Every dad has taken this picture.
Every dad has taken this picture.

What's the First Rap Song I Should Play For My Newborn Son?

In maybe one or maybe eight or maybe two or maybe six days, my third son will be pulled from my wife's womb. (C-section life, bitches.) He has a name, but I'm not going to tell you what it is. If you want to refer to him as Boy C, that's cool. That'll do just fine, I imagine.

There are a bunch of reasons to be excited, for sure. Like, when the baby's small, it's easy to take pictures in all sorts of poses, like Baby Heisman (above) or Baby Lion King (where Rafiki holds Simba up for all the other animals to see). And there's a litany of things I'll be responsible for teaching him, important things I've spent the last five years drilling into Boy A and Boy B's brains; how to spit, how to throw things (balls, rocks, punches), how to ride in a laundry basket down the stairs, etc.

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And those are all very neat things, of course. But what I've been thinking about more than any other, the thing that will shape the very nature of his condition, is what rap song will be the very first one to make its way inside his inevitably too-large ears and inside of his gummy, squishy brain.

I mean, that's a remarkable thing to consider. He will only ever be able to hear his first rap song once. If I screw it up, if I pick something haphazardly and without the proper amount of contemplation, the trajectory of his whole life could be altered irrevocably.

Say we get into the car to come home from the hospital and I reflexively turn the radio on and Future is playing? I don't imagine that the synthesized gobbledygook of "Turn On The Lights" pummeling his brand new hypothalamus would be any less traumatic to him than if I left him in the dumpster behind KFC for a few days. He'd definitely murder six or seven people by the time he was in the seventh grade.

So what then?

Do I go with something refined and classic, something like Biggie's "Big Poppa" or "Juicy"? Is that too clichéd? Is that too perfect? Would he grow up and proclaim that every lady in every place should be having his baaaaa-aaby, baaaaa-aaby? Ack.

Do I feign an appreciation for the groundbreaking songs that laid the framework for all of the rap that I love but came before I was able to properly experience them? I'd feel silly like, "This is Grandmaster Flash's 'The Message,' son. It manages to exercise the liquidation of culture that we should al--you know what. I'm lying. I don't know. People say I should love it, but it doesn't move me at all. Best I can tell, it's about a guy that lives in a building where people urinate freely. Sorry, tiny chillbro."

That doesn't seem right. I'm saying, I'll spend his whole life telling him lies (Daddy is a superhero; Daddy invented science; Daddy owns the Atlantic Ocean). And I won't think twice about that. But I don't want our first moments together to be untrue. I have a little thing called class.

So what then?

What about Bone's "Thuggish Ruggish Bone," one of the most important songs from my own youth? Is that selfish, or is that the whole point of being a dad? What about UGK's "One Day," the first song that truly warbled my existence (it's premise, that one day you're here and the next day you're gone, is unassailably forceful)? What about something from the Geto Boys (the Scarface/Willie D/Bushwick lineup, of course) or something from Kanye (definitely from Graduation or maybe from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy) or something from before Lil Wayne decided he decided he only wanted to ride his skateboard around the fringes of cosmic trash rap?

What about Jay's "22 Twos" or Tupac's "I Get Around" or Outkast's "The Art of Storytelling" or Busta's "Got You All In Check" or Master P's "Make Em Say Uhh" or Tribe's "Luck Of Lucien" or DMX's "Get At Me Dog" or The Roots' "You Got Me" or SNOOP'S "GIN AND JUICE" OR DRE'S " NUTHIN' BUT A G THANG" OR SPM'S "BLOODY WAR" OR SOMETHING ROOTED IN THE COUNTERCULTURE LIKE MF DOOM'S "KON QUESO" SO HE'S APPROPRIATELY COOL OR HOLY FUCK HOW AM I EVER SUPPOSED TO EVEN MAKE THIS DECISION?



I don't know. I'm hoping I'll go with Mos Def's "Umi Says," arguably one of the most beautifully written and executed songs of my lifetime, and one that has always (for reasons I'd like to keep to myself) reminded me of how certainly and concretely and unendingly I love my wife. I'm sure I'll screw it up though. It'll probably accidentally be something by Nelly.


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