The other day I was listening to Tone Loc’s Funky Cold Medina and it suddenly occurred to me that possibly I was enjoying a roofie tribute song. I didn’t feel good about this but nor did I want to jump to conclusions. I decided a Funky Cold Medina textual analysis was the only fair way to proceed. It is below.
If you can’t be arsed reading it my conclusion is that the song is essentially a morality tale. Yes, Tone Loc’s attitude is generally problematic, and yes, he indulges in some very dodgy behaviour. But! He is thwarted by the Universe every single time. And he in the end he learns his roofie lesson.
Tone Loc Lyrics
Indira Neville Thoughts
|Cold coolin' at a bar, and I'm lookin' for some action||Nice scene setting, brief and clear. We know where he is and why.|
|But like Mike Jagger said, I can't get no satisfaction||Unexpected pop culture comparison to an old white dude. But there’s no denying ‘satisfaction’ rhymes beautifully with ‘action’. Also there’s quite a cool brief ‘Satisfaction’ song sample when he says the word.|
|The girls are all around, but none of them wanna get with me|
My threads are fresh and I'm lookin' def', yo, what's up with L-O-C?
|He can’t score but importantly does not blame the women for this. Instead he consciously examines himself, “what’s up with me? How can I change?”|
|The girls is all jockin' at the other end of the bar|
Havin' drinks with some no name chump when they know that I'm the star
So I got up and strolled over to the other side of the cantina
I asked the guy, "Why you so fly?" he said,
|Tone Loc is not too vain or macho to ask another man for advice regarding his inability to meet someone. He compensates for his vulnerability with the ‘no name chump’ insult, but sensitively refrains from saying this out loud.|
|"Funky Cold Medina"|
You know what I'm sayin'
Funky Cold Medina
|Both Tone and the listener hear the words ‘Funky Cold Medina’ for the first time. Our curiosity is piqued and no, helpful stranger, at this point we don’t know what you’re saying.|
Interestingly. although the drink is described as cold, in the video it is clearly hot, bubbling and giving off steam.
|This brother told me a secret on|
how to get more chicks
Put a little Medina in your glass, and the girls'll come real quick
It's better than any alcohol or aphrodisiac
A couple of sips of this love potion, and she'll be on your lap
|The helpful stranger doesn’t leave us hanging, and provides a fairly thorough explanation of Funky Cold Medina and how it works, albeit very sexist. But he’s not selfish and is happy to share his method with Tone.|
|So I gave some to my dog when he began to beg|
Then he licked his bowl and he looked at me and did the wild thing on my leg
He used to scratch and bite me, before he was much, much meaner
But now all the poodles run to my house for the Funky Cold Medina
|Although the animal testing and irresponsible pet owner aspects are a worry, Tone very sensibly decides not to ingest the Funky Cold Medina right away. After all he only just met the supplier. His dog scores multiple times as a result of ingestion, we don’t know how he feels about it however. I imagine it might be quite confusing and exhausting for him. Also it’s interesting that all female dogs seem to be poodles.|
|You know what I’m sayin’? I got|
every dog in my neighbourhood breaking down my door.
I got Spuds McKenzie, Alex Strohls. They won’t leave my dog alone with that Medina
|I do love a song that refers to dogs by name. Tone is convinced the Medina works.|
|I went up to this girl, she said, "Hi,|
my name is Sheena"
I thought she'd be good to go with a little Funky Cold Medina
She said, "I'd like a drink, " I said,
"Ehm, okay, I'll go get it"
Then a couple sips she cold licked her lips and I knew that she was
So I took her to my crib, and everything went well as planned
But when she got undressed, it
was a big old mess,
Sheena was a man So I threw him out, I don't mess around with no Oscar Meyer wiener
You must be sure that your girl is pure for the Funky Cold Medina
You know what I'm saying, y'all?
Ain't no plans with a man
|Tone’s transphobia is appalling. His treatment of Sheena is unfair and cruel. This is definitely the most problematic part of the song. I cannot help but wonder though if he’s in self-denial. His actions are very defensive. Clearly, early in the evening he was very attracted to Sheena and likely this has brought up all kinds of difficult questions about his own sexuality. Tone, you have some honest self-reflection to do and whatever the outcome, you owe Sheena and the trans community an apology.|
|Oh, yeah, Funky Cold Medina|
Break it down
|At this point there is an excellent instrumental break – a rough and minimal beat with some fine cowbell and scraper playing.|
And in the video Tone is walking through the club and lots of women are explicitly hassling him and he deserves it.
|Back in the saddle, lookin' for a|
I took a shot as a contestant on
the Love Connection
The audience voted, and you
know they picked a winner
I took my date to the Hilton for a Medina and some dinner
We had a few drinks, I'm thinkin'
soon what I'll be gettin'
Instead she started talkin' 'bout
plans for our weddin'
I said, "Wait, slow down love, not so fast
I says, I'll be seein' ya"
|For you young people, the Love Connection was an old-school television dating show. It was "'where old fashioned romance meets modern technology" It was very American and fascinating and the winning couples went on extravagant dates paid for by TV executives.|
Anyway, on the show Tone wins and he and an eligible young lady are having a nice meal when they realise they’re looking for different things in a relationship – Tone wants short term physical intimacy, his date wants long term commitment. There's nothing wrong with either, they're just at different places in their lives. Tone says goodbye and leaves. He doesn’t consider sex his right, nor accuse her of stringing him along, get angry or guilt-trip her. He does the right thing.
|That's why I found you don't play around with the Funky Cold Medina Funky Cold Medina||Tone realises that Funky Cold medina is not all it’s cracked up to be; that he is OK as he is and hot sex/true love will come all in good time and it will likely be all the better for waiting.|
Tone Loc is the stage name of Anthony Terrell Smith. It comes from 'Antonio Loco (Crazy Tony), a nickname his friends gave him.
Tone Loc's gravelly, hoarse voice was the result of a childhood tea-drinking accident that left his throat scalded.
Both Funky Cold Medina and Wild Thing were written by Marvin Young/Young MC. Wild Thing was the first ever Platinum-certified rap single and Funky Cold Medina was the second.
Before becoming a rapper he was in real estate, buying houses that had been foreclosed by banks and repairing and reselling them for a profit. At one time he was also a computer systems programmer.
He went to Hollywood Professional School, an exclusive private high school.
Forty radio stations refused to play Wild Thing, some were anti-rap, some racist, some deemed it inappropriate for release during an AIDS epidemic.
Tone Loc was the second rap act ever to reach #1 on Billboard's album charts. The Beastie Boys were the first.
Weird Al Yankovic did a Wild Thing parody, 'Isle Thing'. It was about the sitcom Gilligan’s Island.