Lab Tracks

Lab Track: Diseases of Yore

I think I’ve discovered something about myself: Put skepticism in a rap song and I am SOLD. Science words don’t work so well in pretty, lyrical songs, but twist them up in some freestyle and it’s like they were made for it. And with that, I give you today’s lab track, courtesy of labber Charles. MC Frontalot, who calls his genre “nerdcore hip hop,” performs this little gem that runs down a list of antiquated diseases that nobody gets anymore. It’s a celebration of modern medical science! Enjoy!

Diseases of Yore
MC Frontalot

You don’t meet a lot of people in emergency rooms
who’ve got anthracosis, consumption
or womb fever. June Cleaver never suffered.
She had the penicillin, no expiration when she mothered
her no-good little death-proof brats.
Living little ones once were preciouser than that.
Living anybody used to be a miracle, yo.
You’d get et by the festering hysterical flow
of madnesses and bad diseases of mole,
lung, eye, and humor, spirit and soul.
All these afflictions engender aversions:
I catch green sickness to match with the virgins;
scrofula coughs that I cast askance;
ever since black scurvy, I can’t wear pants.
And I can’t but dance with glee that it’s not then now.
“I bet you got the tarantism.” – and how!

Maybe you’ll never die,
maybe you’re going to live forever
and never have anything wrong with you,
and until you do,
you won’t worry about it.
‘Cause you’re probably fine;
maybe you should pretend to forget to remember
the bullet that’s meant for you,
until it’s overdue,
and it runs you through.

I got galloping dropsy and cheese washer’s lung.
Leaves me with asthenia, the croup, and a dung heap
of unbearably fetid excreta, from which I get re-infected.
Nice to meetcha—how about a hug? I swear my ichor is down
and I got over the pestilence. It was intense. I astound
the historians. I’m picardy sweaty.
Just ran out of leeches (that I need) (such as for bloodletting).
It’s upsetting! There, I’m upset!
Dose of French distemper throbbing up in my head!
I don’t go into bilious flux just yet, but about to
give out a shout to the cholera. Doubt you
could follow a charting of the manifold ways I’m ill:
Iliac passion, Spelter’s chill,
Weaver’s bottom, and a melancholy ache
If my fever doesn’t break, raise a glass at the wake.

Yea verily, shouldn’t ought to put in the belly
Ague cake with the colloid jelly.
Now you come telling me check in the mind,
that all of these infirmities combined define a
time-traveling hypochondria epidemic (one I suffer under).
But on the other side of the globe from affluence,
The death is still thriving. Thus, contract thence.

Ashley Hamer

Ashley Hamer (aka Smashley) is a saxophonist and writer living in Chicago, where she performs regularly with the funk band FuzZz and jazz ensemble Big Band Boom. She also does standup comedy, sort of, sometimes. Her tenor saxophone's name is Ladybird.

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