MUSIC

"How Do Mexicans Talk" Trends on Twitter Because of Becky G's Accent in "Chicken Noodle Soup"

The J-Hope and Becky G remake turns out to be a breeding ground of cultural debate, both valid and troll-bait.

Billboard

"How Do Mexicans Talk?"

Over 6,000 Twitter users have caused that rhetorical question to trend as part of a contentious back-and-forth about Becky G's and J-Hope's trilingual song, "Chicken Noodle Soup." Namely, one outspoken account about black Latinx cultural issues, "la mala" or @rudeboiluna, called the song "anti-black" and accused Latinx singer Becky G of using a "Caribbean blaccent." Soon commenters disagreed with the claim and asked what the Mexican singer was supposed to sound like when she sang Spanish lyrics, to which la mala replied, "like a Mexican tf."

Thus a fiery debate commenced about the hypocrisy of accusing a piece of art of being "anti-black" while stereotyping a wide group of people. La mala was asked, "How do you think Mexicans sound? Do you think we [go] buRRito and tAcO all the time?" She replied—perhaps in a joke of poor taste, perhaps making light of her own ignorance, perhaps just trolling Twitter about culturally sensitive issues—"yea lol."

As one user clarified, "#HowDoMexicansTalk was created bcoz a black Latinx acc was BLATANTLY racist to Mexicans (keep in mind she's not Mexican) so we made this tag to show that our accents ARE diverse and that Beck* was NOT trying to imitate a [Caribbean blaccent] according to OP."

Thousands of Latinx commenters expressed the same sentiment, which was generally: "How am I supposed to sound in order for you to legitimize me as a Mexican-American?" Thousands more affirmed the fact that no one's ethnic identity needs to be legitimized by others, while at the same time, no one has the right to invalidate others' cultural identity or expressions thereof. That, of course, includes other people of color who want to speak out against erasure—it's simply myopic, insensitive, and ignorant to push the agenda of one cause by jumping to conclusions about an entire culture. Again, it's not advocacy or support to claim there's prejudice against one community when the claim is based purely on ignorance about another community.


The song, which heavily samples the 2006 track of the same name, was already the site of cultural debate, with the South Korean boy band BTS and Becky G releasing their version seemingly without paying homage to the song's origin. Bianca Bonnie's (Young B) and DJ Webstar's original "Chicken Noodle Soup" was a catchy, light-hearted anthem to Harlem, the hometown of both artists. While they've both voiced approval for the cover, many young fans go unaware that the Becky G and J-Hope collaboration is a remake.

For instance, when Becky G shared the song with her 2.3 million followers on Twitter, she made no mention of the original creators. She posted, "#ChickenNoodleSoup ya salió!! Korean, Spanish, English... we brought cultures together & made a trilingual song! Music really is universal." She continued, "I hope everyone enjoys this! Shoutout to my friend J-HOPE! We did that!"

Obviously, that oversight doesn't justify any accusation that Becky G doesn't "sound Mexican." Because, as any simple Google search will reveal, at least 68 national languages are spoken in Mexico, including at least 350 dialects of those languages. Becky G joins a bevy of Latinx artists who have been criticized for not "looking" or "sounding" Latinx. She's candidly addressed the claims in the past: "'You don't look Latina' or 'You don't even speak Spanish.' These are the remarks that us second- and third-generation-born American Latinos often hear. The truth is, the lack of language knowledge does not lessen the Latin blood running through our veins or the stories our last names carry." She added, "Although my Spanish is flawed and I didn't grow up in Mexico, I take pride in my roots. My family's history and the fact that all the traditions and morals passed down have shaped me to be who I am today is what it means to be a second-generation-born Mexican-American for me."

@rudeboiluna has since suspended their account.

Music Features

On This Day: Shakira Liberated Everyone's “She Wolf”

"I was in the studio in a bad mood that day, then I got inspired and went to a corner and I wrote the lyrics and the melody in 10 minutes. The image of the she wolf just came to my head, and when I least expected it I was howling and panting," Shakira said.

By Fabio Alexx

11 years ago, on July 10th, 2009, Colombian singer Shakira released the first single off her third studio album.

"She Wolf" is a synth-pop banger built on a B minor progression. It was, in many ways, an insane song, born out of the singer's own frustration and ennui.

"I was in the studio in a bad mood that day, then I got inspired and went to a corner and I wrote the lyrics and the melody in 10 minutes. The image of the she wolf just came to my head, and when I least expected it I was howling and panting," Shakira said.

Though the music was composed by John Hill and Sam Endicott, lead singer of post-punk band The Bravery, the lyrics were all Shakira's own. "[Shakira] contacted him (Hill), asking if he had any stuff," said Endicott. "We never had her in mind. We just made the thing independently of her, and then she liked it a lot, and she sang over it. She used some of the melodies we put in there and then wrote these crazy lyrics about being a werewolf. And that's how it happened."

Shakira - She Wolf www.youtube.com


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MUSIC

SEVENTEEN Satirizes Pop Music with New Album "An Ode"

"An Ode" is still a really good pop record, though.

SEVENTEEN wants you to know they've grown up.

[M/V] SEVENTEEN(세븐틴) - HIT www.youtube.com

They're no longer the charismatic lovesick teens depicted in "Oh My!," and they no longer have the relentless optimism of "Call Call Call." Ok, they're still charismatic as hell, but it's more complicated now. Summer is over, and Seventeen has been on an absolute tear in the K-pop scene since they began. "I want a new level," the hip hop unit raps on "Hit," their latest comeback single and intro to the boy band's third album An Ode. "We're so hot," the vocal unit sings on the refrain, (the 13 members are divided into three separate units: vocal, rap and performance.) The members of the K-pop ensemble are painfully aware of how talented they are; every release since their debut in 2015 has shot them further and further into the stratosphere of superstardom. But they want a new challenge. They're bored with how easy it is to make good pop songs. "Hit, hit, hit, hit, hit sound," they sing on the chorus.

It's hard to hear An Ode's "Hit" as anything but satirical considering the "wow, wow, wows," the autotune, the abrasive EDM instrumental, and the rap unit stating blatantly that "this is a hit."

It becomes difficult to distinguish whether the boys are genuinely pushing "HIT" as their big crossover smash, or if they're just making fun of the formulaic ease with which popular music is made. While impeccably well-choreographed, the music video is a mish-mash of classic western pop archetypes, like aggressive rain-dancing. Right before the chorus takes hold, the ensemble calls out, "From this day forth, we're free, jump!" which is a melody that sounds eerily similar to the way the Backstreet Boys chanted, "Backstreet's back, alright!"

Regardless, the "Carats," as their fans are called, are eating it up. To point out the formulaic nature of their music is not to say that SEVENTEEN doesn't deserve the same acclaim as other K-pop groups. Their music, while thematically much more focused on the stresses that fame brings, is melodically primed for western radio. "Network Love" is a tight, tropical house-infused pop song that shows the vocal unit in their prime. "247" is a fantastic R&B slow jam, and "Snap Shot" sounds like Chance The Rapper and The Jonas Brothers made a musical baby.

An Ode is a compelling pop record that paints a more complicated narrative than your average K-pop group. In fact, it seems painfully easy for SEVENTEEN to make radio hits, which isn't exactly a bad problem for a boy band hoping to find international fame.

An Ode