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Risque Music Videos: Nonsensical or Subversive?

Here are 3  songs that are going to infect your brain: nonsensical songs with obscene lyrics and a hard rhythm. (By the way, both were features on the 2009 SXSW mp3 torrent download).

Here’s an amazing rap song and an amazing music video by hip hopper  Bomani Armah called Read a Book! If you check  his website, you see a creative articulate talent.

  • Bomani is frustrated and dumbfounded by the crippling limits of the English language. He wishes he was a visual artist, cause there is no way words like “love” should mean as many things as it does. It’s part of the reason he has no problem with slang, ebonics, bad diction, bad grammar or just straight making up words. Ya undadig?
  • Bomani thinks artistic competitions are over rated, and that battle rapping is played out. Real art cannot be a competition. Any art award boils down to a popularity contest, which has it’s own merit, but does not validate or denigrate art.
  • Bomani, in his heart, values fame at least 5 times more than money. In his head though, he’s calculating his sons’ college education. In his spirit he could care less about any of it..
  • Bomani will support violent, misogynistic, socially irrelevant and mind numbingly stupid expressions if he likes it artistically. You can try to have a logical debate about it, but he’s an artist and will answer all your inquiries as to why he likes said art until he is left with the final answer of “Because”.
  • Bomani is not one of those artists who create for his self. There is a time for meaningless abstractness that is meant to confuse, intrigue, and make highbrow people feel good about understanding. (It’s called therapy).
  • He does not need or encourage the use of intoxicants to inspire art (but if you got it, pass it)

Here’s song #2:  European electronic dj/rapper. LeLe’s Breakfast.  It occurs to me that whereas the lyrics of Bomani Armah are playful but message-oriented,  the lyrics of   lot of European electro-hiphop means absolutely nothing!  (Perhaps because the target audience is people whose first language is not English?) Compare to another European music group E-rotic  which uses very suggestive sexual lyrics, but nobody would accuse it of corrupting our youth. Music can get away with a lot on the dance floor.  Musicians are always attuned to the sound of words, but I think European singers  depend on it more to attract listeners. Listen to 2 more songs: Tings That’s Not My Name and Lele’s Skinny Jeans . Obviously I could pick out examples to prove or disprove this statement. But it seems to me that if you live in (basically) a monolingual culture, musicians try really hard to use the songs to express ideas and feelings in a verbal way. Busta Rhymes Gimme Some More, like other rap songs is so densely packed that one is aware of how much is flying past. Nowadays commercial artists probably write songs with an eye towards making a music video (and so pack a lot more imagery and melodrama than would normally be there).  Music videos  help in the decoding process, but I seriously doubt a European rap artist could spend so much time making his lyrics so intricate and slangy and topical. 

Related: psychological research about earworms, (songs that get in your mind and can’t get out). Also, suggestions about what and what not to do in the event you are infected.

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