Art for Tha Soul: How to Love

Love and sexuality are deeply connected. Our modern culture has an awkward dance sometimes lacing the two together and other times relegating sexuality (and the acts of eroticism) to bodily, almost animatistic, functions. We struggle to, in action, interweave sexuality in our desire for deep, abiding,long-lasting intimacy. Sometimes this is done explicitly and sometimes it is done with a romantic idealism that suggests that sex and romance cohabitate with little effort on part of those within the relationship (or the community around them).

I am typically not a Lil’ Wayne Fan (he style is sick, but his substance is lacking), but I can’t help being intrigued by his song How to Love because of its deep engagement with the tragedy of the dysfunctional and damaging way abuse and lust (posing as love) is inserted into our culture. I find this especially relevant in the African-American context, which has a legacy of struggling with our sexuality and expressions of desire. The African-American community specifically deals with an external and internal consciousness of our sexuality. Within that complex context, Lil’ Wayne presents a contradiction that is all too present in Hip-Hop culture (and the American culture at large). While there is a desire for love to be real and authentic, there is an admission of participating and enjoying misogyny, sexual liberty (or exploitation), and a hyper-sexuality that divorces sexuality from the soul.

Listen to the song and let me know what you think? What is being expressed here? What connection between sex and the soul is there? How do will maneuver through contradiction to find something good and true?

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One thought on “Art for Tha Soul: How to Love

  1. I’m glad you wrote this. I thought about posting about the song a few months back.
    I too like Lil Wayne’s style but think this is one of his few songs which has substance that merits thinking about. And though I think parts of the song are good, what fascinated/bothered me was:
    “See I just want you to know
    That you deserve the best
    You’re beautiful
    You’re beautiful
    And I want you to know, you’re far from the usual
    Far from the usual”
    …with the not so subtle implication that this girl deserves the best because Lil Wayne finds her more beautiful than the usual girls…and that if she weren’t…she wouldn’t deserve the best.
    Every time I hear it, I fixate on that ending, and wonder if he could’ve done better…

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