Rap Music: Do You Understand The Lyrics?


“What the hell did he say?” That my friends, is a sentence irrefutably uttered by the millions of people at one time or another who listen to hip hop and rap music. Now I know I’m openly white… however, you can’t tell me that everything these artists spit into the mic are real words. It seems like unless you’re a teenage boy, you are completely in the dark when it comes to understanding let alone relating to this music. Well, you’re not going to have to stand there scratching your do-rag much longer.

AOL News reports that group of hip hop pundits, if you will, are analyzing these lyrical vexes, and paraphrasing the meanings for those of us that fall under the rap impaired category. “ ‘Most rap listeners, like most rock listeners, are more interested in a hot beat and a catchy hook than deep, meaningful lyrics,’ said Tom Lehman, one of the founders of the Internet rap interpretation site Rap Genius.” He goes on to explain that, “The difference between rock and rap though is that with rap there’s actually meaning to uncover.” That’s all fine and good, but I had no idea there was an actual market for these people. I was under the impression that if someone doesn’t understand a line in a song, they say, “What?” and move on. Not sit there, dwell on it, and purchase cliff notes.

There is a lyric in a Lil Wayne song that goes like this: “I got through that sentence like a subject and a predicate.” Now according to Bill Buckholz, the man and the mind behind ‘Understand Rap,’ the rapper isn’t necessarily talking about grammar per se. He believes he’s actually referencing his recent prison stint translating the meaning as such: “I can endure a supposedly stressful incarceration as easily as the component parts of a basic grammatical unit come together in my mind to form these lyrics which I have just skillfully rapped.” Wow… talk about Caucasianifying words.

Buckholz says the reason he released, ‘Understand Rap: Explanations of Confusing Rap Lyrics You and Your Grandma Can Understand,’ online and in print was so that “anyone who wanted to post a confusing lyric could do so without feeling embarrassed, and anyone could browse through the lyrics that need explanations without feeling like they’re being quizzed or put on the spot.”

See, my belief regarding rap music is that most of the confusion lies within the words themselves not making sense. So, with all threats of embarrassment aside, I’ve got a quandary for you. I heard one of our rap buddies say, they wanted one of their hoes to “Lick it like a lollipop.” Why? When you think about it, lollipops get smaller as you lick them. So, I should think that’s the last way you’d want “it” licked. Think before you speak.

Buckholz says that, “he hasn’t been updating Understand Rap as often recently because he’s been focusing on the book and claims Rap Genius actually ripped off his site’s terms of use and privacy policy.” But I just guess this is further proof that people will truly buy anything. I’m shocked that we can trick humans into buying a CD with a bunch of crap on it they don’t understand and then purchase a second product in order to appreciate the first. What??? I’d suggest listening to classical music… but then there would probably be a group willing to buy the book, “Don’t Worry, There’s Nothing Wrong With Your Volume: It’s The Music.”

Now, if we could only get a team working on translating “The View” from gibberish to English.

(Image from Abrams Books)

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