Now, see, the premise of “Jailhouse Rap” – which, by the way, is actually a very good song delivered by the highly underrated Fat Boys – is that the three (Kool Rock Ski, Buff the Human Beat Box, and Prince Markie Dee) are imprisoned for various food-related crimes. You would think this early gangsta classic would be cited even today as a germinal effort on the path to hardcore, but it’s not. Why? Because they frontin’. You can tell they frontin’. Their story just doesn’t add up. Let’s go to the record.
PRINCE MARKIE DEE:
It was twelve o'clock midnight and I wanted a snack
So I headed downstairs for a fridge attack
But when I opened the door, what did I see?
The back of the fridge staring right at me
I thought to myself “I could almost die”
Then an image appeared: a pizza pie
So I put on Adidas, headed out the door
As I pictured myself eating more and more
But the store was closed
LOGICAL FLAW #1: The Fat Boys are from New York, the city that never sleeps. Are we to believe that they are unable to find a restaurant or store that sells pizza at midnight?
I busted into a rage
So I went to the crib and got my twelve-gauge
Ran back to the shop, busted down the door
And all I saw was pizza galore
LOGICAL FLAW #2: I don’t understand what the shotgun is for. Surely a man who carries 250 pounds on the hoof like Prince Markie Dee can break down a door without the aid of a firearm; and if armed robbery was his goal, why didn’t he just rob someone for cash and go buy a pizza? Oh, right, I forgot: there’s no pizza places open at midnight in New York City.
KOOL ROCK SKI:
Well, Kool Rock is my name, last part is ‘ski’
And I had the worst case of any MC
LOGICAL FLAW #3: Kool Rock Ski’s “case” involves not paying for his meal at a fast food joint. This is hardly the worst case of any emcee, compared to, say, those who have been jailed for murder, or repeatedly shot. Exaggeration has no place in hip-hop.
But listen to the story 'cause it's kind of strange
Of when I had this sort of hunger pain
Walking down the street with the bass in my box
With my stomach growling like a hungry fox
When I saw this scene -- or was it a dream?
A big restaurant sign said ‘Burger King’
So I went inside, started stuffing my face
Didn't even think about the things I ate
But when the bill came up
LOGICAL FLAW #4: The bill doesn’t come up at a Burger King. At fast food restaurants, you pay for your meal before you get it. It’s not Citrus we’re talking about here; it’s Burger King. Unless, of course, there are Burger Kings in New York where you are billed after you eat. Perhaps they’re located next to all the pizza places and grocery stores that close at 9PM.
Boy, was I shocked
LOGICAL FLAW #5: How could you possibly be shocked that a restaurant would charge you for the meal you just ate? That’s the basic function of a restaurant! Had Kool Rock Ski never eaten in, or even heard of, a restaurant before, that he would be shocked by the request that he pay for his purchases? Who’s being naïve, Kool Rock Ski?
I said, "I don't pay for nothing, I'm the King of the Slops!"
LOGICAL FLAW #6: Surely Kool Rock Ski must have realized that “King of the Slops” is merely a self-designated honorific and would not be recognized by the management of Burger King (a subsidiary of AmeriKing, Inc.). He has no more monarchial authority over slops than Burger King has over ground meat.
In jail, in jail, without no bail
In jail, we're in jail because we failed
LOGICAL FLAW #7: Even during the tough-on-crime days of the mid-‘80s when this song was written, you would be very unlikely, even at the mercy of the harshest judge, to serve jail time for eating a Burger King meal and not paying. You would most likely be assessed a small fine and at worst be charged with shoplifting, a misdemeanor offense which almost never carries a penalty of jail time. And even if the judge were an AmeriKing stockholder and decided to make an example of Kool Rock Ski by assigning the maximum penalty and ordering jail time, he would certainly not be able to hold the hefty rapper without bail, a condition reserved only for the most egregious murderers and sex offenders.
It just doesn’t add up, damn it. And it ruins the plausibility of this otherwise brilliant song.