Day 160: "Kisha" feat. The Hot Boys – Tha Block Is Hot , 1999
Several of the last few entries in this series have taken on the unofficial theme of Mannie Fresh Appreciation, so, in continuing that theme, let's go onto the next track on Wayne's debut album, after yesterday's entry, "Watcha Wanna Do." The song, "Kisha," is what you could probably call problematic by today's standards—the plot is that the same girl fucks all of the Hot Boys and Mannie Fresh in the same day, and they all know about it, but she doesn't know they know. It, predictably, contains many questionable lines that no sane person would ever want to be caught rapping along to (i.e. Juvenile: "I didn't want the bitch to have my car all smelly / so I took her in the alley with some KY Jelly"). But let's zoom out for a moment and Talk About Mannie Fresh.
Damn, those synth lines! I've discussed this before, but even though Mannie Fresh has a reputation for super dry, minimal synths, there's a huge portion of his early production that is super elaborate. Here, he gets straight-up operatic, but there's also an eerie, noir twist to the piano playing, which strings out dynamically over the course of the verses rather than sticking to simple loops. This beat is a movie! You could write like 50 different compelling movie plots that are backed by this beat. Seriously, which big name Hollywood producer is going to tap Mannie Fresh to do a full soundtrack? We're about, oh, 18 years overdue on that.
Perhaps because they were, with the exception of Juvenile, literally teenage boys, the Hot Boys decided to use that movie soundtrack backing to the effect of writing a sexually graphic situational comedy (can't you just imagine the cartoonishly shot scene of Wayne running out of Kisha's house and winking at Turk as Turk walks in?). Was it the best approach? Like I said, I can't imagine a situation in which I would feel comfortable rapping any part of this song out loud, but that doesn't mean that I can't appreciate the narrative accomplishment of having a four-person group tell a four-part story, particularly considering how rarely Wayne and The Hot Boys have generally been interested in doing that throughout their careers. You can imagine the group sitting around bullshitting and then coming up with this plot, which I do appreciate. In fact, I recently had the chance to ask Turk himself about this song (more on Turk in posts to come!), and he explained it thusly:
We just used to take like real events, man, that happened and just rap about it, you know what I'm saying? Like I said, it was just fun. It was fun. Like, "let's do a song." We might be walking and playing—like on the "Help" song, I remember, we was stuck in the elevator, and B.G. wound up going doing a song called "Help" because we were hollering "help" in the elevator.
On "Where She Get That Ass From," we was in a concert, walking, and somebody said "where she get that ass from? She get it from her mama." Juvie did a song called that. It's basically like every day conversation. "Ha": We talk "Ha"; "I Need a Hot Girl"—just everything that we talked about we always, somebody would be like "that's a song, that's a song." And that's how "Kisha" was. You know what I'm saying? "Man, they got a Kisha everywhere, man." And we just gave the Hot Girl before we made [the] "Hot Girl" name, we gave her [the] name Kisha. You know what I'm saying? So that's just how that came out.
A quick aside: Yes, the song "Help," which has nothing to do with getting stuck in an elevator and is in fact about how people will be screaming for help when The Hot Boys show up, was inspired by The Hot Boys getting trapped in an elevator and yelling for help. That is one of the all-time greatest stories about a song I've ever heard.
And yes, "Kisha" came together in a similar way. As Juvenile told Noisey last year (and Turk confirmed), The Hot Boys would basically just record songs nonstop, and they would end up on whichever album was coming next. Which in this case happened to be Wayne's. But it is a full-on Hot Boys production, out of that same process, and the result is one of the most conceptually realized early Wayne songs (albeit about a concept that doesn't really need to be revisited). Shout out to Mannie Fresh, the silent director.
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