Song of the Day #645: ‘White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It)’ – Grandmaster Melle Mel

Last Fall, I spent a month counting down my favorite songs from the 80s, highlighting a batch of tunes that were ubiquitous on MTV and helped shape my creative awareness during my formative second decade.

But recently I realized that I left out a group of songs from early in the decade that had a big impact on my tween self, well before the word “tween” was invented. These are tracks released between 1981 and 1984, when I was between 9 and 12 years old. This week I’ll feature five of those songs that transport me back to my elementary school days.

One thing all of these songs have in common is that I couldn’t have told you who performed them if you offered me a million dollars or put a gun to my head. I suppose that’s true of most one-hit wonders, a description that fits each of these songs, but I also guess it’s because at that time in my life I wasn’t very concerned with the ‘who’ when it came to music.

I was nothing like my own kids, who ask for music by artist and have a definite set of performers they like and dislike. I didn’t really own any music of my own and I listened to songs that reached me through the radio, paying little attention to little details like who was actually performing them.

I can confidently say that reading up on today’s SOTD marked the first time I had ever heard the name Grandmaster Melle Mel, even though ‘White Lines’ was a song I listened to repeatedly in 1983. I’ll now invite you to debate whether it was appropriate for an 11-year old to groove to a song about cocaine, but I’ll also point out that, despite the chorus promising “vision dreams of passion,” Mr. Melle Mel does suggest that there is “nothing to gain except killin’ your brain.”

I have a vivid memory of listening to this song in a car full of my friends driven by my father. We were on our way back from Sea Camp in the Keys (which I don’t remember very well) and in the car we struggled to figure out a bunch of visually-based word puzzles (one example: a picture of two dice, or “pair of dice,” which translated to “paradise”). I doubt I’d have that vivid memory absent the song playing on the car radio. Music triggers our brains in that way, it helps lock in certain moments.

So thank you, Grandmaster Melle Mel. Freebase!

(Ooh White Lines) Vision dreams of passion
(Blowin’ through my mind) and all the while I think of you
(High price) a very strange reaction
(For us to unwind) the more I see, the more I do
(Something like a phenomenon) Baby!
(Tellin your body to come along, but white lines blow away)
(Blow! Rock it! Blow!)

Ticket to ride, white line highway
Tell all your friends, they can go my way
Pay your toll, sell your soul
Pound for pound costs more than gold
The longer you stay, the more you pay
My white lines go a long way
Either up your nose or through your vein
With nothin to gain except killin’ your brain

(Freeze! Rock! Freeze! Rock! Freeze! Rock! Freeze! Rock!)
(Blow!)

(Ahhh) Higher, baby
(Ahhh) Get higher, baby!
(Ahhh) Get higher, baby!
And don’t ever come down! (Freebase!)

Rang dang diggedy dang di-dang
Rang dang diggedy dang di-dang
Rang dang diggedy dang di-dang
Diggedy dang di-dang diggedy dang di-dang

(Pipeline) pure as the driven snow
(Connected to my mind) and now I’m havin’ fun, baby!
(High price) it’s getting kinda low
(Cause it makes you feel so nice) I need some one-on-one, baby!
(Don’t let it blow your mind away) Baby!
(And go into your little hideaway ‘cause white lines blow away)
(Blow! Rock it! Blow!)

A million magic crystals, painted pure and white
A multi-million dollars almost overnight
Twice as sweet as sugar, twice as bitter as salt
And if you get hooked, baby, it’s nobody else’s fault, so don’t do it!

(Freeze! Rock! Freeze! Rock! Freeze! Rock! Freeze! Rock!)
Raah! (Blow!)

(Ahhh) Higher, baby
(Ahhh) Get higher, baby!
(Ahhh) Get higher, baby!
And don’t ever come down! (Freebase!)

(Don’t you get too high) don’t you get too high baby!
(Turns you on) you really turn me on and on
(‘Cause you gotta come down) my temperature is risin’
(When the thrill is gone) no, I don’t want you to go

A street kid gets arrested, gonna do some time
He got out three years from now just to commit more crime
A businessman is caught with 24 kilos
He’s out on bail and out of jail
And that’s the way it goes
Raah!

(Kane! Sugar! Kane! Sugar! Kane!)

Athletes rejected, governerds corrected
Gangsters, thugs and smugglers are thoroughly respected
The money gets divided
The women get excited
Now I’m broke and it’s no joke
It’s hard as hell to fight it, don’t buy it!

(Freeze! Haha ha ha! Rock! Freeze! Rock! Freeze! Rock! Freeze! Rock!)
Raah! (Blow!)

(Ahhh) Get higher, baby
(Ahhh) Get higher, girl!
(Ahhh) Get higher, baby!
C’mon!
Raah!

(White Lines) Vision dreams of passion
(Blowin’ through my mind) and all the while I think of you
(High price) a very strange reaction
(For us to unwind) the more I see, the more I do
(Something like a phenomenon) Baby!
(Tellin your body to come along, but white lines blow away)

Little Jack Horner sitting on the corner
With no shoes and clothes
This aint funny, but he took his money
And sniffed it up his nose

(Hey man, you wanna cop some blow?)
(Sure, what you got, dust, flakes or rocks?)
(I got China White, Mother of Pearl, Ivory Flake, What you need?)
(Well yeah, well let me check it out man, just let me get a freeze)
(Go ahead man, stuff I got should kill ya!)
(Yeah man th-that’s that’s raw, wuh)

(Freeze! Haha ha ha! Rock! Freeze! Rock! Freeze! Rock!
Freeze! Rock! Freeze! Rock! Freeze! Rock!)

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3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #645: ‘White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It)’ – Grandmaster Melle Mel

  1. Dana says:

    This should be an amusing theme week.

    I somehow went through the early 80’s in junior high and high school) without hearing this song. It’s possible that this song could have come on the radio, but it’s the kind of song that, even then, I probably would have turned off.

    Still, the thought of this song playing in your dad’s car is quite amusing:)

  2. pegclifton says:

    Somehow it’s hard to see Dad leaving this on the radio while driving–maybe he has a secret music life when he’s not driving with me 🙂

  3. Amy says:

    I’m with Dana and Mom. I don’t recall ever hearing any such song, let alone playing in Dad’s car. Wow. The secret lives revealed only in a SOTD blog. Truly fascinating.

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