I’ve been fighting several internal battles since becoming an adult. For example, how long is it socially suitable to remain on my parents’ cell phone plan? Am I really expected to understand abstract concepts like insurance policies? Is it alarming to anyone that I don’t own an iron or ironing board? Do I really have to put on pants? As in like, ALL the time?
But recently, the biggest question mark I’ve had looming over my head is this: at what point is it no longer acceptable for me to listen to hardcore dirty rap music?
First let me supply some brief background info. My most favorite genre of music in the whole entire world is what I like to call dirty rap. Like, true gangster rap. The harder, the better. I guess you could say I like to go HAM on a daily basis when it comes to my musical preferences.
It’s been like this my entire life, and I can’t explain it. My parents definitely didn’t get me hooked on it; in fact my dad, Tom, almost had a brain aneurism once when I was 16 and he randomly took my car to go get washed and was immediately accosted by my beloved DMX CD blasting over the speakers. He promptly pulled over to the side of the road, ejected the CD, got out of the car and stomped on it until it shattered to pieces. He then picked up all the pieces, brought them home and proceeded to lay them out on the counter for me to mourn and didn’t even flinch when I started crying big, hot tears of grief. I spent the next year questioning if Tom had a soul.
My dad also cannot watch any sort of music awards show because inevitably a rapper will come on to perform and Tom will catch a glimpse of said rapper’s pants sagging down almost to his knees while grabbing at his crotchal area, and then things start to go downhill FAST for everyone involved. Tempers flare, curse words are uttered, arms are flailing up in the air; it’s an unpleasant scene, y’all. So, yeah, Tom is definitely not to blame for my thug life fixation; it just happened organically I suppose.
This mental dilemma was only exacerbated about six months ago when I found out I was pregnant. There are many things to think about when visualizing a baby being incorporated into your daily life, one of the most important things being having to consider how drastically different your car rides are going to be. What am I supposed to listen to once a baby is riding around in the car with me? There was absolutely no way I could cruise around town bumpin’ my usual Gucci Mane and Lil Wayne (uncensored, of course) and subjecting my sweet, innocent offspring to lyrics like “Now take your f*cking clothes off, Let me see that donkey kong, now swing your ass back and forth, back and forth on my monkey bar” or “I’m lettin’ all dese hos ride my d*ck, CARPOOL” (it really IS like a carpool though if you think about it, you guys. BRILLIANT.) Even if I stick to the edited version, I still feel like I’m going to raise a few eyebrows in the daycare carpool line.
Currently, my favorite song is “F*ck Up Some Commas” by Future. Basically, it’s a little ditty about rearranging the commas in a lower monetary unit until it becomes a higher, more satisfactory number, thus making you disgustingly rich. For example, Future starts with a measly $40,000 (aka mere pocket change to him) and proceeds to move the comma to the right, one by one, until it becomes $100,000, then $500,000 and so on, until it eventually reaches $1 million. He is then satisfied because the number now resembles a figure he is more familiar and comfortable with, a feat he celebrates by rubbing said money all over his body, the only logical thing to do at this point (hence “having a money shower.”) If you need to see the lyrics to better understand, feast your eyes:
Let’s f*ck up some commas, let’s f*ck up some commas yeah
Forty thou to a hunned thou,
A hunned thou ‘nother hunned thou,
Three hunned thou, five hunned thou
A million, let’s have a money shower!
Yes, Dads in khakis who work in insurance out there reading this, that was in English.
Another thing that should be noted is that Future gives zero effs. Not even one. He explains that with the deep, cerebral lyric, “Give no f*cks yeah, we don’t give no f*cks yeah.” Any man who knows what he wants (or doesn’t want) and stands firmly by his beliefs is a man I want in my life.
A few weeks ago, the pregnancy app on my iPhone popped up with a perky little update flashing across my screen: “Good news! Your unborn baby’s ears are now structurally complete! She can hear EVERYTHING YOU DO! Isn’t that exciting?”
Exciting? More like absolutely horrifying. I was reading this neat little update just as 2Chainz was screaming obscenities at me through my vibrating car speakers.
A few months ago when Fetty Wap came out with his hit “Trap Queen” I naively thought there was hope. His lyric “I be in the kitchen cooking pies with my baby” made me think rappers were softening a little, doing regular person things like creating delicious baked goods with their wives. My husband then crushed all my dreams by explaining to me that “cooking pies” is actually a common term used by drug dealers to describe the production of cocaine.
Which brings us to the so-called Mozart-effect, a term coined by French researcher Dr. Alfred Tomatis in the early 1990s that claims listening to classical music will enhance your baby’s brain growth and neural connections. Um, have there been any studies about what listening to Rich Homie Quan will do to my baby’s brain? My husband, for one, maintains that it will make her “cultured and well rounded.” He’s always good for a delusional word of affirmation. So we’ll just go with that for now I guess.
All of this to say: as a soon-to-be mom, should I feel self-conscious about my musical inclinations? Because I kind of do; I definitely don’t feel cool listening to gangster rap at this point in my life, when I can’t even see my own feet over my ever-expanding stomach and I’m in the bed by 8pm every single night.
If you pulled up next to a pregnant woman at a stoplight and heard Bobby Shmurda blaring from her car, would you think twice about it? (It’s important to note that Bobby Shmurda, who’s name “coincidentally” rhymes with “murdah,” is a rapper who is under investigation for charges including but not limited to gun possession, criminal assault, drug dealing and attempted murder. He’s also responsible for giving us all the Shmoney Dance craze though, so personally I feel like he should get a pass. A lyric from his recent hit song says “I’ve been selling crack since like the 5th grade.” So, if you do the math, he really hasn’t been selling it for very long, considering he is only 20 years old.)
Ok, let’s just assume my child will turn out ok if I listen to rap while pregnant and not come out of the womb demanding some sizzurp and a joint. BUT what about once I actually have a newborn infant in my car? WHAT THEN? Am I expected to listen to mind-numbing Teletubby tracks, even though she won’t be able to understand or comprehend the words anyway? Basically what I’m trying to say is IS THIS THE END OF AN ERA FOR A LITTLE WHITE GIRL WHO HAS A LOVE AFFAIR WITH HARDCORE DIRTY RAP?
Or am I totally overthinking all of this?
I need answers, and I need them now. In the meantime, I’ll be wrapping myself in the warm comfort of the new Lil Boosie album and spending my free time diligently petitioning to #FreeRickyRozay. (By the way, not buying these Rick Ross allegations, you guys. How could this big, soft, teddy bear of a man ever hurt anyone?)