Everything that is wrong with Lolly and 23

Kanye West best described chart music of today in his interview with Zane Lowe on BBC Radio 1 when he claimed, "Rap is radio." Ignoring opinions of Ye', he is spot on with the subject - the days have passed since R&B's domination in the early noughties. Rap is, exclusively, what garners radio play and has shunned a lot of other genres in what is classified as popular music. In some respects rap, at least a selection of songs and artists played to the masses, is its own sub-genre of pop.

Because of NSFW lyrical content that can be seen in a fair few artists and raw subject matters mostly dealing with personal issues in a blunt and honest way, it was hard to sell that genre as something viable and money making. Personal experiences and struggles, after all, don't sell music - catchy choruses and hooks do, of course.

Then, something weird happened  - the mid 2000s hit. It's safe to say the musical landscape in relation to rap changed, and became most significant to me as I entered my pre-teen and teenage years of finding my own music and the different styles within the art form.

Again, as Kanye mentioned in the same Lowe interview, everything turned from being focused on R&B, in which rappers didn't want to be classified as "R&B n****s", to the switch around of them becoming the new "R&B n****."

And that brings me into the desecration of the genre as we know it. I've long said that rap is what horror is for film - there is some great, inspirational and masterful work going on, but you have to sift through a lot of crap in order to get to it. It's an ever-changing genre, no more so when you put into perspective of how it has developed into a cash flowing beast, something that couldn't have been said twelve years ago for chart music. It was even more noticeable when I saw Evian Christ at the Village Underground and no one knew how to dance to the drum and bass tracks he'd mixed into his set, yet some generic-sounding rap vocal of getting chicks pussies wet would send people into a spiralling mental frenzy.

There are two recent songs that have come out that sound extremely similar and perfectly define what I believe is the slow decline of rap radio - 23, Mike WiLL Made-It's debut single, and Maejor Ali's, Lolly, featuring the tabloid go-to Justin Bieber.

Here's why not only do these songs blow, they are the pioneers of the damnation of popular music as we know it. We're all doomed.

Singers rapping who have little-to-no rapping ability whatsoever

Rap is an art. It's like singing - not everyone can do it. Just because you're saying words doesn't mean that there isn't something behind the way you perform them lyrically. You have musicians such as Lil' Kim who have had many notable artists (no more so than Biggie) writing their lyrics, and to me that's fine - as long as you have a springboard of some other talent, too. Undeniably, her flow and rapping skills are on point and she has proved this time and time again. Now, let's look at Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus.

Over a year ago, Bieber showed some interest in rapping appearing on Power 106 FM, dropping some rhymes to Jay-Z and Kanye West's, Otis. While the performance wasn't necessarily bad (nor do I really care if someone else wrote it, and it wasn't improvised, like I mentioned about Lil' Kim above) he is just a better singer. Sure, people can change and progress with their art over time and that is not to say he shouldn't try other musical styles, frankly, he can do whatever the fuck he wants. To me, though, rapping isn't his thing. Even if he wasn't Justin Bieber, it sounds and looks off and slightly uncomfortable to witness.

Cut to Lolly and the Biebs is making bold claims that he is a real OG, while he is at his crib with someone's girlfriend watching shit on Netflix - none of which seems relevant. What classifies as someone being an original gangster, anyway? I wouldn't put Bieber in that category as my definition of a gangster is probably far different from his, and maybe it's supposed to be done in an ironic fashion, but the issue is it all seems very awkward and forced.

I believe Lil' Wayne more on the similarly themed, Lollipop, then I do Maejor Ali, Juicy J and Justin Bieber on their own blow job anthem, and Lollipop is arguably one of the worst representations of popular music, period.

The context is even more interesting when you look at Justin Bieber's most recent single, Heartbreaker, produced by Maejor Ali to Bieber perfection. It's a decent track and a far better improvement than the travesty that is Lolly. Bieber is doing his Timberlake thing and it works a hell of a lot more than his rapping skills show.

Putting the focus away from Bieber, let's move onto Miss Cyrus. Long before Bangerz was even announced, there was a shift in Miley as a celebrity to a frequently discussed popular culture figure (look even I'm writing about her now). It's no question that she has been influenced by hip-hop and has incorporated that into her new album, with features from rappers and producers who heavily base themselves around the rap/hip-hop genres. She has tried to define a new sound and, like I mentioned about Bieber, there is nothing wrong with that. On the basis of the singles Miley has dropped, and having listened to her album in full, she hasn't done a half arsed job either. Then I remind myself of 23 and how this departure from her original roots hasn't gone completely to plan. 23 brings together everything I hate about music and doesn't seem to be ashamed in doing so.

While Miley has roughly about ten lines outside of the chorus (we'll get to that part in a minute), you can't get away from the dull, droning sound and beat from start to finish. It's boring. If this shit came on in the club, it'd be another re-enactment of what happened when I was at Evian Christ - how the fuck are you supposed to dance to this? The tone and the sounds of the song do not change throughout its far too long running time. Everyone sounds this same, much like they do on Lolly. 

The dreaded chorus

For decades popular music has relied on catchy choruses - they're usually the only parts we remember, but damn do we remember them well. However, you need to have more going on in a song than just the chorus. With both Lolly and 23, they seem to ignore the massive factor that the majority of both of these tracks are controlled heavily by their choruses, so much so the song is the chorus. Word to the wise, guys, it can be really way too much sometimes.

Drinking out of bottles

Judging from both Miley and Bieber's raps, they are fans of drinking their alcohol minus glass etiquette. Cool? I guess? 

The fascination with wearing trainers at clubs

I'm not sure what American clubs are like and their clothing policies, but I'd go as far to say that they're not particularly regimented, and you can find clubs to go to that don't require you to dress to the nigh in your 6-inch heels or polished and slick work shoes. I had no idea that wearing trainers, or more specifically J's, was actually still cool. Had I known any sooner, I'd really have been milking that cow.

Juicy J

In order to give the best representation of Juicy J for this article and not judge him solely on the basis of his featuring work, I tried to listen to his third solo album and most recent outing, Stay Trippy. I got through about five minutes of the album before having to turn it off. This is coming from the girl that listens to Jason Derluo's, The Other Side, on a daily basis, so it is safe to say I have no real shame in my musical tastes. Juicy J is on another level that obviously my ears haven't matured yet enough to endure listening to.

Fake innuendo

Innuendo is nothing new. As I said about Lollipop earlier, we all know what that song is about. The same goes for 50 Cent's, Candy Shop, again documenting everyone's favourite sexual activity - head. The Foo Fighters track, All My Life, is one of the songs that comes to mind of a great example of the use of sexual imagery without you realising until further reflection. I used to listen to their album, One By One, pretty regularly, and when I heard what one of my favourite songs at the time was about, it all became clear. Innuendo only works when things are alluded to and the subject matter isn't obvious.

Lolly is the worst offender when it comes to the fake innuendo here. Every lyric is a barely an illusion. Personally, I'd rather place my mouth on a penis that isn't either Maejor Ali, Justin Bieber, and especially Juicy J. Also, can we stop calling MDMA, molly? Man, that shit needs to stop right now. 

On the subject of 23, I'd rather not delve into Juicy J's eloquent last two lyrics on his verse in that song. But for your enjoyment, he actually says this: "I'm so high, I've got three bitches that will go bi/I'm so fly, I'm gettin' head like a blow dryer."

Those are real lyrics, I swear.

Here's the proof:

And that other song that has no place in this world:


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