“I Can’t Live Without My Radio”
The club or the radio is no longer the place for good music… sorry let me rephrase that. The club or the radio is no longer a place for GREAT music.
You will get the music that makes you move or makes you feel good, and as long as you have that, the content quality is irrelevant. Most of the people can recite the simplistic lyrics they hear not because they can relate to them, but because they hear it 80 times a day. How many of us screaming “BALLIN”, have ever had a tennis ball size of dollars to waste never mind the basketball sized dreams we shoot every time that song comes on. When is the last time you saw an ounce of coke that wasn’t covered with a red and white swirling label, and yet you are singing with great commitment on how much “IN LOVE WITH THE COCO” you are.
It can be argued that this music is so popular because it allows the listener to escape their reality. Much like a Sci-Fi action movie it is the window into a world that we aren’t familiar with and therefore are excited for the experience. To some extent I agree with this idea. I get that playing a game of musical dress up can be fun. Hell when I was a kid I moonwalked like MJ or did the foot shuffle like James Brown. Dressed like Bugaloo Shrimp or shaved my head with ONYX. Yet those days of role play seemed much less harmful to its listeners. What’s the worst that could happen when we emulated Bobby Brown’s My Prerogative dance moves? a hard slap from mom for being a little too exuberant with the pelvic thrusts? Exactly compared to our heroes these major radio play artists are the Cobra Commanders to our Lt. Hawks and G.I. Joes. And it has a generation of kids growing up wanting to be just like the misogynist, greedy, money chasing, sexually explicit, drug paraphernalia totting, violent advocating, entitled artists they hear and see every day. We can easily apply those adjectives to our youth of today. And how can you blame the product of Drug talk and Dollar throwing for trying get rich or die trying. To want what they want despite consequence. And that’s not exclusive to the evil dollar it includes the opposite sex and sex in general.
Ya ya I know we had Prince and Marvin Gaye talking about sex right? Well Marvin wanted sexual healing “wake up wake up wake up, let’s make love tonight.” And Prince is the one that we know as the King of Dirty songs, one of his worse lines “Take me baby, kiss me all over/Play with my love/Bring out what’s been in me 4 far 2 long”. Now let’s fast forward to the 2000s to the current reigning queen of Hip Hop Nicki Minaj “This dude named Michael used to ride motorcycles/Dick bigger than a tower, I ain’t talking ’bout Eiffel’s/Real country-ass nigga, let me play with his rifle/Pussy put his ass to sleep, now he calling me NyQuil”. In fact forget the lyrics, check the song titles, The Dream’s “P***y”, Estelle’s “Make her Say (Beat it Up)”, then go listen to the songs, and you won’t be surprised.
And I don’t want to act like the golden years of urban music lacked the 2 live crews and NWAs. Sex, drugs and violence has been and will always be a good seller. We all like to hear the degradative music at times. We all want to let go and just be for moments in our lives. The problem is the balance! Or lack thereof. We have far too many Ja Rules and not enough Tupacs, overwrought with Blurred Lines, with What’s Going Ons, far and between!! I remember going to places like Party center and hearing Public Enemy mixed with Tribe Called Quest mixed with King Tee, mixed with En Vogue, and the list goes on. Nowadays the DJs seem to be all plugged in to one universal podcast, in which one artist performs the same song to the same beat that sometimes has a remix on every 3rd song. The creativity is gone in our music, the intelligence gone in our lyrics. Shoot half the time we can’t even understand the words being said, and that’s not due to them being too complex either.
All is not lost, like I said the good music is no longer on the radio or in the clubs but it is out there! As much as the internet has all but destroyed the record companies, it has created a platform for the most underground, fresh, different, and even weird music. Nowadays the good music isn’t handed to you. You have to put on your Indiana Jones hat and go searching for such treasures. You’re not going to find Joey Bada$$ at the top of the sand pile, you’re not going to discover a Drew Anthuny or Ro James without using a flashlight a little bit. Part of the problem is that we wait for the hipsters to dictate to us what we are allowed to like. In some ways the radio and record companies have transformed into these bloggers and cool kids on the net that blow up certain mainstream artists such as Bey, J, Ri, Drake etc. while the others are forgotten and therefore largely ignored by the masses. As usual many artist break through that glass ceiling and cultivate a strong following to propel them to at least B list celebrity. And sadly by that time they have been changed to maintain that status.
Same old soup warmed up a little bit and we slurp it right up. No one to blame but ourselves, the good music is out there, it’s just for us to seek it. Like most good things in life, you can’t attain it without some work, just ask that winter body girl with the summer body dreams.
– SLANG HUGH
Slang Hugh can be found on instagram @slanghugh
Check Out Slang Hugh with TOKS on the podcast The Man Dem – https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/the-man-dem/id1144116291?mt=2itunes.apple.com