Disillusionment (NSFW?)

(Before I begin, allow me to take a moment to publicly state that I lovelUVLouveiolveolveolveolvoeoLOlve most if not all of these artists. This is all in good humor. Also legitimate curiosity. Please feel free to drop a comment to answer any of my queries. Merci beaucoup!)

The original title of this post was supposed to be “Who Let the Haters in the Building in the First Place?” because I thought the beginning of certain songs were tagged with “Ha-ha-haters in the building,” alas! Alas, my dear friends, ’tis not so.

As our pal Jamal has clarified, the phrase is not “Haters in the building,” but rather “Kane is in the building” because apparently some clown by the name of Kane Beatz is a producer who works with everybody’s favorite, Young Money. I am so sad.

But enough weeping for now. There is something that I wanted to get to. Nomenclature. Rap Culture Nomenclature, or as I like to call it, The Undoing of the RNC (because it rearranges the letters of RNC to RCN and probably defiles everything for which the GOP stands). I too, am really good at naming things.

First in line is Lil’ Wayne. In fact, EVERYONE in the lil’ fam.
Why is everyone LIL’?????? I thought being powerful meant being big. I was convinced that being important meant that one possessed a large bank account, large supply of high end Maria Juana, and most likely a large piece of reproduction equipment, if ya catch my drift. So I sat here, perplexed, asking myself (and you too), why in the good Lord’s name, Wayne and Co. would choose to be diminutive?

Because they are Wayne and Co., and they are BRILLIANT.

Irony! Of course. Of-fucking-course. Why do I call myself stupid all the time? Because I’m actually a genius! Why do I call myself ugly all the time? Because I am really flawless! Why do I say I have no friends? Because I have more than I can count!
And Lil’ Wayne is effing HUGE. Or maybe we’re just compensating for something, but I’ll never admit that, ya?

The sole exception here seems to be Lil’ Bow Wow, or should I say, Bow Wow? It would seem that Shad Gregory Moss dropped the Lil’ after going through puberty. Good on ya, mate.

So aNyWaYYyy, here I am, Marginally More Enlightened Michelle. And yet, I still have some questions.

I ‘n luv wit’ Faheem Rasheed Najm

 

Let’s talk about T-Pain.

Here were some questions I had before I researched him:
-For what does the T stand in T-Pain? Because I have a sick and misinformed brain, I am once again found in the gutter and thinking Thrust-Pain? Testicle-Pain? Tongue-Pain? SomethingSexual-Pain?
-Why da hail would homeboy change his name to T-Pain, anyway, when Faheem Rasheed Najm is THE coolest name I have ever heard in my short life?
-WHY PAIN???? Why can’t we all just eat cake and rainbows and unicorns and smiles?? (Please note that some of the aforementioned items are not edible. Unless you can taste colors, are Harry Potter, or a cannibal. Then you’s fine).
-Honestly though. Faheem Rasheed Najm is the coolest name ever. Maybe should change my name.

T-Pain, for reals now. Upon further (rather, actual) research, the T in T-Pain stands for Tallahassee Pain, and is so because of the suffering he endured while he lived there. Thus, sadly for my cynical and stupid cerebrum, there are no sexual undertones in the name T-Pain. (And this is probably for the best.)

Birdman

Next on my list of People about Whom I Have a Question of Two are Gucci Mane and Mack Maine. Radric Devonte Davis (better known as Gucci Mane) is kinda like Cedric, but radder. Honestly, with a name like Radric, I’d probably just rap about skakeboards and Monster energy drinks, so I guess it’s a good thing he changed his name. Gucci is pretty cool, I guess. He is a man who wears a lot of Gucci, which is to say that he is a man of much money because Gucci ain’t nuthin’ ta fuk wit. So basically, he is rich. Gucci Mane is RCN for “Rich Man.” Jermaine Murdock Moldova Jerrilson Preyan, also known as one “Mack Maine” is a different story. In all his like eleven names, not a single Mack is to be found. Also, why are there two different misspelling of the word “man?” Was “man,” just not virile enough for anyone? Leave it fucking Birdman to be the one to use “man.”  (Birdman, really?) Jermaine Murdock Moldova Jerrilson Preyan is a pretty cool name, too. It’s a mouthful sure, but honestly… isn’t that what the average rapper wants…? Yeah, I just went there.
 

Lastly, I want briefly to talk about the –eezy to stage names. Yeezy, Weezy (apparently Lil’ wasn’t enough [and for more insufficient and therefore multiple stagenames, c.f Clifford Joseph Harris, Jr. or T.I or TIP or T.I.P or or or or]), Jeezy, G-Eazy. This I cannot even begin to think about. Is it because there is a Z, and Zs look or sound cool or something? I don’t know. I may never know. I will just take it for its face value, and assume in sublime ignorance that it is used because of its aesthetic appeals. Henceforth, please address me as Peezy (as per my last name + -eezy). Please and thank you.

DEUCES B.

Gracias Jenni Rivera. Gracias amiga.

Jenni Rivera was never my favorite artist, woman, human, etc. I could not bear the themes of some of her songs (see: this video among others), and she was generally a tad too brash for my taste, but today is not for criticizing her approach to some things which I probably will not understand for a while. Today I want to talk about what she did for Mexico and Latina women (and hopefully many others).

So who was Jenni Rivera? Ms. Rivera was a Mexican-American woman who sang banda, and who brought a fierce ovarian attitude to the male dominated Norteña game. Her “al chile” persona scared away those who would not have the truth. They are people who cannot stomach women, their freedom of expression, their equality to men, or a medley of all three. She could easily give off the impression of what the ignorants would fain call a vulgar woman, or worse, an abrasive “Feminazi.” In Mexico (and I will assume that in many other parts of the world), it is not only acceptable, but also encouraged for men to boast of their sexual triumphs and “base”* thoughts. In music videos, particularly in the Banda/Norteña genres, men, often old, ugly, disrespectful, but rich!, seduce (and occasionally force) younger, attractive, and generally hesitant women into bed. Gross? Sure. But would we expect anything different? Not really. This genre prides itself in its glorification of drugs, sex, and male dominance, and so long as the themes of their “corridos” follow these norms, we leave it alone, enjoy it, and/or ignore it.

But then Jenni Rivera came along.

Jenni Rivera, a woman with sparks at the tongue. To her male audience, she left something to be desired: she was overweight, loud-mouthed, and important. To her female audience, she generally fell into one of two sides: those who loved her, and those who hated her. To her fans, she was La Diva. She was who voiced their capricious daydreams; who told men to sit down and listen; who said that women too, could and should be seen as equal to men. To the people who disliked her, well, she never did pay much attention to them, and as a form of respect, I will not, either. Sure, they are plentiful, but they do not matter.

In her music videos and in her songs, it was she who seduced men into bed; it was she who had people fighting over her; it was she who decided what was to be done, and how. Naturally, she was not very popular with the average Mexican man who places his self worth in the number of women with whom he sleeps and their obedience and drooling over his “great” masculinity.

La Diva was unorthodox. She was not fully Mexican, she was not a man (nor macho), she was heavier than most people (sadly) would like, she openly spoke about sex and her exploits, and she cursed like a motherfucker. Add to that that she was wildly successful and much richer than her male counterparts, and there lies a real problem. Jenni, Jenni, O most ribald woman from hell! It is not so much that she failed to receive the “Recipe for Acceptable Woman” memo as much as it was that she did not care. And that was her most enticing allure.

Jenni Rivera was one of the most important Mexican feminists of our time. When I first heard the news, I was excitedly tweeting about a SUPER COOL THREE VOLUME IQ84 BY MURAKAMI BOX SET at Barnes.** I scrolled though my timeline and saw a couple #prayforJenniRivera re/tweets. Skeptical at first, I ignored them because what DOES the media accurately convey anymore? After a brief crying sesh over the box set which I could not afford and the H.P Lovecraft $7.98 collection my mother refused to buy for me, we left. I thought we were going to continue our shopping at a nearby shopping center, but my mom thought otherwise. “We’re going home. Did you hear what happened? My Jenni is dead.” My mom thinks Jenni is an important figure too.

Back home, I took five minutes from my mom’s mourning session in the living room to ask her a few questions. She was initially hesitant, but after much imploring and promising to do extra chores, I had success.

Me: Why do you love Jenni Rivera?

Mom: Ella fue… una mujer con huevos.

Me: And do you consider yourself one as well?

Mom: Of course, baby.

Me: Did you ever see her live?

Mom: Hello! ¡Osea, claro!

Me: How were the shows?

Mom: Les mentába la madre a los hombres. Mucho brindis. Bailaba. ‘Taba peda. Que buen show, la neta. Salud y salud todo el show.

Me: A qué brindaba?

Mom: A nosotras las mujeres. Madres chingonas (osea yo). No pendejas (osea yo). Más que bonitas, chingonas (osea yo).

Me: What do you think we lost?

Mom: Perdimos el prototipo de una mujer soltera que demostraba que no se necesitaba a un cabron para salir adelante. Muy similar a Rosie the Riveter, pero asi como.. para las mujeres americanas y también mexicanas. Dejó un legado muy importante… Quando era mucho más joven, su (ex)esposo abuso de su hija y de su hermana, y a causa de eso, ella fundó, donó, y entrenaba a mujeres abusadas.

After I thanked my mom for her time, she retired into her bedroom, where I think, she continues to grieve.

Jenni left women feeling empowered, unafraid, important, worthy, beautiful, and limitless. A didactic Diva, she taught women about independence, optimism, family, love and lust and disgust and betrayal, and in general, about themselves. Her usually raunchy and sometimes drunken revelries of her failures served not to anger her listeners, but to help them learn from her mistakes. She fostered a sisterhood that was once lost to petty cat fights (about which she also sang and in which she at least once partook) about equally petty men. She united women in a way that most people and things cannot. We do not all bond over the same book, same “novela,” same financial problem, or same weight issue, but we can bond in the struggle for self-worth, self-love, self-sufficiency, and a lot of the times, we can also bond over a good tequila or two about misandry.

Today we lost Jenni Rivera. We lost a powerful symbol of what it means to be a fighter and a lover. But let’s not wallow in our beds tonight brooding over our departed princess. Let’s instead thank her for a moment for what she has proved, what she has done for us to make us better. Let’s go to work tomorrow and feel equally empowered and beautiful, continuing the legacy she has laid out for us.
Rest in peace.

MPF

Sources:

Chicago Tribune

Wiki

LA Times

* I put that in quotations because I consider it not base, but natural, however, much of my readership may fall under the conservative side of the spectrum.

** You, beautiful reader, are free to give me this for Christmas or Dia de los Reyes or whatever, really. It’s OOONNNLLLLYYY $30.***

***Online it’s only $18! OMG! It’s a sign.