I’m not outraged. Not even pissed off. But I just can’t help think about how much better Notorious B.I.G. expressed a similar theme than the way Ludacris presented it with his new single \”Pimpin’ All Over the World.’
I think it’s great that Ludacris is pleased with his musical success and all the money that accompanies multiplatinum sales, but judging by the song’s lyrics, maybe the money and success have gone to his head.
All I ask for is a touch more humility and a slightly higher dose of reality.
What is most important to Ludacris now that he is successful? What does he repeat eight times during the song? He loves ‘the fancy cars, the women and the caviar.’
Status. The fact that he has probably never had the inclination to try caviar is not important. What is significant is that he now has the option of spreading overpriced, salty fish eggs over his toast for breakfast before he opens the door of one of his many extravagant cars for a woman he met by introducing himself as ‘the man of this town.’
I’m not saying that spreading fish roe on toast is wrong or even that convincing a woman to come home with you because you can ‘show [her] around … from Hawaii to D.C.’ is immoral. Frankly, if that is what one finds most attractive in a potential partner, moreso even than any actual personality, then so be it: leave the real, down-to-earth people for those who think as I do.
It feels like money and success are being flaunted in my face, and, what do you know, Ludacris’ ‘Red Light District’ album cover echoes this.
The way in which many rap artists frequently cover the theme of coming from ‘negative to positive’ and going from ghetto rags to ghetto ‘fab’ is commendable. Notorious B.I.G.’s incredible classic ‘Juicy’ is a case in point. He walks the line between humility and pride beautifully. In the song, he describes how far he has come and that he is now more successful working in a positive industry than the activities in which he engaged before.
‘I made the change from a common thief / To up close and personal with Robin Leach … I never thought it could happen, this rappin’ stuff / I was too used to packin’ gats and stuff / Now honies play me close like butter played toast. …’
It is important to celebrate one’s successes in life, especially if one has endured many hardships to achieve a level of accomplishment, but as I listened to Ludacris’s hit single, I wondered at what point does celebration revert to bragging into a microphone?
If rap today did not regale listeners with tales of their extravagant, decadent adventures traveling with women, rap would be very boring indeed. This is the same reason why international automotive magazines do not consistently cover their covers with ho-hum economy cars every month. Sure, most readers are more likely to be driving a Toyota than a Porsche or Ferrari, yet these ladder automotive manufacturers are featured just as often as the former.
Why? Because they represent an attractive social plateau which many strive to attain. Likewise, Ludacris takes us on a positive journey from Miami Beach to Canada and Brazil, taking care to mention his ‘cars, the women and the caviar’ as well.
But Ludacris goes overboard. He steps over the line of tastefulness by detailing a bit too much with his pimping adventures. Then again, extravagance and going over the top are integral elements of behavior for what I understand to be the pimping lifestyle.
These same characteristics, which turn me away from the lyrics, force my attention right back with the lavishness of the song’s production. ‘Pimpin’ All Over the World’ features a catchy melody, grand chords and a beat that cries out for dancing. ‘You hear the song so dance,’ Ludacris playfully orders.
Despite my misgivings about Ludacris’ lyrics, I think the rap-loving feminists out there might appreciate Ludacris’ treatment of women, in contrast to, say, David Banner’s ‘Play.’
Ludacris’ ‘World’ ends with Money Mike as he attempts to filter out the poser pimps. This part of the song is lighthearted, entertaining and actually made me chuckle out loud.
‘Juicy’ introduces a completely different mood. Although the song does not make me smile, my head bobs authoritatively for both Notorious B.I.G. and Ludacris. The songs are catchy enough that I would consider lowering my windows and raising my car stereo’s volume. But then I reconsider, deciding that a touch of humility wouldn’t hurt.