I remember once hearing Guns N’ Roses disparaged as “Your Dad’s Favorite Band.” This insult never upset me personally because 1) I was never a big G N’ R fan, and 2) I’m pretty sure that my father’s favorite band has always been the Ramsey Lewis Trio.
But the description stuck in my memory, and I was reminded of it recently while listening to Jay-Z’s new album ‘Magna Carta…Holy Grail.’ If any rapper is determined to proudly wear the label “Your Dad’s Favorite Rapper” like a pair of argyle socks, it’s HOVA. The subject matter on ‘Magna Carta…’ includes such fatherly banality as an embarrassing karaoke version of Smells Like Teen Spirit (can’t you imagine somebody’s dad doing this at a birthday party?), bragging about high-end fashion, and name-dropping his art collection. (Hey as a rap-loving art historian, shouldn’t I enjoy a song that name drops Mark Rothko?)
But the most embarrassing fatherly moment on the album occurs when HO duets with Justin Timberlake. Sure, at first glance, this pairing seems normal, but just imagine Ghostface Killa dueting with Lance Bass or Joey Fatone making a guest appearance on a DMX track. (That said, I can totally see DMX “stopping, dropping, and setting up shop” on Mr. My Big Fat Cameo in My Big Fat Greek Wedding!)
Here are my Big Three of other Your Dad’s Favorite Rap Songs:
Lebron: I’m Different by 2 Chainz. There’s really not much in this song that your Dad will find acceptable, but I guarantee he’ll appreciate the line: “I wish a nigga would, like a kitchen cabinet.” After all, you can never overemphasize the value of good kitchen cabinetry. Leave it to 2 Chainz to shout out skilled carpentry.
D-Wade: Hold On We’re Going Home by Drake featuring Majid Jordan. OK, I’ll admit it: at first, I wanted to like this song. It’s catchy. But then I heard it described as “guaranteed to be the most popular song at every bar mitzvah for the next twenty years.” Ouch! That ruined it for me. There’s a reason that the proper nomenclature is “club banger” and not “bar mitzvah banger.”
Otherguy: Same Love by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. The first time I heard that there was a rap song attacking homophobia my response was similar to the first time I heard that there was an openly gay player in the NBA. ‘This is great,’ I thought as I clicked on the MSN link announcing NBA Player Admits He’s Gay. And then I saw that the player in question was Jason Collins. ‘Jason Collins?’ I thought, as my facial expression went from one of excitement to one of thinly veiled disappointment. ‘Didn’t he average more fouls than points?’ Such a facial transformation mirrors what happens when your most attractive friend playfully/flirtatiously tells you that he/she knows somebody that has a BIG crush on you, and you think, ‘Great! It’s you!’ And then after an expectant pause, he/she admits that the person in question is really a mutual friend that sleeps with EVERYBODY! And in that instant, you’re reminded of Jason Collins averaging more fouls than points.