Two songs that share a title and an outlook, but little else: such is the result of entering ‘i get around’ into the Google search. The Beach Boys and 2Pac, united in California-ness, swinging their private parts around metaphorically (sort of) as statements of intent.
Of course, these are songs spanning wildly different eras. Mike Love’s boasts were couched in a series of car metaphors common to early Beach Boys classics (‘409’, ‘Fun Fun Fun’), but the message is clear: we are the shit; we get all the chicks; we have perfect harmony; we drive ill cars, Daddy-o. Brian Wilson’s genius remains carefully disguised in innocuous awkwardness and perfect pitch, though the B-side to this song, ‘Don’t Worry Baby’, is a foreshadowing of the depth lurking behind the smirking harmonies.
2Pac’s appeal originated from as opposite a place in society and music to the Beach Boys as is possible to imagine. Suitably, his persona and outlook was repackaged and sold to the 1990s, to wild success. The ability to satisfy the need to profile and pose engendered by the crack and post-crack realities of inner-city America was a significant talent in and of itself; but as pop culture itself became less segregated the ostentatious became acceptable–even expected–to white suburbanites as well. 2Pac self-consciously leveraged this to his advantage; and ‘I Get Around’ is more overtly sexual and boastful to meet his particular audience. What made 2Pac so damn compelling, though, was that he uniquely managed to balance this genuine persona with a depth of insight and lyrical cleverness that demonstrated the sheer amount of talent he possessed. ‘I Get Around’, then, is deeply similar to its predecessor in this sense–like Brian Wilson, he is throwing the masses the chum they craved so badly while laying the groundwork for more suitable uses of his talent.
Both songs, though, ooze a timeless swagger that is often imitated but echoes in a clunky, hollow tone in contemporary music. You wanna know what swag is? This is swag.