Burbans & Lacs: Remembering Ghetto D

Pete Tosiello breaks down the mysterious spelling of Master P's "Burbans and Lacs."
By    August 29, 2017

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Pete Tosiello wrote this while drinking a hand grenade.

The timeless triumph that is Master P’s Ghetto D turns twenty this September 2. What is your favorite song from Ghetto D? All answers are acceptable, but the correct answer is “Burbans and Lacs.”

“Burbans and Lacs” is a perfect song featuring three rap verses and an impassioned vocal from producer/crooner extraordinaire Mo B. Dick, based on an interpolation of “Sexual Healing” which is not quite an interpolation of “Sexual Healing”—it’s about a half-chord off—so that they wouldn’t get sued.

How do you spell “Burbans and Lacs?” All answers are acceptable, and the correct answer is however you please. Wikipedia lists the nineteenth and final track of Ghetto D’s glorious 79-and-a-half minutes as the most accepted, albeit illogically so, “Bourbons and Lacs.” Discogs, iTunes, and Spotify have a “Burbons and Lacs”; this is consistent with the back cover of the Priority Records CD. If you ask Genius, it’s “Bourbans and ‘Llacs.” I’m clearly no authority, but I prefer the far less prevalent “Burbans and Lacs,” as the subjects in question are not Bourbon as in the whiskey or the street in Master P’s adopted home of New Orleans, but rather ‘Burbans as in Chevrolet Suburbans.

All of which is to say that, twenty years on, we are no closer to a unified theory of Bourbons/Burbons/Bourbans/Burbans than the day Robert Christgau dubbed Ghetto D “underproduced propaganda for, reflections of, or fantasies about thug life that hold intrinsic interest only for live homies and their wannabes.” Needless to say, Ghetto D was notably absent in 1997’s final Pazz & Jop tally.

Which is the best verse on “Burbans and Lacs?” All answers are, again, acceptable, and the correct answer is probably Master P’s rousing opener, but I’ve long been enamored by Silkk the Shocker’s second verse which is, structurally, the meat in the Burban and Lac sandwich. As an adolescent tackling life without the internet in my pocket, I often questioned if the second rapper on my YouTube rip was E-40 or just Silkk doing his best E-40 impression. This fledgling hypothesis was mostly founded on the couplet, “Take it from mister West Coast rider / Cadillac Suburban driver, pussy diver.” Genius maintains the lyric is actually “hundred spoke rider,” but they also think the song is called “Bourbans and ‘Llacs,” so…

Speaking of which, Cadillac Suburbans. Such a thing has never existed, but it’s no leap to assume they were referring to Escalades, themselves more or less souped-up and rebadged Tahoes. Except…Escalades weren’t introduced until 1999, and Cadillac never made an SUV model before then. So, was Silkk-as-E-40 predicting the future with stunning clarity? Did he have an inside man at GM? Or was he taking the Chevy bowties off his truck grilles and replacing them with Cadillac crests?

The third and final verse was for a long time a source of similar uncertainty, No Limit being notoriously skimpy with their album booklets. Was it a) Master P again, b) C-Murder, or c) a faceless C-list soldier? The correct answer is c—Lil Gotti, then one-fourth of the Gambino Family and of whom I can’t find much else besides that his government name was, like P, C-Murder, and Silkk’s, Miller. In his words, “The made life, the game tight, No Limit for life.”

Player, play on. I can’t hate you homie.