*The following is a piece of writing that I wrote approximately 2 and a half years ago. The reason that I’m posting an older blog is because I am currently in the middle of exam time at school and I honestly don’t have the time to blog, but I want to give you guys something to read. So here it is, I hope you enjoy*
“Are right and wrong convertible terms, dependant upon popular opinion?” ~William Lloyd Garrison
I’m not sure what it was about this song that originally caught my attention. It could have been the easy-going, somewhat melodic beat or the catchy and over the top vocals that Lil’ Wayne so graciously placed on the intro of the track. Either way, it’s catchy. And the fact that Lil Wayne’s latest CD (which contains the single) has sold over 1,000,000 copies in the first week proves that the rest of the country is just as transfixed on the tune as I myself was. The reason for the “was” in the last sentence as opposed to using the word “is,” that most people would use when describing their up-most appreciation for the song, must be attributed to the lyrics. Being a writer, I find myself valuing the lyrical quality of music as the single greatest component of an original composition. It is this writer’s opinion that, what makes great music is when it is relatable. We enjoy music that we understand, that connects with us. Not unlike the way in which we watch movies or the way we read books. On average, a fifth grade student will not enjoy Jane Austen nearly as much as a high school or college grad. However most would say that this is simply a maturity difference and so I’ll try to make my point a little clearer. For example, when we think of a person who listens to country music we think of them dressing similarly to a person who writes country music. Why is this? Is it because dressing like a cowboy is a requirement of enjoying Garth Brooks, or is it because we assume that the people who enjoy Garth Brooks can relate to the things that he talks about in his songs, and therefore dress similarly? (One could also argue that the connection is based on instrumentals, but I feel that without lyrics, pure instrumentals would have never created such specific genres.) The same is true of 50 cent. When you think of the kind of person who enjoys 50 cent’s music, you are probably not thinking of surfer Wayne down the street, or sweet Susie in your chemistry class, but you are more than likely thinking of someone who wears jerseys everyday with pants worn as shorts. (I don’t say any of this to justify or create stereotypes. I am simply trying to prove the point that we relate to the music we listen to.) While we all know people who break these vague stereotypes we must admit that there is a connection between what we listen to and our lifestyle. Now back to the subject at hand.
I think that the reason this song shocks me so much is that while most rappers hide behind the pretense of vague slang or sneaky quick lyrics, Lil’ Wayne more or less comes out and says what he means directly. While I don’t hate his methods or even his message (because I feel it is similar to the message of most rap music) I am more astounded at his song’s popularity. Here, in a day when a woman comes within months of potentially being elected president, we are still dealing with the same degree of chauvinism that plagued the early 1900’s. And what does that say about our culture if we enjoy music we can relate to and the number one song on the top 100 is simply about oral sex? Are we having that much oral sex? Is oral sex the best thing going for us right now? And if so, why haven’t other artists caught on?
I am not trying to argue that Lollipop is the worst song I’ve ever heard. In fact, the subject matter is really no worse than the hair bands of the late 80’s, but what makes a song like this popular? Are we really that obsessed with beats and rhythms that all it takes is a catchy tune and a few scattered groans to make a hit single? Or are we really wishing that we were living Lil’ Wayne’s lifestyle. And if “we” includes, females then what of that? Are the females of the country sitting at home in nervous anticipation of the night of the week they can go to a club and fulfill some tattooed gangster’s midnight fantasy? Unfortunately, none these questions have answers that are any shade of absolute.
The reason I have gone on this entire rant of a discussion can be attributed to a 12 year old girl I saw recently. I was getting ready to DJ a dance with some friends and several of the kids were hanging around before we got started. My friend decided to play the song “lollipop” while we were all sitting around. He had the volume on just low enough to where we could all hear each other perfectly. I watched as this girl jumped up and down when she heard the intro to the song and began to dance to the beat. I thought this was funny, but really didn’t think much of it at first. What caught me by surprise was when she started to sing it. She knew all of the words (ALL of the words). She sang it as if it were some beautiful chorus of amazing grace that she was belting to make sure that all of her friends heard it. I heard her say “he’s so sweet, she wants to lick the wrapper, so I let her lick the wrapper” she continued with “she say I’m like a lollipop.”Now I know that we would all love to claim ignorance on her behalf, but we shouldn’t be so quick to assume. I don’t know about you, but I knew a lot about sex when I was twelve and I think that if I heard the line “she says I’m like a lollipop” I’d probably get it. So now the issue gets deeper. Because it’s ok for us to sing songs about having promiscuous forms of sex because we’re adults, but kids… that’s a different story. But a kid didn’t write it, does that justify it? I mean Lil Wayne’s a big boy, he can do what he wants. Or maybe we’ll justify it with culture. I mean, in his culture that might be totally acceptable and he’s just telling us his story; that makes sense right? But this might be the largest double standard of them all. We look down on other cultures that degrade women to work as home makers and cooks, but our most popular song is about how much we like our dicks being sucked. (Vulgar I know, but just listen to the song)
Some may read this and think that I have already joined an elite group of change hating republicans hell bent on bringing back the 50’s, but I assure you that my intentions are to progress as much as possible. I do not want to spend too much time justifying my intentions, because if you really don’t like what I have to say then you’ll just write this off as a one sided argument and never give it a second thought. I don’t hate Lil’ Wayne and I really don’t hate rap. I am simply astounded at the way our culture accepts vulgarity in music as if it were as normal as guitar solos in the 80’s. I am not pessimistic enough to write off our society as that of terminal damnation, but I am also not optimistic enough to try and justify the lyrics of the music that is currently top 10 material.
“Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value.” ~Albert Einstein
side note: I know that in the song, the girl wants to do the sex, but I still feel that is irrelevant to the mental picture it creates. If anything, it’s worse because it creates that expectation in the people who listen to it. Making men hope for it and making women feel that it is required.
So now I want to know what you think. Am I being over analytical, is it just entertainment? Or do you think that music like this is hurting out culture? Tell me what’s going on in your world.