“Can’t deny it’s just fly/Private jets flying high/Rockin’ things you won’t see/Tell ’em made by Givenchy”, boasts Amber Rose on her debut single “Fame”, a breezy new club number that features the wannabe pop star’s current main squeeze Wiz Khalifa. Hey, I guess we should give her points for honesty.
Still, I can’t help but feel that there’s something incredibly off-putting about a girl who’s best known for dating an actual famous person (in Rose’s case, superstar rapper Kanye West) deciding to kick off her music career by releasing a single that essentially reveals her as the haughty, self-absorbed personality a lot of people had probably already pegged her as. In another choice lyric, the former model claims she “Can”t shop for clothes or buy some cigs/Without paparazzi waiting for a flick (I see you)”, as if it’s not something she was asking for by dating one of the most famous men on the planet. Disingenuous much?
It’s nothing new, of course. Countless artists have released songs dealing with the topic of their own fame – some thoughtfully, some not – and while you certainly can’t blame them for tackling the subject (celebrity by its very nature is an all-consuming phenomenon), how they tackle it is another matter altogether. In that regard, Rose comes off looking like an off-puttingly entitled and spectacularly shallow young woman who has devoted her first-ever music single to voicing the dubious claim that she’s an “overnight sensation”. Sorry, but I beg to differ.
“Three years ago, just a girl/Now your name is known around the world,” she sings later, her silky voice processed and scrubbed of imperfections through layers and layers of Auto-Tune. Wow, really? I guess once you’ve flown on a private jet and shared a bed with Kanye West you’re not an actual person anymore.
It doesn’t help matters to have Khalifa bolstering her own claims to stardom with a guest-rap that proclaims: “And you made it this year/Coming up so they hate it/Fly first class so they could get mad/You heard what they have to say but you paid it/Now you”re busting out, doing your thing/In your face, cuss ’em out/Brag cause you”re the one that they fuss about.”
Look, I understand that hip-hop tends towards frequent displays of braggadocio (though “Fame” hews far closer to dance music than anything else), but there’s also something to be said for tact and modesty, particularly if you’re best known as – sorry to belabor the point, but – the ex-girlfriend of a famous rapper and the current girlfriend of a decidedly less-famous one. Rose, unfortunately, doesn’t seem to know the meaning of humility – or more importantly, knowing her own slippery place in the fly-by-night landscape of popular culture.
And it’s too bad, because I actually really, really like the catchy synth-and-piano driven beats here (the track was produced by production team Grand Staff), which are light and airy and perfect for an alcohol-fueled 3am jaunt on some after-hours dance floor. But it’s hard to overlook the lyrical content, which is no better, quite frankly, than what you’d hear on some sophomoric “Real Housewives” vanity single.
My grade for the track: C+ (points added for the excellent production).
After listening to “Fame” below, be sure to rate it for yourself at top left!
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