Part 7: Rap Music

Is rap music even an acceptable phrase? I mean hip-hop don’t I? No, no – hold on before you judge me! Rap’s the music and hip-hop’s the whole cultural movement, right? Like, all the fashion. White T-shirts, baggy jeans, adidas. Graffiti. That dangerous -sexy-cool attitude (‘swagger’ – see, I know shit)….*checks Wikipedia*….Oh, it turns out ‘hip-hop music’ is a thing. Whatevs.

I know this all makes me sound like someone’s Nan, rather than a cutting edge cultural commentator – but bear with me. Seriously – I’m a rap fan! Look at the evidence: during a clowning workshop in 2006 I performed the whole of TQ’s Westside (uncensored), with a red-nose on a bit of elastic strapped to my face. Last month, I invented ‘hip-hop-hoovering’, a mix-tape collection of hardcore beats to help you do housework (you’re welcome).

My favourite rap music is gangsta rap. Gangsta rap is a subgenre of hip-hop that purports to reflect urban crime and the violent lifestyles of inner city youths (thank you Wikipedia). I suppose it says something not that great about the romanticisation of the ghetto that its music appeals so much to a middle-class English white girl. But this is not an academic thesis, that’s not why you’ve come here (this is, in fact, a fairly elaborate way of avoiding doing work on an academic thesis. I know, I’ve got problems), so let me return to my central point: listening to rap is a reason to be single because gangsta rap is about staging a resistance against the dominant culture. It’s about people with grit and spunk and perfect cheekbones spitting in the face of convention and fighting to survive in a world that’s indifferent to them. Just like you – get in!

No decent rap music was ever made by someone in a happy relationship. Trust me, I’m obviously an expert. When Eminem reunited with ex-wife Kim and moved back to Detroit or wherever, he stopped making music and got addicted to pain killers and fried chicken. He had to go to a rehab for fat people. It was not good.

To be honest with you, the above example might not be entirely accurate. I can’t recall the chronology and detail of their relationship and his musical hiatus with any precision (it turns out my expertise in this area is not what I imagined it to be when I began this posting). I just like the one where kills her and hides her body in the boot of his car. Even if it is a misogynistic glamourisation of spousal abuse. My ex boyfriend was a right wanker, so I know where Eminem was coming from. I used to a do a Fantasy Life where I did something similar. By which I mean writing a worldwide smash-hit hip-hop album that broke culturally constructed race and music barriers and documented our turbulent love affair. Not hiding my ex’s corpse in the trunk of my car and then chucking it in the sea. I’m not lesbian enough to cope with prison. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t lift his dead weight. And I can’t drive.

How can a person properly enjoy rap music if they’re all loved up? The answer: they cannot. Rap is just not the appropriate musical genre for contented couples. I’m not saying happy, married people can’t have decent music. I’m not bitter – look – I’ll give them Hall and Oate’s You Make My Dreams Come True, which is painful for me to do because I sometimes like to sing it to myself in the mirror. Yes, they can have upbeat 80s pop music. But not rap. Rap’s about struggle, heartbreak, oppression, and having a massive penis that you use to penetrate all the pretty ladies. Rap is flawed, beautiful people standing on the edge of society and making it RESPECT them using only words, and gestural threats of violence. It is ours. Take my advice single people, if you’re not reading this while rocking your head to the rhythms of Tupac, then you need to get on YouTube and sort it out. Look I’ve even provided a link (again, you’re welcome).

Rap is an amazing reason to be single (no, do not interrupt me, we’ve already decided that people in relationships can’t have it). Like all my advice, it helps you learn stuff – such as how to make money on the street if you fall on hard times (Biggie’s The Ten Crack Commandments), or why it’s unwise to agree to an initiation ritual that involves rape (Immortal Technique’s Dance with the Devil). Mainly though, listening to rap is the technique par excellence for improving yourself esteem. I swear to you. If you want to feel you’re made of a gleaming titanium shield that deflects negativity: listen to rap.

You gotta be committed. If you’re serious about being single you are going to need a swagger of industrial strength. Listen to rap so much that the beat of your heart synchs with the tempo of the music. Let that pain lick at your soul until it turns to metal. Learn the words so you can call upon them for protection, like a talisman. You can do anything. You are Lauryn Hill telling some bitch in a bar to take her hands out of your face and keep her eyes on her man. You are The Notorious B.I.G telling the world that you have a great big Hennessey dick that all the ladies want to suck. You are Lil Kim sneering as she tells Biggie: ‘when I suck your dick it’s like smoking a roach/why go from first class to coach.’ Listen to rap. Absorb it – and then leave the house, chin lifted, lips pursed. The fierce fire of resistance flaming at your centre.


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