City Paper is not for tourists
Standout Track: No. 23, “Ms. Mary Mack,” a drum-machine and synthesized-string banger that adapts the classic patty-cake tune to a different kind of clappin’: “She ain’t a joke, man/Dealin’ with folks, man/Hit ’em from far away, even without a scope, man/…Mary Mack, nigga.”
Musical Motivation: In the tradition of Tupac’s “Me and My Girlfriend,” the lyrics give a firearm female traits. Executive producer Text Sosa came up with the concept last summer after hearing a track he thought would be perfect for rappers Playboi, 18, and Rush, 19. “The bounce, the clap, the way the bass hit, it made me think of Ms. Mary Mack,” he says. “It might have been late at night.”
“With gangster music, you have to be creative,” Sosa explains. “You can’t just come out, ‘I’m-a shoot you!’” Playboi and Rush, who met as students at Arlington’s Washington–Lee High School, agree: “It was like nothing I’d ever heard before—a children’s song?” says Rush. “I said, ‘I’ll roll with it.’”
Schoolhouse Glock: Although Ms. Mary Mack is armed with “silver bullets, bullets, bullets all down her back, back, back,” Playboi and Rush are confident that most of the song’s references to gunplay will sail over the heads of any kiddies drawn to its familiar refrain.
“Kids could be attracted to it, but they wouldn’t understand it. We didn’t put it out there like that,” says Playboi. “It could be good—I mean, I’m not saying it’s a great song for kids, but if the track were edited right, there’d be no problem with it.” —Sarah Godfrey