A Grey Area

Ok so this may be interpreted as a bit of a controversial post and where I’m going with it I have no clue as of right now. Usually before writing a blog post I have a logical train of thoughts in my mind. It starts with an idea, which leads on to a point/argument and then finishes in a conclusion. But this time I guess we’ll both just have to wait until the end of the post to find out what my actual point is!

So I’ll just dive right into it. RnB and Hip Hop are genres of music that are akin to marmite: people either love them or hate them. And I just happen to be in the former group of people. The tricky part comes when I’m asked to explain WHY I favour these musical genres, because honestly I always find it impossible to properly justify myself.

Below are a selection of some up to date RnB and Hip Hop lyrics:

  • I’m not the type to call you back tomorrow…
  • He don’t wife ’em, he one nights ’em
  • Girl you gotta show me, baby let me put your panties to the side, I’m a make you feel alright
  • Both of my b*tches drive Range Rovers, none of my b*tches eat leftovers
  • I know you wanna be my main chick, f*ck whoever you came with
  • ‘Bout to spend all this cash, if you keep shaking that ass
  • Girl I’m tryna f*ck with you tonight

Yes, they are horrendously sexist, chauvinistic, degrading and superficial. I won’t refute that in fact most RnB and Hip Hop lyrics, these days, are baseless and demeaning.

But to tell you the truth, for me, Hip Hop and RnB are less about the lyrics and more about the feel-good vibes that they exude. Regardless of where I am or what I’m doing, for some reason these nonsensical songs always make me want to dance! And as contradictory as it may sound, I feel strangely empowered by them. A good beat that sticks in my head and a silver-tongued RnB artist is sometimes all that I want to hear through my headphones. And even if they’re singing about absolute rubbish, I couldn’t care less… and I know that sounds crazy!

Hip hop nowadays is not like country music, where I can say that all of the songs are deeply meaningful with strong messages, so it’s hard to explain to a person who has absolutely no interest at all towards such music, why I love it, but I do.

On the other end of the love/hate spectrum you’ll find my parents. Whenever they happen to catch an earful of my music, to say that they hate what they hear would be an understatement. They loathe the derogatory lyrics filled with curse words and obscene sexual references. And so every so often they’ll experience panic attacks and think that I’m being brainwashed by gold-toothed rappers and scantily dressed, twerk-mad RnB singers who they believe have the power to snatch the home-grown values that have been deeply-rooted inside of me since I was little. And of course, they proceed to worry that I’m slowly but surely being ruined. Which is fair enough, their job as parents is to worry about everything! But although I do love this music, I do also have my own mind and the ability to think for myself.

My friends all listen to this ‘anti-family music’ and we are not ‘hoes’ or ‘ratchets’ or ‘skets’ in any shape or form. We’re a pretty wholesome bunch if I do say so myself! We’ve never felt an urge to ‘make love in this club’ like Usher or ‘put it down on’ some random guy who we’ve just met, even if Jeremih and 50 Cent claim that it’s the norm to do so. And as much as we may be obsessed with Beyonce’s songs, we do not aspire to be women whose identities stem purely from their other halves, cough cough, Jay Z  she ‘just wants to be that girl you like’, ‘dance for you’ and ‘cater to you’. I have standards. Just because I listen to sexualised songs does not mean that I’m ‘easy’, I am most certainly not and I am also not blinded by ostentatious shows of wealth like fast cars and big chains. When I say that I literally just like the music, I mean it! I’m just a sucker for a good beat. That also means that I have no desire to adopt a thug-life mentality, throw around the N word in my everyday speech or wear a solid gold grill on my teeth!

You’ll also find that some female Hip Hop and RnB artists openly objectify themselves by labelling one another, ‘boss ass b*****’ and ‘stupid hoes’, foolishly bestowing men with the right to do the same, but would I ever refer to myself in that way? Umm, HELL NO! One of my best friends called me ‘b****’ by a slip of the tongue and I didn’t speak to him for the rest of the day until he apologised. Why? Because I have this crazy thing called self-worth.

So as you can see, my musical choice is pretty hard to defend, but does there really have to be a definitive reason for everything? I just find it impossible to dislike a song with Chris Brown’s smooth vocals on it (ooh even more controversy!) that’s just my taste I’m afraid and it’s out of my control.

At the end of the day I’m not writing this post to convince anyone who reads it that because I’m a fan of RnB and Hip Hop, you should be too. You should listen to whatever floats your boat; this just so happens to float mine. I’m not saying that it’s extremely tasteful or particularly family-friendly, but it’s what I like and rather than reprimanding me for advocating use of swear words and profanity in music, just respect my taste and leave me to it. I never blast my music to inconvenience people who I know cannot stand it, so if I want to fill my own ears with such noise, surely that decision is only mine to make?

The Loch Ness Monster, the Bermuda triangle, Stonehenge, UFO’s and crop circles… all of these things are inexplicable, mystical even, to the human mind and I guess that so is my taste in music to some people! And I’m ok with that.

Maybe this post can serve to dispell the myth that anyone who listens to this type of music must be dense or a thug or chauvinist, because as I hope you can tell I am none of those things. The music that you listen to only shapes you as an individual if you want it to. It’s really just a bit of fun! People shouldn’t take it so seriously.

Not everything makes sense in life and this is just one of those grey areas for me. So I guess this post has no real conclusion but as of right now this kind of music makes me happy…so sue me!

13 replies

  1. It used to drive me crazy when my kids listened to some of this stuff–for all the reasons you outlined. I’m still not crazy about a lot of it, but they made me listen until I began to get the beats, the clever rhythmic change ups, and a lot of the sampling. Good one. Ken

    • Wow you sound like a great dad Ken. I wish that my parents would be a bit more open-minded like you and try to see from my perspective sometimes… but I think that’s a long shot! I completely understand that parents worry about such music being a bad influence, I guess you just have to trust that your kids are strong enough to be their own people and not get taken in by such baseless lyrics. Thanks for your comment, I appreciate it 🙂

  2. Personal preference for music is exactly what it is, personal. Can’t shame someone for liking or wanting to listen to something… at least that’s what I think about when I hear people listening to country…

  3. I agree and understand how you feel, I myself love the same type of music. I don’t care for much of the hip hop on the radio now but I still listen to a lot of songs with lyrics like you mentioned but its the vibe, rhythm, and energy you get from the song that makes it worth it!

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