With our compadre Ta-Nehisi thinking deep thoughts and WEFUNK providing our daily soundtrack, hip-hop’s been on Microkhan’s brain all week—yes, even more so than usual. And the question we’ve been asking ourselves is what, exactly, separates the wheat from the chaff in the land of lyricism? Is it pure mastery of metaphor? Yeats-like poetic timing? Reckless bravado? Or perhaps some witches brew that combines all three, along with myriad other ingredients that our musically ungifted mind will forever strain to identify.
We do know what we like, however, and one thing we’ve always adored is esoteric specificity. Such is the case with Ghostface’s rightly celebrated verse on “Cash Still Rules/Scary Hours” (above), in which he offers the following couplet:
This souped up, individual stuck, the new stuff
Same kid cryin’ on the stand with Judge Cuffner
We spent years wondering who this “Judge Cuffner” might be, if not a figment of Tony Starks’ fertile imagination. Well, mystery solved, by none other than the man’s son:
My father, while he was still a judge, once revoked ODB’s probation and sent him to prison. For his efforts, he became a lyric on “Cash Still Rules/Scary Hours” from the double CD “Wu-Tang Forever”.
That’s been the stuff of family legend ever since…According to Dad, ODB had a great lawyer (now a New York State Senator) who kept his client out of jail for quite some time by coming up with new and innovative rehab programs to replace the one ODB had just failed to meet, but Dad’s patience finally ran out, and the rest is history.
Somehow, this knowledge makes us love the song all the more. Why is that?