We Know the Truth: “Pow Right in the Kisser”

The POW Drakeo tributes continue with Jack Riedy breaking down a track where the rapper uses '50s sitcom punchlines with malicious joy.
By    February 11, 2022

In December of 2021, we tragically lost Drakeo the Ruler. We Know the Truth  pays tribute to the foreign whip crasher, Mr. Mosely, one of the most innovative LA rappers in the history of the genre, and most importantly, a rapper we all loved who made music that became part of our lives.

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Jack Riedy wants you to know nouns and verbs >>>>> adjectives and adverbs.

Drakeo grew up reading the encyclopedia, but it’s clear he learned a lot from Cartoon Network too. Kendrick cast himself as Road Runner in a world of coyotes on “Cartoons & Cereal,” but Drakeo is more like Bugs Bunny: a trickster who “resists in every way he can imagine,” per legendary animator Chuck Jones, once provoked by some lunkheaded establishment stooge. (And Drakeo did call someone out to get his jewelry “Elmer Fudd.”)

On the 2021 track “Pow Right In The Kisser,” Drakeo uses the title as an incessant punchline, the Ruler’s whisper punched in every other bar. The phrase was a running gag on ‘50s sitcom The Honeymooners then made multiple appearances in the Warner Bros cartoons of the era. Drakeo will stomp in Christian “Looba-tins” and shoot up some granny’s house until his hands cramp, with malicious joy in his voice like he dropped an anvil on somebody’s head.

For more than five minutes, each part of Thank You Fizzle’s beat, from the claves to the synth strings, drops in and out of the same two bar pattern; the repetitive, intricate arrangement feels like being trapped in an auto shop at the early stages of a psychedelic trip.

Several members of the Stinc Team volley bars against Drakeo’s punchline, matching his carrot-chomping disdain. Remble is carrying shells big enough to take down King Kong. Pow, right in the kisser. Money Monk is dating women you simply can’t afford to see. “You can’t buy that bitch,” he clarifies via adlib. Pow, right in the kisser. Ralfy threatens internet thugs on behalf of the actual trenches. Pow, right in the kisser. Ketchy’s got a pistol that will cross you and treat you like a Christian, as in the martyrs. In the video, he takes a knee to sign the cross as a profane blessing. Pow, right in the kisser. The incessant hook creates space between rhymes, approximating the feeling of the crew freestyling on a studio couch.

The “Pow Right in the Kisser” video takes place in a cramped shoe store, the Stinc Team mugging in between footage of foggy bongs, spiked Sprite bottles, and splayed-out blue face bills. A 2005 Family Guy clips that references The Honeymooners plays on somebody’s phone, timed so that Peter Griffin lip-syncs the hook like one of the crew. Drakeo looks resplendent in several watches per wrist, his crew surrounded by towers of shoeboxes for the taking.

“Pow Right In The Kisser” is the definitive Stinc Team posse cut, the crew shit-talking their rivals like their only concern is impressing each other. Ketchy died just a few weeks before the song’s release, but the world first heard his verse two tracks away from a Drake feature. A YouTube comment reads “I nearly blew my speakers out when the audio version dropped driving on fig lol. LLKTG”. Sometimes, there can be no greater tribute.

As the song ends, Drakeo blurts the hook three times more, in a totally different erratic rhythm. It seems like he found a whole new pocket, like he could push the track into a Carti-esque zone of absurdity, but he doesn’t repeat it, just cuts back to the same sound bite that’s followed every line. Pow, right in the kisser. It’s an outburst to rival the “You from Arkansas” spiel that concludes “Big Banc Unchies”.

For all the flows and phrases that have spread through California and beyond, Drakeo’s music is full of moments that will never be duplicated. His six second vocal solo is the final banana cream pie, the stick of dynamite, the buckshot that spins your beak halfway around your face.

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