For me, very small comes nearby to mark Morrison’s opened gambit top top Return the the Mack. The rawness of it. The immediacy. The urgency. The batshit joint morphing an easy words right into something brand-new and weird and also strange. They space words as abstract paints now, on a canvas the supremely danceable new jack swing.

You are watching: Baby now i got the flow

With the feasible exception that Luniz’s I’ve gained 5 top top It - depending on who friend ask, a misogynist earworm around calling dibs on a mrs or a catchy ode to the art of fisting - or R. Kelly’s creepy masterpiece Ignition (Remix), there’s hardly ever been a tune so guarantee to make everyone avoid what lock doing in ~ 4am and start dancing. I wanted to discover out why Return that The Mack refused to die.

To prepare because that this piece I listened to the track - the 3:30-long radio modify (above), the 3:01-long a capella version, the 7:22-long C & J Street mix (below) through the haunting tinkled-piano arrival - at least seventy times in the past thirty-six hours. Ns must’ve heard it numerous times in my life before that. I don’t think i have ever been in an Uber and also not asked for the aux chord come play it. On every spin alluring tricks poured the end of it; an endless, mysterious font that funk. Ns learned just how to pat the tune backwards, and also I listened come it again and again desperately hoping to decipher that myriad codes still further.

I brushed my this singing it, i awoke reasoning of it. I ate humming it, i walked dancing come it. So late neurologist Oliver Sacks composed in the publication Musicophilia the such obsessions are apparent signs of, “the overwhelming, and at times, helpless, sensitivity that our brain to music”. My mind was overwhelmed, Oliver. Helpless. I was, it would appear, sensitive as fuck to mark Morrison.

To unlock the limitless appeal that the party Spotify-playlist mainstay, I set about breaking it down.

The building and construction of the tune is deceptively complex. There’s the minimalist melody, the coruscating siren that signals the start of the vocals, the bass-drums taken indigenous the outro the Tom Tom Club’s classic Genius the Love, the snare snaffled off a live variation of electro weirdo Cerrone’s Rocket In The Pocket, the “HUR” and “HAH” call-and-response the The Treacherous Three’s Feel The Heartbeat. Incorporate all that v Morrison’s knack for unfathomable vocal tics and you’ve obtained a monitor that’s gonna make world want to put down their party of overpriced continent lager and also get dancing.

But perhaps the lyrics give the best indication that Morrison’s true modus operandi.

Well, i tried to tell you so Yes, ns did but I guess friend didn"t know As the saddest story walk Baby, now I acquired the flow ‘cause i knew the from the begin (HUR--HAH) Baby, when you broke my heart the I had actually to come again and to display you the I"m with

What is note Morrison with? we never uncover out because that sure, however it is alluded to that the human being Morrison is addressing definitely knows what is up. As Genius.com user and apparent cosmic detective RebelToUhmerica writes, “When she screwed the over, mark knew that he necessary to go earlier into his former means of living, being The Mack.”

So, I"m earlier up in the game (watch my flow*) Running things to store my totter (all night long) Letting every the world know the I"m earlier to operation the show reason what friend did you know was wrong and also all the nasty things you"ve excellent (Oh-oh-oh-oh) So infant listen very closely while ns sing mine comeback song

The Mack. What space the attributes of The Mack? The Mack has multitudes. He is in ~ once strong and vulnerable. He’s confident enough to resolve you straight as ‘baby’ yet fragile sufficient to implore you to you re welcome ‘listen carefully’. He reflects a tremble aptitude for making a comeback (even if, we, as a listener, have actually no yes, really idea that he went anywhere) and also openly admitting come expressing sore via crying his little Mark Morrison eye out.

You liiiied to me every those time I said that i loved friend You liiiied come me Yes ns tried, yes i triiied you liiiied come me also though you recognize I"d die for girlfriend You liiiied come me Yes ns cried, yes i cri-i-ied

Yes, regardless of your guide’s steely demeanour and penchant for big, bad leather hats, the is someone who cries - no, someone that cri-i-ies - especially when lie to. Picture now, if you can, note Morrison in his early-twenties: A pair that handcuffs dangle loosely from his fingers as with on the covering of his hit single, in his customary black wraparound shades, in a long black animal leather jacket - choose Blade native the movie series Blade - and his black crocodile skin boots. That is dressed, truly together The Mack - but Mark Morrison has actually been lie to. His within The Mack calcifies, it atrophies. It i do not care brittle, like a dried twig. The snaps. The starts to sob - coughing, wailing, sadness periodically spasming the totality of his incredibly leather-clad top body.

You liiiied come me reason she claimed she"d never ever turn top top me you liiiied come me yet you did**, yet you did girlfriend liiiied to me every this ache you said I"d never feel you liiiied to me but I dooo, but I dooo, dooo, dooo

This is decidedly un-The Mack behaviour. Etymological swapshop urban Dictionary’s ProffesorCharm describes the term “The Mack” in chillingly clinical terms: “Suave and attractive. Exemplary”. However in this last definition - “exemplary” - perhaps mark Morrison, at odds through his self-imposed exile, had remained The Mack all along. Perhaps he liiiied to us. Maybe, every this time, he had liiiied come himself.

Haven’t we all been guilty of stop ourselves as well emotionally accountable? Haven’t us all make the efforts escape into our shell after being hurt? the was mark Morrison - until he came to terms v his situation, his alter-ego had actually to remain relegated. But then something snaps him the end of his stupor and the tune transforms into a towering column to the endless capacity of man’s will certainly to survive, typified by the song’s insistent chorus.

Return that the Mack (there that is) Return the the Mack (come on) Return of the Mack (oh mine God) You understand that I"ll be ago (here i am) Return that the Mack (once again) Return the the Mack (top that the world) Return that the Mack (watch my flow) You recognize that I"ll be ago (here i go)

*

In the radio modify of the song, the words ‘return of the mack’ space sung no much less than twenty-four time in three-and-a-half minutes. The effect is claustrophobic. The feels choose he’s no hope trying to to convince himself the he is that he when was - by God, that is The fucking Mack, male - and also the chorus turns right into a hypnotic mantra.

Despite being more than double as long, the extended edit, the C&J Mix v all that piano, sees the location sung only seven extra times and yet it’s so much more effective and also affecting. Again the track shifts indigenous a meaty tale of persistent funkiness guiding a man’s way to an individual redemption, and also into one elegiac ballad of frail masculine ego.

Take the expanded edit’s chorus backing vocal. Check out alone they tell a tale of self-esteem lastly being interpreted - ‘There it is! Come on! five my god’, he says, jubilant at realising his went back sense that being. “Once again! peak of the world! watch my flow!” - but then…

“Mark…” whispers a woman’s voice at 2:25. “Stop lying about your huge break… I require a genuine man… avoid bringing me down!” WHO states THIS? the comes the end of nowhere. Note Morrison barely even references what simply happened, merely internalising the slight, and the tone transforms darker…

Return that the Mack (there that is) Return the the Mack (hold on) Return that the Mack (don"t girlfriend know) You recognize that I"ll be back, right here I go Return the the Mack (oh, tiny girl) Return of the Mack (once mine pearl) Return the the Mack (up and also down) You recognize that I"ll be back (round and also round)

While in the vault chorus he is triumphant, the pain in his wails and also the backing vocal currently tell one more story. The Mack’s The Mackness is here for now, as soon as again, yet for exactly how long? he cannot carry himself to relocate on, doomed to infatuate over his - may be adult - former lover, doomed come constantly dredge increase the past. He is doomed to walk round and also round. The question, eternally, remains: once damaged, deserve to anyone - you, me, The Mack - ever before be fairly so strong?

You think back to the secret woman’s voice - “Mark… stop lying about your big break…” - and also another inquiry emerges: What if the human being Mark has been ache by is… Bloody hell. Look in ~ the video: The woman that enters the room to supply these present - tall, beautiful, pull on in a long blac… FUCKING HELL she’s DRESSED AS note MORRISON. It was Mark Morrison who hurt note Morrison every those year ago.

It’s tiny wonder that the track still resonates come this day. Even besides the song’s perfect tempo - quick sufficient to party to and slow enough to drunkenly persuade through - have such deep, personal questions ever before been more en vogue? and have they ever before been an ext catchily sung? You currently know the answer.

For this track to come in march 1996 - 20 years ago, almost to the month, in ~ the optimal of gangsta rap, of challenging guy posturing - is nothing short of monumental. The it packs so much right into a soundtrack so funky and so, at once, of-its-time and timeless, enabling you ingest its article without realising - prefer a sickly dog’s pill surprise inside a blob of delicious peanut butter - is a testimony to the insurmountable ship of true art and also to the indomitable soul of a dancefloor classic.

Now, pass me the aux.

* who the fuck to know what the actually claimed in this one? answer in the comments, please.

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** The pronunciation of this “Do” is particularly unfathomable, and too distracting to create phonetically yet here go - “But you deeeeeuurhh, however you deeurgghh”.