Sunday, April 19, 2009

Bromance and Hip Hop Gossip for Midlife Dummies

If you're young and a Hip Hop fan and know all the latest gossip, move along. This post is for people like me, women in midlife who were raising babies while Hip Hop blew up, who know about Prince once having a crush on Patrice Rushen, Joni Mitchell's baby being put up for adoption, Aretha Franklin's scandals, and Luther Vandross rumors, but as for Hip Hop, after Grandmaster Flash, all we knew was diapers and dates with the PTA.

Ever since I decided to write about "Lil Wayne, Hip Hop, and how life informs art" at NOLA Lit Examiner, I've been getting educated. I took a swing, for instance, at examining Lil Wayne's rap the way one traditionally examines poetry, and got into deep waters. Mrs. Grapevine, a talented, younger blogger who has the inside story on entertainers and celebrities, dropped by and told me something about rappers and romance that I didn't know.

See, I had looked at the placement of Erykah Badu's name in Lil Wayne's "A Milli" lyrics text, and considering his overall leaning toward misogyny, concluded her name being last followed by "who dat" was a subtle belittling. Yes, old school literary critique methods played heavily into my analysis. Mrs. Grapevine said Lil Wayne did not put down Ms. Badu, but was placing her among the greats of Hip Hop.

She knows more about Lil Wayne than I do, and so I'll assume she's correct, but I may have to find some of Lil Wayne's cousins down here in NOLA to tell him to please answer this, "What the hell do you mean, Dwayne?" But I don't want to end up in one of his song as "ole 7th Ward bougie b*tch keep calling me/why she mauling me," or something like that.

Also, Mrs. Grapevine told me about Andre 3000 (you know, OutKast guy, Hey Ya and such) and Ms. Badu having had a romantic relationship with Dre. I didn't know that, I thought. But maybe I did, somewhere through my midlife fog, in between memories of changing diapers, car pool, taking a kid to soccer, and my divorce, I think I remember hearing something about Ms. Badu having a baby or two.

In fact, I looked up more about MsBadu, since I'll be going to her concert next week with my daughter, and I found out that she's got stories to tell about men. But I would've known that if her love life was on my radar and, well, because, when you're young and a celebrity you most likely have men.

I'm not totally behind, though, I did know about Badu's stalker because I was on Twitter before Oprah, but I'm glad she's there. Now my other midlife friends won't think it's strange that I have a Twitter account.

Today Mrs. Grapevine has a post up about Jay-Z's friends stiffing a restaurant owner for $1500. How does she find out this information? I guess people talk to somebody who talks to somebody who calls a reporter.

And then tonight I was looking at a piece on "bromances" by Tiffany Warner, the LA Gossip Examiner, and found out that a "bromance" is a slang term for men having a close bond. I'm so behind on the times, but it's an amusing and clever name for male bonding.

Next I read something I would not have dreamed, but Lil Wayne & Baby (Birdman) have come under scrutiny because of the picture below. I can believe they've come under scrutiny, but I can't believe they let themselves come under scrutiny by being caught smooching. As Tiffany explains, rappers are notoriously homophobic, and further, as Field Negro would agree, so is the black community.

With the tragic suicide of Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, 11, a child who killed himself because children at school bullied and taunted him and called him "gay," we've had to look at ourselves again, our promotion of homophobia. Carl's story rips me apart. We adult humans must get over ourselves before we poison all of our children.

So, while I'm surprised that Lil Wayne and Baby let themselves be caught on film sharing a kiss because they had to know how some people would portray that, I'm glad that each man is comfortable enough in his masculinity to show such affection. European men hug and kiss each other. This fear of appearances seems to be a puritanical American thing, even though I know other cultures, such as Carribean and Arabic cultures, are very homophobic.

Tiffany quoted Giant Magazine, "Exploring Rap's Most Enduring Bromances."
Lil Wayne & Baby The saga of the Birdman and the Birdman Jr. is one of riches, but it is also one of kisses. Ever since a camera caught them locking lips in late 2006, their relationship has been forced into the open and ridiculed by homophobic rap fans in comment sections across the blogosphere.

They explain it as a loving father-son bond, but questions linger about the particulars of their relationship. Interestingly, they have fanned many of those flames themselves. For instance, when Baby, Weezy and Manny Fresh appeared on 106 & Park back during the reign of AJ and Free, Wayne claimed, “I’m the only one he (Baby) kisses.” (link)
That last quote, "I'm the only one he kisses,"-- I guess Lil Wayne's a free soul.

Giant Magazine says that the term "bromance" is not just about black rappers but also a trend in movies, such as the film I Love You, Man. Its article pairs up 50 Cent & Tony Yayo and also Jay-Z & Memphis Bleek, but indicates Beyonce may be the Yoko Ono of that bromance.

So, rappers have been known for calling their good male friends their dogs. What do they call them now? I don't think they dare use the obvious associated word.

Whew! I feel like I just finished a round of the children's game Telephone. But looking at what the younger set thinks is news can be fun.


msladydeborah said...


I am birth mother of three different eras of hip hop folks.

If you want to keep up with the happenings go to Live Journal. Open an account. Join a group on line called Black Folks-get an education on what is up on a daily basis. They are cool people. They just don't write about the latest gossip. They actually have issues on their minds as well.

As far as your middle aged friends thinking you're strange for twittering-believe me-mind are often blown away by different on line accounts. FB, Twitter, MySpace,Live Journal, I am on several different ning sites, plus the myspace for baby boomers-Eons.

I work with twenty somethings-they love to share the latest-gossip on their stars. Most of it is pretty boring to me. But then I am not into celebrities in that manner.

Vérité Parlant said...

Thank you for that link at Live Journal. I used to have an account there but closed it b/c I kept forgetting I had it. But I'm going to go over there and look for that group. It's good to keep up with what the people think about what. My children are strange, 10 years apart, and neither of them is that into Hip Hop.

I think I'm part sociologist at heart and while not fascinated by the rumors in the rumor mill, I am curious about how much ordinary people are attracted to celebrity gossip. But even as a teen and young adult, I didn't follow the who's dating whom stuff or what people wore. I was more interested in how they do what they do, or how the artist thinks. With the exception of the Jackson Five when I was a tween.

America is obsessed, however, with the cult of personality. Have you looked at the traffic going to blogs and the sales of magazines that focus on celebrity news. And I think it's been that way almost forever, considering that back in the 30s, probably with the rise of Hollywood, it was sometimes the gossip columns keeping the newspapers afloat.

Finally, I've heard that people are fascinated by celebrities because our brains are wired to think if we consistently see images of a certain person, we know them. I guess the stalkers take that to the next level.

Marvalus said...

I read this last night. I grew up on Hip-Hop, but feel disconnected. I feel like I'm standing on the wall at a dance, watching everyone else have a good time, while I'm wondering when they are going to play the right song, and when that guy is going to ask me to dance.

I don't know when it happened, but it did. Maybe it's my age, but I think it has more to do with the fact that Hip-Hop has become ugly. It has always been controversial and brash, but the way that it carries itself nowadays is not something I want to associate myself with.

I have to keep an ear on it, because I have a 13-year-old son who listens to it. So that is the only reason I know who and why and what. Blogging has helped to keep me connected, and feeling like I know more than I do.

I keep up with things more out of necessity than interest.

Vérité Parlant said...

Marvalus, what you said is true of me as well for many aspects of life these days, I keep up due to necessity, not interest. There are some Hip Hop artists I like. For instance Erykah Badu classifies herself as Hip Hop, but for many others, I can only listen to the non-explicit versions. Unfortunately, for some of the artists that means half the song may be gone. :-)

It seems like one day I was dancing in college to "Rapper's Delight" and the next thing I know I'm married with kids, looking up and rap has declared women the enemy.

I don't know why my son never took to Hip Hop. He's kind of like an old man, more like his dad in that respect.

My daughter's hard of hearing. So she's goes in search of lyrics before she buys something. As a result and her being a woman who stands against misogyny, she doesn't like gangsta rap much.

But sometimes I have to turn off the censor in me and try to listen to Hip Hop as a writer and evaluate the talent of the artists, but after that I get concerned about what I'm putting in my ears. Know what I mean?

Yet, I'm trying my best not to throw out the baby with the bath water here, meaning to acknowledge the artist, his or her struggles and achievements and talent while standing firm that I don't like a big part of the message being given to our youth in many Hip Hop lyrics.

Liz said...

I like to watch the year's end "Rap up" by Skillz! Do you know them? He puts in music gossip and major political and cultural events of the year.

Here's the 2008 Rap Up

MrsGrapevine said...

Three years ago, I couldn't tell you who was who, and I could careless, and sometimes I still don't care.

But one day, while I was eight months pregnant with my second child, my mom was given a prognosis of 3-6 months, so I quit my job and she moved in with us, and cared for my two year old, my ailing mother, all while being in my third trimester. To stop from going crazy I would read celebrity blogs and live vicariously through them. I started the blog in June of 2007, and my mom died in July 2007, and escapism is what got me through.

Over time I built alliance and connections, and next thing I knew my inbox was filled with pictures from publicist, leaks of magazine covers, and free music. I also looked up and I was making money. So a means to escape turned into a means of income, and that's my story.

My major is English Lit w/ Emphasis in fiction writing, and rite short stories. Mrs. Grapevine is my alter ego, and a lot people I know don't even know I blog.

Vérité Parlant said...

MrsGrapevine, that is a fantastic story! WOW! And you've done so much in less than two years.

You should write a book on how to do it.

Before I killed off my old blog Jersey Goddess, I learned quickly that entertainment news always got more hits than life and death news, with the exception of horrific crime news. And writing about horrific crime is so depressing.

People like to escape and to live through others "better" circumstances, which is why romance novels sell so well.

Your mother's illness is a different story, however. You have my condolences.

While we can never replace our mothers, I see that God has blessed you through your struggles and that's a reason to be thankful that's a testimony to us all. :-)