Turn up the lights in here, baby / extra bright, I want y’all to see this / turn up the lights in here, baby / you know what I need, want you to see everything / want you to see all of the lights – Kanye West, “All of the Lights”
Miley Cyrus and Rick Ross were our patriots on patrol this year. Living the high life where MiCy met Miami, these two lit up the Pop scape with the red, white, and blue hues of stars, bars, strips, whips, chains, gangs, and the incessant inability of ever being tamed. He was the Teflon Don: gun dirty, brick clean; she hung on a pole and a prayer: the jailbait-in-waiting, craving to be scene.
This year, what began as barely legal soon became borderline felonious and 100% audacious in the world of Miley Cyrus; like a gust of wind from the high hills of Hannah, Montana (Population: Fun #itsmiley!) came the no-longer-a-tease-not-yet-a-trainwreck-…-yet. Cyrus did not find herself at the oft-spoken coming-of-age fork in the road, so much as she went in search of the oft-shushed path-of-the-luciferious-forked-tale en route to Pop stardom… or something, anything, on the brink of exploding. Where Britney lived out her post-adolecscent pre-psychosis identity confusion for all the world to see – before said world struck – so Miley coasted through her own crossroads like a bat out of Hazzard County. In 2002, Britney bridged her musical career with a feature film debut; in 2010, Cyrus dropped what was commonly believed to be a musical career for what was never even misconstrued to be a film career. In 2002, Brit channeled Joan Jett and loved Rock n’ Roll; in 2010, MiCy capstoned the year with an AMA ode to Stevie Nicks – or something along the lines of “give me hippies, candles, black dye… y’know – stuff that’s old.” In 2002, Spears told us what she liked, what she wanted, and what she didn’t – but everytime she did, she stood corrected – where in the midst of self-affirmed slavery, she saw that she, like Buddha, didn’t want to be so damn protected; in 2010, Miley kept it simple: “I can’t be tamed – but y’know what, keep the cage… I want to be where the wild things are.” MiCy threw caution to the wind, and drove headfirst into the beautifully broken world known as the devil’s playground – where after sheltered childhood, one takes on the world they never knew existed, with a fervor they never knew they held, leaving behind common sense or concern they never really had, and to a consequence most of the viewing public feels never comes soon enough. Tonguing chicks, hitting bongs, rambling, rucussing, church-outings, and boy-scoutings were the year in the life of the Destiny’s former child. Where Miley foreshadowed a future of juvenile rabblerousery gone array, repercussions hidden in the scars, Rick Ross reminisced about real bosses – not stars – getting bank from the start.
Rick Ross wrote the tale of modern kingpindom with literal lyricism that garnered immediate cynicism. That delivery however was the message, and as he reiterated point after point with stark definition, he opened up the world of slightly cheeked tongue interpretation: “one nation, under God; real n*ggas gettin’ money from the f*ckin’ start” could just as easily be “one nation, under God; real n*ggas gettin’ money from the f*ckin’ stars;” or take “stunt so hard: make ’em come indict me,” which could just as quickly be declared: “stunt so hard: make ’em come and knight me” – and in this world of relative authority, lucrative crime, and the blurred lines between what’s to be lauded or lambasted Ross stood on both sides of the shield as the solely departed Teflon Don. In Miami the world sits on a cold white throne; and Rick Ross is at the helm. Pop, as much as Ross’ hustle, relies on that one core entity for its fuel: the white girl.
This year we saw the Cop Lights on full display in the midst of the Pop night. Where on one side we have the red light district – criminal behavior liberating our darker selves; on the other, we have the tried and true hue of our trusted boys in blue – correctional officers keeping the world safe; and smack in between the two we have the purest white – in a battle between the angel of her mainstream nature, and the devil of tempting mobscenity.