Meet the Flockas: A Field Guide to Self-Reference in Triple F Life

Waka Flocka FlameThere are many qualities possessed by Waka Flocka Flame, the idiosyncratic Atlanta rapper behind this week’s Triple F Life: Friends, Fans & Family, that one can readily appreciate: his mumbly pizazz, say, or his unbridled enthusiasm, or perhaps his deep devotion to the prevention of cruelty toward animals. But if there’s one thing in particular about Waka that I find myself returning to, again and again, it’s his unshakable commitment to shouting out his own name. The profligacy and manner with which the man born Juaquin Malphurs repeats his chosen name — opening a verse, underneath choruses, with the beat dropped out and the words shoved out there, blunt and powerful, all by themselves — is something simply unparalleled anywhere else in contemporary music. For my fellow appreciators, I’ve gone ahead and sketched out a rough guide to the best of Waka’s usage of his own name on Triple F Life, so as to streamline your listening process. Feel free to pick your own favorites in the comments!

  • “Triple F Intro”: This is an atypically soft, reflective track, on which Waka reminisces about lost friends and true brotherhood. But while lines like “Where ya’ll was when we was eating dollar menus / so close to a homeless man, pickin’ trash” may be evocative and moving, they don’t offer much opportunity for name-yelling. Skip!
  • “Let Dem Guns Blam”: Ah, here we go. Eleven seconds in, and we have the first Flocka! of the album. Standing alone and unadorned before the verse kicks in, it is a truly powerful thing. Later: “Shootouts [dramatic pause] and some ecstasy — Flocka!,” and “This the Summer of Sam — Waka Flocka!,” and “Let dem guns blam — Flocka Flocka Flocka Flocka!
  • “Round of Applause”: Here, the paltriness of self-naming is mitigated by the mystery of the opening ad lib. Am I hearing things, or is Waka asking someone to “grab me an orange Gatorade, bruh”?
  • “I Don’t Really Care”: At 40 seconds, a bit of meta commentary: “Waka Floooockaaaaa! / I keep them bad bitches yelling it!” They are, of course, not the only ones.
  • “Rooster in My Rari”: “Throwin’ throwin’ throwin’ dough / throwin’ dough / throwin’ dough / bitch I said I’m throwing stacks — Flocka!” The perfect cap for a potent little run.
  • “Get Low”: Presumably out of deference to his guests Nicki Minaj, Tyga, and Flo Rida, Waka keeps the self-naming to a minimum. Skip.
  • “Fist Pump”: Here, it’s whispered, mid-verse: “Jump jump jump jump jump — Flocka! Flocka!
  • “Candy Paint and Gold Teeth”: And here it’s shouted, underneath the chorus: “Candy paint — Flocka!,” “and gold teeth — Flocka!” The Flocka! truly is a slippery, multifaceted thing.
  • “Cash”: I barely have any idea what our dude is saying here: “Wanna hit it, wanna hit it, got that bullshit on my mind / ain’t no thin ones [?] over here you gon’ get stomped out every time / Waka Flocka Waka Flocka! keep the [garbled] every time.” But the way he says it? Like a man proudly going down with the ship? Perfect.
  • “Lurkin”: At 2:50, the beat drops out on “Squaaaad!,” and echoing, layered Waka voices stutter out Waka!s and Flocka!s into a sneering Motherfucka! A front-runner for the best usage on the whole album.
  • “Clap”: This track kicks off with this weird humming-type noise lulling you to sleep. And then, boom, you get a Flocka!, and you’re wide awake again.
  • “U Ain’t About This Life”: Once again guests show up, in this case Slim Thug and Alley Boy, and Waka puts away the Flocka! Skip.
  • “Power of My Pen”: Considering Waka’s known for his delivery and passion, not his lyrical prowess, is the title of this song meant to be subversive? Like, are we really supposed to believe Waka writes down his lyrics, with an actual pen and everything? And if he really does, how much would I have to pay to get my hands on a sheet of his notepad where he’s just written Flocka! over and over again?
  • “Flex”: Waka’s main chick is the Flocka! ad lib, but his Flex! ad lib is definitely his no. 1 side chick. This is a nice showcase for the other woman.
  • “Triple F Outro”: In a thematic bookend, the outro revisits the sensitive, earnest material of the intro — heartbreak, pain, loss, regret, fear of death — and therefore keeps it at a minimum with the Flocka!s. Skip.

Filed Under: Waka Flocka Flame

Amos Barshad has written for New York Magazine, Spin, GQ, XXL, and the Arkansas Times. He is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ AmosBarshad