ON "FUNKY LIKE BAGOONG"

This one's definitely going on the #BAGOONG pop-up playlist next Monday.

I miss "funk." In 90's rap, declaring oneself "funky" (first definition) by likening oneself to something funky (second definition) was the lyrical wave. Like when Snoop said "getting funky on the mic like an old batch of collard greens" or when Q-Tip said "funky like your grandpa's draws, don't test me." Funk, a word with Middle-English origins meaning "pungent" and "repulsive," embraced by Black American jazz musicians in the early 20th century whose music was initially criticized as just that: pungent and repulsive. Funk survived generations, and its usage as a noun and adjective was found in every musical wave originated by Black musicians since. Especially the genre that came to be known as "Funk," which 90s rap feasted on with samples. Later on, with the proliferation of Bay Area slang throughout the West Coast and beyond, "funk" came to mean a physical altercation. Sadly, over time, the use of "funk" and "funky" declined in rap vernacular. But the spirit that fueled it continues.

And that's why Funky Like Bagoong, 20 years after it was recorded, is the perfect song to set off the BAGOONG dinner playlist. It falls both in the tradition of the 90s rap simile and the tradition of boldly declaring cultural pride in things that others see as pungent and repulsive. It doesn't deny the stank, but rather, says "I know this shit stinks, but I love it, it's who I am, and I don't care if you do or don't like it." The song, clearly influenced by early 90's east coast party rap, isn't even about bagoong at all, and it is only referenced at the end of each of the song's two verses as a lead in to a chant: "Flip (flip) Hop (hop), you don't stop (stop) / Pinoy from the bottom to the tippity-tip top." Whatever wavelength emcees Dash & Jhego were on when they recorded this song, I'm on that same one as I prep for this five-course all-Bagoong dinner.