In Defense of Flo Rida

floridahead

Not to be confused with the sunshine state, by the way. That’s a very different topic, not dissimilar to defending our right to attack policemen with cucumber salad, invade nudist colonies dressed as zombies and bite nipples over dumb blond jokes. All real cases, BTW.

For now, I’m talking about the singer. Well, I can’t really say singer, can I? Does he sing? Is he a rapper? He doesn’t really rap either, though… hmmm. Gotta mull that one a little bit.

In any case, the “Rida’s” real name is Tramar Lacel Dillard. Yep, Mr. Dillard… great stuff already.

"You're such a Dillard." - The 3rd grade bullies, and me.

“You’re such a Dillard.” – The 3rd grade bullies, and me.

Born in Florida (explains a lot), he began his “singing” career in ninth grade with an amateur rap group called the GroundHoggz (explains everything else). Flo Rida started hitting it big in 2008, by appearing briefly in essentially everything. It’s the way to break into the rap world nowadays. He has since won multiple BET awards, a few MTV awards and a Teen choice award. No Grammy, but the Teen Choice surfboard is better anyway. It’s less tacky.

But we’re not here for tawdry facts, are we? I’m here to address irrational rage, and I got plenty. And for all my hate needs, I go to Amplicate.com.

“The most uncreative…person I have ever had the displeasure listening to. And it’s not like I can escape it, the braindrains shove that nonsense down our throat on radio! I hate hearing songs I already like and having a idiot butcher them to make a quick buck. Biggest peeve!! Hate you Florida!”

“Simple put he doesn’t have any talent of his own. Sadly much music today has riffs and parts of older and better songs stuck in them. It makes the song seems familiar to people and they tend to like it more.”

“We need more bands/singers that really have talent and write meaningful, inspirational lyrics, not rubbish like Kesha, Pitbull, Flo Rida and such.”

Ah, Pitbull! I need to add him to the defense list… and… moving on.

So a lot of people dislike Flo Rida. At least, they equate him with Ke$ha, which I’d consider pretty dire circumstances. Most of the animosity stems from his liberal use of “sampling,” where he stea… honors other songs by including them as background tracks. Or, ya know, making half his song a sample of another song. You know. Sampling.

He sampled that face from an N64 game.

He sampled that face from an N64 game.

But I’m not going to talk about the ethics of over-sampling. It may be lazy and some don’t like it, but I want to address something else. Something that stumped me earlier. Something profoundly more pretentious-sounding.

How do we define Mr. Rida?

Do we categorize him as an R&B mogul, like Timbaland or Justin Timberlake? Your typical R&B magnate will be featured in nearly everything and will feature nearly everyone, so that’s pretty close. At least, it sounds close, except that most of the “Timb-” featured artists are both alive and popular. Flo Rida prefers zombie songs from 1980’s synth-poppers. ‘Cause everyone loves and remembers Soft Cell, Yello, and Dead or Alive, right?

Right?

Right?

So what could Flo Rida be? Synthetic beat robot a la the Black Eyed Peas? Outskirt rapper like Dr. Dre? New age DJ in the vein of Avicii?

Well, maybe all of those combined, cause he sampled all the artists I mentioned in the last few paragraphs. Also, Bruce Springsteen, Salt-N-Pepa, Benny Benassi, Tony Basil, Tina Turner, Etta James, Brandy, The Jacksons, The Bingo Players, LMFAO and probably me. But therein lies his defense. At least, I hope so.

Fingers crossed.

Fingers crossed.

Flo Rida is like a really weird musical bridge (yes, you can quote me). After all, he introduced Etta James to the cheapest parts of the R&B audience. Granted, it’s annoying when his fans whine about how this “Etta James” is a no-talent hack who stole from the “Rida of Flos,” but that’s his fanbase. Forget them, he’s not his fans. What does Flo Rida do to garner hatred?

Here’s his strategy: Flo Rida takes old songs, repackages them and introduces them to new audiences. Most of the Amplitude.com whiners groan about the sampling, but why? Do we hate the songs he samples? In the case of Tony Basil’s “Mickey,” sure, but I digress. Is it that his music is lazy? ‘Cause that’s true for most pop artists. Or is it back to the fans again, the people who don’t appreciate the Springsteen song in the background?

In case you couldn’t tell, all those reasons are kinda dumb.

I’m not saying we should get together and sample “Kumbaya” in his honor. I too would rather listen to the original Soft Cell song (it’s Tainted Love, BTW). I too think his over-sampling is a sign of indolence. And yes, my eyes roll like greased billiard balls when I watch his onstage ‘tude. Flo Rida produces cheap music, and we don’t have to like that.

But there’s no reason to actively hate that either. Preferences are understandable, but strict adherence to those preferences is not. And what’s worse, most people seem to dislike him for the ignorance of his fans. That is really, really dumb.

As dumb as that vest.

As dumb as that vest.

In the end, I’m not sure how to define his music. He’s a DJ pastiche artist, if that’s such a thing. But no matter what I say, no matter how much he samples, no matter how much I dislike his songs, I can see no reason to hate Flo Rida. Even if he is a total Dillard. hehe… Dillard…

Okay, done with Flo Rida. But did you know that a Floridian called 911 because she ate too much food? Defending Florida would have been so much fun…

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