Pitch, Please!: Ratchet throwbacks, musical delights
During our long winter break, the music industry is usually experiencing a drought season in which we don’t see many new releases. I took this period to explore urban music, since my friends are always giving me flack about being a hipster and not enjoying “black” music. I decided to start with the songs that have been labeled “ratchet.” Yes, underneath the prudish and uptight tone that I portray in my columns, I like to partake in music of the ratchet variety and do hood rat things with my friends. Well, at least I can appreciate a good Travis Porter song.
Most people may believe that the ratchet genre of music is a new thing, when really it’s just a reworking of the other urban music crazes that we’ve had within the past 10 or so years. There was the trap and crunk music waves back in 2002 with people like T.I., Three 6 Mafia and Crime Mob. I can still remember people in my middle school classes rapping the verses to classics like “Knuck If You Buck” and seeing the video “Bring ‘Em Out” on MTV (back when they still played videos instead of reruns of “Teen Mom”). Then we experienced a large influx of southern rappers come from out of nowhere in 2005-2007—anyone remember Yung Joc’s “It’s Goin’ Down,” Webbie’s “Independent,” Hurricane Chris’ “A Bay Bay” or anything that any rapper who had the word Lil’ (Boosie in particular) in front of their name released during that time period? That period spawned songs that I still enjoy every once in awhile, but like the artists who made them, never really stuck around. Then we had producer Bangladesh using his ratchet expertise to produce songs Lil’ Wayne’s “A Milli” and Gucci Mane’s “Lemonade,” the latter having nothing to do with the actual drink. I guess it’s better than comparing yourself to a venereal disease. Now rappers like 2 Chainz are releasing tracks like “Birthday Song” and “No Lie,” Future’s “Turn on The Lights” and Juicy J giving us what I like to consider the ratchet anthem of the 21st century, “Bandz A Make Her Dance,” which never fails to get me and my friends hyped up. You even have pop artists taking turns at making their own ratchet-themed tunes, examples being Rihanna’s “Cockiness (Love It)” produced by the aforementioned Bangladesh and “Pour It Up,” (essentially the female version of “Bandz”) produced by the crown prince of the ratchet movement Michael Williams, better known as Mike WiLL Made It.
Even if I don’t pop mollies, sweat excessively (unless I’m at the gym) or have the expendable income of Trinidad James, I can still enjoy the music because it’s entertaining. I don’t have to live the lifestyle that these musicians are describing in order to comprehend it. Plus, judging them on their lyrical content isn’t doing me any good so I might as well sit back and enjoy the utter delight that is “Pop That” by French Montana.