“F*** Teachers!” — Says Most Rappers¬†

music, opinion

  So, allow me to reintroduce myself [Hov voice] 

In all seriousness, it feels good to write again. Unfortunately my 9-5 takes major brain energy and critical thinking powers so now that things have started to slow down in preparation for summer break, I can explore and become penspired. 

Recently, I took some time to listen to a new album, Meek Mill’s x Dreams Worth More Than Money. The new album has lots of features from viral notables like Drake, Future, The Weeknd and of course the object of his affection, Nicki Minaj. Though I enjoyed the album, I’m not here to give it a review. I want to get into a common theme in a lot of rapper’s songs, which I would like to scholastically name the “F*** My Teacher theme.  

Let’s get into this. Full disclosure, I’m a teacher and any time I hear rappers say “teacher” my ears perk up like they’re my students, especially because I respect the artist’s craft. Unfortunately, that sentiment isn’t always mutual. I’m sure everyone has had “good” and “bad” teachers. I’ve had a few that I didn’t care for and I had many that I really enjoyed and respected. Rappers are no different from you and in this experience. However, they have a means to express themselves for millions to hear and they also have a huge influence on society’s moldable minds, which leads to the following observation. 

I can trace the “F*** My Teacher” theme back to Notorious BIG on “Juicy,” when he clearly states in the intro “…to all my teachers who said I wouldn’t amount to nothing… It’s all good baby babaayy.”

  • Other examples this theme appear in Jay-Z’s “So Ambitious”

I felt so inspired by what my teacher said,// Said I’d either be dead or be a reefer head,// Not sure if thats how adults should speak ta kids,// Especially when the only thing I did was speak in class. I teach his ass.

  • On his new release, Meek says in his song “Cold Hearted” 

My teacher told me I would never go far//Seen him last week, he was my chauffeur…

  • And on another track,” R.I.C.O.,” 

For my teachers that said I wouldn’t make it here I spend a day what you make a year

  • Rick Ross alludes to his teacher driving a “piece of shit” in “Holy Ghost” 

My teacher told me that I was a piece of shit//Seen her the other day, driving a piece of shit”

How did teachers get such a bad rap in the lives of some of the rap game’s most prevalent? Personally, I can only speak to 3 major factors that could have diminished the student/teacher relationship. First, teachers are expected to simultaneously operate in the present and future. We are expected to push your little boo boo to do their best on their homework, quizzes and tests, while also nurturing their dreams of becoming rappers, professional athletes, doctors, lawyers, basically any and everything. In reality, all students aren’t capable of meeting those harder to reach goals and unfortunately we use the present as a monitor of ambition for students. Therefore at the expense of being realistic, some teachers limit their students ideas about their futures. Secondly, teachers battle numerous distractions each day. Disruptive students, the media, cell phones in classrooms, mountains of paperwork, standardized testing and objectives, the list goes on and on. There are some days that the psychologist and mediator hats took precedence over the encourager and  career counseling hats. And depending on your school situation, students may not see their teacher’s nurturing side as often as they would like. Lastly, teachers have personal lives as well. They’re not superhuman. No elaboration necessary.

What does all this mean, 10, almost 20 years after any of these entertainers have been students? Primarily, it means that teachers have a deep and lasting impact on their students, no matter if the student was the class clown or the class president. I’m sure that many of these teachers probably don’t remember these moments or even listen to the lyrics close enough to r ealize that they’re about them, but look at what the future held. Everybody can’t have a dope teacher like Bun B or myself [chuckle]. Some of the most successful people in the music industry are still discussing the negative turned positive impact their teachers had on them.

Lastly, I hope entertainers are cognizant about the message they send to youth. Students respect these artists and hang onto their every word. When convenient [i.e. press conferences, interviews] they encourage youth to do well, stay in school blah blah blah, but then also negatively rap about their teachers. We need these influencers to spread positivity about education, especially since everyone does not share the same educational experience and school can be a positive outlet for numerous black and brown youths. Like your teacher always said “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” 

Happy Birthday Hov!

fashion, fun, music

Happy 45th Birthday Shawn C. Carter!  Now is a perfect time for that Party Life DIY!

I love Jay-Z, Jay, Jigga, S Dot, Jayhova, Hova, Hovie, Hovito, Mr. Carter, Lucky Lefty, Iceberg Slim… I think I covered them all. It’s always bittersweet when Jay Day rolls around because of the inevitable, but I will always cherish Hov’s music and admire his ability to express himself lyrically. Happy Birthday Hov!

Here are some perfect Jay Day gifts to celebrate Mr. Carter.

Jay and Bey You're the Jay-Z to my Beyonce Card Rap Rapper Pop Culture Birthday Valentines AnniversaryYou’re the Jay-Z to My Beyonce greeting cards [$5.42]

Jay Z  Accent Pillow, Pillow Throw Decor, Pillow Cushion, Cushion Cover, Decorative Throw Pillow Throw

Jay-Z Accent Pillow [$69.00]

Jay Z Canvas Print

Jay-Z Canvas Print [$53.00]

Empire State of Mind Lyrics Blank Cards [$4.79]

beyonce & jay-z collar clips // pinbacks

Beyonce and Jay-Z Collar Clips [$6.00]

[DIY] Party Life

fashion, fun, music

Who decided that adult parties can’t be just as thoughtful, creative and entertaining as kid’s parties? Most of us have either attended or had our share of themed kid’s celebrations, with plates and napkins emblazoned with popular cartoon characters or a cake shaped like your favorite sports equipment. A little thought and creativity can go a long way. The fun doesn’t have to stop earlier in life! Plan an adult themed party like this one for instance…

Jay-Z Themed Celebration

[Invitations]

Use your favorite artist’s album covers or themes to invite your guests. One of my favorite Jay albums is The Blueprint. What better way to inform your guests about your celebration than to create a special “blueprint” detailing all the who, what, where, when and why. You can also print actual outlines in blue on tracing paper to layer inside your paper contents.

[Attire]

blue

[“My favorite hue is Jay-Z Blue.”] Did you know Jay really has his own color? Have your guests join you in their favorite touches of blue in honor of your Mr. Carter themed celebration. Though I love Jay, blue S. Dot’s need not apply!

[Decor]Vibrant Gold and Rich Blues!

Create tablescapes using shades that will complement your guests’ touches of blue. Name each of your tables after a favorite song from any album. Some of my faves include “Reasonable Doubt,” “Politics As Usual,” “Allure,” “Sunshine,” and “Forever Young.” Don’t forget to include menu cards detailing some of the creative food and drink choices available.

[Food and Drinks]

Ty Ty Mai Tai

Say what up to Ty Ty…Still sippin’ Mai Tais. You don’t need a best friend named Ty Ty to enjoy Mai Tais with your guest. Pay homage to a lifelong friend with a signature drink, the “Ty Ty Mai Tai.”

Sweet drinks not your thing? Other acceptable options from Mr. Carter himself, “That D’usse is the ish if I do say so myself”…. “Gold bottles of the Ace of Spades“…. and if you really want to throw it back, “Armadale poppin now, only bring a jigga more”

Banana Pudding Cups
Uncle Bobby's Banana Pudding // I don't know who "Uncle Bobby" is, but he makes a mean pudding, apparently.
….Plus she fed me…banana puddin’ was in the hood then. Spark up some Shawn Carter nostalgia for your guests by including this classic dessert in a miniature serving size. Bonus points for which guest can rap the verses to Momma Loves Me and eat the banana pudding at the same time.

Queen Bey Cake Pops

Bee cake balls. Bzzzzz...

Watch out for the BeyHive. What’s a Jay function without his leading lady? Give your guests some of Jay’s honey by featuring a “Bey” Cake Pop option.

Empire State Pizza

Deep Dish Pizza Cupcakes - great for a quick lunch or dinner! Also makes great football food! #tailgating

A bite from the Big Apple. Although, NY pizza is usually foldable and comes in a large slice, these bite sized pizza cupcakes will have your guests with an “Empire State of Mind.”

[Favors]

I think this goes without saying but, MAKE A PLAYLIST! The best part of this party will be the tracks you self select for your guests to enjoy. Create a special playlist using a site like spotify and send it to all of your guests as a thank you for a memorable night. Also feel free to give out special gifts like copies of “Carlito’s Way, “Streets is Watching,” or “Reasonable Doubt” for the best touch of blue ensemble and the guest who could finish the most Jay lyrics. If you really want to impress, deliver a Cohiba to a few privileged guests.

Lastly, invite me and have fun! Remember, “When you’re blue, you got nothin’ to do…head into the party life.”