Public Enemy And The Music That Gives Arsalan His Game

Civil rights attorney Arsalan Iftikhar regularly offers his thoughts about sports, politics and pop culture in Tell Me More's Barbershop roundtable. For the occasional series In Your Ear, Iftikhar shares his thoughts on the songs that make him dance and keep him happy, including Public Enemy's "He Got Game."

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And finally today, it's time for the latest in our occasional series we call In Your Ear. That's where guests of the program tell us about the songs they listen to for a little inspiration. Today, we hear from TELL ME MORE's own Barbershop regular, civil rights attorney and author Arsalan Iftikhar. Here's what's playing in his ear.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "6 UNDERGROUND")

ARSALAN IFTIKHAR: Hey there, this is Arsalan Iftikhar. I'm the founder of themuslimguy.com and a weekly contributor to the Barbershop segment here at TELL ME MORE. And this is what's playing in my ear, the song "6 Underground" by Sneaker Pimps.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "6 UNDERGROUND")

SNEAKER PIMPS: (Singing) Take me down, six underground. The ground beneath your feet.

IFTIKHAR: This song to me is one of the greatest globalist songs of the last 20 years. It's, you know, one of those songs whether you're at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, on the South Side of Chicago or chilling in a hotel in Dubai, this electronic track with a harp melody at the beginning, sampled from the 1964 James Bond movie "Goldfinger," is just one of the most immortal tracks that I can remember, and is always in my iPod.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "6 UNDERGROUND")

SNEAKER PIMPS: (Singing) I fake my life like I've lived too much. I take whatever you're giving...

IFTIKHAR: Also, Sneaker Pimps has to be one of the most gangster names for a music group ever.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "6 UNDERGROUND")

SNEAKER PIMPS: (Singing) Over ground, watch this space. I'm open to falling from grace.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "NO RAIN")

IFTIKHAR: The second song that's playing in my ear is "No Rain" by Blind Melon. I like to call this song the happiest song of all time.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "NO RAIN")

BLIND MELON: (Singing) All I can say is that my life is pretty plain. I like watchin' the puddles gather rain.

IFTIKHAR: I think this song is most known for its bee girl video, you know, about a little awkward young girl in a bee costume. I think everybody knows that video. And to me every child should have a bee costume for playtime.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "NO RAIN")

BLIND MELON: (Singing) ...it's not sane. I just want someone to say to me, I'll always be there when you wake, yeah. You know I'd like to keep my cheeks dry today. So stay with me and I'll have it made.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HE GOT GAME")

PUBLIC ENEMY: (Rapping) Yeah, that's right. This cut goes to all ya'll that's been missing us for...

IFTIKHAR: The last song that's playing in my ear is "He Got Game" by Public Enemy.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HE GOT GAME")

PUBLIC ENEMY: (Rapping) PE, 1998. If man is the father, the son is the center of the Earth, in the middle of the universe, then why is this verse coming six times rehearsed? Don't freestyle much, but I write 'em like such. Word. Amongst the fiends controlled by...

IFTIKHAR: To me this is one of the best tracks by one of the best hip-hop groups ever. You have lyrical prophet Chuck D waxing poetic with Jefferson Airplane's sample in the background, a movie soundtrack featuring Denzel Washington and Ray 'Jesus' Shuttlesworth Allen. To me it's the ultimate empowerment song.[POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: The sample is from Buffalo Springfield, not Jefferson Airplane.]

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HE GOT GAME")

PUBLIC ENEMY: (Rapping) If it don't mean nuttin, what is game who got game? Where's the game in life? Behind the game, behind the game. I got game. She got game.We got game.

IFTIKHAR: I got game. She got game. got game. We got game. They got game. He got game. Basically, Chuck D and Flavor Flav are telling the whole world that we all got game.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HE GOT GAME")

PUBLIC ENEMY: (Rapping) Yeah, that's right. Everybody got game and we just here to let y'all know that PE is in full effect from right now until the year 2000. Hey, yo, my man, sing it.

STEPHEN STILLS: (Singing) Something happening here.

PUBLIC ENEMY: Yeah. Yeah.

MARTIN: That was Barbershop regular contributor Arsalan Iftikhar telling us what's playing in his ear.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HE GOT GAME")

STILLS: (Singing) There's a man with a gun over there...

PUBLIC ENEMY: Yeah, that's right. Ha, ha.

STILLS: (Singing) Telling me I got to beware. It's time we stop, tell me, what's that sound? Everybody look what's going down.

PUBLIC ENEMY: Everything, yo...

MARTIN: And that's our program for today. I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Let's talk more on Monday.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HE GOT GAME")

STILLS: (Singing) Everybody look what's going down.

PUBLIC ENEMY: (Rapping) That's right, boy. PE, full effect going into the year 2000, yo.

(Singing) Ooh, ooh, ooh. Stop. Look. What's that sound?

(Rapping) Come on, sing it.

(Singing) Everybody knows what's going down.

(Rapping) Sing it again, ya'll. Come on.

(Singing) Stop. Look. What's that sound?

(Rapping) Hey. Hey, hey.

(Singing) Everybody knows what's going down. Stop...

(Rapping) Hey, yo, these are some serious times that we living in, G and a new world order is about to begin, you know what I'm saying. Now the question is are you ready for the real revolution, which is the evolution of the mind...

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Correction Oct. 19, 2012

Our guest incorrectly attributes the background sample in "He Got Game" to Jefferson Airplane. The correct artist is Buffalo Springfield.

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