Niggas and Bitches

And the music we listen to.

iTunes, like other music applications, makes it easy to listen to a variety of music by creating a myriad of playlists.  They are easy and convenient, allowing the listener to discover new music or enjoy a specific genre.  One such playlist is Beats 1 Best of 2016.   They say that “2016 was one of the best years for new music.”  Peppered throughout the lyrics in 15 of the top 30 songs on this “best of 2016” playlist is a profusion of “niggas” and “bitches.”  Many more of those tracks shout out words that would be bleeped from TV.

The Best of 2016 represents what we demanded to hear the most.  Fifty percent of the time, at least for the top 30 most played songs, we had an affinity for niggas and bitches.

Owned by Apple and available on iTunes, Beats is a radio station and a collection of curated playlists, available worldwide, incorporating most genres including not only HipHop/Rap, the most popular, but also R&B/Soul, Pop, Dance, Alternative, Electronic, Heavy Metal, Latin, and so on. 

Sure, Beats doesn’t represent the entire music-listening public, but it’s not a thin slice either.  No Country music songs made it to the Beats “Best of” list, which says something as there is a healthy swatch of fans who are fulfilled with twangy music.  This fetish for niggas and bitches appears rooted in the genres of HipHop/Rap, R&B, and Pop, so a large segment of the population enjoys melodic messages with plenty of strong overtones as part of our musical vernacular.

When I lived in Colombia 10 years ago, what amazed me was how every young adult knew, and sang, every lyric to every song that played on any radio pop station or anywhere music was played, even if the song was in english and they didn’t speak english.  I rarely know the lyrics to an entire song in my own language so it was striking to observe everyone, seemingly without fail, sing complete lyrics to every song.  For sure they are now singing about niggas and bitches.

There is no judgment here.  No right or wrong.  It just is.  I deleted the Beats playlist from my library, not because I mind lyrics about niggas and bitches, but because it was overly redundant.   But if you like hearing about niggas and bitches, then listening to Beats playlists and radio is where you want to be tuned.

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