Thu | Jul 19, 2018

Story of the Song | Ordering by the lyrics

Published:Sunday | February 5, 2017 | 12:00 AM
File Spragga Benz
File Cham
File Yellowman
File Pluto Shervington

The shop - a much smaller place for making purchases than the supermarket - is an integral part of community life. It is natural, then, that songs by persons who grew up in a setting where the community shop was the place where relationships were forged even as transactions were made have a reference to the point of purchase.

It can be humorous, as Pluto Shervington records in Dat, when a Rastafarian goes to the shop to purchase meat. He is offered a range of choices, including oxtail, beef and goat, until it comes to the pork. The Rastafarian asks that the shopkeeper be quiet and "sell I poun' a dat ting dere" - which is the pork, of course.

General Tress also goes for humour in ordering meat when he cautions all to be careful what they order because there is some trickery involved in selling "bow wow" (dog) and "hee-haw" (donkey). He really wants the "maa" (goat) and the "moo" (cow), although he concludes "gimme de ilaloo" in his fear of being served the wrong meat.

Yellowman also has issues with being served the wrong thing, cautioning in Mr Chin that "you fi sell me right thing". However, there are ways to get goods from Mr Chin's shop that do not include handing over cash. In Ghetto Story, Cham says there was rumour the Chinese shopkeeper had a sword. There was no guessing that "we did have a one pop whe make outta board/So yu know de nex' day Mama pot overload".

Getting to the shop may be problematic. In War, Spragga Benz uses not being able to get there as an indicator of just how dangerous the area is for those caught up in the conflict as "war is when de shop pon yu corna sorta far".

- M.C.