Meditations on the ho stroll

The “ho stroll” being my personal terminology for the mainstream gigs I occasionally play. Despite the fact that the money is always better than any of my gigs where I can be creative and play good music, the ho stroll gigs are becoming increasingly difficult. The last few of them paid for my birthday trip abroad and a bathroom renovation so I should be motivated to keep chasing that paper. But I’m struggling.

I basically have to play music I hate for people I can’t relate to. This nullifies my biggest asset, which is my ability to make an emotional connection with my audience, otherwise known as that whole vibe conducting thing.

It should be easy actually, because most of today’s popular music takes no skill to mix. Actually, you generally don’t have to mix at all. Most of the songs are mad slow and you just drop them on the one and folks go nuts.

To keep the ho stroll money steady, I have to stay current. Usually I just get a zip file from my WPGC connect. That’s much better than the days when I’d have to prepare for such gigs by actually wasting money buying the records. Of course those songs weren’t as bad as today’s songs either. Still, the instant playlist approach means that I end up not knowing the songs very well, so sometimes I have to break down and listen to the radio (nOva, you’re a bigger man than I.)

It withers the soul and makes my brain ache.

Occasionally there’s a decent tune. I’m not mad at the new Lloyd jont, with Weezy interpolating “Paid In Full”. But that appeals to my old school sensibilities so maybe that’s not a good example.

I was struck by the fact that The Dream has a tune with a good melody. The most classic way to make a solid song is so rare on commercial radio that when you hear a standout melody it’s an event. I can’t front though, T-Pain has crafted a few quality melodies. But the props I had ready for The Dream were soured when I heard the album version that has a refrain of “fuck that nigga” sung in falsetto. I recommend the radio edit.

And sometimes I feel like I’m the only one noticing things that should make everyone howl in disbelief, like hearing Too Short’s old ass (who I admittedly loved as a youth) drop these jewels…

I got ten bad bitches, actin’ retarded
I’m tryin’ to meet a few new ones
What’s up with you girl, maybe we can do somethin’
Do you drink, do you smoke?
I could tell by your purse and your shoes you ain’t broke
Hang with me, the first thing you do is get stuck
Take you somewhere, later on you’ll get fucked, beotch!

…sandwiched in between shout-outs from local high school girls. Sometimes I wonder if we’ll ever learn.

But the pièce de résistance (for now) has to be “Bust It Baby”. This one is actually worth an embed. First of all, I can’t believe this saga has three parts, one of which features Janet Jackson (to hell with you Jermaine Dupri).

I now offer an exercise in audience participation. What is the most coonerific facet of the video below?

– the song
– the “performance”
– the outfit
– the comments

Even my little sister – a millennial who generally digs such fare – was like “I have to draw the line somewhere”.

8 Replies to “Meditations on the ho stroll”

  1. rhondamarie

    first of all, is that pronounced “plies” as in “flies” with a “p”?

    nevermind, that doesn’t matter.

    the second thing i have to say is (and this is going to sound awfully crochety) i’m going to guess all of the above because you can’t actually be expecting me to watch that video.

  2. I Feel U!

  3. I basically have to play music I hate for people I can’t relate to. This nullifies my biggest asset, which is my ability to make an emotional connection with my audience, otherwise known as that whole vibe conducting thing.

    Says it all right there. Great post.

    I’ve said this before, but I feel for ya. It’s good (and essential) that you have a balance between the ho stroll and your Marvin-type gigs. What’s your name for those? I can’t blame you though – paid for a trip and a renovation?! I need to get my Bev Bond on!

    Next time I see you, we’re going to have a situation. I lasted until about 2:25 of that fuckery. And the only reason I did it because I had no idea that “Bust It Babies” was actually a song until “Man” informed me. I didn’t understand ANY of the “words” that were coming out of his mouth and it’s likely a good thing. The whole damn thing was coontastic.

  4. What do I call the Marvin type gigs? The ones like this?


    I even play those for free sometimes, just because it keeps me from going off the deep end and keeps my skills sharp. Those moments are what got me into this and keep me going. If I go too long between gigs where I can really get my shit off, I start having emotional issues.

  5. Good one! Your exhiliration and the way dude is looking at you says it all.

  6. bigcityballer

    Wow. So much to chose from. I didn’t understand a word he said outside of all the MFers he dropped and the fact that he has an album coming out soon. He stunk but then again, I hate most of the rappers out there now. So to me, it’s a tie. It’s all coonish. But that’s what sells.

  7. Saeed, Chike, Kamau, Paul Howard, so many names i forgot who you knew me as?!

    Yo Rhome… i feel you dude. You are better than me in that you are still in the game like that. I had to get out because i could not bring myself to playing that sh#$! I remember being banished to the small floor by Marc Barnes because I was playing to much “Hip-Hop” and not enough commercial music. I always prided myself on breaking new music and playing songs that were not mainstream in order to educate the crowd. Eventually if I played it enough it would be mainstream to the crowd at least! I think the days of educating party goers is over! What are we true Djs gonna do man? Also we need to open up a serious discussion about the art of mixing and blending songs and not just hard cutting from hit to hit! I can’t stand it man!!! that diminishes the art to me and makes it seem like anyone can Dj. Wait… anyone can. Well at least Dj with some taste!

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