I’ve never been much of a kid’s person. I don’t go all goo-goo-ga-ga when I see a baby and I don’t think it’s funny or cute when someone’s kid starts making a scene in public places. What’s even more annoying to me than kids in general is when kids act or look like grown up adults (i.e. Ralph Lauren clothing advertisements & that disturbing television show, Toddlers & Tiaras) Which is why I get especially angry whenever I see Mindless Behavior, an R&B singing group made up of four boys who, at some point in their 12 years of life, were told they had above average singing ability, good looks, and big enough egos to make a popular singing group. These four boys, Ray Ray, Princeton, Prodigy, and Roc Royal (um, what?) are quickly becoming girls’ new obsession. Their most popular song, My Girl, is regularly featured on MTV Jams, and they’ve been seen opening for big name tours like Janet Jackson and Justin Bieber. Where do I even begin…?
I won’t even address the subject of their individual names because I could write a whole other article about that alone. So let’s start with the fact that they are making a mockery of hip hop and R&B. Not only do they represent everything that’s wrong with young hip hop artists today, but they’re biggest hit song is about texting…I completely understand that technology is a huge part of our world nowadays. I see 5 year olds playing on iPhones everyday, however I grew up with texting too and I do not feel the need to sing about it. I mean just listen to these lyrics, “When I say hey, then you say what’s up?/ And I’ll be like baby, do you miss me?/ When you say yes, then I’ll say ditto/ Then you hit me back, with the less than symbol number three.” Thanks for telling us your entire PG rated text conversation.
But maybe I shouldn’t blame them for singing about such trivial topics, after all their record label probably paid a team of people to write that song for them. Maybe it’s just simply their age. Most tweens probably don’t have enough life experiences to sing with feeling and soul in their music like R.Kelly or Uncle Charlie Wilson do. Now I know some of the older readers are asking themselves right now, so what? You’re only 23! Well touché, you make a great point. I’m no wise old grandma who should be giving out life advice to the youngsters, but I do like to think that I have a few more life experiences than a 7th grader and could drop some knowledge on a tween if they asked me for it.
Although I’ve spent most of this article hating on four young children, the last thing I want is for people to think that I’m a heinous person who hates children, it’s not like that. I’m not really disgusted with the actual kids, I’m more directing my anger towards the people around them who think it’s a good idea to dress them as a 30 something year old R&B artist (for example Usher) and teach them dance moves that should only be seen at a Chippendales show (see their powerful, gyrating hips in the My Girl music video). Well this is my message to those people: be original! Why don’t you just let a kid be a kid, send them to school where they can actually experience the times in their lives that they’ll be able to sing about later. And if you absolutely positively need to force them into a singing career before high school, let them act their age!
I guess in the end, I am completely aware that I am not their target audience. I’m not a 10 year old girl who can’t go to concerts without a chaperone. It’s just depressing that this is what hip hop has become. When I was younger, I had quality R&B music like Boyz II Men or Destiny’s Child, so it’s hard for me to wrap my head around a group of strangely named boys who sing about using their cell phones. But I guess if this is what keeps the young’ns happy and listening to music, then maybe I’m the one who should change. After all, isn’t that what our parents said when my generation first discovered the once new, scandalous, vulgar genre of hip hop music in general? Hip hop is clearly changing, I’m just sad to see the older version go.