How Can Ya’ll Listen To This “Rap” Stuff? (A School of Rocky Blog)
I’ll never forget one day my brother and I were in the car when I was younger and a Pimp C song came on 97.9 The Box.
Here goes my Mama..
“I don’t understand how ya’ll can listen to this rap stuff.”
She’d change the channel to Magic 102 where they are now playing Marvin Gaye, “Let’s Get It On”.
“I don’t understand how you can listen to this..” my brother says laughing.
Thus began a debate with my Mom about how the lyrics to music changed, but rap and R&B isn’t worse just because they don’t use “innuendo” as much.
Fast forward to the present day.
I would consider myself a “Jr.” Activist, Philanthropist and Organizer, meaning, I’m not necessarily out at every single protest, but I definitely am pushing to resolve issues that affect our Black and Brown communities.
In the beginning, I listened to and even repeated some of the arguments about not talking about guns. glorifying violence and calling women outside of their name in lyrics and videos.
Whenever I would repeat some of these requests, something just never really felt right.
I felt “fake”.
Was I being a hypocrite like I didn’t LOVE me some Pimp C or jam Thug Motivation 101 in my car till I blew one of my speakers out?
So as an “activist and philanthropist” what type of music am I supposed to listen to and why?
I be DAMN if I’m stuck listening to PG or PG-13 Rated music for the rest of my life.
Is it possible to LOVE rap and hip-hop and still fight for my community?
I began dissecting lyrics of music I listened to and compared them to “socially acceptable OLD-SCHOOL” music.
Ran across a song my Mom used to play called, “I Gotcha” by Joe Tex which was released in 1972.
Lyrics read as follows:
“You made me a promise and you’re gonna stick to it; You shouldn’t have promised if you weren’t gonna do it; You saw me and ran in another direction. I’ll teach you to play with my affection. Now give it here…”
(They get worse.. Google it.)
OK, maybe that was a bad example.
What if we just stick to Music Artists in general?
What about legends EVERYONE listens to like Prince, Ray Charles or Michael Jackson..?
::Pulls out album with Prince butt naked on the cover on a winged-horse::
::Googles Michael Jackson and the video of the “crotch grab dance” heard around the world comes up::
::Searches Ray Charles on YouTube and… I won’t ruin the movie if you’ve never seen it, but drugs and women is all I will say::
Ok… maybe not.
So why is so much blame placed on rap and hip-hop for being the downfall of our communities?
I’ve thought about this subject for YEARS and I’ve come to the following general conclusion:
Artists’ art is a direct result of their backgrounds, upbringing, and the communities and issues within their communities. Artist who write their own lyrics and songs write about their experiences are writing THEIR truth. You may not have grown up in these communities, but someone else did. Their music is not really for you, it’s for the communities of people who understand and can relate to what they are speaking about.
It doesn’t translate to “glorification” in my opinion so much as story telling.
Most of the MOST famous Music Artists usually become famous based on the “WOW” or “shock” factor. Exactly how much can they make people pay attention to them? How controversial can they be? How many of their “truths” can they really speak? This did NOT begin with hip-hop. These ideas began with the beginning of LYRICS.
You can dissect lyrics, ANY Music Artist’s background (or foreground), social media pages, track record, media “gossip” record, judicial record, but the only person who KNOWS and can speak THEIR truth to the reasons why they use the words they do, speak the WAY they speak about WHAT they feel is that individual artist.
To say that any ONE particular artist at ANY point in time is any more sanctified over the other would be hypocritical and enforcing the idea of censorship of our community. What you would consider “bad” is still part of the COMMUNITY, even if it’s a part that YOU cannot personally relate to.
We should not enforce the idea of censorship within the art in our communities. If an artist grew up around guns and drugs and raps about guns and drugs is that the fault of the artist or YOU for saying that he shouldn’t rap about what he has grown up knowing, doing and feeling.
Maybe instead of angrily pointing fingers, we can instead try to examine why they would believe using certain words or lyrical content would be ok and try to help them (or their audience) evolve or heal from some of the trauma or traumatic events in their lyrics.
Maybe we should instead examine what makes the pull of the audience to that artist so great. Obviously, that artist said SOMETHING or A LOT OF THINGS that made sense to the people who support them.
As far as our children, you could just not allow them to listen to rap or hip-hop, but if your child is anything like the person writing this article, he or she is DEFNITELY gonna find a way to listen ANYWAY just to cause you told em’ not to… IJS.
Free the lyrics.
Speak your truth.
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