As a fairly uncool, suburban white boy with only the required minimum of minority friends, I am at times awe-struck and at times terrified of the shameless cultural whore that is hip-hop “music.” The ballers, the shot-callers, the grills, the Benjamins, the dudes named “Lil,” perplex me and unsettle me more than a little. But of all the things I don’t understand about rap music, of which there are quite a few, the ubiquitous presence of “haters” still befuddles above all the rest.
Rappers spend entire albums doing nothing but “putting down the haters,” “flexing nuts,” and “settling their beefs.” For me, listening to a rap album is like coming into a season of Real World half way though. Everyone’s fighting, most of them are drunk, and I have no idea what anyone is saying. I didn’t realize that rappers had such a tough life, but apparently everyone in the world wants them to fail and thus every record they produce becomes a proclamation of self-worth to the world.
I imagine it must be difficult having strangers constantly tell you that your shoes are of a poor quality, or that your mother is more promiscuous than you would feel comfortable with, but I just have no interest in listening to a decades-long game of “mine’s bigger” on my morning commute, or at any time in my day.
I’m all for using your craft as a club with which you bludgeon your rivals around their head and shoulders. I’d just appreciate a little subtlety. I understand that Lil Wayne would like to take a dump in Soulja Boy’s Bentley, and I respect that, but he doesn’t have to come right out and say it. He could work it into a derogatory ballad about Soulja’s sexual orientation or country of origin. You know, something we can all get behind.
In the end, none of this really matters because I can’t understand what they’re saying. However, I think I’d definitely try harder to decipher the jibberish if I thought something was actually being said. East v. West; Eminem v. his wife; Dre v. The World; R. Kelly v. Child Sex Laws. I’m sure they all have valid, well-reasoned arguments and are passionate to show us the folly of their opponents. I just don’t give a damn, and as a result I have a very difficult time enjoying MTV award shows.