ASCII by Jason Scott

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The Modem Man Rap —

This little gem got contributed to me this week: a recording of people screwing around on a phone conference in 1987, doing a little ditty called the Modem Man Rap. Here’s the 866k mp3 file.

I figured I’d transcribe the greatness for you.


All right, take it from the top…. the Modem Man Rap

Yo my name is Modem Man and I’m K-Kool
But some people think I’m one big fool
I hack out Sprint and ITT
Wherever I go I make calls for free

All the kids call my phreaky phone line
And get the new codes all the time
Here is an Allnet for you
It’s 5163452
Tell me if it works, cause I don’t know
‘Cause it was hacked out by the Toad

In case you haven’t heard the news
Magnus got busted he’s one dumb dude
He hacked out 90 codes from MCI
And knocking down the door came the FBI
They busted in his door the very next day
Took his crystal ball and his brand new Hayes
They got all his numbers and even his loops
So he jumped on the phone and called Zarniwoop!

Word man, word man, that was bad, word

My name is Style, and I am fine
So call me on the other line
Style, please get off the phone
So your little sister can call home
Please go use the other line
But don’t be long, it’s dinner time
Better yet, go clean your room
And don’t forget to use the broom
I’m going to unplug your BBS
If you don’t start cleaning up this mess

Listen guys, I got to jam
Dinner’s ready, and we’re having spam
Too bad, cuz I’m having a ball
I just love conference calls

I’ll repair the gaps and mistakes if the original contributor gives me corrections, or others help me out with them. I did my best.

Notably, this 1987 rap calls into question a whole discussion that I got yanked into recently over the origins of “woot”. Obviously this rapper uses “Woot” within the same context that many people online do 3-4 years later, even explicitly rhyming it with “loot”. I doubt this was the origin for it, but at least it brings another artifact to the table. An Update: I am wrong, and it’s been corrected to reflect that.

The rap, now twenty years old, mentions a few pieces of phreak/hack history worth noting. It mentions having an Allnet, which was one of the also-ran phone companies. I’m going to use a paragraph from elsewhere to describe it:

“One of the first independents out of the gate after the 1984 breakup of AT&T, Allnet Communication Services was once the fourth-largest long-distance provider in the US. The product of a merger between Chicago-based Allnet and Detroit-based Lexitel, Allnet stood apart from its competition by being the first major player to lease its network infrastructure rather than purchase soon-outdated equipment. While AT&T and MCI employed analog microwave (the hissy long-distance that we remember as kids), Allnet leased digital microwave and fiber from other players, resulting in clearer calls and more network flexibility. Despite this technical superiority, Allnet got dinged frequently on its customer service, which seemed to suffer from high turnover and low consistency. Allnet was acquired by Frontier Communications in 1995. ” [1]

By the way, the 10xxx code for Allnet was 10444. When the rapper mentions Allnet “codes”, what he means is you would call Allnet’s access numbers (because using a 10xxx number would bill the phone you calling from), and then you’d type in a numeric code to charge it to your account. This way, you could use your account to call from anywhere in the country…. and so could others!

Also notable is the use of “K-Kool”, which is well in use at this point in history, accompanying the still-in-vogue K-Rad as a tech slang term. However, nobody appears to still use the term “Got to jam” to mean “I have to leave now.”


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5 Comments

  1. Chris H. says:

    Take this with a grain of salt / file it under madness; I just wanted to get the discussion going on the blog you referred to, might as well put it here too, just for laughs.

    Damn, you guys are blasted..

    The sound “w00t!” represents the goddamn steam-flutes /horns on a goddamn ship; – the ones depicted in cartoons as stone-faced breathing mouths, (you know..) – goddamn steamboat “horns”.

    So, in the context of ‘expression,’ “w00t!!!111″ adds on to it like a “breakpoint”/”milestone” pointifier; – simply like an “Eureka!!![111]”, or whatever you wish to compare it with; – a goddamn expression, in any case..

    *sigh* – the art of complicating things with nonesense.. ;)


    /eo*

  2. Jason, how good is the date on that file? Are there any corroborating circumstances that will help fix the date precisely? Because from here it looks like a good candidate for an antedating that will help rewrite the history of the term.

  3. Actually I still use “gotta jam” in that way. Guess I’m out of the loop.

  4. Murple says:

    I contributed the MP3 and know the people who made and who were mentioned in the song. There is no “woot” in this, the person typing the lyrics heard Zarniwoop (a guy’s k-kool hacker alias), and though he corrected it in the lyrics I guess he left it in the commentary.

    The weird voice in the second half is because Style was a guy from Wisconsin and spoke in a hilarious Wisconsin accent like that.

    Also, Phreaky Phone was one of the notorious 312 area code voice mail boxen of 1987 and Modem Man used it as a kodez hotline where you could call and listen to him give you kodez, diverters, bridges, and all that fun stuff.

    Magnus was Magnus Adept, who aside from an interest in phreaking was also obsessed with the occult and was always going off about crystal balls and tarot and shit.

    This was recorded no later than June 1987.

  5. video izle says:

    The weird voice in the second half is because Style was a guy from Wisconsin and spoke in a hilarious Wisconsin accent like that.

    Also, Phreaky Phone was one of the notorious 312 area code voice mail boxen of 1987 and Modem Man used it as a kodez hotline where you could call and listen to him give you kodez, diverters, bridges, and all that fun stuff.

    Magnus was Magnus Adept, who aside from an interest in phreaking was also obsessed with the occult and was always going off about crystal balls and tarot and shit.

    This was recorded no later than June 1987.