so i’m on my ex’s facebook page, not to stalk just to care, and i see a link to cee lo green’s new song and video called, “fuck you.” it’s rapidly approaching 4 million hits, and just got written up in a rather precious article in yesterday’s new york times. cee lo became known to the pop world through his last hit, “crazy,” with the duo gnarls barkley. instead of giving cee lo his props for continuing to vanguard, the article gives a shallow background on the artist and an in-depth take on the video. but mainly the article takes cee lo to task for using the cuss word, fuck. this from a largely non-investigative national paper of record who places blase articles about the death of millions next to urgent ads for fur coats. this from a paper which is still feeding us the bp line on the deepwater horizon oil spill. anyway, i watched “fuck you” with glee. i can relate. plus i’ve liked cee lo since his days with the dungeon family and he’s always been an innovator, one of the lights from within the depths. here’s a link to the lyrics and the viral sensation itself:
fuck you is an endearing song, catchy, and self-reflexive in an almost broadway like fashion. in it, he addresses class from the vantage point of a working class fellow watching the girl he loves go off with some rich dude. his vocals soar when he laments, “if i was richer, i’d still be with her.” the video, with its karaoke-like lyrically based graphics, is fun and easy on the eyes. cee lo continues to push the envelope of a tightening cultural society by eschewing corporatized hip hop rapping/talking points, namely “i’m rich,” “i’m sexy,” “i’m dangerous to myself and others.” now, i’m not saying i mind these reductionist messages, i’m out here bobbing my head with the rest, getting into heated debates at the beach over the genius of wayne carter.
but let’s be real about the power of the landscape we’re dealing with. hip hop is one of america’s largest exports, its cultural influence alone is untold. reducing hip hop to just a few messages is part of the same tragedy that lifted all real news out of all black radio stations. so songs like young money’s newest, “up all night,” while badass, alienate a largely working class world with their new money mogul mantras. but hey, let’s all pretend we’re popping bottles while we wonder and worry, la lucha continuar, for surely. props to cee lo, and all courageous artists.
stay tuned for more,