Heavens! It’s a free world and you can do whatever you want. It’s not law to listen to me. Sure, it’s your own life, and my advice might go in one ear and out the other like a man with a hole in his skull using a Q-tip. But even a man with a hole in his skull has a mind of his own.
Marvin Gaye did it. Madonna, too. The Beatles did it with their music and now Jeffery Johnson, Jr.–better known as Roscoe Dash–has joined the ranks. These artists have all impacted, influenced and dictated culture with their songs. But they’re not the only ones!
Trey Songz’ “I Invented Sex” featuring Drake contains the following stanza:
“It’s a celebration / Clap, clap bravo / Lobster and shrimp and a glass of Moscato / Finish the whole bottle.”
The whole bottle!? In Ace Hood’s “Body To Body” video featuring Chris Brown, wine glasses filled with Moscato are accessorized in the background. I can’t help but wonder if the two people in that scene drank all of that by themselves. Moscato is a wine generally paired with dessert in small doses. It is not intended for bottle popping for a party of two. But go to any club across America and you will find someone on some couch with a bucket full of dessert wine and no dessert. Our culture is happily drinking from the bottle of ignorance and is under the influence of tragic behavior. Someone arrest them for public intoxication.
This isn’t about being bourgeois, it’s about being smart. Do your own homework and have your own mind. There has to be a line drawn where you simply enjoy the music without imitating it. A lot of commercial rap tells us to engage in harmful acts that are damaging to our livelihood, but there are some artists who’ve taken a little bit of social responsibility with their music. Jay-Z said it best in Young Jeezy’s “Go Crazy” remix:
“Don’t follow me young’n, follow my moves, I’m not a role model / A bad influence got the world drinking gold bottles.”
In Jay-Z’s early rap career he preferred Cristal champagne, which he’d commonly have bottles of in his videos. After a dispute with their brand, he convinced the same culture he had purchasing their product to boycott them. That’s an amazing kind of influence and millions are attempting to follow his blueprint from criminal to corporate.
Influential artists who create music for the masses, this is for you: You have the responsibility of being intelligent. If it takes ignorance to lead people to your music, have enough intellect to direct them to something better once you’ve caught their attention. Some artists employ the use of stereotypes to lure fans to a greater message. That’s true artistry.
People who listen to rap lyrics and do what the lyrics tell you to do, this is for you: You have the responsibility of not being stupid. If you want to shampoo your hair with toothpaste because a rapper says so, that’s up to you…but it’s stupid. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to be both brilliant and a fan of a Roscoe Dash song. I am.
– Enitan Bereola, II
Bereola is the go-to style and etiquette impresario, public speaker and entrepreneur. He is also the bestselling author of BEREOLAESQUE: The Contemporary Gentleman & Etiquette book for the Urban Sophisticate. He is working on his follow-up, Guide to Ladies’ Etiquette from a Gentleman’s Perspective. Check his website Bereolaesque.com and @bereolaesque on Twitter as well as his Facebook fan page.