When House of Pain’s “Jump Around” first debuted in the 1990s, I didn’t care too much for it because of one of rapper Everlast’s boasts, which I found to be not very, well, boastful.
When he proclaimed to have “more rhymes than Madonna’s got songs,” I thought he could have aimed higher because that just didn’t seem like a high threshold. Madonna maybe had around 100 songs at the time, and any rapper worth his salt would surely have more than 100 rhymes to toss off at the drop of a beat.
The line in question is at the 1:20 mark.
I later learned the mistake was my own. Everlast did not, in fact, have more rhymes than Madonna’s got songs. Instead, the actual lyric is that he has “more rhymes than the Bible’s got psalms.”
My friend Cory Graham, who fancies himself knowledgeable about rap (and to his credit, he DID host a late-night rap program on WSKV, Stanton, Ky.’s country/bluegrass/gospel radio station), made much fun of my mistake. To this day, he still gives me grief.
Earlier today, my friend Daniel Kelley posted a Facebook status talking about his lyrical confusion over another piece of work by Everlast (it’s worth nothing that I originally kept referring to him as “Everclear,” which is yet another round of confusion), thinking the song “What It’s Like” had the line “God forbid you had to walk in my linen shoes.” This made me think of my own confusion, which then caused me to realize that by now, I’m actually the one who has been proven right.
The Bible has 150 psalms.
Madonna has, by one estimate, about 260 songs.
Now, it could be reasonably argued (if you find it reasonable to argue about such matters, and I clearly do) that each of the psalms has individual lines, but Everlast doesn’t say he has more rhymes than the Bible has lines in each psalm. Going strictly by his phrasing, it appears he means the 150 psalms and only the 150 psalms.
It’s also worth noting that either way, Everlast should probably have aimed for a higher level of rhymes. Perhaps he’s too busy stitching together a pair of linen Nikes.