On September 14, 1930, Allan Bloom was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. Known for his Platonic and Socratic philosophies, Bloom was a famed American philosopher when he died in 1992. Bloom, strongly influenced by philosophers of the likes of Friedrich Nietzsche and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, is most widely known for his criticism of the American higher education system in his bestselling book, The Closing of the American Mind.
One of Bloom's most convincing arguments involves modern American music. Music, he says, "has one appeal only, a barbaric appeal, to sexual desire-not love, not eros, but sexual desire undeveloped and untutored."
All in all, Bloom's argument is that man, when presented with modern rock and hip-hop music, is able to eliminate sane thought and replace it with purely barbaric emotions. Thankfully, Bloom was wrong. Yes, that's correct. Allan Bloom, the University of Chicago graduate who taught at deplorable schools such as Cornell, Tel Aviv University, and Yale University, was a man so deaf and dumb he could not appreciate the intricate meaning behind the songs that currently top the MTV video charts.
In fact, to prove Bloom wrong, I have gathered lyrics from the song that currently sits atop the "iTunes most downloaded" list: Crank Dat Soulja Boy, by Soulja Boy. That's right, the ultimate source of credibility and respectability: a song downloaded a lot on the internet.
Forget college educations, forget jobs teaching at America's best Ivy League institutions, it's iTunes that determines a person's intellectual capability. After all, if the American people like it, it has to be good.
Soulja Boy, whose real name has yet to be discovered due to national security purposes, was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1990. Clearly a child of great intellectual potential, Soulja Boy has been rapping since he was five and produced his first big hit at the age of only seventeen. It has often been claimed that wisdom is only attained through age. Clearly, Soulja Boy has proven that this is not the case. Let us begin by analyzing his lyrics, lyrics which are often claimed to embody his honor to the infamous hip hop artists, Sean Paul, Eminem, and of course, P. Diddy (also referred to as Diddy, Puff Daddy, Sean Combs, Sean John Combs, Sean John, and, though not a confirmed nickname, Puffleberry Diddymuggins). Soulja Boy, which is the artist's name and part of the song title (ingenious, no?) begins his song as follows:
- Soulja Boy Off In This Hoe
Watch Me Crank It
Watch Me Roll
Words cannot describe the meaning behind this boy's, or shall we venture to say man's, musical acumen. The way in which he uses his own name to begin his song is awe-inspiring, and the imagery of him "cranking it" and "rolling" are unmatched by any teenage rap star of his time. "Crank it", though commonly known as a slang sexual term, derives from the Latin verb, "krankeit," meaning "to pay homage to the hip hop gods." Let us examine further:
- Watch Me Crank Dat Soulja Boy
Then Superman Dat Hoe
Now Watch Me Do
(Crank Dat Soujla Boy)
Now Watch Me Do
(Crank Dat Soulja Boy)
Now Watch Me Do
(Crank Dat Soulja Boy)
Once again, Soulja Boy is so creative he can maneuver his name into his own song. Amazing work by the lad. Furthermore, he proceeds to "superman dat hoe." Although this terminology is often used to describe a dirty sex act (not all that different from "cranking it"), it is actually a direct translation. After cranking it, Soulja Boy arrives at the scene of danger like Superman, ready and prepared to save dat hoe, a French term for a respectable woman of high society, and then "do" while we watch him. Now, watch him do. And...let's watch him do some more:
- Then Watch Me Crank Dat Robocop
Super Fresh, Now Watch Me Jock
Jockin On Them Haterz Man
Honestly, I cannot begin to describe the feelings invoked in me when I hear these lyrics. As if a beacon of light has been lit guiding from the tunnel of ignorance, Soulja Boy has led me through the dark. Allan Bloom claimed that "education is the movement from darkness to light." No, Allan, Soulja Boy is the movement from darkness to light. Like a Kroger salad bar, Soulja Boy is super fresh and jocks with the best of the best. "Jock," though commonly misunderstood as a term for hitting on women, is an ancient Chinese proverb regarding monasteries and the process of becoming a monk. "Jockin On Them Haterz Man..." well nobody's figured that one out yet, but I'm told we have sixteen-year-old interns working six and a half minutes a day to get us the inside scoop on that phrase. Once again, let us continue the lyrical analysis (due to the awkward and mundane repetitiveness of Soulja Boy's Grammy quality hit, we will now fast forward to the conclusion of the song):
- Dance (Dance)
Let Get To It (Let Get To It)
Nope, You Can't Do It Like Me
Hoe, So Don't Do It Like Me
Folk, I See You Tryna Do It Like Me
Man That Shit Was Ugly
In a manner that seems to compare to only that of William Shakespeare's iambic pentameter, Soulja Boy is able to develop a beat that is inconsistent all the way through the final six lines. Do not try this at home, but take my word for it that the beat...well actually...it doesn't exist. There's no flow. There's no rhythm. As a matter of fact, the song doesn't even rhyme. He just says, "Like Me," three times in a row. But once agin, Soulja Boy is exhibiting his genius as a musician. His innovative use of words that don't rhyme, or just words that are the same words he's used in every other line of the song, will likely set the tone for hip hop music over the course of the next eleven days. This style demonstrates Soulja Boy's intellect, keen penetration, and remarkable insight for thought-provoking music. Soulja Boy has ventured outside the box, so far outside that we can now say he has reached the rectangle. He has reached the rectangle of music genius that is comparable with the superb acting of Keanu Reeves, or dare we say it, the masterful lip-syncing of Britney Spears (or Britney Shears, due to her decision to shear off all of her hair). We can only hope that Soulja Boy remains in this musical rectangle and doesn't gravitate back towards the box of Bach or Beethoven, both disastrous musical composers in their own right.
All in all, Soulja Boy proves to Allan Bloom that the American mind hasn't "closed." In fact, it has opened. It has opened so much, in fact, that it is willing to accept the art behind the music of hip hop. It has looked beyond the "hip" to find the "hop;" a hop that includes Cranking Dat Soulja Boy and Supermanning Dat Hoe. Clearly, Soulja Boy's background (born in Chicago, raised in Atlanta, moved to Mississippi at age 14) dwarfs that of Allan Bloom (one, if not the, most laudable philosophers in American history) and disproves the theory of the "Closing of the American Mind." Bloom argued that music invoked the barbaric, sexual demons that lurk in the soul of human beings. Soulja Boy, evidently, has a different soul(ja) than others because the motives behind his song are anything but sexual. Supermanning a hoe does not mean what it...is believed to mean. And super soaking a hoe simply means to spray her with a water gun, nothing else. Apparently, it is Bloom's dirty mind which has developed these terms into sexual ones and claimed that the beat and rhythm of rock and hip-hop music invokes violent sexual actions in its listeners. Bloom, clearly, is the one to blame for this closing of the American mind. In fact, maybe he should write a book entitled, The Opening of the American Loins (because obviously Soulja Boy had nothing to do with that). When it comes down to it, we can only hope that Soulja Boy's hit, "Crank Dat," is followed by a new and exciting single. Perhaps, "Crank Dat Some More."