A while back, professional pompous ass Bill O’Reilly browbeat Pepsi for planning to put the rapper Ludacris in some ads. O’Reilly claimed that Ludacris was "peddling antisocial behavior"; he objected to such Ludacris lyrics as "I been drankin' and bustin' too, and I been thankin' of bustin' you upside your fuckin' forehead." Pepsi went on to dump the rapper.
This is old news, and it was dissected hilariously last month by G. Beato. I bring it up because Fox’s high-priced crank apparently doesn’t know much about the star of a previous wildly successful Pepsi ad campaign -- Ray "You got the right one, bay-bay" Charles.
For the moment, let’s ignore the 1965 arrest for heroin possession, after which Charles admitted (according to the Rolling Stone Encyclopedia) that he’d been using smack for nearly two decades; Charles cleaned himself shortly afterward. And let’s overlook the fact that a year after his arrest Charles released a song called "Let’s Go Get Stoned"; at the time, "stoned" meant "drunk" as often as it meant "wasted on illegal drugs." I want to talk about his cheery 1968 tune "Understanding."
"Understanding," a meditation on love, features two spoken interludes by Brother Ray. In the second one, he says this about his "old lady":
….What I mean is, if she must play around, don’t let me catch her, because what I don’t see can’t hurt me, you understand? But on the other hand, if I should ever catch her, I’m not gon’ talk about her and call her a bunch of bad names like you-all might. No! Mmm-mmm. What I’m gonna do, I’m gonna go downtown to the hardware store and buy myself a double-blade axe handle, come back, square off, and believe me, her soul’s gonna belong to the good Lord, because her head gonna belong to me.
Gosh! There were songs that mentioned interpersonal violence before rap music was invented? Uh-huh.