"I say yeah buddy. Rollin’ like a big shot. Chevy tuned up like a NASCAR pit stop." – Dorrough, “Ice Cream Paint Job,” 2009
April 7, 2009, was a beautiful spring day in Dallas. The skies were clear, the temperature never reached higher than 70 degrees, and Dorwin Demarcus Dorrough was becoming a Dallas legend. The rapper’s debut album was four months from seeing daylight, but he’d already gained some enviable traction for his single “Walk That Walk.” His song “Ice Cream Paint Job,” released on that day, would catapult the Lancaster High School alum into the annals of Dallas and hip-hop stardom.
Around that time, a 14-year-old Vampire Weekend lover named Tyler was wrapping up his sophomore year at Jesuit College Prep, a tiny high school nestled in North Dallas. In between marching band rehearsal and homeroom, young Tyler had to walk through the cafeteria, the undisputed domain of upperclassmen who had little interest in a 5-foot-6 band nerd beyond testing the limits of how high a young man’s tighty-whities could be stretched over said young man’s head. But this day was different. On this day, that meek cymbal player would not run in fear through the cafeteria. He would revel in the brief serenity supplied by Dorrough’s “Ice Cream Paint Job.”
Someone in the cafeteria was playing the newly minted hit on an iPod or another antique music device, and Tyler was captivated. The bass dripped with swagger. The club-ready rhythm stayed trapped in your head all day. Best of all, Dorrough’s banger was everything that a hapless young Catholic needed: a fun, catchy, summer anthem about riding through Dallas in a souped-up car. Never mind the fact that Tyler’s dad drove him to 5.30 a.m. band rehearsal in a used ’99 Ford Explorer — he had “Ice Cream Paint Job,” and for a fleeting moment in spring ’09, “Ice Cream Paint Job” was all he needed.
Ten years later, as that washed-up cymbalist prepared for his wedding, he faced the question all men face if they are lucky enough to A) persuade some poor soul to marry them and B) somehow get tasked with finding a first-dance song. The usual suspects are there: Your Ed Sheeran (“Perfect”), your Beyoncé (“Halo”), your Ed Sheeran and Beyoncé (“Perfect” remix), and a slew of other top-40 hits tailor-made for such moments. Tyler wasn’t interested in any of those. After all, this would be the song his friends and family would forever associate with their legal union, the song his fiancée’s 10 bridesmaids (yes, 10, or about six too many) would cry over while they wonder why their good friend/cousin/sister/sorority sister/distant acquaintance is marrying some dude who played cymbals until he was 17 goddamn years old. The eyes of God (and Texas) were upon him. Naturally, he chose “Ice Cream Paint Job.”
Fiancée Alyssa, a sane individual, initially refused. There were better options, she said. Take Ed Sheeran, for example. Or Beyoncé. Or Ed Sheeran and Beyoncé. Nevertheless, Tyler persisted. And, being the sane individual he is, he created a PowerPoint presentation to demonstrate his love for a 10-year-old song about nicely painted automobiles. Here is a breakdown of his many sane arguments spelled out in that PowerPoint:
The song is a subtle love letter to Dallas (where the couple met).
Dorrough’s “Ice Cream Paint Job” video was a mainstay on BET’s 106 & Park, and for good reason. With an array of scantily clad women by his side, the Dallas rapper rides through Deep Ellum on the way to your standard auto show-turned-concert hosted by 97.9 The Beat. The car boasts gleaming blue rims and is emblazoned with a fresh blue and white paint job. On the way to the auto show, Dorrough makes a pit stop in front of the Gypsy Tea Room (rest in peace) and spits bars in front of the “Periodic Table of Dallas” mural. Despite an entourage that includes Lil Boosie, Slim Thug, Paul Wall, Bun B and Chamillionaire, the best character in the video is Dallas itself, and specifically Deep Ellum. Dorrough increases the city’s cool factor exponentially and proves that even a science-inspired mural outside the Gypsy Tea Room can be cool if you have a dope beat backing you. Has Ed Sheeran ever done that? Has Beyoncé? The latter is a loyal Houstonian, and the former has probably never even heard of Dallas. And what kind of couple could dance to a song that did not celebrate the city where they met?
The song is still going strong 10 years later (like the couple will be).
If any one song epitomizes staying power, it’s “Ice Cream Paint Job.” Thanks to a bevy of remixes, parodies and the classic music video outlined above — not to mention the sheer quality of the bop itself — the song can still be heard in clubs in Dallas near and far. It launched Dorrough’s career, and the rapper is now a Dallas mainstay. He teamed up with the Cowboys for a merch line, and for his philanthropic efforts was honored by the mayor and many of the mayor’s closest, whitest friends. “Ice Cream Paint Job” has a legacy few other Dallas songs can touch, and that’s the kind of love Tyler wants: a love that not even a remix by Tyga can destroy. And speaking of those remixes ...
The song is an inspiration (like his fiancée).
Maybe it’s the remix-friendly beat, or the way lyrics like “Trunk hit hard like Kimbo slice” or “I’m live like a Super Bowl kickoff” are perfect riffing fodder for rappers like Lil Wayne and Snoop Dogg. Whatever the reason, it’s difficult to dispute Dorrough’s song is anything less than an all-time banger. In fact, it may be easier to find a rapper who has not remixed, sampled, chopped or screwed Dorrough’s 2009 single. Just like Tyler’s fiancée inspires him to be a better man, do good deeds, and spend more time volunteering and less time writing tributes to Dorrough, “Ice Cream Paint Job” has inspired dozens of rappers to do the unthinkable: top Dorrough. It can’t be done, just like Tyler will never be as amazing as his fiancée.
After processing all of these well-made points, his fiancée did the only logical thing: She picked an Ed Sheeran song.
Dorrough will celebrate the 10th anniversary of “Ice Cream Paint Job” with an ice cream and custom car-themed party on Monday, May 13. The event will be hosted at the ice cream shop Cauldron, which just opened its first Texas location in Dallas, at 3001 Knox St. #103.
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