Album: Don’t Be Cruel
In the late 80s, Bobby Brown was considered the pop singer who helped bring new jack swing, a subgenre of R&B into the mainstream. It was with his second record, “Don’t Be Cruel” that Brown became successful as a solo entertainer. The album launced several hit singles, including “My Prerogative.”
A car braking fast introduces the song. Little did people know that this was Brown’s career and life would resemble nearly ten years later. In the single, he feels as though he has been misjudged by everyone and is tired of it. He just wants to be himself. The chorus opens the song, with Brown singing: ” everybody’s talking all this stuff about me Why don’t they just let me live?/ I don’t need commission, make my own decisions That’s my prerogative.” In the first verse, he tries to justify his actions with childish answers to everyone who dares to say something bad about him. But then again, he sleeps around (“they say I’m nasy/but I don’t give a damn/getting girls is how I live”) And die, too if he doesn’t use protection, which he doesn’t seem to be about. It would be like everybody is telling him what to do with his body! Well, he isn’t going to do it ’cause that it’s prerogrative! So there! He claims that he is being “real” and that he didn’t “know the deal about her brother/trying hard to make it right.” Well, you’re sleeping with his sister as well as many other girls, that’s a start.
In the spoken bridge, he’s sings that he’s “doing it all for you” like it’s a favor to be respectful. In the second verse, he says that he doesn’t like relationships and thinks that it’s nothing to “spread [himself] around.” Until, that is, the girls get pregnant and want support. The chorus repeats itself to the end, with the exception of a rap in which Brown lashes out at his critics that “I can’t have money in my pocket and not have people talk about me..I made this money, you didn’t!” Being a celebrity doesn’t mean being exempted from bad behavior.
However, in his efforts to be tough and nonchalant, he ends up sounding like a selfish teenager who wants to rebel and not take responsibility for his actions at all.