Little Drum Machine Boy
By: Beck Hansen, John King, Mike Simpson

Written by: Beck Hansen, John King, Mike Simpson

 
Lyrics:
Little Drum Machine Boy [Version (a)]:

Baruch Atah Adonei Elohenu Melech Ha Olom
Ah yeah, that's the holiday . . . that's the Hanukkah robot funk!
Barumpa bump bump, barumpa bump bump . . . beeyach!
Baruch Atah Adonei Elohenu Melech Ha Olom
Right about now gonna drop some Hanukkah science
Yeah, this is it


I press a button, make the gentlemen cry
I rock a beat to make the hamburger fry
Now funk this joint in tricked-out holiday gear
The system booming, strictly Pioneer
Pumping the rear, bringing a tear, ohh
Baruch Atah Adonei Elohenu Melech Ha Olom
Baruch Atah Adonei Elohenu Melech Ha Olom
Baruch Atah Adonei Elohenu Melech Ha Olom
Baruch Atah Adonei Elohenu Melech Ha Olom


I turn it out in a holiday mode
Safe like a seat belt in a Volvo
Keepin' it real like a spray-snow tree
We'll shut it down harmoniously
Rocking softly, 808 beats

Pimpin' is his game
Now get this shit lit like a menorah
It's funk so illegal I think I might need a lawyer
Not a firestarter, but my beats get hotter
Deal 'em out like an allowance
Footwear, I rock with New Balance
Hanukkah pimps all in check
Like the mic I rock to be gettin' them to sweat
Meals mackin', tracks jackin', ejaculating
Like buffet tables and record labels
Willing and able, bring my funk in place if needs be
Lifestyles of the slick and sleazy
Spin 'em round, play 'em round like a dreidle
Kinda science that'll put you back into the cradle
And my shit is sometimes, this track so poignant
Somebody please pass me some kind of ointment
Put these rhymes together like a thief
Clear up your nose like a eucalyptus leaf
Droppin' science so you don't know what hits ya
Next thing you know you're fifteen, gettin' a bar mitzvah

Pimpin' is his game
Baruch Atah Adonei Elohenu Melech Ha Olom
Baruch Atah Adonei Elohenu Melech Ha Olom
Baruch Atah Adonei Elohenu Melech Ha Olom
Baruch Atah Adonei Elohenu Melech Ha Olom
Pimpin' is his game

Baruch Atah Adonei Elohenu Melech Ha Olom
Baruch Atah Adonei Elohenu Melech Ha Olom
Baruch Atah Adonei Elohenu Melech Ha Olom
Baruch Atah Adonei Elohenu Melech Ha Olom
Baruch Atah Adonei Elohenu Melech Ha Olom
Baruch Atah Adonei Elohenu Melech Ha Olom

I get down, I get down, I get down all the way!
I get down, I get down, I get down all the way!
I get down, I get down, I get down all the way!
I get down, I get down, I get down all the way!
I get down, I get down, I get down all the way!

Hanukkah pimp! Hanukkah pimp! Hanukkah pimp!
Hanukkah pimp! Hanukkah pimp! Hanukkah pimp!
Hanukkah pimp! Hanukkah pimp! Hanukkah pimp!
Hanukkah pimp! Hanukkah pimp! Hanukkah pimp!
Hanukkah pimp! Hanukkah pimp! Hanukkah pimp!
 
The Song:

Appearing first on KROQ's annual Christmas tape in Los Angeles, Beck announces clearly at the beginning of the song what he is doing hereódropping some Hanukkah science. The music is trippy and crazy fun (especially that bass) and a Hanukkah robot adds some Jewish prayers to it all. The song would then be released on Beck's label's alt-rock Christmas compilation called Just Say Noel. There are two versions, one seven minutes with a lengthy ending jam, and the other just an edited version approximately three minutes long.

Beck was asked about this song in 2008, when an interviewer in Austin mentioned he loved it. He recalled recording it in upstate New York (Rochester), after having been on tour for about a year. Thus, the session was a bit of a venting. They were inspired by early Outkast and Busta Rhymes records. Also, it was done in the middle of summer, nowhere near the holidays.

Lyrically, this is just good times. The words are a blast to listen to (and read!). Starting with the traditional Christmas carol, "Little Drummer Boy," Beck twists it around to be about Hanukkah, modernizes it to a drum machine, and has an amazing time doing it.

Beck enjoyed it enough to swipe from the song when he was developing Midnite Vultures a few years later. "I press the button, make the gentleman cry" would evolve into the boastful claim "Makin' all those gentleman cry realistic tears" on "Hollywood Freaks." Here, his 808 beats are "rocking softly," while on Midnite Vultures, he's "banging like an 808." In fact with all the funk, "buffet tables and record labels," the glamorous lifestyle of "the slick and sleazy," the "twenty million dollar fantasy," I'm sure that the Little Drum Machine Boy grew up to be a Hollywood Freak.
 
Live:

Played live 20 times:
Earliest known live version: September 5, 1996
Latest known live version: December 20, 1998

This actually was performed live a bit during the Odelay tour, though usually just the first verse, and not the long rap at the end. Most of the time it was done in "Hotwax," as the two songs share that "I get down / I get down / I get down all the way" jam. Beck would do varying degrees of "Little Drum Machine Boy," but usually it was just the "holiday mode" verse.
 
Notes: