Several weekends ago, a girlfriend of mine celebrated her 25th birthday by getting all us girls up on a road a weekend trip to New York City. There we glammed around like we had money in limousines, staying in four star hotels, sitting in VIP sections, and having dinner at $100 a plate steakhouses. It was a very fabulous weekend, and I’m glad my girlfriend celebrated her birthday in style.
I definitely loved sleeping my life away in a hotel where they leave little mints on your pillow top mattress. Of course, I liked being handed into a stretch limo so I could be carried to my night on the town. Naturally, my $75 lamb chop dinner topped off with profiteroles in chocolate sauce was top notch. Here’s what I could have done without: the night at the hip hop club.
Since it was her birthday, it’s her choice. I also did not want to complain because nobody likes to have crybabies tagging along when you’re trying to have fun. But look, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: hip hop is so dead to me. Why is that, you ask? I could easily turn this into a 50 page research paper, but who has the time for that, and you wouldn’t read it anyway. I’ll try to sum up the best I can.
I’m not a huge fan of hip hop/rap/R&B music for a lot of reasons. Hip hop and rap music can be acceptable for a night at the club, but it’s not really music that I would listen to hanging around the house, or cruising down the highway. Most of it makes absolutely no sense to me and I don’t have an emotional connection to it. Since I didn’t grow up in the hood looking for a purse to snatch, I have trouble understanding and feeling what the artist wants to me feel. I don’t know any round-the-way girls. I didn’t know people who did drugs until I was like 19 and then I was so surprised that I wouldn’t believe it, even though it had been going on under my nose since I was 12.
And even for the rappers who aren’t rapping thug life, I still can’t understand it. Bling, bling, shaking my ass for a dollar, getting trashed and all those themes are only amusing for about 15 minutes and afterwards, I’m left with a sordid taste in my mouth, similar to what you feel like after a round of cheap liquor.
I like a lot of old school R&B music and I get that from my parents. My parents were into Sade, Whitney (before her intervention), Aretha Franklin and stuff like that. My dad also liked funk, but I never got into that. He was open-minded and listened to anything on the radio that “had a decent beat.” My mom likes Prince, Gerald Levert, Luther and stuff like that.
Nowadays, the R&B singers don’t sing very well in my opinion. I am a singer myself, and no, obviously, I’m not good enough to make it anywhere, and maybe that’s how I can pick’em out. It takes one to know one. Keyshia Cole, Mario, and whoever else, they don’t really sing very well. They have very limited musical ability other than the fact that they can carry a note, however, their songs are trite and meaningless. There’s no emotional depth to their music. When I listen to their songs, I don’t get that feeling like, “Yeah, I know how you feel.” Even if it’s an emotion I’ve never felt before, sometimes an artist can really convey his feelings and somehow I can become connected.
There’s a song by Evanescence that’s really powerful to me. I’m not precisely sure what it is she’s singing about, but I think it might be some childhood abuse. I’ve never been abused, so obviously I don’t know how that feels but the lyrics were so deep that for a moment I felt like I was the one who had been abused and I felt the same rage she did. That’s important to me in music: lyrics and depth. Another good example of this is Lauryn Hill’s Zion (Joy of My World). I don’t have a kid, but the song is really beautiful and emotional. I actually gave some thought to her situation: have a kid and possibly mess up my career or have a kid and embrace the moment. In addition to the talent of the artist, you have to consider the total picture. You can’t just be another pretty face or a hot set of balls.
Singers like Beyonce and Rihanna, etc, what are they? Are they pop stars? Are they R&B stars? I don’t know where they fit, and it doesn’t even matter anyway because, although Beyonce can carry a note, she is dry and lifeless to me. There are about two or three songs from her where I feel like she was singing from the heart, but those songs were the “shake your ass” type of songs, and not really R&B. What am I supposed to get out of our music?
Going back to hip hop and rap, they’ll never redeem themselves in my eyes. Every year, the music just gets worse and worse. The whole scene is perpetuated by sex, drugs, crime and violence, and it was painfully evident that night in New York City.
We went to this club called Imperial, which advertised itself as a high-quality club. The club was not a total dive. It wasn’t some hole in the wall dump where I had to shank somebody just for image sake. At any rate, we spent quite a few hundreds on a VIP section, revealing ourselves to be ladies of some means. We were all dressed to the nines, and none of us were slutty in nature. There wasn’t ass and titties falling out all over the place.
When we arrived they checked our names; yes, we’re on the VIP list and then I was subjected to a very invasive pat-down security check. I feel like the bouncer should have cooked me breakfast after all that fluffing and rubbing and lifting. Oh, but ALL clubs are worried about safety. Yeah, I’m sure they are and there’s no denying it. But who primarily goes to hip hop clubs? Minorities. Who’s responsible for the abominably high crime rate in some urban areas? Minorities. It’s the sad truth. Yeah, white people shoot up schools and kill their wives in bizarre murder/suicide rituals, but black people bank each other in clubs, on the way to clubs, at the Denny’s after the clubs and on the corner while you’re waiting for a cab from the club.
It’s no wonder there’s such a propensity for violence when all night long you’ve been listening to Lil Jon’s Up in the Club and Crime Mob’s Knuck If You Buck, two songs which pretty much glorify beating the shit out of someone or shooting them in the face. So it is really no wonder the bouncer has to strip search us to make sure these girls won’t be tusslin’ (from Knuck If You Buck).
After being fondled by the very obviously gay female bouncer, we go into the club. At first it was quite nice and I was prepared to forget about that scene at the door. As the hours wore on, the club got more crowded. Then the sluts showed up. Why is it that no one is sexy anymore? Why are all the women whores? I’m a fan of mini skirts. I like high heels. I wear shirts that make my boobs look bigger. But all at once? I feel like a street walker. It can only be one, just so there’s something left to the imagination.
All the “getting drunk in the club” songs came on, because that’s apparently the new thing. Blame it on the alcohol. Whatever. Along with She Got a Donkey, it was like carte blanch to be the biggest whore possible. I do happen to like the song (when I’m in the club) and I will dance to it, but I won’t let you grind on me, and I won’t take my pants off so you can see my donkey either. Which is precisely what a large number of women proceeded to do. There was a cage, like a go-go dancer cage, and women were lined up to get up there and shake their ass over everybody. Most of the girls who went up there were barely dressed in the first place, but there were a few who obviously felt they were overdressed, so they left the cage, took some clothes off and went back up there without bras, panties, pants, whateves.
It was so scummy that I was almost embarrassed. I’ve been to strip clubs before; I know what to expect. If I go to a strip club I can’t be upset that I see little brown holes. But if I go to a regular club can I at least hope that everybody will have their clothes on? Or is that too much to ask?
Nowadays, when I go to hip hop clubs I don’t dance with guys anymore because it’s hard to set boundaries in a place like that. I just want to dance, have a good time, smile and flirt and don’t call me tomorrow. However, if you don’t let a guy stick his hand up your skirt, you might as well put a sign on your forehead that says, “STUCK UP HOE.” I don’t want to dry-fuck you on the dance floor. But that’s what they expect and if you try to tell them it’s too much, they get mad. Most just wander off and find some other less self-respecting harlot, but sometimes they have a few choice words to say. That night a guy told me I was a “stanky bitchy anyway” because I wouldn’t let him rub his sausage on my ass cheeks.
But once again, the hip hop scene is mired in this style because that’s what you see in the videos. If the rappers aren’t rapping about the Trap, they’re talking about licking coochie till their lips get gooey (from Get Loose). Anybody not in line with this method of thinking is an alien.
This is not precisely to say that white clubs don’t have their fair share of problems. You go into some of these rave joints and there’s candy kids rolling off X and underage chicks giving handjobs in the men’s bathroom. Every culture has its problem, but as I am a lover of so many different music styles, I’ve been in an embarrassingly large amount of clubs from one end of the country to the other. I will say that in every hip hop club I’ve been in, I’ve been groped, fondled and damn near molested by the bouncers and patrons. I’ve seen fights. I’ve even been thrown out of a club because I was mistaken for another girl. I was calmly sitting in a corner wishing for death because my friends were having a great time and I wasn’t when a bouncer came up to me and jacked me up out of my seat. He pretty much carried me to the door and asked me to leave because he “saw me get into it with another girl by the bathroom.” I didn’t even try to argue. I just stood outside for about an hour waiting on my friends.
I have been in white clubs that were raided by the police, but I’ve never been harassed or mistreated. When I go to goth clubs, my favourite types of clubs, none of them have ever had any fights, shoot outs or any other acts of violence. I’ve never even heard of any goth clubs being involved in stuff like that. And people think we’re the weirdoes. We don’t stab each other.
One time I commented in my blog my great distaste for hip hop clubs and someone snidely responded, “Why do you even go if you hate it so much?” Well, it’s not like any of you are interested in partying ‘round my way since you “didn’t grow up on that type of music.” I’m sorry that BET has you so brainwashed that you’re only capable of digesting the third grade rhymes of the current rap star and the pedantic rhythms of whatever R&B/pop star is out.
You are so easily distracted by fat cellulite asses, rhinestone bling and lice-infested dreads that you have no idea of the intelligence that is being sucked out of our race one heinous video at a time.
And before you start going on and on about that so-called intelligent underground rap, I’ll tell you that I don’t want a politico-history lesson in my music. I don’t want to hear about the Mother Land. Yes, there are so many issues to deal with it, but I don’t want to listen to rap music talking about the struggles of the hood and the tragic life of a young black man or a sister selling dope and overcrowded inner city schools.
I want to be entertained, amused, loved. I want to feel some emotion. I want to have a good time. I want to smile and laugh. When I’m in the club, I want to party, not get wasted and end up face down/ass up in somebody’s bathroom. I don’t want to army crawl out the club to avoid the spray of bullets. I don’t want to end up in a body bag because I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Why can’t our musicians understand that? It’s because you haven’t told them how you felt. They keep putting out this garbage because you keep buying it. Their songs are in heavy rotation because you request the shit on the radio. It won’t go away if you keep endorsing it, which is why I gave up on the industry a long time ago. None of them can get a dollar out of me, since I feel like I’m throwing good money after bad. I don’t buy any of their CDs (or anybody else’s for that matter) but I don’t endorse them as a whole. I don’t attend concerts, or watch their videos on TV, or buy any products they endorse. I’m only one person and I know I’m not making an impact, but it’s just my way of saying, “You’re dead to me.”