Monday, August 22, 2005

50 Cent - Candy Shop

*1/2 (out of four)

"Candy Shop" has one of the most godawful nursery-rhyme chorus refrains of any hip-hop single I can think of, with 50 Cent - monotone Mase-delivery in full effect - chanting, "I'll take you to the candy shop / I'll let you lick the lollipop." See that subtlety? 50 is going to let you lick the lollipop. You have permission to give him head. What a nice fucking guy.

I find it a little hard to swallow (pun intended - sorry) that, since I took my hiatus from writing video reviews 50 Cent has somehow become the world's most bankable pop star. Okay, the Dr. Dre endorsement doesn't hurt, but consider the flow - unimaginative, wooden and interchangable from song to song. Tell me "Candy Shop" doesn't sound just like "Magic Stick" or that one he's got at the top of the charts right now.

50, in his videos, also has none of the casual poise of Snoop Dogg or the playful humor of Eminem. He wanders through these clips like a zombie, mouth flat and barely moving. The most expression you get out of 50 in "Candy Shop" is when he raises an eyebrow at a dominatrix who rips his shirt off with a cat of nine tails that appears to be made out of braided hair weave.

The candy shop spoken of in the title and chorus of the song is an enormous brothel 50 (that's pronounced "fiddy," don't forget) stumbles into. It's a mansion in the middle of nowhere, populated with lingerie-wearing dream girls who embody fantasy archetypes - dominatrix, naughty nurse, woman pouring chocolate syrup on each other. All the shit Shakespeare used to write about.


a) "I'll take you to the cancer ward / I'll let you lick the shiny sword"
b) "I'll take you to the ice cream parlor / Let you be my penis mauler"
c) "I'll take you to the hardware store / I'll let you chomp my drill bit girl"
d) "I'll take you to the monastery / Break the vow of celibacy"

You can vote on your favorite at

Hilary Duff - Wake Up

*1/2 (of four)

Hilary Duff, star of Disney Channel tween favorite "Lizzie McGuire," is tired of not being taken seriously. In the opening lines of "Wake Up," she sings something like, "There's people talking about me / Talking about me like they know everything / But they don't know anything."

So enlighten us, Hillary, what's lurking in that big brain of yours? Well, the next line, after she opines to prove her worth, is: "Give me a dance floor / Give me a DJ." Yes, the big message is, the paparazzi and tabloids are bad. Going to clubs and dancing are good.

As we also learn from Duff's doctoral dissertation, she likes to put on makeup on a Saturday night. Be sure and take notes - the educational experience of life doesn't end when school gets out, people.

"Wake Up," the video, shows us exactly how Duff gets down on a Saturday - she sits around the house, wearing headphones and lip synching; she puts on her makeup and rides around the back of a limo.

Somehow in the same night Hillary Duff manages to visit clubs in New York, Hollywood, London, Paris, Tokyo and, for the length of time it takes to slam a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon, a bar called the Nook 'N Cranny just west of Topeka, Kan. Home of the world's smallest large-screen TV.

It's TRL nonsense, to be sure, but "Wake Up" is worth watching once, and I'll tell you why. Amid the shots of Duff alternating between her squeaky-clean blonde pop tart and faux-Avril Lavigne pop-punk images is a sequence that has her walking through a sterile-blue room with hanging plastic sheets. This is the Tokyo motif, and accordingly, Duff has a short, berette-filled black wig and eyeliner that extends her lids out horizontally.

I'm aware this somewhat stereotypical portrayal may be offensive to those of the Asian persuasion, but it makes Hillary Duff look hot as hell. Blond Hilary has always seemed kind of generic to me - and the red beret she dons to complete the Parisian motif in the video further cements it - but Brunette Hilary can be my jailbait geisha girl any day of the week.

Snoop Dogg and Pharrell - Drop It Like It's Hot

*** (of four)

The Neptunes are sooooo 2002, but even after recycling their own beats and being ripped off by a host of other producers, they occasionally still come with it big time. "Drop It Like It's Hot" was one of last fall's most winning hip-hop singles, thanks to the psychedelic tongue-clucking beat and typically laid back flow from Snoop Dogg.

The video is spare but somehow elegant - tightly letterboxed black-and-white footage of Snoop, Pharrell and co-Neptune Chad Hugo (playing the song's keyboard line with Casio in hand) clowning on a plain white soundstage.

Rounding out the ensemble are a few expensive cars, gum-chewing hotties and a little kid beating a giant bass drum. Also, blurred out, a Crip bandana swinging from the back left pocket of Snoop's jeans.

"Drop It" eventually got old, just like Snoop's much-aped "-izzle" lingo, but in its prime it was surefire party and club gold. Check these lyrics, Snoop's tongue-(I-hope)-in-cheek equivalent of a fireworks show's grand finale: "Don't change the dizzle / Turn it up a little / I got a living room fulla fine dime brizzells / Waitin' on the pizzel / The dizzel and the shizzle / G's to the bizzack / Now ladies here we gizzo."

You know, sometimes I feel sorry for the person assigned to closed-captioning transcription duty on these hip-hop videos. People volunteer their time to put language and typing skills to good use so the hearing impaired can receive artistic enlightment otherwise impossible.

And they're hoping maybe they can caption a classic work of cinema or news documentary and instead are handed something like "Candy Shop" or "Drop It Like It's Hot." It's hard work - as I just discovered, there's no computer program in the world that'll give you the correct spelling for words like "brizzells," "pizzel," "shizzle" or "bizzack."