I encountered a dilemma recently and I’m still not sure what the right move was in this situation. I am a terrible singer, but I enjoy dabbling in the karaoke scene occasionally. By occasionally, I mean once a year. I don’t particularly like the public kind and I’ve always wanted to try the Asian-style karaoke rooms like the one in Lost in Translation. This way, it’s just your group and your own private room and you don’t have to wait on strangers to sing.
Anyways, I realized that I don’t have a go-to karaoke song that I can actually sing without lyrical assistance. It’s important to kick off karaoke with this, because you can be a bad singer as long as you have confidence. I managed to find Rebel Yell by Billy Idol and I love this song and actually know it pretty well. But after that one was out-of-the-way, I turned my rap game on.
For whatever reason I listen to a LOT of rap and I just seem to have this knack for memorizing lyrics as I work out. Here’s where we get to the dilemma. When rapping with an African-American, is it ok to say the n word? I’ll be honest. I don’t like the word at all. I also never use the word. However, it’s in nearly every single line of every single rap song I know. When rapping in the car alone, I learn the song as it’s sung. I sing the n word. I feel like it has a completely different connotation when it’s used in this context. It’s just a word in a song, and not a word I’m using with any malicious intent toward someone. I can sing every single word to Kanye’s ‘Mercy’, Nicki Minaj’s verse in ‘Monster’, Kanye’s ‘Blood on the Leaves’…you get the point. So my friend and Dish Nation co-host Headkrak and I went to this karaoke bar, had our own rented room and the rapping began. We nearly flawlessly made it though Kanye’s ‘So Cold (Theraflu)’ and halfway through I realized I had been rapping the n word. I went kinda quiet with it each time and then I stopped singing it completely. Headkrak didn’t seem to care and we never discussed it. I don’t plan on publicly rapping karaoke anytime soon, but regardless, is rapping the n word acceptable when you’re doing the song justice? Or is it a complete injustice all together?