I cannot claim to be a rap music anthologist. But if the Sugarhill Gang’s album, Rapper’s Delight, is the widely recognized starting point of the genre, it came out when I was well into my 20s, around 1980. I enjoyed that initial record, but I never really got into rap music.
It took about a decade for rap music, the fun and entertaining version, to be infiltrated by gangsta rap. The once thought-provoking political leanings of the early version of gangster rap soon degenerated into the foulness of drill music, which has some of the sickest lyrics in town. No longer does it rap about the power structure but rather the emphasis now seems to be on Black people killing one another. It also has some of the least talented individuals making money off of it, with many staking their claim to fame by being involved in shootings against a rival.
Black people have been into music since the first enslaved African stepped onto the shores of this country. We came here with the musical ability to send messages over vast distances because of the rhythm of the drum.
Descendants of enslaved Africans created gospel music, we invented jazz music, we curated rhythm & blues. Music has truly been the guiding force in our experience, both in the motherland and here.
Recently I had the misfortune of watching a short musical clip by the latest fashion in rap music. It’s called ratchet music. The females rapping in it, are extremely sexual. A sample lyric, “my booty hole is brown, my p**** is pink, no one’s ever complained that my p**** stinks.” They also rap about what they like to do with the president’s private parts.
These are young Black girls professing this foulness in their rap song who look like they’re in their late teens to early 20s. And to make it even worse, they’re proud of it! They are the proof that for the love of money, they can get females to do and say anything. I can’t even write half the stuff they said. But even worse is having someone a generation younger than me not have a problem with it. And therein lies the problem: because Black folks never seem to have a problem with anything negative that gets created within our community. We are so tolerant and accepting of all this garbage.
I don’t know if this ratchet version will take hold. If it does, then we have truly lost our way.