The Geek Shall Inherit The Earth

Thursday, January 3, 2013

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I Don't Listen To Current Hip Hop...Why Are You So Shocked?



I saw an episode from the new webseries The Unwritten Rules the other day and there was a scene that was so profound and struck me in such a significant way, that I had to write about it.  In the scene, the protagonist named Racey is the only Black female that works in her office.  She is surrounded by misguided Caucasian co-workers that do not fully understand her culture nor do they take the time to do so.  In this particular scene, Racey reluctantly goes to lunch with her two co-workers Jessica and Lisa.  Jessica asks Racey about the name of the latest Nikki Minaj song.  Racey boldly replies, "I don't listen to current hip hop."

I rewound that scene and replayed it at least five times, because I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have been asked a question by a white or black co-worker about a new hip hop song and I have no clue who the artist is or what song they are talking about.  Just like Racey, I also do not listen to current hip hop, nor do I listen to much of any kind of pop music unless I'm forced to hear it in a public place (like my job) and it plays endlessly throughout the day.  Racey also mentions that she only listens to old school hip hop.  I'm the same way as well.  The only hip hop I do choose to listen to are artists like Biggie, Tribe Called Quest, and some occasional DMX.  Some may consider these artists under the "new school" category, but I still consider them "old school".

The Unwritten Rules in jest pokes fun at the topic of the differences between race and the ignorance of others based on historical stereotypes.  However, it's not only some White people who tend to act this way, many Black people respond this way too.  In fact, I get more Black people looking at me with an incredulous expression more so than Whites when I tell them my taste in music.  My iPod has a myriad of songs in it from Broadway Showtunes to Metallica to Lil Wayne to Michael Bolton.  If you were to add my iPod player in some sort of social experiment and try to guess my ethnic background based on the type of music I listen to, I can almost guarantee you would be perplexed as to what race I am.  Perhaps most would guess I would be a combination of several races based on the cultural makeup of music I listen to.

I'm not certain why people get so shocked just because I am not familiar with certain popular hip hop artists or know the latest song by Rhianna.  I like what I like not because I am Black nor because I am female.  I like what I like because its what tickles my fancy.  It's a song that heightens my senses, and most of all it's music that feels familiar to me.  I tend to listen to music from previous decades, and that is my preference.  In my opinion, most of the music of today has turned to mush and it feels like substance has depleted itself from lyrics in songs.  I missed songs that told a story.  Call me an old fashioned cynic, but I miss song lyrics that actually have a beginning, middle, and end.

I have a few guilty pleasure songs here and there that have no style nor substance (i.e. Lil Wayne) that I like to listen to simply because I like the beat to a song or the hook.  However, in the end I think its important that just because someone doesn't listen to pop music doesn't make them some weird recluse that is out of touch with reality.  I just simply don't listen to current hip hop music...so why are you so shocked?



13 comments:

  1. I can relate a million times over. I do listen to some rap because I can enjoy the occasion ratchet song, but one of my coworkers asked me about black music a few weeks and I almost lost it.

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  2. I think we're musical besties. I wish this blog had existed when I was in middle and high school.

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  3. I so agree. And I've always been this way. Country, rock, jazz, R&B, neo-soul and classical. It really doesn't matter just as long as I think it's good.

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  4. AMEN!!!! My mix of what music i love is so eclectic. I love pop. I love R&B. I love classical. I love old school soul. I love 70's rock. I love old school hip hop. I can't stand current rap. Certain "true" current hip hop artist will get a listen. So what's my race? I'm as black as my mother and father was but why should my musical choices judge that? Ridiculous. Even more so because I have had Black people question my love for Beiber (just his music) and my new obsession with The Lumineers (they have a female celloist, like me!).

    And by the way, thank you for my new internet obession!! I will be watching this!

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  5. woohoo! Why so surprised?! :)

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  6. Music taste has very little to do with cultural background or ethnicity. . If you were to look at my iPod without seeing my face, you'd assume I was Japanese or Korean, since all the music I listen to are in those languages. The irony is that the biggest group of consumers of hip hop and rap music are middle class white males.

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  7. I can completely relate! The majority of the music on my iPod is either reggaeton, techno or metal. My husband is white and he listens to hip hop but i generally don't. it always cracks me up when music comes up because people are always surprised by what i listen to.

    That just goes to show that assuming anything about a person based on their appearance, race or gender is just silly. You have no idea about a person until you get to know them!

    Http://www.evon-von.com

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  8. I'm not big on today's hip hop myself. I found it so funny when I was buying perfume (flower bomb) and the white sale lady asked me if I had heard about the perfume from the rap song. I had no clue what she was talking about.

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  9. I have to co-sign on this too. I just have a hard time listening to some of the foolishness they talk about in some of this new-school hip-hop. I also tend to shy away from the white folks who like to show you they're down by quoting rap lyrics. I had to give this dude an eyebrow raise the other day about that madness. Good. You know hip hop, dude. Let's move on.

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  10. Outside the show tunes, I, too sing America :)

    I think it's sad that so many people-regardless of race-continue to dehumanize us by denying us our very individuality. With that individuality comes different tastes and moods. All black people aren't the same, just as all white people aren't the same. I don't know who continues to spread this de facto criteria but I hope they suffer a lifetime of papercuts!

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  11. I love their faces when they realize you DON'T have a clue and they realize they may have done something offensive. It's priceless.

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  12. I just found your blog and thought I was the only one out there like this. I don't listen to many hip hop songs or music with english speaking. I have always like music the sound not the words which is why I listen to JPop/KPop etc.

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  13. yes! i cherish social meaning in songs, or songs that i feel i can relate to. but yes, sometimes i like to jam to party songs. but i i really dislike that music has become racially identified. it's so limited, so darn simple.

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