Why do Rappers Want to Control Our Bodies?
If you've ever been to a rap show then you know the deal with rappers. They're always trying to control your body: "Come to the front of the stage," and "Put your hands up!" These two proclamations are nearly universal at rap shows. But, why? Because rappers are often terribly insecure people. While you might think something like, "Oh man, I bet rappers are so empowered by performing their raps, because these are people who really self-actualize through music," you couldn't be further from the truth (real truth though, not rap truth). That is because many people who are masquerading as rappers are not rappers at all, they are sad lost souls seeking fulfillment through a medium that is easy to do, easy to gain access to, and widely understood/taken as a topic of interest. Basically, people want to be cool, and the impression is that rapping is an easy way to be cool. But it's not, it's incredibly difficult to be cool because of rapping, but it's a really easy medium for fooling people into thinking you're cool. Thus, rap is filled with insecure rappers not realizing that their shallow attempts to seem cool are the epitome of uncool.
When rappers tell you what to to do with your body they're not talking about you, they're talking about them. They're saying, "Come to the front of the stage! I'm not performing till you come to the front!" But what they really mean is, "I have no faith in myself unless I know that you have faith in me too, and I refuse to risk embarrassing myself by confronting my fears on stage in front of you." Which just begs the question, "Why are you on stage, in a place to be revered, if you're not capable of behaving in a way that incites reverence?" It's like Buddha saying, "Everyone come to the front of this fuckin tree or I'm not gonna meditate and find ultimate transcendence cause y'all don't seem to give a shit," it's like Einstein saying, "Everyone come applaud me in my study cause I'm not gonna discover the theory of relativity unless y'all really want it," it's like your dentist saying, "Well unless you bout to bring your whole facebook feed in here to applaud I'm not gonna get this plaque off your teeth cause I can tell you don't want it." I mean fuck, every rapper chooses to go on stage, if they don't want to be there then why are they there? If they can't do the things that merit a stage to do them on, then what the fuck are they doing on stage? They are wanting to feel special, they need to believe that they are more important than other people.
Personally, I love performing, I love being on stage and dealing with being slightly uncomfortable, I love making rap music, and I love sharing my music with people. Being on stage should be slightly uncomfortable because it's a far cry from any other kind of social setting we encounter in our daily lives. But people who are great performers mitigate that awkwardness, and use it as the impetus for greatness. I always start my shows by telling people, "I'm not gonna tell you what to do with your body, where to stand, what to say, or how to feel. I promise. I'm just gonna do my thing, and yall react however you see fit." That's because I'm there to rap, I'm not there to make people think I'm cool. I know I'm not cool, but I'm cool because of that. People understand that I'm not deterred by my own awkwardness, and they like it.
When I look at this most recent instance with Kanye refusing to perform to a stadium full of people until everyone stands up, I see one of the most insecure people on Earth. Most rappers can't perform unless 20 or 50 or 100 people do what they want. Kanye can't perform unless upwards of ten thousand people do what he wants. Not to mention, these people already paid Kanye a decent amount of money. I mean, the dude is so gone off insecurity he didn't even have the pause to consider that some people at his recent Sydney show might be incapable of standing. And when he realized they might be, he sent his bodyguard to go and confirm that a person sitting was indeed incapable of standing. The levels of insecurity there are frightening. What's gonna happen to Kanye if his celebrity begins to wane? I don't wish any ill, I'm not trying to drag his name through the mud, but if he is a sign of our times, if he is a person who people hold in high regard it says a lot about the values that people hold, and how they feel about themselves.