The whole convo around dvsn’s song ‘If I Get Caught’ is ridiculously amusing—I love it

OPINION: We have a video that doesn’t fit the song, Jermaine Dupri likening the song to the blues and Jay-Z wanting to make sure folks know he doesn’t approve of the message

Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

Let’s just start at the top: On Friday, July 22, 2022, dvsn—the duo comprised of singer Daniel Daley and producer Nineteen85—dropped a song produced in conjunction with Jermaine Dupri and Bryan-Michael Cox, titled “If I Get Caught.” It samples Jay-Z’s line from “Song Cry” off of his famed 2001 album The Blueprint: “I was just f—n’ them girls, I was gon’ get right back”—a song I’m sure doesn’t get much airplay in the Knowles-Carter household. Dvsn’s take is absolutely ridiculous, but in a fun way. For instance, here is the hook:

If I get caught cheating, that don’t mean I don’t lovе you

If I get caught cheating (Chеating), that don’t mean I don’t love you

I know, I know you won’t let one little f—k (One little f—k)

Mess all this up (Mess all this up)

Don’t let one mistake (One mistake)

Take all this away (Take all this away)

Don’t let one little f—k (If they know now)

Mess all this up (An affair, yeah)

Don’t let one mistake

Take all this away (Get right back)

To ensure maximum foolishness, the hook is sung in choral style PERFECTLY suited for any club for the remainder of the summer. This will be the one slow song playing all over just to get to the hook so a gaggle of dudes can each yell/scream in their girlfriends’ faces that, well, if he gets caught cheating it does not mean he doesn’t love her. On the post announcing the song drop, dvsn captioned it with: THE ANTHEM WE ALL NEEDED. 

Speak for yourself, Daniel. Don’t bring that evil around me. I’m doing just fine.

Now look, is the song toxic? Of course—that’s almost the point. Is it honest (as Daniel has alleged)? Eh, it’s a trifling dude summer jam. It’s an actual F-Boy anthem; Donnell Jones would never. It’s also dangerous; the song is fun so you gon’ see dudes who know better and would never sing right along with their triflin’ homies who literally have been waiting for a song that speaks directly to them in such a direct way. But at the same time, going after this song for its toxicity is kind of nonsense. A LOT of songs are toxic. Hell, toxic might as well have been an entire genre in the ‘70s and we sing along to those songs just fine. 

Future has basically made a career out of being toxic…and we just turn him into toxic memes for fun. As I recently revisited Toni Braxton’s catalog because of the Boomerang soundtrack, her emotionally manipulative “Breathe Again” definitely deserves a seat at the toxic table. Point is, “If I Get Caught” is a mess, but it’s nowhere near as bad as it could be; it might even be lazy (though fun and communal), simply stating things many men say every single time they get caught cheating. 

This brings us to Jermaine Dupri stating that people who have negative things to say about the song are unfamiliar with the blues. Bro, stop. I love Jermaine Dupri and will sing his praises as long as I can but I guffawed at the assertion that, somehow, “If I Get Caught” actually harkens back to a blues tradition. I’m not saying you can’t make the reach—I indulge all reaches—but really this is a song for trifling men to toast themselves with. But interestingly, in the now-famous text exchange with Jay-Z where Dupri was trying to clear Jay’s vocal, even Jay said he was amazed at the toxicity of the record. I wonder if Jermaine thinks that Jay hasn’t heard the blues? I doubt it. 

The video is fun with some switcheroo action going on; Daniel (dvsn) and Mal (The New Rory & Mal Podcast) are hanging out and Daniel is the faithful boyfriend and Mal is the “ain’t sh—” friend. Mal leaves his phone at the house and Daniel’s girlfriend, mad that her man is out having fun (let’s be real, that’s the problem)—assumes Mal’s phone is Daniel’s and with each text from another woman gets more incensed. She starts destroying his clothing and writes all over his Jordan 1 “Heritage” kicks; fortunately, they’re going for less than retail on StockX

Anyway, Daniel is being faithful and just hanging; he gets home and his girl finds out she was upset about Mal’s phone, which is cute and all, but the entire conceit of the song is that women shouldn’t let “one lil’ f—” ruin a relationship. So effectively, the song is about cheating, and the video is the one time (?) where he was faithful? I don’t know, but something is rotten in the state of Denmark.  

All in all, I’m always tickled pink when a song enters the conversation that then becomes polarizing for whatever reason and I’m especially overjoyed when the song is so patently ridiculous, on purpose, that the folks involved all lean in. Essentially, “If I Get Caught” is the reason songs like Glorilla’s “FNF (Let’s Go)” exist. And I’m sure we wouldn’t want to live without that song, right?

Everybody wins. 

Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is a columnist at theGrio. He writes very Black things and drinks very brown liquors, and is pretty fly for a light guy. His biggest accomplishment to date coincides with his Blackest accomplishment to date in that he received a phone call from Oprah Winfrey after she read one of his pieces (biggest) but he didn’t answer the phone because the caller ID said “Unknown” (Blackest).

Make sure you check out the Dear Culture podcast every Thursday on theGrio’s Black Podcast Network, where I’ll be hosting some of the Blackest conversations known to humankind. You might not leave the convo with an afro, but you’ll definitely be looking for your Afro Sheen! Listen to Dear Culture on TheGrio’s app; download here.