There are those who suggest that we live in what is called a “rape culture”, where a society portrays rape or sexual violence as acceptable and where people and media normalize, excuse or condone rape. There are those that would suggest we don’t live in a society that projects “rape culture”, but it would seem the evidence is overwhelming. One case in point is the old-school rap classic ‘Funky Cold Medina’, performed by Tone Lōc and his debut album Loc-ed After Dark and written by Young MC along with a couple other fellows. The song details an instance where one man is told about what amounts to a date-rape drug called Funky Cold Medina, though proponents of rape culture call it an aphrodisiac, and then details the ensuing escapades of its applicaton in comical fashion.
The song begins with the narrator bemoaning the fact that despite the fact that his “threads are fresh and [he’s] looking def”, he can’t manage to obtain the attention of women at the cantina he is patronizing. This mentality implies that so long as a man is exhibiting wealth and fashion, women should be making themselves accessible to him, framing women as predators seeking out men with financial security. These ‘girls’ (a term that infantilizes women) are instead having “drinks with some no-name chum when they know that [the narrator] is a star”. The narrator then asks this no-name chum why he is so fly. The response? Funky Cold Median (FCM).
The next verse is where it begins to get troubling. The no-name chum who is promoted to the status of “brother” once he reveals his secrets, tells the narrator to put “a little Medina in your glass”. The narrator tries this first on his dog to see what the result is. This is extremely disheartening as we see the narrator condones animal testing. He does not know what the potential dangers are to the animal, but gives the FCM to the dog without regard to the potential consequences. The result? The dog performs “the wild thing” on the narrator’s leg, ‘wild thing’ being a euphemism for copulation. In short, the dog is gyrating his reproductive organs on the narrator’s leg. This is seen as a success by the narrator and so the next verse introduces the first instance of attempted rape.
In the third verse a person who the narrator perceives to be a ‘girl’ said that she would “like a drink”. The narrator quickly agrees to get the drink, being sure to spike it with the date-rape drug known as FCM that was provided by the no-name chum. After the ‘girl’ consumes the FCM, the narrator takes this woman, who was introduced as Sheena, to his “crib” where his premeditated rape “went well as planned”. However, when Sheena gets underdressed, the narrator discovers that Sheena is actually a man and promptly throws him out. While the set up to this scenario is problematic in that it promotes rape as normative behaviour, there is an element here that helps to promote homosexuality as normative behaviour and the hostile response to it as learned. At the bar, the narrator, who sees himself as heterosexual, finds himself attracted to Sheena, who he thinks to be a woman. Sheena is actually a man though, and so it is the male form that the narrator is innately attracted to, demonstrating that homosexual attraction is normative and innate behaviour. The narrator then attempts to reaffirm his heterosexuality by stating that “this is the 80’s” and that he is “down with the ladies”, but hindsight serves to heighten the effect of the words because this homophobic behaviour is as dated as the lyrics are.
The final verse is where the true mentality of the predatory rapist comes into play. The targeted victim consumes the date-rape drug FCM, but rather than becoming a victim, she starts talking about getting married and planning a wedding. This terrifies the would-be rapist, whose aim is clearly to procure sex without having to commit to a woman, and so he flees. It is at this point that the would-be rapist decides to abandon his plan to use a FCM as a date-rape drug.
The moral of the story is unclear at best. It would seem that the narrator is suggesting not to use date-rape drugs such as FCM unless you want to get married, or like to fornicate with animals or members of the same sex. All three are portrayed as equally problematic by the narrator, and the date-rape drug FCM isn’t rejected because it is morally wrong, but simply because it doesn’t seem to work pragmatically for the narrator. Is this song supposed to lampoon the narrator? Or lampoon the use of date-rape drugs such as FCM? There is a case to be made that suggests it is a satire of the mentality employed by rapists, but at the same time the comedic tone of the song seems to make light of a serious topic and in turn makes what should be a tragedy into a comedy and ultimately, whether intentional or not, feeds into what might fairly be called a rape culture.