Thursday, August 22, 2013

Alter Ego (With Footnotes)

Here is the sixth in my series of lyrical examinations of the songs of my debut mixtape, "Core Nerd!"

As I say in the song Liquid Thunder, "My rhymes are so dense you're gonna need footnotes." Here they are...

This time, for the song "Alter Ego."

This is another song with a simple premise. It's a straight ahead rap boast song, but all the metaphors are based on comic book superheroes, but only using their alter ego names, not their superhero names.

Like Peter Parker, it's time to swing
You can't comprehend the misery I bring

Parker is Spider-man, of course, known for swinging around on webs. The second line is a bit of a call-out to the lyrics to my song "Charlie Sheen."

Like Bruce fucking banner, it's time to smash
My words go boom, my words go crash

Banner is the Hulk and his catchphrase is "Hulk smash!" The second line is a reference to something, but I can't remember what, I want to say it's meant to evoke KRS-One.

I can see through your shit, like you were Sue Storm
You ain't got style, you ain't got form

Storm is the Invisible Woman.

Like Ororo Munroe, I ride the wind
Weak-ass rappers? You started that trend

Munroe is Storm of the X-Men, who flies by riding the wind.

Like Johnny Storm, it's time to flame on
In the game of life you're just a pawn

Storm is the Human Torch, whose catchphrase is "flame on."

Bringing down the hammer like I was Don Blake
Your soul I'll steal, your spirit I'll break

In the early days, Thor had a human alter ego, Don Blake, who was a handicapped doctor. Thor's weapon, of course, is his hammer.

As if you were Reed Richards, stretchin the truth
Your fans go bye, your friends go poof

Richards is Mr. Fantastic whose powers involve being able to stretch his body to extreme lengths.

My rhymes fly over your head like Norrin Radd
I don't hate your flow, it just makes me sad

Radd is the Silver Surfer who flies around on a cosmic surfboard.

Bigger, faster, stronger, more
You already lost when you walked through the door
Smarter, wiser, better, best
You think you're the shit, but you're just like the rest

The chorus was probably the first thing I came up with on the song. The "bigger, faster, stronger" part was marketing language that I can't remember where I first got it from. On some level, it's probably a reference to the title of the South Park movie title, "Bigger, Longer and Uncut." There is also a documentary about steroid use--"Bigger, Faster, Stronger"--that I had seen that probably influenced it as well, but it's almost certainly a combination of factors.

It's clobberin' time like my name was Ben Grimm
You need to hit the track, you need to hit the gym

Grimm is the Thing, rounding out the Fantastic Four references. His catchphrase is "It's clobberin' time."

I'ma make you start drinkin like Tony Stark
Gonna lose your ass like Indy lost the ark

Stark is Iron Man. One of the most famous storylines he's in is where he's an alcoholic. The second line is a reference to the end of "Raiders of the Lost Ark," where Indiana Jones who has found the Ark of the Covenant, but has it taken away, first by the Nazis, and then by the U.S. government.

Coming back from the dead like I was Jean Grey
You're stepping on stage like it's casual Friday

Grey is Marvel Girl or the Phoenix from the X-Men. She's known for repeatedly coming back from the dead.

Fists like Danny Rand, skin like Luke Cage
You're growing any anger, you're growing my rage

Rand is Iron Fist and Cage is Power Man, the two are the Heroes for Hire. One of Cage's powers is his impervious skin.

Like Bruce Wayne, I'm make your night dark
Blowin up your world like Kent to the Clark

Here at the midpoint of the song's verses, I make the switch from Marvel Comics characters to DC characters. Wayne is obviously Batman, also known as the Dark Knight. Clark Kent is Superman, whose origin story involves this homeworld, Krypton, exploding.

Like Dick Grayson, you never get the spotlight
You're hiding back stage, crying with stage fright

Grayson was the original Robin, the world's most famous sidekick and always in Batman's shadow.

Like Barbara Gordon, you got no legs
Eatin green ham, eatin green eggs

Gordon is Batgirl and was formerly known as Oracle after she was shot by the Joker and bound to a wheelchair for many years because of her injuries. The second line makes absolutely no sense in any context, but it popped into my head when I was writing this and it made me laugh my ass off, so I decided to keep it.

All ladies treat you like they were Kate Kane
Your love life is circlin the drain

Kane is Batwoman and she is a lesbian.

Bigger, faster, stronger, more
You already lost when you walked through the door
Smarter, wiser, better, best
You think you're the shit, but you're just like the rest

The chorus again.

I'ma make you tell the truth like Diana Prince
Who loves me more? Your own fucking parents

Prince is Wonder Woman, whose magic lasso makes people tell the truth.

Like Barry Allen, I'm running past your ass
You can't Punch Out even fucking Joe Glass

Allen is the Flash. Punch Out was a popular boxing simulation game for the original Nintendo. Your first, and weakest, opponent was Joe Glass, as in he had a glass jaw and was easy to beat.

I'm Hal Jordan, this is my space
Get out of my face, get out of my place

Jordan is the Green Lantern, effectively a space cop who serves as the guardian of Earth and its surrounding space.

You got no power, you got no wish
Like Arthur Curry, you can talk to fish

Curry is Aquaman. He has long been a punchline because of his power set, which people falsely limit to "talking to fish."

As if you were Alec Holland, sleepin in the muck
You're all outta time, you're all outta luck

Holland is the Swamp Thing.

Like Ted Kord, you're about to get capped
Your own fuckin friends stab you in the back

Kord was the Blue Beetle, who was shot and killed by his supposed friend, Max Lord.

Using acronyms like Billy Batson
I'm H.A.M., T.R.O.Y., what son?

Batson is Captain Marvel a.k.a. Shazam. Shazam is an acronym which is made up of the names of seven ancient heroes who he draws his powers from. The H.A.M. acronym comes from the Kanye West song of the same name and stands for "hard as a motherfucker." T.R.O.Y. is from the Pete Rock and CL Smooth song and means "they reminisce over you."

Like Oliver Queen, I'm hitting bullseyes
Your rhymes are so shitty, they're covered with flies

Queen is Green Arrow.

Bigger, faster, stronger, more
You already lost when you walked through the door
Smarter, wiser, better, best
You think you're the shit, but you're just like the rest

The chorus again.

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