Rarely in this age of metaphysical detachment do we encounter such an utter embrace of the visceral as found in Riskay’s gift to the ages, “Smell Yo Dick”. In this piece, Riskay laments what she believes represents the steady decay of her relationship with her boyfriend. Riskay’s friends report sightings of said boyfriend in clubs “flossin’ hard” with a “Ho named Diamond”. Riskay knows this is the beginning of the end. I feel the utter throb of her desperation and angst in her melancholy appeal:
Nigga this is the 15th muthafuckin’ time
That I called and left yo’ ass messages
I done text yo’ bitch ass,
And u ain’t respondin’ to nothin’
What the fuck is you doing
Who the fuck is you out there with
You think I’m stupid,
My gurlz already done put me up on your ass tonight
When u get home I got some news for yo’ bitch ass
Other than photos taken by oft-unreliable cell-phone cameras, Riskay has no tangible evidence of her boyfriends’ “trickin'” with “dirty full of bitches”. It seems there is no way to know for sure. Riskay’s friends say he’s “grindin'” like dat; he says he’s not “clownin’ like dat”.
Riskay intentionally prevents the listener from forming his own verdict; all she offers him in the course of her dynamic ballad is hearsay. “Smell Yo Dick”, in its complex portrayal of the plurality of truths (or of the void of a singular truth?), harks back to Kurosawa’s “Rashomon”–and like Kurosawa’s masterpiece, forms no definite conclusion. We never learn whether or not Riskay’s boyfriend has actually been cheating.
Indeed, in order to reconcile the somber reality born of the abyss of objective truth, Riskay turns to the only truth that seems to exist in this life, that being subjective truth. What we know is inevitably defined by the limitations of our own senses, and rather than wallow in this seemingly-debilitating state, Riskay embraces it, and her assertion of the power of the human will to subsist in a potentially-bleak world also affirms the capacity of the female to hold her own in the presence of the male. Riskay steps forward:
Why u comin’ home 5 in the mornin’
Somethin’s goin’ on, can I smell yo dick
Don’t play me like a fool, cause that ain’t cool
So wat u need to do is lemme smell yo dick
Riskay follows her instincts by following her nose, seeking out that crushing stench of Latex. Like a dog, Riskay has marked her spot with her bodily fluids, and she refuses to let any other bitch claim that territory. From this cesspool of existential crises, vaginal fluids, urine, diluted truths, and Axe body spray, Riskay emerges victor, trumping not just romantic snags, but also the limits of the senses and the death of the truth in her embrace of the visceral.
In the song’s title itself, Riskay plays on the complications that arise from reading and interpretation. Examine the title. “Smell Yo Dick”. Clearly, this could be seen as an elliptical lifting from a line from the chorus (“lemme smell yo dick”). But take a second look. “Smell Yo Dick” could be elliptical, or Riskay could be exploiting the ambiguous form of the verb “Smell”. Here, is it the infinitive, the 1st person, 2nd person, singular and plural? Could it be the imperative? If it is the imperative, Riskay presents the listener with a command with dual significance. Taken alone, the title would seem to suggest that Riskay wants her boyfriend to smell his own dick, and, in this way, take a good look at himself. Why is he lyin’ to her, cheatin’ on her, creepin’ on her? Evaluate the repercussions of your actions, Riskay seems to say.
But the verbal ambiguity of the title offers yet one more dimension of significance. Riskay might even be asking the listener to smell his dick, as well. What are you doing? Riskay asks. It seems not to matter whether or not you’re cheating on someone, or whether you’re even in a relationship. Reevaluate your actions in the context of the metaphysical insights of this piece. What are you actually doing? And do you like what you’re doing? Smell yo dick, and see if you really like how it smells.
In a word, Riskay keeps it real. None of the flowery flourishes like the accents that belong to words like “risqué” that we borrow from the French. Just give it to us straight. Spell it like it is. Smell yo dick. And Riskay does that for us.