“The New Yorker” Teaches Readers How To Get Fishscale Into The Trap House


Granted, we realize that portraying The New Yorker as some fuddy-duddy antiquity is an unfair stereotype. But the fact remains: Our parents read it, your parents probably read it, and lots of AARPers are on the lifetime-subscription plan. So it warmed our hearts when we read the following, from the most recent issue’s Clipse review:

Drug dealing is a cryptic presence in cocaine rap, alluded to by dozens of synonyms and euphemisms but rarely by name. Many listeners will grasp the meaning of “snow.” (Young Jeezy’s nickname is the Snowman. When his logo, three stacked spheres, began appearing on high schoolers’ T-shirts last year, anti-drug groups complained and school districts banned the shirts.)

But what about “keys” (kilos of cocaine); “trap house” (a place where cocaine is cooked into crack); “fishscale” (uncut cocaine); “triple beam” (a scale used to weigh the drug); “work,” “weight,” and “birds” (terms for parcels of cocaine)? In these songs, bricks, squares, pies, stones, and yams are coke, and the cooking, mixing, and weighing required to prepare the drug for clients becomes the inspiration for often inscrutable wordplay. As the Thorntons rap on a track called “Wamp Wamp,” “Mildewish, I heat it, it turns gluish. It cools to a tight wad; the Pyrex is Jewish. I get paper, it seems I get foolish. Take it to Jacob and play, ‘Which hue’s the bluest?’ “

Make sure to forward this to all relatives before heading home for the holidays; that way, everyone will be in on the joke when your aunt brags that she’s bringing “some of the hottest yams on the block.”

Coke Is It [New Yorker]