Do Remember Paperboy’s Ditty That More Than Delivered The Goods (Video)
When Mitchell “Paperboy” Johnson thought of the concept for “Ditty,” he couldn’t have possibly imagined it becoming the seminal hit that it did. In fact, when he later penned the lyrics and shared the concept with his circle, it was introduced as a dance – for girls who like to party. The only problem was when he heard the finished version, Paperboy didn’t like it.
“It was supposed to be a more gangster version of [Young M.C.’s] ‘Bust A Move,’” Maurice “Moetown” Lee tells Ambrosia For Heads, Paperboy’s road manager and DJ in 1992. “They had the Roger & Zapp joint, but his was supposed to be fun, like ‘I wanna see your ass shake,’ like the West Coast version of Wreckx-N-Effect’s [‘Rump Shaker’].”
While the female fashions of the early ’90s included biker shorts, fanny packs and halter tops (think Oaktown’s 3.5.7, “Juicy Gotcha Krazy” music video), the door that would allow them to freely “shake it like a salt shaker,” was only beginning to open. A full decade later, their southern counterparts would burst through, leaving it exposed for Instagram models and video vixens alike.
Indeed, the Oakland-by-way-of-San Diego, California rapper could have in fact been the visionary that laid the groundwork for acts like Lil Jon & The Eastside Boyz (“Get Low”), the 69 Boyz (“Tootsee Roll”), Juvenile (“Back That Azz Up”) and the Ying Yang Twinz (“Say I Yi Yi”), but it wasn’t meant to be. He and producer Rhythm D (Eazy-E, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, C-Bo) delivered Next Plateau Records a G-Funk-laced track, which deserves much greater consideration.
While “Ditty” was ultimately a less sexually charged version of its original self, it was still a raunchy song that found its culprits gallivanting about the streets flexin’ for fun. If you’re able to follow his flow, there are enough goodies to keep you going until the unforgettable hook seizes your voice to sing along in unison.
“Let the beat ride, but hold on to your women, G / ‘Cause now that I’m rich so many women want to do me / It make a man say ‘damn’/ I’m finally taxin’ more play than homey Sam / But let me speak to the weak, I mean the rookies / My time is held up, extremely for cookies / Just let me clock this groove in ’92 / Hey, you don’t bother me, and I sure ’nuff won’t bother you.”
All that in mind, visually, “Ditty” feels toned down as well, with Paperboy opting for reflective shots when he isn’t waving his hands in the air. In the third and final verse, he finds time to rap about the ills that come with unprotected sex, before offering a final dose of game and that irrefutably classic hook.
“Make sure you got the Jim-hats, strapped for protection / Because to me, my life is more than my erection / And give me a hand, if you a fan, it ain’t over yet / ‘Cause doin’ the ditty with Paperboy makes the ocean sweat / Leave you kinda startled like the funk off of Fritos / Make your man jealous, while h*es cheese like Doritos / It ain’t my fault, I lay the piper with concern / And I ain’t from Mount Vernon, but a brother’s money-earnin’ / And for those disagree, and then jack, that’s a pity / Just bob your head for Paperboy and the ditty.”
The catchy hook continues, “Do the ditty if you want to / Because then I can see if I want you / Just do the ditty-ditty if you want to / Because then I can see if I want you.”
“Ditty” landed on The Nine Yards, released later that year. The album achieved gold-certified status, with the hit single reaching platinum. For the label that ushered Salt-N-Pepa into the game, it was a welcomed hit in the new decade.