The Language In The Lyrics
Over the weekend a conversation took place within a Facebook I’m a member of about Eminem and the usage of the “N” word as it relates to his success. That then shifted to the lack of overall vocabulary skill and limited wordplay of many of today’s artists. All of this brought a question to my mind that I think is more appropriate today then it ever has been in Hip Hop. What exactly do you look for in Hip Hop lyrics ? Do the words matter? Can an artist that rarely if ever curses grab your attention like one that lets profanity fly at a pretty steady pace?
It’s odd because personally I love MC’s that can deliver with words deeper then the usual rap lexicon. My perfect example is Nas. Intelligent and lyrically poetic. It almost annoys me more when he uses and defends the “N” word because I feel like with his place in Hip Hop he really knows better. On the other side of my personal spectrum, while I’m not a fan of his, I feel artist like Drake does the same. The guy is talented and educated. All the “B**ch, N***a, Pu**y” talk in his rhymes seems so forced and extra. But then again, “Extra” is what sells in this era right?
While it’s been a long time since it dropped, I can still remember Latifah’s “U.N.I.T.Y” and the direct, powerfully asked question “Who you calling a B**ch?!?” As a look around I don’t see anyone on the scene that would come out and make that cry today. Hell, most ladies in the rap game are trying to claim “Top B**ch” as their title. So, again I ask you the listeners and consumers, what does lyrical language mean to you?
In asking this I put myself in the mirror too. I’m a bit of walking hypocrisy as well. I will ride these NY streets with classic Snoop Dogg, CNN, LOX, Wu Tang and more blaring from the car just as much as I’ll play Guru or Common. I grew up on these groups in my youth and the best I can say is I make a division between the music and my lifestyle. Perhaps that is the line we have to look at. The words can be dealt with when confined solely to the music, but when it’s influencing actions, views and mentalities then it’s a bigger issue.
I guess it all comes back to this. I love Hip Hop but as an adult I’m tired of having to defend it.
As I continue to search for balance please feel free to hit me up on Twitter at @Trueomeganexus. Also check out my other social media sites via the buttons on the side of the blog.