Bragtime Music

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You kids today and your hip-hop music. It’s gotten so immodest! In my day, rappers were puckishly boastful, perhaps, but not to such a flagrant degree. The Beastie Boys would talk about putting off sleep until they had reached Brooklyn, which was both practical and sensible given the lateness of the hour. MC Hammer offered public service announcements about what could and could not be touched. Yes, Vanilla Ice made bold claims about rocking microphones in the manner of a vandal, but no one took him literally. Regardless of what he said “in character,” there was no evidence in his real life of microphone-rocking, much less chump-waxing.

Contrast that with a 21st-century rapper like Eminem, whose numerous claims of girlfriend-murder are all verifiable in the public record!

Or Jay-Z, with his assertion that he has ninety-nine problems and a b-word isn’t among them. Poppycock! Statistics show that b-word-related problems are at an all-time high in the hip-hop community, and there is no reason to believe Jay-Z would be immune from their effects. And if the claim should happen to be true, then Jay-Z’s fervent public declarations of it reek of braggadocio and are distasteful.

I have recently taken notice of a young man who calls himself Flo Rida. His descriptions of his exploits are shockingly brazen. Here is what he says in his current hit, “Club Can’t Handle Me”:

“You know I know how
To make ’em stop and stare as I zone out
The club can’t even handle me right now
Watchin’ you watchin’ me I go all out
The club can’t even handle me right now”

This is perplexing and perhaps even frightening. Why wouldn’t the club be able to handle him? Is he wired with explosives? Taken in a certain light, this could be seen as a vague but menacing threat. “Everyone’s gonna stop and stare when they see what I do at that club! They’ll stop and stare, all right!” I’m not certain I’d want to let him into my club at all if that’s the way he’s talking. I think I would notify the authorities.

What is it he plans to do that he thinks is going to test the club’s limits? Is he accompanied by a troupe of circus lions? Is he currently on fire, or in imminent risk of being on fire? Is he strewing shards of glass everywhere he goes? Is he infected with a deadly contagious disease? Is he one hundred feet tall?

Such boasting! “The club can’t even handle me right now,” indeed. What are you doing in there, other than drinking and dancing? Because if you’re just drinking and dancing, I think the club is equipped to handle you. You can drink and dance an awful lot before club management will begin to fear for the club’s safety. Why, I’d go so far as to say that the things you’re doing — drinking and dancing — are the very purposes for which the club was built! So you needn’t worry.

On the other hand, maybe the problem is that the club is Costco. I could see Costco having an issue with Flo Rida’s behavior. If that is the case, then I rescind my statement and wish all parties good day and godspeed.

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