Making Me High

More

When I was in Chicago a few weeks back I spent a really cool afternoon chilling with two old friends. My man was playing music off his iPhone when Prince's "Erotic City" came on. We started talking about a point which I think I've made here before: as a dude raised on hip-hop, I really appreciate the fact that when Prince is singing about sex, he's singing to women, not dudes. Or rather, without the hetero privilege, he's singing to the object of his desire, not to his friends/boys/competitors.


I confess that in my time, it was nothing like hearing Biggie's "One More Chance" in a club. But that song never really said much about how it felt to be really be attracted to a woman. If anything it was battle rap with woman used primarily as objects. There's a lot of hip-hop like that, presumably about women, but really only about women as things to be acquired like cars, jewels and homes. A song like "One More Chance" feels, lyrically, like it's actually for other dudes. There's very little hip-hop that I'd play and say, "Yeah baby, this is how I feel about you." I don't know, maybe "Ice Cream?" "Camay?" "You Got Me?" Anyway, I always thought that was major hole in the genre and something I really had to look to classic R&B to get. 

So we got to talking about how Prince sings about male desire for women, and is totally fine making himself powerless to that desire. And there's honesty and truth in that, because we've all felt that way. And we got to thinking about women who sung about men in that same way and came up with a few examples. 

But one that didn't occur to me until a few days ago is Toni Braxton's "Your Making Me High." I remember, when this came out, that it was a shockingly visceral song, and visceral in a way that, at least in that time, I wasn't really hearing. I'm struggling to think of a performer, in hip-hop or R&B, in the '90s, who made a hit while alluding to everything from masturbation to obsession. 

Every dude I knew loved this song. Because, well, she was singing to us. And then some of  it is the video. Braxton was always a dime, but this was the album where she came back rocking the new body. And then she brought some company: Tisha Campbell, Erika Alexander etc. Of course a lot of girls loved this video too. Old boy Bryce had 'em back then. One other interesting note--much like Shiela E's background vocals on Erotic City add an element, I think Babyface is playing a similar, if more subdued, role here.

 

Jump to comments
Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Entertainment

From This Author

Just In