Lengthyinteractions with music have been found to induce corticalre-organization in our brains to produce functional changes in how wereact to received information [ CITATION Hal12 l 2057 ].The same influences are registered upon the mind of a hip hop fan.One of the recent successful hip hop artists is Drake, havingoccupied the top ten single charts for forty-six weeks prior toAugust 2016 [ CITATION Bra16 l 2057 ]. Hotline Bling is one of his popular songs and it is, for thisreason, this paper will present an argumentative essay on theapparent and subtle adverse control this particular song togetherwith its video has on its listeners notwithstanding its impressiveperformance in the music charts.
HotlineBling was sampled from the 1973 hit song “Why can’t we livetogether” by Timmy Thomas (Unterberger). In Hotline Bling, Drakemakes his erstwhile girlfriend the center of his focus. He highlightshow she used to call him on his cell phone whenever she was in needof love and attention. Her behavior and character seems to havechanged from loyal to unchaste and has acquired a new reputation as abad girl. He narrates how she dresses skimpily and revels a lot witha company that he`s unfamiliar with. He feels scorned at how she nolonger stays at home and talks about the thoughts he has about herengaging in acts of unchaste with another man (Drake staff).
HotlineBling seems not to have kept a wide berth from the destructiveelements of Hip Hop. Such destructive characteristic elements includethe commercialization of an artificial street life that involvesgangsters, drug dealers popularly recognized as hustlers, pimps, andwhores, glamourized obscene sexual fantasies and a distorted image offinancial success (Rose). Though the song is about a sexualrelationship, it does not bear any inspiration towards a sense ofhope in true love that is loyal, patient and long lasting. It hasbeen proven over time that hip hop artists rarely churn out musicthat is both conscientiously relevant and popular at the same time.It is either the song is conscientiously relevant and unfashionableor conscientiously void and popular. Seldom do the twocharacteristics converge in a song especially in this day and era ofcommercialized mainstream music. Though he does not promote thepopular street culture of gangsters and pimps, Drake’s HotlineBling promotes relationships that are solely based on sex. The songis saturated with only one theme that is sex. Drake reminisces abouthis sexual relationship that he once had with a lady that is not hiswife nor his girlfriend. The message in this song stops short ofcalling his former sex buddy a whore.
Drake’ssong does not do any favor to the women folk since it subtlyperpetuates the established mainstream hip hop’s sexist nature thatdemeans the stature of black women. Though he may not be calling outwomen in their derogatory names, Hotline Bling’s lyrics describeshow the former lover has become unfaithful and untrustworthy despiteDrake always responding positively whenever he is needed. His way ofdescribing the lady as the one at fault for the failed relationshipaffirms and carries forth the deeply entrenched negative attitudethat the mainstream hip hop music has over black women. Theperception of black women is nothing but whores.
Dueto the perpetuation of the abstraction that women are as disloyal aswhores, concerned stake holders in the society are stronglysuggesting that the harmful misogynistic attitude held by men shouldbe reversed for the sake of restoring sanity in the black Americansociety. This reversion can be achieved by discouraging men frompreying on women. Young black men ought to be shown an alternativemodel of a responsible and reliable man that protects and respectsthe woman. This approach can be successfully implemented when theimage of a man that preys and is disrespectful of women is tarnishedrather than glamorized.
Theundesired attitudes held by black American men towards their blackwomen have been put under an anthropologist microscope and examined.These scientific examinations sought to logically and objectivelyexplain why men would prey on their very own women. Rose captures theprobable causes presented by anthropologists and psychologists.Anthropologists point out that female disrespect in the society isnot a modern phenomenon, but actually dates back to thepre-civilization periods where life was generally short, brute andnasty as popularly described by the philosopher Thomas Hobbes. Theother fronted theory is psychologically informed. It claims that maleoppression and domination is symptomatic of a male disorder. Thistheory goes further to say that men have a heightened desire to hold,exercise power and control humanity. Disaster sets in when some menwho cannot exercise the desired level of clout over broader mattersof the society, impulsively turn to the women around them. These menusurp the rights and freedom of women in an attempt to offset theirsense of powerlessness and to seemingly restore their sense ofsignificance in the society.
TriciaRose meticulously analyses the current existing two brands of hip hopmusic. One is the underground hip hop music that is laden withconscientious lyrics reflective of a positive, socially andpolitically alert society. This particular brand is amusingly rarelyplayed on national radio. The other brand is the corporate mainstreamhip hop music backed by heavy financial promotion with glitzy videos.The latter brand is the most consumed brand in America and the worldover. This mainstream brand is made having the non-black populationin mind. The main reason why the commercial hip hop artists targetthe larger non-black American community is because it is more wealthand thus a higher purchasing power as compared to the less wealthyblack American community. This commercial brand is normally heavilycoded with messages promoting the lifestyles of gangsters, pimps, andwhores. This perverted imagery has over the time been understood byits consumers to be the representation of a dysfunctionalAfrican-American community. This particular pernicious identity needsto be challenged and done away with [ CITATION Ros081 l 2057 ]
Drake’ssong represents an all too familiar male chauvinist attitude towardswomen.A closer look at the following lyrics, “You got areputation for yourself now… Running out of pages in your passport…Why you always touching the road, used to always stay at home” [ CITATION Dra151 l 2057 ]It is evidently clear from the foregoing that he expects the woman tostay put in a non-progressive relationship at the expense of her ownindividual growth. Drake`s interests are clearly clashing with thelady`s. The lady has to equally get out and pursue her own identityin a relationship that is fulfilling. Men, in general, need toequally reciprocate the support received from their women and helpthem advance in their lives as they forge their own identity. It isequally stressing to a woman when the successful man does not granther room to grow as an individual. This strife eventually leads togender wars whereby each party depicts the other as the one at fault.
Drake’svideo for Hotline Bling was shot to capture the fun atmosphere of thenineties as seen by the use of the Technicolor neon backgrounds.According to the director, Director X and the choreographer, TanishaScott, the choreographer was hired together with some dancers butDrake proposed something out of the script. He wanted an energy andfun filled video (Pierre). His dancing moves and style has been atopic of discussion on radio, television, as well as print media.Some hard core hip hop fans express their disappointment in himbecause they did not expect him to dance in such a dorky way. Theyexpected him to act gangster just like most hip hop rappers. Othersfind Drake’s moves a true representation of how ordinary folk actwhen they hear their favorite song play. Some pundits question hisflashing of the Illuminati sign in the video. They claim that it isindicative of the dark forces that financially support his musiccareer in return for the promotion of the destructive messages to theblack American community. Other critics say that since Drake is atthe top of his successful career, he can actually pull off such adorky and not so hip move and still get away with it (Lou).
Inthe wake of rising and worrying trends of racism, high rates ofunemployment, rising homelessness, rising costs of higher educationamongst others, Drake would have done justice to the hip hop genrethat it is originally known for representing issues which thegovernment ignores and the society is wrestling to avert.Conscientious fans of hip hop argue that most popular hip hop songs"enervate the original intentions and purposes and stifled thecritical development of the genre because there are more importantthings to talk about" as Tricia Rose puts it in her book ‘TheHip Hop Wars" [ CITATION Ros13 l 2057 ].The situation is made worse when so many memes, mashups, parodies,and vines are inspired by Hotline Bling. These recreations are beinggenerated from all over the world and not just in the United Statesof America. Mehta captures the situation in the following words:“there are tons of hashtags to help you find videos on Twitter,Vine, and Instagram, including #DrakeDancesToAnything,#DrakeAlwaysOnBeat, and #DanceLikeDrake” [ CITATION Mai15 l 2057 ] This goes to show just how much of an influence Drake and his songhas upon his audiences.
It`squite dangerous for hip-hop artists if that time comes when the genreis not considered as an indispensable element as far as pop-culturegoes. This is because currently hip hop as a genre is popularlyrecognized for its merchandising and promotional ability. It will bea sad demise for hip hop as we now know it when the society refusesto consume a conscientiously void music full of derogatory insultsboth apparent and subtle. Questlove aptly captures this scenario inthe following words "hip-hop has gradually lost some itspertinent sting` (Questlove). It is for this reason that hip hopartists need to be aware of the direction they are taking the genrerepresenting the black culture.
Inconclusion, it would be hard to say that artists of whichever formare not aware of their influential capacities. They stand on a higherpedestal set apart from the rest of the members of the society. Theycan be classified together with other opinion leaders such asteachers, religious and political leaders. Drake as a hip hop artistis equally aware of the kind of influence his music has upon thelisteners. Notwithstanding the praises and reverence Hotline Blinghave received from hip hop fans, it is highly appropriate to presenta clear picture based on objectivity no matter how unpopular it maybe. From the foregoing arguments herein, a concurrence to thewell-researched works of Rose in her book Hip Hop Wars cannot beescaped from. She regrettably says that hip hop artists arerightfully accused and held responsible for destroying Americanvalues, namely, decency and morality. This song targets the youths inthe society armed with a message that is not befitting and ennobling.The youth who ring this melody of the song are subjected to derailedmorals which affect their way of thinking, actions and reactions thusaffecting the society as a whole in a negative way. Music shouldrather be used as a powerful medium for the sake of instilling andperpetuating morals and values upon the listeners and the society atlarge.
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