Act like you know, Rico

This week in lyrics analysis corner it is my pleasure to welcome one of the few successful pop songs sung by someone named Cecil: Here Comes the Hotstepper, the solitary hit of the artist best known by his stage name Ini Kamoze.

There are two schools of thought on the meaning of Cecil Campbell’s ode to a murderous thug. The most common interpretation is that the narrator is a gang member patrolling the streets with his crew, partaking in gang warfare and generally letting blood as if juicing strawberries.

A more in-depth study, however, suggests that Cecil has spent an unsatisfactory evening at the opera with his crew, whom he has found loitering “in A-D area” of the auditorium. He boasts that anyone testing him will “hear the fat lady sing”, suggesting that he is able to emulate the leading lady’s performance note for note.  Having admonished his friends Rico and Bo for failing to  follow the plot (“Act like you know, Rico / I know what Bo don’t know”), he announces his intention to buy a strawberry-flavoured (“Juice like a strawberry”) ice cream in the interval from an usherette with his spare change (“Ch-ch-chang-chang”). However, learning that the ice cream is £4 for a very small tub, he murders the vendor, noting that the price is “extraordinary” and asking whether she thinks he has “money to burn”. Flushed with regret, he entreats appalled opera-goers to “dial the emergency number”, possibly to call the policeman he accidentally bumped into on the way into the performance (“Excuse me Mr Officer”).

Here comes the hotstepper, murderer
I’m the lyrical gangster, murderer
Pick up the crew in-a de area, murderer
Still love you like that, murderer

No, no, we don’t die
Yes, we multiply
Anyone test will hear the fat lady sing
Act like you know, Rico
I know what Bo don’t know
Touch them up and go, uh-oh


Juice like a strawberry
Money to burn baby, all of the time
Cut to fade is me
Fade to cut is she
Come juggle with me, I say every time

Here comes the hotstepper, murderer
I’m the lyrical gangster, murderer
Dial emergency number, murderer
Still love you like that, murderer

4 Responses to “Act like you know, Rico”

  1. Tom Longley Says:

    Actually, his pal Rico is debuting as Flosshilde in Gotterdammerung, and Cecil is exhorting him to make the best of it: “Act! Like you know, Rico!”

  2. pouletnoir Says:

    I wonder if his boast that he knows “what Bo don’t know” is a reference to Bo Holten, the Danish opera composer, whom Cecil believes to have a hazy memory of the plot of The Ring Cycle.

  3. what's up wit dat Says:

    are we being stupid or do we really not know that “what Bo don’t know” is a reference to Bo Jackson, American Baseball and Football superstar. Bo know baseball, Bo knows football, Bo knows running, etc….

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