Monday, October 15, 2007

Big Moe's dead, and his obituary in the daily paper raises comments about grammar, syrup, musical appreciation and Love

The death of the Houston rapper known as "Big Moe," whose predilection for ingesting cough syrup left quite an impression on his fans, should provide some much-needed grist for the Houston daily's new Readers Representative Pro Tem if he's willin to wade into it.

Here's where one question will come from ... the writer of Big Moe's obituary quoted a local hip hop expert on the decedent's legacy:

"(Big Moe) was the godfather of sipping drank, or making it what it is on record,'' said Crisco Kidd, a DJ on Party 104.9 FM..."Moe was like a big kid,'' said Crisco Kid. "And with his drank he was like a kid with a lollipop.''

We deduced quickly that "drank" means cough syrup, which contains codeine (a whole lot, in fact, if it's in the "concentrated form"), which, we know from keeping our our shaking hand on the pulse on all manner of trends both cultural and substance abusive, is quite popular in the nation's fourth largest city (Houston.)

The proper word, of course, is "drink," technically speaking, but no one in Houston's codeine-based community calls it that. They call it "drank."

So that's how the obit writer wrote it up -- drank.

This predictably raised the hackles of at least one reader, whose online comment I read earlier today (but which I can't now find, possibly because it's been removed by the Chronicle's arbiters of good taste.)

Even so, it's an interesting question for the multiculturally sensitive copy desk. "Do we say drink or drank? The guy talking SAID drank, and that's how it was spelled on one of Big Moe's albums, so maybe we should write it drank, but really, the dictionary here says it really should be spelled d-r-I-n-k....Think we need to call the Big Editor on this one?"

If it was me, I'd a probably wrote it thusly -- 'drank' -- cause if you put those single quotes around it, it shows that you know drank is really spelled drink, and you don't make Crisco Kid (who's not African-American, judging by his mugshot and his employer, Univision Radio! ) sound like a sissy.


Beyond that, if you go online and read the reader comments about Big Moe, an artist of whom I was ignorant as my music collection contains no rap except for a few Gheto Boys and Tupac tunes, you will learn that he played football at Yates High and was a heckuva gospel singer.

You'll also read the predictable crap readers write, about how the obit glorifies drinking drank, etc., etc., as well as a few well-meaning, educationally oriented comments about what exactly the term "Syrup City" means, and, some bio stuff that may or may not be true, such as assertions that Big Moe had kicked the syrup a long time ago (12 Stepper?) and was, in fact, a really bright fellow with a political science degree from the University of Houston.

But here are my two favorite comments, which I quote in full:

Fave comment #1 from a white girl country-western fan

Let me start by saying.. im just a girl from Klein.. who loves, GS, Texas music and most things a bit more country.. but i flippin stations one day a couple years back.. i caught the take end of Big Moes- Just a Dog. Loved it.. had to call my more ghetto fabulous friends and find out who sang it. I even bought the CD. I dont know what screw is.. or who the Screwed Up Click are, but i do know.. i really liked Big Moes music.. it had a great beat and i could understand the words. I am sorry to hear of his passing. All this city of syrup stuff.. who cares.. its better than talking about killing people.. and its just a tag for a song.. country talk of beer and somtimes cocaine.. hip hop and rap talk about liqouir and weed.. it is what it is.. Grow Up Houston...

Fave comment #2 from a reader who found True Love with a lil' hep from Big Moe's music

I remember being at a club one night and listening to his song "Like a Dog." I started grinding on this hot, tasty girl and lucky me, she danced back with me. This was four years ago, and now this girl and I are engaged.

It is pretty weird now that we both successful businesswomen (she's a lawyer, I'm a playwright) to think this is our song, but it is. From then on, I've been hooked on Big Moe and bought all of his CD's.

I had written a play about a yr ago in which there was a part specifically for Big Moe. Now, I'll never get to see him play my character....


One more thing ... here's Big Moe's "Purple Stuff" viddy (not my cup o tea, but to each his own):

{Click here for John Nova Lomax's Houston Press blog post that reports Big Moe "is the fourth of the 15 or so original members of the Screwed Up Click to pass away before turning 40, joining murdered brothers Fat Pat and Big Hawk and founder DJ Screw. (Big Mello, a later addition to the Click, died in a 2002 car wreck.)," of which we had no idea.}



Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to Big Moe's family and friends..he was an amazing artist, who showed us that it was okay to be educated, and not be ashamed of it. He will be missed.

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JD Allen said...

Makes you want to run out and get some cough syrup, don't it?

Yeah, it's sad, but try thinking of it as evolution in action.

It's even sadder, or more sad, whichever is more grammatically correct, to do a frikkin' commerical on somebody else's blog, and not even put your name on it.