July 29, 2017
Todd plays "Laffy Taffy" on the piano
D4L - LAFFY TAFFY
A one-hit wonder retrospective
Todd: [sounding bored] Welcome to One-Hit Wonderland, where we something, something, something... something... Look, I'll be honest with you, I'm just gonna phone this one in.
Video for "Laffy Taffy" starts
D4L: That laffy taffyTodd (VO): Look, I-I got some vacation time...
Todd: ...coming up. I made plans, and, you know, I was thinking maybe I can head out early, spend the next couple weeks in Myrtle Beach, so, uhh...I'm just gonna shit out an episode and clock out.
Fabo: Girl, shake dat laffy taffy
That laffy taffy
Shake that laffy taffyTodd (VO): So, uhh...[pause] yeah, right. Yeah, so if you're wondering how this particular blast from the past wound up on the schedule...
Todd: ...well, here was the decision making process. I asked myself, "What song would require the least effort from me?"
Todd (VO): What song do you not need to think about or research or analyze in any way?
Shawty Lo: C'mon trick, c'mon trick
Here go Mr. ChocolateTodd (VO): And, uhh, yeah, that's how we got here, "Laffy Taffy" by D4L. By any standards, one of the dumbest #1 hit singles of the 2000's. Or...
Todd: ...any decade, really.
Todd (VO): And yeah, you heard me, it was a #1 hit in 2006, which...
Todd: ...I don't wanna say it was a bad year, but I remember a lot of crap like this.
Clip of Dem Franchize Boyz - Lean wit it, Rock wit it)
Dem Franchize Boyz: Lean wit it (Rock wit it)
Lean wit it (Rock wit it)Todd (VO): Club bangers that, as far as I'm concerned, you couldn't really dance to it, made by people who had... one or at most two [clip of Young Dro ft. T.I. - "Shoulder Lean"] hits and then jumped off the face of the earth. I can seriously run this show for years just based on shitty forgettable rap songs that got big in 2006.
Todd: But most of those club bangers were, you know, bangers.
Todd (VO): "Laffy Taffy's" basic claim to fame was basically the single slowest, hokiest, gentlest beat this side of a [snippet of...] musical crib mobile.
Fabo: (Candy girl) That laffy taffy
That laffy taffyTodd (VO): And onto this lazy-ass beat, they, uh...they rapped a strip club song. About strippers that make you think about taffy. [sighs] I don't even know.
Todd: So yeah, let's, uh, let's get this over with. I mean, I'm already packed. [singing along] Girl, shake that...
Todd (VO): ...laffy taffy, that laffy taffy. Even if I weren't trying to get to the beach I probably ...
Todd: ...wouldn't be spending a lot of time on this song. Good Christ.
Fabo: Let me see that laffy taffy,
Nah nah nah, girl...Before the hit
Todd: [laughing] Who cares? No, no, I'm not gonna completely zone out here.
Todd (VO): Okay, the name of the group was D4L, which...
Todd: God knows what that means. Sounds like some kind of abbreviation [shot of...] for Craigslist personal ads. Dudes 4 Ladies? [pause] Doglovers 4 Lasagna? I dunno, [screenshot of D4L article on...] let me pull up Wikipedia here. Okay, judging by the album cover, D4L stands for "Down For Life." Uh, they were from Atlanta, which...
Montage clips of Ludacris - "Welcome to Atlanta"; Crime Mob - "Knuck If You Buck"Todd (VO): ...of course they were, every rapper from the mid-2000's was from Atlanta. And yeah, Atlanta's obviously still huge, but in the mid-2000's, it was huge to the point of insanity. Like, I think Jermaine Dupri was just picking random guys off the street and throwing them into the studio and they'd be superstars within a day.
Todd: Anyway, D4L was four guys...
Todd (VO): ...Fabo, Mook-B, Stoney and Shawty Lo.
Todd: Ah, that name sounds familiar, Shawty Lo? Yeah, [image of Shawty Lo solo] I think I remember him, he had a couple hits, and, uh...didn't know he did "Laffy Taffy." I swear he did something recently, what was it? I'm sure it'll come to me. Anyway, let's examine where hip hop was in 2006.
Clip of Unk - "Walk It Out"
Unk: Now walk it out, now walk it out
Now walk it out, now walk it outTodd (VO): Answer? Not a great place! At least the really popular stuff. A lot of it was pretty bad, from one-hit wonders with not a lot of lyrical skill, but who somehow found a decent beat and a catchy enough hook and got big. We called it [image of three cell phones] "ringtone rap."
Todd: Not sure why. Lots of rap, including the good stuff, was used as ringtones.
Clip of Huey - "Pop, Lock & Drop It"
Huey: Pop, lock & drop it, pop, lock & drop itTodd (VO): I think the idea is that anything that was called "ringtone rap" was popular as a ringtone but nowhere else. Like, that's all it was good for, being a ringtone. And that's about as long as you'd listen to it, you know, as long as it took you to find the phone and shut it off. [clip of Shop Boyz - "Party Like a Rockstar"] I mean, ringtones were great for this kind of rap song, because you could listen to the good part, which was the chorus, and not have to listen to the verses, which were usually filler garbage. [image of Eminem wannabe with caption: "Ringtone Rap (2004-2007)"] And once ringtones were no longer a hot trend, it disappeared.
Todd: To be replaced by [image of Vine rap duo; "Juju On That Beat" briefly plays in the background] Vine raps. And God knows what's gonna come after that, songs that...play when you fart. [image of Fartr with caption: "Fart Rap (2018-2030)"] You'd get an app that, when you fart, it plays music, and that's where tomorrow's hits will come from. I-I dunno.
Video for Youngbloodz - "Damn!"Todd (VO): So yeah, that's where we were. Y-You could blame a lot of that on the rise of Lil' Jon, who was all about loud banging hooks and not necessarily a lot of substance to fill out the parts in between, but Lil' Jon's gimmick was interesting enough that he was able to sustain a career out of yelling about five or six different words.
Todd: Not so much for most of his followers. Except for Shawty Lo, I guess. I mean, he must've had more of a career, 'cause I do remember him.
Video for Soulja Boy ft. Gucci Mane & Shawty Lo - "Gucci Bandanna"Todd (VO): Yeah, it's coming back to me. He had a couple hits, and a couple of guest verses, and, um... [image of CNN article: "Rapper Shawty Lo dies in car crash at age 40"] Oh yeah, he died in a car accident last year.
Todd: [punches himself in the head] Goddamn it! Goddamnit, goddamnit, goddamnit. Well, OK. [image of fan art of Shawty Lo] OK, this episode is now a tribute to the late, beloved Shawty Lo, where we talk about the legacy, and...ah, Christ, no. I don't have time! The one...
Clip of Fox News broadcast of Shawty Lo's memorialTodd (VO): ...time I try to rush something out and it turns out the guy just died! Let this be a lesson, kids...
Todd: ...this is what happens when you cut corners. [sighs; beat] Well, I mean, we're still doing the song, let's go, let's go.
The big hit
Video for "Laffy Taffy" starts againTodd (VO): Okay, I'm gonna...
Todd: ...try and be respectful here. But, [chuckles] I mean, this is a bad song. It's a real, real bad song!
Fabo: That laffy taffy
That laffy taffy (candy girl)Todd (VO): Now, if you were paying attention at the time, you knew how we got here. It wasn't just the ringtone rap, but there was a lot of stuff.
Clip of New Edition - "Candy Girl"
Ralph Tresvant: Candy girlLike, sugar and candy...that's been used in love and/or sex songs since, like, candy was invented. But...
Todd: ...just the year before, there were two big giant rap songs coming off that theme. There was this...
Clips of Trick Daddy ft. CeeLo Green & Lil Kim - "Sugar (Gimme Some)"...
CeeLo: She put that sugar on my tongue
Gimme gimme someTodd: ...and there was the even bigger...
...and 50 Cent ft. Olivia - "Candy Shop"
50 Cent: I'll take you to the candy shop
I'll let you lick the lollipop
Go ahead, girl...Todd (VO): So, yeah, sex and candy: Proven formula, always works.
Todd: But it was also proven that year that rap songs didn't need to sound aggressive or hard.
Clip of Ying Yang Twins - "Wait (The Whisper Song)"
D-Roc: Hey how you doin' lil' mama let me whisper in ya ear
Tell ya somethin' that ya might like to hearTodd (VO): Yeah, there were a lot [brief clips of Snoop Dogg ft. Pharrell - "Drop It Like It's Hot"...] of songs coming out that minimalized the entire thing. They [...Juelz Santana - "There It Go (The Whistle Song)"...] used less music, or no bass; just as little as possible.
Clip of "Laffy Taffy"
Fabo: Gone get loose (oh)
Gone get low (oh)Todd (VO): So, yeah, you can see how we got to "Laffy Taffy." And yet it's amazing how "Laffy Taffy" took those elements...
Todd: ...and made it go horribly, horribly wrong!
Clip of "Wait (The Whisper Song)"
Kaine: You fine, but I ain't gone sweat ya
See I wanna fuck...Todd (VO): Ying Yang Twins', "The Whisper Song" whispers because it's trying to sound intimate...
D-Roc & Kaine: Wait til' you see my dick..in its own "Ying Yang Twinsy" way.
Todd: But the beat from "Laffy Taffy" is emphatically un-hot.
Clip of "Laffy Taffy"
Fabo: Girl, shake dat laffy taffy
That laffy taffy
Shake that laffy taffyTodd (VO): [imitating the beat] Dun-dun, dun. Dun-dun, dun.
Todd: Jingle bells, jingle bells.
Todd (VO): I mean, this doesn't sound hot. It doesn't make anyone think of sex. Makes me think I'm listening to someone play a particularly [clip of...] slow-moving game of Pong.
Shawty Lo: Here go Mr. ChocolateAnd candy, everyone likes candy. Well, look at the girls there, sucking on lollipops. Not hard to make that sexual. How do you get this wrong?
Todd: Oh, I don't know. How about using the least sexy candy possible!
Fabo: Laffy taffy
That laffy taffyTodd: Do you even know what taffy is?
Clip of taffy pulling machines in a factoryTodd (VO): This is what taffy looks like! If she's shaking what she's got and it looks like this, I...pfft. I-if you like your women saggy and shapeless, good for you. I'm not judging, it's just not what I wanna look at.
Todd: [pause] Does anyone even eat Laffy Taffy?! [image of Laffy Taffy bars] It's like candy corn, you know. I-it's just barely candy, and barely edible.
Todd (VO): It's about as appetizing as if they sang, [singing] "Shake that [image of guy looking under desk with...] already-chewed gum. That already-chewed gum."
Todd: But you know, what the hey? Maybe I just don't understand the artist's vision.
Todd (VO): You gotta understand where they were coming from. Take it straight from Fabo, who apparently in real life very much likes eating candy, which...you can tell. The guy knows his sugary confections.
Fabo: Mrs. Bubble Gum
I'm Mr. Chick-O-StickTodd (VO): [image of Chick-O-Stick] I-I've never even heard of that. What is that? And he's the one who came up with the Laffy Taffy concept, and the entire song. And if you hear them talk about the writing of it...
Todd: Even if you don't like the song, you can respect how much heart and soul D4L put into it when you hear Fabo say, quote, [shot of interview quote] "I hated the song. I swear to God, I hated the song. I could remember Shawty Lo calling home from jail saying, 'Don't put that song out!'" And I can't believe I'm saying this, 'cause I don't like 50 Cent at all, but...even he had better lines than D4L did.
Clip of "Candy Shop"
50 Cent: I'm trying to explain, baby, the best way I can
I melt in your mouth, girl, not in your hand (uh huh)Todd (VO): Yeah, you know, that's a decent line.
Todd: Not great, but you know, five, six out of ten.
Video for "Laffy Taffy"Todd (VO): Meanwhile...
Fabo: Girls call me Jolly Rancher
Cause I stay so hard
You can suck me for a long time
Oh my God!Todd (VO): Okay, if I'm a big-name rapper, I'm not...
Todd: ...comparing my junk to a Jolly Rancher, which...you know, is...like, what [holding fingers up] this big?
Todd (VO): And a Jolly Rancher will melt in your hand. And real quick, too, 'cause...again, they're very small.
Shawty Lo: Close yo mouth and don't say shitTodd: Like, it's not even a song about sex. It's about skeeving on dancers at the strip club, and groping them.
Shawty Lo: Girl, lemme touch ya
I will neva tell
Security guard don't scare nobody
Damn right I touched that hoTodd (VO): So, like, it's not just gross imagery; it's gross on a personal level. If you're in any kind of decent place, yes, the guard does care.
Todd: This guy's about to eat some Laffy Pavement.
Todd (VO): So what was it? What made the song so big, was it just the dance?
Todd: [shrugs] I dunno!
Todd (VO): One thing you learn about music history is that it's like the history of anything else. Things don't succeed because they're good...
Todd: ...it's just trends. Trends sweep [image of Joseph Stalin] dictators into power. Trends put "Laffy Taffy" on the top of the charts!
Mook-B: You made it skeet skeet skeetTodd (VO): See, it's the mid-2000s, so we gotta get a "skeet skeet" in there. No, "Laffy Taffy" got big not 'cause it was good. It was because [brief clip of...] "Candy Shop" was big the year before. "Laffy Taffy" got big because people wanted music to play when they got a phone call. This was, for a little while, the single-most downloaded song of all time. Because it already sounded like [image of iPhone getting a call] an average ringtone. It was like this perfect storm of terrible that could only have happened that year.
Todd: [sighs] Anyway, that's what I remember about "Laffy Taffy." And, uh...let's get the rest of the crap outta the way. 'Cause, uh...I got a plane to catch.
The failed follow-up
Video for "Betcha Can't Do It Like Me" startsTodd (VO): D4L only ever released one more single.
D4L: And we back
Betcha, betcha, betcha, betchaTodd: Calling me a bitch? [pretends to be offended]
Shawty Lo: I betcha can't do it like me (nope)
I betcha can't do it like me (nope)Todd (VO): No, it's "betcha." As in, they're saying, "Betcha can't do it like me," which is the name of this song, you betcha.
Shawty Lo: I betcha can't do it like me (nope)
Fabo: Prince O in the house and we represent the south
And I got to let 'em knowTodd (VO): And true enough, I can't do it like them. I-I'm being serious, I can't. Look at them. Like, th-they're going all out.
Fabo: Ain't nothin' but the pimpin' inside and she can go
We done kicked up, they can watch me rollIt's weird to me that Shawty Lo was the one with the solo career, 'cause Fabo seems to be the focal point of the group. I mean, he's up there dancing and popping and locking. Like, he's throwing everything at it.
Todd: And as for the other two guys, Mook-B and Stoney, pfffft...
Todd (VO): ...I don't know. I'm not surprised they didn't take off. Honestly, I'm not sure one of them even exists. There is supposed to be a fourth guy. Like, where is he? I have no clue.
Todd: And, uh, yeah, this is not my kind of hip-hop. But...
Todd (VO): ...at least it's got more energy than "Laffy Taffy" did. The-the lyrics don't really deserve any more attention, but at least I like the machine-gun flow.
Shawty Lo: I'll knock somebody's ass to the flo'
Ask Carlos, ask FaboThis did make the rap charts, so if you were a hip-hop head that year, you might remember it. [pause] And a bunch of other hip-hop songs that sounded like this. Okay, apparently D4L was also called, "snap music," which is a way better name for it than "ringtone rap." I didn't know it was called that, but yeah, I totally remember snapping being a thing. 'Cause snapping your fingers is like a dance move, except anyone can do it.
Todd: Yeah, there's a pretty direct line between Fabo and uh...[clip of Soulja Boy - "Crank Dat (Soulja Boy)"] this shit the year after. If you wanna know what finally killed ringtone rap, I'm putting it all on this kid.
Video for "Betcha Can't Do It Like Me"Todd (VO): And that was it for D4L. They never officially broke up; I was hoping to find some kind of beef that would be entertaining. But it's just, like...none of them thought D4L was gonna be successful.
Todd: Which would be the logical conclusion, but reality sometimes says, "Screw logic."
Todd (VO): And they were completely blindsided by their success, so when "Laffy Taffy" took off, they were already working on solo projects. And once they finished those, they just never found the time to work together again, so that was the end of them. Which is, uh...
Todd: ...such...a shame [shrugs]?
Did they ever do anything else?
Todd: Okay, let's see. What do I remember about Shawty Lo?
Clip of Shawty Lo - "Dey Know"
Shawty Lo: L O, L O, dey know, dey knowTodd (VO): Oh yeaaah! Yeah!
Todd: This was him. Yeah, yeah.
Shawty Lo: L O, dey know, dey know
L O, L OTodd: [cockney British accent] 'Ello!
Todd (VO): H-He sang, "L O." As is Shawty Lo, L O, get it?
Shawty Lo: Said you see three I'm the one middle
I don't need this beat, I could rock it acapelloIt's amazing how much better this dude sounds when he has an actual beat behind him. Not saying the guy's a lyrical mastermind or anything, but yeah. This is pretty decent.
Todd: [laughing] Which, thank God! I did not wanna have to shit-talk the poor guy through the entire review while he's still being mourned.
Shawty Lo: Dope boys let's get, get ,get itTodd (VO): Let's see what else...oh yeah! Yeah...
Todd: ...there was that big feud he had.
Clip of Shawty Lo - "Dunn Dunn"
Shawty Lo: Add the fire it to the flame
Who mention Bankhead didn't say my name?Todd (VO): Yeah, see Bankhead is the project he's from, and the guy who mentioned Bankhead and didn't mention Shawty Lo was [clip of "Big Things Poppin' (Do It)" by...] T.I. This started, like, a minor feud. ["Dunn Dunn"] Like this was Shawty Lo low-key blasting T.I. after not being street enough...which is pretty rich coming from a guy who made his name off of goddamn "Laffy Taffy."
Todd: But then again, T.I. was kinda vulnerable at the time. He was making, like...
Video for T.I. - "Whatever You Like"Todd (VO): ...really terrible pop songs like, "Whatever You Like." And, uh, the main thing T.I. has contributed to music this decade is [clip of "No Mediocre" featuring...] Iggy Azalea. So, you know...maybe Shawty Lo kinda had a point.
Todd: But both of those guys said the beef was never really much of a beef, and...
Video for Shawty Lo - "Put Some Respek On It"Todd (VO): ...you know, they were pretty cool with each other in the end. Shawty Lo never got to release a second album while he was alive. Fabo tried for a solo career, too, but it never really took off.
Todd: Uh, last anyone heard from Shawty Lo before his death, he was making this network special about him and his...
Clip of Fox News headline: "'All My Babies' Mamas': Train Wreck TV"Todd (VO): ...ten...baby mamas.
Trailer for All My Babies' MamasTodd: ...Yeah, it, uh...it did not make it to air.
Todd (VO): Yeah, it turns out that was not a very, uh, popular premise for a show.
Todd: Who the hell thought that was a good idea?! [another clip of Shawty Lo's memorial] And then he died last year. He's still, uh, very well remembered in Atlanta. He was indeed down for life, as brief as it was.
Did they deserve better?
Todd: No. I mean, yeah sure. [pause] No, of course not. I don't know!
Clip of "Laffy Taffy"
Fabo: Shake dat laffy taffy
That laffy taffyTodd (VO): Look, "Laffy Taffy" was not a good song. That's all I wanted to say when I started this episode. Just wanted to make an episode real quick about the worst song I could remember, and, uh...and now here we are.
Todd: Okay, yeah, this episode was a total disaster. [pause] Well, I'll have a lot of time to think about how to make a better episode next time, while I'm on the beach. [pulls hoodie down and puts on a baseball cap] Have a good summer, everybody.
Gets up and leaves
Fabo: (Candy girl) That laffy taffy
That laffy taffyClosing tag song: Girl Talk - "Hold Up"
"Laffy Taffy" is owned by Asylum Records
This video is owned by me
THANK YOU TO THE LOYAL PATRONS!