The Good Humor truck asks RZA to bring the ruckus

A 10-year-old boy runs as he yells for the ice cream truck to stop (it did). Laurel, Maryland, 1998
A 10-year-old boy runs as he yells for the ice cream truck to stop (it did). Laurel, Maryland, 1998
Photo: The Washington Post (Getty Images)

Many of you might already know that the origins of American folk song and popular ice cream truck jingle “Turkey in the Straw” are problematic at best. I didn’t know about its racist roots until recently, because in the part of Brooklyn I grew up in, the song that used this tune was “Do Your Balls Hang Low,” and all us kids would sing its PG-level profanity at the top of our lungs whenever the Good Humor truck drove down 96th Street. And maybe a few neighborhoods away, a young RZA and Big Baby Jesus sang the same song when the ice cream truck rolled through Brownsville, because why would anyone pass up the chance to sing about balls? But “Turkey in the Straw” actually originated with some 200-year-old lyrics about a caricatured Black man, and the song was a staple of minstrel shows of the era. Kinda hard to enjoy your Bubble O’Bill once you know about all that.

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Now, though, Good Humor has decided to literally change its tune, enlisting none other than the Scientist, the Ruler Zig-Zag-Zig Allah of the 36 Chambers himself: RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan. Not a person alive can possibly be upset about losing a song about balls when it’s being replaced by this banger:

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Though I am extremely pleased with this stride toward a more perfect world of ice cream, I can’t help but think that if America had gotten its head out of its ass 20 or 30 years ago, so many more mundane parts of our lives could have been scored to the beats of Inspectah Deck and the Wu-Tang Killa Beez. At least we have all the more reason to be excited by the arrival of the ice cream truck now.

Allison Robicelli is The Takeout staff writer, a former professional chef, author of three books, and The People's Hot Pocket Princess. Questions about recipes/need cooking advice? Tweet @Robicellis.

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DISCUSSION

Allison, you grew up in Bay Ridge? 96th & where? OMG, did you go to Fontbonne??? :)