Sexist and vulgar: Why is this the music of today?

Published: September 6, 2012
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"I get it cracking like a bad back, b**** talking she the queen, when she looking like a lab rat." these are the opening lyrics of Minaj's song 'Stupid Hoe'. PHOTO: SCREENSHOT

I’ve always loved music. The sweet tunes of Sufi artists; the purity of Africa’s tribal beats; the melodies of Arabia, and the especially popular Western sounds of the modern world have all impacted me in more ways than I can probably comprehend.

The poetic lyrics have left me, on more than one occasion, in complete awe. However, the more I listen to today’s mainstream music – the likes of Kesha, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga – the more disappointed I am left. The lyricists seem hollow, egotistic and vain.

I get it cracking like a bad back, b**** talking she the queen, when she looking like a lab rat.

These are the opening words of Nicki Minaj’s song “Stupid Hoe“.

As the name suggests, Minaj, who is  regarded as the most successful female rap artiste of all time, goes on to sing the chorus of the song which is nothing but a repetition of the line “You a stupid hoe, you a, you a stupid hoe”. To be exact she repeats this line eight times in every hook. Not only is the song visibly vulgar but the video is also glamorously pornographic in nature.

Now I am not naive to the disturbing fact that nearly anything in our secular world can be justified in the name of  freedom of expression, and so, my argument will not be merely a moral one. I know that all music is art, that every musician has the right to write and compose whatever he or she wishes. Having said as much, I also believe that the art of a particular time is the best reflection of the people of those times; the best reflection of the collective inner state of humanity at that time. So the mere existence of this song is not what bothers me but the fact that out of an ocean of rich and vibrant songs this is the one we listen to and choose to buy. These are the artistes that become global icons and influence our youth.

Another obvious example would be the pop phenomenon Rihanna, who, despite creating quite the controversy with “S&M” and “Rude Boy”, is looking to take things to the next level with her album Talk that Talk. This album, according to VH1, is ‘the dirtiest album since Madonna’s album Erotica’. One particular song, “Cockiness”, really pushes the boundaries with it’s explicit lyrics.

It’s quite pathetic to see these creatively challenged writers use foul language and raunchy lyrics to give their weak songs the much needed punch. It’s just a cheap tactic to grab attention; say something no one dares to say out loud and make people gasp. Parents will hate it, so teenagers will love it – what a dirty trick. However, what is even more disappointing is that no one seems to care, or more precisely the people who need to, don’t.

And if it’s not the lyrics then it’s the video that succeeds in disgusting me. If it’s not Lady Gaga dancing in her underwear then its 50 Cent using women as commodities. What amazes me again is the normalisation of all this filth ─ the normalisation of an eighth grader singing “sticks and stones may break my bones but whips and chains excite me”.

I would be worried sick if I had the slightest clue that my children were listening to these people. To witness their innocence being violated and their hearts being bruised with all of the junk permeating their ears and eyes would enrage me enough to do something about it at least in my own home. But to create change, we need to accept that something is off, something is not right with how things are going on in this planet.

I want my kids to grow up in a world that facilitates their creativeness, their love for music and their innate humanity ─ not a world that completely destroys it and reduces them to nothing but blind fans.

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Maidah Khalid

Maidah Khalid

An 18 year old writer, public speaker and all round free spirit.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.