When it comes to music, we all have our favourite genre that we love and swear by. Then there’s genres we may like a little, are not fond of, or even hate to the very core of our bodies.
Hate is a strong word but perhaps we come to loathe a certain music genre for many reasons. That is how I have always felt about rap and hip-hop.
There was the occasional song that I thought wasn’t too bad, especially if it had pop elements or it covered a subject other than sex, drugs, or just constant profanity.
I’ll admit it did please me to see more women in the genre like Nicki Minaj and Doja Cat and if I liked a few songs, but the only songs I really liked were the ones that were softer in comparison: slower, more regular singing, just catchier melodies like Starships, Your Love, and Right Thru Me from the former. I even liked a little R&B and even Eminem because his songs were about topics of life challenges.
What bugged me about the genre to a point of hatred were several things. Most of the songs I did hear were what I called the “bad ones” about sex and swearing all the time. I don’t know, it was just something I generally found annoying. In high school it seemed like everyone was listening to the genre and it started with that Crank That song and only got worse from there.
The tipping point came when the song I Can Transform Ya was released. I was outraged at how it was done and saw it as an insult to Transformers since that was my passion/hyper-fixation in sophomore year and beyond. Other than that it felt like rap was all people listened to and they played it way too loud or at inappropriate times like when we had a lockdown drill in the middle of math class. So it was like hearing rap turned into a pet peeve, a despised sound to me that I was unwilling to admit that there were some occasional songs I could tolerate.
My dad thought it was silly how in adulthood I still loathed the genre as it had been so long since I had been a teenager. Into that adulthood, I still couldn’t stand rap, especially if people drove by with their windows down blasting it at high volume. I told myself that I would do the same to them once I had my own car, to block out their tunes with mine and, perhaps, teach them a lesson. I was hellbent on getting revenge on the genre for damaging my eardrums for 5+ years.
Or did I just simply have the desire like everyone else to play my own music in a car that was mine? As I got older and immersed myself in my music, I found my exposures to rap were only for a few seconds and yet I treated them like they were painful when they weren’t.
I would reflect on my irritation sometimes and ask myself why do I hate the genre so much? Is it because I got tired of it in high school for its popularity? Probably. I also try to understand why people like it so much. It could be that not all of it is about women, sex, drugs or just swearing. Once again that brings me back to how Eminem raps about more complex topics.
My brother also helped me understand a little more. One time he was driving me to work and his playlist had a rapper called Logic on. The song was called Nikki. My first instinct was to believe it was about a girl with that name until my brother told me that Nikki was a metaphor for the artist’s nicotine addiction he was trying to overcome at that time.
I then learned that there is rap that is good and bad. I think I was exposed to the “bad” stuff that people seem to listen to the most with those gangster lyrics about those topics that made me hate it since I never liked the whole gangster thing. I may not be describing this correctly but it’s the only way I can contemplate it in writing.
Meanwhile what could be considered better rap is the part of the genre that is different and the lyrics aren’t about typical things that would sell the most.
Why is it that society seems to enjoy cranking up the rap about sex, drugs, etc. Because as usual, they’re horny as hell. When people listen to music they don’t seem to care about storytelling within a song like I do. Although I do love a simple catchy love song like one by Motörhead that I’ve been listening to a lot, I also like songs that are like a book without pages.
So that’s one thing but what about the sound of rap? That’s the part I’ve never understood all the fast-talking and “yo’s” just isn’t my thing. Maybe there is no reason, it just isn’t my cup of tea and the frequent consistency of it when I was in school or out and about pushed me to dislike it more. I’ve always preferred lyrics I can sing clearly and that’s been a stone-cold fact for me for years.
Maybe I also don’t like the melodies or the themes of the songs. I’ve always been more of a pop and rock person and sometime I feel like I was born at the wrong time and I should have been born when the latter genre was the most popular, like what the hell happened? Someone get me a time machine!