Somewhere in a party room in a three star hotel, someone is playing the bounce version of Anita Baker’s “No One In The World” while I roll my eyes or worse make some snippy comment noting my displeasure. I cannot help it. There are three things wrong with that picture.
(1) I think inserting a “twerk” section into a song — the section where the rhythm part sounds like a butt slapping one in the face—-is no guarantee that a song ends up better. If that’s always true, why isn’t there a BOUNCE VERSION of Evelyn Champagne King’s “Love Come Down”? These songs are classics for a reason. They strike a balance between tone and terror, or between conversation and clutter.
(2) I think it’s hilarious when a singer’s voice is chopped and shredded all because listeners would rather simulate sex than hear music. I can body roll to Drake’s “In My Feelings” but why would I want to?
And most damning of all…
(3) Where is the “story” in twerking?
I’ve gone to enough dance clubs to appreciate the motivation behind African-American people creating their own version of things, but twerking is no different and no less “out there” than any other couple of people (who barely know each other) vibe-ing together. Where is the subtlety in a song that tells you what it expects you to do, with a series of men yelling out “Come On”?
I remember a time when bounce music was actually fun and not loaded down with so much crass, un-playful garbage.
If you want to make me bounce around, play a song by Disclosure. Play a song that makes me think about what is said for more than two seconds.
I never asked to like the songs that so many young people like. I never asked to shake my butt to Lil Wayne’s “The Carter”. I never wanted to like Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. And that isn’t because I’m less black… it’s because all this militant, nuance-laden music does something awful to my head.
I’ll be weird by choosing to like the blippy, brassy EDM tracks by Ferry Corsten, Kaskade, and Dash Berlin… but it’s all because I can dance a whole lot freer to a beat that has far more substantive thoughts than “she got her own house…she a bad broad. ”
So what you’re independent, and you can spell “independent.” Would you like a cookie for spelling a word correctly. These same people tell me that they like these songs because the beats are great, but then many of them struggle holding a conversation rife with speaking errors. I’m not saying that people are dumb, I’m just saying we all have choices and we’re either smarter or dumber because of those choices. There are some black traditions that actually make this black man more ignorant, and until I see the substance I’m supposed to glean, I CANNOT body roll to that.