Hip-hop/Spirituality/Freethinking. Speaking for all underdogs!
Slow-Draggin’: Dying Art of the Grind
By Khalil Amani
I know I’m an old-head and I know things are different now---and stuff changes with each generation, but still, I’ve got a problem with this generation of young people and this generation of dee jays and this generation of club owners and this generation of hip-hop! As the old man in the club, I’ve notice a disturbing trend! Young people don’t “slow” dance anymore! If you’re between the ages of 18 and 35, you probably can count on one hand the times you’ve slow danced—and that’s criminal! Young folks (especially men) are so into hip-hop that they are neglecting those fine-ass sistas, who would love to be held and rocked and caressed and fondled and grinded on. Again, I know I'm the old guy in the club. True' dat. But I know a great party when I hear and see one! These young'uns be tallumbout the club was "lit" last night and I'm telling you that what you call "lit"---niggas standing around in the club texting or huddled up in the corner nursing a drink is not "lit." I don't are how crowded the club was! From the time they arrived until the time they left, not nann slow song was played, which means that ever man up in there went home with a limp dick!
You mean you’d rather dance to “Look ma, no hands” all night than saddle up next to one of these fly honeys in a slow grind? You’d rather “Go hard in the mutha-effin’ paint” than “Grow hard in the mutha-effin’ pants?”
Hip-hop! What happened? Even the former Leader of the Free World, the P.O.T.U.S.--President Obama and Michelle know how to Slow-Drag! The only time you young'uns wanna bump uglies is at a wedding!
Slow dancing with a girl, which is commonly referred to as “Slow-Draggin’” is a dying art. The Slow-Drag was an easy dance—roll to the left twice and roll to the right twice, while joined at the hips with your partner. Slow-draggin’ used to be what every dude at the party anticipated. After fifty-minutes of fast dancing, a few slow records are when a guy could make his move on the chick he’s been eye-fucking all night. Slow-draggin’ was the way to get a girl’s name and number, all while getting her panties wet!
Some girls like a nice non-threatening/non-sexual slow-drag and some girls can be as raunchy as they wanna be! In the most extreme cases, slow-draggin’ allowed a brotha to feel a girl up—squeeze her ass, tongue her down, while having his rock-hard cock strategically placed, so that the woman could feel it between her legs. Slow-draggin’ between the sexes communicated the desires, lusts, passions, and motives of your partner. No amount of verbal gymnastics (mackin’ or rappin' or kickin' drag or talkin') could do what one slow-drag could do! Slow-draggin’ was the definitive and determining factor as to whether a girl was gonna let you get to first-base (a kiss)—and then second-base and so forth and so on.
Here's the song I first slow-dragged to! I can still very vividly remember the first time I slow-dragged with a girl—in 1974, 14 years old, to the Ohio Player’s song, “I Want To Be Free”—A seven-minute opus about kicking a girl to the curb for lying. OMG! I swear to gawd! My first time slow-draggin’—my dick was harder-than-the-times-in-‘29 (The Depression Era). I almost shot my load right there on the friggin’ dance floor! (And indeed, some teenage boys did!) You couldn’t tell me that I wasn’t having sex. (lol) The smell of a girl! The softness of a girl! The feeling of being held by a girl! And most importantly—being ithyphallic (having a hard-on!)—the feeling of an erection next to a girl’s snatch—and she liking it! There is nothing more intense than your first grind—the first time you “clothes-burned/dry hump" a girl! It’s the closest thing to having sex for a teenage boy who's never had sex---and just as good as sex to a young man who has no frame of reference for how sex really feels.
I never missed an opportunity to pull a girl off a couch or grab a “wall-flower” (a chick posted up on the wall all night) and slow-drag. I was like a wolf waiting to pounce on a sheep—and if one sheep (girl) got away (said, "No!"), I’d move on to the next girl. Slow-draggin’ was a great game of cat & mouse where we fellas would compare notes, sometimes lying on our dicks at the end of the night, as to who got the most grinds at the party, even though we all saw whenever one of us was on the dance floor grinding all hell out of a girl.
And in the 70's, we had a shit-load of slow-jams to set it off! Earth, Wind & Fire’s, “Reasons,” Al Green’s, “Let’s Get It On,” Peabo Bryson’s, “Feel the Fire,” Luther Vandross’s, “A House is not a Home,” the Isley Brothers’, “Between the Sheets,” The O’Jay’s, “Stairway To Heaven”—and the R&B/soul singers and groups! The Commodores, Kool & the Gang, Curtis Mayfield, Isaac Hayes, James Brown, The Jackson 5, Barry White, Al Green, Donny Hathaway, Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight, Patti LaBelle, Teena Marie, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Teddy Pendergrass, Stephanie Mills, Billy Paul, Peaches & Herb, The Platters, Wilson Pickett, Diana Ross, Sam & Dave, Sly and the Family Stone, The Staple Singers, Edwin Starr, The Stylistics, Johnny Taylor, Tina Turner, Grover Washington, Bill Withers, Stevie Wonder, Bobby Womack, Betty Wright, LTD, The Chi-Lites, Smokey Robinson, Brick, SOS Band, Frankie Beverly & Maze, The Floaters, Aretha Franklin, The Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, The Delfonics!—we had balladeers and soul bands in the 70's! We had definitive lovemaking songs—one of the greatest R&B songs ever recorded—Lenny Williams’ “Cause I Love You.” Listen!!!!!
When you put that Slow-Draggin’ work in like I used to put it in—when you grind a chick so good in the club like I used to—that was the foreplay and the setup for a potential one night stand. Do you know how many chicks in the eighties and nineties I’ve bedded down straight from the club after letting them feel my schooling during a heated Slow-Drag session? After two or three Slow-Draggin’ records I can tell she’s ready to fuck! The eyes never lie! I’ll be like, “Hey, you wanna get outta here?” She’ll be like, “Where you wanna go?” I’ll say, “Let’s go back to my place” and she’ll agree.
Once we get to my pad, I’ll straightway go for the drawhs—without hesitation! I’ll throw some Teddy Pendergrass on the stereo and commence to making her do what she may or may not have ever done; that is, fuck a nigga within an hour of meeting me! And within minutes, I’ll have her taking off her own panties, while telling me she’s never done this—had sex on the first date. Can you hear her? “Baby. I don’t know what you did to me in the club, but I’m yours tonight! I’ve never done this with somebody I just met.” I’ll be thinking, “This ain’t no first ‘date’!” Bitch! I pulled you from the club over some Slow-Draggin’!”
This is what you young’uns are missing with all that fucking fast music all fucking night at the club! The damn DJ today is oblivious to the mack-game today! It’s all about keeping it litty!
Yes Hip-hop! The seventies yielded the greatest love songs—bar none, but today, you have very few slow songs that are comparable. Maybe Usher’s, “There Goes My Baby” or Lloyd’s, “Lay It Down”—songs where a brotha/sista can ride each other like the Lone Ranger rides Silver. Or, Beyonce's, "Drunk In Love." DeAngelo & Chris Brown bring heat, but comparatively speaking, black soul music is dead. Why don’t I see you young hip-hop heads “gettin’ it in” on that slow draggin' shit?
You can make fun of our polyester bell-bottoms, our platform shoes, our afros—but our music was the shit and we got our slow-draggin’ on! This is what hip-hop is missing. The romance of R&B. The subtlety of wooing the drawhs off a woman without the vulgarity. I guess what I’m really trying to say is slow that shit down and let a brotha get his grind on! Where is the romance today? In the seventies and eighties---not only did we like our women with hairy snatches (vaginas), but we were "hopeless romantics!" The club scene was a den of hopeless romantics---men and women who dressed up to go out dancing and capture the imagination of the opposite sex (or same sex). You've seen Soul Train on TV. That was the way it was! Dancing! Sweating! Slow songs and slow draggin'!
Slow-Draggin’ is a dying art-form. I’ve been in hip-hop clubs all around the country and I see the same trend—four, five or six hours of nonstop up-tempo rap music. Am I to believe that rap and R&B can’t coexist in the same sphere? Surely, in the advent of hip-hop/rap music these two genres were played in the club. Rap music even indulged in a little “bump & grind.” Can you remember LL Cool J’s “I Need Love?”
Yes! I'm an older gentleman and some might think I have no business in the club at two years shy of sixty, but don't pigeonhole me into your concept of what "age-appropriate" behavior should look like! I ain't yo' mammy or yo' pappy! I'm a "man of a certain age" (as Star likes to say), who still is wholly invested in this thingy called "hip-hop!" I’m feelin’ all things hip-hop related, but let’s get back to that “pause-for-the-cause”—intermission, if you will, from the fast music. We’ve stopped slow dancing!
Khalil Amani is"Gay hip-hop's Straight Advocate." A Miami native who writes for Allhiphop.com, DJ Kay Slay’s Straight Stuntin Magazines. He’s been featured in L.A. Times, Miami New Times, Miami Herald, Thump/Vice/Noisey.com, Forward, Spin Magazine, DaveyD.com, DJ Kay Slay's Streetsweeper Sirius XM Radio Show, The Opperman Report, Sa NeterTV, CBS's, "West 57th Street" (1988), The Biography Channel's, "I Survived a Cult" (2010), The Biography Channel's, "Escaping Evil: My Life in a Cult" (2013) and 2018's, ID (Investigation Discovery) Channel in conjunction with People Magazine "Cults." Look for upcoming features on Mr. Amani in February 2019 on Oxygen Channel and People Magazine! Amani is the author of seven books, including the groundbreaking“Hip-Hop Homophobes...” (iuniverse.com ’07). Amani majored in English and Black Studies at San Diego Mesa College and the University of Nebraska. Follow on IG @khalil_amani, Facebook, Twitter @khalilamani. Email @firstname.lastname@example.org