“Let’s talk about it. Can we talk about it?” Usher and Tinashe sing on the hook of L.A. rapper Kid Ink’s new radio song “Body Language.” The ‘it’ here is, of course, sex, and much of the song is spent discussing how people should communicate desire. It’s a discussion that’s more thoughtful than THOT-ful (as far as recent, radio hip-hop lyrics go). And in an era of affirmative consent, Kid Ink shows that proper communication doesn’t have to turn a hot situation into a gabfast: You ain’t gotta say too much; I can read your body language.
“Too much” is the operative phrase here. It only takes one word to say yes, particularly if we acknowledge that body language is everything. This special attention to communication and mutual approval isn’t meant to turn sex into a chatty pow-wow. It’s about consistently checking in while getting down. If it feels like the person you’re hooking up with no longer seems interested (despite how excited they might have seemed before), you should probably follow Kid Ink’s script: Is you 'bout it? Let’s talk about it. Can we talk about it?.
Kid Ink is not averse to beginning this conversation far earlier than the bedroom with mildly-problematic-but-real maxims: If you don’t wanna take it too far then well, you better stop flirtin’ and stop twerkin’. Of course everyone should be able to flirt and twerk all they want without being coerced into f—ing, but anyone who’s ever been to a club knows it’s not always so easy to manage those expectations.
While listening to “Body Language,” I realized this isn’t the first time Kid Ink has offered audiences communication tools within a sexy song. “Iz U Down"—a song off “My Own Lane” that I spent a lot of time gyrating to at my desk last winter—makes the repeated question its hook:
“Can I ask? Iz u down? Iz u down? Iz u down? Iz u down? Can I ask?”
This repetition is pretty nuanced in a genre that doesn’t always ask women a lot of questions. (I’d bet money Kanye didn’t always ask before putting his “fist in” women “like a civil rights sign,“ Even though I I’m into "I’m in It,” the song those lyrics come from.)
Kid Ink isn’t an activist, but he’s a rapper with an audience. His turn-up anthems are reminding listeners that part of hooking-up is (playfully) making sure the other person is on the same page. Let’s talk about it.