Cardi B, Queen Latifah, and More Salute "Around The Way Girl"
By Stereo Williams
In a catalog that features no shortage of memorable ballads and love songs, LL COOL J's "Around the Way Girl" somehow stands out. There's something forever relatable about the lyrics; something so warm about Marley Marl's smoothed-out production. A dedication to the girls "standing at the bus stop, sucking on a lollipop," it became one of LL COOL J's most indelible hits. Released as a single from Mama Said Knock You Out in the fall of 1990, the Mary Jane Girls-sampling track would hit the Billboard Top Ten in early 1991.
For so many, the romantic shoutout to "Lisa, Angela, Pamela, Renee" continues to resonate. Some of Hip-Hop's most accomplished women shared their sentiment for LL COOL J's ode to the girls in the neighborhood.
"That song was a significant song to me," Pepa explained. "Because it celebrated a certain type of girl. An 'around the way girl' is smart and street smart; ain't scared to do her thing; independent, making her own money, commanding respect - don't have to demand it. Basically, a boss."
“'Around The Way Girl' is the theme song for all Black girls," says Rapsody. "LL made us feel as fly, funky, and bad as we know we are. From ghetto fabulous to B-GIRL with our bamboo earrings. We are all of that and some! I still wear two pair to this day. From our names to our frame! Listening back, it really hits home when we are in a time where exotic is the image pushed, and the Black woman’s 'attitude' is always used to devalue us. That record LOVED on us!”
Cardi B played the tune on Snapchat, singing along and let her followers know just how much "Around the Way Girl" reminds her of New York City.
"FUN FACT: I listen to this song everyday," she captioned on the video. The Bronx bombshell explained that it feels like home. "It gives me 4 train vibes."
MC Lyte also spoke about "...Girl" and the song's timeless appeal.
"I felt like he was talking to me and all of my sisters from the block," shares Lyte. The Brooklynite echoed Cardi B's NYC-girl sentiments. "He was able to capture the essence of any community, but specifically Queens and Brooklyn. That song spoke to me in a real way."
Rapsody attends the BET Experience Youth Program presented by AEG at Staples Center on June 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Paul Archuleta/Getty Images)
MC Lyte attends Launch of Rostrum Records, "Top Shelf 1988" With MC Lyte, Big Daddy Kane, Chubb Rock, Special Ed, Craig G, And Others on December 4, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/Getty Images for Rostrum Records)
Queen Latifah sees herself and her friends in "Around the Way Girl."
"As a woman, I gotta give it up to 'Around the Way Girl." Latifah explains. "That song made me feel like somebody was speaking to me. Not speaking to me in a derogatory way, but really just giving us a shoutout. Me and all of the girls like me from the neighborhood. I think a lot of people thought a guy gets some money and he wants to get some superfly supermodel. But LL made us feel like the supermodels, He made us feel like the queens. He made us feel like we were worthy of everything that he was working towards, that empire that he was working to build.
"So I gotta give it up to him, for giving it up for girls 'around the way.'"
* HEADER CREDIT: Queen Latifah, Missy Elliott and Cardi B attend MTV VMAs and celebrate the Video Vanguard Award honoree Missy Elliott at her after-party celebration on August 26, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Shareif Ziyadat/WireImage)