Why Big Sean's Song "MILF" Isn't Funny

Pictured: Big Sean and a Mom he'd like to have intercourse with.
Big Sean casually throws a skit in the middle of his sophomore album, Hall of Fame. It's called "Freaky" and borrows a portion of "The Sensuous Black Woman Meets the Sensuous Black Man"--an 18 minute audio Kama Sutra of sorts. Following the skit, Big Sean gives us a track called "MILF." We all know what the acronym stands for. And intuition can at least paint a silhouette of a sexy independent woman.

However, according to "MILF," Big Sean's not really into that. His preference leans towards toothless crackhead mothers on welfare. But that's cool. Because the song's just a joke, right? Yes. It is. That's what makes it all the more troubling.

See also: Live: Big Sean Cuts Through The Clutter At The Best Buy Theater

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Live-Blogging The 2012 Video Music Awards: We Are Never Ever Ever Gonna Use Tonight As A Bellwether

How much Swiftian shock will we see tonight?
Has the live-blog been obliterated by Twitter? Let's find out on MTV's biggest night of the year, the Video Music Awards, which this year will feature Taylor Swift (in business casual on the double-decker red carpet right now), Frank Ocean, Rihanna, and Green Day, among others, as well as honors to various clips designed to big-up the biggest pop tracks of the year.

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The Top 5.33 Hip-Hop Songs Of The Week

The "b word" has been a staple of hip-hop for decades, although there's some linguistic shading as far as its use: women that aren't particularly awesome are called "bitches"; really awesome women are "bad bitches"; respected dignitaries like moms are "ladies" and "females"—unless they're the mother of a foe, in which case they're back to being a a "bitch." (Got it?)

In the last few months, though, a few MCs have begun to question if using such a term is the best way to go about things. Lupe Fiasco's "Bad Bitch" shook up the hip-hop world with its analysis of negative portrayals of women in the black community; this prompted Kanye West to contemplate his own use of the word on Twitter over the weekend.

This fraught relationship is evident in the six songs listed below: We have collaborations between men and women, the grimiest song about stripper sex, and a track from a few MCs that have catalogues full of music praising women in their lives. There is also a Shyne song.

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Radio Hits One: Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, And Other Urban Radio Staples Turn To Clappers

beyonce_countdown_smiling copy.jpg
Why is this woman smiling? Because you're clapping along with her song.
Lately, when I turn on a hip-hop station, I feel like I'm being applauded, and I don't always feel like returning the favor. I'm not referring just to the default use of handclaps (sampled or, more likely, emulated by drum machines) as snare drums in beats, which has been a common practice and has been prevalent since Lil Jon's reign in the mid-2000s. I'm referring to the fast and steady eighth note clap-clap-clap-clap pattern running through several current hits on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, including Big Sean's remix of "Dance (A$$)" featuring Nicki Minaj, which recently peaked at No. 3, and Rihanna's controversial Chris Brown-assisted remix of "Birthday Cake," which rocketed to No. 4 last week after only five weeks on the chart. I like to call these songs "clappers" in homage to both the sound-activated light switch and to the '60s Northern Soul scene, in which British fans of American R&B gravitated toward heavily rhythmic "stompers" that had a snare drum hit on every quarter note (think "I Can't Help Myself" by The Four Tops).

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Billy Joel (6) And Nicki Minaj (11) Bring Their New York States Of Mind To SOTC's March Madness

​The Round of 64 for Sound of the City's own version of March Madness—in which you, the Sound of the City voting public, help determine the quintessential New York musician—finishes this weekend, with the Round of 32 kicking off Monday. (The schedule and results so far are here; the full, updated bracket is here.) This time out, the Piano Man Billy Joel meets the shape-shifting superstar Nicki Minaj. Check out the arguments in favor of each below, and vote at Facebook for the musician that you think should move on to the next round.

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Radio Hits One: "Baby Got Back" And 20 Years Of Ass-Themed Hits

20 years ago, the Seattle-based rapper Sir Mix-a-Lot was doing pretty well as a mid-level star of the burgeoning west coast hip-hop scene, coming off of two successful albums and a series of rap radio staples like "Posse On Broadway" and "My Hoopty." In February 1992 he'd just released his third album, Mack Daddy, and its moderately popular lead single, "One Time's Got No Case," when he made a decision that would change his life—and, dare I say, the world: He released the track "Baby Got Back" as a single, and spent most of the attendant video standing astride a gigantic prop ass. Within a few months, the song had topped the Hot 100. (No other Mix-a-Lot single before or since has reached higher than No. 70.) That put "Baby Got Back" in the anal annals of history as the most famous butt-themed hit song of all time, though it's had ample competition in the two decades since.

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Radio Hits One: Drake, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry, And The Era Of The Hit Bonus Track

Superstar pals and Young Money labelmates Lil Wayne and Drake released two of the biggest albums of 2011—Tha Carter IV and Take Care—and both are still spinning off hits well into 2012. But a look at the singles charts reveals something odd: the biggest current hits off both albums aren't available on every copy of the album, but are instead bonus tracks from their deluxe editions. Drake's "The Motto," which features Wayne, currently tops the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and is at No. 19 on the Hot 100 after peaking at No. 16. And Wayne's own "Mirror," featuring Bruno Mars, is Weezy's highest current solo entry on the Hot 100, at No. 68 (it also peaked at No. 16). If you go into one of the few stores still selling CDs today, though, odds are that the versions of Tha Carter IV and Take Care in the racks won't include those current hits.

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Madonna Surrounds Herself With Her Past, Football Players, And M.I.A. And Nicki Minaj In "Give Me All Your Luvin'"

The video for "Give Me All Your Lovin'," the first single from Madonna's MDNA, premiered in full this morning, and there is something vaguely... jeans-commercialish about the way the song sounds? I don't know if it's the stuttery beat or the electronically tweaked guitars accompanying Madge on the pre-chorus, or if it's just that she's singing most of the track in her way-airy head voice, but it all sounds very perfunctory, like it's just waiting to be licensed for a spot advertising a juice cleanse or a cruise. Meanwhile, in the video, Madonna reaches back to the past a bit, crowdsurfing a slew of faceless football players in a way that evokes the clip for "Material Girl" and getting her '90s pile-o'-curls on at a later point; Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. are relegated to cheerleader status for most of the video, only getting to wear outfits evoking the "Like A Virgin" ersatz-wedding-dress period for their brief, somewhat rote cameos. Watch below.

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Pazz & Jop 2011: Alex Macpherson On Pistol Annies, PJ Harvey, And Why You Should Always Trust Diddy

To supplement this year's Pazz & Jop launch, Sound of the City asked a few critics to expand on the reasonings behind their voting. Here, the British critic Alex Macpherson finds protest music and love songs that were worth holding on to past the end of the calendar year.

Every year, I cavil about the limitations of the Pazz & Jop ballot: the run-up to submitting mine traditionally comprises weeks of attempting to cram a week's worth of music into a ten-piece summation of my year that, like a suitcase on the eve of a holiday, resolutely refuses to expand to fit everything I need. On the other hand, having a mere 10 places at your disposal makes the process wonderfully Darwinian: the weakest contenders are weeded out ruthlessly. No room for those esoteric semi-favourites, it's about the music that formed an integral part of my life in 2011: Miguel's "Sure Thing", sneaking into my heart through sheer loving understatement; Nicki Minaj's "Super Bass", memorized entirely by July thanks to months of hearing it as a go-to house party anthem and trading lines with friends while on public transportation; Todd Terje's "Snooze 4 Love", for all those times on the dancefloor that the first hint of those arpeggios sent the crowd into raptures.

Too much solipsism makes for a pointless list: there were albums that seemed to capture something important about 2011 as a whole. The windswept incantations, elegiac tributes and weary trudges of PJ Harvey's Let England Shake dominated my winter—but her journalistic documentation of the suffering inflicted on ordinary people at the hands of governments also resonated strongly in a year when not just England but the world shook with protest. It seemed ironic that it should cement Harvey's position as part of the British rock establishment—the woman who had been an outsider heroine of my teenage years—but it was also appropriate that she wound up performing to two British prime ministers this year.

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The 11 Most Infuriating Songs Of 2011, No. 3: [White Person], [White Person Cutely/Seriously Performing Urban-Radio Hit]

The Songs: Karmin, "Super Bass" and "Look At Me Now" and way too many others; Mac Lethal, "Cook Wit Me Now"; Jackson Foote and friends, "Get Low"; Sophia Grace, "Super Bass"; probably more that are shooting up the Reddit charts right now.
The Crimes: Anti-pop snobbery; humorlessness in the name of "musicality"; pandering to the commenting hordes on tech blogs who consider themselves above pop music, but not above being catered to directly and embarrassingly. And let's not forget the racist viral hit of late November, Texts From Bennett, which came from one of the above auteurs.

Internet attention is precious currency for up-and-coming bands, who have to make their way past a torrent of acts both established and brand-new in order to get themselves heard. Those artists who have figured out that a pretty easy way to skip the line, so to speak, is to pander to the world of social-news sites—places like Reddit and Digg that are overwhelmingly male and extremely pop-averse, among other things—have held a depressing competitive advantage over the past few years, with their modest successes breeding breathless "future of the biz" stories that led to even more success and press and so on. There's one other common thread between all these musicians; the geek-beloved strummer Jonathan Coulton, for example, suggests that people listen to his chiming cover of "Baby Got Back" before almost anything else he's recorded; last year, the Bay Area duo Pomplamoose snagged a deal to annoy TV-watching Americans during the holidays after thrilling Digg and with wall-eyed, "real-music" versions of fun songs like "Single Ladies" and "Telephone."

Yes; even though it's been some 27 years since "Rappin' Duke," the "white people turn urban-radio tropes into something more similar to what they might listen to, with hilarity possibly ensuing" tack is still guaranteed to hit pay dirt among certain subgroups of people who consider themselves both musical aesthetes and "geeks." Whether they're cowed by the technologically forward production (irony alert!), unsure of which Urban Dictionary definition to use when figuring out just what the lyrics might mean, or just trying to fight the man, man (never mind that their computers were made by multinational conglomerates), these sorts of covers still get eaten up by YouTube viewers like they're ice-cream sundaes made by dairy geniuses. And thanks to the increased importance of "virality" in 2011, artists who took this tack were often rewarded by showers of likes, buckets of retweets, and hordes of people delighting in the knowledge that there were a lot of people out there whose noses were all upturned at exactly the same angle—which meant that they could only multiply. The four most egregious examples below.

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