I never wanted to be that Pottery-Barn-Dad. I recall being horrified by the very notion of a stroller. I never dreamed of being a family man, nor was I overly eager to acquire more responsibility than absolutely necessary. I like to mountain bike and ski, although I rarely do either any more. I like a wide range of alternative music, from MF Doom to Sufjan Stephens, from Television, to Radiohead. Yet somehow, here I am, the thirty seven year old father of two, with a steady job, a mortgage to pay, and a wife. Ask me how it happened, and I’m not sure I could tell you.
Despite the time pressures placed on me, what with my career and fatherly responsibilities, I still find time to keep up with the latest music releases. Often, however, my wife and I are compelled to listen covertly to many hip hop albums due to the language we don’t want to hear repeated by our two and four year old daughters. This summer, when the Girl Talk “Feed the Animals” album was released, not only did my wife and I listen to the album constantly, playing “name that sample”, but our judgment became slightly impaired. We began listening to Feed the Animals in broad daylight, in the car with our children. And so it was, one evening late this Fall, when I, dear old Dad, heard my two year old singing, “I got my drink and my two step, my drink and my two step” (the hook from the Cassidy song of the same name). My daughter, being the comedian that she is, began to take creative license with Cassidy’s original. Last week, she could be heard singing “I got my milk and my two step, my milk and my two step” through the kitchen as she swaggered along with a sippy cup full of cow juice in her fat little hand. Hilarious, cute, charming, witty and all those good things. Yes, that is my daughter Maya. My greatest fear is that she will start singing Spankrock’s “Put that p_ _ _ y on me” from the top of the jungle gym for all to hear.
I believe Gregg Gillis’ talent is more than a wistful mashup of catchy pop and hip hop samples. He has created something entirely new, a music that appeals to listeners for whom his witty nostalgia has no context. There are more than three hundred different songs sampled on Girl Talk’s latest album. For my preschool aged daughters, Gillis’ rapid fire loops hold as great an appeal as any rhyming ditty sung during preschool circle time.
My wife and I have heard both daughters repeat snippets of inappropriate language they hear in the car when “Dada” plays his hip hop. How to explain the occasional potty mouth of my darling daughters is the quandary I find myself in. The fact that their potty talk is sung repetitively in catchy phrases further complicates the matter. It’s hard to get a catchy song out of your head, especially when your parent is asking you to stop. My eldest daughter came home from a sleep over at Auntie Nancy’s last week singing lyrics from Missy Elliot’s “Work it”. At least I know I’m not the only bad influence in her life.