As I write this, I’m listening to a Flo Rida song. I don’t want to. I didn’t choose this life — it chose me, foisted upon me by every Top-40 station, electronics commercial, and mildly popular dance club I’ve encountered my young life. Flo Rida songs are the Yeerks of contemporary music, crawling into your ear uninvited and taking over your brain despite your painful, writhing attempts to break free of their grasp. And when combined with the criminally catchy hooks and perfect, smooth voices of such artists as the highly underrated Sia, they are a recipe for a self-hating listen even the most determined music snob will have a hard time resisting.
I find myself tapping along absentmindedly to one of his hits and catch myself with the horrified understanding of a person awaking from a fugue state mid-murder. I hear samples from older, greater songs and think “Oh yes! This song!” only to realize that it is, in fact, another opportunity for Flo Rida to hop on some first-rate production and spit his rapid-fire verses which can only be described as “boxy.” Like, he just says a lot of words which include, but are not limited to, “shorty” in really short, consecutive lines stacked on top of one another like a millefeuille of hip hop mediocrity.
We get it, Flo Rida, you can rap fast about getting drunk in a club setting.
And I know that, no matter how many times I am unintentionally exposed to his music, I am never going to grow to love it. It is music for 12-year-old boys who love Monster energy drink and googling the word “titties” in hopes of finding pictures of nude women’s breasts. It is just not meant for me, no matter how many old songs I love he insists on using, or how many otherwise-great artists he enlists to help him in his shenanigans. I don’t have a lot of taste, but I have enough not to like Flo Rida.
But what makes him so upsetting as an entity is just how long he has lasted, how many times he has come back in spite of all evidence discrediting his pop culture relevance, and produced a club jam which proceeds to take over the world for at least a week or two. “Whistle” should never have existed, and it certainly should never been as insanely popular as it was. It just makes no sense. He is the kind of artist whose shelf-life could not have existed past 2008, and yet, here he is. And I’m disappointed in my fellow human beings for having made his presence a possibility in the year of our Lord 2013. This just makes no sense, none of it. And I want someone to give me a real, thoughtful explanation as to why I still have to deal with him at such a late hour in his astonishing career.
You, too, Pitbull. I need reasons why you’re still famous, and I need them now.