Froback Friday is a weekly feature of a music video from the platinum age of hip hop. 1998-2003, when rap was truly crossing over into the mainstream and I was regularly attending middle school dances.
I don’t know if it was because I was 10 years old when this song came out, but I think this was the first time a slang word was added to the Oxford English Dictionary because of a rap song1. Cash Money Records was incredibly influential in this particular era of rap, when there was more money thrown around than any time before or since. “Bling Bling” was the anthem to the excess that came from rappers becoming late-capitalism cash cows. The song featured everyone from second generation Cash Money: both the Big Tymers and all four of the Hot Boys.
The way the term “bling-bling” became so entrenched and diluted in popular culture is just something kids, whose parents happen to stumble upon a “Nae Nae” Facebook post, will never understand. The sheer number of channels a slang term had to navigate, in order for it to become used by suburban parents who brunch at a country club, is unimaginable to someone sharing literally anything on the internet to hundreds or thousands of people at the click of a button. And in order for Cash Money to infiltrate everyone’s consciousness like that, it took more than a blipping insane Mannie Fresh beat or one of Lil Wayne’s best hooks ever. It took stunting on levels unheard of since the fall of Rome. They brought out a speed boat, a helicopter, at least half of Baby’s automobiles2, a salad dish full of Benjamins, candleholders from Versailles with no candles and enough ice to freeze the Bayou. Turk even gets a whole seperate video and expensive movie sets for his verse. This is exactly what this weekly column’s about. Free B.G.
1. After a quick Google search, it seems the word “beatbox” was added to Oxford in 1988.↩
2. There used to be (at least) a rumor that Cash Money never rented cars for music videos like other rappers. They just used Birdman’s collection.↩