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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Rap Rants

Contrary to popular beliefs held by women it is my pleasure to announce that “Women are not the only species of human beings who can multi task”. I listened to music whilst writing my History essay. By listening I mean that I was able to listen to the lyrical content of the song whilst writing my History essay. The concept of Little Wayne (This is for comic effect) is not exactly foreign to people my age. Although he is the favourite rapper of most of my friends unimpressed is the word that best documents my Little Wayne allegiances. In the process of trying to understand what makes Little Wayne tick I typed his name into my iTunes search bar and played every song of his I had on my laptop. One particular song titled ‘Alphabet Bitches’ caught my attention. The only words I heard come out from our Rasta haired friend’s mouth are the p word used to describe the route through which all came to the world and the b word that could be defined as the female of a dog. He swept the rap awards at the Grammy’s in early 2009 but his attempts to keep his legacy on a steady pedestal with his late 2009 albums ‘We are Young’, ‘Money’, and ‘Rebirth’ have been met with tepid reception. From selling a million records in a week he has sunk to selling 176, 000. A critique of his last mixtape No Ceilings by Jesse Gissen of XXL magazine reads “Wayne does little to push the topic of conversation past sex, money and drugs” thus suggesting my view is a consensus one.

Chris Rock said “We all love rap but it’s hard to defend.” How do you defend “I wish I could f*** every girl in the world” or “To the window, to the wall, Till the sweat drip from my balls”. Rappers cut from this cloth give proper rappers like Talib Kwali, Mos Def, Rakim, Jay Electronica and Common who we would commonly address as lyricists a bad name. I know a bunch of boys who deceive themselves that they can rap. As a way of encouraging them I did myself the disservice of listening to their mixtape. To say I was annoyed that I had wasted my time on such a non productive venture like that is me being nice. All I heard was the p word, the b word, the f word and weed. My initial thought was to ask them “If your mum listened to this what would she think?” I’ m guessing the first thing their mothers would have done would be arranging a meeting with their Pastor to find out where they went wrong and sort the issues out promptly.

My motive for writing this article is not to castigate Mr Wayne. It’s to highlight the negative influence of today’s entertainers on today’s youth. I know this is cliché but it goes without saying “Role models influence what people do”. It’s the only reason why a boy who has never held a gun would make music about shooting people. It’s the only reason why a boy who has never had sex would make music on the most graphic sex related things. It’s the only reason why most wannabe entertainers I know try to mimic Mr Wayne’s wordplay technique and end up giving us similes and metaphors they cannot even explain. It’s the only reason why a full grown man who was a prison warder would make music referencing an inexistent life as a drug dealer. It’s the only reason why a talented middle class Polo wearing kid would not get a record deal as a result of his not fitting the traditional baggy wearing rapper stereotype. It’s the reason why I love Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, J Cole and Common. The music they make is something we can relate to. Rap is supposed to be a form of expression. It’s only because of rubbish talking rappers that someone who has never listened to rap music would say “Rap= retards attempting poetry”.

From reading this it would be a rational conclusion that I pride myself as being someone who pays careful attention to the things I listen to so you can understand my indignation at the way my preferred form of music is portrayed. It’s my opinion that good music would stand the test of time and senseless music might be here today but would definitely be gone tomorrow. It’s the reason why The College Dropout is considered by MTV to be the greatest debut album of this generation. It’s the reason why at the end of 2009 Entertainment Weekly named it the best album of the past decade and in its July 4th 2008 edition named it No 4 on its list of best albums of the past 25 years. It’s the reason why Andre 3000 despite lacking in popularity when compared to Little Wayne is one of the most revered rappers of this generation. It’s also the reason why I write this article to advise my rapper friends to evaluate their lyrical content and make things which are rare today: Music that would stand the test of time.


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