On That Video of Kids Repeating Explicit Hip-Hop Lyrics….

Jimmy Rodney Smith II, Jarrel Smith, Kids Repeating Rap Lyrics

“Miss T!”, as the kids called me, “He’s singing that song again!”.

It was the year 2002, and Khia’s “My Neck My Back” was the hottest thing on BET’s after-dark music video show “Uncut”. I never imagined that part of my college career would include hearing 7 year olds gleefully singing the words “my pussy and my crack”.

Directed by Jimmy Rodney Smith II and Jarrel Smith, this video, which is rapidly being shared on every corner of the internet, has elicited a mixed bag of reactions. The most common response, of course, is “blame the parents”. As a young person who had a complicated relationship with hip-hop growing up as a result of strict parents, a two year stint working with kids in college taught me that “blaming the parents” isn’t that simple. All it takes is one kid and soon every kid on the playground will be talking about putting Molly in a girl’s drink and “she ain’t even know it”. While I find the video sensationalist and cringe-worthy, I acknowledge that it’s reality.

I’m a person who is always a bit suspicious when it comes to critiques of Hip-Hop. I always want to analyze the source of the critique. I want to know the critic’s intent. I want to look at context, because I know that often times Hip-Hop is more than just words. I’ll admit, begrudgingly that this video made it’s point. Those lyrics aren’t just “bad words”. They are bad ideas, bad thoughts and bad perceptions. I cringe when I hear these lyrics coming out the mouths of babes, but I also cringe when I hear these lyrics coming out of the mouths of adults. Either way, I’m cringing.