Best of the worst: a critique of rap lyrics
Published: Thursday, May 5, 2011
Updated: Thursday, May 5, 2011 11:05
Mainstream hip-hop is arguably at its all-time low, prompting many to proclaim that it is dead. Artists including Plies, Drake and Nicki Minaj aren't doing much to help the case. Whether it's the rise of texting, Twitter or simply the fact that we never need to spell anything properly thanks to spell-check, our society is losing intelligence. Music, specifically rap, used to be about problems in society. Now, if you ask Lil Wayne what needs change in the world, he'd probably reply that he hasn't had sexual intercourse with "Every Girl" in the world yet. And this is the modern trend in rap lyrics: all the sex and money, none of the thought-provoking substance.
A segment of "Chocolate News" on Comedy Central summed the current world of mainstream rap up perfectly: "When did ‘fight the power' become ‘wait till you see my d***'."
First, 50 Cent and Jeremih's song "Down on me" has the lyric "Okay, she headed to the dancefloor and she slowly start to poppinn' it, something like my wrist cause everybody got to watching it."
Just because my dad thrives off of cracking puns at the dinner table, doesn't mean he should just pick up the mic and start spitting it.
In one song, Plies says "I just gave her a nickname, it's wet wet. Cause when she finish she mess up all the bedset"
I love when rappers get raunchy. All the sexual innuendos just keep the song flowing. But at some point, maybe Plies should realize that rhymes – a huge asset to "good" music – shouldn't be forced. This song in its entirety is arguably one of the worst popular lyrical rap songs to date.
"Carry Out" by Justin Timberlake and Timbaland — "I have you open all night like an IHOP"
It's good to know JT loves some pancakes. I bet he likes them with extra syrup and whipped cream.
Next is Drake in Rihanna's "What's my name" — "The square root of 69 is ate (8) something, right? Cause I've been tryna work it out."
Actually it's 8.31 to be more exact. Why is it that rappers continuously force their lyrics to be sexual? If it works, it works. If it doesn't (like the lyric above) at least figure out one that does. Maybe Drake should be tryna work that out.
Nicki Minaj's "Your love" is just as bad. She says, "When I was a Geisha he was a Samurai, Somehow I understood him when he spoke Thai."
Someone PLEASE inform Nicki Minaj that Samurai do not speak Thai. Our standing in the eyes of the world won't improve if we remain this ignorant. Lyrics such as this one have me crossing my fingers hoping that Tupac really is somewhere, planning his return.
In the rather vulgar song "Every Girl" by Young Money featuring Lil Wayne, Lil wayne says, "You gon' be a dope fiend. You're friends should call you Dopey"
Clever, Weezy; great use of timeless pop culture in the Seven Dwarfs. Dopey always did look hooked on drugs. But is this really what mainstream rap has fallen into? Mainstream music, for the most part, lacks any intellectual value. Maybe that's why dub-step is catching on so quickly: no lyrics to worry about.
Altough the next two are not rap songs, they lack serious intelectual content just as much as the previous songs.
In Rebecca Black's "Friday" she is mocked for saying,
"Kickin' in the front seat
Sittin' in the back seat
Gotta make my mind up
Which seat can I take?"
"Friday" really shouldn't count as a song; it's embarrassing to musicians, lyricists and even Rebecca Black when she matures enough to realize that she is the laughing stock of pop culture. I'll bail her out a bit, and just say that for choosing seats in a car may actually be the hardest decision she's had to make in her pampered life.
As Katy Perry lives the teenage dream, she should probably put some more thought into her lyrics. In "Fireworks" she asks the listener, "Do you ever feel like a plastic bag?"
No... Katy, please inform me what a plastic bag's feelings and emotions are, because my only interaction with them is on my way back from Safeway. This song really enlightened me, because I had no idea plastics bags just emanated such meaning. To open your song with possibly the worst analogy ever is saying something: get a new lyricist.
Mainstream music continues to put more of an emphasis on hastily releasing new tracks, rather than perfecting the lyrics. What we need is artists like Lupe Fiasco and B.O.B to redirect music back to when the lyrics of the songs actually meant something.
Contact Gabe at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (408) 554-1918.
The opinions stated in this article represent the views of the author only, not the views of The Santa Clara or of Santa Clara University.