He’s got seven songs in the top 10 and every song on his new album is in the top 100. I’ve got to listen to this, don’t I?
I’m a 53-year-old white guy who has spent his life pointing out that there are two genres of music that are worse than death itself. Country music and rap. My psycho girlfriend from hell liked country music. That should have been a clue. I should have run. I didn’t. And I spent countless hours having to listen to George Strait and Randy Travis and only God knows who else for the few years I was with her.
I’ve never listened to a rap album. Ever. My kids like rap and occasionally some of what they listen to creeps into a play list and into the air that I occupy. So, I hear it and then tell them to forward to a new song as soon as the N word makes an appearance. Admittedly then, my exposure to rap is limited. Bits and pieces of Eminem songs and Usher and Fort Minor (who actually has a couple of songs I like) and only God knows who else. But I’ve never listened to a rap album.
I read this morning about the success of Drake’s new album and decided to crack the door open. I pulled the album up on Spotify on my phone and listened during my drive to work. Then finished the album on my drive home.
I’m still not a fan. The first and fundamental problem is that I am of a generation that views the N word as one of the most offensive words in America. It is like 1,000 fingernails scraping slowly down a chalkboard. It is a word that flays me raw when I hear it.
On the one hand, I have some appreciation for the idea that younger generations have taken this toxic word and negated its impacts. They have taken the power of the word away.
On the other hand, that will never work for me. I simply cannot hear the word without imagining the pain it has caused to so many during the history of our nation.
Drake sure does love the word. Only a few songs on the album don’t have the N word liberally sprinkled through the track. Littered throughout the album are also f-bombs of various forms. And bitches and shit and … you know, I’m not a prude when it comes to language — I through an f-bomb around now and then, but all of these words, to me, are used in instances of hate and intolerance and anger. So, listening to Drake’s album is like listening to music drenched in those feelings and emotions.
Which may be the point of rap. Or maybe there’s another point that I’m missing entirely.
But those negative emotions are not why I listen to music. There is enough hatred and intolerance and anger in this world, I don’t need to wallow it in the music I listen to.
Drake’s not for me.