Hip-hop fuddy-duddy daddy

I am old and stodgy and getting stodgier by the hour. But I try to maintain at least a nodding acquaintance with what the kids are listening to these days because, as a parent of a pre-teen and a catechist to that age group, I feel it’s kind of my job.

So I’m going to show you my ignorance here: What does the phrase “rollin’ on dubs” mean? Something about drugs? Hell, I dunno.

And I get the feeling that “Pimpin'” has taken on a meaning other than a name for the practice of managing prostitutes. Am I correct in assuming that it refers to an ostentatious manner of conducting one’s affairs, with particular focus on conspicuous consumption and surrounding one’s self with scantily clothed young “beeeeyotches”?

And who’s this “shorty” everyone is talking to? I assume “shorty” is some form of familiar address in hip-hop speak, but how is that related to calling someone “G” and “Dogg?” And is there any difference between one’s “peeps” and “homies?”

I admit to liking “rap music.” I really want to listen to it. Really.

(Why do we call it rap music, BTW? Rap is a musical technique. We don’t call other music “singing music” or “instrument music.” Why marginalize this musical technique to its own subgenre? I think “Hip-Hop” is the better name for the genre. But what do I know?)

But I just can’t bear it for very long. Every time I turn my radio on to the Hip-hop stations in Houston, I get turned off.

It’s like, well, … Imagine you meet a person. He’s attractive and charming and obviously very talented. He seems to be a cool guy to hang with. Someone out of the ordinary. But after a few beers, you notice that all he talks about is himself, how rich he is, how tough he is, how many women he’s been with. He keeps wanting you to look at his Rolex and ride in his Escalade. He wants you to know he has a gun and has used it. He tells you all about his friends who “stay down” and gang up on anyone who might cross him. And he has a certain pride in this self-centered, thuggish existence. He thinks the fact that his lifestyle most certainly may get him killed before he reaches the age of thirty makes him some sort of a tragic heroic figure… Who wants to hang with a person like that?

It’s not the beat, it’s the humanity. I like the music just fine, but I hate the macho mythos that surrounds it. Yeah, it may reflect urban “reality.” But it’s a “reality” to be changed, not embraced.

I heard these hip-hop lyrics this weekend that sort of sums up why I feel I must listen occasionally but can’t listen for very long. The guy was rapping that he wanted to

“get my drink on.
get my smoke on.
Go home with something to poke on.”

I don’t want to have anything to do with someone who refers to beautiful young women, one of whom could be my daughter some day, as “something to poke on.” And I don’t want my daughter to have anything to do with them either.

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