Category Archives: Music

DECONSTRUCTED: Fetty Wap’s “Trap Queen”

xavier martin block

trap queen bannerIt’s easy to hear the song “Trap Queen” as any other radio hip hop melody with ubiquitous lyrics about cars, money, and exotic dancers when you hear it for the first time.  Don’t get me wrong, those topics are definitely present, but upon listening to it a second, third, or even fourth time, you’d discover the 2014 hit is more so a ballad about love and equality in a relationship.  

The song starts with a bridge wherein Wap is speaking to a woman he’s interested in.  He says hello to her and notes her beauty, going even further to say he’d like to hang out with her, and that he’s got cannabis to share if she’s interested.  This is a sort of allusion to future aspects of their relationship and a possible way to woo her.  The song continues with Wap speaking to the audience, saying he’s very business-oriented and that he showed this woman his workspace: the stove.  At this point he’s decided to show her how he turns the gears of his business, sharing his knowledge and opening up a partnership both romantically and financially.  In the song, she begins working with Wap in an abandoned building making and selling drugs.  From this they profit quite a bit together, and even count their money together.  It seems Wap aspires to simply do and share everything with his partner without making her feel like a literal and figurative passenger as they discuss getting matching Lamborghinis.

This trap love ballad being sung from Fetty Wap’s perspective strongly focuses on his respect for this person he’s so clearly enamoured with.  Leading us to the catchy chorus with a repetition of things he does with his ever-wonderful Trap Queen; they get high together, they glow up together, and they continue to maintain their lucrative business together, further explaining how effective they are as a team.

It’d be a surprise to no one if the term “Trap Queen” became more than just a successful title.  As more and more music emerges in the same vein as Fetty Wap’s “Trap Queen,” the title could be understood as a term of endearment, and rightfully so.  With the exception to its relation to illegal activity, the term implies high regard for whoever holds the title and elicits a foundation of respect while also citing the speaker’s adoration.

Fetty Wap's "Trap Queen"
Fetty Wap’s “Trap Queen”

Though this song is filled with obligatory boastful filler, I’d go so far to say that the catchy hook and upbeat backing music really holds the song together.  The construction of this piece certainly could — and almost definitely does — inspire many to fulfill similar goals in their financial or romantic lives.  


xavierbio

The “Malibu’s Most Wanted” Stereotype

frank hampton block

Every hobby is associated with a certain clique of people.  The Star Wars fandom is generally associated with nerds, coffee shops with hipsters, and book clubs with housewives.  People outside of those stereotypes who are interested in those same hobbies are deemed as weird.  A man wearing coveralls, a trucker hat, and a dip of chewing tobacco in his lip would be looked upon strangely by others if he were to be spotted enjoying a cup of joe at the new coffee shop in town.  This same social phenomena appears in my life when people find out I’m a fan of rap music.  While I’ll admit that I’m not as well-versed in every artist in the game right now or the full history of rap, it’s the genre that I connect the most with.

jon stewart stereotype

However, since I’m white I hear the same question anytime friends find out about my musical tastes.

“Do you wish you were black?” Ah, the “Eminem wannabe” response. We’ve all heard it before.  This phrase makes my eyes do a barrel roll.  Yes, I enjoy rap music. I can’t help that your closed-minded view of rap music leads you to believe that all rappers are black, or that you have to be a certain race to enjoy a certain genre of music.  Even in recent rap, you have artists like Macklemore, Slug from Atmosphere, Eminem, Ubiquitous from Ces Cru, Fat Joe, Snow Tha Product,  and many more that are both established and well-respected by their peers.  Rap, just like all genres, is open to people of all races.   Just like how Darius Rucker broke into the country scene even though he didn’t fit the standard country-genre stereotype.

darius rucker

Another stereotype about rap that bothers me is the idea that all rap is about misogyny, gang-related activities, and drug use.  While it is true that a lot of the mainstream exposure for rap covers this, and that rap rose to popularity in the early 90’s with gangster rap, this stereotype hardly covers all of rap music.  Like all genres of music, rap can be used to convey emotion and to help not only the listener but the artists themselves deal with emotional struggle in their lives.  For instance, “Yesterday” by Atmosphere is a song where Slug (the MC of the group) is saying all of the things he wished he had said to his father before he passed away.  Also, Kendrick Lamar’s album “Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City” is explicitly anti-gangster/criminal while also showing the peer pressure side of gang life in low-income areas.

So please, if you have a white friend that happens to enjoy rap or hip hop, just leave him be.  He’s probably had to deal with it his entire life, and you aren’t going to say anything he hasn’t heard before.

macklemore


frankbio

Music Review: Into the Woods (film)

moira carder block

Into The Woods is a Disney musical for all ages. It includes some of the best actors and actresses of our time, including Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick, Johnny Depp, Emily Blunt, and Chris Pine. There were also several child actors who had very strong vocals. Daniel Huttlestone, who played Jack, is 15 years old, and Lilla Crawford, who plays Little Red Riding Hood is only 13 years old. Even though their vocals weren’t the best ones in the movie, it is amazing to see how much talent can come at such a young age. It gives the movie as well as the music a huge range of excellence. Some of these actors aren’t even known for their musical talent, such as Emily Blunt, who has played in “The Devil Wears Prada”, “Gulliver’s Travels”, and “Gnomeo and Juliet”, and Chris Pine, who is best known for his role in the Star Trek movies as Captain Kirk.

emily blunt

This musical brings some of the best music known to theater and now onscreen with humor, thought, and heart. This has been a musical on Broadway since the late 80’s. It started out as a simple stage show with scene changes, live performances, and no “do-overs” like film stars are allowed between takes.  Even though Into the Woods has has been on stage for at least 25 years and there have been many discussions of turning it into a film, no one ever wanted to take up the challenge until now.  Finally, this tremendous Broadway show has hit the big screen. With modern technology, the movie version takes this musical to a whole new level. However, the music is recorded in a studio and lacks that live feel.

itw

With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, true life lessons come from these tunes, including the song “No One Is Alone”, sung by the cast, which acknowledges that everyone is ultimately alone but explains the shared understanding that isolation makes life bearable. “I Know Things Now”, which is sung by Lilla Crawford, is about looking back on mistakes and learning from them. “Your Fault”, sung by the cast, shows how easy it is to blame others when it is your mistake in the first place. These are easily the kind of tunes that will keep you humming and singing in your head all day.

emma stone shower

Overall music rating: 4/5.


moirabio