What do you value for yourself? Is it the new sneakers that you just bought, or is it your ability to string your thoughts together in a linear, cohesive bond that allows you to communicate yourself and generate income for yourself and earn the purchasing power to acquire the aforementioned product? That question right there speaks volumes as to who you are as a person. Do you revel in the destination or the journey you took to that place? The same questions can be applied to the art that you value. Are you the type of cat that appreciates the details contained inside of a Rembrandt or do you fucks with the white canvas with the red dot painted in the center? If I’m a music industry executive and I see that you will accept the blank canvas with the red dot because I’ve hyped it up and thrown a party for it that is what I will give you from now until you wise the fuck up.
The Hip-Hop and rap music that you have been consuming is that blank shit, and it’s making you a fucking blank too. I consider the people that are smart enough to have an internet connection part of America’s (and the world for that matter) minority. You are smart enough to get some of your information from another source other than television. This puts you head and shoulders above the masses as far common intelligence. You have the ability to filter and secure information that isn’t available at this time to other folks. This makes you more informed and ultimately smarter since you will be able to make decisions for yourself based on having internalized more facts. Can we all agree on this much? Can we all agree that the more info you have access to the smarter it makes you?
So why do you get upset when I tell you that the rap music that you fucks with is making you dumber? Let me give you several examples how this is so. Rap music is based on a rapper manipulating language to create verses and stanzas that relate that rappers stream of thoughts. By no stretch of the mind is this easy and it is certainly not easy when that rapper employs complex polysyllabic terms within the rap verses. Can we all agree that the insertion of a term like ‘hypochondriac’ is more complex than the word ‘cat’ or ‘hat’? So any rapper that can create verses with these complex words stands to be more intelligent than a rapper who can not by virtue of the difficulty the word brings to the song measure. Are you still with me?
I will argue that the popular construction of rap music is designed to make you the listener dumber because the structure and presentation of complex terms is being removed from the songs. In 2006, the song ‘Chain Hang Low’ from the rapper Jibbs was the number one downloaded ringtone of all time. T.I., was the undisputed king of rap record sales in 2006 and his song ‘What You Know’ was a multi-platinum hit. Lastly, in 2006, the rap group Wu-Tang Clan was honored by VH-1 for their contributions to Hip-Hop culture. They performed a song called ‘Triumph’. Let’s take a minute and analyze these three songs and then maybe you can tell me if I am lying to you.
Jibbs – ‘Chain Hang Low’
Follow the link above to a webpage that lists the lyrics for the song. Let’s also not forget that the melody for this song is an extrapolation of the ‘Zip Coon’ minstrel anthem originally performed during the 1800’s by whites in blackface. There are 740 words contained within the Jibbs song and there are only 10 polysyllabic words of which ‘platinum’ is repeated 5 times. So you essentially have 6 polysyllabic words for a 700 word song. That amounts to under 1 percent of the song. There can be little question that ‘Chain Hang Low’ was fashioned for retards and fans of rap music that attend special education developmentally challenged classes. God bless their dumb hearts. Let’s look at 2006’s most popular rap single…
T.I. – ‘What You Know’
The title of this song gives me some hope since T.I. is positing the question to the listener asking if the listener is informed. However, this could be a pre-emptive strike type of assertion in that T.I. asks what knowledge you have before you have the chance to ask him the same. For those of you scoring at home, ‘What You Know’ has a word count of a little over 750 with only 7 different polysyllabic terms contained in that total. I suppose I should give T.I. props for not using the word ‘platinum’ once. Anyhoo, this song does even worse than Jibbs’ at conveying complex terms to the listener. I just got dumber reading the lyrics. I could feel my brain being sucked out through my eyeholes.
2006 was also the year that one of Hip-Hop’s landmark groups was honored by mainstream media. The Wu-Tang Clan is the embodiment of Black unity in the ‘hood. All of the members bring a different and effective talent to the table for the group. Their strongest talent was their ability to harness the possibilities of the universe in rhyme form. They created lyrics that were as illustrative as graphic novels. The Wu-Tang are Black superheroes. Tragic and flawed all the same, but heroic in the sense that they recognize GOD is the creator and they are the messengers. Peep the lyrics for the ‘Triumph’ and do the math.
Wu-Tang Clan – ‘Triumph’
There are over a thousand words that build this epic track and there are 87 polysyllabic words contained within that number. In O.D.B.’s intro he almost surpasses the number of complex words used by Jibbs and T.I. for their total songs. I have to transcribe the following stanza that Inspectah Deck uses to open the rhyme verses with. These verses are as picturesque and detailed as any painting that I have ever seen. They are both fantasy and reality using literal literature in rhyme form…
I bomb atomically, Socrates’ philosophies
and hypotheses can’t define how I be droppin these
mockeries, lyrically perform armed robbery
Flee with the lottery, possibly they spotted me
Battle-scarred shogun, explosion when my pen hits
tremendous, ultra-violet shine blind forensics
I inspect you, through the future see millenium
Killa B’s sold fifty gold sixty platinum
Shacklin the masses with drastic rap tactics
Graphic displays melt the steel like blacksmiths
Black Wu jackets queen B’s ease the guns in
Rumble with patrolmen, tear gas laced the function
Heads by the score take flight incite a war
Chicks hit the floor, diehard fans demand more
Behold the bold soldier, control the globe slowly
Proceeds to blow swingin swords like Shinobi
Stomp grounds and pound footprints in solid rock
Wu got it locked, performin live on your hottest block
This is why they say Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nothin’ to fuck with.