Ignition – R. Kelly
There’s a whole smorgasbord of evil shit on R. Kelly’s name, and going through all his sins in proper detail would take too much time, so let’s just go hard and fast. The singer has been charged with multiple counts of child pornography and has repeatedly violated minors. He’s even been alleged of trapping minors in a sex cult where he forces them to cut off contact with their parents and dictates their living habits, from what they eat to when they bathe. Link for the lazy.
Despite all this, people still bump to Ignition like it wasn’t made by an actual ephebophile. Every “toot toot” and “beep beep” in that song now just sounds like an unspeakable thing. I’m not saying cancellation culture is the cure for all evils, but my dudes, we have cancelled people for less. I mean, the man’s already in police custody! And to the DJ’s reading this, if Joey Santos is perfectly okay with not playing Ignition, why can’t you be too?
Pretty much everything by Chris Brown
Look, it’s not like I don’t sympathize with the Breezy fans out there. Forever is an open party classic, Fine China absolutely slaps, and it’s not Jordin Sparks’ fault for collaborating with a dude who has actually choked women, on a song about lacking oxygen. But man, how the hell does Chris “High Priest of All Fuccbois” Brown still have a career? He beat Rihanna, raped multiple women, and even sued one of the women who accused him for defamation, even producing and selling merch to mock her.
There are days I want to believe that the arc of the universe truly does bend towards justice, considering the fact that over the years, Rihanna’s career has flourished while Brown’s has sunk deeper into the pit of cultural irrelevance. But then he came out with that stupid Lil Dicky song (which is, at best, grossly amusing, in a Family Guy kind of way). He’s still making money, making music, touring, and acting like a fool. Stop blasting his stuff in public spaces.
I Love It – Kanye West & Lil Pump feat. Adele Givens
When it comes to rushing to their god’s defense, Kanye West fans are second only to conservative televangelists, so I’m going to try to tread carefully here.
[READ: Kanye West’s latest album is more tragedy than triumph]
It’s hard to believe that Kanye, the MAGA hat-wearing Trump-sympathizing Kanye, is the same dude who made Jesus Walks; the same dude who rapped about the struggle of acquiring cultural capital on “Graduation;” the same dude who unpacked the concept of douchebaggery on “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” with a weird sense of self-reflexivity. And what do we make of the man’s stuff on “Yeezus” and “The Life of Pablo?” What about “Ye,” which not only romanticizes mental illness but also reeks of misogyny? Is separating the art from the artist even something that can be done sideways, across an artist’s discography, as if tracing the chronology of someone’s sanity slipping? That’s another discussion for another day, and for another writer with the cajones to do all that messy unpacking.
Maybe we can go about it one song at a time. So let’s all agree to stop playing I Love it, because I Love It sucks. The beat sucks. The flow sucks. Lil Pump sucks. It came out after Kanye West pledged his support for Trump, so throw it all out with the bathwater.
I used to give zero shits about this dude. To me, face tatt trap rap possessed the same ostentatious vulgarity as crunkcore (Remember crunkcore? Dark times), and would likewise fade into relative obscurity as the kind of thing teenagers would be fondly embarrassed about having been into once they get to college.
But his fans are so noisy. After XXXTentacion’s murder (which is tragic, yes, nobody is saying otherwise), many of his fans were quick to discount the crimes of brutalization and domestic abuse that he perpetrated, lionizing instead his battles with mental illness and how his music has helped others get through tough times. But come on, man. You can’t make music for the despairing if you make other people miserable too. That’s hypocrisy, plain and simple. Listen to 21 Savage instead.
Awitin Mo at Isasayaw Ko by VST & Co.
On Aug. 18, 1982, actress Pepsi Paloma filed charges of rape against three entertainment personalities, one of whom was Vic Sotto. Pepsi was 15 at the time. A minor. Practically a child. As VST & Co.’s manager at the time, Tito Sotto made Pepsi sign an Affidavit of Desistance to drop the charges against the musical group, and allegedly placed a pistol in front of Pepsi when he confronted her. And while VST & Co. did eventually issue a public apology, Pepsi committed suicide three years later. Now Tito Sotto is Senate President and Vic Sotto is still acting in advertisements disguised as movies. As for disco? Hard to say if it actually is dead, but maybe this song can go die.