South Houston Eighth Graders Tell Us What Music Is Good

Teaching is often cast as a thankless, glamour-free job. Nothing could be further from the truth.

For the past five years, Rocks Off has taught at a Title 1 (read: poor) school in Hispanic-heavy South Houston. We've been thanked several times for several things. And we've been to several 4-6 p.m. homecoming dances, so, glamour... check. For certain, it is a remarkable job. And we could never imagine doing anything else.

Hands down, the best thing about being a teacher is the vacation time. A distant second: the relationships you're able to build with the kids. Teenagers, particularly teenagers in that demographic, are remarkable specimens,.

Often times, it can be difficult trying to find common ground with a 13-year-old. But one thing that almost always seems to bridge that gap is music. Also, a fondness for Guitar Hero 3 helps.

Rocks Off utilizes music in class frequently, most recently by analyzing the meaning of lyrics to songs students like. It helps them understand that they already possess the investigative skills necessary to pick apart what a TAKS question is really asking.

So we took a few minutes after school this past week to poll some wandering eighth graders to find out what constitutes "good" music these days. Answers and explanations after the jump.

Ignacio, staying after school

South Park Mexican*, "Bloody War":

"It talks about everything. It talks about real stuff. SPM is real. A lot of the things he says, I know. Like some of the places [he mentions]**, I been there. They should let him out [of prison]***."

*S.P.M. has an insanely devout following among South Houston teenagers.

**Namely, Reveille Park.

***Ignacio was dumbfounded to learn why S.P.M. was actually in prison, though he rationalized it by observing that he found 13-year-olds attractive, so why should S.P.M. be any different? We suppose that's actually kind of an okay argument for teenagers to make, and understand.

Alonso, former Mohawk wearer

Drake feat. Lil' Wayne, "Miss Me":

"Because I know the whole song. It's going real quick. I like what he's saying. He's always doing a lot of crazy stuff and partying and if he ever goes away to miss him. They cut out the curse words [on Lil Wayne's verse] and it's just stop, stop, stop. He doesn't even say nothing."

Jose, Hollister enthusiast:

"I listen to everything. I know what song I don't like: The one my neighbors are always playing. I don't know the name. It's ranchero. I can't even understand the words because they're always singing it. I don't like them. They stare too much."

Note: Jose has been locked in an increasingly tense battle at home with his new neighbors. It appears the crux of his disdain is based almost entirely on the fact that they wear cowboy boots at inappropriate times.


Lil Wayne, "Single":

"It's like, you know, like, like, um, like... it talks about... like, you know how people break up with texts and stuff? It talks about that. I don't know. I like it. Why are you asking me this?"

Eduardo, accordion player/weekend mariachi band member

Los Igualados, "Quise Conprarle El Mundo":

"Because me and my cousin wrote it."

Joanne, fan of ponytails

"Bruno Mars, "Just The Way You Are":

"I like the way he sings. And I like the video. It's like a little CD player. It shows where Bruno Mars is singing. It has different designs. He talks about his girlfriend, about how he just likes the way she is. I like it."

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