Mumble Gate in a Manner of Speaking
SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, I didn’t watch the show, but social media (without a doubt) brought me up to speed on “who was left off uh Bad and Boujee.”
Mumble Gate from this past Sunday’s BET Awards has me concluding that articulation disorder and phonological process impairment among the new wave Hip Hop Artist(s) is real. This is, by no means, a drag on Southern Rap. Tip, Jeezy, Big Boi, Killer Mike, Ludacris, Gucci Mane and 2Chainz are rappers who reign below the Mason Dixon and haven’t sacrificed the art for lazy annunciation.
Giving much respect to the art form, I do understand that music is very mercurial, and there’s no right way to rhyme. Unfortunately, the rhyming part of rap, the ad libs part of rap, the sound effects part of rap, and raggedy mouth noises part of rap are leading young people into an “even a Caveman can do it” linguistics nightmare.
Language processing disorders are brain-based conditions that make it difficult for someone to express himself or make sense of what is being said to him. Expressive language disorders are diagnosed when an individual struggles to produce language, speak in grammatically correct sentences, or translate thoughts into speech. Receptive language disorders can cause a person to misinterpret instructions, ignore when she’s being spoken to, or take simple jokes too seriously. Researchers cannot yet pinpoint the exact cause of language disorders, but existing research indicates that genetics are most likely involved: up to 40 percent of those with a family history of language disorders have the condition themselves — compared to just 4 percent of those with no family history of language disorders.
Language disorders can be developmental, meaning they are present from birth — though it’s certainly possible for someone to reach adulthood without being diagnosed. In other cases, however, they develop as the result of a traumatic brain injury or a stroke. Regardless of how they developed, symptoms of language processing disorders in adults look largely the same.
Symptoms at Home
Language processing challenges will likely interfere with your home relationships, and may even cause arguments or misunderstandings. Symptoms can include:
Expressive Language Disorder
- Finds it hard to come up with exact words to say; substitutes “stuff” or “things” frequently, even for commonly used words
- Substitutes related words, even when they don’t mean the same thing (says “couch” instead of “chair” or “beef” instead of “chicken”)
- Frequently switches sounds within words, seemingly without noticing
- Uses made-up words frequently when the correct word can’t be produced
- Often says sentences that don’t make sense
- Forgets words or says them out of order
- Misuses idioms or says them incorrectly
Receptive Language Disorder
- Doesn’t understand jokes; takes everything very literally
- Finds it difficult to focus on what someone is saying, particularly if there is background noise like a television
- Often seems disinterested in conversations, even with friends or loved ones
- Can’t answer questions about what was just discussed
This Is not Cosby Coaching 101, where I’m hissing at the notion of looking respectable in front of these white folks. What we need to be weary of is how the business aspect of this music genre will continue to cheapen and decrease with the trend of Mumble Rap. Let’s take a look at a few notables Hip Hop legends and how they’ve finessed the art of Code Switching to get to the good coint!
Queen Latifah aka Dana Owens is a Rapper, Songwriter, Singer, Actress, Model, Television Producer, Record Producer, and former talk show host. She reps Newark very well, stays booked and her newest movie “Girls Trip” is primed to be a box office banger that will rival the original and remake of Steel Magnolias.
Ice Cube is an Independent Artist, Filmmaker, Director, Actor, Philanthropist, integral Member of N.W.A. and Westside Connection, along with, creating and licensing the Big 3 Basketball league for retired NBA and World League basketball players.
LL COOL J is an Artist, Author, Actor, Television Host, and serial Entrepreneur that has endured the seasonality of Hip Hop from the borough of Queens to the small and big screen. As a Rap Royalty, he’s collaborated, kept his brand and career functional by moving creating trend, not sinking to it.
Of course there’s a longer list of “whomadeits” in Hip Hop culture, but it all boils down to what generational gains Hip Hop will lose if mumble rap continues. Moreover, language processing disorders are not just relevant to the artist themselves, but seemingly more caustic to their listeners. Radio play makes low lyric songs popular among adults and even more digestable for children. The latter doesn’t know any better which is why we should be more vigil on what social and artist content young children and teens retain.
While we may never drill down to how Rap became more popular and less profitable for its artists, one fact remains, Entertainers (especially Black and Brown ones) should be willing to get the right coaching and level up on their legacy. Employ a publicist, get a speech therapist, or even a tutor to take your career from getting clowned in a red carpet side line interview, to getting called for better press opportunities.
Be the change you want to see, even when you get left out of Bad and Boujee.