To Music Recording Artists:
There are a few of you black artists who are still doing Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and your craft justice.
India.Arie. Musiq Soulchild. Anthony Hamilton. Erykah Badu. Andre 3 Stacks. Common. Jay-Z. T.I. Lil Wayne (the skinny jeans still aren’t cool). John Legend. Ne-Yo. Lupe Fiasco. Kanye West (again, thank you for cutting your hair). Jazmine Sullivan. Eric Benet (still can’t believe you cheated on Halle). Brian McKnight. Mint Condition. Raphael Saadiq. Solange Knowles (your album is killing Big Sis’ latest effort). Eric Roberson (MySpace him). Even Keyshia Cole (God bless her crazy family). I see you all.
You maintain what’s awesome about the music I love most and your efforts are appreciated. But the black recording artists who are ruining the game quintuple you all in number. For brevity’s sake, I’m only naming two: T-Pain and Young Jeezy … And one song: “The Stanky Legg.”
Part of me that wants to write a letter to T-Pain’s vocoder. In fact, I won’t even waste time here. It deserves its own memo. … Jeezy was doing OK until he decided to write a song entitled “My President Is Black,” which has the following ridiculous lyric for a hook:
My President is black/My Lambo’s blue/and I’ll be (gosh darned) if my rims ain’t, too.
What does your president being black have to do with the rims on your Lamborghini being blue? … Can’t come up with an answer? I can: It’s extreme coonery.
On to the one song: I refuse to write anything more than the title “The Stanky Legg” and won’t say anything about the accompanying dance to prove my point. The title speaks for itself.
But even to you most proficient bojanglers I say: Thank you. Why? Because the overall state of black music has forced me to avoid local FM radio. I find myself listening to Pandora.com and the AM dial, which features Rush Limbaugh’s chimp-like ramblings, NPR and a heavy dosage of sports talk radio.
I’ve gone so far as to open my mind/ears up to alternative rock and some pop music. I crave good music the way some of you starve for attention. A few years back, I’d only listen to white artists with “soul” (i.e., Amy Winehouse, Jon B., John Mayer and Robin Thicke). Now, I feed on the music of Jason Mraz, The Fray, Coldplay, Imogen Heap, Jack Johnson, Gavin Degraw, Colbie Caillat, Maroon 5 and Aqualung mixed in with artists at the start of this letter. Hell, I’ll even nod my head to a Dixie Chicks’ track.
Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek” is quite possibly the most confusing, yet greatest song I’ve ever heard. I still can’t figure out what it means because it’s that abstract and well-hidden.
I’m embarrassed to admit this, but the ineptitude of black music has forced me to consider the great non-black music I’ve avoided the last 10 years. Some of it is impeccably written. I apologize for being closed-minded for so long.
But I’m not anymore. I love the combination of good writing and good music that much. And I have you all, and Pandora, to thank for this wondrous gift.
Dame (not Dash)
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