Waka Flocka's Cover and the Power of the "Beat"
When Lebron James found out his mother and teammate were “seeing each other”, when the patriots smashed the bears last weekend, and when Kanye interrupted Taylor Swift at the VMA/MTV awards show. What the common denominator is between all these instances ladies and gentleman is that they represent the breaking point. In everything this capacity for something to break at a certain point exist and last night when watching this youtube video, I reached mine.
My breaking point arrived—at least when it comes to the crap that we have allowed ourselves to ingest. I am fed up with the mess that we have tolerated, the poison that we continue to support simply by not protesting against it, the nauseating composition that continues to encourage ignorance. (I know, I know, I’m being dramatic, but in some sense I am justified). Last night I heard an acoustic version of WaKa Flocka Flame’s No Hands and it really caused me to believe that the hip-hop beat is far too powerful.
Allow me to explain. The hip-hop beat draws you in, makes you comfortable, lends a sense of familiarity, and controls a crowded room at any club or party on a weekend night. The Hip Hop beat is not new, it’s a cultural ritual that goes beyond the creation of hip-hop itself. The beat goes further than the heart piercing words of the Last Poets, it tells a story that was told before all our grandparents were alive to see it, the beat gives refuge to narratives that struggle not to be forgotten. The beat finds its inception from drums in Africa and rhythms that allowed slaves to make it through another day out on the field. I love this beat. I love hip-hip, which is why I have reached my breaking point.
Unfortunately it is this very same “beat” that allows artists like Waka Flocka to hide under the radar while subliminally and rhythmically exploiting women, misrepresenting masculinity, and down right shitting on an art that I am in love with. When his words are stripped from the beat and spoken from the mouth of a white man playing his guitar, many would be offended. Hypocrisy flows from a river that mixes fresh and dirty water together.
I don’t write these words in the name of a conservative agenda. I write them in the stance of radicalism. Waka Floca does not offend me because I have traditionalist values; I am offended because I am a liberal. I protest against songs like No Hands (which is nothing more than a pathetic expression of words trying to form a sexualized image). I do not protest against songs like this because I want my communities morals to be similar to stances taken half a century ago, I protest against songs like this because I want my community to be progressive and the art of hip-hop to be sustained.
Once the beat was taken out from under the hardly standing words of Waka Flocka’s vocabulary, the truth was blatant and bare, almost to the point where watching it makes one move towards laughter. Once his words were put in front of the backdrop of an acoustic guitar it made the poisonous taste obvious to me. The truth is no secret, increasingly more of this music that is showing up on our radio’s are simply and utterly ridiculous. I have reached my breaking point, we need a music revolution.