RC: Hi! I’m the Rap Critic. Let’s talk about Wale. Now, as you remember, I was quite fond of his single “Lotus Flower Bomb” from Last year. It had a great atmosphere and realistically portrayed the scenario of meeting someone you’re attracted to for the first time. Since then, Wale has had quite a bit of success. His album’s gone gold, and his touring around the world. However, I still feel like he’s not as big as he should be yet. He doesn’t seem like a breakout star as much as someone who’s still kinda in his label head’s shadow. You know, I could make a joke about how it might be literally hard to get out of Rick Ross’s shadow, but that would be making a fat joke, and I’m… I just did it anyways… I’m sorry… But seriously, I feel like “Lotus Flower Bomb” wasn’t as big as it should have been, seeing that it barely cracked the top 40, and that his other singles didn’t even come close. So, Wale’s back again this year with another love song single from his new album that seems to be doing a lot better than its spiritual predecessor, called “Bad”. Now, as soon as I see that word, I’m reminded of how every rap song seems to fit that word into the phrase "bad bitch"
…but, I don’t think Wale’s gonna go that route, at least not in such a simplistic sense. Listening to “Lotus Flower Bomb” leads me to think that he takes the topic of women more seriously than that, at least when he’s rapping on his own. But, I’ve been wrong before… in almost every intro to every episode, so let’s see what he does!
*Music video intro, I look confused*
Um, are you putting a commercial for your album before the music video?... Did anyone ever tell you that music videos ARE commercials for albums?
Well, skipping a full minute past the ad, which makes that ad 1/5th of the music video, we finally get to the… nope, first we have to listen to two girls ordering food from a Spanish guy who doesn’t speak English
…'Kay (Que?)… but then, one of the girls gives her number to the Spanish guy they got their food from, not because they had a good conversation, which is impossible, because as previously stated, he doesn’t speak English, but simply because they heard the word “numero”, which they know means number
”I can’t believe you!”
Me neither! Why is this happening?
Wale: “Monogamy or whatever you call it I'm starting to think it ain't for everybody”
RC: Especially now that fame has made more women want to have sex with me *thumbs up, smile*
Wale: “Most of us is rushing into it anyways, you know what I'm saying You ain't rushing for love, and I ain't up here to judge So let's neglect the "what if"'s and make it do what it does”
RC: Man, this song raises some pretty good points in its intro, doesn’t it. I mean, we’re so eager to be intimate with those we find attractive, but it’s not to have a lasting relationship, it’s because of a primal sexual urge that we’re trying to satisfy. And he offers that we can’t stop it, so let’s just give in to it. Now, what I like about this song is that there’s a lot of nuance in it, in that it doesn’t necessarily paint that ideology positively
TiaraThomas: "Is it bad that I never made love, no I never did it But I sure know how to fuck"
RC: Ms Tiara Thomas delivers this chorus hauntingly well, as, even though it drops the F bomb in the first few seconds of the chorus like that, I feel like it works perfectly for the meaning of the song. From the get go, it starts with a very vulnerable question, impressing upon the listener the dichotomy of sex in her mind, indicating by the second lines that she takes pride in her ability to physically satisfy her lover, but by the first line, showcasing an insecurity and indeed remorsefulness about the fact that she has never had the type of sex that links physicality with a deeper emotional trust. And we’re not done yet
Tiara: I'll be your bad girl, I'll prove it to you I can't promise that I'll be good to you
RC: You know, with each line from her somber yet sultry vocal delivery, you can interpret each lyric of the chorus as either a cocky expression of sexual liberation, departing from the idea of perceiving sex on an emotional level, or as a regretful admission of her possible inability to perceive sex as having an emotional context
Tiara: "Cause I’ve had some issues, I won't commit"
RC: Now, allow me to explain something that might ruin this chorus for you. Now, you may have noticed the bed spring sounds in the background, and as much as they kind of get on my nerves, there’s an explanation for it. You see, this chorus isn’t originally from this song. It’s from another song originally by Tiara Thomas called “Bad”, which itself is actually a semi-remake of a crunk song from 2004 by Trillville, called “Some Cut”, and it’s about, well…
Trilville: "What it is ho, what's up Can a nigga get in them guts"
RC: Yeah, and here’s the thing: this interesting chorus awkwardly wraps around the chorus of the song by Trillville, And boy, if you ever wondered whether a crunk song about sex from a male perspective translates well into a smooth, delicately sung R and B song done by a women, well, you’ve got your answer
Trilville: What it is ho, what's up Can a nigga get in them guts Cut you up like you ain't been cut Show your ass how to really catch a nut
RC: Is this supposed to be a joke? Because if you’re gonna do that, don’t write a serious hook around it. That’s just confusing. That’d be like if Alanis Morrisette did that jokingly serious version of “My Humps”, but replaced the verses with lines about soul-crushing heartbreak. It’s kind of unclear whether or not you understand how ridiculous it sounds
Trilville: “And I'll follow that ass in the mall Take you home, let you juggle my (whoa!)”
RC: Balls. The word that originally goes there is “balls”. You know, in a remake of a song that starts off with “lemme get in them guts”, the time to censor yourself has passed
And thank God that for Wale’s version, they only used her original parts of this song
Tiara: “Bad, that I never made love, no I never did” *squeaking*
RC: They could have left off the bed squeaking though
Wale: Bad girls ain't no good, and the good girls ain't no fun
RC: You know, this is a pretty dangerous mindset to put yourself in, and what’s annoying is that what he’s describing is actually a very popular opinion. Outright acknowledging that bad girls are not the ones you should go for, but going for them anyways because, “the good girls aren’t any fun!” That’s a terrible mentality to put yourself in! That’s like if girls only went for the bad boys because they’re allegedly “more fun” and “mysterious” and… oh, wait, that does happen… Huh. It’s pretty bad on both ends, isn’t it?
Wale: And the hood girls want a smart nigga, college girls all want a thug So it seems that we fiend what we don't need
RC: It’s kinda funny, a lot of people want to attract someone who’s a stark contrast to themselves, with their justification being “because I wanna have fun” and “they’re interesting and challenging”, but ironically, those “fun” and “interesting” people always end up ruing their lives and making them jaded against opening up to people who will actually care about them. Jeez, it’s almost like we’re stupid
Wale: Got a thing for a queen who know when to leave I ain't bout to judge you, don't judge me
RC: Hey, I’m not judging you for being a sexually liberated woman who doesn’t need a relationship to be happy, so don’t judge me for indicating that, after sex, I don’t see you as important to me anymore. What? What did I—what?
Wale: Cause I heard you (bad no), yeah In the literal sense I mean that Rough sex saying I love you But to kiss them saying you mean that
RC: Huh, so you can say “I love you” all you want, but only when you kiss them is when you mean it? If you don’t want to indicate that you love someone, shouldn’t you just, like, NOT say it?
Wale: But the problem is probably a deep past
RC: Hm. Or, maybe, this need to say “I love you” stems from a deep-seeded desire that really wants love, but since the actuality of finding someone to love is truly hard to detect, and could lead to being hurt, we settle only for a superficial intimacy, one that’s ultimately unsatisfying but at least gives us something physical to cling to that verifies that someone in this cold world who knows very little about us can find us desirable, even if that desire is fleeting. I’m really liking how thought-provoking this song is so far. And the best part is, he’s doing it without any hard rhyming stuff that plagues a lot of his material. And yeah, a lot of people do that, but it’s particularly jarring when he does it, because with him…
*sample from “Miami Nights”*
Wale: Look, I know you not gay or nothing But we should find another girl with a tapeworm
She graduated top of the class Carol City or was it the west Hold up I dont remember really, hold up
I'm in a rental on Collins Me and my compadres, burning up Barneys
RC: …he doesn’t even try to make the words sound similar! It’s almost like he’s challenging you call him out on it. And to all people who think rhyming the words aren’t necessary: Look, If you want to go on record to make a statement about something without having the need to rhyme words. That’s great! Write a speech! Put a beat behind it if you feel so inclined. But if you’re in a chosen medium, there are certain elemental things that are there for a reason. I don’t know about you guys, but whenever I hear two lines next to each other that don’t rhyme, I hear the writer saying, “I need to find a rhyme for the word I just put at the end of this line that will work in the context of the next line… *whine* but that sounds hard! But, like I said, he seems to be in check of that, because it doesn’t seem to be happening as blatantly in this song… wait, doesn’t it…
Wale: "Still I'm feeling it's something I need bad *C’mon* Thinking if I get her, I get her to need this *No, plea--* I don't need emotions to open your deep sea *It doesn’t have to be this way* I can see the ocean by going between legs"
RC: *sighs* Well, at least there were some internal rhymes. But, going back to his message, I think these lyrics serve the song’s purpose well. In this instance, these synonyms for open waters symbolize both the vast deepness and mystery of a person, and a hyperbole for her sexual stimulation, and by him saying that he doesn’t “need” emotions, he’s directly comparing these two metaphorical meanings, and ultimately choosing sexual gratification as a more satisfying body of water to explore
Wale: She hurt feelings, she break hearts She stay quiet, she play smart She take pride in going out Getting hollered at, and saying nah
RC: And here is where he starts to really break down her character, specifically noting how she’s prideful of her abilities to seduce men. But it’s not just the seduction she enjoys: it’s the rejection she deals out that inflates her ego. It’s the idea of, “*sultry* yeah, I could have you at any moment if I wanted, *dismissive* but eh, I don’t really feel like it. The thing is, though, this song doesn’t make her out to be like some super villain or anything like that. Yeah, she takes pride in her looks and sexual prowess, but there’s lots of context scattered throughout the song that lets you know that her decisions were made based on her reality. She’s had issues that make her unwilling to commit, which can very easily connotate to a situation where a man took advantage of her trust, leading her to being resilient of ever letting any other man have that emotional power, which can just as very easily lead her to getting a certain gratification in having sexual power over other men in her life
Wale: I ain't tryna kiss up, suck up, feed gas I ain't like them *blank* you sucking your teeth at
RC: Wait, play the chorus of this video. “I sure know how to fuck”. Now play that line again. “I ain't like them *blank* you sucking your teeth at”. Why do you randomly edit your songs, dude? Same thing happened last year with “Lotus Flower Bomb”! I can’t believe “not” cursing is a complaint I’m having about a rapper, but dude, have some consistency!
Wale: Play big, trust me I'll humble your mean ass, look
RC: Now this is interesting development, as Wale seems confident that he will be the person to break through her exterior and be the one man that will change her mind about relationships. A bit of a parallel to “Lotus Flower Bomb”, actually. So, I wonder if he’ll get to her and they’ll fall in--
"Nah. Called in the morning cell number wasn't on, goddamn"
RC: Oh. I guess not. I mean, you could argue that maybe her cell phone battery may have died or maybe she just had her phone off since last night so that no one would bother them, but after the way her character is described, you know what’s up. Also, I like how he uses a very staccato flow at the tail end of each verse describing their exploits, right before each one ends with her leaving him:
Wale: Beg, nope, bed, floor, dope, Go, for it, couch, now Slow, mo-tion, around, put it down Lord knows she was going for the morn, hold up
Bed, floor, couch, more, more, shower, Lord, perm, Done. Love, nah Called in the morning cell number wasn't on, goddamn
RC: In a way, it lights their sexual ventures as quick, fleeting vignettes ultimately ending with him sounding seemingly unappeased at her absence, despite his earlier line about “wanting a girl who knows when to leave”. Indeed the song ends up painting Wale as foolish for, at first, thinking nothing of sex as pure pleasure, but then, falling too hard for her and misguidedly starting to believe that an evening with her could lead to anything substantial. What’s more is that since he doesn’t really know her, his longing can only be related to how he felt the sex between them was a significant interaction because it was so good, which is indicative of how we can sometimes substitute the idea of someone who can sexually satisfy us for someone who can emotionally connect with us. Mon, this episode was not as funny as I thought it was gonna bee… Overall, I’d give this a 4 out of 5. I like the way this song presents its premise and the way Wale executes his descriptions. It properly depicts a reality that could be taken with a grain of salt as yet another “bad girl” anthem, but can be looked at closer as an inspection of the “hook-up” lifestyle and what’s going on in terms of how the people involved may feel about their situations, concerning men and with women. The hard rhymes can be distracting at time, but altogether, the way this song fleshes out its context more than makes up for it
I’m the Rap Critic. You don’t have to like my opinion, but I don’t have to like your song… except when I do… Yeah…
I’m the Rap Critic. You don’t have to like my opinion, but I don’t have to like your song… except when I do…. Yeah…