The Pretty Ricky of It All

As I write this post, I’m listening to George Strait’s It Just Comes Natural. You know, because he’s the king.

Of course that song has nothing to do with this post, I just thought you should know. Also, it will make this post that much more weird knowing that song is playing in the background.

So, Pretty Ricky.

I tweeted this the other day: “You could legitimately make a case that Pretty Ricky should take some blame for the rise in teenage pregnancy.”

Ignoring the wildly inappropriate nature of the tweet, I think we can elaborate on our taste in music when we were about 13 years old.

Given a conversation I had at brunch today, I feel like you should know the names of Pretty Ricky’s members:

Baby Blue, Spectacular, Pleasure P, and Slick’em

Not only are these names phenomenal, they’re perfectly fitting for the racy, raunchy music they created in the mid to late 2000s.

So, Grind With Me came on in my car the other day and got me thinking: “What the hell was I listening to in my early teens?”

You would think that the tail end of the chorus is enough with the emphatic “now come and sex me till your body gets weak.” But trust me it gets far worse. Here’s Grind With Me lyrics:

Go crazy and understand that this is tame for Pretty Ricky, their other songs are even more ridiculous.

I was 13.

How does one defend Pretty Ricky?

“I just listen to it for the beat.”

Although I’m a firm proponent of this, no, you don’t. Think about the number of songs you really love. Songs that you simply cannot skip when they come on your iPod. Now, of those songs, think of the ones you legitimately don’t know any of the lyrics to. The answer is probably none.

Even hipsters who claim, “these lyrics are so stupid, I like them ironically” can understand that EVERYONE loves to belt “POPPED A MOLLY I’M SWEATIN’” when All Gold Everything comes on. No matter how idiotic the lyrics are, we listen to them and they factor into whether or not we like a song.

When Grind With Me comes on, no part of the chorus goes unsung and we’ve been doing it since we were pre-teens. I would say that’s somewhat problematic but the jubilation I feel whenever I hear the song provides a strong deterrent to those sentiments.

“Kids don’t do everything songs tell them to”

They kinda do. Have you heard the phrase YOLO lately? Thanks for that one Drake.

As I get older, I am faced with having to look back at the foolishness that was my teenage years. I can’t help but think about that time I lost my favorite hat sticking my head out of a sunroof trying to be cool like rappers. Maybe you were completely put together and composed at 13, but I DEFINITELY wasn’t (and I’m still not). Kids are impressionable, and I guess after what I just said I have to add in that so are 22-year-olds.

I remember the first time a girl “attempted” to grind with me. It was hectic and stressful.

The 7th grade dance was all going according to plan. I had already picked out the song I wanted to break dance to (I used to spin on my head at school dances – middle school was an odd time for me) and I had studied up on all the popular dances so I could bust ’em out at a moment’s notice. Apparently for the girl I was dancing “near” (key word – near), the time for innocent, honest and true face-to-face dancing was over. She was ready to kick it up a notch. She turned her back to me and ever so slightly arched her back and stuck her butt out towards me. As she inched closer and closer, I panicked. I knew what was happening and I wasn’t ready for it. I had seen it in the Turn Me On video by Kevin Lyttle but never in a million years did I think I would have to deal with it so soon. The immediacy of it petrified me.

Moments later I’m in the bathroom splashing water on my face – it was too real for me. Of course, I used an opportune “white people song” to escape. Side note: there were in fact white songs and black songs. I can’t make this up, the races would legitimately split up based on the song that was on. At the time I was afraid to admit that I liked some of the white songs, so I would walk out with the rest of my friends when they came on. Because being a follower is cool, right?

When I look back, all I can think about is how insanely disgusting it must have been to be a chaperone at these dances and watch kids from 12-14 humping each other in clothes like they saw on TV. I’m sure they had nothing better to do on a random Friday night.

“They’re not the only ones”

Let’s be honest, there really is no excuse for Pretty Ricky. There’s also no excuse for why unedited Pretty Ricky songs were played at my school dances but take that up with Fort Wayne Community Schools.

Obviously Pretty Ricky is not to blame for the rise in teenage pregnancy. Someone also told me they thought the number of teenage pregnancies had fallen, but who does actual research before they say something completely unfounded on Twitter am I right?

As untouchable as Usher is, do we really need to discuss the song “Nice and Slow” or “You Make Me Wanna.” Seriously, Usher made a song where he says “you make me wanna leave the one I’m with and start a new relationship, with you, this is what you do.” What? No, this is not what you do. Perhaps I need to make another post about Usher songs and divorce rates. (How’s that for founded research?)

Kids are impressionable but they’re not dumb. Pretty Ricky never made me want to go out and sleep with every single girl I saw. Again, I was 13. Also, some girls still had cooties and I wasn’t trying to get involved with that.

I’m also sure that Pretty Ricky didn’t plan on having countless pre-teens taking every last word to heart.

If anything, it’s a testament to just how powerful music can be. I still remember how the song made me feel and I associate it with part of growing up. It’s not until now that I truly realize how questionable the lyrics were. Lord knows what will come from what kids are listening to now. How will EDM shape the next generation of kids? (Besides making them all want to do copious amounts of drugs)

At the end of the day, you just have to sit back and laugh at how ridiculous it all was. I mean Juvenile made a song called “Back That Azz Up.” Yes, with two Z’s because he wanted to be considerate to our youth. I mean using to S’s there is just in bad taste.

In some ways we can control who we become and in other ways we can’t. However, I don’t think Pretty Ricky songs are high on the list of influential, formative aspects of life.

I only ask that you think of me every time you decide to throw in Bluestars or Late Night Special.

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