This may surprise you, but I didn’t fit in the dominant culture as a young teenager.


Insert sarcastic comment *here*

At school dances – aka, social self-flagellation in the cafeteria to bad music – I didn’t know how to dance to the popular songs. I knew how to rock out.

Me at thirteen. Yes, I was freakishly tall.

Me at thirteen. Yes, I was freakishly tall.

Popular music in the mid-90’s was terrible, just to fill you in. The alternative music scene that had seemed so revolutionary in the earlier part of the decade swelled to a crescendo of icky, corporately manufactured rock, including Hanson. Yep, Hanson. Any other argument you have in favor of mid-90’s music is invalid.

But in my neck of the woods, hip-hop held supreme over all other musical forms. Maybe it was our proximity to South Central (15 miles) or Compton (12 miles), or maybe it was for no reason at all, but songs about guns and gangs played the soundtrack to my young teen years.


Rap music. I understand and appreciate this artistic genre in an intellectual way. I can understand the cultural value of this poetic form of expression. However, it does not speak to me. I don’t know how to move to it. It grates on my insides in a personal way, which I will explain shortly, but there’s also the rather extreme misogyny associated with rap culture. I hated the referrals to pimps and hoes, and I still don’t appreciate the pejorative term “bitches,” as in, “hey, look at all them bitches,” or, “my bitch better not mouth off.”

Just not my thing, the bitches and hoes.

So I was the sole misunderstood teenager pestering the DJ to play “In Bloom,” or at the very least “Black Hole Sun.” Even No Doubt would have sufficed.

Any time the DJ would take pity and acquiesce, the dance floor would empty, save for me and a handful of other rockers, to a rousing chorus of booing and “Turn this crap off!” After a minute or so, the songs from the hood would resume bumping out from the speakers, the dance floor would suddenly swell, and I’d be back holding up the wall.

Want to remember what was popular in 1995-7 suburban Los Angeles?

Bet you thought you’d never hear that one again.

I just don’t get it.

For clarification, we were not living in a gangsta’s paradise. Some of us were poor, but it was still the suburbs.

At least this one had humor value…I think.

This one has become less repulsive to me, and I can actually say it doesn’t make me want to vomit in my purse. That’s growth, people.

Hearing these songs from this genre still makes me cringe. It reminds me of gluing myself to the cafeteria wall, watching the other kids bump and gyrate to something that didn’t understand me, nor I it. I was foreign.

It would be good training for how the rest of my life would pan out.

– – –

Photo Source

Jen Kehl


Reflections on Rap — 37 Comments

      • piyasaki en üst seviye akıllı telefonlardan birini inceliyor ve bunun en üst seviye diğer akıllı telefonlardan farklı bir terminolojiye sahip olduğunu sÃzüylĦyorsunuƒ, fakat farklı terminolojiye sahip diye örnek verdiğiniz telefonlar 2-3 sene öncesine ait telefonlar ?

      • my BofA already charges me $25/ mo for a “Maintenance Fee” if I have less than $10K at all times. That’s not enough? Now they want $5 more? So I pay them $30/mo to park my money there so I can pay bills. It’s time to move on. November 5 is national “Move Your Money” day and I will be there to close my 2 accounts.

      • sÃ¥ är det väl bara sälja den och köpa en annan, Garmin släpper ju faktiskt nÃ¥gra nya snart: . Jag beställde iaf en bilhÃ¥llare till den idag ifrÃ¥n denna sida:

  1. So, in the mid-90’s I was not married yet, and my sister and I, having good jobs and no financial drains (husbands) took a ton of cruises. We were just like you. We couldn’t stand that crap, and were like hey can you play “She’s a Bad Mama Jama”? Needless to say after a week of it, I’m sure the DJ’s were happy to see us off the ship!
    JenKehl recently posted…Twisted MixTape 29My Profile

  2. Oh my, I’m afraid I was one of those booty-shaking embarrassments out on the cafeteria/gymnasium dance floor. And I’m afraid you’d still find me rocking out to 90s R&B hits any day!

  3. I was about to say that I enjoyed a certain comfort/familiarity with the hip hop genre, then I read Melissa’s comment containing the phrase,

    “…they were bumping these jams”

    I was all, I am so not tuned into the (sub)culture that produced this music! It’s funny how the language (of a sub-culture) can bring home the un-familiarity of the time and place(s) that produce a certain type of music with a degree of certainty that is sorta breath-taking.
    Interesting experience, this bloghop of Jen and Kristi…always manages to give me an insight that I don’t see coming on Tuesday morning.
    clark recently posted…TMT Tuesday …the Wakefield Doctrine (shh, they think I’m listening to Classical music)My Profile

  4. See, I like that you hate your list. I wanted to do that. And if I knew hip hop from my ass and a hole in the ground (?) I would’ve picked this too because next to country music, I hate the stuff. I will admit to kind of digging on Gangsta’s Paradise a little, but I think I just mostly enjoyed the Weird Al Amish version. You sound like me going to the Flingers with my sister and sister in law and going all rogue on their line dancing to request a Bowie tune and instantly clearing the dance floor. It’s fun messing with them and finally hearing something enjoyable.
    Linda Roy recently posted…Chipping Away At My Diet…and Wrecking ItMy Profile

    • I couldn’t help it. Once the idea got into my head, I couldn’t excavate it, especially since my usual genre is most other genres – I like all music except rap and easy listening, and I pull liberally from all of them. But with rap, I have a special relationship, so I thought it’d make a good story.
      And long live Weird Al! 😉

  5. I figure rap for me is a bit like beer. I like alcohol. And I worked out quickly in university, during my years of limited income, if I wanted free booze without having to expend much effort, it was easier to just like beer because then you’d just be passed a red solo cup and welcomed to join the pitcher. I also like to dance. So, much like beer, it was just easier to like rap and hip hop than to rage against the machine (so to speak).

    All that to say, while I take it you never had any aspirations to be a rap superstar (and live large, a big house, 5 cars…) I have to admit to loving some of the oldies. Give me Tupac or Cypress Hill and I’m a pretty happy girl. And any time on the dance floor where Return of the Mack (ugh) ended up being Let me Clear my Throat was a good night 😉
    Louise recently posted…Une mixe pour mes amis sur l’InternetMy Profile

  6. Pingback: Radio-friendly Country Chicks, Unite! « Welcome to Forgotonia

  7. Absolutely loved this post… (I linked to it on my blog). I grew up nowhere near you, geographically or more metaphorically (meaning, rural Illinois rather than California), but we’re around the same age, and your descriptions of being that kind of kid at the school dance, and the songs that were popular at the time…you brought it all back. (Shudder. And chuckle.)
    Alison McGaughey (@Rural_Rose) recently posted…Radio-friendly Country Chicks, Unite!My Profile

  8. Those were the JAMS!! haha I was more of a rocker too, but my schools were exactly the same. While I don’t like the misogyny in the rap either, I gotta say, I grew to love those songs in my tween years, and even told my wedding DJ that I wanted 90’s hip hop to be playing!

    And funny side note: When my church was trying to get a youth group going with a whopping five of us, one of our first meetings required us to bring in our favorite songs. Since it was a new group, four of us carefully chose songs with good, Christian, messages that were definitely not our favorite, but were totally pastor approved. One girl, however, chose No Diggity. We all admired her honesty and security in herself, and had a good laugh over it. To this day, I crack up every time I hear that song.
    Ericamos recently posted…Why I Should Work With ChildrenMy Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge


Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers:

%d bloggers like this: