Heated “Thotiana” debate deserves to end in draw


Photo courtesy of Blueface


Sam Bernstein managing editor
Los Angeles based rapper Blueface’s 2018 single “Thotiana” has recently taken the music world by storm, sparking a contested online debate about if the song is actually good or not. The debate, which is mostly satirical to most, has been talked to death online in the past few months, sparking some of the best memes in music Twitter history. However, the song has a lot of good features; it’s catchy beat and simple lyrics result in a fun, club-friendly hit. The debate exists for a reason though, as the song has some rather awful features. Its awful lyrics and misogynistic depiction of women are both major detractors from the song’s overall quality.
“Thotiana” is one of the most confusing songs of 2019. Off-beat rapping doesn’t seem to be in at the moment; however, the success of “Thotiana” has proven how futile rap trends can be. On the first listen, the song comes off as humorous. The slang word “thotiana”, a derivative of thot, has been closely aligned with meme culture since the term went mainstream in early 2016. Because “thotiana” is often used ironically, it would not be far fetched to assume that “Thotiana” is an ironic track. On top of all that, Blueface’s violent depiction of sex in the song is cringeworthy, inducing laughs and comedic reactions that a serious piece of music wouldn’t incite.
Even though the song may come off as ironic, the stats aren’t ironic. The song has been on the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks. It is currently the 13th most popular song in the entire nation, beating out massive radio hits such as ‘Going Bad’ by Drake and Meek Mill and “a lot” by 21 Savage. Several major artists have remixed the track, including Cardi B, Nicki Minaj, YG, Desiigner, Young M.A. and Tyga. The song just won’t go away. The popularity of “Thotiana” has since raised debates about if Blueface is actually any good or not, and, as previously mentioned, that debate has truly prevailed to no end.
“Thotiana” is catchy to no end. From the simple yet enticing piano riff to his famous catchphrase ‘Blueface, baby,’ the song gets in your head and stays there. His off-beat rapping, while musically frustrating, is fun to listen to. While the song is low quality, it embodies everything that is good about low-quality music, including wild lyrics that would never be approved for release from a legitimate record label, an incredibly basic beat and a feeling of underground authenticity that mainstream rap simply does not have. The success of “Thotiana” parallels the success of other bad hip-hop, with one comparison being Desiigner’s 2016 hit “Panda.” It is unsurprising that a song like “Thotiana” can blow up and capture the hearts and ears of mainstream rap fans, and “Thotiana” is likely here to stay for the foreseeable future.
The lyrics are bad. They are Lil Pump bad. Lyrics like ‘I beat the p*ssy up, now it’s a murder scene/Keep sh*t player, Thotiana, like you ain’t never even heard of me’ are atrociously bad, and “Thotiana” is full of awful quips just like that. But the song’s success regardless of how dreadful the lyrics are poses a fascinating question: does that matter? Honestly, probably not. The track has done numbers regardless and listeners have still given the song an overwhelming amount of airplay. Blueface’s ability to make a relatively relaxed song with awful lyrics into a banger in 2019 is impressive and speaks to his hit-making ability. So, while Blueface’s lacking lyrical talent is definitely detrimental to his overall musical ability, he still has an ‘it’ factor making his songs easy to listen to regardless of how cringe-worthy they may be.
The worst musical aspect of the song is how blatantly lazy and thrown together it is. In an interview, Blueface stated in an interview with Genius in Dec. 2018 that he wrote “Thotiana” on the beat. The fact that Blueface was ultimately off-beat proves how lazy the track’s production was. The lyrics are repetitive, and while they are catchy they are also largely the same throughout the entire track. Blueface says the word “thotiana” 13 times in the 130-second song, averaging 10 seconds in between use of “thotiana.” For reference, “Baby” by Justin Bieber, which is widely regarded as one of the most repetitive and annoying songs of all time, averages just over seven seconds in between usage of the term “baby.” Blueface’s “Thotiana” isn’t quite as bad as Bieber’s “Baby,” which held the record for the most disliked video on YouTube for over five years for a reason. “Thotiana” is obnoxious, and it’ll grow old sooner or later like most songs do, however, once “Thotiana” falls off, it’ll likely be put to bed for good.  
The most concerning part of the song is how glaringly sexist it is. While a large majority of sexually charged rap may come off as intolerant, “Thotiana” takes the cake. In the Genius interview from 2018, Blueface said his inspiration for the tune were “thots, sl*ts and wh*res,” which is obviously rather sexist. The most troubling lyric in “Thotiana” ”is ‘ain’t no runnin’, Thotiana, you gon’ take these damn strokes,’ which is incredibly rapey and misogynistic. In an era of sensitivity after the #MeToo movement, it is hard to comprehend how a song with a lyric like this can blow up. “Thotiana” is sexist, and that’s the largest issue with the track.
“Thotiana” is one of the most puzzling songs of the 2010s, and it has sparked a national debate about the song’s lyrics, flow, beat, messaging and more. This 130-second track has been picked apart and analyzed unlike other related songs of its era, and deservedly so. Blueface’s “Thotiana” is one of the most catchy tracks of the past few years, but its catchiness is hindered by a lack of depth, awful lyrics and sexist mannerisms.
Credit: Blueface