Oh, Grow Up

This week, for some reason, has been “I hate rap week”. Maybe it’s overload, or the knowledge that with every week there’s going to be another record in which: 1) mediocre rappers will brag about how much money they make, how much dope they smoke, and how much pussy they get; 2) Lil Wayne will become even more irrelevant. Whatever the case, the feeling has been overwhelming. There are a lot of promising young rappers out there (Kendrick Lamar; Danny Brown; A$AP Rocky; even Lil B if you sift through enough of his endless flood of mixtapes), and there are plenty of older rappers who are still making high quality stuff, but most of what makes the Hot 100 is repetitive, unimaginative, and mediocre.

As a middle-aged white guy, even one who’s been listening to and enjoying rap for over thirty years, I need to be careful how I say things. As my distaste for the current trends crept over me, I started to worry that I was too old to get this stuff anymore, that I was too distant from the culture to understand what was going on, that maybe even a touch of xenophobia was starting to rear its ugly head and inject itself into my opinions. The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized that it couldn’t be true. Not because such a thing isn’t possible (we all have our prejudices, and they often change in ways we don’t anticipate), but because everything that I dislike about current rap is also what I dislike about current mainstream country. The endless parade of mediocre country boys that I mentioned in my last post is almost the exact equivalent to the mediocre rap talents who have flooded the charts over the last two years or so.

In other words, the trends that bother me so much aren’t based in race or location (urban vs. rural), or even in commercially reinforced stereotypes, they’re based on the culture of young men with too much money, too much time, too big an ego, too narrow a point of view, and not enough sense.

The only difference between the two, as far as I can see, is the language. So I’ve created a handy, somewhat tongue and cheek chart that you can use to translate between and compare the two genres. Let me know if I’ve missed anything, or if I’m suggesting equivalencies that don’t work. But I think this gets pretty close to the reality.

Rap Country
My hood My small town
My crib My farm
Street Muddy road
7-11 Walmart
Maybach Pickup truck (Dodge, Ford, or Chevy)
Lamborghini Harley-Davidson
Mercedes Benz John Deere
Blunt Smoke
40 Beer
Hennesey’s Jack Daniels
Champagne Bartles & James
Tequila Tequila
Glock/9MM/AK-47/machine gun/shotgun Hunting rifle/shotgun
Dealing Working
Fucking Making love/fishing
Shorty Darlin’
Stripper Honky tonk angel
Working the pole Shaking on the tailgate
My boo My beau
Mama Mother
Babymama Wife
Bitch The ex
Booty Badonkadonk
Pussy Never heard of it
Never heard of it Foreplay (hugging, kissing, running my hands through your hair, etc.)
Dick Fishing pole/pickup truck/big green tractor
Riding Cruising
Flashing lights Moon/Head lights
Gucci/Louis Vuitton/Versace Carhart/Dickies/Levis
Colors Flag (US or Confederate)
Black pride American/country pride
God/Allah/Jah/Jesus Jesus
Hashtags Bad puns

There’s always hope, though. Brad Paisley’s new single, “Southern Comfort Zone”, advises his country brethren to get out of their shell and see the rest of the world. It’s his best record since “American Saturday Night”. I just hope some of his peers pay attention. And if anybody knows of a rapper who does the same, send me a line.