Ex-DJs Rap Lyrically About the Pope

Times Staff Writers

Leave it to a couple of ambitious Orange County songwriters to get lyrical about the Pope's wardrobe and his car.

"Kiss his ring and you'll be blessed; John Paul is cool, I like the way he's dressed," goes one line in the rap song by former disc jockeys Steve Ray, 29, and Scott Roberts, 28, whose 2 1/2-minute pop tune called "Pope Rap" has enjoyed extensive air play since they wrote it Wednesday and shipped cassettes off Thursday to radio stations around Los Angeles.

The song honors Pope John Paul II's visit to Los Angeles "in the spirit of the crass, polyester Hollywood world that we all know and love and that we all make money on," Ray said. "We wanted to take a lighthearted look at the Pope's visit, and we wrote the song in a positive manner and, consequently, it got air play."

One copy landed in the hands of disc jockey Barry Hansen, known as Dr. Demento, who played it Sunday on his local show on KLSX-FM. "I liked it," Hansen said Tuesday. "I just wish it had come in five weeks earlier so I could have used it" on the nationally syndicated Dr. Demento program.

Hansen said it was one of five Pope-related songs he played Sunday, four of which were from homemade tapes sent in by listeners. The fifth, "The Pope Song," was from a comedy album by comedienne Judy Tenuta.

Hansen said the Roberts-Ray song was the only rap song about the Pope. Pasadena-based KROQ-FM is playing the song regularly, the Associated Press reported Tuesday, giving the station's audience a chance to hear such lightly irreverent rhymes as:

Cruisin' through town in his funky wheels Waving to the people from his Popemobile All in white from toe to hand He brings the message from the Holy Land.

And:

Van Halen, Madonna, I've seen them, sure

That's nothing compared to his U.S. tour ...

He raps from the Bible, quotes every page

As he pontificates from the massive stage ...

The song is not yet available in record stores, but Ray and Roberts said it will be included on an album of comic songs called "White Bread" that they plan to bring out on their own label later this year.

Ray, who described himself as a former disc jockey in New Mexico, and Roberts, who Ray said had worked for a radio station in Washington, D.C., wrote the song after watching TV reports of the Pope's U.S. visit. "We wrote the song in two hours last Wednesday and went to a friend's house in Newport Beach and recorded it in his living room over a basic disco beat that was prerecorded," Ray said.

"It's almost a spoof of the commercialization (of the Pope's visit)," Ray added. "We didn't want to be taken seriously at all."

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