“Choppa Style,” the soundtrack of the New Orleans Saints’ season, has infiltrated every corner of the Who Dat nation.
Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram and Michael Thomas grooved to “Choppa Style” on the sidelines during the Saints’ blowout of the Philadelphia Eagles back in November.
Drew Brees’ three young boys cavorted to “Choppa Style,” in pajamas and Santa hats, at home on Christmas Eve in a scene the quarterback shared via Instagram.
The New Orleans Saints seem to have found their anthem for their 2018 playoff run.
When several Kansas City Chiefs busted out their own celebratory "Choppa Style" dance during a Dec. 30 game against the Raiders, Ingram even felt compelled, via Twitter, to defend the song's New Orleans pedigree.
Invariably, players and fans gleefully sing and dance along to the “chop-chop-choppa style” refrain first recorded 17 years ago by local rapper Darwin “Choppa” Turner. That refrain, one of the most infectious in all of New Orleans bounce, is so buoyant, its beat so irresistible, that there is no need, really, to worry about the rest of the words.
Not surprisingly, if you ask the average Saints fan what “Choppa Style” is about, you’ll likely be met with a blank stare or shrug.
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“Chopper,” of course, can be shorthand for either a motorcycle or a helicopter. Saints backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s viral locker room “Choppa Style” dance, in which he revs an imaginary handlebar’s throttle, was obviously inspired by the dirt bike interpretation, specifically the “Bike Life” culture of his native Miami. Trying to mimic a helicopter would have been far more awkward.
In street slang, “choppa” or “chopper” can also refer to an automatic or semi-automatic weapon. The cover of “Chopper City,” New Orleans rapper B.G.’s 1996 debut for Cash Money Records, depicts him standing in a shower of oversized bullets.
But Choppa’s “Choppa Style” has nothing to do with guns or violence. Instead, like much of bounce, it is an exaggerated celebration of the pursuit of sex and the singer’s ideal partner for such endeavors. It is unabashedly and frankly sexual.
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“Choppa Style” was the title track of Choppa’s 2002 debut album for the independent New Orleans rap label Take Fo’ Records. Months later, a new version of “Choppa Style” appeared on Choppa’s “Straight From the N.O.” album, released jointly by Take Fo’, Percy "Master P" Miller's New No Limit Records and Universal Records. On the cover, prophetically, Choppa wears a Saints jersey.
The 2003 version of "Choppa Style" and its accompanying video feature Master P. It peaked at No. 49 on the national R&B charts.
Since then, Choppa, now 38, has released new music only sporadically; his career peaked early. But the Saints’ embrace of his first and only hit has reminded fans how much fun his signature party song was, and is.
Master P serves up the song’s spoken-word introduction about heading from Uptown to the West Bank to “put a twist on this thing, ya heard?” His “twist” arrives in the song’s sometimes nonsensical third verse, in which P references Indonesia, Gucci sandals, pancakes, a “ghetto Cinderella” and, indicative of the song’s age, disgraced televangelist Jim Bakker.
But mostly, the verses are devoted to Choppa bragging and serving up shout-outs and sexual references in the grand tradition of New Orleans bounce. In the first verse, he raps, “You wanna shake it like a dog and do it all night, all night/Now assume the position and get it right.”
By “position,” he’s not referring to a spot on the football field.
“Choppa Style” predates the #MeToo movement by more than 15 years. The argument could be made that lyrics such as “I want a slim, fine woman with some twerk with her/She ain't got a lot of ass but I can work with her,” are more than a little objectifying.
The New Orleans Saints' locker room dance party continued after the Saints' win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Sunday.
But “Choppa Style” also seems to celebrate strong women, or at least women who are not dependent on a man. In the second verse, Choppa raps, “If you an independent woman, holla/If you got your own house, holla/If you drive your own car, holla.”
He concludes the sequence with the comic, “If you hate your baby daddy, holla.”
In the interest of fair play, he offers similar affirmations for the fellas, aka the “independent players.” The dudes are screened with an additional criteria: “If you take care of your kids, holla!”
From there, the second verse goes full-on bounce, with the sort of sing-song lyrics that mark the best of the genre. Choppa urges listeners to “walkity-walk with it” and “shakety-shake with it.”
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He continues, “Now we got a brand new dance and it just won’t stop/Throw your hands in the air and do the Choppa rock.”
The Saints, and their fans, likely won’t stop any time soon.
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