Get into “The Weird World of Blowfly”
You could call him the Weird Al Yankovic of dirty rhymes, but he’s beendreaming up filthy lyrics to mainstream songs for far longer than thatyounger nerd-satirist.
You could call him the Weird Al Yankovic of dirty rhymes, but he’s been dreaming up filthy lyrics to mainstream songs for far longer than that younger nerd-satirist. Clarence Reid has been both a mainstream producer and songwriter, for bands such as Sam & Dave and KC & the Sunshine Band dating back to the 1960s, but his alternate persona, Blowfly, has been singing tunes like “Rapp Dirty” and “Funk You” since the 1970s and has been an underground cult legend ever since. Mr. Reid explained to Metro how he got his start as Blowfly.
“It started in Cochran, Georgia, when I was about five,” he says. “Everybody liked the blues - all the blacks around Georgia - and I couldn’t stand the blues. ‘The corn don’t grow, the hen don’t play. You’re wife is running around. Your son is gay.’ And I would change [the lyrics] around. I ain’t but five years old and the white people liked it. They cracked up. About 80 dollars, they gave me.”
A scolding from a relative gave Reid his now-famous moniker.
“When I told my grandmother, she said, ‘You’re a disgrace to the human race! You’re no better than a blowfly.’” Reid explains. “Well, what the hell is a blowfly? It’s a black, white and red insect that goes around and lays eggs on everything.”
Reid’s body of work as Blowfly – all of it completely unprintable for a newspaper – has been sampled by countless other artists and referenced as the inspiration for seminal groups (Public Enemy’s Chuck D., Dead Kennedy’s Jello Biafra and Ice-T are among his devotees).
It isn’t until now that Blowfly is getting his due, with “The Weird World of Blowfly,” a documentary by Jonathan Furmanski. The film follows Reid as he writes new music, and gigs in venues big and small. Furmanski, who’d heard Blowfly’s albums as a kid, he was surprised in 2007 to her that Reid was still touring in his ‘60s.
“I just really hope that there is this, I guess you could call it a renaissance of interest in Clarence Reid and Blowfly,” Furmanski says of his aims for the film. “Especially now that … it’s getting harder for him to go out there and tour and record, now is really the time.”