As a fan of categorising every type of rap based on broad generalisations, it seems an appropriate time to explore the Food Rap movement of recent years, given the rise of Food Rap connoisseurs such as Action Bronson, Roc Marciano and Meyhem Lauren. Gastronomical references have long played a major role in hip-hop records, dating back to the Sugarhill Gang’s Rapper’s Delight, which featured an incident involving dinner at a friend’s house where the “macaroni’s soggy, the peas are mushed/and the chicken tastes like wood.”
The Disco Three took this concept even further when they released Fat Boys in 1984, detailing their insatiable appetites. The song took off, prompting the trio to name themselves after the track, following-up with All You Can Eat, which featured Prince Markie Dee declaring, “Give me some chicken, franks, and fries/And you can pass me a lettuce, I’m a pass it by!” The enormous success of the Fat Boys eventually led to cross-over hits such as The Twist and even their own comedy movie Disordilies, not to mention the obligatory copy-cat groups such as The NYC Fat Girls and the Skinny Boys. After the world had tired of their antics, the Food Rap scene was fairly quiet for many years, despite deceptively titled releases from Akinyele Vagina Diner and The Beatnuts (Sandwiches).
It wasn’t until the rise of the Wu-Tang Clan that Food Rap made a major return (with the exception of the Beastie Boys’ B-Boy Bouillabaisse), led by Ghostface Killah on his Ironman LP, as he rapped about baked macaroni, turkey wings while promoting a fish and salad-based diet, while he later recorded a track with Raekwon called RAGU, which served as both a reference to a popular pasta sauce as well as repping the Rae and Ghost United anagram. Not to be left out, indie rappers Ugly Duckling released an album in 2003 called Taste The Secret, a concept album revolving around “a fictitious chain of restaurants offering meat-based thick shakes” by the name of Meatshake. MF Doom’s Mm.. Food took Food Rap to new heights, as the Metal-Faced Villain mashed food-based metaphors, skits and song titles into a delicious rap gumbo of sorts.
The true rise of Food Rap has been more recent though, with Roc Marciano’s landmark Marcberg project serving as the blueprint. As Phillip Mlynar wrote: “Whether used figuratively, literally or descriptively, there’s not a track on the album where Roc Marcy doesn’t get gastronomical.” The Outdoorsman crew from Queens proved to be like-minded individuals, seeing as though Action Bronson is a chef who’s family owns a restaurant, while Meyhem Lauren is simply a fan of fine dining. With song titles ranging from the literal (Steak With A Glass Of Red) to obscure (Pouches of Tuna), their lyrics contain numerous references to particular dishes and delicacies, while Bronson’s debut album Dr. Lechter features an entire track dedicated to his food addictions: “Lock the refrigerator, there’s no controlling me/steak and chocolate got they motherfuckin’ hold on me.”
With the release of Meyhem’s Mandatory Brunch Meetings and Marcy’s Reloaded only adding to the Food Rap catalog, it looks like new rappers might want to get their wine-matching skills up to par before you step into the booth. Pass the Gewürztraminer.
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