Wednesday, August 19, 2020

"WAP" by Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion (2020)

I had been reading about this track - or more specifically the controversy surrounding it - for well over a week now.  But I had no intentions of actually researching it until I noticed that it not only reached number one, almost two weeks after its initial release, on the Genius popularity chart but also the Hot 100 itself.  That's when it became apparent that there may be more to WAP than just a momentary shock value.

The cover art to what may prove to be Cardi B's
greatest track ever, WAP (2020).


And in terms of the track's shock value, such would obviously began with the lyrics.  For instance there is a sample playing in the background during certain junctures of the song which repeats the phrase "there's some whores in this house".  And all things considered said "whores" would be a reference to the artists, who throughout present themselves as highly-sexualized (i.e. promiscuous) beings.  Indeed in this day and age women embracing their sexuality using traditionally less-than-flattering terms has become somewhat of a cultural phenomenon.  But during one latter part of the song, at least in my opinion, said sample comes off as being a bit demeaning, as if it is mocking the artists, if you will.

Speaking of which many of the lyrics, at least on the version of the song I heard via its official music video, are more or less drowned out by the instrumental.  This was perhaps by design, as the visuals themselves are obviously intended to garner the majority of the viewer's attention.  But that being said, Megan Thee Stallion definitely comes off as a more-legitimate rapper than Cardi B.  And that's not an insult against the latter, as Cardi did not began in entertainment as a rapper.

And in terms of the this track's lyrical content, I know I have written about this phenomenon before, though perhaps not in this very blog.  But basically rap music is such that the lady artists have evolved to become female versions of their male counterparts.  So for instance just like dudes be bragging about their wealth, so do the females.  And just like how the male rappers tend to focus on their street credibility, the ladies too now do the same.  And so is the case with sexuality also.  So instead of say a man boasting about the size of his penis or what have you, in this case we have females bragging about their "wet-ass p*ssy" (acronym = WAP).  But it ultimately leads back the same idea of the artist being exceptionally good in bed.  And from a female perspective, as illustrated in Megan's first verse, such is always manifest in their ability to use their bodies to monetarily exploit men as well.  But like a quintessential male rapper, what this song primarily focuses on is just the artists' enjoyment of good sexual intercourse, and their partners in that regard pretty much being tools.


I don't want to go about over-analyzing the official video to WAP (embedded above, though I don't necessarily recommend watching it).  But what I will say is that it is the most-sexualized music video, that doesn't actually feature (hardcore) nudity, I have personally ever seen.  Moreover this is not a case of say images of strippers being interlaced with those of ugly-ass niggas throwing money at them.  No sir, WAP is almost entirely T, A and scantily-thonged crotches.  And it should be noted that there are also quite a few visual references to lesbianism.

Mary mother of Gad...


Cardi B is arguably the most-successful solo-female rapper in the history of the industry.  And that's saying a lot considering that, as alluded to earlier, she took up the craft relatively late in life.

Megan Thee Stallion is a more-recent phenomenon.  I researched a couple of her songs in the past - including that crazy-ass Captain Hook (2020) sh*t - for another blog I worked on.  But prior to WAP she was actually making headlines more for a highly-publicized contract dispute and beef with a male rapper, Tory Lanez, as opposed to her music.  And for the record, this is the first time she dropped a track with Cardi B.

Megan "the Stallion" is seven inches taller than
her current rival, who happens to be a male,
fellow rapper Tory Lanez.

Meanwhile the artists behind the instrumental, Ayo The Producer and Keyz, are respectively from Florida and New York.  They often work as a unit, as they had on this song, under the collective name Ayo & Keyz.

The aforementioned sample was derived from a 1993 track, by some dude named DJ Frank Ski, called Whores in This House.  In fact the entire lyrical content of that song features him chanting "there's some whores in this house".  And whereas it has been noted that the track is somewhat of a classic, I personally never heard of it.  However my partner in crime, Seriez Premiere, has assured me that it is indeed an old-school banger.

The director of the music video to WAP is a dude named Colin Tilley.  And whereas that may not be a name most of us ever heard of, he actually has a sh*tload of music videos, in addition to a number of major-industry awards, already under his belt.  Indeed it can be said that the music video to WAP is more attributable to the track's success than the song itself.  In fact when WAP did appear on the Billboard Hot 100, it debuted at the number 1 position, which is a phenomenal feat.  Moreover just to note, WAP has already been certified Gold, and I think it's safe to assume that it will at least reach Platinum before all is said and done.  And lastly, the label that put this track out is the ever-present Atlantic Records.


Whereas the late-20th century wasn't necessarily the puritan days of American history, I still can't imagine being a teenager, turning on the TV and seeing a music video like WAP playing.  But with that established, I'm not about to go on some type of moralistic tirade.  Rather as I see it, the lyrical and visual content of this song are a sign of the times.  Moreover the music industry, as with entertainment in general, is such that shock value sells.  So neither Cardi B nor Megan Thee Stallion created this situation, i.e. female sexuality being openly used to lure audiences.  But they are the mainstream artists who, at the current moment, have the least reservations about capitalizing on it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

"Show 'Em Whatcha Got 2011" by Seriez Premiere

I created this video montage almost 10 years ago, and I didn't do so for any particular reason.  Or if anything, I was always feeling Public Enemy's Show 'Em Whatcha Got (1988), a track in which they referenced the iconic South African freedom fighter Steven Biko (1946-1977).  And overall it's such a good song that I wanted to add visuals to it which highlight the freedom fighters mentioned in the lyrics.  So, I hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

"Borderline" by Brandy (2020)

The cover art to Brandy's new single, Borderline.
For a moment in time (i.e. the late 1990s), Brandy was arguably the top female R&B artist in the entire world.  Her second album, Never Say Never (1998), peaked at number 2 on the Billboard 200.  Around that same time she established herself as one of the premiere Black actresses in Hollywood, most notably starring on the sitcom Moesha from 1996 to 2001.

Brandy's Never Say Never (1998), arguably her
signature musical project.
However it's safe to say that since then she has fallen off a bit or at least is no longer a trending artist in the music industry.  And yes, such tends to happen naturally to musicians who, like herself, have been in the game for decades.

But as someone who bore witness to her rise and fall, I attribute Brandy's particular case more to her being unable to keep up with the changes in the music industry as a whole.  Or stated more plainly, around the turn of the century R&B music, as well as the artists who dominated the genre, became a lot more sexualized.  Meanwhile back in 2002 Brandy gave birth to her first child, and this was back in the day whereas it was still kinda like if you're a mother you don't get down in certain ways.

This image is of Brandy's 2012 project Two Eleven, which to
date is the sexiest she has ever appeared on an album cover.
She's from the generation of R&B artists such as TLC and
Aaliyah who didn't rely as much on sexual images to sell records
as is standard these days.
And this is not to imply that Brandy has never played the sexuality card.  But let's just say that after becoming a mother she kinda lost her A list status, even though the album she dropped that same year, Full Moon (2002), just fell short of topping the Billboard 200.

But as for me, I'll always be a Brandy fan.  Indeed in my opinion her best album actually came via 2004's Afrodisiac.  So of course I was excited when I surprisingly learned that she dropped a new project just last week, her seventh-stuido album actually, entitled B7.  And concurrently she also released its second single, which is entitled Borderline.


The song is cool and an able addition to Brandy's impressive catalog.  However at the moment the music video to the track is making headlines moreso than the audio itself.  Said video can be deemed a work of art and does feature, albeit sparsely, the type of beautiful imagery which are standard in Miss Norwood's videos.  But for the most part, what it actually does is depicts her as a troubled inmate in a mental institution.

In fact overall, the clip is intended to be somewhat of a public service announcement in regards to the prevalence of mental disease in the United States.  And accordingly it concludes with the contact information for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).


And where the video may be cool, you'd never know by watching it why the singer is in such a wrecked state in the first place.  You see despite the fact that Brandy is alone throughout the clip, Borderline is in fact a track about a romance and in a roundabout way you can even say a love song.  That is to say that in the lyrics she is addressing her significant other and basically telling him, in her own unique way, how much he means to her.

The chorus of the song is a bit incoherent, most likely by design.
So perhaps another reason she portrays a mad woman in the clip is because the wording of the song itself is a bit "schizo".  In other words they don't seem to be presented in a precisely-logical manner.  Rather the listener can ascertain that the singer's relationship with the addressee indeed has the potential to 'tear her apart'.  Or stated differently, Brandy comes off as someone who is verily stressed out by her lover.  And as you know such people can sometimes be incoherent, for lack of a better word.

But all things considered, the way the situation reads is that she may be the victim of an unreciprocated love.  Or during the third verse at least, it appears that her partner is unfaithful.  So the title of the song actually alludes to her mental health in light of the entire scenario.  Or put more plainly, her sweetheart seems to be driving her crazy.

However where the logical confusion comes in is that some of the lyrics read as if he has already done her dirty, while in others she is warning him not to ever "cheat" on nor "lie" to her.  So I guess ultimately it can be said that the singer is letting her partner know that if he ever does anything to hurt her in a romantic sense, it will indeed have a devastating effect on her emotionally.

And it has been put forth that this song is actually a reflection of Brandy's personal life.  However there is no evidence to support that theory at the moment.  Indeed according to the songstress herself, she recorded this tune primarily because she was really digging it.


Brandy co-wrote and co-produced Borderline, as did DJ Camper.  The other co-producer is LaShawn Daniels, and the other cowriters are Kaydence, Al Sherrod Lambert and Charlie McAlister.

This track came out on 31 July 2020.  The labels behind it are eOne Music and Brand Nu.  The latter is an entity which was founded by Brandy herself.  And B7 overall marks the first time she released a musical project independently.

The aforementioned music video was formally directed by Derek Blanks, with additional creative contributions from Frank Gatson.

The cover art to Brandy's new album B7.

Despite her youthful looks Brandy is in fact a well-tenured artist, having dropped her first album almost 30 years ago.  Accordingly she seems to have developed certain formulas in terms of the style of her music.  So whereas it does not look like B7 is going to be a smash success chart-wise, established fans of Miss Norwood, such as myself, will still likely be pleased with the overall project.