When I arrived at question 19, my brain chuckled a bit, and I shared the following text message with my girlfriend, Sandlot:
Q19. I got 99 problems, but the following isn't one: 1 bling, 2 cash-money, 3 ride, 4 significant other. A = 4. Sandlot trumps ride.
While I thought this was a relatively straightforward gesture, I could not have predicted the lively debate that it would spark about the meaning of the question, and more fundamentally, the meaning of Jay-Z's lyrics.
Sandlot: Lol. I think #4 means u don't have a s/o.
Andy: Ah, I see what you mean, but I don't think that makes sense. If a ride is not your problem it means you have one right?
Sandlot: Hmm your interpretation makes sense as well. I guess I interpreted s/o to be a problem a la Jay-Z.
Andy: Is that what he means? I always thought that meant he was so fly that he has no problem getting it on.
Sandlot: No. I don't think that's what he meant. Haha listen to the song again. You should ask J-Rock, he seems gangster enough to know. Lolll
Andy: But what about Beyonce? I can ask J-rock, but remember his fav bands include BSB, Britney, and Kelly Clarkson. Plus, he does not listen to words.
To the culturally inept, the song in question is Jay-Z's 99 Problems. In it, he opens with the line,
If you're having girl problems I feel bad for you son
I got 99 problems but a bitch ain't one
Now I have to admit, I can't always understand what this man says. Thus, since forever, I've thought this song read, "I've got 99 problems but a f*ck ain't one." In other words, "I feel bad that you have to bitch about girl problems - I've got real problems, but son, girls aren't among them."
Even so, I think my interpretation still stands. J-Rock agreed.
Andy: J-Rock thinks the same thing I do - that Jay-Z doesn't have trouble getting laid. We're looking up the lyrics now.
Sandlot: What? U guys are both fail.
Harsh words. So harsh. J-Rock and I went to Stewie for another word, since despite J-Rock's Scarborough upbringing, Stewie seemed much more likely to have the culturally appropriate answer.
Andy: Hey, you know that Jay-Z song 99 Problems? The line, "I got 99 Problems but a bitch ain't one"... what do you think that means?
Stewie: It means he doesn't have a bitch to be a problem.
Stewie: Why, what do you think it means? That he does have one?
Andy: Well, yeah.
Stewie: Well, as in he doesn't have a bitch. He still has girls, and he sleeps with them. He just doesn't have one that bitches (gestures towards Yuffie). Just kidding!
This explanation fell somewhere between Sandlot's and mine - Jay-Z didn't have girl problems, and he didn't have a bitch, but he did have girls.
For her part, Sandlot rescinded her confidence:
Hmm the braintrust at songmeanings.com has conflicting viewpoints as well. Dunno! *shrugs*
There's a website called songmeanings.com? In any case, I think this warrants her taking back that hurtful and premature "fail."
What do you guys think? Does having 99 problems but a bitch ain't one mean that a) there is no bitch or that b) Jay-Z don't take no bitchin' from his girl?
Similarly, does having 99 problems but a significant other isn't one mean that a) I don't have a significant other or that b) I don't have to worry about a s/o because I already have (a wonderful) one?
Share your two cents in the comment box below!