sweet as the scratch

fuck you

Rap music is inherently about power. Power comes with a voice and one great thing about rap is that it gives a voice to those in society who are usually without a voice when it comes to their representation in politics, their economic standing or general equality. Naturally, lots of rap that comes from those groups that are marginalized in society is either fun-- meant to celebrate the people who make it or distract from everyday concerns--or angry.

One of the first rap songs to discuss this anger is, "The Message," by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, released in 1982. It highlighted shitty living conditions and unfair social policies that affected the performers. The song didn't outright say "fuck you," to the establishment that clearly didn't think twice about the welfare of folks like Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, but it pointed in that direction. While the song was important for rapping in general as it showcased the rappers and their words just as much as it did the DJing and production, it was also important in proving the power rappers had when they held a microphone.

A young black person in America with no steady income is silent to the ears of those who oppress him or her-- until that young person gets a microphone in their hand. There is power in recording a song. It literally amplifies the voice of the artist and if a song is recorded, it becomes legitimate. So, while a person with no voice in America could say "fuck you," to a stranger on the street and the words may carry no weight, when that same "fuck you," makes it onto a recording in a song, it's a statement. It carries legitimacy as a piece of art and a production. Music in America has given a voice to those who are otherwise voiceless for many years, but only in relatively recent history have artists become brash enough to deliver that straightforward, powerful punch of a phrase in song.

One song on this list I'm most fond of is the New Orleans triumph, "Where Dey At," By DJ Irv and MC T. Tucker. The song is incredible in so many ways, and the frank, explicit lyrics always stood out to me. But the lyric that stood out the most wasn't about money or women (like much of the song), it was about a despicable politician in Louisiana. By chanting, "Fuck David Duke, Fuck David Duke," again and again, emphasized by the scratch of the DJ, Tucker is taking what might actually be the most constructive political action available to him in his situation. By doing that, he legitimized his statement and took the power away from the politician by getting an entire city to chant those condemning lyrics for years to come.

This playlist highlights some of my favorite songs that say, "fuck you." Some artists say it in protest of police or government powers. Others say it to exes, rivals, and even Kevin Durant. The most important thing is that artists have the ability to gain power in a number of situations that may otherwise be stacked against them simply by recording a song.

0:00 "Fuck You (featuring Junior M.A.F.I.A.)" - Lil' Kim - Hard Core
3:54 "Fuck You" - Skoo Boii - (2012)
5:57 "Fuck You" - Pharoahe Monch - Desire
9:51 "Fuck KD" - Lil B - Hoop Life
13:30 "Fuck U Man" - Kool G Rap and DJ Polo - Live And Let Die
17:17 "Where Dey At" - MC T Tucker and DJ Irv - (1992)
21:44 "FDB" - Young Dro - High Times
25:08 "Fuck Tha Police" - N.W.A. - Straight Outta Compton
30:13 "Fuck The Security Guards" - N.W.H. - Fear of a Black Hat Soundtrack
34:36 "Fuck You (feat. Big Tymers)" - Lil Wayne - 500 Degreez
38:45 "Bellevue Patient" - Funkmaster Wizard Wiz - (1986)
44:32 "Fuck Yo Couch (feat. Dave Chappelle)" - Bailey - (2005)
48:48 "Fuck You" - 50 Cent - Guess Who's Back?
52:41 "Fuck Katrina" - 5th Ward Weebie - (2006)
57:37 "Fuck All Of Y'all" - Starlito and Don Trip - Step Brothers
1:00:42 "3rd Quarter (Fuck You Pay Me)" - Gucci Mane - Wilt Chamberlain The Big Dipper
1:03:17 "Fuck You Bitch" - DMX - 2009
1:06:16 "Fuck You (feat. Devin The Dude and Snoop Dogg)" - Dr. Dre - 2001
1:09:39 "Fuck All Y'all" - Tupac - R U Still Down (Remember Me)

-- bert

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