Hip Hop Culture for Grown-Ups
Words by Jherika G.
Please don’t “YOLO!” in my presence…Catch phrases come and go. There will always be a new song promoting some acronym or spelling out a word that becomes a way of life for the current generation. Examples include classics like “O.P.P.” from Naughty by Nature, The Wu Tang Clan’s “C.R.E.A.M,,” LL Cool J’s G.O.A.T, and more recently Kanye and Jay-Z with “H.A.M.” But out of all of these, comes the most recent, and most potent, and most ridiculous one to me: Y.O.L.O. You Only Live Once.
Really? Did you need to remind me that once I die my life is over as if that is not the definition of death?
But that’s not what troubles me about this phrase. It’s the reckless abandon with which people choose to live, all under the guise of YOLO’ing it out. So since you only live once, you choose to live that life on the edge, doing everything and yet managing to do nothing at the same time?
“I’m bout to hit the club and then drink and smoke and snort myself dumb until I black out…YOLO!!” Yea you only live once but that don’t mean you gotta die today! Respect your body and take care of your temple. Drug and alcohol addiction is real. You doing that every weekend like your body won’t start craving it. Chill.
“I don’t have a condom…YOLO!!” You only live once and that herpes is going to be right there with you ’til the end. Oh, I have a new one for you! PCSEM!! ….Pay Child Support Every Month. And Ladies… YOYO! You On Your Own…y’all don’t even know each other and you think you’re going to magically be a family?? Suckers.
“Maaan I don’t even really need this job, shit…YOLO!!” Oh ok. You’re about to be only living once out on the streets if you can’t pay them bills. Just because your favorite rapper is on a 24 hour champagne diet and encouraging you to try it is no reason for you to think that you don’t have to work. You need to take care of your responsibilities and I need you to make my McDouble with no pickles. This just won’t work out for anybody.
“Let’s start this fight and possibly a shootout because we feel disrespected…YOLO!!” Bruh. “You only live once” doesn’t mean you’re only living tonight. Have some respect for human life and calm down. Consider the consequences. Dude is looking at you and you shoot him. You’re going to either get shot or end up in jail. Either way, YOLO is about to take on a whole new meaning for you….
I could go on all day but basically, I want my generation to be more forward thinking. We are extremely selfish and focused on instant gratification, completely ignoring that we can either leave our mark or be erased from history. You really want your legacy to be that you were the realest dude/chick in the club every weekend? That’s it? Well I YOLO everyday. Since I only live once I cherish my life and consciously make decisions that can extend it. Nothing wrong with fun, live life with no regrets. Just don’t be a dumbass.
Hopefully the next big acronym can be something positive like S.I.C.K…School Is Cool Kids…don’t quote me, though, I ain’t said shit.
Words by Jherika G.