Why do certain artists make it big and other (perhaps more exceptional) artists don’t? It’s a debate we constantly find ourselves having with our peers. I pondered this last night and just as I was about to close my eyes and drift off into slumberland, it suddenly came to me…The 5 S’s of Success. There are several things that quite a few of the artists who reach the top of the charts have in common. Artists aren’t just using their talents to rope in fans, but the shock factor always takes centre stage. I mean, what could be more shocking than a grown man, swagging out in jeans two sizes too small smashing the hell outta his nuts, shaking his titties whilst sippin’ on codeine, blaspheming?
1. Skinny Jeans
As much as many firmly oppose the adorning of these ghastly things, it seems that many more are in favour of them. Despite being attributed to being the cause of infertility, twisted testicles (ouch), cancer, and a few other horrible ailments, they have become a fashion staple for the Hip-Hopster population. Artists such as A$AP Rocky, Bow Wow, Kanye West, Soulja Boy and Lil Wayne are seldom caught without theirs. The versatile garbs can be sported with moon boots, girl’s sneakers, Chuck Taylor<’s or even a colourful pair of flip flops. More recently, the internet was abuzz with images of baggy jeans loyalist Jay-Z rocking a rather closely fitted pair of jeans. Many cried out “Not Jiggaman!” But Oh yes…he did. All I have to say is that if I ever see Nas rocking a pair of yellow skinnies, I’m going mute for a week. No speech. No blogging. Seven Days…but it’ll never happen. *Crosses fingers*
*Shouts out to the creative geniuses who made this video, this deserves an Oscar!
Or Blasphemy. I recall the days when I actually used to watch awards ceremonies and whenever an artist collected their awards, the first thing they’d always say was “I’d first like to that God. Without him this award would not be possible…” A deeply humbling moment for all to see. Sometimes these words were uttered whilst fighting back tears. Even the hardest core gangster rappers gave it up to God and displayed at least a basic respect for religion. Mixing religion and rap music has always been a very tricky business. If you get it wrong, you run the risk of offending millions of people who take their religion seriously, and so far…MANY have found themselves on the wrong side of the religious community. Meek Mill found himself in hot water after his single “Amen” hit the airwaves. With provocative lyrics like:
Now it’s a lot of bad bitches in the building (Ooh, Amen)/ A couple real ni**as in the building (Amen)/ I’m finna kill ni**as in the building (Amen)/ I tell the waiter fifty bottles and she tell me say when/ and I say church (Preach)/ We make it light up like a church (Preach)/ She wanna f*ck and I say church (Preach)/ Do Liv on Sunday like a church (Ahh, Preach)
It’s no wonder Meek Mill found himself under attack from a high profile preacher. It’s not just Meek, Jay Z and Kanye West‘s track “No Church in The Wild” cut very close to the bone. Frank Ocean‘s single “Bad Religion” was also met with discontentment from Muslim fans for including the words “Allahu Akbar” (God Is Great). Even Lupe Fiasco‘s controversial release “Lamborghini Angels” challenged peoples allegiance to the institution. The feedback wasn’t as explosive of the backlash Meek Mill received. I’m sure many more will follow suit even if it means a public outcry. As they say…”All publicity is good publicity”.
Yes. Swag. And I don’t necessarily mean having swag either. I mean- saying it. Repetitively. In the background. Throughout an entire song. As a child, the word “Swag” used to appear on illustrations of burglars who were dressed in black and white striped sweaters, black trousers and an eye mask in kiddies’ books. Then a few years later in my teens, the word “swag” was used to describe something that was lame and/or undesirable. Now I’m in my twenties and the word “swag” has taken on a life of its own. It has quickly morphed into a culture, a language and a garners a cult like worship. How quickly times have changed. David Banner summed up the usage of the word more eloquently than I ever could. One of my anthems. I bump this on the regular.
Anybody who knows me knows that I hate syrup or ‘sizzurp’ as it’s more affectionately called. I wrote a whole article on it a few weeks back so I’m not going to ramble on about it. 2Chainz openly admits to being addicted to the toxic beverage and his new album just nabbed the US Billboard #1 spot.
Eminem,Luda, Drake, Gucci Mane and of course, Three 6 Mafia have all at some point, expressed their fondness of the ‘purple drank’. Lil Wayne even crafted an entire love song about it (R&B beat and everything!). It’s as if screaming that you too have indulged in this poison gives you some kind of kudos. I say, this fad is ‘wack’.
5. Sex (…lots of it)
Sex sells…but has Hip-Hop ever been as overtly sexual as it is right now? I’m not even just speaking about the lyrics. The videos. Oh, the videos. It’s not a rarity to hit the play button on a Vevo vid these days and see a few chicks with their ‘Flangelina Jolies’ or their ‘Baps’ out. I mean straight bukked nekked *Bernic Mac voice*. No clothes. Nada. I’m talking, pubic hairs and nipples. I would never post such vulgarities on here, but the above video is as good an example of my point. I hate to single out people constantly, but Nicki Minaj is definitely an example of using sex to sell…and it’s obviously working. It’s not just the women though. Sex Symbol Rick Ross has no problem getting out his ‘DD’s’ for the ladies too. Mmmmm… Yummy!
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*Disclaimer* These views are only the view of Ayara “Butta” Pommells and are not shared by the rest of the TakinMines crew (not that I am aware of anyway). This entire article was a little tongue in cheek because I advocate none of these activities in any way shape or form. But if you look at those who are selling the most records, getting the biggest tours and the largest sponsorship deals around…this is what they are selling us. Pretty soon, sex will be be a non factor anyway as 90% of the men will not even be able to perform their consummation duties as the skinny jeans will have twisted their balls so tightly and made them all impotent. Which should then eliminate the word ‘swag’ from their vocabulary as they will undoubtedly spend all their time in a syrup induced stupor blaspheming and blaming God for their predicament, and not their ridiculous girl jeans!