As time goes on and the struggles of the civil-rights movement get pushed further back in our minds, there seems to be an entire generation that has lost touch with its roots. In fact, just today, one of kids in my church youth group asked me if Medusa was a Egyptian queen.
You read that right. Medusa. Pray for the child.
Kids today might confuse fake Greek monsters with real female pharaohs, but they can recite Rick Rawsssssse's entire discography without blinking an eye. It's sad but true - rappers have become the heroes for today's youth. And there's nothing we can do about it. Or can we?
I consulted with a few friends about changes rappers need to make in order to become, you know, less embarrassing. In the spirit of Black History Month, I'm asking each and every rapper to consider making the following changes to improve our community over the course of February. It's just 28 days, after all. Feel free to continue being ignorant in March.
1. Upgrade Your Wardrobe.
When did we go from the distinguished fashions of chemistry pioneer Percy Julian:
2. Quit Wearing Your Baby Sister's Jeans.
3. Discontinue The Use of "Swag."
Like using 'izzle' as a random suffix, what was once cute has become an eye-rolling epidemic. It's even spread to the R&B world. Check out the cover of Jon B's upcoming album:
4. Pay Your Taxes.
Lil Kim reportedly hasn't paid taxes since 2002 and owes $1 million. Y'all just keep bragging about all that Gucci and Fendi - Uncle Sam is listening.
5. Chill Out With The Full-Body Tattoos.
6. Face Tats. Stop It, 5.
7. For The Love Off All That Is Holy, Keep Your Shirt On.
Good lord. I see more breasts and rolls than a KFC family meal.
8. Stop Pretending That You're Sexy.
The Notorious B.I.G. was a ladies man, but never pretended to be a sex symbol. He proudly proclaimed that he was "black and ugly as ever." If the greatest of all time can admit that, why are these young'ns fooling themselves? A$AP Rocky can't go 2 minutes without reminding us how pretty he is.
9. No More Ad-libbing Your Way Through Songs.
I'm not just talking about the usual Jeezy "old man laughs" and Rawse "asthmatic grunts." I'm talking about the constant influx of these: "We da Best!" "Dis for da hood!" "I wanna shout out (random leeches from back home)" "(Random producer), you a fool for dis one!" These annoying ad-libs have somehow leaked into normal day-to-day conversations. If one more of my church kids tells me that they're doing something "for the hood," I might not be responsible for my actions.
10. Stop Working With This Woman.
Nicki Minaj's videos have gotten so bad that even BET has banned them. Yes, BET, the network that brought us BET Uncut, Cita's World and endless airings of Soul Plane, has deemed Icky Garbaj too wack for their programming. What does that tell you? Worst of all, look at the influence she has...
Just like I wish that Black History Month could be celebrated year-round, I wish rappers would adhere to my wishes for 365 days. But I'll gladly settle for one month of kids without skinny jeans and face tats. We need to do better.