Why God Gives Men Daughters

photo(2)Despite the fact that its genetically pre-determined, I’m fairly certain that God or whoever you pray to or holla at when the chips are down has a sense of humor. People say that often, but really, I think God likes to laugh. And watch his creations squirm.

To quote The Devil’s Advocate:

“Let me give you a little inside information about God. God likes to watch. He’s a prankster. Think about it. He gives man instincts. He gives you this extraordinary gift, and then what does He do, I swear for His own amusement, his own private, cosmic gag reel, He sets the rules in opposition.”

Now whether or not you believe that – I’m inclined to believe that there is some truth there – the fact is God knows who to give daughters to. I am one of those people. See, while I’ve spent a considerable amount of time in my life attempting to be a man’s man – thug lifin’ it all up and thru these streets…my kid comes along and undoes all my gangsta. And quite easily. Now, I’m sure all parents go through this. You stop paying attention when its your kid. You’ll make the funny faces and put on mismatch clothing because it makes your kid happy. These are normal and common occurrences in probably 85 percent of functional households.

Theeeeeeeeeeen there’s this other stuff. See, ninjas like myself are perspective driven. I’m always looking for the perspective in things and looking for new ways to view the world. Not to mention how much time I spend analyzing all of it. Even if it doesn’t require analysis, I’m out here in these streets having full scale discussions about the most asinine things on the planet. Don’t even get me started on the man vs woman dynamic. Because see, to me, it all seems so simple.

I respect the fact that men and women are just different. To quote my boy, men want to find logic in emotion, and women want us to find the emotional component to our logic. This is the way God set things up. It was written. And that’s all well and good….

…until, as a man, you have a daughter. And you think like I do.

Real talk, it’s both the greatest and most confounding gift ever. It softens your eyes a bit (a net positive for many men) but it also forces you to confront nearly every strong opinion, observation, and truth you’ve discerned over the years.

You want a for instance don’t you? Of course you do.

For instance (and this is just one for instance), as the logical and nuanced ninja that I am, I’ve come to realize that while every woman is a snowflake, a significant portion of the actions of women are both predictable and trend towards the mean. That’s not a shot. It’s a fact. Men are the same way. Hell, it’s why we can create websites and write books, etc. Truth is truth. Peoples is peoples. But we spend a lot of time pointing this fact out. I know. It’s annoying. Sue us.

Or don’t. I haz broke. The reason it annoys so many women is because quite clearly, all women are special. It’s part of the reason why so many women, on an individual basis, have trouble comprehending why men just won’t act right. How could a woman as special and wonderful as her NOT be treated like the queen she both knows she is and has been told that she is.

Well, as the father of a beautiful baby girl, I COMPLETELY get this. Hell, I tell my daughter how wonderful and special she is. Daily. And she’s 4. And I will continue to do so forever. And when some man undoubtedly does her grimey, I will tell her that it’s because he’s just a douche (I’ll be right) and that she can and will do better because she is special. I hope to eventually tell her that she shouldn’t expect any man to stop being a man just because she exists or to expect him to realize upon meeting her that he can’t and won’t do better. It will be nice, but temper those expectations. My hope is that I remember to impart those lessons as well. Because they’re the most valuable.

But it’s my baby. It’s my darling. It’s my personal little best friend and buddy. I will fight the air if you do my baby wrong. And I’ll play Princess and Playdoh. Not because I want to, but because it’s fun for her and really, it turns out its fun for me too.

Through my daughter I’ve had the pleasure of re-examining all sorts of interesting things about lots of facets of myself. From the music I’m listening to, to my own worldview which admittedly has needed some tweaking, and HOW I think about issues relating to women. Not because it’s so wrong. Wrong or right is for upper management to determine, but because it’s lacked some of the perspective necessary to view things from the vantage point of a more compassionate bunch. And basically, because some thinking does need to be re-examined.

While she’s obviously still too young to directly impact my worldview, her existence and having the pleasure of being apart of her growth as a person has forced me to set aside a lot of my own views on what makes me a man and where I should draw the line.

Maybe I needed that because the whole man’s man thing only works if you don’t have to raise a little girl who will become a woman. Which…well is my job. While I’ve spent all this time doing my thing on some rah rah I’ll slap you just for living, now my kid loves planes so I love planes too. You can’t be out robbing people when your kid squeals because she sees a plane and you look up, smile and say awwww…that’s a plane.

She borrowed my gangsta, then sold it on EBay. And now I’m out here defenseless in these streets like I’m coming in this game on some modeling sh*t. Or like this. No really, like that.

God gave me a daughter because I needed one. And that’s alright.


Why Nas’ “Daughters” Is 100% Right And 100% Wrong At The Same Time

Full disclosure: I’m a “Nas guy.” 

What this basically means is that even though I recognize the fact that Jay-Z has had a (much) better career, better albums, and generally seems like he’d be a better person to be around, I’m more of a fan of what Nas represents. Now, what the hell does Nas represent? I have no f*cking clue. But, whatever it is that he represents, I’m more of a fan of that than I am of what Jay-Z “represents.”

If this makes no sense to you, good. It makes no sense to me either, but it helps explain why I still feel in my heart that “Ether” was a better song than “Takeover” even though I know in my brain that “Takeover” was better.

I’m bringing this up because, “Daughters” — Nas’ recent ode to fatherhood and raising a daughter — is not a good song, and it truly pains me to admit this. It’s pandering, saccharin, cringe-worthy, awkward, and just overall freaking annoying. Yes. Annoying. This is an annoying song. This song annoys me.

Thing is, although this song annoys the hell out of me, I appreciate it. I appreciate what Nas was attempting to do here. I appreciate his effort. This — the effort — is probably what it is about what Nas “represents” that connects with me in a way that doesn’t with Jay-Z. Basically, Jigga’s a chess player, a person who doesn’t seem to do or say anything without processing the dozen or so moves that will come afterwards. While this has definitely helped him craft the best career any rapper has ever had and become a true “business, man,” there’s a certain tinge of inauthenticity that permeates much of what he says and does. Jay-Z may in fact be a “realer” person than Nas, but Nas’ penchant for artistic implusivity makes him feel realer.

And, despite the fact that it’s pandering, saccharin, cringe-worthy, awkward, and f*cking annoying, “Daughters” is a real song. It seems to come from a man genuinely concerned about the type of example he’s set for his child, and genuinely concerned about his daughter’s well-being.

Now, you can make the argument that this concern may be self-serving. Perhaps he cares so much because he’s aware of how a daughter’s (mis)behavior reflects on the father, and he wishes to spare himself the embarrassment of hearing rumors that his daughter is becoming the type of woman attracted to men who treat women the way he has. Even if this is true, though, this feeling comes from a genuine place, a real place, and it’s understandable and laudable.

Nas’ implusivity gives him huge blind spots though, and none are bigger than the fact that “Daughters” — a song Nas made to protect his daughter and profess his love for her — shits on his own daughter!  He leads both of the song’s first two verses with information putting his daughter’s business and, ultimately, her reputation on full blast.

From verse two:

This morning I got a call, nearly split my wig
This social network said “Nas go and get ya kid”
She’s on Twitter, I know she ain’t gon post no pic
Of herself underdressed, no inappropriate shit, right
Her mother cried when she answered
Said she don’t know what got inside this child’s mind, she planted
A box of condoms on her dresser then she Instagrammed it

Forget about cutting off your nose to spite your face, “Daughters” cuts off his face to spite his face. Mind you, his daughter isn’t a seven year old who won’t quite grasp what her dad is rapping about or a grown-ass 27 year old who could deal with it, but a 17 year old girl — a person at the age where something like this has the best chance of having a negative impact on her life. Oh, and how do I know she’s a 17 year old girl? He leads the video with her f*cking birthday!

I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised by the cognitive dissonance Nas’ exhibited when creating this song and the accompanying video. It’s typical Nas (shit, it’s typical “rapper”) and, with all this being said, I do definitely appreciate the idea, effort, and (presumed) intent behind “Daughters.” As far as “rappers rapping about their kids” goes, it’s not in the same league as “Retrospect for Life,” but I do think it has a bit of a chance to eventually become (slightly) less annoying with repeated listens.

But, while I forgave Nas for “Braveheart Party,” “Nastradamus,” and “You Owe Me,” I don’t know if I can forgive him doing the ultimate disservice — making me agree with Carmen Bryan. 

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

On Saturday, June 2, 2012, we’ve got another edition of REMINSCE at Liv Nightclub coming up! Except this time, we’re gonna be celebrating Panama’s birthday! Please come out and hang the VSB team. Plus, it’s free before 11pm w/RSVP (reminiscedc.eventbrite.com) and $10 after. AND there’s an open bar from 930-10:30 WITH NO DRESS CODE. You can come in shorts because it gets HOT in there.