Throw It Back: Lessons in R&B Lyrics

Why Crazy In Love Is A Milestone for Women Born In The 90’s 

Along With Every Other Relationship Song Disguised As Bops 

It’s no surprise that artists’ sing their pain. Blinded by the beat most listeners can’t see the tragedy being masked over melodies. Drowned out by drums the messages in these songs are hidden unless one turns down the beat and raises the lyrics.

The lead single “Crazy In Love” off Beyoncé‘s debut album is proof of just that. Her audience, (myself included) distracted by the playful music video, along with her infamous “uh oh, uh oh, uh oh” trademark over the beat barely paid attention to what was really being expressed in the lyrics. Beyoncé, then a young woman of 24 like most of us was in a relationship with a man making a fool of her. However, she was so in love, that she didn’t care. “Baby you’re making a fool of me, you got me sprung and I don’t care who sees”. Too many of us fall into the trap of self sabotage. Being blinded by our hope which often makes us stay in the arms of men who aren’t strong enough to hold us. Yes, they may swoon you and text you good morning in the beginning, but what else do they really do for you? If you find yourself sad more than happy why are you really with him? Is it because you look past those things deep down you know you shouldn’t? Is it because when you look at him you see the good? Do you see the person he could be, instead of the person he is? If so, honey you are not alone. The first step is admitting it to yourself, saying it out loud without trying to justify his actions. By all means I am not saying he isn’t a good dude, he just isn’t a good dude for you.

I was ten when Beyoncé’s Dangerously In Love album came out in 2003. At a young age, I was singing along to the words, not really knowing what they meant, “but I still don’t understand how your love got me doing what no one else can” that line on it’s own was a cry for help. I didn’t understand what she really meant by “love” at the time. I figured it meant just that, love. Now that I’m older (23) and have dealt with my share of men I realize now that she meant a form/expression of his love, not love itself by definition. Think about it. What else besides money (and abuse) has the power of persuading a woman to stay in a situation where she should leave… good sex. And what is good sex? An expression of love. What else could it have been? It hit me out of nowhere, I laughed for being so naive over the years and suddenly the root of Lemonade & 4:44 became so clear. “Me, Myself And I”, “Dangerously In Love”, “Yes”, “Speechless”, “Be With You”, I could write about the significance of this entire album in a separate article alone. Now yes, she could have meant love all around, but don’t you doubt for a second that she wasn’t sugarcoating good pipe because she was. In her audience’s eyes she was still a child, she was still seen as the girl from that group singing about boys and independence, so her lyrics weren’t as vulgar and upfront back then. It wasn’t until her self-titled album Beyoncé that she got comfortable in her womanhood and I think the birth of her first born Blue Ivy was the cause of that.

Beyoncé isn’t the only one who stayed when she should’ve left. Women all around the world get trapped by good penis. We don’t want to let it go, not just wanting to hold our body count (which is a trap by society on it own, no woman should feel diminished by the number of her sexual partners) but because good dick is hard to find. Most men don’t know how to have sex anyway because all they do is penetrate. Therefore, when you find someone you connect with and have good sexual chemistry with it’s hard to give that up, but if the relationship you’re in is toxic than you must. There is always better out there don’t be afraid to let past comfort go.

Ameriie‘s “More Than Love” featuring Fabolous is the perfect example of sinking yourself in a relationship you need to get out of. It’s a song about drifting apart and no longer trusting your significant other more than you trust love itself. We all know how dangerous and detrimental love can be. It isn’t the most trustworthy form of affection. When we love someone who shows us the same love we give them then it’s perfect. However, all of our love languages are different and what we give may not be what we get in our eyes. People show their care differently and although someone may claim to care for you that doesn’t mean the little acts of kindness they show here and there should allow you to let them outweigh the bad because enabling their bad habits like that will only make them grow.

In this song, Ameriie expresses the doubts she is having in her relationship with Fab. She claims their connection is weakening and she no longer recognizes the man she sees. Conversations with her man are different and their love doesn’t feel the same, but “everything is everything when we’re just making love”, there it is again, sex. Holding onto a relationship because of sexual desires is not going to fix your problems. If anything, it worsens them. How many of us have tried to pull our man aside and explain the way we feel? How many of us have tried to enlighten him on the problem at hand? At what do men do? Disengage, change the subject, hear without listening to us. The intro to Fab’s verse illustrates just that between a conversation he is having with Ameriie.

Ameriie: “Every time I ask, you give me a different answer.”

Fab: “Every time I answer, you give me a different question”

Typical man response to deflect and throw a woman off guard, making us seem “crazy” when in reality men tend to drive us to that craziness. Now I am aware that constantly assuming and drawing conclusions doesn’t help anyone. However, Fab doesn’t make it any easy for her to believe his innocence by ending his verse with, “trust me, I don’t even trust me” because that’s so reassuring lol. In the video, she hires a P.I. who follows Fab and take photos of him meeting another woman. Although these pictures don’t reveal that he’s cheating, being that she is already feeling distant from him that’s where her mind goes. Of course Fab defends himself by saying “just cause ya girlfriends say it, don’t make it fact” which is true, but our friends aren’t here to make us unhappy. If anything they root for the dude in our life because they want to see us happy. Real friends want you to get piped down, loved and catered to. Now the director does a good job by plot twisting the direction of the video by showing Fab’s innocence and loyalty to his woman. I do like the middle finger gesture he gives them at the end haha. The woman he was meeting sold him a car for him to give to Ameriie, but for the regular n*ggas in real life who can’t afford cars, if you feel yourself stuck in a situation like this and Ameriie’s lyrics are hitting every emotion you’re feeling girl, than your man probably is cheating.

I think now is the best time for us (90’s babies) to exist as women, to learn and grow from the mistakes we may have made that have been made by every woman ever. There are so many hidden gems in the music we grew up on from the 90’s – early 2000’s. Singing along to these songs back then, not really knowing what any of it meant means so much more to me now because I’m older and I finally get it. I also like to look up an artist’s’ age around the time their music I’m resonating with came out because it helps me relate to what I may be going through with a dude. A lot of the time we tend to be around the same age (now vs. then) which is cool knowing we all go through similar issues.

Ashanti was 25 when her debut album dropped, featuring her hit singles “Foolish”, “Baby” and “Happy”, all songs exemplify the many ups and many downs of roller coasters that are men. Being hurt yet still holding on, listening to the advice of your friends, but still riding with your man to the end because that’s what a good woman does. Incorrect, that’s what a foolish girl does. A smart woman knows that her happiness is most important and it lies within herself, not in the arms of someone else. We don’t know that in the beginning. We just go through the motions and hopefully we learn by the time we reach the end. We’ll listen to your advice, but we have to experience life (men) on our own.

“Is there any boys around that know how to make a girl feel?” Say what your want about her now, but Teairra Mari hit us with a gem at 18! “Make Her Feel Good” started playing while my iTunes was on shuffle and I swear up and down I wrote this song myself. My god. I’ve almost never resonated with such a song and it’s a BOP. I mean a B-O-P, BOP!

“Do I have to a n*gga how to touch me?
Do I have to tell a n*gga how to hold me?
Do I have to tell a n*gga when to call me?
Do I have to tell a n*gga I’m lonely?
Do I have to feel wrong
When it ain’t strong?
Keep my mouth closed?
(Huh, huh, huh)
Can’t a girl from the hood find a homie
That ain’t just tryin’ to f&*k, he gon love me?

How come I got a n*gga, but can’t trust him?
Why every answer to my question is a question?
Why can’t my n*gga be my own lil’ somethin’
And every girl on my block can’t say they don’ bump wit’?” 

Seriously? Why is every word as relevant now as it was back then? I can’t even wrap my head around the accurateness. Songs like Fantasia’s “When I See U”, Ashanti’s “Baby” or Monica’s “So Gone”, were made when they were in their early 20’s, the time to learn and prosper as women. They all show the power men have over our emotions. Keyshia Cole was 24 when we all changed our mind and it literally blows my mind how I missed everything in these messages. All of these women warned us and we didn’t listen (lol) mostly because we didn’t hear what was really going on. To us, to me, they were just songs. The beat was catchy and the videos were dope, that’s what distracted me. Being older and smarter and wiser is such a blessing. Listening to these pleas disguised as bops is like finding all of Voldemort’s horcrux’s. It gives them all a new meaning again.

Here’s a playlist for your pleasure. Really listen this time. Look up the year it was made along with their age and compare it to yours now. How does it relate to you? How well do you resonate with what’s being said? If you’re older compare your age to theirs back then. Were you going through the same trials with men? Leave a comment.

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