At What Point do the Lyrics Matter?
This isn’t a rant or outright hatin of rap music I don’t like, this is a sincere question. Yesterday, I was blessed to be in Washington DC for the Powershift conference. I was invited by an incredible organizer for Checktheweather.tv named Kari Fulton to perform at a afterparty sponsored by Checktheweather.tv and Green for All called “All Green Everything“.
I performed alongside some incredible artists all of which came with conscious messages. Then the music started. Now, I completely understand that most if not all of the popular music today is not conscious, so I wasn’t expecting the DJ to play Immortal Technique, Wise Intelligent, and Talib Kweli all night. I was not at all surprised when Waka Flaka Flame’s “Hard in the Paint” came on and people got hype, it’s a popular song with a hot beat. I truly felt it was a great experience for me to see what type of music moves the crowd so I could continue experimenting with my own art.
However when “Make it Rain” by Travis Porter came on I felt like..ok…we’ve gone too far. But have we?
***Warning this is NOT the clean version, this has EXPLICIT lyrics, but I wanted you to hear it like I heard it. But if you’re easily offended by bad language and an even worse subject matter DO NOT press play***
I’m asking honestly because I saw very intelligent black men and woman singing every word. In fact when the song came on people actually started to scream…in joy. I wondered if there is hypocrisy in a woman dancing and singing that song and then asking to be respected or not called out of her name, or is it hypocritical for a man to sing that song and then want another man to respect his sister/mother/wife/girlfriend. Is this just a song and I’m trippin or hatin? At what point to we say I want to dance and enjoy music but not be degraded as a people? Is Travis Porter at fault or the record label or us for making it a hit song?
And so not to be a hypocrite myself, I performed a song that I refer to as my theme song called “The Matador” and I was approached by a good brother and friend who said he thought some of the lyrics were homophobic. I explained to him that I wasn’t criticizing a person who was openly gay, I was talking about rappers who try and jump on the latest fad to stay relevant and sell records. Essentially a fraud who doesn’t want to be themselves. He excepted my explanation, but what do you think? Would you consider my song homophobic?