Should #MeToo Claim R&B Tune “One” As a Low-Key Battle Cry?

Newly released “One” is a hitherto unclaimed anthem for the #MeToo movement. In it, silky-smooth R&B artist CJ Stain targets the gender stereotypes that in what we like to consider “enlightened” times are still way too common in musical lyrics. This is what CJ does and what, in three short years, the 26-year-old Canadian music producer has made a name for himself.

CJ Stain is not some guy who practiced in front of the mirror with a hairbrush and a karaoke machine to develop his craft. He understands and uses classic poetry odes at a level that most of us aren’t even aware exists.

In “One,” he seamlessly weaves together the Pindaric, Horatian, and the Irregular to draw the listener in with thought-provoking lyrics. You feel the vibe without needing to know anything about what he’s got going under the hood. It’s like tripping on the smooth ride of a luxury car — you don’t need to know the intricate mechanics of a suspension to groove on the buttery-smooth glide.

The breakthrough single, “One” is not just Stain’s foray into a popular movement to make a quick buck. He has recently finished a rap rendition of the Michelle Obama charity single, “This is for My Girls — Single,” originally recorded by Kelly Clarkson, Missy Elliot, and others in support of the former First Lady’s Let Girls Learn initiative and #62MillionGirls campaign that aims to help young girls all over the world complete their education.

“One” is the 180o antithesis of conventional hip-hop. In a genre where misogyny rules the airwaves, “One,” which aims to empower women and make them feel strong, valued, and respected in all areas of life,” is a breath of fresh air. You won’t pick up this vibe from the likes of Eminem, Bizarre, or Lil Wayne, who earned their hip-hop stripes with the likes of “Amityville,” “Gettin’ Some Head,” and “BSD.”  Asterisks notwithstanding, the lyrics that best illustrate the women-hating agenda of the hip-hop music category are way too filthy to print here.

It’s precisely this paradox that makes “One” such a perfect fight song for the #MeToo movement. CJ has handed women a tool with which they can reclaim modesty, decency, and respect from a musical genre that has traditionally ground their gender into the dirt and then some.

Music, lyrics, and tackling social issues that others aren’t recognizing is how CJ Stain enters the world and makes a difference in the music industry. In his own words, CJ’s “projects and lyrics tell a deeper story in order to address the underlying problem facing girls like gender inequality.”

Commercially, Stain’s most recent success was a remake of Sage the Gemini’s “Good Thing” featuring Nick Jonas, which he performed as the opening act for Serbian pop singer Željko Samardžić’s Canadian tour. Peaking at No. 75 on the Billboard Hot 100, the video for the seductive lyric was performed against a lush, tropical backdrop. “Good Thing” was released in both ‘clean’ and ‘explicit’ versions in May 2015.

In his Twitter feed, CJ Stain is billed as a cerebral palsy activist and a child and adolescent psychologist. Knowing what we do about the artist, we may be surprised but not shocked. This is one to watch.