Thursday, August 03, 2006

Keep "IT" Between Me & U

Now as some of you know, I have two younger siblings (both girls) that are at an impressionable age. They enjoy hip-hop and rhythm and blues (or at least its modern reincarnation) almost as much as I do. And they probably heard of new R&B artist named Cassie well before I did. When I heard Cassie’s Me & U for the first time two months ago, I was struck by how young her voice sounded and the subject matter she was singing about:

I know them other guys, they've been talking 'bout
the way I do what I do
They heard I was good, they wanna see if it's true
They know you’re the one I wanna give it to

I can see you want me too...

And now The Bridge (or perhaps the more apt terminology would be "The Climax")

Baby I'll love you all the way down (uh)
Get you right where you like it
I promise you'll like it (I swear)
Just relax and let me make that move (It's our secret babe)
We'll keep it between Me & U

Thanks to a recent post on one of the blogs we frequent, I’ve discovered that I wasn’t the only one who found some of these lyrics to be somewhat suspect. The speculation, thus far, has been that the lyrics are about the act of fellatio. Another blog outlines the lyrics and their hidden meaning (i.e. the act of fellatio) in a rather humorous fashion. Below is the explanation that this particular blogger offers to the aforementioned Bridge:


Bol Explains: Cassie's boyfriend was concerned that she was going to suck him right up until the point when the poison was ready to come out and then back off, as some girls are wont to do. But Cassie assures him that she has no problem swallowing his load, as long as he doesn't tell anyone.

While it’s difficult for me to decipher what particular “gift” Cassie is offering to give to her significant other, I’m fairly certain that it’s one of those presents that you couldn’t quite wrap with a ribbon.

Now given my two young and impressionable sisters at home and my young sisters all around the world, isn’t it sad that songs like these are reaching their ears? What ever happened to singers like young Whitney Houston who just wanted to “dance with somebody” when they were in their teens?

15 comments:

Brother Spotless said...

How old is Cassie?

Brother Spotless said...

Answered my own question: she's 20

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassie

Brother Lightness said...

Singers like Whitney Houston have gone from respectably wanting to "dance with somebody" to smoking crack rocks.

Brother Smartness said...

But at least she was smoking those rocks (and defecating those boulders - with the help of Bobby) when she was noticeably older and not when she looked like she was 18.

Anonymous said...

big brothers... protect your sisters

qwerty said...

So, do you listen to that song? Play it or other similarly questionable songs within earshot of your sisters? Do you play those songs within the earshot of somebody else's sister? If you listen to the "modern reincarnation [of R&B]," ya prolly have and do.

[I have a big bruhv and if that kid had ever even ONCE tried to tell me I couldn't listen to something but he could... it would have been ON!]

And please, if we're gonna get nostalgic about the good ol' days, let's stop thinking our childhood or adolescence was one of innocence and only mention artists like Whitney Houston.

Before there was the "Laffy Taffy" song there was the 69 Boyz's "Tootsie Roll." I also remember singing along to Boyz II Men's "50 Candles" and "Uhh Ahh," MC Hammer's "Pumps and a Bump," Nuttin' Nice "Froggy Style," Changing Faces' "Stroke You Up," Next's "Too Close," and other various artists with other nas-tay songs. Oh, and I knew all the lyrics.

Ain't nothing out there today that wasn't around when I or your female friends were growing up. The stuff that girls are and have always been exposed to on a daily basis is nothing short of disgusting. I sure as hell didn't fully know what I was singing up until junior high school. Thank goodness for a good home and friends with similarly good homes. I don't know, maybe I was just a lucky and naive little thang. So, if your sisters are that age or younger, they ought to be fine. Small comforts, I know.

And if they do... find out which one of their friends told them and make sure you watch out for that girl or boy. I don't believe young kids have the cognitive ability to decipher such songs unless something "messed up" is going on in their lives.

Brother Spotless said...

And please, if we're gonna get nostalgic about the good ol' days, let's stop thinking our childhood or adolescence was one of innocence and only mention artists like Whitney Houston.

Before there was the "Laffy Taffy" song there was the 69 Boyz's "Tootsie Roll." I also remember singing along to Boyz II Men's "50 Candles" and "Uhh Ahh," MC Hammer's "Pumps and a Bump," Nuttin' Nice "Froggy Style," Changing Faces' "Stroke You Up," Next's "Too Close," and other various artists with other nas-tay songs. Oh, and I knew all the lyrics.



Solenique makes a good point, which I will piggy back on.

Everything that happens today (music, music videos, treatment of women) happened when we grew up. I think we forget that Luke and 2 Live Crew graced us with their smash hits "Doo Doo Brown" and "Me So Horny."

With that said, those elements of the music and videos that we find publicly disturbing but privately entertaining (at least I do) are more blatant throughout the industry now than they were in the early 90's. I don't think the "Tip Drill" video, for instance, would have found itself on TV (albeit at 3 in the AM) in 1990 (not sure the song would have made it to the airwaves either).

Leaving religion out of the conversation, I do see a deterioration within the moral fiber of our music and culture at large. This is a deterioration that we all have had a role in (I am a Busta Rhymes fiend, but he calls women "bitches" more than I'd like to hear).

I don't know how to fix this, because the music is being pimped across the world and billions of dollars are made based on lewd lyrics and visual stimulae that would make Larry Flint blush (yea right...but you get my point).

Maybe the answer is to treat music and music videos like movies. Set up a ratings system that would:

-dictate when videos are allowed to be played on regular cable channels,
-and not allow certain cds to be bought by children under the age of X.

Brother Smartness said...

I guess you guys don't get the problem with a song like this. My issue with it is that it's almost subtle in its presentation of an act that shouldn't be presented to young women with such blatant disregard.

I'm not the type of brother who tells my sisters not to listen to a certain type of music. Informed listening is what we strive for in these younger generations. If my sisters understand what Cassie is trying to keep between her and her male friend ("Me & U"), I'm a happy camper. But when the lyrics of a song like this are listened to on a subconscious level, there is reason to beg the questions that I'm posing in my post.

Furthermore, let's make a proper distinction with this song and the songs of our youth. Songs like MC Hammer "Pumps in a Bump" and Too Live Crew's "Me So Horny" are men singing songs about sex. Same thing with Salt and Pepper and many of their songs. What makes this song suspect is the fact that the voice of the artist is noticeably youthful. This, for me, is reason for suspicion but I want to reiterate that it doesn't make me want to hide music from my sisters. It simply makes it more apparent to me that I have to inform them about what they're listening to.

Brother Spotless said...

Smartness, are you saying that she is intentionally or unintentionally putting forth a youthful demeanor, and exploiting that to attract young girls to her music and videos?

Brother Smartness said...

I have no idea what her (or her promotional team's) intent was in packaging and marketing the hit single.

I don't think it was intentional on her part, but I also believe that she doesn't fully understands the implications a song like this might have when they fall to the wrong ears.

At the most basic level of the subconscious, a young woman might listen to this song and begin to believe that having other boys talk about your sexual exploits is something to aspire to. Likewise, a young man might listen to this song and begin to formulate detrimental perceptions of women that will contribute to baseless relationships for years to come.

Songs like "Put it in Your Mouth" are glaring in their perverseness, because the chorus is all up in your face. Sprinkle in a curse here and there (ex. "I said ya mutha*#!&# mouf") and it sets off a warning in a child's (and an adult's) mind. But the subtlety of Cassie's song seriously makes me worried.

The juxtaposition of her prepubescent voice and the subject of having intercourse with a male counterpart just sounds wrong to me.

Brother Lightness said...

Did you really just write: "her prepubescent voice"

*shaking my head*

Kyle Anderson said...

sounds to me that brother smartness is afraid of female sexuality. his sisters probably know what the song is all about and if they read any young women's magazines, they also know a hell of a lot more about sex than you think. censorship of music or ideas will not make the problem better. unless you want to have completely naive, unaware sisters who won't know how to act around men, you shouldn't prohibit this music from finding their "innocent" ears.

Brother Smartness said...

Kyle,

Glad to see you contributing again.

I actually just called my sisters to ask them what the song is about.

Sister #1, age 13, responded,

"it's about her getting ready to do some bad stuff to this guy"

Sister #2, age 12, responded,

"I don't know."

Surprised I asked her to recite the chorus. When she recited it (and keep in mind that she was able to recite the words to a song whose meaning she couldn't decipher a minute earlier), she came to the realization that Cassie was talking about some act of sex with a significant other.

I wouldn’t be surprised if there were other children out there who had no idea what Cassie was talking about. Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were adults who haven’t truly listened to the lyrics of this song. And like those of us dancing to this club in the song, many of these kids are drawn to it because of the catchy beat and the brilliant chorus (and I only call it brilliant because it has translated into positive record sales).

Moving along…

I wrote the following above and I'll write it here again so that you understand where I'm coming from:

"I'm not the type of brother who tells my sisters not to listen to a certain type of music. Informed listening is what we strive for in these younger generations. If my sisters understand what Cassie is trying to keep between her and her male friend ("Me & U"), I'm a happy camper."

I make no claims that my sisters (blood sisters and sisters around the world) don’t know or understand sex. I make no claims that their ears are innocent. I’m not even asking for the prohibition of songs like these. I am saying, however, that Bad Boy and Cassie have a responsibility to the public, especially in communities where promiscuity and inferior school systems results in child pregnancies and an increase in sexually transmitted diseases.

Anonymous said...

I dont think the issue at hand is female sexuality. Expression in a sexual way is healthy. I think the real concern is the "youth" understanding consequence. These sexual acts are not "between me & u." Becoming sexually active involves a whole lot more than the action itself. In that respect, the simplification of sex and sexuality in rap, hip-hop and R&B is a problem. As a solution, I think (perhaps nostalgically) of TLC, who on one hand said "if I want it in the morning or the middle of the night/i aint too proud to beg" and on the other hand proudly sport condoms as visual stimulus. I like that kind of balance.

That said, Bros. Smartness could give (your/the) sisters a bit more credit and the public a bit less. Its a matter of being informed, and making informed choices. That responsibility falls on a lot more shoulders than Cassie's.

Anonymous said...

ur not thinking straight.... u have a sick mind .. and ur giving a bad reputation to cassie.... u must be 1 of her haters..... dude fix ur damn mind... even people who comment here agrees! what the hell's wrong with u pple.... u guys r BULLSHITING ASSWHORES