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  Ever since Ice T dropped what may have been the first gangsta rap, "6'n The Morning," folks have wondered how to get the violence out of hip hop -- right up to Hillary Clinton recently proposing strictly enforced across-the-board entertainment ratings. Rappers plead that they're merely representing the realities of institutionalized poverty (George Bush doesn't care about black people, blah blah blah) but any doctor can tell you where the crankiness really comes from: these guys just aren't catching enough ZZZs.

Take the aforementioned song: What's Ice T doing up til six in the morning anyway? It's not a mystery why he ends up "beating [a] bitch down in the goddamn street" simply because "the ho continued

to speak." Whoa buddy! Maybe after your 4 a.m. visit to the Palladium you should've boosted those serotonin levels with a refreshing cat nap.

According to the web site

"Without sufficient rest, emotional mood deteriorates. People become irritable and short-tempered, both with themselves and others. Loss of emotional control is possible, leading to emotional outbursts and even violence."

Or as the Ghetto Boyz put it more succinctly: "real gangsta ass niggas don't sleep." On "Damn It Feels Good to be a Gangsta," the Boyz bragged about being up 356 days, 24/7 (they must've been sucking down Sour Patch Kids like crazy), but by the album's next track, "Mind's Playing Tricks on Me" the sugar high is gone:

At night I can't sleep
I toss and turn
Candle sticks in the dark, visions of bodies being burned
Four walls just staring at a nigger
I'm paranoid, sleeping with my finger on the trigger.

Holy cow! Somebody get this guy some Celestial Seasonings before some serious stuff goes down.

In "Night of the Living Baseheads," Public Enemy scolded crackheads for staying up past their bedtime, but these days, 4:30am comes and goes like so much bub-in-da-club. In "Gin N Juice," Snoop Dogg had "bitches in the living room" 'til six in the morning, which sounds like fun until the hangover: on the next track it's 1-8-7 on an undercover cop. Next time, Snoop, retire from the bitch-filled living room at a reasonable hour, tuck yourself into bed with an issue of the New Yorker and some warm chai, and I promise that "shooting like a muthafuckin' Vietnam vet" will be the last thing on your mind when you wake up feeling like a million bucks.

In "We Ride," king of the night owls R. Kelly more or less quotes Snoop when he brags about the "chickens in his living room" getting it on til six in the morning. Then he one-ups himself in "In Da Club": "Shit don't stop till 6 in the morning / Come 7 o'clock a nigga still ain't yawning." And then in "Hotel" there's an after party and everyone is checking out at 6 in the morning (even though they presumably have the room 'til 12). With so little shut-eye it's no wonder the guy is engaging in erratic behavior like, say, allegedly urinating on 14-year-olds.

In songs like Eminem's "6 in the



Y'all Motherfuckers
Need to Go to Bed!

We beg, beseech and implore the following rappers to stop getting it on and on and on until the breaka breaka dawn and hit the hay for a little of the ol' shut eye. Shhh, babygotosleepnow.

Ice T

Geto Boys

R. Kelly


Jay Z



Morning" and Avant's, um, "Six in the Morning," and in others by Nick Cannon, 2Pac, and Jay-Z, it's never over 'til six in the a.m., the hour at which everyone's Escalades presumably turn into pumpkins. When Christina Aguilera went hip hop, she bragged of being up 'til then in one song and then, in another, one-upped the entire hip hop community by keeping it popping til eight a.m. While she has never sung about killing anyone, I'm pretty sure her dog's feelings were hurt when it didn't get fed or walked that night. In any case, whether it's six or eight in the morning (or 66 days without seeing the sun as in Dre's "Natural Born Killaz"), it's easy to see why everyone knew LL Cool J had gone soft when he bragged on his comeback album of staying out 'til a school-girlish 1 a.m. in a track titled, what else, "1 in the Morning."

But would street violence really be put to rest if rappers didn't go around chugging Pimp Juice, Crunk!!!, Stinger, and DefCon 3 in order to get it on til the early morn? Well, just remember that Ice Cube didn't have to use his AK when "It Was A Good Day," and that's because that day ended at a reasonable 2 a.m. with a sobering, delicious Fatburger. He was "drunk as hell but no throwing up," and he didn't answer his pager although it was still blowing up. After all, who could be calling at that hour?

Ice Cube was obviously sympathetic to the teachings of Swami Sivananda: "breakfast with no hog / got my grub on but no pigging out." And he's not the only one: Russell Simmons has actually released a "rap yoga" video series and is trying to promote "positivity" among hip hoppers by pushing the, well, corpse pose. Says Simmons of his yoga classes, "It affects what everyone raps about. I bring Nation of Islam guys here, and a bunch of people from the foundation. All their rap changes for the better."

Russell's brother Rev Run also values a restorative rest, if the gigantic bed in MTV's "Run's House" is any indicator. Hopefully his contemplative bubble baths will rub off, and rappers will start getting their seven to nine hours so they can wake up bright-eyed and bushy tailed, with no grumpy urge to dust some cops off. Eminem has already written a couple of lullabies -- soon enough, rappers will be changing their names to Downward Dogg and Jay-ZZZs. Instead of 50 Cent bragging about body counts, it'll be 50 Winks bragging about thread counts. Choruses of "five in the morning on the corner clockin" will be a thing of the past -- "clocking" won't mean selling crack, but rather simply setting the alarm clock for a good night's rest. And instead of going from the party to the after party to the hotel lobby, it'll be all about going from the bathroom (to brush your teeth) to the kitchen (to make sure the stove's turned off) to beddie bye, yo.

Now kids, it's almost 10:30 in the p.m., so as Snoop Dogg rapped in "G Bedtime Stories," "I gotta end this story by saying good night."