By: Alannie Joseph
Dominica State College student
An uncommon song about a very common occurrence, Webb’s song for 2017, “Nice Boy” critically tackles the phenomenon of mothers refusing to accept the wrongdoings of their sons despite great evidence to the contrary, describing them as “nice, nice boys”.
The song opens with a mother whose son has been arrested, while she refuses to acknowledge the situation in front of her, maintaining that her son is blameless as she places the blame on others. The persona is observing the woman, and all what she is saying, while offering us an insight into the actual personality of her son.
Them drug squad is beast, she kept on talking.
Is only black people them terrorizing.
They gave them uniform and a big, big gun.
They think they have the right to diss anyone.
This is the claim that the mother is making, defending her son, and saying that the police officers are the ones to blame for her son’s current problem. However, in the next line, the persona refers to the neighbor stating that when this same boy was ten, he was caught with a knife at school. As the mother is called to school, she begins to “get on real wild” and acts overly defensive of her son.
The song’s use of language and organization of ideas gives a satirical feeling, which is appropriate for the type of song that is being presented. He regards the woman’s claims in the verses but the chorus is used to present the true situation that the son is actually involved in.
The repetition of the line “he was a nice, nice boy” is directly related to the way mothers speak of their sons. Often on the news we hear the mother of a son who is either dead or caught in a legal matter describe him as a nice boy. So this repeating of the line is very effective in bringing a feeling of authenticity to the piece, as does the dialect used, helping to give the problem a more local concentration.
While the song’s tone is mocking in the way the persona regards the mother while sarcastically commenting on her shortcomings and refusal to address her son’s bad habits, the mood of the piece itself is rather serious. The situation in the song is one facet of a problem that occurs quite frequently in our country. Webb is very well aware that some of those listeners will be offended by his song, saying “I know some of you go be vex with me”. But he also appeals to the audience who agrees with him, or are moved by the song, to take caution and that their actions may “help a child from going astray”.
The song’s weakness lies in its very purpose. While the song scolds mothers who deny the wrongdoings of their sons despite contradicting evidence, it offers no real solution to the problem. It is best to highlight a problem and tell of its solution, rather than leaving the ones who err to solve their own problem.
Combined with a catchy melody and powerful voice to aid its delivery, this song’s carefully crafted lyrical content should guarantee it a place as a memorable song in the minds of all who hear it, nice and bad boys alike.