On days when I’m bored, I partake in a very underplayed activity: listening to rap songs with the sole intention of actually listening to what the rappers are saying. Don’t give me that look. You mean to tell me EVERY rap song you’ve ever listened to you’ve listened to what the said rapper was rapping about? Psssshhh. FOHWTBS (Yes, I’ma do that, I ain’t tryna cuss). Trust me, after listening to Jedi Mind Tricks, Canibus and Lupe continuously and still not knowing what the hell is going on, I found that listening to rappers is overrated (In the latter’s instance though, I actually did a lot of research to understand what he was on about. Made me appreciate his lyrical prowess). Anyway, we all know the spirit of materialism reigns supreme in the rap game. There’s always speak of owning kilo’s (let’s use this as a metaphor for “dope lyricism”, yes? Yes.)Pushing those kilo’s. Getting the money. Getting the ride. Getting the bling. Of course, there is one acquisition that overshadows the aforementioned. Women. We’ve all seen hip hop music videos. Hip hop album covers. Listened to lyrics. Women are the ultimate acquisition in the game.
A friend of mine and myself were actually chillin’ and we was having our usual back and forth banter about life, Aristotelian notions found in Waka Flocka’s music, deep stuff like that. So anyway, we listening to one of Childish Gambino’s recent offerings “Because the Internet”, the song “Sweatpants”. Sideswipe, that’s one of my favourite jawns on the album, so by the said day I had listened to the song a series of times. I kinda knew the lyrics. But today, this particular line made my friend and I chuckle.
“Hashtag my day wear and your girl drink my day care.”
Then he went on to say “These rappers love PEOPLE’S women”. Of course, after the said chuckle, I pulled a scrunch face. Thinking to myself that this isn’t the first time I hear a rapper talking about sexual innuendo’s with someone else’s partner. Tupac claimed to have had sexual relations with Faith Evans to heat up Biggie. Jay-Z with Nas’ then baby mama. Those are just the more popular references I can give you. It’s like the ultimate one up for all rappers. I mean, it’s not enough that I got all this dough, this gold, these cars, these women, but I ALSO have YOUR BITCH. It’s something very interesting, it’s not even a low-key type of objectification but it’s way out there. Feminists have been denouncing this misappropriation of the female within hip hop. I mean, we’ve all seen the credit card swipe scene in Tipdrill. So, it’s a reality when I say women are the ultimate acquisition for any rapper. Is there something wrong with this? Yes. Is there something wrong with using a woman, let’s add who is in a relationship with someone else, as a bargaining chip to say “Oh look, I’m so dope even your girl is on me.”? Yes. I shun any kind of human objectification. We have experienced more than enough of that in our lifetime.
But women love rappers. It’s kinda tricky. See, I’m linking “the non-objectification of women” with “women’s love for rap and rappers and rap”, can those 2 things co-exist? Can you firmly say you’re all about feminism and still love rap? Now, the main argument will always be that, it’s just a small element and it doesn’t determine the overall being of the said “hip hop culture”. It’s like a person screaming Pan Africanist notions but still rocking that Armani suit. Is there a middle ground within which they co-exist? Of course, the Pan Africanist will say that, “it’s not about denouncing all that the colonisers have but trying to find ourselves within that, mainly because now we’ve gone way too deep into their things.” Ideas are beautifully made up in our mind. They are ultimately perfect. But the problem then becomes trying to make them real within this here imperfect world. How can you be fighting Economic impoverishment if you are not living like the impoverished? As funny as this may sound, but how are you denouncing the white man but still keeping his ideas, such as education, etc.
But on the very weird flip side. It’s important to note though: as much as rappers seem like they treat women as ‘indispensable things’ their existence is key to portraying the power that they have. It’s kinda like when a dude boasts about his many conquests. This alludes to the sublime power that women already have within , not only the hip hop community, but society in general. Why would a rapper make such a big deal of bagging another rappers chick? Because they know. Why would Cam’ron say he done had his way with Beyoncé before Jay? Because he knows. At this point, that whole “behind a great man, is woman” seems to be screaming loudly. So in essence, rappers are affirming the importance of not only the woman, but the relationship with the said female in their raps. I mean, why would you want to brag about having taken something like that if it wasn’t something that you believe is of great value, not only to you but the other person also? It’s a kind of a double edged sword really. Maybe it just boils down to how you choose to view it. Of course, it kind of still rings of objectification, doesn’t even help that rappers refer to women as “bitches”. We can always talk about females in hip hop, who I believe stand as representatives of women in general, but that’s gonna go pear shaped. I could always go into how the fight is against a system and not against a certain gender, but that’s a story for another day. *cues Hit ‘Em Up*
Article By Thobekani Dhlamini (@Thobeofheart)