Finger-Lickin’ Rap

A viral sensation pulls back the curtain on Southern hip-hop


| July-August 2011


Ms. Peachez favors clown wigs, press-on nails, and pastel blouses over her beefy, middle-aged frame. In the video for her 2006 song “Fry That Chicken,” she raps in a voice deeper than my uncle John’s.

As with most immediately catchy songs, it’s so dumb it’s genius. It’s a nursery rhyme crossed with a Mardi Gras march, springy brass propelling the beat while high-register synth notes chime like Pavlov’s bell: “I got a pan, and I got a plan / I’m a fry this chicken in my hand! / Everybody want a piece of my chicken / Southern fried chicken / Finger-lickin’.”

The low-budget video takes place in the yard of a rural shack. The scene is a country barbecue, with Ms. Peachez holding raw chickens and taunting a group of children. Peachez’s blue hair, and her T-shirt bearing an oversized peach, are nearly consumed by smoke from the grill, which heats a giant pan of bubbling grease. She passes thighs and legs through a bowl of flour, massaging them with her hands in time to the beat. After dropping the poultry into the pan, she shakes her hips and gets the hot sauce ready.

“Fry that chicken!” the kids demand, looking half-crazed as they pound on the picnic table. Peachez advises the kids to wash their hands, “’Cause you’re gon’ be lickin’ ’em!” When the food is ready, the kids tear into it, eating with their fingers and then, yes, licking them.

There’s something innocent and funny about the video, but also something creepy. It vaguely recalls a 19th-century blackface skit, although none of the participants are white and the production appears to have been made in earnest, rather than as an ironic joke.

But a jive-talking, cartoonish drag queen hypnotizing a group of children with her Southern-fried bird—seriously? Could the video’s crafters possibly be unaware of its loaded, Uncle Tom stereotypes?






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