Friday, March 15, 2013

BEET Life (vol. 2): 5 Pieces of Bad Advice from Rappers

I can genuinely say since turning 10 years old, hip hop has taught me about life more than anything else. (Yes, more than my parents, teachers, the Bible, Dr. Suess, etc.) Advice like “back that azz up” and “Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nothing to fuck wit” and who could forget “throw some D’s on that bitch” has shaped me into the man I am today. Unfortunately, not everything said in a rap song is sound advice. That’s why I’ve compiled a list to remind folks that yes many of these rappers are wholesome, sound advice givers, there are a few in the bunch that are just up to no good.

#1. Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems – Notorious B.I.G.


Now Christopher Wallace, better known as Biggie Smalls or Notorious B.I.G. has always been one of the better advice givers in hip hop. To this day, I consult “Ten Crack Commandments” whenever I’m planning a business venture (“never get high on your own supply” and “keep yo’ family and business completely separated” are two bits of guidance that can translate into nearly any situation), but with his 1997 hit “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems” he really drops the proverbial ball.

As someone who has gone his whole life with a lack of funds, I can attest more revenue coming into my life would not only not add to my list of problems, but it would in fact erase several problems. As a recent college graduate, I’ve found myself in about $50,000 in debt. If I had mo’ money, I would be able to pay off these loans, move out of my parents house, pop bottlez and buy more rap records. It’s quite clear that I would have less problems if I had mo’ money. Sorry BIG, you can’t win them all.

#2. Bitches Ain’t Shit – Dr. Dre and Snoop Doggy Dogg


On the surface, bitches ain’t shit is a true statement. Women (or female dogs even) are not bowel movements. But the true sentiment of this rap lyric is buried under some deep metaphorical, brilliant usage of the English language. To my understanding, which could be off base considering I’ve only earned my Bachelor’s whereas Dr. Dre has heard his PHD (not an MD, like many have claimed), that this song is saying that one should not be concerned with women.

I’ll get back to the basic thesis of this song in a moment, but first I want to address the language of this song. Like many impressionable hip hop listeners, I always assumed that the word “bitch” was applicable in everyday communications – it’s not. After extensive experimentation with the word “bitch,” I’ve concluded that women, indeed do not enjoy being referred to as such. First I’ve tried it with my mother, then later with every love interest I’ve encountered, and I’ve gotten lukewarm reception at best (and embarrassing physical injury at worst). So that misguidance alone is enough to land a spot on this list (and yes Too $hort, I’ve tried your extended “biiiiiiyaattcchhh” and have found it to be worse in some cases), but that’s only half of it.
In my 23 years, I’ve found that women are not only “shit” but also play a very vital role in a man’s life. I’ve had time with female guidance and time without female guidance, and I can say life is easier when you have a woman telling you what to do. In my early years, it was my mother who gave me advice (“don’t put that in your nose” “shut the hell up or I will beat your ass”), then later on it was girlfriends and girl friends (“don’t drink that” “you look like an asshole” “don’t put that in your nose”). And I’ve discovered when I don’t have these women in my life to tell me what to do (and more often, what not to do), I end up getting myself into some pretty unfavorable situations. So ladies, BRL is officially a pro-bitches website. You’re welcome Tina and Amy.

#3. Only God Can Judge Me – 2Pac

2Pac lived, and well, died by this mantra. Unfortunately this is just 100% inaccurate. You live most of your life being judged by others. I think a more accurate statement (depending on your beliefs) is that God is the last person (or whatever he or she is) that will judge you. And God judges good (see: Old Testament).
But there are several others in our lives that judge, and sometimes this judgment is helpful (see: mothers and girlfriends). Sure, other judgment isn’t as great (see: the jury on OJ Simpson’s 1994 trial). But my point is there are many judges in our lives; here’s a short list: the aforementioned women and juries, judges, bloggers, people who drive behind slow drivers.

#4. Bring Da Ruckus – Wu-Tang Clan


I can say the 9-10 members of Wu-Tang Clan have played more of a role in developing me into the incredibly average individual I am today than just about any other group of 9 or 10 African-American gentlemen. Ghostface Killah telling me to “be nice to the crackheads” was stern, fatherly guidance that I needed when I was a just a sophomore in high school. And the late great Ol’ Dirty Bastard telling me to use conditioner has helped my hair in more ways than I can count. But I can tell you that bringing da motherfuckin ruckus at the wrong time, can really hurt you socially and economically.
Sure, bringing said ruckus can be an enjoyable experience, but one must pick his or her spots. Bringing da motherfuckin ruckus at 1:30 a.m. at a dive bar is a more than acceptable time to do so. But bringing that same ruckus to a funeral, can be bothersome to many. Bringing just a little bit of ruckus to a court hearing could lead you to doing a little bit of time in the penitentiary (which wouldn’t be a bad place to bring some ruckus, I’d imagine).

#5. Where the Hood At? – DMX 

The main basis of this song is Earl Simmons on an odyssey for his neighborhood (or it might be his hooded sweatshirt, again layers). I have no issue with this because I’m sure Mr. Simmons has managed to get lost on many occasions, as this song was recorded well before GPS devices were the norm. And I get that. DMX and I both have a less-than-desirable sense of direction, so if I were lost I’d be yelling “where da hood at” also.
The main problem is the bits of advice sprinkled in the verses of this song, while he is searching aimlessly for his hood. First off you have “show no love to homo thugs.” Now this is a piece of advice I think is aimed towards my homosexual friends. I think he’s trying to say gay men, “hey, you can do better than that dead beat who is physically and emotionally abusing you.” This is great advice, gay men shouldn’t have to settle for “thugs.” Unfortunately when you piece together other bits of this verse (“how you gon’ explain fuckin a man? Even if we squash the beef, I ain’t touchin ya hand”), one starts to think that helping gay men find a quality mate is not what Mr. Simmons had in mind when he penned this track.
So speaking to gay and straight men, it is perfectly okay to be accepting of homosexual lifestyles. I know DMX has said some profound things in the past that have both tested the limits of the English language and human spirituality, but this one is a straight up dud.
Also “empty out ya clips and throw mo’ slugs” is another misstep in this track. If you do have a liscenced firearm, I highly recommend you do not empty out your clips and throw more slugs without at least asking a couple of questions first.