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09.17.05 01:29 AM

The Hoarse Whisperer: Decoding the Ying-Yang Twins

Well it's that CMJ Music Marathon time again and on Wednesday I found myself on another panel, The Hoarse Whisperer: Decoding the Ying-Yang Twins.

Panel Info: Have "Wait (The Whisper Song)" and "Pull My Hair" reached new depths of depravity and misogyny on the radio dial? Is it a secretly feminist ode to shared power-play? Or does any uproar just reveal the listener's failure to have a sense of humor? Our panel of critics discusses.

Moderator
Christopher Weingarten, Music Editor, CMJ New Music Report

Panelists
Julianne Shepherd
Lynne D. Johnson
Anthony Miccio
Jason King

Alyssa Rashbaum wrote on Vibe.com: The overtly sexual lyrics, throaty whisper and infectious beat of the radio hit were the topic of discussion at one of the first panels of the 2005 CMJ Music Festival on Wednesday, September 14, where five music writers debated on whether the song is misogynistic or empowering for females, unoriginal or intriguing, unimportant or part of a larger, growing problem in hip hop.

I say: Jason probably ended up providing the most feminist perspective about the Ying Yang Twins songs than any other person on the panel. Of course I've been conflicted about this song for quite some time. The beat, though simplistic and an imitation of "Drop It Like It's Hot," is, well hot. And, I know that people, while having sex, talk like this all the time, and neither partner finds it to be wrong. Yet, the violence insinuated by the lyrics is a problem. Also, the fact that this song became so commercially popular, even with the radio edit, it's not exactly a candidate for most youth-friendly song of the year.

In speaking with Julianne after the panel, I realized she felt a little like I did frustrated. There were points we both wanted to raise that got lost in our frustration, and in speaking for myself, I know I didn't want to come off as this angry black feminist, b/c it's oh so not the case.

The fact that Jason raised the minstrelsy of the song's performance, did incite me to bring up the historical racial issues wherein the connotation of the songs lyrics play into the stereotypes of the oversexualized black male and the sexual oppression of black women. But somehow that did not come out of my mouth. I wanted it to, and usually I say whatever the f*** I feel, but I don't know what happened.

Nonetheless, it was an interesting discourse, and I'm glad I was a part of it.

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