I remember precisely where I was the first time I heard Dr. Dre's “Nuthin' But A G Thang”:
The song came out back when I was around 11. I'd accidentally avoided hearing it for the first few weeks/months it was out because my parents were pretty good at being parents. (Also, I was WAY more concerned with listening to that Fresh Prince and Freddy Kreuger collaboration track, “Nightmare On My Street.” I was like, “Snoop Dogg? Please. Can Snoop Dogg turn the sausages on the pizza slice you're eating into tiny human heads with your friends' faces on them? I don't think so. Checkmate, bitch*.”)
*Probably didn't say “bitch.”
The first time I heard the song was in this rinky-dink music store in this rinky-dink mall. They had this set-up where you could listen to all of the great new songs via headphones plugged into the wall. Listening through them was just about the greatest thing anyone could do on a Saturday morning.
My dad, a full-time bus driver, had taken me to the store. He'd agreed to DJ a party at a church festival later that night; he'd gotten the gig maybe because everyone knew he knew a shit-ton about music, but probably also because everyone knew he had the stereo equipment necessary. At the shop he was picking out music to supplement his inordinately large collection of classic rock and Tejano albums. He picked up the “Nuthin' But A G Thang” cassingle from that wall of songs without even listening to it. “This'll do,” he probably muttered. “No, I'm not buying you a lollipop shaped like a guitar,” he definitely muttered.
From there, the festival. Now, in retrospect, I'd like to re-watch the part of the night when that g-funk first came sponging out of the speakers (he played it twice). I wasn't aware enough to notice anyone else's reaction beyond my own (utter delight, BTW) but I imagine it was a pretty aces thing to see. Plus, it being a church gathering and all, I'm almost certain I would've made all kinds of “Nuthin' But A Jesus Thang” jokes all night. Regrets.
Whatevs, I don't recall the specific recoil that surely surrounded the song being played that night, but most people seemed to love it and it was a largely beautiful scene. Except for one kid, this shitawful schmuck named B. who was just about the worst. He was always around at the church, tucking his shirts into his jeans and putting way too much gel in his hair and just generally being a grade A asshole. You know the kid that thinks he's an adult and so the lame adults think he's adorable (“Awww, look at his blazer”) but the smart adults know he's actually a moron (“Is this fuckin' kid wearing a blazer?”)? He was that kid for this group.
When the song came on B., who fancied himself the actualization of hip despite being a turd with eyeballs, sprung up out of his seat. He walked right to the middle of floor and started dancing.
I will say this: For as loathsome as he was, and as much as I actively rooted for him to be stupid at everything, he was a gorgeous dancer. He moved like a svelte lust angel, his hips on swivels, his eyes fiery and intense. If he'd been fortunate enough to have been born without a tongue, he could've likely danced his way into becoming Sex President of the United States. Instead he had the ability to talk so he ended up growing up to work some menial job at a Toyota factory in Texas.
(A propos of very little: I happened across him at a wedding last month and he had a GIGANTIC forehead because of his receding hairline. It made me unreasonably happy. I walked right up to him and said, “…So I guess you don't need all that hair gel anymore?” [Actually, what I said was nothing. But in my head I zinged the shit out of him.])
At any rate, the song played and B danced. Other kids went and danced too. I'm not certain if it was because the song was just that moving or if it was because kids are lemmings that do whatever it is the other lemmings are doing, but the dance floor filled up with a quickness.
We all bounced and laughed and tried desperately to look cool, which I'm certain was the case for me because rather than attempt to create my own dance moves I was simply regurgitating the little routine that they do at the beginning of Bell Biv DeVoe's “Do Me,” a tactic that TO THIS DAY is still charming.
I remember watching my dad load all of his radio equipment into the car afterwards and being proud of him, though I didn't understand why. I kind of still don't. I don't think we ever talked about him playing that song and I'm not even sure if he remembers doing it not. But I do. And that's good enough.