January 29, 2014

Vignettes and Hyperlinks: My favorite bad rap music videos

As rap has become an ever more popular genre, social, racial, moral, and cultural questions continue to abound around it, bubbling up from beneath questions of “credibility.” Why is Childish Gambino not taken seriously by some for generally representing himself as who he actually is, and Vanilla Ice not taken seriously for representing himself as who he decidedly wasn’t? Do people actually take Macklemore seriously? Is whatever shred of credibility he has derived from his drug history? (And is that credibility augmented or undermined by his rudimentary grasp of tolerance?) Must one undergo personal hardship to be treated with respect as an artist? And can that hardship be self-created? Is RiFF RAFF for real? Is he a secret genius? Or just a fool? And regardless, is he offensive?

These questions are all well and good, but alas, they are for another day—right now I’m feeling all multimedia-y. Like how Wolf Blitzer feels when he wakes up each morning. No, today we’re going to sit back and watch some absurdity unfold in music video form.

1. Ace Hood – Bugatti ft. Future, Rick Ross:

First of all, Mr. Hood, your entire opening premise is flawed. While one cannot deny that life can indeed flip in a matter of seconds, this principle does not usually manifest itself with one suddenly finding herself in a midsize sedan, much less a Bugatti Veyron. If you’re trying to suggest you stole it, that seems unlikely, as people with $1.2-million-dollar cars don’t typically leave them, oh, I don’t know, just lying around on the curb. They have, like, security and stuff. As for you Mr. Ross, can one truly be “hella trill” if the final, gauntlet-throwing, in-your-face demonstration of one's trillness is simply to claim, “We hella trill”? Show me, Officer Ricky. Don't tell me.

2. RiFF RAFF – Dolce & Gabbana:

While it’s an exercise in futility to try to understand what exactly a “papaya steamer” is, if it isn’t some horrifying sex act involving a bird of paradise and a pressure cooker, reading the Rap Genius page for this song is an exercise in hilarity. For example, explaining the meaning behind the line “I’m outside eatin’ fried okra (with who?) With Oprah” is apparently as simple as writing “He’s outside, eating fried okra with Oprah.” Also, not only does Mr. RAFF have diamonds on his Beemer, he has them on his BMDub…but he’d rather drive a Sebring…but he’s never been a scrub. This isn’t adding up.

3. Action Bronson – Strictly 4 My Jeeps:

Just, what? What is happening here? I’ll rephrase: Why is it happening? Why is this necessary? Is there some sort of experimental narrative here that I’m missing? Are those weights made out of Styrofoam? What does this song have to do with Jeeps? Wait, why is RiFF there? And why is Action Bronson cooking? Does he moonlight as Guy Fieri ? (He sure looks like he has a passion for chili.)

4. Lil Dicky – White Dude:

Is it social commentary? Or is it just racist and sexist? Nothing will happen if you don’t decide.

Liam Leddy is the blogger behind Vignettes and Hyperlinks. He is a second-year in the College majoring in economics.