"But Once A 'Good' Girl's Gone BAD..."
“They say you can’t turn a bad girl good, but once’s a good girl’s gone bad, she’s gone FOREVER.” - Jay-Z, from "Song Cry"
Being the superfan I am, I must’ve uttered this line from Hov’s hit “Song Cry” countless times. A classic, and cult favorite, Song Cry is part of what makes “The Blueprint” so special and my favorite album. Maybe it’s the sad, yet soulful, sample that evokes an unspoken emotion or Jay’s ability to piece together a love story gone wrong in his life stories told through rap, but over 15 years later it continues to captivate me.
I used to see myself as the “good” girl. I prided myself as the girl who was loyal, innocent, sweet, loving, the quintessential perfect person to hold it down, much like Jay-Z painted in Song Cry. Essentially, I could do no wrong in the eyes of the object of my affection. But now a grown woman and no longer a girl, those days are long gone.
The last time I played the role of the "good" girl, nothing good came from it. Somewhere "our signals got crossed and we got flipped" around the time he said, "I was just fucking them girls, I was gon' get right back." I left with my heart broken and left that "good" girl persona behind, for good.
With love being the furthest thing from my mind, and now singing to the tune of “thug em, fuck em, leave em cause I don't fucking need em" the bad girl in me blossomed. I guess you can say over the last few years I was "Big Pimpin" like Jiggaman but I like to think another song was stuck in my head.
Recently I found myself singing along to Wale's "Bad" relating to every one of his rhymes and Tiara Thomas' riffs. Set on the idea that "bad girls ain't no good, and good girls ain't no fun" I was now the one who moved at her own accord, making more men my M.O. I became a "queen who knew when to leave" and left like a thief in the night. I modeled the woman in the lyrics; cold, selfish, emotionless, along with ego-driven and thrill-seeking.
"She hurt feelings, she break hearts
She stay quiet, she play smart
She take pride in going out
And getting hollered at, and sayin' nah
She no saint, but she don't pose
She don't wear make-up by the boatload
Riding through lake shore with the nose up
She don't really date much, but it slows her up
She got haters, but we all do" - Wale, from "Bad (feat. Tiara Thomas)"
Much like the song, I asked myself the same question. "Is it bad that I never made love?" Do I deserve more than what I allow? I've built such a wall for myself over the last few years, how do I prepare to let anyone in when it's the right time? Am I cheating myself? Does being the "bad" girl actually block my blessings? Once a good girl's gone bad, is she really gone forever?
In turn, I discovered the good girl is gone forever to make room for the better in me. In the last couple of years I've learned the game, played it well, and can now use it be a better version of myself. There was a hidden lesson in being the "bad" girl. I didn't have time for anyone but myself and found out that's all I needed. I thought I was too removed to really understand what it meant to truly connect with someone in time, when actually spending time alone was the best thing for me. I know what I want out of life, and eventually in a significant other. I no longer look at leaving being the "good" girl behind as scarred or damaging, but now, as simple self-improvement.
Now with an updated attitude, and an updated catalog, a new Jay-Z lyric stands out:
"A loss ain't a loss, it's a lesson
Appreciate the pain, it's a blessing" - Jay-Z from "Smile (feat. Gloria Carter)"
Who would've thought the good girl went bad just to get better? Not sure what's in store for me the lucky guy that gets to know the better version of me now, but I'm hoping that in time, maybe we can make love to a rap song.