So, after that last episode about Nicki Minaj, I wanted to find something a little more, uhh… female positive… *show Nicki's video* Yeah, say what you like about this video showing a woman as having agency in her sexuality, but for me, it was WAY too pandering to the tastes of thirsty men to be taken seriously. I wanted to find a popular rap song that more directly catered to what WOMEN want
"My neck, my back, lick my pussy AND my crack"
Uh… in addition to my former statement, I wanted to review a song that could possibly be GOOD that got popular and directly catered to what women want. And to my surprise, to find a rap song from a woman's perspective, that was good while still breaking through to the mainstream, I only had to go back about one or two… decades…
Yeah, going back through Hiphop, the early 90's was actually the most visible time for female rappers. Cats like MC Lyte, Yo-yo, and Queen Latifah were out there really puttin' it down for the ladies, but I feel like the most successful AND female positive rappers of the time were Salt n Pepa, and while they had success first in the 80's with "Push It", and people seem to remember that song the most out of their catalogue, I myself was never really into it lyrically. I mean, what are they honestly saying here that flipped people's wigs?
"Don't you hear the music pumping hard, like I wish you would"
What, this line? All she's saying is that she wants you to hear the music playing… or wait, maybe in addition to telling a guy to listen to the pumping of the music, she's demanding that HE should be pumping as hard as the… oh, wow, how did I JUST get that…
Well, either way, I don't think they REALLY started coming into their own until the 90's when they refined their personalities as female rappers who were clearly sexually active, yet they were obviously smart about it. With them, I always got the feeling that they were writing lyrics that intelligent girls wanted to hear. I mean, they made a song called:
"Let's talk about sex baby, let's talk about you and me"
But, whereas one could take the easy route and just rap hypersexualized lyrics, they went another route
"Let's talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be"
They were encouraging people to talk about the whole spectrum of sex, telling people that we should be open about talking about what makes us feel good, but also, all the risks that come with sex, telling us to communicate with each other about our problems and insecurities. Perfect timing, too, as Salt n Pepa put this music out right before the era where gangsta rap ruled supreme, and if you wanted to be on top as a female rapper, you had to unabashedly exploit your sexuality, but you guys know where that whole story goes. However, I wanted to focus on their highest charting song, because, in contrast to Nicki's tales about guys, I wanted to review a song where these ladies talked about guys. So, let's take a look at "Whatta Man" by Salt N Pepa
What a man, what a man, what a man What a mighty good man
Now, I know what you're thinking… I ALWAYS KNOW WHAT YOU'RE THINKING… but in this particular instance, you may be saying, "hey, they're blatantly sampling another song, aren't they?" And you'd be right
They indeed got En Vogue to update the old school 60's tune by Lynda Lindell for the chorus, and wrote raps that elaborated on the subject, effectively creating an early version of the rap song cover, foreshadowing a whole generation of rappers to not only sample but create direct rap remakes of older songs. And that may annoy you that, instead of creating their own song from the ground up, they reconstructed a mostly finished composition and just rapped over it, but for those that absolutely loath any and all sampling because they feel it's bad for music, here's a little background history, Lynda Lindell created this song in 1968, and when it began receiving some attention on the radio, she quickly started receiving death threats and hate mail from racist groups who didn't like the fact that a white woman was singing "black" music, and so after only recording 4 songs, she retired from music for 2 and a half decades purely out of fear. That is, until a little remix of one of her songs got so popular, the royalty check from said remix reinvigorated her courage to perform music again. The lesson here is: sometimes, sampling can be a good thing. But, back to the song...
I wanna take a minute or two, and give much respect due To the man that's made a difference in my world
Okay, so we kick off automatically with the main point giving praise to a man who has been good to her
And although most men are ho's
Hey… you can't call us that! That's our word to describe YOU when you want to be as sexually active as we want to be…
I never heard about him with another girl But I don't sweat it because it's just pathetic To let it get me involved in that he said/she said crowd I know that ain't nobody perfect, I give props to those who deserve it And believe me y'all, he's worth it
Now, these lines are quite dynamic in what they're presenting. They paint the narrator as someone who not only has found someone loyal amongst the other jerks of the world, but someone to whom she has gained so much trust in, that even if there were questions raised by others as to his faithfulness, she wouldn't pay it any mind. Because even so she recognizes the imperfections in his humanity, and that, despite a fall from grace, she would be willing to stick it out with him, because the bond they share is worth more than any problems they could face. Now, you could see this as her showing herself as weak, and willing to accept someone who's infedelitous, but I don't think that's the case. Through out the song, we get a clear message that they're not the type of girls who mess with guys who don't actually have true value in their lives
A lot of snot-nosed ex-flames couldn't be him He never ran a corny line once to me yet
He's not a fake wannabe tryin' to be a pimp
They tried to play all that mac shit But every time they tried I said, "That's not it"
It's made apparent that this guy is different, that HE indeed fits HER standards as a lover. However, I think the acknowledgement of his imperfections is a smart inclusion, because it shows her as not some stuck up person who has impossibly high expectations of a boyfriend, but as someone who's realistic, while still commanding a deeper bond of love and trust, and that makes their triumph as a unit all the more rewarding. Now, some of you might be saying, hey Rap Critic, this seems less like an analysis of a female positive song and more like you humble bragging about understanding the core of relationships as some sort of cheap ploy to appeal to your female audience, to which I say, "yes. That is exactly what I'm doing", and If there's one thing I've learned from modern media, it's that blatantly admitting that you're doing something that's obviously pandering makes it completely okay to keep doing it. So ladies, now that I'm back on the market after my falling out with… a young woman you might know, I'd like to use this song to affirm from a female point of view, that point of view being these lyrics written by a woman, that I indeed embody the idea male specimen for whom you seek
I finally found somebody that can make me laugh
Hey, I know women like a sense of humor. That's why I have a comedy show
(Ha ha ha) You so crazy I think I wanna have your baby
Women REALLY like a sense of humor…
My man is smooth like Barry, and his voice got bass
*deep voice* Is that a fact? Well, I do believe it's possible I might be fitting the bill for this ideal gentleman of which you speak
A body like Arnold with a Denzel face
Well, ladies, I'm sure you know of my devilish good looks, and my *almost lifts shirt, ahem, puts it back down* Well, I'm still working on this part
And yes, it's me that he's always choosin' With him I'm never losin', and he knows that my name is not Susan
That's… oddly specific… but seriously, this line is actually referring to a Whitney Houston song of the same name, in which Whitney gets angry at her boyfriend for accidentally calling her by the name of a past lover. And of course, she's saying that she doesn't have to worry about that in her relationship. Going back to bragging about me as a potential boyfriend, though, I may not have Schwarzenegger abs, but ladies: I will never call you Susan..
Lady: What if my name's actually Susan?
Me: Nope. Not even then. You see, unlike some men, I stick to my commitments *eyebrows*
My man gives real loving that's why I call him Killer
Well, "killer" seems a bit extreme there, but I think I get your point
He takes his time and does everything right
Well, if you're a fan of my show, you know I do all of this myself, and I do it well *light falls*
Knocks me out with one shot for the rest of the night
Oh yes ladies, I'll alway be sure to… wait, say that again…
Knocks me out with one shot for the rest of the night
Uh… unfortunately, I don't think I'm gonna be able to fit that role. Sorry, it's just… not me. Unless, of course, you're talking about sex, in which case, you want me to, like, sex-wise, knock you out with one shot? Geez, I can't do that either. I need at least, like, 50. I mean, granted, part of that might be due to the un-Schwarzenegger abs, but come on, give me some leeway here!
Spends quality time with his kids when he can
Okay, that is little easier. I can work with that
Secure in his manhood cuz he's a real man
And I can do that too! In fact, I'm so secure in my manhood, I've been recording the last few episodes without pants… or boxers…
Every time I need him, he always got my back Never disrespectful cuz his mama taught him that
Am well, My moms instilled in me the proper way to treat the ladies, so if we get together, girl, it will be to you that I will always remain respectful… and pantsless
Overall, I'd give this song a 5 out of 5. The song has an old school yet somehow timeless vibe to it, unlike a lot of other VERY dated rap music of the time, and the rhymes are on point, showcasing chilled out yet flavorful rhymes about what these two women look for in a relationship, and the lyrics, stay focused and deliver a sadly seldom heard subject in a way that's fun to listen to, and doesn't easily get old. Go ahead and check this joint out, and some of Salt n Pepa's other joints as well. I think you'll dig it
Well, I'm the Rap Critic, and… I still haven't made a catch phrase for signing off after doing a positive review…