Fuckboy Music Will Never Die
I sat in the airport this past weekend listening to True to Self, the sophomore album by new-age R&B rising star, Bryson Tiller. The album didn’t move me. There are some quality tracks, his producers have found their niche with him in soft, yet nostalgic 90’s R&B sampling, strong basslines, and not too much instrumentation. There are a few tracks though, that caught my attention. After careful listening, I realized something terrifying.
Most of the best songs on the album are about Bryson being a fuckboy.
Now, to bring y’all up to speed, a fuckboy is a cultural term that developed from the concept of a good-for-nothing man. Someone that lies, cheats, manipulates, etc. to achieve their own selfish gain in relationships.
The song “No Longer Friends,” which Tiller claims “ain’t a side-nigga anthem” is indeed a “side-nigga” anthem, and a very catchy one at that. He gloats over his relationship with a woman creating pressure and stress in her official relationship with her boyfriend, and how he exploits his closeness to the woman to make the man uncomfortable.
“Don’t Get Too High” urges his lady friend not only not to get too high or smoke too much, but also not to hang out with her friends so often or leave the house so frequently. Standard emotionally abusive boyfriend behavior, if you ask me.
Rain Interlude, Nevermind This Interlude, In-Check...the list goes on. But why?! Why are we so captivated by the likes of Bryson Tiller, Chris Brown, Trey Songz? Men who make the music that glorify the same actions, thoughts, and emotions that non-famous men get crucified for every day on Twitter? Why is fuckboy music so popular?
Firstly, the experience is ubiquitous. The main reason why fuckboy music will never die is because at some point in time, we’ve all dealt with someone who has exhibited some of these less-than-savory traits. We may have even been that person. Whether it’s via nostalgia, disbelief, or simply identifying with the song, we all know these tunes. We’ve lived them.
The second reason that I believe this genre of music will persist is because you rarely ever get closure from the actual fuckboys you deal with. They don’t tell you why they switched up, ghosted you, or are posing on Instagram with the next-best-thing a week after telling you they love you. We do as we do with many other art forms; we look for the answers to our life problems in the artist’s expression. It’s not too far of a leap to consider that if PARTYNEXTDOOR kept his phone on airplane mode while he was with his girl so the sidechick wouldn’t call, then maybe that’s why your boo is doing it. Art imitates life. And life imitates art. This we know.
The last thing that really caught my attention in terms of why the prevalence of this music will never fade away, was the passion. Bryson Tiller is a 24 year old pseudo-singer from Kentucky. What is he passionate about? His music would say women, his daughter, and maybe notoriety. He hasn’t been classically trained at Juilliard. He didn’t attend university on a scholarship. We have to consider the exposure to the world (the real world) that some of these artists have, and try to put in perspective what they might prioritize in life. Being young and dumb and lovestruck and forlorn is a part of most of our lives. I would submit that it’s quite an important part if you haven’t been doing much else other than making music, being young, and dumb, and lovestruck and forlorn. Most of these guys are just recounting their experience, for better or for worse.
As I mentioned on Twitter once, without fuckboys and fuckboy tendencies, we don’t have Ex-Factor by Lauryn Hill, a good portion of Lemonade by Queen Bey, and not a single Mary J. Blige album. Not a single one. I’m not saying that those womens’ suffering is worth the commodity of art. But don’t y’all be jamming though?