10 Years Later, Here’s A Philosophical Breakdown Of “Back Then” By Mike Jones


[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sd0S0LwhEDU]
If it wasn’t for my brother, I probably wouldn’t have 75 percent of the rap that is currently in my iTunes and I probably wouldn’t know most of the rap songs that I do. In 2005, he liked this artist named Mike Jones (Who? Mike Jones … OK, sorry, had to get that out of me), so I bought him the CD (yes, back when people actually bought CDs) when it was released.

One of Jones’ most popular hits was “Back Then,” which was released exactly a decade ago this week. I never really listened to the lyrics until about two months ago, but now that I have, they’re pretty amazing. On the surface, it’s a vulgar song about “hoes,” but on a deeper, more philosophical level, it’s an anthem about self-confidence.

The overall message in Jones’ song is that the ladies in his life were never really gave him the time of day until he started to make it big. When you really listen to the message of the words – and not necessarily the words themselves – a lot of it is just him spewing the harsh truth.

My favorite part of the entire song is: “I remember back then, most of them (girls) couldn’t stand me, but now the same (girls) are begging me to pull down their panties. A couple of them said I was cute, but I was just too chubby; same size a year later, the same (girls) want to f-ck me.”

Now, I don’t call girls hoes and no girl is begging me to pull down her panties, but there have been instances where some girls look at me differently now. I think back to a decade ago – 15 years old (looking 12), somewhere around 5-foot-2, probably wearing some oversized basketball jersey – and while there have been physical changes (I’m older, and look closer to my age; I’m taller; I wear clothes – not jerseys – that fit me), I’m still the same person.

I think it speaks to all of the ugly ducklings out there, or the really shy people who never put themselves out there until they found themselves later on in life. That cute girl in middle school or high school who is now a bombshell? Yeah, she remembers how you treated her.

The other part of the song I absolutely love is: “I ain’t got no time to call her. I’ma stall her like she stalled me, now she trying to call me; (girl) I’ma dog your whole ass like you dogged me.”

I can’t speak for everyone in the world, but I know that I have an elephant-like memory when it comes to people how people treat me – whether it was in middle school, high school, college, or recently. I’m a firm believer in that unless someone gives you a reason to treat them like dirt, you shouldn’t.

I know that I don’t pay any mind to people – not just girls – who treated me like crap and are now trying to make like everything is OK. Respect is earned, not given with me; I believe people can change (to a degree), but it will take time for someone to earn my trust and respect, if violated.

This isn’t just about holding grudges; the same goes for those who treated me well in the past. The greater majority of people in my life have done nothing wrong to me, so in turn, I’ll do anything I can to help them. (Note: When I use the term ‘in my life,’ I basically mean people I know, but don’t necessarily hang out with.)

I’m at the early stages of what I hope will be a very successful sports reporting career, so some people have reached out for various reasons (advice, recommendation, etc.). I’m happy to try and help the people who treated me well, but I almost want to laugh at the people who treated me like dirt and are now asking for a favor, however small.

The rest of the song is, in my opinion, hilarious. Just listen to the lyrics and you’ll see what I mean.

Mike Jones may use more colorful language than I would have had I wrote this song, but its underlying message is essentially the Golden Rule laced with profanity: Treat others the way you would want to be treated.