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TheRootDC
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Posted at 12:15 PM ET, 08/23/2012

‘Hot Cheetos and Takis:’ Kid rappers we can support

"There are two kinds of people. Ones who play this on repeat, and liars."

That's a comment on the YouTube page for "Hot Cheetos and Takis," an insanely catchy rap by kids in a YMCA after-school program in Minneapolis. I'm of the first variety — I openly admit to having listened to this song at least a dozen times in the past few days. 

And I’m not the only one. The Internet is literally eating it up. The Washington City Paper did a taste test, The Village Voice found no less than 20 things to love about the song and Rolling Stone said it just might be “the summer’s final truly great jam.”

The song is about spicy convenience store snacks (“snacks on snacks on snacks,” to be accurate), but above all else, it’s about childhood. Sample lyrics:

It’s about a quarter to a 4, rollin to the store
(what you 'bout to get?)
hah, you already know
got like 3 or 4 dollars and a couple odd cents
‘bout to cop me some hot Cheetos and a lemonade brisk
I’m ridin’ around on my bicycle, ridin' around on my bicycle

Remember those days? The song is endearing, if a bit concerning to childhood obesity prevention advocates. But it’s particularly refreshing when you consider the disturbing lyrics and images seen in music videos from two other child rappers raking in YouTube views this summer.

Chicago-based rapper Lil Mouse is getting attention for his song “Get Smoked.” A video for the song hit the Web last month: Lil Mouse, a 13-year-old with a face as innocent as his moniker repeatedly throws up his middle fingers, raps expletives and holds a dubious amount of cash. At least one of the video’s co-stars appears to have a gun in his waistband.

In a column last month, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell urged a public outcry over the video and called the video “child exploitation.” Mitchell wrote:

When this kind of filth comes out of a child’s mouth, there’s no one to blame but the parents. Obviously, in neighborhoods where people are struggling to get by, having a kid break into the music industry is huge. Still, there is such a thing as going too far and “Get Smoked” is a good example of where too far takes us. When young black males were exploited by the music industry to promote the gangster lifestyle, most of us said nothing. Now the industry is hooking teenagers.

And sometimes, not-yet teenagers.

Scantily-clad models dancing alongside rappers in music videos is nothing new. So the fact that Albert Roundtree Jr. raps his song “Booty Pop” while lounging near a pool as women in bikinis dance around him isn’t surprising.

But your jaw will drop when you see Roundtree — he’s 6. And you thought “Toddlers and Tiaras” was bad.

“I can make your booty pop" he sings in his baby voice. It's the video that almost made a Vibe blogger call child protection services, notes The Huffington Post.

The Miami New Times interviewed Tyler Council, the director of the video, who told the paper's Riptide blog that the video was "supposed to be a joke." Council — who brazenly told the blog he didn’t regret making the video — admitted that few found it humorous.

And whether or not people find it funny, the video has received more than a million views. Looking for irony? It’s not in the song or even in the video — it’s on YouTube itself, where the site’s community guidelines have led to the video being age-restricted. So Roundtree technically can’t watch his own video.

And that's a good thing. “Hot Cheetos and Takis” — with its dance-worthy beat, playful lyrics and nary a curse word to behold — looks pretty appetizing right now.

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By  |  12:15 PM ET, 08/23/2012

 
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