Ok, so here is an update on my thoughts on the whole R. Kelly situation. First, for those who don’t know let me catch you up. So last weekend the tv network Lifetime aired a docuseries featuring over 50 people discussing their interactions with R. Kelly. Most of them were women who had been teenagers at the time R. Kelly had come into their life. These women talked about the mental, emotional, and physical abuse that R. Kelly put them through. Before I go on I have to admit that I was one of those people who held on to the fact that R. Kelly was a musical genius and ignored the previous allegations like the well-known fact of him urinating on an underage girl years ago. I still bumped his music. I’m not even going to pretend I didn’t, but now from the things I’ve heard and connecting the dots I can’t bring myself to listen to his music anymore. The fact that I now know that he married a 15-year-old Aaliyah and what he did to countless other women and even more there were other subliminal clues that I never considered before. Why did R. Kelly name himself “The Pied Piper of R&B”? The Pied Piper is a character in folk lore that lured a village’s children away by playing a flute. That’s a red flag right there and then realizing a lot of his earlier music was aimed toward these young girls he manipulated. Enough is enough in my book. You can only make excuses for a person for so long. There is a lot of heated debates on the topic. Some people are still defending him and others are saying throw him under the jail. What are your thoughts?
So this is something that I’ve always thought about. Can we possibly celebrate an artist’s talent and forget about his crimes? One of the most talented musicians to ever do it is R. Kelly. People may not like him because of the crimes he’s committed or the allegations of him messing with young girls, but there is no denying his talent. The man is a gifted genius. I was feeling nostalgic last night as I listened to some of his most popular songs like “I Believe I Can Fly,” “When A Woman’s Fed Up,” and “Step in the Name of Love.” All of those songs had me singing at the top of my lungs with pure emotion. No matter what you think about R. Kelly as a person there’s no denying his talent. Also another person I would put on the “tortured artist” list would the rapper DMX. During his time DMX was one of the biggest rappers in the 90s/2000s era and he pretty much ruined his career with drugs and constantly getting in trouble with the law, and I’m not going to lie. It gets me upset to see talent like that wasted. DMX is another artist that just had pure talent, and when I get the notion to go back and listen to some of his songs I just think to myself like “Man, it’s such a shame.” I always hope for a comeback from either R. Kelly and DMX.
‘Til this day the movie Selena is one of my favorite movies. I remember the very first time I watched it was in my Spanish class in high school, and I fell in love. Not only with the movie but with the kind of person that Selena was. Selena tells the story of the Mexican-American singing star who became one of the first women to make it big as a Tejano musician. She was a pioneer for her culture and also in music. The original movie starred Jennifer Lopez as the lead role. I love that movie so much, so you can imagine my excitement when I come across a piece of news today that said Netflix is doing a series based on the late singer’s life and to make things better and more legit Selena’s family is a part of this project so where can it go wrong? I also realized that Selena’s family had a lot of say in the original movie. I think they loved her so much that they don’t want to see her legacy ruined, so they’re a part of every project having to do with Selena, which I think is awesome! I am super excited for this Netflix series and can’t wait!
To answer my own question I have to go with the latter. I see tattoos as a form of expression. I’m aware that this can be a generational thing at times or maybe it’s just a personal preference because both of my parents have tattoos and when I see well done tattoos I don’t see them as a waste. I see them as beautiful works of art because I have seen some tattoos that are really stunning. I have no tattoos but I’ve been thinking abt getting two or three. I would like a female lion tattoo with a sunflower crown, a dreamcatcher, and a tattoo that shows my love of music. The thing about tattoos is that they can be silly and have no meaning at all but they can also have super sentimental meaning like remembering a loved one or parents who get tattoos of their children’s names. My dad has my named tattooed on him in a heart! I want a lion tattoo with a sunflower crown because I’m a Leo and I love sunflowers and I had a friend that used to call me Sunflower and I love dreamcatchers and music is so important to me if you can’t tell by my blog. Hopefully some day soon I’ll get my tattoos.
For years, hip hop has gone down hill. Personally, I believe out of all of the genres it has become the worst amongst pop, rock, country, and everything else but has 2018 seen the rise of what hip hop used to be? Back in the 90s and early 2000s names like Ice Cube and Eminem were huge and to this day those names haven’t lost their wow power. Since the end of 2017 Eminem has made a comeback and solidified his position among hip hop royalty, fondly known by his fans as the “Rap God” or the GOAT (greatest of all time). His album like Revival and most recently Kamikaze on top of the very public beef with MGK has put a much needed breath of life into the rap industry. Not only Em but look at Ice Cube. Ice Cube in the past few years has mostly focused his career in the movie industry but as most people know he got his start in what most people know as the most dangerous music group in the world N.W.A and then he moved onto a solo music career. Ice Cube recently dropped a single called “Arrest the President,” which criticizes President Trump. We’re seeing some of these older rappers making a comeback and it’s an exhilarating feeling for hip hop heads who love this industry. I’m excited for hip hop and the potential that it has now to grow.
“I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter
Dancing through the fire
‘Cause I am a champion, and you’re gonna hear me roar.”~Katy Perry (Roar)
“I was lightning before the thunder.”~Imagine Dragons (Thunder)
“I’m coming out
I want the world to know
Got to let it show
I’m coming out
I want the world to know
I got to let it show.”~ Diana Ross (I’m Coming Out)
As I sit hear listening to Katy Perry’s “Roar” I can’t help but feel like I’m a champion. It’s the power of music, man. Thinking about this I thought of other songs that I’ve been listening to lately and those other two came to my mind. Sometimes life gets hard and like most people I tend to doubt myself a lot, but songs like these are meant to remind you that you can do anything and not to worry about what others think about. I love the lyrics to Imagine Dragon’s “Thunder.” I always interpreted that line “I was lightening before the thunder” to mean I was awesome before I was REALLY awesome. I don’t think I could ever fully explain how powerful music and for those artists who make it their mission to make songs like these truly do make a difference.
Now listening to this new album, Kamikaze, it is reminiscent of the old Eminem but I also believe it’s still the mature Eminem, but he’s gone back to his roots. Even looking at the cover of the album you can tell that he’s paying homage to the Beastie Boys first album License to Ill, and Eminem has stated that the Beastie Boys were one of his earliest influences.
Surprise! What a major surprise we have here. I’m going through my day without a care in the world, going about my business and then all of a sudden I see news and Facebook posts about these new songs from Eminem’s NEW album, an album that no one knew was coming. It honestly came like a thief in the night…no promoting, no ads, and apparently no noise whatsoever….out of the blue KABOOM! Em hit us with a bomb, but definitely in a good way. I’ve listened to the album and you can’t help but compare it to Eminem’s previous album, Revival, that came out last December. I love Em but I’m not afraid to say as an Eminem that album was not his greatest. I tried to like a few of those songs, but none of those songs on the Revival album I could really appreciate. I believe as an Eminem fan that I put Em on this pedestal, and I believe other Eminem fans feel the same way. We just expect better from Em, and as one of the YouTube channels that I follow said, “Revival was basically corny pop sh*t.” Now I like pop music don’t get me wrong but when putting it in the same league as Eminem it’s just not right. Now listening to this new album, Kamikaze, it is reminiscent of the old Eminem but I also believe it’s still the mature Eminem, but he’s gone back to his roots. Even looking at the cover of the album you can tell that he’s paying homage to the Beastie Boys first album License to Ill, and Eminem has stated that the Beastie Boys were one of his earliest influences. To me Revival had too many pop artists features. Ok, I love Ed Sheeran and I like Beyoncé but he doesn’t need them on their albums. I wholeheartedly understand that artists need to step out of the norm and experiment with different types of artists, but his last album just didn’t hit the mark. When I look at the track list to Kamikaze versus Revival you can see that there aren’t a lot of features at all. There are a couple like Joyner Lucas and Royce da 5’9, but they’re hip hop artists which is the difference. To me that’s a reflection of the old Eminem as well. When he first came out he didn’t have too many artists featured in his song except for maybe Dr. Dre, Obie Trice, D12 but again ALL HIP HOP ARTISTS. Bottom line is that Eminem did it right this time and the fact that he dropped this album with no notice, no promotions, NOTHING, and yet people are still talking about it that takes talent. That’s why Em is considered the GOAT!
I don’t care what anyone says but I will say that this year Drake has been on top of his game with his songs and music videos. His three big songs/music videos has been “God’s Plan,” “Nice for What,” and “I’m Upset.” The first two are downloaded on my phone amd listen to them on a regular basis and I just heard “I’m Upset” and watched the music video today. Each song and video holds something special. I love “God’s Plan” because the song is fire but the video is just heart warming. Drake gives away almost a million dollars to regular people of Miami…cars, stacks of cash, a scholarship, shopping sprees. Drake just outdid himself and then after that video he comes out with “Nice for What” paying homage to successful women and the song isn’t bad either. It basically sends out a message to regular women and young girls like myself that you can be anything that you want to be. Then his latest, possibly greatest video if you’re an old school Degrassi fan, the tv show where Drake came to fame. The music video for “I’m Upset” brings people my age a twinge of nostalgia because it’s all about a REUNION! Yes, Drake decides to bring all of his old castmates back together for a 10 year “high school reunion” which was the premise of the music video. Drake is definitely doing his thing….giving to charity, representing women, and nostalgia. What more can you ask for?
For years music has always has had a way of highlighting social issues in society. Nothing has changed and music remains the same. Of course music evolves but it’s function as a platform for social and political issues remains relevant. So far this year there have been two songs that have spoken to the #metoo movement. Drake’s “Nice for What” and Maroon 5’s song “Girls Like You.” Not only are these songs appreciating women but they’re straight head bangers. To fully appreciate both of these songs though you really have to view the music video first. Both videos are full of women who are doing great things in the entertainment industry and beyond. Both videos incorporate women like Issa Rae, Tracee Ellis Ross, Tiffany Haddish, Ellen Degeneres, Camilla Caballo, Aly Raisman. Interesting thing about Aly Raisman’s (Olympic gold medalist) cameo in Maroon 5’s video is that she’s wearing a shirt that says, “Always Speak Your Truth.” She was standing up for the #metoo movement having spoken up about her sexual assault experience while being a U.S. Olympic gold medalist. Both videos and songs are extremely powerful, and we honestly just need more music that is empowering. Not just empowering for women but for everybody.
My emphatic answer is YES! For me art and politics go hand in hand. Art is a platform in which politics can stand and be understood. In an earlier post I wrote about the rise and fall of my beloved Eminem after his freestyle about Trump at the BET Awards. Em is still getting backlash from that. People are saying that Eminem needs to stay out of politics and stick with music and these comments are not just said about Eminem but also about other celebrities who decide to use their voice and status to bring light to certain issues that otherwise wouldn’t be heard. People who make these commenta are quite frankly ignorant. For one, Trump isn’t the first president that Em went ham on. Does no one remember his deliberate attack against former president George W. Bush in his song “Mosh”? In my opinion music has always been political. I can think of many artists/musicians who have written songs with a political message. I think of rap groups like N.W.A and Public Enemy and artists like Pink and there are so many others. I just don’t understand people who think that celebrities shouldn’t use their platform that they have to make a difference. I believe any form of art can be political you just have to know how to use your voice.