Wednesday, March 7, 2012

N*gg@, Sil vous plait.


My daughter and I have a rule, when she is driving -- that is when she is behind the wheel and I'm behind in my Valium refills -- the radio is turned off. I want her focused on the road, the traffic and most importantly, the cars ominously parked less than a yard away to my immediate right.

In return, when I'm driving I let her pick the radio station of her choice. Here's a hint, they all suck.

It seems all her favorite radio stations share the same playlist of 20 crappy songs I wish I had never heard. Somewhere along the way I have failed as a parent. My buddy Paul has a daughter one year younger than my oldest. Not only does she play guitar, she has an appreciation for real music including the Kinks, the Stones, Lou Reed, Led Zeppelin, etc.

My daughter's taste -- that is both my daughters -- lean towards Jay Z and Kanye, regarded as poet laureates in the hip hop world. And I can see why. Let's examine some of the writing prowess demonstrated in their recent hit, N*gg@s in Paris.

(I was going to write out the word without the dingbats but I was afraid it was going to be offensive. Frankly I don't see how changing an 'i' to a '*' or an 'a' to a '@' puts me in the safe zone. In the end, it's the same word, whether I spoke it, wrote it, or hid it like some scared kindergardner.)

Even if I did spell out the word it couldn't be more offensive than this:

These other n*gg@s is lyin,
actin' like the summer ain't mine
I got that bitch in my home,
You know how many bitches I own.

Misogyny is hardly new. Lots of writers speak poorly of women. Bukowski took misogyny to new heights. And he too wrote about alcohol. Though I think Hank would show a great disdain for Cristal champagne, this duo's drink of choice. Of course Bukowski never mastered the tricky mix of misogyny and McDonald's fast food:

And show me why you deserve to have it all
That shit cray,
ain't it Jay?
What she order, fish filet?


And it takes a special kind of artiste, with mad rhyming skills, to artfully craft a song that delicately balances misogyny, McDonald's fast food and bad iconic 90's TV:

Prince Williams ain't do it right if you ask me,
Cause I was him, I would have married Mary Kate
and Ashley

That's some ballin'.

The National Academy of Music is working hard to establish a Songwriter's Hall of Fame. As of this time, the museum only exists online but has already inducted Lennon and McCartney, Simon and Garfunkel, Bacharach and King.

I think you'll agree, and I don't think it's premature in any sense of the word, that the Academy set aside some shelf space for the hugely talented team that brought us N*gg@s in Paris.

2 comments:

Jeff said...

There's a joke here about the Beatles White Album, but I'm not taking the bait.

geo said...

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