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Geto Boys Week – Day 3: The Raunchy Precursors to “Gangster of Love”

TO CELEBRATE THE RECENT RELEASE OF OUR 33 1/3 ON  THE GETO BOYS, WE’RE PLEASED TO BRING YOU THE THIRD INSTALLMENT OF GETO BOYS WEEK BY AUTHOR ROLF POTTS!

The controversy surrounding the 1990 release of The Geto Boys focused in part on ultra-violent horrorcore songs like “Mind of a Lunatic,” but America’s cultural gatekeepers were just as horrified by the explicit raunchiness of pimp-tracks like “Gangster of Love.”

 

Shocking as “Gangster of Love” could sound to the uninitiated ear, its lyrical themes were not new. In 1938 folklorist Alan Lomax had recorded jazz pioneer Jelly Roll Morton singing old proto-blues songs that were just as explicit as the lyrics the Geto Boys wrote a half-century later.

According to Morton, he’d first heard a sex-themed insult song called “The Dirty Dozen” performed in Chicago honky-tonks in 1908.

 

Morton also sang Lomax a raunchy tune called “Make Me a Pallet on the Floor,” which he said was being performed in New Orleans before he was born (which would date its origins to the mid-late nineteenth century).

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