(IMPORTANT NOTE: Do NOT, under any circumstances, click on the link above - the video for this masterpiece is absolutely, jaw-droppingly retarded. Massive numbers of extra chromosomes. Holy shit.)
I'm sure you've heard the song - it's the classic early-2000's ripoff of basically every latent regional rap trend to that point . . . it has sirens everywhere like it's down-south crunk (even though the artists are from NYC and St. Louis), it has the bouncy, lame "fake-horn-synths" for the beat like it's B-more gutter shit (note: this same trick works beautifully in MIA's "XR2" - well, and in basically any Diplo song), it has black chicks hitting the floor, hard, throughout the video. All in all, it's the balls.
However, at the beginning (about 1:39 into the video linked above, if you're fucking stupid and clicked), one of the most perfect moments in rap music shines its light on us all. As Diddy regales us with stupid ass chatter about God knows what and the women begin (indeed) shaking their tailfeathers, Nelly lets loose with the following declaration, cleverly drawn directly to the front by the over-engineered production:
AND THE BAND PLAYED ON!Note that there is no lead-up to this, nor any indication of why, exactly, Nelly lets loose with this particular phrase. Because of that, it's clear that Nelly is referencing the 1993 movie of the same title, a seminal HBO production describing the rise of AIDS in the gay community of San Francisco in the late '70s and early '80s (note that the IMDB plot keywords has "male nudity" as the very first one - uh, guys?).
Very clever of Nelly to interject a little bit of knowledge into a song that he knew would receive immense airplay from its ties to a cinematic marvel starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. It's that kind of knowledge injection that led us to drop the moniker Gay-Related Immune Deficiency (GRID) just five short years after the disease was discovered. For that, I wholeheartedly endorse Nelly's insane "AND THE BAND PLAYED ON" as . . . a great moment in Rap History.