Rap parody pokes fun at Polk County
May 13, 2005 - Lakeland Ledger

"A lot of people don't think we can get gangsta' in Polk County, because we're in the orange grove. We're not gangsta' we're orange GROVEsta. This is your homeboy The Tang with my homey Fruity Scent, with this Drive By Fruiting . . . UHHHHH."

And so goes the first lines of what has become a bit of a cult hit here in Polk County thanks to airplay on the "M.J. Morning Show" on 93.3 FM in Tampa.

Local listeners latched onto 28-year-old Brent Jowers of Winter Haven's rap parody of 50 Cent's "This is How We Do" for its good-natured jabs at Polk County country life.

The song started getting airplay in April when the "M.J. Morning Show" called for listeners to submit parody songs as part of a recruiting process to fill the spot of D.J. Froggy #2, who left the show.

"Morning Show" producer Chad Van Hoover says he received dozens of e-mails and phone calls from listeners requesting the song.

"He seems like a very talented guy based on his lyrics and the quality of the song," he said. The song was popular enough producers posted the song on the show's Web site.

Jowers hopes to extend his better-than-15-minutes of fame into a larger career in comedy.

Between day jobs, including truck driving and a stint in the Marines, Jowers has been doing stand-up routines at comedy clubs in Polk County and around Tampa.

He also makes up half of the comedy music duo called Nastness with his best friend Rob Stewart, 28, of Haines City. On stage, Jowers wears a Western shirt that would have made Garth Brooks green with envy in 1992, baggy red Dickies shredded at the bottom, striped socks and carries a 4-foot-long stuffed catfish, named Chet, on a wooden fishing pole.

As for "Drive by Fruiting," Jowers said he found inspiration from the stereotypes people have about those who live in Polk County.

"Outside the county people think we're all backwards and don't wear shoes. I'm just throwing that back."

It seems to work since some of the biggest fans of the song are the types he pokes fun of, he said.

One of the biggest influences for the song was his 24-year-old brother, Doug Jowers, who is fond of wearing a Winston T-shirt with the sleeves cut off and "tore" Wranglers with a dip ring faded into the back pocket.

"My brother calls himself a redneck, but he has big rims on his truck with tinted windows and listens to gangsta rap. There is an identity crisis going on there," he laughed, "It's like the dumbest elements of white culture and dumbest elements of black culture embracing each other and reaching a whole new level."

Members of Jowers' family don't always understand his songs, but he finds humor in that.

"My dad said, `You need to stop doing all that rap crap.' I just laughed and said, `did you just realize you made a rhyme?' "

Jowers' first brush with fame was when he was deemed best apple bobber at Alta Vista Elementary School's carnival in Haines City and was written up in the newspaper.

"Seriously, I was! That proves that people from Haines City aren't toothless like some people believe. If we were toothless, we would have to bob for apple sauce."

There is no word yet on who will get the "M.J. Morning Show" gig, but Jowers is eager to show off his comedy chops and demonstrate his range.

"If I get the show, I'm going to run around the general vicinity doing various displays of jubilation, such as poorly executed cartwheels, and lying on the ground with my legs and arms flailing like an upside down tortoise."