I’ve always appreciated the honesty of this song. Rather than the posturing and posing that characterized much of 1990s hip-hop, I always believed Daddy Mac and Mac Daddy wrote about what they knew on this track- no gangsta posturing, no “smacking bitches”, just the pure anxiety of two kids who overslept for school.
And yet, looking closer at the lyrics, it almost seems like an insidious attempt by parents to slip subliminal messages into “that hip and hop music”. Warnings about absenteeism, embarrassment, and poor academic performance just sound like nagging coming from Mom and Dad, but they have an amazing amount of credibility coming from two 12 year olds wearing backwards sports jerseys and baggy jeans. Long after I’ve stopped wearing my pants backwards (and yes, I did follow that fad briefly), I still set two alarms, just to be sure that I never miss any bus, ever.
Or is it a subtle piece of critical theory? As an elementary and middle-schooler, I never found the cautionary message of this song very frightening, because my parents had jobs flexible enough to allow them to take me to school if I missed the bus. But the personal narratives of Mr. Mac and Mr. Daddy reveal an entirely different lived reality, one in which there are no social safety nets, leading to traps of persistent poverty and inequality (unless Jermaine Dupri hooks you up with a record deal).