The Art and Evolution of Urban Story Telling: Touched by the wheelz of steel Now, show me how you feel

Izimbongi, Osonkondlo, Poets, the Griots, the urban lyricists and even the smooth tongued pimp, isesheli, amasoka, these are just some of the known manifestations of the linguistic forms wherein Afrikan people globally use language to paint pictures. Some of the pictures are gritty and hardcore, some of these pictures are sensuous and provocative, yet much of the time, we are telling our true and fantastical stories – the songs of experience. OutKast’s Big Boi and Andre’ Benjamin aka Andre 3000 have consistently offered some of the most poignant pictures of various urban landscapes, so intelligently and so eloquently that many feel that they are not celebrated enough.

As many greats do, OutKast stands on the shoulders of many giants, such as Geto Boyz, Scarface, Kool G Rap and most notably Slick Rick. These rappers are all continuing the tradition of rocking to the beat their ancestors carried over from the Afrikan continent. Listen closely to the music, the soundscape and the lyrics are cinematography at its finest.  Much is yet to be written about the agency and the potency of the Rap musical form – there have been some books written about and even by Rappers themselves, but most of the time Hip Hop is taken off its positive upward trajectory by the intrigues of the music industry. At the end of the day, the lyrics really speak for themselves.


Here are some lyrics from Wheels of Steel, the second track from this album :

“Wheelz of Steel”

[Big Boi:]
As I sit in my b-boy stance
With flip-flops and socks, and sweatpants
I finna enhance your brain, check it out

[Big Boi and André 3000:]
Once upon a time not long ago
When the playa from the Point didn’t have no flow
A nigga hit me for my tennis shoes, walking to the store
Caught a nigga slipping, but now I lay it to the flo’
Just like carpet, ’cause I got the heat in my baby
Momma name now, never bragging just to stay knot
Even when I was a younger lad, I learned my lesson
Never talked to strangers in the trap and answer questions
The Pope and his folks got us under a scope
But for unknown reasons cause we don’t sell dope
That you distribute, we don’t contribute to your clandestine
Activity, my soliloquy may be hard for some to swallow
But so is cod liver oil
You went behind my back like Bluto when he cut up Olive Oyl
Two things I hate – liars and thieves; they make my blood boil
Boa constricted, on my soul that they coil

[André 3000:]
Touched by the wheelz of steel
Now, show me how you feel

Touched by the wheelz of steel
Now, show me how you feel

[Big Boi and André 3000:]
It took your momma nine months to make it
But it only took a nigga thirty minutes to take it
Cut that kronk clean up, I did, but I did so not safely
Don’t want no AIDS, *clapping* no claps, or no rabies
Yeah, we take no shit, like, ummm, stopped up commodes
Gotta collect call, they done locked up my folks
Low blow, hit me in the left ventricle
We won’t be able to ride out till two thousand four
But not for long ’cause we got a better sack to serve
Tryna take you other people ‘fore your rims at the curb
‘Fore you swerve and bust ya forehead, go ‘head, go ‘head
More head for me, while you ride to the beat
Drop, like tears, like For Fears, you know
Shout, shout, let it all out, just for my peers
And peoples who feel it’s time to unwind
Like December 31st, on nineteen-ninety-nine

[André 3000:]
Touched by the wheelz of steel
Now, show me how you feel

Touched by the wheelz of steel
Now, show me how you feel

Okay, like this, yes, yes
One time for my boys doing King shit
Two times, too legit and it don’t quit
Three times for my folks in the drop top
Four times, OutKast and it don’t stop
One time for my girls doing Queen thangs
Dead fresh to the T, eating chicken wings
Three times for my girls in the beauty shop
Four times, OutKast and it don’t stop


[André 3000:]
Touched by the wheelz of steel
Now, show me how you feel

Touched by the wheelz of steel…

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