Is it just me, or does something about summer make you want to get ratchet? You know, do hoodrat stuff with your friends. One of my favorite things about summer is music. For me, songs that get released in the summer hold a lot more memories. I’m not sure, but maybe it’s because I had the privilege of growing up when BET and MTV still showed hour blocks of music videos, so half of my day was spent watching those. I recently found my iPod from high school, and you know what I realized? I was pretty ratchet. So since I equate summer with getting ratchet and music, why not create a personal ranking of my favorite ratchet-turn-up-anthems? Enjoy.
Criteria for the list:
- In a sizable crowd, do at least half the people go “yaaaaaaaas” or show some other form of excitement when the song comes on and rush to the dance floor?
- Does it have a great popular culture impact (AKA do your black, white, Puerto Rican, and Asian friends know this song and do you shame them if they don’t)?
- Does it have a catchy (and often annoying and nonsensical) hook?
- Do you almost break your volume dial turning this up when it comes on in the car?
- Is a little (or a lot) misogynistic (le sigh)?
*For the sake of keeping it classy at Black Girls Who Use Urban Dictionary Enterprises, all song titles and lyrics will be censored*
11. “Wobble” – V.I.C. (2008)
It’s no secret that people absolutely love to do the wobble. Especially people over 30 at black family functions. It may seem shocking to most that it’s on my list, but “Wobble” is pretty ratchet. Masked by a line dance that’s easy and fun for all, the lyrics are super sexual. I never noticed this until the song became popular on the radio about three or four years after its initial release. V.I.C. brags about having chicks “shakin’ their boobies like congos,” having a “girl [tell him] that a man that could dance might could possibly get down with the tool in his pants, (oh, innuendo)” and asks “ladies [to] let me see you vibrate” and assures them that “when its over [they] ain’t gon’ need [they] vibrator.” And all of this is just in the first verse. That’s why I giggle when this gets played at middle school and junior high dances, and that’s the reason it’s on my list.
10. “Rock Yo Hips” – Crime Mob feat. Lil Scrappy (2006)
Anything involving Lil Scrappy is ratchet. Just turn to Vh1 right now and see what I’m talking about. The use of “Yo” in place of “your” in this title also adds to its ratchet appeal. However, you can’t help but get caught up in that catchy beat and “she rock her hips, then wave and sip” hook. Also, what girl doesn’t know Diamond’s “now I got 32 flavors of that bootylicious bubblegum” verse word for word? If you don’t, judging you! And don’t try to act like you didn’t Picnik your Facebook profile picture with Princess’ “top notch glamour chick” line, either.
9. “Right Thurr” – Chingy (2003)
Like the previous track, the spelling of this song aids in its ratchet appeal. Chingy was known for having alternative spellings for his songs, like “Holidae In” and “Dem Jeans,” but this one took the cake. When you think about it, though, every thing about Chingy was a little ratchet. His name was Chingy for goodness’ sake. Chingy bridged the gap between being ratchet and country, a gap that many southern folks like myself fall into. Chingy was cratchet, I suppose (new word, y’all!), so I really appreciated him. I keep talking about him in the past tense, because, where is Chingy? He never quite reached the same heights of success that he did during his Jackpot album era (and this is just my opinion, but 2007’s Fly Like Me featuring Amerie would’ve been a hit if it were released during this time) and was even the victim of a Twitter death hoax around 2011/2012. I miss him. Wherever you are, Chingy, come back!
8. “Shake Ya Tailfeather” – Nelly, P. Diddy, and Murphy Lee (2003)
The opening of this song is all people need to hear in order to get in formation to turn up. After all these years, I still don’t really know what they’re saying, but it’s like a call to action almost. Think the beginning of The Lion King when all the meerkats and stuff stand at attention when they’re being called to Simba’s presentation or whatever. A bit extreme of an example, but I think you get the point I’m trying to make here. This song is ratchet because the request is its title, for females to shake a tailfeather, which was basically 2003 slang for twerking, and nothing’s more ratchet than twerking. The song also works because it has some universal appeal. It was included on the Bad Boys II soundtrack, and the hook, “oh no! I heard them bad boys coming. Can’t stop now! Got to continue my running,” is catchy enough for even the guys to join in on, despite the fact that this is basically a song about twerking. Or maybe the guys enjoy shaking a tailfeather, too. I don’t know. I don’t judge.
7. “Clappers” – Wale feat. Nicki Minaj and Juicy J (2013)
The first time I heard Wale screaming, “shawty got a big ol’ butt, OH YEEEEEEAH,” during the chorus of this song, I thought, “what in the world is this?” Then, I realized it sounded vaguely familiar. Turns out that line is an interpolation of E.U.’s “Da Butt” which was released in 1988 and used in one of my favorite movies, Spike Lee’s School Daze, proof that black people have been making ratchet-turn-up-anthems for a minute now. Somewhere I got over my initial reaction, because one day found myself being able to rap Nicki’s verse perfectly line for line. I was disappointed, yet very excited with myself.
6. “Ayy Ladies” – Travis Porter (2012)
I’ve always had a weird affinity for Travis Porter. They (yes, they. If you aren’t accustomed to ratchet-turn-up-music, you’d probably think Travis Porter is a single person and not a group. The same way The Weeknd is a single person and not a group like you probably thought when you first heard of him) reached their peak greatness when I was in high school, which is consequently the same time I reached my peak ratchetness. The message behind this song is totally screwed and filthy, but when you hear, “If you a top notch ***** let me hear you holla!” it’s sadly instinct to turn up, even if you’re not one or don’t necessarily agree with the message. You also can’t help but be enticed by the hoodrats screaming “YEEEEAH,” throughout the chorus.
5. “Low” – Flo Rida feat. T-Pain (2007)
The object of Flo Rida’s affection in this song was wearing apple bottom jeans and boots with the fur. ‘Nough said.
4. “Pop That” – French Montana feat. Rick Ross, Drake, and Lil Wayne (2012)
This song was released during my freshman year of college, a time when my feminist values were in their early stages of settling in. When I first heard this song, I thought, “what is this? Who is enjoying this? Why in the world are they enjoying this?” But when you hear the Uncle Luke sample screaming “DON’T STOP POP THAT DON’T STOP POP THAT POP THAT POP THAT” over the chorus of this song 3-5 times on the radio everyday, it’ll make even the most sanctified person want to turn up.
3. “No Hands” – Waka Flocka Flame feat. Roscoe Dash and Wale (2010)
A few weeks ago, I tweeted that this song had the potential to dethrone number 1 on this list (scroll ahead if you wish) as the greatest ratchet-turn-up-anthem of all time. I still stand by that. When you hear “Listen to this track *****!,” you know it’s time to get ready to turn up. It has the same effect as the beginning of “Shake Ya Tailfeather.” If an “ayyyyyye!” doesn’t come out of your mouth when Roscoe Dash starts, “giiiiiirl drop it the floor….” something’s wrong with you.
2. “Get Low” – Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz feat. Ying Yang Twins (2003)
“Get Low” is so iconic on so many levels that I don’t even know what to include here. Like so many other songs on this list, intro is every thing. That “burumpobo” at the beginning is like Paul Revere’s shot heard around the world. You know what time it is when you hear it! And there’s so many memorable lines. “To the window, to the wall,” “let me see you get low (You scared! You scared!),” and, my personal favorite, “BACK, BACK, BACK IT UP!,” are just to name a few. This song introduced and defined the era of “crunk,” which was spearheaded by Lil Jon, that I was so fortunate to grow up in, never mind the fact that I had zero business listening to any of it at the time. The mid-2000s were the peak years of ratchetness. Oh, how I miss it.
1. “Back That Thang Up” – Juvenile feat. Mannie Fresh and Lil Wayne (1999)
I think there’s a general consensus when it comes to naming this song as the greatest ratchet-turn-up-anthem of all time. Just look at the weight it holds:
Even my sister agrees with this song’s placement on my list, and she deems anything turn up worthy as trash. Go listen to it for yourself and let me know your reaction after Juvenile starts with, “girl you working with some ***, yeah!” It’s also always fun listening to Lil Wayne in his pre auto-tune days.
Honorable Mention (Songs That Almost Made This List):
- “How Low” – Ludacris
- “Tootsie Roll” – 69 Boyz
- “Laffy Taffy” – D4L
- “Dance (***)” – Big Sean
- Trina’s entire discography
X’s and O’s,