A Look at the “Eating” Song
This article originally appeared in the INTERLUDE Newsletter.
It’s not Crop Over until we hear a song about rum, a song about bumpers, and a song about a man sticking their head between a woman’s thighs. Cunnilingus seems like a square peg that fits into the round hole (no pun) of the traditional party narrative but every year without fail you can guarantee someone will sing about it. It’s the soca version of a perverted uncle’s nudge and wink.
The “eating” song’s history isn’t documented, but it can be seen as a derivative from our more conservative times, when artistes wanted to bend the rules, prod at society’s taboos and get a bit blue with their music. Looking to weave its way into public acceptance – with tremendous wit, slick metaphors, and clever double entendres that took a few listens to get – comparisons of a woman’s body parts to nourishment were aplenty. As a youth I remember being perplexed as to why my mother would ban me from singing Mac Fingall’s “Bacon.” Who doesn’t like the savoury breakfast treat? It’s delicious – especially when it’s warm. And Mac got it served to him at night as well? (A pipe dream back then.) Sweet! I would sing about it too!
It wasn’t until I got a bit older that I got my breakthrough and my ears were now open to the disguised perversion. Lil’ Rick’s “Conch”. Major Shackie’s “Tulips”. Fraud Squad’s “Pork Mout’” and “Lunch Hour.” Pandora’s box of plate-licking was opened and now I realized why Gillo was so excited to sing about pork chops on tv. There must be something in the air that makes a man put pen to paper and crank out melodies about face rides.
Naturally, though, these songs all come from men. Sometimes I wonder how the public would react should the tables be turned, and a woman sang about fellatio, or indulging “in de sauce” herself. Could you imagine?
In soca, the female artiste’s sexual advances are traditionally thinly-veiled while her male counterparts can be bold. Outside of Alison Hinds command to “bring dah needle,” the only outright objectification of a man I could think of at this time is Big Heather’s phallic comparative “Fig, Banana, Plantain” – a song you would think is about a woman stating her preference of fruit unless you listened closely. (Figs can’t get stuck in your teeth!) Even in a more progressed society than that of yesteryear, it is still a rare case today. Natalie’s song about sex toys had people’s head in a tizzy, while, ironically, one of the biggest tunes in the mainstream was encouraging women to disrobe. It’s a glaring double standard; represented annually with misogynist lyrics and picong about eating from a two foot table.
With bashment soca artistes being more direct, and even moving on to bigger taboos, the “eating” song still lives on, surprisingly. In the recently concluded season, Smokey Burke tried to convince us he eats cou-cou for the sake of the gravy, and Cover Drive’s dad-ager wailed about missing breakfast. But those are the only two songs I could remember coming across. Can it be that the practice is now more culturally accepted than in years gone by, causing the shock value to lessen significantly? We all get it now. It is expected. But I don’t think it will die out that easy.
I can bet that for 2017 somebody is working on something to get tongues wagging again, and stir up the appetites of many. The possibility is definitely something to chew on.
Carlos Brathwaite is the Founder & Editor of 246Mixtapes. Follow him on Twitter.
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