So You Think You Can Dance?
Am I the only one who has noticed the frequency in which a lot of today's male artists are lacing their songs with dance move instructions? What's up with that shit?
Call me old school, but man, something is going on with these artists today that has me worried. Don't get me wrong, chicken noodle soup? I get it. I remember growing up wanting to do that shit MC Hammer did in his video for "U Can't Touch This". Don't even act like you didn't want to learn how to pitter patter your feet across the floor from side to side. And before he started climbing trees and touching boys, ninjas were forever trying to learn how to Moonwalk like Michael Jackson in time for their next school dance.
But the difference is, as often as my boys and I were trying to learn how to dance like MJ, there was another MJ we were all trying to be like. And he played basketball for the Chicago Bulls. To us, being able to do a couple of moves from the latest Michael Jackson video was cool, but knowing the choreography of his latest video from back to front was just suspect. What was cool was being able to imitate Jordan's reverse layup. But something tells me the kids of today who are trying to move like Chris Brown aren't trying to mimic to learn Kobe Bryant's mid-range jumper. And it makes me wonder if the same kids who know how to do the Heisman on a hoe actually know how to play the game that earns a man the real Heisman.
I seriously doubt it.
If you look at the latest video for T-Pain's song "Buy U A Drank", what the hell are these cats doing? I mean, they're asking a girl if they could buy her a drink, but none of them are asking if they can get in a dance. The natural order of things has always been for women to rule on the dance floor. They're supposed to walk it out, snap their fingers, butterfly, electric slide, and even lindy hop better than men, and you know why? Because outside of the bedroom, the dance floor has been deemed the only acceptable sanctuary a woman could be a freak and not get called out for it. To watch a woman dance was to watch what she could potentially do if we just got her alone for a few minutes. Unless you were dancing for Alvin Ailey or you and a partner were trying to win a dance contest of some sort, a man was not supposed to move the way a woman could move. And if he did, that was certainly not all he was supposed to know how to do.
My theory for the reason why restraint has been lost on the generation that wants to do the Heisman on that hoe is this: The art of slow dancing is lost on an entire generation of youth, because certain genres of music that are best reserved for slow dancing (i.e. R&B) are trying to imitate hip-hop. What is "Buy U A Drank (Shawty Snappin')" if not a slowed down version of "Snap Ya Fingers" by Lil Jon feat. E-40 and Sean Paul from the YoungBloodZ? I mean here we have a song with a catchy hook, at a tempo that's perfect for slow grinding, but ruined because of some gimmicky ass dance. How stupid is the American public that we now need instructions on how to get our groove on in the club?
I know I've touched on this before in a previous column, but the hyper-mascuilinity that pervades R&B is bred by the insecurity ninjas have about looking like a bunch of Luther Vandross's, which is just dumb. You know how many babies Luther Vandross helped create even if he prefered not to take part in the act that creates them? Better question: You know how many women would've had Luther Vandross's baby? More than the amount of women who would let a fat rapper have their baby, that's for sure.
The other thing the absence of slow dancing has created is a lack of appreciation for the opposite sex. Man, when I was growing up, the upbeat songs were the chance for me to see how a woman might be able to put it on me, but the down-tempo joints gave me the chance to feel her body close to mine, find out what she smelled like, maybe have a little conversation, and for me to start feelin' on the softness that was her booty. The slow dance with a woman was my time to get a more complete picture of what sex would be like we with her.
Of course, I'm not saying we need to abandon uptempo music for the sake of saving slow jams. Hell, that would only create more babies, and the last thing we need is more babies in this already overpopulated world. But I am saying, there needs to be more of a balance between slow jams and getting crunk. I mean, aren't we all essentially trying to get our groove on in the club? I would think so, but that's kind of hard to do when the whole club is snappin' their fingers all by themselves.