Depending on your geographic location and point of entry into the hip hop kingdom, rap lyrics can be full of mystery. In 1989, being a big fan of 3rd Bass, but raised on the left coast, there was always one Pete Nice reference, from the song “Brooklyn-Queens,” that that left me totally in the dark:” I’m Dick Lewis / Cause baby I’m watching you scheme on a brother for a knot .” Who was Dick Lewis? Sure, I always assumed he was some local New York somebody. But barring a verifying phone call to my cousins in Crown Heights (and in 1989 calling long-distance wasn’t cheap), I pretty much just shelved that one into the recesses of my mind.
Circa 1997, after moving to the Rotten Apple and joining ego trip, there was a moment when Sacha reminisced to the crew something to the effect “Hey, you guys remember, ‘Dick Lewis is watching you?'” To which my response was probably “Yes, but no .” At least then in the cipher I learned that it was from a TV commercial or something. For me, a little light was finally shed on the lyric, and back then — with no expectation of an actual VHS casette to watch and experience Dick Lewis for myself (pause) — it was enough to explain the long forgotten enigmatic phrase and keep it moving.
Fast-forward to a lazy Sunday afternoon in spring of 2012 when, suddenly, the mummified mnemonic of “Dick Lewis is Watching You” reanimated itself, leaping out of its dusty brain-crypt and ambushing my consciousness like Kato used to do Inspector Clouseau. Only now, there’s the all-knowing oracle known as Google to the rescue and lay the mystery to rest, once and for all. A few keystrokes later and youtube to the rescue. For those of you who lived in New York at that time, or those of you who were intrepid enough before me to consult the Google long ago, this isn’t news. But for me, this explains everything.
Now, you watch Dick Lewis.
3rd Bass – “Brooklyn-Queens”
“Dick Lewis” at 2:56
LOL. The opening vignette with Pete Nice is the best ever. RIP Albee Square Mall.