much sad history described in a ride"
Singer-songwriter Naomi pleads a guy to drive to her place in Malibu. Yes, she knows it's a long-ass drive, but maybe suggesting a pill-popping party will lure him in. "I got a pocket full of pills and not one lover and I'm feeling so bad and so good," she confesses. OK, that's just heartbreaking yet so relatable. It makes us think of all those times we've driven aimlessly on dark freeways.
6. Cypress Hill - "Smuggler's Blues"
"So get the trucks ready, and let's hit the back roads/To scam this motherfuckin' ass border patrol/Back on the 405 on the way to L.A."
This ode is for herb smugglers trekking to Mexico - all for the sticky green. With only thirty miles left to L.A., B Real conveys that the 405 can taste like delicious freedom.
But the best one?
7. People Under The Stairs (P.U.T.S.) "The L.A. Song"
"A lot of cats are implants/Claimin' our labels something to say and something to prove and/At the shows with the flows and they think the crowds groovin'/Its like the 405 at 5:30 nobody's movin"
To effectively insult wannabe MCs claiming L.A. as their turf, use the 405. But really, this is the underground hip-hop duo do it for hometown pride; this is really a love song to L.A.. We'll throw up the dub to that.
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