Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The Artist Unleashed: BYE BYE HATE – POETIC ANALYSIS OF A DANCEHALL RIDDIM, by Matthew MacNish

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57 comments:

  1. That's really extreme. Sorry it ruined the song for you.
    I'm always hearing a really great prog rock song, like it a lot, and then I read the lyrics. Whoa! Run away!

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    1. It really is a strange psychological phenomenon to enjoy something that sounds so cool, and then discover it has a deeper meaning you simply can't abide.

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  2. I've had this happen to me, Matt. It's sad, because you wish you could somehow detach the meaning from the sound, but it's not that easy.

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    1. So true. It was really kind of traumatic for me. I mean, what if Bob Marley held the same beliefs? I think I'd be devastated.

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  3. Nice job, Matt. I'm odd when it comes to music. I love the SOUND of music and lyrics mixed, but I rarely actually listen to what any lyrics are saying. I totatlly agree that songs shouldn't be hateful like this.

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    1. I was watching Revolution last night, and the episode featured two Led Zeppelin songs. It made me think of you.

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  4. This is a really fantastic post. I'm reminded of the tongue lashing Labi Siffre, one of my heroes, issued regarding one of his songs being sampled in an Eminem track that had some anti-gay lyrics: "Attacking two of the usual scapegoats, women and gays, is lazy writing. If you want to do battle, attack the aggressors not the victims". Clearly, a lot more culturally at work in the Carribean, but I appreciate your passion for this! Heading over to check out some Web sites.

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    1. That's fascinating to hear! Thanks, Shauna.

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  5. I agree with Ted. I rarely LISTEN to what the lyrics are saying. It does make me wonder what my kids' favorite bands are saying. I listen to their music, too (most of it), but I don't analyze it. Hopefully it's not spreading hate, too.

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    1. I certainly hope not. Most of the stuff on the radio my kids listen to is all about sex, so I just don't tell them.

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  6. Great post. I love Reggae, but truthfully never knew most of the lyrics...just liked the beat. I also like rap, but again, some lyrics are not ones I want to sing along with. In a recent Katy Perry song she had some very objectional lyrics considering preteens listen to her and want to be like her. I guess it's listener 'beware'.

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    1. Yeah, it's a problem with a lot of pop songs. I let my kids listen, but secretly hope they never figure out what Maroon 5 is really talking about.

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  7. That's sad Matt. I love Reggae and went to see Bob Marley when I was in college. But I'll have to reconsider because I don't like any anti-gay lyrics.

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    1. It's definitely not guaranteed to be a problem with every Reggae/Dancehall/Dub artist, and there are a few like Jimmy Cliff who have spoken out against bigotry of this kind. Sadly, with Bob, we may never know.

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  8. This is so true. There are a few musicians whose music I loved, until I really listened to the lyrics and realized the message. Now their music is ruined for me and I don't support them by purchasing their albums any longer.

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    1. Agreed 100%. It just sucks, because good music can be so hard to find.

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  9. Excellent post. My son used to listen to a lot of rap and while I often liked the beat and/or the music the lyrics tended to put me off. Thanks for this interpretation.

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    1. You're welcome! And I totally hear you about Hip-Hop. I'm a big fan myself, but I'm not interested in artists who rap only about pimping women, selling drugs, or clapping guns. There is good, conscious hip-hop out there too. Check out A Tribe Called Quest, Jeru da Damaja, De La Soul, Immortal Technique, Atmosphere, and others.

      Thanks, Marcy!

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  10. This is very cool and I appreciate the time you put into educating us. My kids and I do this sort of analysis in the mini-van, but Bieber is much easier to interpret. :) Peace.

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    1. Hah! I suppose he probably is. Thanks, Anita.

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  11. After two and a half years living in the Caribbean, I can understand the dialect. Unfortunately, they aren't trying to cloak the meaning, everything here is pretty blunt, but now I can understand exactly what they are saying.

    Culturally things are very different. Hate is a way of life for many. Poverty, drugs, murder and extreme circumstances abound. At the same time I have felt a lot of generosity and love - but some days you have to dig deep. Here it is not common for the daddy to stick around, so most of the young men grown up devoid of a positive male role model. The gangs that have come down from the East Coast of the States are working overtime to fill that void.

    For me it's an interesting experience, turning the tables of minority. When I was a young adult, Daddy, an extreme bigot, once told me people would call me 'everything but a white woman'. Well, Daddy was wrong. Now I've been called a 'white woman' and it was not meant as a compliment.

    I still love Reggae, but now that I understand the lyrics, I'm a whole lot more careful what's on my playlist.

    Interesting and informative post. Love you poetical translations of lyrics; for what is music but poetry set to tune.

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    1. Thanks, Eyes! I was hoping you'd stop by, with your unique knowledge of the culture. I wish you could tell us things were getting better (since this song is rather old), but I'm sad to hear it may not be.

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  12. WOW nice post! I could go on in comment, but it'd only end up a posting. Great post and definitely enjoyed reading it!

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  13. I don't know if i've ever experienced something like that. I think it's because once i start to like a song, i pay close attention to the lyrics and meaning behind them. Mostly because it helps me memorize them for when i'm belting them out later.
    I read an article once about homophobia in jamaica and how there's this general confusion among the populace that homosexuality is the same as pedophilia, so people have this belief that if you're gay, you're going to prey on children, or try to turn children gay, which is where a lot of the violence and hate comes from.

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    1. Interesting. I'd never heard of that aspect. And yeah, you've got the know the lyrics, so you can sing them properly. Or at least close. I'm good with close enough.

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  14. I grew up in the deep south Matt, and I've seen tolerance and hate there. It's not always in the songs of the region, but small towns too, can be full of stranger-hate, if you're from somewhere else. Pockets of hate can be found anywhere. Same goes for guns, easy to acquire. An island community can be like a small town. . .

    Thoughtful post, Matt. Too many people don't listen to the lyrics, if they like the beat. But you do. I applaud that.

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    1. Thanks, D.G. I actually live in a small town not that far north of Atlanta, so while it's probably not quite as bad as the "deep south," I do experience plenty of bigotry. Thanks so much for visiting!

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    2. I could tell you a tale that would make you think differently about some small towns. My younger sis lives in
      Atlanta.

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  15. The second you said you'd written something "controversial" I had to come check it out...I'm easy to hook that way. Excellent post. I'd not heard this song before - which makes me glad. Knowing the meaning behind the lyrics would have definitely ruined it for me. Very enlightening post Matt.

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  16. Excellent post, Matthew. I discovered Buju Banton's hate rhetoric a while ago when I hosted J.L. Campbell (an author from Jamaica) who warned me in reading her book and reviewing it that Jamaica is very homophobic. He's just the latest in hate mongers and extremists and I hope he rots in prison. Personally, I think it's his religion that led him to his conclusions. I think religion is responsible for most of the violence in this world. It's mind-boggling especially when you consider that from a scientific point of view, religion is nothing but a fraud/con.

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    1. I think you might be on to something. I think socio-economic status is also very closely related. The Caribbean is mostly extremely poor.

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  17. Makes you wonder how many people have danced along to this without any idea of what they're dancing to.

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  18. What an eye-opening post, on several levels. You did a great job articulating yourself here, Matt. Bravo!

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    1. Thanks, Nicole! At least with Hip-Hop, it's easier to figure out what doesn't vibe with your values.

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  19. Outstanding post! I'm from South Louisiana, where quite a few Jamaicans have settled. So, yes, I knew what these lyrics meant, not from any particular sense other than one knows. There are several gay bars on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter, very open, with the rainbow flag flying. To be quite honest, locals don't care. It's the tourists from ultra conservative states who don't like it. The prevailing opinion is, well, stay the hell outta here. Of course, this is New Orleans, not the Deep South in general or the South, where opinions can -- and do -- run high, fueled by Cracker Barrel religious devotees.

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  20. This is a subject that needs to be addressed and you did an excellent job here. I couldn't listen to the whole clip because I just can't stomach that kind of hate. It reminds me of the crap some of my close friends have had to deal with simply because they're homosexual. This world makes me so mad sometimes.

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    1. Me too. Thanks so much for visiting, Elise!

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  21. When I started listening to the song I thought it was just the typical sort of gangster boasting, similar to what you get in a lot of rap. Then I started piecing together the meaning of it. Distasteful. Disturbing. Sad to see those sort of sentiments continue in this day and age.

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    1. Well, thankfully this song is twenty years old, but unfortunately, the bias still exists in Caribbean culture. Thanks for visiting, Jeff!

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  22. Forgot to add yesterday that I voted for you, Jess. Was so proud! And, following events in Greece -- hope all's well with you and your family. I worry a bit, well, more than a bit at times. I love Greece very much and am pained by so much.

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  23. What horrifying lyrics. How sad that a seemingly wonderful song has such a dark meaning. Great post, Matthew.

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  24. Without seeing the words, I had no idea of their meaning. Cultural thing, music genre thing, language thing all working against me so that all I made out was innocuous sounding words. Guess there's no danger now of me singing along now.

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    1. LOL. That's the trouble with some music, it takes a lot of work and some careful listening to figure out what it's really about.

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  25. Great post. Terrible lyrics. It's wrong that they hide the hatred in a dance song (I assume - I didn't listen to it) knowing that a lot of people aren't going to pay attention to the lyrics.

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  26. There are a lot of songs I stopped listening to as I started listening to the lyrics. Hard to do sometimes when the "riddum" makes you want to wind your hips and get a good dancehall groove on. However, your analysis of this song opened my eyes to something that has niggled me for a very long time. I recently noticed I have a tendency toward songs without lyrics. It allows me to enjoy what I really want: the song without concern what message is being sent. But I can see part of that has to do with songs where I can't understand the words or they're said in such a way- drawled, slurred, screwed, super-fast - that I can't fathom the lyrics. And then discover that I don't like it all once I really see what's being said.

    Your analysis, by the way, should make it's way into Source or something. :-)

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    1. Thanks, Angela (and feel free to notify The Source, XXL, or any other magazine you feel like)!

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  27. Awesome post, my friend. Thanks for educating us and giving us the heads up on this. I know I'dve never know the difference. ((hugs)) <3

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  28. I got into Buju because Ian Brown from the Stone Roses liked him, and I really liked the Til Shiloh album. But then I heard about this homophobic stuff a while ago and ever since felt guilty...

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    1. I believe people can change. Of course, he's now in prison for cocaine possession, so who knows?

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