Can We Talk About City High’s “What Would You Do” For A Second?


Hi there. You look very nice today. Doing something different with your hair? No? Well you’re positively radiant just the same. Can you and I discuss “What Would You Do” by City High for a minute or two?

Before we jump in, let’s go on a spirit journey. Close your eyes (in a way that allows you to still read) and imagine this: you’re at a party. The fun kind. You know: with strippers. (*devil emoji face*) Everyone’s having a good time. They’re probably drinking what rappers drank in music videos a decade ago. Zima or something—I don’t know, I wasn’t paying attention. You notice one of the strippers is someone who went to your school! You know her! What’s your next move?

Did you say, “I’d drag her outside, yell at her about her life, ignore her deeply personal molestation confession, and essentially tell her to quit bitchin’?” Well, I’m glad you’re reading this Mr. One-of-the-two-nameless-dudes-from-City-High, but you should probably get back to work. Those Beef ‘N Cheddars aren’t going to make themselves and that’s an unacceptable way to deal with people, even though it’s exactly what you describe in the song.

The track begins just as our story did: a man recognizes a stripper at a party, pulls her outside and immediately calls her whole life into question. In addition to being an awful thing to do to that girl, what a terrible party guest. If I’m hosting that party, I’m not paying that girl to defend herself. I’m paying her to do jumping jacks to Rack City or something. Who knows really? I’m not paying her to cry outside my building, though. That’s my job.

Whatever. Maybe some people would do that. I can’t claim to understand everyone—a lot of people think Forrest Gump is a good movie. This girl, obviously affected by this MF’ING INQUISITION, makes a startling confession: “Me and my sister ran away so my daddy couldn’t rape us.”

Wow! We’ve made a breakthrough! She’s opened up! Now’s the time to show support and help out, right? Nope. It’s the time to drop the beat with a Nate Dogg (RIP) sample and tell her to “stop makin’ tired excuses.”

As far as tired excuses go, “I was sexually assaulted” is right up there with “I am on fire” and “Hitler is currently killing off my country” In terms of gravity. It certainly doesn’t just mean “YO, IT’S TIME TO RAP!” in fact, rapping is probably one of the worst ways to respond to an important emotional breakthrough.

I know this girl isn’t a beacon of good decision making. She leaves her child “crying all alone on the bedroom floor ‘cuz he’s hungry,” when it would probably take 10 seconds to leave the kid on the couch or anywhere that’s not the ground. That being said, this is just a bad way to deal with people. The entire song is filled with judgment and maliciousness directed at a poor girl who’s just doing what she can. Business Management Associate’s Degrees from online colleges don’t pay for themselves.

Be nice, dude from City High. Until then, you’re not invited to any of my really cool parties that I have all the time and a lot of people come to. No way.

Unless you bring cheese. Always if you bring cheese.