Miami-Dade County

Feel the beat? It’s the Janet Reno rap song

The Janet Reno Dance Party fundraiser at Level Nightclub on South Beach.
The Janet Reno Dance Party fundraiser at Level Nightclub on South Beach. Miami Herald File

NOTE: From the archives, this article was first published in the Miami Herald on Nov. 30, 1988. Former Miami-Dade State Attorney and Attorney General Janet Reno died Monday at age 78.

It is five minutes and 46 seconds long. The subject is about teens having babies, fathers paying child support, about law and order. The title? “Janet Reno.” See it now, rhyme it, wow. Janet Reno in leather and chain, a subject of rap in language so plain.

For the past 11 years Janet Reno, age 50 and Harvard educated, has been Dade's top prosecutor, a stolid citizen charged with sending bad guys to justice and defending the innocent. Now, Janet Reno is both the subject and the title of a rap music song soon to be on a chart near you.

Sung, or rhymed, by a Miami group called Anquette, "Queen of Ghetto Style, " it sounds a little like the Chipmunks doing Yankee Doodle Dandy.

Lyric: "Janet Reno came to town collecting all the money. Stay one day then run away and now you're acting funny."

For those who live under an old rock, "rap is rebellion, music for the kids of the '90s, " said Debbie Bennett, head of marketing and promotions for Miami's Skyywalker Records, producer of Janet Reno, the record.

"Parents can't grasp it. It took them long enough to get over Elvis. Rap is straight from the streets, for kids who are not as privileged, " said Bennett.

Lyric: "She chased you down to 15th Avenue, you tried to hide your trail. She found your --- and locked you up and now who can't post no bail?"

Janet Reno debuted the week of the Nov. 8 election, fortunate timing in one way because the real Reno was running for re-election. Janet Reno got pulled for equal-time concerns.

Lately, the song has reappeared, heard on stations like WPOW-FM Power 96, where vice president Bill Tanner said the song, like all rap music, is very popular with "inner-city ethnic teens."

Lyric: "So, next time you make a selection, use some protection."

What does Janet Reno think about Janet Reno?

"I don't understand all of it, " she said.

But the message is one Reno said deserves to be taken seriously. "It is saying that we have got to take care of our own, that if you bring a child into the world, you have got to be prepared to face up to the responsibilities."

Asked if she liked the beat, she said: "I have no intention of dancing to it."