A few weeks ago everyone was talking about WAP by Cardi B. I read the lyrics, even listened to the beginning of it and…was really uncomfortable with it all.
But I have to be honest with myself. Back when I was 15 or 16 I listened to 2 Live Crew… if you haven’t heard 2 Live Crew they were the over sensational band that sang about sex in really blatant lyrics that were graphic. The one that actually made it onto the radio for a while was “Me So Horny” but it was heavily censored to get to the radio. I had the album. That song, even with the graphic lyrics, was the cleanest one on the album.
I think that’s what happens with things like this Cardi B song, though. The ones flocking to it are mid teens to 20’s. Older adults listen to it and get a little shocked because we grew up, we realized what is actually in those lyrics, and it doesn’t sound as good as it did when we were younger.
But our younger self? Bring on the sexy lyrics. Ludicrous singing about his fantasies, the Thong Song, and Missy Elliot with Work It. We listened, danced, and sang along. Even Madonna who was on every radio, every music video station, and many movies, had those songs and videos that caused scandal after scandal. She wasn’t just the queen of pop, she was a sex goddess, and we loved her for it.
I think a large part of it is that I look at a lot of the girls doing these music videos these days and I realize they are the same age as my daughters. I look at them and I think of my girls and I realize it just isn’t the same…
Music videos have gotten more graphic in some ways. “What’s Your Fantasy” had very tantalizing lyrics but the actual video is pretty tame. I was surprised when I saw it. WAP, or even Belle Delphine’s new music is more of a visual stimulant than an auditory one. I actually like Dell Delphine’s new music, but the videos make me uncomfortable so I don’t want like watching the videos.
Objectively WAP is a very average song. It lines up with a lot of other songs out there, and doesn’t do anything new. The music video leverages shock and awe with light fixtures and furniture that look like body parts, and everyone is scantily clad, but it still hasn’t gone too far beyond what every other music video does. I would even say it’s less interesting because she goes to such great lengths to use nudity. It’s like the difference between burlesque and a full frontal. The strip and the tease is what makes it tantalizing. When you’re just standing there naked it is less interesting than the tease.
But nuance is lost on a lot of people these days. They are more likely to bash you in the face with their beliefs then to try and work through them in a subtle way. I think WAP is like that. Young women who have nice bodies and use them to get eyeballs on their product, sell music, or art, or a twitch stream… Use what you’ve got, right?
I guess I don’t like the song, it isn’t to my taste, but it isn’t going to start the next generation down dark paths anymore than D&D made young geeks into Satan worshipers. So there’s that.