I really love Top 40's pop/hip hop. Normally, I just tell people that, as a middle school teacher, I have to listen to it so I can relate to my students. But it's all lies. I mean, it does help with the whole relating thing but really it's just so I can dance around my house to Three 6 Mafia.
A lot of the time the lyrics are objectifying and gross (the Ying Yang twins got deleted from iTunes one night in a fit of feminist rage). But, if you can turn your brain off, most of it is just fun to dance (read: jump around sporadically) to and occasionally you get lyrical gems like in Swag Surfin’, ahem: “Shawty check my Dougie like she Patty Mayonnaise.” See, that’s just clever.
I normally try to avoid music videos though because even I can’t rationalize away the misogyny there. But for some reason, I decided to watch Young Money’s “Bed Rock” vid ….and I really loved it. There are issues…don’t get me wrong. It starts with him crawling out from under an orgy of women on his bed, there’s some light voyeurism, they diss the Oxygen network, no one wears any real clothing and they live in a mansion and have water gun fights and sex all day…wait, nevermind. That last part sounds awesome. I get sick though of constantly criticizing pop culture so today, I'm choosing to celebrate the “Bed Rock” video and what it does right in a genre that typically does so many things wrong.
1. "Call me Mr. Flintstone cause I can make your bed rock." I know he didn't come up with it, but that's hilarious and he made a song out of it. Well done, Young Money.
2. EVERYONE is naked in this video. So you have women walking around in hotpants and bras but you have just as many men walking around shirtless. It feels less voyeuristic than the videos with naked women grinding on fully dressed men. Besides, it's practical: if all you do is have sex all day, why wear clothes?
3. It acknowledges female sexual pleasure. Most songs are talking about all the crazy sexual things men can do to women and how awesome they are as men for being able to do those things. Women can "pop, lock and drop" and he might be in love with the "way her body moves on the dance floor" but it's rarely acknowledged that women are more than really hot vessels men use to get orgasms. Not in "Bed Rock." Women are initiating sex. Women are on top. Women are aggressive and having fun. Young Money's actual "room is the G-spot" and Nicki's "cumming off the top."
4. It's playful. Men and women are teasing each other, they're having water gun fights, they're fighting over chairs, they're playing games and watching TV together, they're laughing while having sex. It's fun and relieving to watch women and men interact so casually after being used to watching music video women having the singular role of grinding while getting hosed down by a water hose or something.
5. Women are acknowledged as strong. Jae Millz sings "She ain't gotta man, but she's not alone, Miss Independent, here she got her own." And one of the girls is shown beating one of the guys at foosball. Womenz, FTW.
I conclude with this line of musical magic: "I love your sushi rolls, hotter than wasabi. I race for your love, shake-and-bake, Ricky Bobby."