Along the same lines as a prior post I did on T. Rich “switching genre lanes,” comes another and this one is swangin’ wide! ZZ Top covered DJ DMD’s (featuring Fat Pat and Lil Keke) 25 Lighters for their upcoming album La Futura and for a Jeremiah Weed advertisement.
Last year I did a post (click to read) on the meaning and myths behind the song. This year all the blog noise on ZZ Top’s cover awoke more conjecture and possible truth on the history and meaning of 25 Lighters. In an enlightening interview by Rocks Off of the Houston Press, DJ Screw’s protégé Lil Randy had this to say:
RO: When DMD gave which records to you? I think I speak for 47 percent of Houston when I say I’ve got no idea what the phrase “25 lighters” means.
LR: Ha! DMD gave me the ZZ Top record about six or seven months ago. It doesn’t have a secret meaning; it comes from an 8Ball and MJG song where MJG says “I’ve got 25 lighters on my dresser, yes sir.”
RO: Yeah, I know. What the heck is it about?
LR: Just a catchy phrase.
RO: So you do not know why he’s got so many lighters on his dresser? My brother says it’s because he’s been partying too much and comes home with somebody else’s lighter every night. Which would explain why he’s in such a hurry to get paid.
LR: Is he serious?
RO: I think so. Doesn’t it make sense to you?
LR: No. For one thing MJG says “I keep 25 lighters on my dresser.” The “I gots to get paid.” was added later by Lil’ KeKe.
RO: My brother is always wrong.
LR: It came from MJG. Then Lil’ KeKe said it on a Screw tape. Then DEA made a song from it. Then DMD made a song from it. Now ZZ Top.
Aside from a few poor quality un-synced documentaries, much of Houston’s polyunsaturated rap culture seems to be passed down by oral tradition, which is good because it serves as a natural filtration system, meaning, you won’t ever get a W.A.S.P.-y college guy telling you about the D.E.A (for example), the way he would about Jay-Z or Master P’s business model. But this type of shadowy scholarship is ripe for variance and although different interpretations are sometimes charming, over time they become attenuated. For posterity it’s important that some of these stories get fixed in tangible mediums. As you know, here at T.R.O.Y. we practice due diligence in an effort to help you thoroughly reminisce. So, with the help of the above interview and lots of YouTube-ing I present to you a compilation of 25 Lighters—
Just as captivating as the progression and mystery behind the meaning of 25 Lighters is ZZ Top’s narrative about why the band decided to cover it. Stick around for Part Deuce coming soon…
8 Ball and MJG, All In My Mind, On Top Of The World (1995)
Lil Keke and Big Pokey, 25 Lighters Freestyle, Chapter 13 Leanin’ On a Switch (1996)
DJ DMD, Fat Pat and Lil Keke, 25 Lighters, Twenty-Two: P.A. World Wide (1998)
Lil Flip, 25 Lighters Freestyle, Southern Lean Volume 2 (2006)
Slim Thug, 25 Lighters Freestyle, I Represent This (2006)
Z-RO, 25 Lighters, Crack (2008)
Big K.R.I.T., 8 Ball and MJG, Money on the Floor (aka 25 Lighters), Live From The Underground (2012)
DJ DMD, 25 Bibles On My Dresser, 25 Bibles On My Dresser E.P. (2012)
ZZ Top, I Gotsta Get Paid, La Futura (2012)