My Favorite Rap about the Saints

The best $5 I’ve ever spent was on a two-song rap EP. It was 2011, and I was at the Howlin Wolf for Hot 8 Brass Band’s regular Sunday-night gig. At intermission the band introduced local rapper Bossman Superior and he performed this song:

Bossman’s song about the Saints contained all of the touchpoints of a classic fan anthem, complete with a call-and-response chorus and a shout out to nearly every player on the roster.

“Mark Ingram, Colston, Meachem, Sproles, Ivoryyyyyyy, Vilma, Moore–I can name everybody!”

I had been back in New Orleans for a few months, and although I followed the Saints from Washington D.C., I was eager to assimilate into full New Orleanian Saintsdom. Obviously, this meant I had to buy the album.

The two songs* on the album cycled over and over in my car throughout that football season. Every turn of the ignition was met with “The lock out over now babyyyy… OoooooHHHH OOOOOooHHHH, Send ‘em out there, Sean Payton!” Bossman’s thick New Orleans accent and his song’s references to local culture made my heart swell with city pride. Each year, I look forward to football season because it’s time to put “Black & Gold” on rotation.

Other Saints Raps
“Black & Gold” is just one of many rap songs associated with the Saints. Arguably, the most famous is the Ying Yang Twins “Halftime (Get Crunk),” re-recorded in 2009 by NOLA rapper K. Gates as “Black and Gold (Who Dat).” It’s become the unofficial anthem of the team.

I visited NOLA a few weeks before the Saints won their first Super Bowl title, and I remember hearing the song at a party. Everyone shrieked and started talking about the Saints chances for the Superbowl. “How does everyone in this room know this song? ” I wondered. “What does it have to do with the Saints?”

Do Other Teams Have Raps?
Is it common for NFL teams to have fan-penned songs that penetrate the local zeitgeist? Some meager You Tube searches reveal other fan bases certainly have songs about their teams, but is it as pervasive as it is here? Perhaps it’s the city’s ties to the team or the city’s strong musical traditions. (Although, I bet Steelers fans have put together some good raps.)

The only other fan song I know is the Dolphins cheerful fight song.. It written by a fan in 1972 and that still reeks of that time period. Growing up in Miami, this was the only song I ever heard about the Dolphins.

Does your NFL team have a fan song? Can you recommend any other songs about the Saints?

*The second song on the album is a ridiculous track about getting a girl in bed. It contains many quotable lines, but it deserves its own blog post.


A Very New Orleanian Weekend

With apologies, I bring you my weekend post on Wednesday.

Laundromat+ Bar
My boyfriend and I haven’t yet bought a washer/dryer for our new place and sought to make a tedious task more entertaining by doing our laundry at  Buddha Belly Burger Bar, a bar/music venue/pool hall with an outdoor deck … and laundry machines.

While I won’t designate Buddha Belly the cleanest place I’ve ever done laundry (some smokers ignored the signs to limit their smoking to the patio space), the time passed quickly as we enjoyed our beers.

Combining a laundromat with another service seems very New Orleanian to me. When I lived here before I did my laundry at Babylon Cafe, a laundromat/Mediterranean restaurant. There is also Schiro’s Cafe in the Marigny: a bar, cafe, grocery store and laundromat.

Satchmo Fest
Both days of the weekend I attended Satchmo Fest, an annual French Quarter festival that celebrates Louis Armstrong’s legacy.  Even with oppressive heat, people still turned out. New Orleanians just find a way to cope by bringing paper fans, decorated umbrellas… and drinking. I wonder if an August festival in another city would attract such large crowds.

On Sunday, we walked* with the Satchmo Second Line. Something about the event felt commercialized–or, rather, touristy (which is the New Orleans version of commercialized.) It was very different from the second line I attended earlier in the summer.  The majority of the second liners were white and many seemed just as concerned with taking pictures as dancing. Plus, the event was well organized (not very New Orleanian). However, it was impossible not to be impressed by the talent, which included the Baby Boyz and the Treme Brass Band, and delight with the dancing. The Gambit has some great videos here.

*Question: What is the verb for describing that you “attend” a Second Line, but don’t perform in it?

As the second line came to an end, festival organizers herded the performers into the Old US Mint. Very organized.

Figuring out how to lead the bands into the Mint.

White Linen Night
Saturday a group of us went to White Linen Night, an evening in which the galleries on Julia Street stay open late and attendees wear white as they meander in the streets. When I attended in 2004, I couldn’t find an all-white outfit and wore a black shirt and khaki skirt. I stood out. As I keep learning, New Orleanians dress up for events.

Afterwards our group ended up at Finn McCools where someone made a disparaging comment about our white outfits. I didn’t understand it at the time, but a verified New Orleanian friend said that White Linen night is considered a little uppity, so perhaps I was being judged in working-class Mid City?

610 Stompers Try Outs
I stopped by the 610 Stompers auditions and saw about 50 people practicing. Since were were only there for a few minutes I’d have to assume hundreds of people tried out! Good for them!

A Sunday Second Line

Okay, I admit it–I’ve never been to a second line. Sure, I’ve second lined at weddings. But when I lived here in 2004-2005 I wasn’t sure what the tradition actually was, or how to find it.

I thought a second line was when brass bands accompanied a funeral procession to the grave site, playing somber songs, and then led the mourners out with uplifting music so everyone could dance and celebrate the life of the deceased. However, I know now (thanks internet!) that Second Lines are generally brass parades, with the line of people dancing and walking behind the brass band referred to as “the second line” of the parade.

Last Sunday I went to my first Second Line, a Father’s Day celebration put on by the Perfect Gentleman’s Social Club. The route information was in the Gambit, so despite the fact that we left the house very late and had to drive around all the streets the paraders had passed, my boyfriend and our friend were able to enjoy the TBC Brass Band.

It was the last Second Line of the season. New Orleanians are smart–they know summertime isn’t right for this sort (any sort) of outside activity. We only caught the last 30 minutes, but that’s fine because I sweat through my clothes.

Here is a great link explaining the traditions of New Orleans’ Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs.

Watching Treme in New Orleans (No spoilers)

The Hi Ho Lounge. That's Game of Thrones on the screen, the show that airs before Treme. (Davis Logan is on the left)

Just two weeks ago, I was more than a season and a half behind the most current episode of Treme, the HBO series about New Orleans that is shot and filmed in the city. As a hard-working (and unemployed) girl desperate to watch the show at a local bar, I devoted more than 16 hours to catching up.

Decorations at the Hi Ho Lounge.

My investment paid off. I saw last night’s episode at the Hi-Ho Lounge in the Marigny, one of the many bars I’ve heard about but never visited. It’s an unusual place, with the kind of funky atmosphere that feels inauthentic when reproduced by upscale bars.

Before Treme started, I had to sit through a long preview for True Blood, which included Gary Cole, who I audibly noted was “the guy from Office Space.” A man in front of me turned around and haughtily informed me that Gary Cole has a long resume of other films, and rattled off a few.

This unwanted information was delivered by Davis Rogan, the infamous New Orleanian for which the Treme character Davis McAlary (played by Steve Zahn) is based on. Turns out Lil’ Calliope (Altonio “Ace B.” Jackson in real life) and Don Bartholomew (who plays himself on the show, as the record producer) were also in attendance. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the trio had planned to play some of their songs from Treme live after the episode aired. It was written up on, but I had not read anything about the show online for fear of spoilers.

Their performance was great. Ace B and Don B are compelling onstage, and Davis is a better singer than Steve Zahn. Nonetheless, as he micro managed the clearly talented onstage musician , it was easy to see that the “real” Davis is just as obnoxious as his Treme namesake.

For this Kind of New Orleanian, the cringe moment came when Don B. asked the audience if we knew the song Little Liza Jane. No one responded.

“Who here is from New Orleans?” he shouted.

I wished so badly that I could shout “I am!” but I couldn’t. Luckily, no one else could either.  The silence confirmed for me that I wasn’t the only carpet bagger in the room.

The group gave a spirited performance of the song—even better than some You Tube covers. I must learn this song if I am to be a true New Orleanian.

We’ll see what the last few episodes of Treme have in store.