Vibe Magazine, February 2000
TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
Today's female R&B singers should call their
movement the new ERA (equal reading anthems). Good
hears them roar.
Coko was in the early stages of recording her
debut album, Hot Coko (RCA), when
singing/songwriting team Trina & Tamara presented her
with a song that would become her second single,
"Trilfin'," featuring Eve. Here was a song about a
man; he was fine, "sexy, tempting, caught my
attention," Coko sings. "Knew he had me in a
As it goes, everything was beautiful with the brother
-- until he opened his mouth. "The same old line
that I already heard / Disappointed me right away."
His game? Triflin'.
At press time, Coko had yet to hear TLC's "No
Scrubs" or Destiny's Child's "Bills, Bills, Bills,"
two of 1999's hottest R&B anthems that are being
labled decidedly anti-male. But Beyoncé Knowles of
Destiny's Child doesn't call her group feminists and
says the don't hate men, although women in R&B have
been sounding off lately. As it goes, it the heat of
battle (particularly the one of the sexes), talk
turns to shaky finances and bad weaves. But if you
listen closely, you'll find that most times, there's
no battle to be had. "Everybody thinks 'Triflin' is
a male-bashing song, but it isn't," Coko says in her
own defense. Wack game is just that; finances have
precious little to do with it. "Ballers," she
clarifies, "can be trifling too."
Beyoncé says her group received the same bristled
response to "Bills, Bills, Bills" (from their album
The Writing's On The Wall, Columbia, 1999).
She maintains that "Scrubs" and "Bills" are two very
different songs (they are); the shades of grey come
when folks listen only to the choruses and not the
verses. "All we're asking is for him to pay back the
bills he's run up!" Beyoncé says.
With "Bills," Destiny's Child are sending out a
message for women to be independent, not codependent,
Beyoncé says. Dont lose yourself taking care of the
they warn, just help them out. The sentiments in
these songs are age-old; what's changing is the
language, which is getting very pointed. "Women are
getting men in check and I think we are being very
fair," Beyoncé says. If a guy does all the song
says, then he deserves to be called trifling.
"Guys have been calling us outta our names for years,
calling us bitches and gold diggers," Beyoncé
continues. "But when women do it and the guy gets
offened, it's a problem." She suggests everyone
"stop having a guilty conscience and enjoy the music.
A lot of the time the song is about specific people
Coko agrees that all the fuss is just hitting a sore
spot. "Men have been talking about women all this
time; now that it's women talking about men it's
called 'male bashing.' Men have been saying it
forever, 'If you're not a ho or a bitch, why are you
offended?' Well, if you're not trifling or a scrub,
why are you offended? It's entertainment,"
she says, with a hint of sarcasm in that alto. Then
she says with a laugh, "Get over it."
"MEN HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT WOMEN FOR YEARS; NOW
THAT IT'S WOMEN TALKING ABOUT MEN IT'S CALLLED 'MALE
BASHING'... IT'S ENTERTAINMENT."|