Pop Culture, Theory & Essay

Marvin’s Room and the Rise of the Open-Air Emo Negro

I realize that Drake’s song “Marvin’s Room” came out a few months ago. However, it still manages to get airplay on the radio stations here in Washington, DC, and every time it comes on I’m compelled to listen to it. Mostly because this song flies in the face of pretty much everything you’re taught at Man School. But even worse than that, this song is the exact same sh*t that Bill Cosby got in trouble for some years ago when he called out Black folks. Dyson was all over his back on that one. Where are you now Mr. Michael Eric Dyson when Drake is throwing your manhood under the bus?

Damn wheelchair academics.

What do I mean by this being the equivalent of Bill Cosby’s now famous “pound cake” speech heard ’round the world? Well, Cosby was basically accused of airing dirty laundry. It’s not that what he was saying was wrong, it’s just that he (allegedly) shouldn’t be out there saying it publicly – a point I fervently disagreed with. In fact, he said it at Howard University at a UNCF function if memory serves correct. In truth, dude was talking to the very people he needed to be talking to. Anyway, back to Drake and his 3-minute slip up. No pregnancy.

Every man swears we are real G’s. Well except Drake. I don’t think he ever pretends that he doesn’t cry in the daytime. With a crowd. Never has one successful rapper seemingly been so in touch with his feminine side on wax before. But he crossed the line. Dude put every ninja in America on blast with “Marvin’s Room”. While all of us swear to never have those moments of weakness and not giving into our emo sides, we’ve all done it. A lot of us swear that when Snoop said in ’94 that we don’t love them hoes, we made it our battle cry and man mantra. When the truth is…

…there are a gang of emo, wang-stas running around saying that same sh*t Drake was saying over and over to some woman who moved on because he sucked. Yep, some of us do love them hoes. We pick up the phone and tell some ex that “she can do better” while she wonders why the hell we’re even calling. Not that we’re ready to step up to the plate, we just know that we’d like a chance to still be at bat. Which, is ridiculous. But many cats do give into those moments of weakness that most of us swear we don’t have. Truth is, women are just great gatekeepers and put up with a lot of non-sense. I’ll bet nearly every dude has at least one moment where he simped out hard but the woman he was dealing with didn’t put him blast.

Of course, that could be because she didn’t know dontdatehimgirl.com existed or she doesn’t understand the point of a Twitter, but I’m guessing it’s because deep down, women like that type of attention and validation. Yep, validation. A dude calling you back after some time or just being on some, “girl we had good times…that dude you’re with isn’t good enough for you…” more or less lets her know that she had some last effect on you. And I honestly think that’s what all women want most. Even if the relationship didn’t work out, they just want to know that they mattered. Or will be remembered.

Women tend to only put dudes on blast who do egregious sh*t and even still, I’d bet the dudes would still try to get back in at some point and ole girl would listen. Which is where Drake comes in…again…because I’m sure none of us believe that was his last phone to call her. Biggie makes “Suicidal Thoughts” and offs himself at the end. Drake probably hangs up and makes himself a smoothie, watches Jerry Maguire then writes a rap about struggling with success…again. Emo-rap apparently can win.

And it wins because a vast majority of the guys out there are emo as all hell. Sure they are Big Meech at the club, but they stay in their feelings at home. Check Twitter feeds. You’ve got as many dudes as women playing into gossip and putting their feelings out there and not wanting to be misunderstood. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. You know, perhaps social networking is at fault here. It’s just like with the “babymama” phenomenon. We have this ridiculous view that every kid had a husband-wife, mommy-daddy tandem back in the 50s-70s and somewhere along the way divorce became okay and out of wedlock births weren’t as frowned upon. The truth is, that stuff has been happening since day one, it just didn’t have the Internet to put it on blast. Nobody talked about it because there weren’t a million anonymous people listening to your every word. Nowadays, it happens all the time and men have audiences who eat it up. The same gossipping women are supposed to do is being taken over by men who are more than willing to get into their feelings and share them. Without feeling conflicted about it.

I think that’s been the biggest culprit. The lack of conflict a lot of guys are feeling. Whereas most of used to feel like p*ssies for getting caught in our feelings on some dumb sh*t, it seems like nowadays a lot of dudes are running at the opportunity to get in their feelings on some dumb sh*t and air it out to be seen by as many people as possible.

You used to just keep that sh*t at home for your wife or girlfriend to see and hear. Yeah, she’d laugh at you. But it stayed at home. Now, not so much.

“Marvin’s Room” is the perfect example. I saw all kinds of people, men and women, talking about it when it, and for good reason. It represents that shift where putting out stuff like this that used to be confined to just that one dude and that one chick (and whoever she clowned him with). Now, it’s a song a mainstream rapper makes. Sh*t like that only used to come out on indy releases by Atmosphere. I wonder how Slug feels about Drake? By the way, its possible that thost last two sentences made sense to about 10 percent of anybody reading this.

So what say you? Have you seen this rise of the emo negro? What’s to blame? Is it a bad thing? And how many of y’all have had Marvin’s Rooms situations? Pony up fellas. It’s okay to tell the truth. We’re being emo now.

For the record. I’m not emo. I’ve never done anything I’ve referenced. I’m a gangsta, I don’t dance. I boogie. Thank you and good night.


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Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is pretty fly (and gorgeous) for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. He refuses to eat cocaine chicken. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future. You can hit him on his hitter at panamadjackson@gmail.com.

  • “are you drunk right now?”
    says it all

  • I cannot tell a lie.

    The “I dropped the ball… you were the greatest… I should have stuck with you…. You can do better… get back with me” phone call has a close to orgasmic effect on me.

  • randomeffery

    this post had so many great lines…
    drake is the unhappiest rapper alive…1st he just wanted to be successful & bang every bish wit a box, but now that he is & he can…he’s so damn emo…#1stWorldProblems

    anyway twitter & fb stats just affirms that niqqas are bishes too. (i know that was less than eloquent & somewhat negative in connotation–i’m bitter)…but honestly, i think men are the only people surprised by the emo-ness of their male-kind…cuz as women…we already are more than familiar w/all the emo-ness that is a black man. all them begging-esque al green type songs…were probably part of a real dialogue between a niqqa that just wouldn’t do right and the woman he wronged, before they were ever song lyrics.

  • Andi

    While the new emo school of Hip Hop is one of my favorite topics, I have to digress for a small announcement…

    It’s my BIRFDAY!!!

    *Burst through the wall like the Kool Aid Man”

    OH YEAH!

  • Tes

    Aubrey… *blush*


    I don’t see a problem with being emotional and admitting it. As a “strong” black woman, emotions often take a back burner for me, so I find myself listening to sad love songs or angry songs and just dealing with it until one day I’m venting to my best friend drunk and wailing and…right, I’m back.

    Letting the emotions out, contrary to popular belief is good in moderation. Nobody likes that weeping willow b*tch at the party unless she’s easy .

  • Aleyah the Great

    i think the emo negro is definitely on the rise, and for most of these dudes it’s terrible, because it’s making them into little b*tches. they’re jumping way out the window with the whole expressing feelings thing and just crying and sulking, not really realizing that the two are not the same. please, do take off the panties and grow a pair. however, i think part of it is positive, because guys are paying more attention to whatever women they have around them, and realizing it’s okay to be soft, but only sometimes though.

  • Ms. My2Cents

    “Even if the relationship didn’t work out, they just want to know that they mattered. Or will be remembered”

    That about sums it up on our end!!! Be as emo as y’all wanna be (meaning a healthy mix of gangsta and emo). Just let you Soul Glo!!!

  • Charlene

    For the record I love Drake because he raps about his actual feelings but I don’t know I can’t say I’m mad at the brotha for keeping it real, he’d no thug, drug dealer or what not I guess he just be in his feelings but that’s who he is, but I do agree that this social networking has unleashed the sensitivity in brothas I mean it is all kinds of ridiculous the emotionality that is expressed on here and it be the same guys I often see when I go out claiming they hard or are in some kind of like making these emotional statements..but you know what they say people become bold behind that computer screen

  • Mo-VSS

    I don’t want the “girl…I never shoulda let you go” call ever. I’ve had guys do that and you know what I do? Hang the f-k up! Why? Cuz. I’m a real G and that’s what real G’s do.

    Seriously though, I don’t hang straight up. I listen, and then say “thanks for calling.” And THEN I hang up. Why? B/c unless you want to talk to me about the reasons behind it, all that call represents is a drunken night of reminiscing come to fruition w/a little bit of “can I still hit” thrown in for good measure. Like Scarface said, “I don’t need that kinda sh*t in my life.”

    One thing I do agree with is the public airing of dirty laundry effect that social networking has had on us all. Sure, we’ve all done the “TMI” tweet or fb stat, but it’s only the truly ignorant who persist in that after you get one too many folks calling you asking about your relationship/job status/state of your vagina/etc. Most begin to realize maybe those stats should be private.

    And that’s the thing with all sorts of media now days. Celebs (and wannabe celebs) want privacy but they steady signing up for tell-all reality show deals. Everyday people want folks to keep they name out their mouths, but they steady feeding the twitter/facebook stream of consciousness and wonder why folks stay talking.

    I lost the rest of my point, but it’s late and I suppose that’s good enough on the comments.

  • Step_AI

    Men and their emotions, lol. According to the cuffin’ season calendar, we should be seeing emo on a 100 million (Marvin’s Week) around late October, lmao.

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