I want to make it very clear that I am a big fan of rap, hip hop, and r&b. Due to the fact that I am a fan some songs rub me entirely the wrong way. Every form of music has its awesome songs and its crappy ones and I’m sure that if we looked into country or adult contemporary we would find the same pattern.

This pattern has become overwhelming in the rap world as of late. I could find several exampled of songs that make me want to slam my fist through my car radio, but 6 foot 7 foot by Lil Wayne is possibly the worst rap song I have ever heard. You can read the lyrics here. I encourage you to try to listen to the entire song, and if you can’t manage it, read the lyrics and try to make sense of them.

I may not be gangsta enough to understand Lil Wayne’s latest work, but I’ve been okay up until this point. Jay-Z, Tupac, Eminem, Dr. Dre, all have songs that use typical street talk: money, guns, profanity, bitches and hoes, drugs, and yet all have some kind of message or story that even the whitest, suburban person can identify with. Some even catalogue historical events like the East coast West coast wars that resulted in the deaths of Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac and the rise and fall of Suge Knight. Even recent songs by Nicki Minaj, with their infantile lyrics and overuse of guest artists, actually sound like they are about something or can be considered decent club music.

Let’s return then to Lil Wayne. I suggest two main reasons why this is a horrible representation of a rap song.

1. While a great 808 track and a cool beat is important to any rap song, the “squash banana” over and over and over again in this song almost completely drowns out the lyrics AND serves the purpose of being so irritating that I would rather listen to A Prairie Home Companion on NPR than sit through the almost 4 minutes of repetitive insanity. This repetition also works against its usefulness as a dance or club song.

2. Come on Wayne, are you rapping about *insert the N word here*  that are against you? Bitches and hoes? Money? Drugs? Your bling? How cool and untouchable YOU are? Pick a theme man. Also, semi-complete sentences help and if you can’t find words that rhyme with each other it’s okay. It’s better to make sense than to rhyme, and rhyming isn’t necessarily a prerequisite to writing dope lyrics. I want to be on your side, I want to understand what it is that has made you passionate enough to rap about it. This is just posturing and free association on the part of a guy who thinks that he is the absolute shiz-nit. So yeah, the words have to make sense. Rap is supposed to send a message, and however simple or complex or self-serving, I have to be able to understand you.

Despite these and many other reasons, Lil Wayne’s song is played frequently on rap and hip hop stations around the country, his album enjoys the 5th spot on Billboard’s Top Rap Albums, and this particular song is in 4th place on Billboard’s Top Rap Songs list. While it should be mentioned that the number 2 song involves lyrics about women performing sex acts with no hands, it has a nice club beat and the entire song centers around that theme. While not amazingly mind blowing (or maybe it is, given the subject matter), it is a typical, decent rap song of today. I can only hope that the numbers on Billboard’s lists are inflated due to the amount of play radio is giving it and not its actual popularity with actual people. I shudder at the future of rap if Lil Wayne is a sign of what is to come.

Advertisements