Ann Arbor, Mich., singer-songwriter Dan Henig has a certain penchant for unassumingly going into coffee shops with his steel string acoustic guitar, plopping down in front of an open mic, and then playing covers of songs that you'd never in a million years expect to hear while sipping your gluten-free soy and carob mocha latte.
If "Get Low" doesn't sound familiar to you, that's because the song is probably best known for its famously lewd chorus, which includes the lines, "From the window / To the wall / Till the sweat drop down my balls."
Yep. That song. Once called "impossible to defend" by comedian Chris Rock, "Get Low" would have been unplayable on any radio station save for the fact that three cleaned-up, "safe" versions — which either bleeped out or changed the profanities — were released. Henig's abridged cover leaves out large portions of the song, but retains the controversial lines in all of their uncensored glory.
That's probably what's so great about it. Like The Dan Band's deliciously vulgar rendering of Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart" in the film Old School, Henig's treatment alters context and toys with expectation in his choices of "coffee house covers." His appearance, musical style, and choice of venue effectively camouflage his intent up to the moment that he begins to sing in the clip posted in 2012. The result? A surprised – if mildly uncomfortable – audience.
Beyond that, Henig's cover challenges social conventions. In a broader, less obvious way, Henig's version of "Get Low" mingles the controversies surrounding both misogyny in rap lyrics and cultural appropriation, and takes them to the point of sterile absurdity, effectively neutralizing them... if only for a few minutes.