B.O.B. – OutKast

There are few things more dreaded by any rollergirl than hearing, “We’re testing for our 27 in 5 today.”

27 in 5 is the term for the portion of our skills test that deals with endurance. It translates to 27 laps in 5 minutes, or 5.4 laps per minute. That’s roughly 11 seconds per lap.

For skaters like myself that specialize in being difficult to move, and rely on our weight, those laps are a feat. Even athletes that have skated for years don’t enjoy the test.

The laps are honestly about 99 percent mental, and 1 percent physical. The mental takes over and before you know it, you’ve defeated yourself.

Leading up to the annual testing, I was a wreck. I couldn’t sleep. I paced my apartment. I cried at the drop of a hat. I couldn’t eat. I researched how to skate the track most effectively. I listened to every perspective, from every veteran skater. I cross trained 4-5 times a week, as well as skating 3x a week in practice.

I exhausted myself.

The first time I tested, I hit 5:21. The second time, 5:13.

I paced the apartment some more. Cried some more. Trained some more. Ate less.

By the third time I was to take the test, it was March. The home season was starting in less than 2 weeks. I was certain I wouldn’t pass it.

I went into the rink prepared for the worst. By the end of the 5 minutes, I’d completed my 27 laps. (That’s my fist raised in glory in the photo below. My teammates swarmed me in a big hug.)

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Why does all of this matter to you, though, fair reader?

Because B.O.B. was playing the entire time I trained.

A fellow skater and friend had said she was going to listen to it while she completed her laps. On her first try, she made the cut.

After that, the song was on rotation in my headphones. Pushing me when I was at work – and when I was on the elliptical.

It wasn’t until later that I looked more into the origin of the song, or watched the video.

It proved yet again, what I already knew: OutKast is genius.

Pitchfork rated it the #1 song of the 2000s, and many have said that OutKast predicted the actions of the Bush presidency.

But, really, the cry of the song isn’t politically-charged in the traditional sense. It recalls imagery of living in the “ghetto.” But as Shmoop.com summed up,

“This OutKast track is really about describing the American ghetto and all its hardships and complexities. The closing chorus of “power music electric revival” almost sounds like a plea for urban revival, because as they explain on the track “Gasoline Dreams,” “youth full of fire ain’t got nowhere to go.” Or it can also be seen as a call for an “electric revival” in hip-hop, because as André explained to the Guardian, “hip-hop don’t have no fresh energy. It’s money driven, everybody trying to make that check, nobody putting art in their albums any more.”

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