A Nightmare in My Boombox
By Eddie Generous
I was a kid in the country, surrounded by animals and racecars and mullets and tractors. In the land of hockey and Blue Rodeo. It shaped much of me, I’m sure, or at least I can pick out a handful of things that never fit and I’ve been rubbing against pretty well since I was little.
One thing that had me sticking out was my taste in music.
I’ve always listened to rap. I have a fairly early memory of being amazed by this pair of music videos played back-to-back for a week straight on MTV: man turns into a Doberman pinscher when an angry dad enters bangs on his daughter’s bedroom door and then in the next video, same dude in a Pittsburgh Penguins jersey sits around looking cool as hell while people party it up. Who Am I (What’s My Name) and Gin & Juice by Snoop Doggy Dogg, boy, I was really getting hooked by then, but this isn’t where it began.
My very first tape was Salt-n-Pepa’s A Blitz of Salt-n-Pepa Hits. I don’t recall how I came to own this tape, but I remember having it and an off-brand Walkman at a family Christmas and my cousin trying to get me in trouble after she listened to about five seconds of Let’s Talk About Sex. I couldn’t have been older than seven or eight.
My parents probably laughed.
Fast forward a few years and I was all about the West Coast scene, but I also dug Beastie Boys, Gang Starr, and the LL songs that weren’t slow jams set to rap. It was seeing Beastie Boys and Digital Underground on the back of a CD that brought me to listening to Will Smith—outside the opening track to his show and the goofball Parents Just Don’t Understand.
It was a compilation CD titled Rap Traxx 3.
Rap Traxx 3 had many other fantastic titles: Let Your Backbone Slide, Hey Ladies, Doowutchyalike, Ladies First, and Pump It Hottie. And of course I Think I Can Beat Mike Tyson by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince. I listen to it still.
I didn’t talk about it however. Will Smith was soft and I was all about the mad swears and Fuck tha Police (some things never change). Still, I didn’t refuse when a spoiled kid I knew offered me a bunch of his old tapes, one being He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper. This featuring one of the greatest rap songs ever recorded.
When I finally spun through the album and bumped into A Nightmare on My Street, I was amazed that I’d never heard this song before. The rest of the album was okay… I rewound it like crazy on A Nightmare.
It wasn’t until later that I connected anything odd about it. I’d always assumed Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff made it for a movie. But no, it’s like a great fan fiction set to rhyme. New Line Cinema had Jive slap a disclaimer sticker on the single… all the CDs, cassettes, and records. There was a lawsuit. They settled out of court, probably meaning the label and the artists had to fork over cheddar.
Still, they managed to keep the song on the album.
At the time, so the various sites I’ve visited suggest, Freddy Kruger was at his peak. The Fat Boys had their own Nightmare jam (Are You Ready for Freddy?), a legal one used in A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master.
It’s not really a battle, I mean, the Fat Boys were okay… But the Fresh Prince, come on.
There was a video made for A Nightmare on My Street song, which seems to be when New Line really had its feathers ruffled, and MTV subsequently pulled it down. I can’t find the thing anywhere. Most likely, they saw how comparatively shitty the Fat Boys song was and didn’t feel like swallowing the losses when MTV stacked one against the other.
You can read all the legal steps if you want (https://www.leagle.com/decision/19882210693fsupp151712034), but from my skimming, it’s much of what you usually see in things like this: the wronged points out the obvious and the other side says nuh-uh, but knows they’re lying.
Thankfully, it was only the video that went away and we still have this fantastic piece of rap meeting horror, done right.
Now, why am I talking about a Freddy Kruger song by The Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff, released in 1988? Because Kruger is a slasher, I love rap music, and I’ve coauthored a collection of slashtastic tales with Mark Allan Gunnells and Renee Miller titled SPLISH, SLASH, TAKIN’ A BLOODBATH, available March 6 in eBook and Paperback, you don’t want to sleep on this one, trust me.