Tag Archives: Jay-Z

Thoughts On Frank Ocean + Hyper-Masculinity In Hip-Hop Culture

I sat on Twitter early Wednesday morning and watched the tides turn for a young man whose remarkable talent has gifted us with some of the best music we’ve heard in recent history.

Frank Ocean, a 24 year old singer/songwriter from New Orleans, LA is preparing for the release of his debut album on Def Jam Records. He’s already lent his pen to some of the biggest names in the music industry, earning placements with Jay-Z, Kanye West, Beyonce, John Legend and more. In other words, he’s made a huge impact in a few short years.. and with little fanfare. Known for his ability to take the simplest of feelings and translate them beautifully into lyrics, Frank is aligning himself to become one of our generation’s greatest songwriters. But on Wednesday, which also happened to be the day that America celebrates it’s freedom, he made his own declaration… one that drudged up the dark side of hip-hop culture. The one that we so often choose to ignore.

In a letter on his Tumblr page, Frank told his fans a story about how he was rejected by his first love. It was eloquent yet simplistic, making the emotion all the more real. His pain was evident, but so was his strength. The “shocking” part: that love, the object of his affection and quite possibly the inspiration behind so many of his popular songs, was male.

And with that revelation, the flood gates opened. At first, there was an overwhelming outpouring of support… but as the news began to spread…so did the hate. Slurs, expressions of disgust, and complete cancellation of fandom were common place. After about an hour, I had witnessed all that I could handle. I went to sleep wondering what had changed about his music that made people so adverse to him, a man whose work they were clamoring for just a few days earlier. I was baffled.

When I woke up, it all clicked. Unfortunately, the reality was more cumbersome than I cared to admit.

Hyper-masculinity (and subsequently homophobia) in hip-hop have fostered a culture of untruths, where men are expected to be hard, stoic and with unyielding strength. Those of us not fooled by the facade, those of us who live in the real world, know that is the furthest thing from the truth.

Men feel. They love. They hurt… and they cry, just like women do. That is fact, not fiction… whether you choose to accept it or not. The problem begins when people buy into the idea that the expression of emotion is something that is only acceptible for women.

That’s also where the attacks on guys like Drake begin. As an artist, he’s been transparent with his range of emotions, but is often met with criticism from his male peers for “simping” or being too soft. As a result, he’s conformed a bit to the industry standard, more frequently speaking about f***ing b****es and catching bodies. I wonder, which is more damaging?

Frank is not a martyr, he’s just a guy who shared his truth. Frankly, I couldn’t care less about whether he’s bi, homo, or heterosexual. All I know is that when his album drops, I’m expecting the same quality of music that I’m used to from him.

How about you? Is this hyper-masculinity in our culture worth attacking? Can it be fixed? Or are we all just stuck living a societal lie. You tell me.

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Seriously, Get A Life.

Sometimes I wonder exactly how far people will go to share their opinion on the lives of people they don’t know.

I know this thought process may seem strange coming from a girl who blogs about entertainment on a daily basis, but…follow me for a moment. This is as much for me, as it is for you.

Unless you’ve been in solitary confinement for the last 4 days, you know that international pop superstar Beyonce gave birth to her first child with her husband Jay-Z over the weekend. Since, there’s been a firestorm of backlash surrounding the details of Blue Ivy Carter’s birth, right down to a general distaste for her given name. I’ve been quiet about it, mostly because…it’s not my life. That all changed when I woke up this morning, opened my various social networks, and was greeted by this picture:

This just takes it way too far. My first reaction was disbelief. I could not wrap my mind around the concept of someone saying something like this about a newborn. Especially not the people of God**.  My second reaction was re-thinking what I said in this post a little over a year ago. While fame may have it’s upsides, people don’t think about the constant negativity and scrutiny that comes with being in the limelight. Continue reading Seriously, Get A Life.

For Those Listening To Luxury Rap Music In Coach Class Seats…

This past Sunday evening could have been likened to Christmas Eve for rap music fans. For months, the highly anticipated collaborative album from Jay-Z and Kanye West was largely shrouded in secrecy (possibly becoming the first album not to leak on the internet prior to it’s release date since the invention of Napster) A little before the stroke of midnight, the internet hype was on a million…and if we base it solely on the exorbitance of the lyrical content, Watch The Throne lives up to the expectations. It’s a grandiose tribute to the lifestyle that Shawn Corey Carter and Kanye Omari West have become accustomed to; complete with $1000 bottles of champagne, $30,000 Rolex time pieces, and luxurious overseas excursions on private jets. By all accounts…they’re living a life free of the worries average Americans are facing due to the instability of their finances.

Continue reading For Those Listening To Luxury Rap Music In Coach Class Seats…

I Want To Be Famous…On Purpose.

Yesterday I was in Borders reading Jay-Z’s book Decoded.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect, however I was told that the book was fantastic, and I had a little time to kill. After reading the first few pages, I was sucked in…and I even came across something really thought provoking.

In the intro to the book, Jay talks about finding his voice in hip-hop. Using Run DMC and Kurtis Blow as examples, he talked about the two predominant mindsets in hip hop, which were the braggadocios and the hustlers. But does that really tell the whole story? No one had ever talked about the mindset of the kid on the corner selling rocks, or the reason why the big gold chains and flashy cars were the epitome of being hot in the hood. That’s where Jay-Z found his niche. It’s almost the same way I found mine.

Continue reading I Want To Be Famous…On Purpose.