Richardson felt that art should improve society and he said that “it pleases our minds and informs our understandings.” I believe he has a point that art should always grow and improve and it should tackled a view point that others have not seen before. However I feel to go as far as to say that art can improve society is a little much. This isn’t to say that it hasn’t been done before, in fact several literary works have actually shaped government policy and brought about social change. However, I feel it is few and far between to say art itself improves society always.
The two pieces that I chose to evaluate are two songs, the one that I think is a work of art is Hood Mentality by Ice Cube, and another that I feel just absolutely irks me is Lil Wayne’s Every Girl song. To give you a bit of an idea of these two songs, the first song give you a sort of dark, ominous storm with a deep voiced fellow speaking of the hood as a sort of sickness, a disease that people cant escape. Its not so much an environment, but more of a mind set that we must escape. Then, Ice Cube comes in speaking sarcastically about robbing and stealing and how people will do evil and justify it with their current situation. He speaks of growing up to be like famous athletes such as Barry Bonds and Pacman Jones with it seeming like these are good people to be, but upon closer look it is more satire as Bonds was known for steroid use and Jones had history of beating women. The song is like this the entire time, just dripping with satire and snarky comments about peoples shortcoming, with the chorus coming back to one simple line “if you don’t wanna shake that hood mentality, how the fuck we suppose to change our reality.” The song, in my opinion, is just simply beautifully crafted, and is such a wake up call for people to improve and always do better. Lil Wayne’s Every girl is the exact opposite of this, lacking in not only a message or reason for the song, but even a rhyming scheme itself seems to be lacking, rhyming the same words over and some words not even at all. The song is basically about trying to make love to every girl in the world, a concept in itself that is just repulsive, every girl? Really? Anyways, the song makes no attempt to follow a simple relevent thought, simply circling around the same idea of wanting to have sex with sloppy rhymes and an awkward beat. I have a slight bias towards Lil Wayne and his topics of song choice, as I feel most of them are terrible and poorly structured, but this, my stomach would always turn when it hit the radio. The fact that it was even on the radio makes me question the direction of mainstream music.
Now I feel that Richardson would take a positive view on Ice Cube’s song. He would appreciate the satire and the other literary elements riddled throughout the song, (although the references might be over his head.) However, I feel if he heard Lil Wayne song’s he would question the direction of art and its direction. Richardson specifically said “art should teach history, morality, divinity, if pictures do not do this that it is our own fault in choosing.” Richardson would see the song as riddled with sinful actions and lacking in any sort of meaning or purpose. He would be furious with the majority of the population for not only accepting a song like this, but promoting it and making it popular.