I should know better. There’s no doubt about that. As a self-respecting and (at least part-way) college-educated consumer, I should know better. But I can’t stop myself. Hidden deep down in the catacombs of my taste, past several 8-bit alligators and snakes that aren’t to scale (I prefer to visualize the internal workings of my mind as a game of Pitfall), lies the truth. Against all logic, I am madly in love with the music of Waka Flocka Flame.
Before I get into why I shouldn’t like Mr. Flame’s music, I’d like to give you a little background on myself. I am an absolute music hound. I’m constantly digging for newer, fresher and above all better music. I know song lyrics like fat, middle-aged men know baseball statistics. I’m the friend that my friends go to when they want to hear something new. “Oh, if you like ‘band a’ you’ll love ‘this band.'” That is me. I liked to think I had an ear for good music, until Waka Flocka Flame’s boisterous and borderline mentally-disabled raps came to blow that notion all to hell.
So what exactly is wrong with Waka Flocka’s music? In short, everything. While he’s signed to Warner Bros and has full recording studios at his disposal, his songs still sound like they were recorded on a USB mic in a bathroom. He swears over-emphatically, like a grade-schooler who just learned the words from the older kids at the bus stop. (see O Let’s Do It’s repetition of “What the FUCK you want?”)
On top of that, Waka abandons the general definitions of rap. Punchlines? Never. Wordplay? Non-existent. Metaphors? An emphatic NO. (In fact the intro to his song Blunt Music is a repetition of the lines “I don’t need no metaphors/ This is real music”)
“Okay,” you say, “so he’s not a GOOD rapper. But he’s still following the basic structure of rap: rhyming lines with an equal number of syllables.”
Not so fast, reader. Flame only rhymes when it suits him. More often than not he rhymes the same word over and over (ex. from No Hands: I’m a bad mothafucka/ Go n’ ask these muthafuckas/ a young handsome muthafucka) or creates words to force a rhyme (ex. from O Let’s Do It: Locked my CEO up/ now it’s back to coca/ nigga talkin’ shit, bruh?/ Hang ’em by a rope-a).
And fat chance getting Flame to stick to a syllable count. Waka frequently squeezes extra syllables into lines and, in the case of his single O Let’s Do It , actually adds a fifth line to the end of his AAAA structure that tramples over the first line of the chorus (“Home of the Braves shawty shoot ’em with a K”). While the first line of the chorus is just “YEEEEAAAAAAAAHHH”, it’s still painfully obvious to anyone who is paying attention.
Above all, Waka’s raps are just dumb. Plain and simple, these are horribly stupid lyrics. I think the best example of this comes from O Let’s Do It: “One shot/ man down/ his brain go KA-POW!/ OW!/ Dat shit hurt/ so don’t fuck around.” Enough said.
But that still doesn’t get to why I like it. I like Waka Flocka Flame’s music because it is so dumb that my brain shuts down in self-defense. It gives me a chance to do something I rarely get to do as a college student: stop thinking. I honestly believe that listening to Flame’s mind-numbing music is akin to meditation. It slows my brainwaves down in the same fashion as driving down a familiar stretch of highway. His music puts my brain into a theta state (4 to 7 cycles per second, same state as daydreaming or meditation) as opposed to a beta state (13-30 cycles per second, an active brain). Oftentimes, I don’t even remember listening to his music after it ends.
As someone who has too much on his plate (and is a wee bit too cynical) to ever meditate, Flame’s music (with its brash and fearless stupidity) offers me a break from everything. That, above all, is the reason I keep it tucked away on the shameful side of my playlists.