Song of the Day: Skee-Lo, "I Wish"
Skee-Lo will forever go down in history as a one-hit wonder, but his hit made a hell of an impact in the summer of 1995. Aided by a cheeky heavy-rotation video, "I Wish" was a breezy belt of hip-hop heaven delivered at the height of the East Coast/West Coast rap war. Though the gangsta paradise of Tupac and the Death Row crew was still relatively new, the pendulum had already swung a bit in the other direction, yielding the road to a brief period where summertime jams were the norm: Coolio's "Fantastic Voyage," Naughty By Nature's "Feel Me Flow," even Hammer's "Pumps and a Bump" provided a counterpoint to the dominant sounds of the era.
"I Wish" is a total jam, though Skee-Lo's series of requests have always struck me as off-kilter and often hilariously modest. Let's break them down.
I wish I was a little bit taller. This is a pretty lame request, though Skee does go above and beyond in the first verse. According to the Internet hive mind, Skee stood about five foot eight, and in my mind "a little bit taller" would translate to about six feet or so. That would be a huge increase for him, and certainly open up his opportunities on the basketball court. But then Skee demands that he were "six foot nine," which really elevates the scope of his hope. That's over a foot taller! While it certainly would put him in an elite streetball league, he would also undoubtedly have a hard time adjusting to his new elevation. His center of gravity would be all thrown off.
I wish I was a baller. If Skee means "baller" in the sense of "a guy who generally lives large," then that's a pretty decent request. But considering how much he fetishizes the ability to play hoops in this song, I think he just means, "I wish I had more talent within the confines of the triangle offense."
I wish I had a girl who looked good. Who wouldn't want this? But again, his goals are pretty modest—he doesn't want a model or anything, he just wants a non-ugly companion.
I wish I had a rabbit in a hat with a bat and six four Impala. There's a lot to unpack here. First, there's a whole contingent of people who contribute to terrible lyrics archive Genius who apparently believe that there's some sort of complicated slang running through this line, and that "a rabbit in a hat with a bat" is a reference to either a car or a loose woman. But considering how on-the-nose most of Skee's raps are, we can only assume that he want's an armed magician's pet. That's a super silly demand, but I sort of admire it. Meanwhile, the 1964 Chevrolet Impala is indeed a classic, but considering the '64 was still part of the Impala's problematic third generation, he'd probably have a lot less trouble with maintenance if he sought out a '66.
I wish I had my way. This is the key wish! It's a yearning for universal control over every aspect of your life. It's the only one that is buried in a verse (and the third one at that). However, Skee-Lo doesn't have a very ambitious set of goals for his sudden omnipotence—he merely declares that every day would be Friday, there are no more speed limits, and he would be allowed to name one of his children after Spike Lee's character in Do The Right Thing.