Sunday, December 18, 2011

"As long as it sounds good..."

I am a fan of music. R&B is my favorite genre, it always has been and I used to think that this would always be the case, but as of late many R&B artists have taken a new route to please the masses so the quality of music has changed. As opposed to songs about love and life, they've decided to compose stripper anthems and other songs that demean women. Tank, for example, is one of my favorite artists of all time and even he has managed to disappoint me with his latest mixtape. The R&B crooner who is known for hits like "Maybe I Deserve" and "I Can't Make You Love Me" now has a song titled "Money on the Floor" making him no exception to this fad.

To be honest, stripper references in so-called R&B songs is getting pretty old and so is direction giving, "Girl, back it up, drop it low, etc." Since when did women need to be told how to dance and why must songs promise us money? "I got a pocket full of ones" or "I'ma make it rain" are pretty common lines. I can't speak for other women, but I must say that I wouldn't want anyone throwing singles at me nor would I want to pick money up from the floor. Many of these songs lack creativity and rap songs are even worse these days. In fact, it would take me hours to analyze the lyrics of some of the most popular rap songs and I won't even bother watching the videos for them anymore because the concept is almost always the same... Nice cars, scantily clad exotic looking women, and stacks of money. Did I miss anything?

That brings me to another point, thousands of women these days aspire to become actresses or models. Please note that I use the term "actress" loosely as many of them are not thespians and simply desire to be on television. That being said, they'll do pretty much anything for some camera time. Above I've embedded a video for Chris Brown's latest single "Strip" featuring Kevin McCall to help prove my theory. These women were so eager to be in a Chris Brown video that they couldn't unite to say "Hey guys, maybe we should opt not to wear bikinis in a snow scene while the men are wearing sweaters." Granted, it wasn't real snow but still... The idea of women being around to entertain these men is apparent. Not to mention, there were scenes when two or more women were vying for one man's attention in scenes that insinuated sexual acts. Was it really necessary for them to go into closets? But then again with lyrics like "If you ain't freakin', we ain't speaking," I guess I shouldn't have expected much from the video. Let me not to forget to mention, I actually like how this song sounds. One can't deny, it sounds good. The beat is amazing and that infectious "Got d@mn, you sexy" line is catchy. But do I agree with its lyrics? Would I dance to it in public? No.

Stripper songs aren't the only issue and men aren't the only ones contributing to horrible themed music. Nicki Minaj raps about having a squeaky clean vagina and asks for money in the remix to rapper Big Sean's popular song "Dance (A$$)." If the number one female in the industry doesn't demand respect and encourages fans to label themselves as bad bitches, what hope is there? What else does our youth have to listen to if these songs get major airplay? Young women will grow up thinking that their body is their greatest asset and young men will believe that if they don't have tons of money, they're unworthy of a female's attention. Then we will notice a continued influx of women that desire to be video models and/or strippers and men that wish to sell drugs and/or become rappers. It's a vicious cycle and no one wants to take responsibility for it. Artists will cite "just having fun" as a reason for some of their lyrical content and consumers will continue to dance to it and be influenced as long as it sounds good. Artists like YG, Waka Flocka, and Soulja Boy will continue to thrive as long as they can manage to have good beats for their songs.

I've been hesitant to blog about this because I didn't want it to seem like a rant, but I just got tired of the topic festering in my mind. As a person with younger siblings, a lover of music and a woman, I demand more. There are plenty of ways to make promote change. For starters, you could stop buying the albums. You can also call your local radio stations and say something. Request songs of substance, be mindful of what you listen to and don't just require a nice beat. Lyrics matter and the next time you're dancing to a stripper anthem, don't just continue dancing because you know it doesn't apply to you. Those around you may assume different. Please be sure to share your thoughts in a comment below. Do you think the music industry is full of nonsense or am I overreacting?

Thanks for reading,

Alexandria B.


  1. You are not overreacting, Alexandria. In fact, I agree with you. Sadly though, I've been known to sing and dance to songs that degrade women in my day (curse those infectious beats!). I can admit that. But fortunately for me, and those that look up to me, I give those songs the side eye nowadays.

    I had a conversation concerning this issue the other day when talking to my younger brother. The song "She Will" by Lil Wayne and Drake came on the radio and he all but praised Lil Wayne right there in the car, talking about that was "his song". I asked him to turn the station. At first he didn't want to, but once I spoke the lyrics back to him without the music and painted a few scenarios for him, I think he felt differently. I asked him how he would feel if a man spoke the lyrics Lil Wayne and Drake made for the song to me. Then I asked him how he would feel if men threw ones at me, mom, and my sister and treated us like swine. Of course, he said he would be angry. I then explained to him that supporting music like that peddled the idea that it was okay to objectify women. I then asked him if he thought it was cool for his nephew (my son) to see him objectify women. I could tell the wheels were finally turning in his head.

    Hopefully posts like this and more conversations about this issue within hip-hop and r&b music (and its influence on our men and women) will usher in some change.

    Great post, Alexandria! I love your layout here as well. <3

  2. Hey, sorry I've been late reading this.

    I love this post, but essentially I've just given up with this kind of music. When I go out clubbing I rarely let men dance with me, because these kinds of songs are usually playing and seem to set the scene where it is "time for me to grind". No money is thrown at me, but that may not be British culture :p

    The music industry, especially the genres targeted at black people has completed folded in my opinion, there is no attempt to uplift or speak the truth, I only feel a strange urge to hustle on the streets (rather than get a damn JOB) and be the baddest looking bitch, who regularly gets her hair and nails done. Is this it?!!

    I think it is definitely time to start identifying artists for what they are now settling to be: business minded individuals who will sell gimmicks and false projections of lifestyles that are both empty and pointless. Catchy songs, will only be that. There are no lessons in their music; they have nothing to teach us.

    Kam X

  3. Thanks for reading, ladies... I'm super late in responding but I'm so loving your input!

    @Miss Dre, that was a very wise way of approaching it. I just wish I could convince my 18-year-old brother to stp listening to nonsense.

  4. Oh and @ Kam -- I LOVED your comment!The lyrics to popular songs(and the fact that I can't dance) definitely make me think twice before dancing with men when I go out. Many of today's "artists" have nothing to teach, it's sad.

  5. Great post! I feel the exact same way, I'm glad that there are other people out there who agree. For a second I thought everyone was buying into this BS music. I do like song but I know better than most girls & don't hang on every word. I feel now the media teaches the youth more than the parents & young girls & guys follow these celebs as examples of how to live...its quite sad. If a guy said to me "if we ain't freakin', we ain't speakin" I would say BYE!