He Cannot Lie
CARL KASELL: Being NPR, we often turn to experts for their opinion and their analysis.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
And you wanted to hear again from someone we brought onto the show in April of 2010, when we needed a particular perspective on an important story. Joining us as well were panelists Roxanne Roberts, Mo Rocca and Charlie Pierce.
Mo, this week a Senate committee investigated the collapse of Washington Mutual Bank. In addition to all kinds of fraud and malfeasance, it turns out that at the firm's 2006 retreat in Hawaii, some of the bankers had, shockingly, attempted to do what?
MO ROCCA: That is just so open-ended that it's very difficult for me to even speculate.
ROCCA: I imagine it's something Hawaii related.
SAGAL: No, it's not.
ROCCA: Oh, then banking related.
SAGAL: Well, it turns out that these bankers, their rhymes are about as solid as their loans.
ROCCA: Oh, they went out with limericists.
ROCCA: Their rhymes?
CHARLIE PIERCE: Hawaii, noted for years by its native limericists.
ROCCA: Did you mean like the rhyme - what kind of a rhyme? Like of an ancient mariner or like a...
ROXANNE ROBERTS: No, I'm thinking more like...
ROBERTS: ...something kind of like Eminem-ish.
ROCCA: Oh, they went rapping.
SAGAL: They did.
SAGAL: They attempted to rap.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: They did. Now as public radio listeners, you are, of course, all familiar with Sir Mix-a-lot's classic "Baby Got Back." Yes?
SAGAL: You know, the "I like big butts."
ROCCA: And I can not lie, you other brothers can't deny.
ROBERTS: No, no, instead of butt, say loan.
ROCCA: I like big loans, and I cannot lie. You other brothers can't deny.
SAGAL: Well hold on, you're about right. The banksta rappers, if you will, at Washington Mutual took that song and in our view desecrated it. Here's a sample: I like big bucks and I cannot lie.
PIERCE: Bucks, good.
SAGAL: Your mortgage brothers can't deny, then the dough rolls in like you're printing your own cash and you got to make a splash. It's crazy, I just got to ski Aspen, that's all I'm asking. That was their version. Joining us now to discuss this scandal, I am pleased to welcome, Sir Mix-A-Lot himself to our show.
ROCCA: Oh my gosh.
SAGAL: Mix, welcome to WAIT WAIT.
SIR MIX-A-LOT: What's up, man? You know I was actually really strongly considering writing this song for them but I couldn't get bonus to rhyme with anus.
SAGAL: That's the problem.
SAGAL: And to think a man of your skill couldn't lay down that beat. So how do you feel about your classic rap, "Baby Got Back" attributed to something noble and good, very large butts...
SAGAL: ...being debased like this?
MIX-A-LOT: Yeah, I can't believe they degraded such a socially relevant song.
SAGAL: I know.
MIX-A-LOT: And turned it into something about, you know, bank robbers.
SAGAL: Right. It's terrible. So a lot of rappers I know, as these guys get into rap, a lot of them claim street cred by pointing to their crimes. Does massive financial fraud count, you think, in the rapper world?
MIX-A-LOT: You know, that's a good point. I just thought about that. You know, that is a street cred. I got one of them outside washing my windows. I'll ask him.
SAGAL: Now are you worried, as a hip hop artist, that these bankers are a bad role model for our children? I mean, won't kids listen to this music and believe that a career as a bank executive is something to aspire to?
MIX-A-LOT: You know, I can see a kid kind of sitting there going, well, let's see, weed, let's see, cocaine, you know what, subprime mortgages. Yes.
SAGAL: Oh, and the first one's always free, Mix Man, it's terrible.
MIX-A-LOT: Yeah, and you know, weed is just a gateway.
SAGAL: Yeah. If these guys are liking hip hop then is there any chance you might want to get into this market and start doing financially themed beats?
MIX-A-LOT: Well, you know, I got to get my gangster attire straight. You know, it's a whole new gangster. It's a whole other level of gangster.
SAGAL: That's true.
MIX-A-LOT: Yeah, so I'll get me a couple of blue suits with some red ties.
SAGAL: You'll look good.
MIX-A-LOT: Briefcase and do some mega pimpin'.
SAGAL: Sir Mix-a-lot is a Grammy-winning rapper, of course, the man behind "Baby Got Back." Mix, thank you so much for joining us here.
MIX-A-LOT: Bye-bye, y'all.
SAGAL: Take care.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.