Dooney da Priest is about to become the most famous rapper ever to come straight outta Dallas, at least to the public-radio audience. For the second time in a week, National Public Radio is talking about Dooney's "Pull Your Pants Up" -- this time, on The Bryant Park Project co-hosted by former MTV-jay Alison Stewart and Luke Burbank (and isn't he a newscaster on The Simpsons?). Seems that after its first airing on NPR earlier this week, folks started figuring out what the song's really about: shaming dudes into pulling up their saggin' pants because, well, if they don't, they must be gay. First line of the song, after all, is, "Be a real man." And later, Dooney raps, "You walk the streets with your pants way down low/I don't know/Looks to me like you're on the down low."
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While I just wrote it off as a lazy rap -- really, rhyming "low" with "low" is not all that hard -- Mark Anthony Neal, professor of black popular culture in the Department of African American Studies at Duke University, says it's much more. "Even gay men in hip-hop put on the uniform of hypermasculinity," says the author of such books as What the Music Said: Black Popular Music and Black Public Culture and Soul Babies: Black Popular Culture and the Post-Soul Aesthetic. And Neal says a song like this one, which "shames" men into pulling up their pants, will "hit some guys a little hard." You can almost hear him giggle a little when he says that too. Listen to the piece in its entirety. --Robert Wilonsky