Miley Cyrus Gives Life To Christ; Dumps Twerking And Rap Music
In Billboard’s new Miley Cyruscover story, the singer talks about the shifting sound of her music, away from the rap-adjacent pop of her last albumBangerz, as well as the psych-stonerisms of her free mixtape Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz, and into the “rootsy” pop-rock that we will hear next. Speaking specifically about how she now views rap music, Cyrus says:
But I also love that new Kendrick [Lamar] song [“Humble”]: “Show me somethin’ natural like ass with some stretch marks.” I love that because it’s not, “Come sit on my dick, suck on my cock.” I can’t listen to that anymore. That’s what pushed me out of the hip-hop scene a little. It was too much “Lamborghini, got my Rolex, got a girl on my cock” — I am so not that.
It’s very clear, from this quote, that Miley Cyrus has still not spent much time, if any, reflecting on her relationship to rap music. She insinuates that latent materialism and misogyny in rap now rub her the wrong way, but she doesn’t acknowledge (or recognize?) her eagerness to contribute to that same wealth celebration and sexualization when she was making songs that flirted with rap imagery. “23,” a Mike Will Made-It song she sings the hook for, is a long advertisement of expensive sneakers, and her video for “We Can’t Stop,” though a demented fun-house masterpiece, further lustily engages in the same tropes she now condemns, and without any of the subversion one imagines she was aiming for.
Miley’s underdeveloped thinking regarding the ramifications of her own rap costumery is emphasized when she addresses her infamous VMAs performance with Robin Thicke. She says:
I know what I want this record to be. And not in the sense of manipulation — wanting something from my fans or the audience, like some slimy thing — “How do I get attention?” I never thought about that. Dude, I was shocked that people gave a fuck about the [MTV Video Music Awards in 2013, when she performed with Robin Thicke] — the twerking, the teddy bear. It’s a totally different time, and I don’t think that would freak people out anymore.
For one, it’s a “totally different time” now not because white women twerking somehow helped push society forward, but because white culture is America’s dominant culture, and once it fully absorbs something, such as twerking, it then focuses on gobbling up some new transgression. But more to the point, Miley being shocked by the negative response to her twerking on Robin Thicke (in front of a group of black backup dancers) reveals a willful ignorance when it comes to what these forays into black culture might say about her, or the relationship between white and black people at-large.