The Misunderstanding of Male Sensitivity
So no one will ask me at the end of the article what I think about Drake’s new album, Take Care, let me be clear: I like the album and I’ve had trouble playing anything else since I first listened to my leaked copy last week. Not only do I like the album because of its crisp production and Drake’s better-than-good skills as an MC, I like the album for all the reasons most others say they hate it.
Some say, It’s too emotional; I like it because it’s emotional. Some say he sings on it way too much, I don’t like it when he sings all the time either, but that strike against him isn’t enough to change my overall opinion on the album. Some say the combination of Drake’s emotional lyrics and constant singing make for a soft album, I say the art of the quiet, ambient rap album is under-appreciated, but I digress.
What I appreciate most about Take Care is the way it’s revealing how people really feel about men who not only are expressive about their feelings, but also men who know how to feel something, anything for the women who have come in and out of their life. Before Drake, the most emotional rapper I ever listened to was Tupac, and even if he wasn’t singing on half his records (he usually got singers to handle those duties), he talked about his struggle to make it work with another woman often. For years ‘Pac has been my go-to-artist when I was down about a woman, and by no means does Drake replace him, but he certainly adds to that otherwise small group of artists who can actually rap to how I’m feeling.
Now before everyone gets all up in their chest about me including ‘Pac in the same paragraph as Drake, take heed. By no means am I saying Drake is as good as ‘Pac…matter of fact, let’s move on. If you think that’s what I’m saying you’re not as smart as you think.
People who know me in real life and those who only know me through the computer will draw their own conclusions as to why I like Drake as an artist and why I enjoy Take Care. I’ve been told I favor him. I had the world’s greatest Halloween outfit when I dressed up as him. My writing carries with it the same emotional vulnerability he carries in his music. All of these are fair and valid points, but they have nothing to do with why I enjoy Take Care. The reason I like Take Care is I like to see how people respond to actual emotional honesty from men.
I wish that we lived in a time and a generation where people would stop viewing my honesty as overly emotional. People always act like I spend my life crying in a dark room. I don’t, I’m good. I’m a man. — Drake
There are those who mistake being vulnerable with being sensitive and sensitivity with being soft. It’s a sick cycle, and one reason why men never want to open up to women in the first place. Most women don’t know the difference, don’t know the pain men live with for any number of reasons, and because they don’t understand it, they either deride it or doubt it. Well, here’s the truth ladies: If a man has never cried over you, your impact on him was minimal and for any man who has never cried over a woman, my condolences. None of this is to say a relationship without tears doesn’t count, it’s just to say it probably never got deep enough.
The most honest thing I’ve ever seen from a man was seeing my Pop cry when he and my Mom were breaking up. For so many years he told me to never cry. There were even times when I heard my mom cry over something he said and his reaction was so insensitive. He’d ask, “Why are you crying?” He never got it, and I swore he never would, until the day I saw him in the garage wiping away his tears. The reason? If I recall it was because my mom questioned his love for her, and told him straight up, “You don’t love me.”
I was like in 7th grade when I saw this, and I didn’t get it then. I was on my mom’s side and I too decided his love for her wasn’t real, or at the very least, wasn’t how any person should love someone, but as I’ve gotten older, and as I’ve loved someone with whom I made mistakes, I know why he cried. It’s the same reason why some men sing to a woman about how they feel.
We want her to understand just how serious we are about this love thing or hate thing because she doesn’t get it when we say “I love you” or when we say “I hate you”, and the latter may sound egregious, but it’s just as honest as the emotion of love. The point of it all is to understand, there’s real feelings stirring from within, and it was her who set them off. To express those feelings, however we choose, doesn’t make us less of a man, it probably makes us more of one.
Warning: Video of a sensitive rapper rapping about his feelings towards a woman, may cause you to feel something.