I was at what would be one of the last college parties of the semester. The mood was relatively low, half the group was talking politics, and the nonpartisans were leaning against couches trying not to get sucked into another Benghazi conversation. I was a solitary couch-leaner trying to tune out the shouting, humming a Young Money hit from a few years back. Before I knew it, I was singing aloud, “My room is the g-spot / Call me Mr. Flintstone, I can make your bed rock.” I covered my mouth with my hand and looked around. No one had noticed; my secret was safe.
I have an addiction to hip-hop. And while there are certainly some sophisticated artists in the genre like Talib Kweli and Lupe Fiasco who incline toward more meaningful, sophisticated lyrics, that’s not the type I listen to. I like the embarrassing, repetitive, demeaning hip-hop from artists like T.I. and Flo Rida, who make music so catchy you want to play it constantly, but so overtly sexual you don’t want anyone to know what you’re listening to. Many of these songs revolve around a drawn-out, obvious sex metaphor. R. Kelly sings, “I’m gonna take my key and stick it in the ignition.” 50 Cent chants, “I’ll take you to the candy shop, let you lick the lollipop.” I’ve become shameless; working on a Chaucer paper while my computer sings about booties shakin’, poppin’, and rollin’. My parents wince, my friends shake their heads, but like some kind of addict, the ridicule isn’t enough to make me stop.