Friday, October 12, 2012

Dear Rap Music,

For 20+ years, I have piped you through every speaker I've owned; recorded you off the radio onto cassette tapes; bought your CDs, dressed like your disciples, spoke your country grammar. 

Your videos taught me all I know about being a woman - how to dress, how to do my hair, how to roll my belly to make men fall at my feet (because that's what you showed me would happen). You taught me that if only I could make some words rhyme, I too could own yachts, gold chains, diamond studded goblets, and the permission card to wear sunglasses indoors. That by having a somewhat mediocre voice, a beat machine,  and later autotune, that I could be anything I wanted to be (and from the way you spoke, I wanted to be you). 

Your lyrics - well, your lyrics inspired me. To "lick you from your head to your toes", to having "racks on racks on racks", to being "the coolest nigga". What. I learned I could call my mother every hateful thing under the sun, as long as I apologized to her in the chorus and then justified it with "I'm cleaning out my closet". I figured out many men wished death upon me, and that I should be ready at every turn with a Glock in hand. Even found that I don't want, I don't need, and I can't stand no minute man - life advice right there.

And I loved you for it, every bit. I felt like such a renegade, pissing the neighbors off by blasting Yung Joc and doing the handlebar dance while I should have been driving. Boy, you sure made juke parties the place to be, the mass of strangers dry humping one another as if sexual deviance was something you could water down with clothing. That was all a part of the world I was in. And again, I loved it. 

I am writing you today to let you know, it's over between us. I can't do this any longer. And rest assured it isn't's you. 

I was listening to a song some months back..."I Don't Like", I believe - maybe you're familiar. The entire thing is just the rapper talking about, well, stuff he doesn't like. And it dawned on me...why would I care what some random 15 year old doesn't like?

Slowly, the realization settled in that most of your output was similarly irrelevant to my life. I mean, I go to work 5 days a week - how many of your songs make me feel good for having a real, day job? I have to pay my own bills, why do I need to hear about you slanging rocks to pay yours? That's not applicable to my situation! You talk about having 5 cars, I have one, and it's hard enough to keep that one in order with flat tires, gas, insurance, parking tickets, and road rage abound. You have a huge mansion in LA, I'm struggling to pay rent for a garden apartment. Elections happen and all you can talk about is how Bush hates blacks (whether I agree or not being irrelevant here), and Obama is black, and Nixon did whatever. 

When I was dealing with breakups, where were you? When I was frustrated, why weren't you there? When I needed a pick me up, when I was fallen and needed a helping hand, you were NO WHERE TO BE FOUND. Too busy out slumming with your candy cars and gold grills to help a sista out, I suppose. 

This summer we went to Lollapalooza again, and saw a group of your disciples spreading your word. 5 dudes jumping around onstage - NOT ONE INSTRUMENT TO BE SEEN. How dare you call yourself "music" when you use none of the musical implements available to you (you can choose between pianos, guitars, drums, violins, flutes, triangles, chimes, accordions, trombones, clarinets, shall I go on)? The last instrument I heard was a violin in Twista's Overnight Celebrity. And that MAY or may not have been sampled. To be fair, I guess I understand now why everything you produce is a "sample" of someone else's song - beat machines make it so easy to chop and screw anything you can find on the internet. Why bother being original and "reinventing the wheel" when you can just take someone else's idea and "Make it your own"? 

"Oh, you're a fan of rap? You are AUTOMATICALLY MY FRIEND, and must be a generally cool person. Let's talk about all of the awesome rap concerts you've been to that I should research, all the great times you've had with other rap fans. You like Run DMC? I like Chief Keef, but since they're both rap, we still have something in common! Want a beer, dude? I'm so glad I met you!"

- Ever, No One

I'll tell you the truth : there is someone else in my life. Someone else who takes care of me, who was there to pick me up when you couldn't even extend your hand. Someone who isn't afraid to scream for me when I can't, who will inspire me to get up off my ass and get moving, who won't allow me to just take anyone's bullshit. Someone who forces me to acknowledge life for what it is and not be so concerned about everyone else's haves and have nots. Someone with variety, real instruments, and a group of fans who are some of the best people I've ever met in my life, of all ages, from all over the world and all walks of life. 

You don't need to know who that someone is - knowing you, you'll just try to jump on the scene and mess it all up for the rest of us. 

I will never forget you, of course. You are too large a part of me for me to turn my back on you forever. But as far as supporting your cause, lending credence to your words, buying your albums or merchandise, or seeing you on tour (if you DO even tour) - well, that's all over and done with. 

I wish you the best of luck in all of your future endeavors. 

Take care of yourself. 

P.S. - I realize my one voice means nothing when drowned in the screams of prepubescent boys in skinny jeans. I know Lil Wayne is still going to sell records, Kanye is still going to wear skirts (please Kim, slap the shit out of that man), and Nicki Minaj is still going to perpetrate like she's a black Katy Perry. I'm just glad I jumped off your Titanic while it was still only 3/4s submersed. Too bad you're too busy listening to your Beats headphones and spinning mixes on your laptop to see it sinking yourself.