Tuesday, March 11, 2008

You Want to Put It Where?

This post is going to make me sound old.

But, I have to ask this question as a new parent and concerned citizen.

What happened to R&B?

Truthfully, I'm more of a hip hop fan myself, but now that I have a child I've decided that blasting music that regularly details explicit sex acts and random violence might not be the best thing for me to continue. I still love my rap, but I'm trying to wean myself off of it and get into a mixture of contemporary and old school slow jams. I listen to some Cd's, but I also like to just listen to the radio.

While it's been quite easy to find good old school stuff, the garbage that's coming out from artists these days is inexcusable. Seriously, a friend and I were discussing it the other night and we've decided that this new R&B might be even worse then contemporary hip hop.

Now, let me explain myself.

When I listen to contemporary R&B, I hear a lot of talk about sex acts and very little talk about romance. I know that some R&B artists have always had explicit lyrics, but these days it seems like everybody is talking about "Let me stick you there" or "I'll lick you here."

In addition, these new songs are written at what appears to be a third grade reading level. Seriously, when you listen to old school Al Green or Marvin Gaye, there is artistry in their lyrics. These new cats just throw together random cliches and slang and call that trash a song. If I hear another cat crooning about his rims over a beat, I'm going to pop a vessel.

It's like these artists are purposely writing adult material in a way that children can understand it.

That just ain't cool, and, like most of you, I blame R. Kelly.

Now, some readers may cry foul at that comment, but bear with me. There is no doubt that R. Kelly is a great musician, and, like most of my contemporaries, I once thought "Bump and Grind" was the greatest display of musical genius in the world. There can be no argument that Kelly has successfully created a whole new genre of R&B that I would call "thug crooning."

And that's where he messed up.

I mean, his obvious success at this new genre convinced every other cat who could carry a tune and preferred cornrows to ceasers that this was their calling. Kelly beget Jagged Edge and Jahiem and they beget bastards like Pretty Ricky who are ruining music today. Not only can these asshats barely sing without technological assistance, listening to their music will rot your brain faster than Fox News. It's shameful.

These dummies are pumping kids full of risky sex music at a time when these kids have no idea how to handle adult interactions. And I find their efforts so insidious because unlike rap music most R&B lyrics make it past radio censors due to their lack of cursing (I'm purposely ignoring R&B acts that curse more than rappers because if I didn't I might have to slam my head into the keybord).

So when parents innocently think they are just letting their kids listen to the radio, they are really exposing them to a blueprint for acquiring an STD or baby. (Don't believe me? Read this.).

Now, I'm not against all R&B because even those cats who produce what most would deem idiot music have their place. Everybody deserves the right to pursue their dream, and people do not have to abide by my standard of decency.

In fact, I actually find T-Pain funny, and think he's far more witty than most people give him credit for being. But, that doesn't mean I think T-Pain should be singing where my son and other kids can hear him. Something is wrong with that.

Oh well, there's always NPR.

Footnote: A friend of mine sent me the lyrics of Ray J's newest "love" song called "Sexy Can I. Please enjoy.

Sexy can I, just pardon my manners.
Girl how you shake it, got a nigga like (ohhhh)
It's a kodak moment, let me go and get my camera
All I wanna no is, sexy can I.
Sexy can I, hit it from the front,
then I hit it from the back.
know you like it like that.
then we take it to the bed, then we take it to the floor
then we chill for a second, then we're back at it for more

When you sliding down the pole,
no panties, no shirt.
Then you climb back up the pole,
then you drop and do the splits.
How you make that pussy talk,
Baby damn, u is da shit
(Oh,ohh,ohh) Now look shawty, look shawty.
I make it rain in the club like (Oh,ohh,ohh)
(I don't know what your man is like but baby all I want to know is
Sexy can I


Lolo said...

Haaaa, thank you. Thank you for making me laugh out loud in recognition. Welcome to the world of filtering it all through your child's experience. Fun, innit?

Well ~ I put a ban on most "modern" music from the time that my babies started speaking and it has only recently lifted (they're 13 and 11 now) but they know very well that there is a strict code of not repeating what they hear. I really try and stress old school music, with running commentary as to what provokes us to THINK and FEEL and what just plain provokes us.

Now we're at the point that they know to not play anything that makes Momma cranky but if I can dance to it then they've got a shot. Good luck to you because Oh.My.God. you have not had a WTF moment until you're at the roller rink and they blast Lil Jon and you fall down trying to get your hands over your daughter's ears. Good times.

Timi said...

I've only heard Ray J's song once. I'm tickled by the notion of him referring to himself as a thug and a player.

I'm reminded of a comedian who once said, "You ain't no thug. You Brandy's brother." lol

Big Man said...


I'm not looking forward to any of that.


I doubt Ray J's a thug, but I can't doubt his player bonafides. These dude does seem to make the ladies swoon.

Danielle said...

Funny! I just go to the Soulbounce blog. They have great music recommendations for Grown Ass People w/out the thug luvin' and vulgarity.

Should've seen it comin' when Mr. Kelly penned a song called "You Remind Me of My Jeep" What kind of dumb shit was that anyway?

Christina Springer said...

Okay - sometimes the radio is a necessity. You forget to pack "Hippity Hop," Sweet Honey In The Rock "Experience 101," "Brown Girl In The Ring," "The Bat Chorus," The Symphonies Of Le Chevalier De Saint Georges and Suzuki Method Violin I.

Somedays, you forget because you just don't want to hear yourself rapping about photosynthesis, humming twinkle variation or chanting "the future belongs to me." You can't believe your life has been reduced to singing about worm poop and and mammals.

But, then you find how judgmental or creative you are. My son can hear two beats of "Like this," and shout "Turn it Mama, turn it! It's the rude song. We don't like rude people.

Somedays, you just explain the lyrics (or a value laden variant.) And the child re-writes the song themselves. Like in this moment:

Regardless - there is no artistry today. And as parents you have to decide whether you're ready to deal with it. Because - one day - you will find your child on the floor playing with his action figures chanting, "like this, like this, like this, like this."

vicdamonejr said...


Good post. But you gotta listen to Jaheim. He has some good tracks, he just gives off the thug vibe. He can actually write.

Others newbies who are worth a listen/buy: Keyshia Cole, Ne-Yo, Mario ... that's it.

vicdamonejr said...

And R. Kelly is a weird one. He has these brilliant moments in his music ... (think: I Believe I Can Fly) ... and others where you're just like "what?" (think: you remind me of my jeep) ...

If he had swung the R&B sound toward the "I Believe" sound, who knows what we would be doing. Same goes with Jordan and saying something political.

You know what, let's just blame Chicago as a whole.

ZACK said...

You think that's something? In Chicago, we've got an underground song called "Shawty Wat Dat Mowf Do?" The premise of the song is to skip regular intercourse and get girls to defile their mouths. Disgusting.

Thank God the song hasn't been picked up by radio stations yet.

I agree with you on everything written.

(Found you through the comments section of Field Negro)

Lola Gets said...

Thats just what you get for liking "Bump and Grind!" I aint never liked that song - or others like it! The vast majority of them are not only degrading to women but sexually biased. For example: that song mentioned by Zaxk, "Shawty Wat Dat Mowf Do", LL Cool Js "Head Sprung" (or whatever its called). Both those songs call for girls (women) to pleasure men with no reard for their own health or pleasure! Yeah, no, I cant get with that.


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