In Defense Of Your Kid’s Playlist

My sister and I don’t fight about much. But recently we revisited something we’ve debated for years: what our kids want to listen to in the car. A mother of boys, she finds the misogynist lyrics in her kids’ playlists offensive. She also thinks “all of the b*tches, p*ssy and n*gger talk” just wrong for her kids.  I totally get that.  My husband says the same thing about my daughter’s playlist. But I just have one problem: parents have thought this since the beginning of time.  I remember being horrified when my mom walked into my room just as the Beastie Boys refrained “I did it like this, I did it like that, I did it with a Wiffle ball bat.” Oh man. Was it offensive? Sure. But was it also some of the best music to come out of my generation? You bet. My dad took a different approach — he tried hard to stay current with my music and listening to it together (always in the car) became the #1 source of our bonding. So, with the Grammys going down tomorrow night, I thought I’d take a look at some of the best Grammy nominated songs that are also on my kids playlists, in hopes that if your kids are into this to and you’re not, maybe my perspective will help you give it a try. Let’s do this:

{note: you can click on the images to download this music in iTunes]

K Flay– ‘Blood In The Cut’

What’s a white girl from Chicago who attended Stanford with a double major in psychology and sociology doing with a microphone in her hand? Crushing it. That’s what. After hitting the music scene 4 years ago, K Flay finally has Grammy noms for her new album. Between her complex and often sophisticated lyrics (granted ‘The boy I love has another girl; he may be f*cking her right now’ isn’t one of them, but it is real) and her layered instrumental tracks, she takes hip hop to a very new place. A place that many of your kids, particularly the girls, probably find very real too. Go there– and don’t hold back when you find yourself captivated by “flows so menstrual, I think I need a tampon on the track.”

Childish Gambino–‘Redbone’ 

If you are worried that hip hop is ruining your kids by making them lazy, entitled, dope-smoking morons, Donald Glover is here to prove you wrong. What have you done in the last 12 months? Mr. Glover has received two Golden Globe for his tv series ‘Atlanta’, announced that he’ll be playing ‘Simba’ in the upcoming Lion King remake and released an incredible album under his alias Childish Gambino. ‘Redbone’ is beautifully poetic, undeniably infectious and if you’re a Prince fan, you’ll feel right at home with his slow, soulful falsetto. Careful, you may just become a fan.

Migos featuring Lil Uzi Vert– ‘Bad and Boujee’

Let’s get this out of the way– they say n*gger.. a lot in this track. Whether or not you tell your kids that they can or can’t say that word and in what context is incredibly complicated. And certainly one that this humble automotive blogger is not here to solve. But I am here to tell you that if you don’t know and love this song, you will soon or at least have a laugh. Because if you can keep a straight face when they say “When I’m stage, show me boobies,” you’re a stronger person than I. If worse comes to worse, it’ll introduce the word “Boujee” to your vocabulary.

Kendrick Lamar– ‘HUMBLE ‘

Even if you’re not into rap or hip hop, surely you’ve heard the name Kendrick Lamar.  For this year’s Grammys, he’s nominated all over the place, including Album of the Year and Record of the Year for HUMBLE. At first, it sounds like another testosterone-fueled dumb song with the refrain “Sit down… Be Humble.” And sure, it doesn’t help that the video shows a bunch of women counting money in their underwear.  But I’d argue that since song just SOUNDS SO GOOD and since he says “I’m so f*cking sick of the Photoshop, show me something real like some ass with some stretch marks”, its actually hard to call him sexist. Not to mention the fact that if you’ve never wanted to say “Sit down. Be Humble” to your kids, then maybe your’e doing something really right.

Khalid– ‘Location’

You can hate Khalid for a lots of things. For being 18 years old and being nominated for 5 Grammys– sure. “Young, Dumb & Broke” for having vaguely stupid and annoying lyrics. Right. But ‘Location’ is hard to resist. This slow, sweet, romantic song is tender in the way that you don’t expect for a teenage kid– especially one that’s topping the rap charts.  Plus, Khalid sites his mom as his greatest musical influence. Now that’s a kid I can support!


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