Hot Hot Heat

A dissertation on the No. 1 song in America.

MIMS: Hot? Fly? Or both?
MIMS: Hot? Fly? Or both?
This is why "This Is Why I'm Hot" is hot: because it's hot. There are, of course, other reasons why the breakout single from MIMS, a Manhattan rapper who intends to restore glory to New York hip-hop, is hot. For example, it ascended to No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 100 as well as topping iTunes' singles chart. But consider these other, purer, more intangible reasons why it's hot, best explained by MIMS himself over the course of the song.

The most amazing line in "This Is Why I'm Hot" -- and even at this early juncture, possibly the most amazing line of any song to see release in 2007 -- is "I'm hot 'cause I'm fly/ You ain't 'cause you not," brutal and unassailable in its simplicity. Consider the reasoning of just "I'm hot 'cause I'm fly": MIMS is hot because he's fly. But it raises the question -- Does being hot guarantee one's being fly? "You ain't 'cause you not" would seem to clear that up; apparently, fly and hot are interchangeable. If you are one, you are both. If you aren't at least one, you are neither.

The other remarkable, oft-quoted line in "This Is Why I'm Hot" is "I could sell a mil' sayin' nothin' on a track." Critics gibe that "This Is Why I'm Hot" proves precisely that; others muse on what MIMS would sell if he deigned to actually say something on a track. Would he sell less than a mil'? Exactly a mil', as when he said nothing? Or a great deal more than a mil'? The song does not elaborate.

In any event, note that he can do those things, not will, which suggests he might not. As these claims and predictions are speculative, there are more possible outcomes; it seems reasonable to assert that MIMS can't sell more than a mil' sayin' nothin' -- though we would love to see him try.

Sonically, the most entertaining part of "This Is Why I'm Hot" is the first verse, in which MIMS underscores his hotness by touting his skill at adapting to regional styles; the slow, minimal, eerie beat morphs beneath him, sampling both "Nuthin' but a G Thang" and "Jesus Walks." In the Dirty Dirty (South), he makes the ladies bounce. He slows it down in the Midwest per their preference. He does it the Cali way in L.A., and in Chi -- in addition to adeptly moving the crowds from side to side -- everyone loves his fashion sense. (If you enjoy nothing else about "This Is Why I'm Hot," acknowledge the rakish, immensely appealing way MIMS says the word attire.)

Our quarrel lies with "If you need it hyphy/ I take it to the Bay," an homage to the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Area's relentlessly knuckleheaded and sorta wonderful hyphy movement, with its proclivities for going dumb, making thizz faces, ghost-riding the whip, etc. But unlike MIMS' other geographical shout-outs, that's all he says here -- "I take it to the Bay/Frisco to Sac-town/They do it e'y'day." First of all, no one calls it "Frisco" except rhyme-starved rappers, and the only worthwhile MCs living anywhere near Sacramento are in prison. But even worse, there's no style adjustment here -- he just takes it to the Bay. This is wholly insufficient for hotness.

The song's other two verses are a relative letdown -- MIMS can get chopped birds by the flock, he's got money in the bag, he coordinates his outfits, he compels you to Google the word guap, people tend to like how he records, he's into big spendin', bah. He does intimate that we will find him "with different women" that we personally have "never had," which is awfully gentlemanly of him, really. Since we're feeling charitable, we'll assume all of MIMS' women are hot; with regard to our own conquests, it's best to be honest with ourselves.

Though a fantastic song, "This Is Why I'm Hot" verily reeks of Skee-Lo. It's so distinctive and goofy that no follow-up could possibly do it justice. But even if MIMS is not built for endurance, he has given us an invaluable gift -- reclaiming and re-energizing the word hot after years of abuse. Plumbing one's memory (with a bit of internet aid) reveals how even reputable musicians have overused the "I'm hot like _____" construction.

Yes. Mere mortals are hot like other people or things; having ascended to a higher plane, MIMS is hot like MIMS. It doesn't get hotter than that.