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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Check Yo' Beliefs

 

On his 1992 album The Predator, rapper Ice Cube released a song entitled “Check Yo Self” which featured hip hop duo Das EFX. The hook featured three lines of repetition that served as prescriptive advice, though the fourth line of each verse was unique from the next and served as descriptive justification for the prescription.

 

For context, the phrase “check yourself” relates to considering consequences of your actions before experiencing the unpleasant effects of those consequences. As an example, if I have a desire to touch an open flame, I may want to check myself before experiencing a burn.

 

Likewise, the phrase “wreck yourself” refers to the actual unpleasant consequences of one’s actions, whether figuratively or literally. In the case of the open flame example, I may experience a significant burn when touching fire, as the burn is an example of having wrecked myself.

 

Thus, the phrase “check yourself” serves as prescriptive advice while the phrase “wreck yourself” functions as descriptive justification for the prescription. Ergo, if I don’t want a burn, I may want to consider the consequences of my actions beforehand.

 

The three repeating prescriptive lines of the hook are:

 

So come on and chickity-check yo’ self before you wreck yo’ self

Chickity-check yo’ self before you wreck yo’ self, boy!

Yeah, come on and check yo’ self before you wreck yo’ self

 

In ‘80s and ‘90s rap music, turntablism (DJing) was often used for instrumentation, transitioning from one word to the other, and for other music effect. When mimicked verbally, the record scratching effect of the word “check” becomes “chickity-check.”

 

As the three prescriptive lines follow each major verse, there are specific descriptive lines which punctuate each prescription. These are as follows:

 

·  ‘Cause shotgun bullets are bad for your health

 

Here, checking oneself (prescriptive) is advised with consideration of being shot (descriptive). As an example, during the drive-by era of the ‘80s and ‘90s, retaliatory shooting activity from moving vehicles occurred when people perceivably failed to check themselves before wrecking themselves.

 

·  ‘Cause big dicks up yo’ ass is bad for ya health

 

Here, checking oneself (prescriptive) is advised when considering that one may otherwise experience sexual violence (descriptive). For instance, one source reports that rape among male inmates occurs within at least 7% of this population and pressured or forced sexual contact occurs at 21% in the United States (U.S). Considering potential consequences of one’s actions equates to avoidance of sexual violence in this regard.

 

·  ‘Cause bitches like you is bad for my health

 

Here, checking oneself (prescriptive) is advised with consideration of contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs; descriptive). For example, one source reports that in 2022, “more than 2.5 million cases of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia were reported” in the U.S. Thus, failing to check oneself could result in an STI.

 

From the perspective of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), I appreciate the distinction between prescription and description. Even if one takes offense to Ice Cube and Das EFX’s crude examples in “Check Yo Self,” I imagine one can at minimal understand this distinction.

 

REBT theory uses the ABC model to illustrate how when Activating events (“Actions”) occur and people maintain irrational Beliefs about the events, these unhelpful assumptions – and not the actual occurrences – are what create unpleasant cognitive, emotive, bodily sensation, and behavioral Consequences.

 

In particular, there are four predominate irrational beliefs which people use: demandingness, awfulizing, low frustration tolerance, and global evaluations. Addressing these, the ABC model incorporates Disputation of unhelpful assumptions in order to explore Effective new beliefs.

 

One distinction I’d offer in regard to my approach to REBT and the content of “Check Yo Self” is that when disputing irrational beliefs – which is a process akin to checking oneself – there’s a difference between a person and the individual’s beliefs. We aren’t our beliefs.

 

As an example, suppose I believe that burning my hand isn’t good for my overall health. This assumption isn’t representative of me. After all, I can’t burn a belief though I can actually burn my hand.

 

Consequently, while considering the consequences of actions before experiencing an unpleasant effect of those consequences relates to the phrase “check yourself,” my slight adjustment to this prescription is to check your beliefs. The latter distinction represents disputation.

 

In any case, I enjoyed The Predator when it was first released. All these years later, I use examples from the album to inform my approach to REBT.

 

Although some people may not appreciate my doing so, these individuals are free to check their beliefs (prescription) before wrecking themselves (self-disturbance). If you’d like to know more about how not to upset yourself with unhelpful beliefs which result in unpleasant consequences, I’m here to help.

 

If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.

 

As the world’s foremost old school hip hop REBT psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.

 

At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!

 

 

Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW


 

References:

 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). CDC’s 2022 STI Surveillance Report underscores that STIs must be a public health priority. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/std/statistics/2022/default.htm

Hollings, D. (2022, October 31). Demandingness. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/demandingness

Hollings, D. (2022, October 5). Description vs. prescription. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/description-vs-prescription

Hollings, D. (2022, March 15). Disclaimer. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/disclaimer

Hollings, D. (2023, September 8). Fair use. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/fair-use

Hollings, D. (2024, April 2). Four major irrational beliefs. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/four-major-irrational-beliefs

Hollings, D. (2023, October 12). Get better. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/get-better

Hollings, D. (2023, September 13). Global evaluations. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/global-evaluations

Hollings, D. (n.d.). Hollings Therapy, LLC [Official website]. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/

Hollings, D. (2023, May 18). Irrational beliefs. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/irrational-beliefs

Hollings, D. (2023, September 19). Life coaching. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/life-coaching

Hollings, D. (2022, December 2). Low frustration tolerance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/low-frustration-tolerance

Hollings, D. (2024, April 22). On disputing. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/on-disputing

Hollings, D. (2022, March 24). Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT). Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/rational-emotive-behavior-therapy-rebt

Hollings, D. (2024, April 21). Sensation. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/sensation

Hollings, D. (2022, November 9). The ABC model. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/the-abc-model

Hollings, D. (2022, November 15). To don a hat. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/to-don-a-hat

Howell, J. C. (1998, August). Youth gangs: An overview. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Retrieved from https://ojjdp.ojp.gov/sites/g/files/xyckuh176/files/jjbulletin/9808/history.html

Human Rights Watch. (n.d.). VII. Anomaly or epidemic: The incidence of prisoner-on-prisoner rape. https://www.hrw.org/reports/2001/prison/report7.html

Ice Cube / Cubevision. (2009, February 26). Ice Cube - Check Yo Self (remix) (Official music video) [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/bueFTrwHFEs?si=NDkcuAwtAZUbVdyY

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Das EFX. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Das_EFX

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Ice Cube. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_Cube

Wikipedia. (n.d.). The Predator (album). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Predator_(album)

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