Friday, February 10, 2012

Superficiality in Hip Hop

Now classmates, here I find myself with a major question; one that plays in the back of my mind quite frequently, especially now as I let lyrics wash over me as I submerge myself deeper into this class. My question is: why am I consistently and constantly attracted to some of the most superficial lyrics ever written?
In particular, I am talking about a selective group of songs to which I feel a very strong connection to my own adolescence. I’m sure most of you (with any taste) will know in which type of genre these group of songs belong, but I can’t seem to put my finger on a title for the group yet. Some of the lyrics include:
            Hey Ma, Cam’ron feat. Juelz Santana
            Mesmerize, Ja Rule feat. Ashanti
            Body on Me, Nelly feat. Ashanti
            Dilemma, Nelly feat. Kelly Rowland
… Just to name a few.
For me, these songs reverberate a sense of childhood and remind me of the late 90’s early 2000’s.  Now as you can see there is some overlap of artists on this list, maybe my attraction to these lyrics has to do with how I find familiarity in certain artists from my adolescence. Maybe it’s the catchy piano-based beats or the perfect balance of romance and sexual aggression between two musically talented individuals. Or maybe, just maybe, I enjoy not being challenged in any way by the lyrics and that superficiality plays an important role in hip hop. With lines like “So ma whats up? Lets slide, alright, alright, we gon’ get it on tonight” (from Hey Ma) and “tryna get in them drawers, and bangin’ out til the mornin’” (from Body on me), I just can’t seem to make a judgment call on shallow lyrics. I think I would argue that the "lightness" of these songs have some importance. 
Maybe I am reading too much into this, but I am curious to know if anyone else feels the same way I do about this genre of lyric (or maybe I alone just find them awesome). 


  1. Well I feel like these songs are so catchy and when we were younger I feel like listening to the radio was a big thing. Every time I went in the car I made sure the radio was on. I was especially proud of my little mini radio I had. I definitely remember Body on Me by Nelly feat. Ashanti playing quite frequently on my little radio. I remember dancing and sing along. Maybe it's just that the songs were embedded in our childhoods and listening to them or other songs that seem or sound similar to them brings back a feeling of nostalgia.

  2. I've also considered this idea in response to really catchy songs. Top 40 artists are often attempting to appeal to a certain age group (teenage to twenties) and the themes they explore need to be expressed in easy to comprehend lyrics. Sadly, I feel as though this truly undermines music's significance as an art form and leaves me disappointed in the state of the music industry. I'd love to see songs with meaning and value on the radio but it's difficult to reshape an entire facet of music. Hopefully we can all make strides towards improving the standards of music though! Great post nonetheless.


  3. I think it's customary for pre-teens and young teenagers to follow catchy music thats found on the radio. This isn't a bad thing. In my opinion, I think we do this, because it's the music most of our friends like. The early 2000's and late 1990's still stick in my head too.

    Yeah - Usher
    Ride With Me - Nelly

    are two songs that still bring back that feeling of nostalgia for me. Those were the days when we all listened to music purely for the love of the way it sounded. In a way, that's almost a better way to judge music.


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