I feel like hip hop culture is destroying our community. I love rap/hip hop music as much as the next person, but y'all have to admit, mainstream rap is incredibly toxic. It’s all about degrading/disrespecting women, violence, drugs, hyper masculinity, and teaching people especially black youth that being “gangsta” is cool. I know not all rap music is bad, and we have some conscious rappers today such as J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar. However, most rappers are the Lil Uzi/Future/21 Savage types. Not only is their music trash (in my opinion), but it continues to convince people that all the things I mentioned above are okay because many black kids look up to them. Why can’t we have more positive rap songs like Keep Ya Head Up by Tupac? Why do they all have to have the same tiring themes? A lot of these young black men/boys think its okay to go around calling women “bitches” and “hoes” and acting a fool because their favorite rappers do it and preach about it. I’m so tired of it.
Humble by Kendrick Lamar came out and black social media collectively lost they shit.
Personally, I thought the song was underwhelming, but that is just me.
There are a couple of bars that people have been pointing out as causal misgynoir or blatant misogynoir.
I saw these tweets here on tumblr highlighting this.
So I guess, it compelled me to speak on Kendrick and by extension, conscious rappers’ misogyny.
I never got why Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole have been heralded as women empowering because they are definitely not. It doesn’t excuse them, but I think in the “woke” community in general, people mistake anti-white supremacy with also being an advocate of feminism. And honestly, black men can speak from their experiences easily, and one would think they should be able to speak about oppression in general. But no, they can’t or it is wrong to assume that it is so easy to.
Kendrick’s first commercial album, Section.80, had two tracks that one could argue were women empowering or highlighting sexism(Tammy’s Song and Keisha’s Song). The issue with the songs that they either use the fear of women changing their sexual orientation in response of being with too many fuck niggas or subtly use a horrific tale of sex work gone wrong that somewhat reinforces rape culture and sex shaming under the guise of highlighting it without actually addressing the main contributors of instances like this.
In summary, they are always from a male perspective which leads to open ended interpretations. To which, I guess that is okay because it is art and art does allow for some incomprehensible instances.
But the problem with these tracks is that they are so open-ended, they do not really penalize a wrong interpretation. I can go into Keisha’s Song and feel the remorse of how women in society are treated and sexualized by men. At the same time, any nigga can go into Keisha’s Song and get the perspective that Keisha should not have been selling her pussy. In fact, that seems to be the theme Kendrick was going for as the transition to HiiPower by Ab-Soul kind of asks the irrelevant question: “What if Keisha was celibate?”
So again, we have an instance of conflicting themes.
Good Kid, Maad City is a semi-autobiographical tale of a young Kendrick Lamar living in the gang and police infested streets of Compton. Good Kid, Maad City is probably my favorite project of his because 1. I love concept albums and 2. it’s rare when “conscious” rappers talk about their experiences with the police and racism. Rappers like Lupe Fiasco and Common like to talk about the concept of racism and white supremacy, but they usually divorce themselves from it. Tupac(mainly because his life is so fucking interesting) and NWA were some rappers who told their stories through song from personal experiences. In fact, Tupac was one of those artists that did both.
But as much as I love gkmc, it is as a concept is sexist because of one persistent character: Sherane.
Sherane is the girlfriend of Kendrick Lamar during this tale. Her whole entire existence is to be a persistent antagonist to Kendrick’s “purity.” Sherane is the temptress that keeps getting Kendrick in trouble. Sherane is the corrupter. Sherane is the one who gets Kendrick beat up, ignoring that she also got jumped and beat up on with Kendrick. Sherane is the one who gives Kendrick a STD. Sherane, Sherane, Sherane.
Kendrick does try to absolve some malice that he has towards her towards his crew who do get him to rob people and shit, but ultimately, he and by extension they are the ones who receive salvation and Sherane never does. Sherane is the characterized hood rat that keeps getting Kendrick in trouble.
Obviously, there are some parallels between Sherane and the mainstream interpretation of Eve, but that there lies the problem. Eve is seen as an accomplice of mankind and woman kind’s fall from paradise, instead of the provider of reason and life. Eve saved us from ignorance. The story of Adam and Eve can be interpreted as women being the first to have reason or the ability to reason. Eve is not a bad person.
Because Kendrick tacked on this character and made this biblical parallel that is sexist, there is also some sanctimonious thing Kendrick got going on. Kendrick is never at fault for anything he does ever. What is also peculiar with Kendrick as an artist is that unlike most conscious rappers, he is extremely personal with racism and black empowerment, but as soon as he speaks on women, he divorces himself from the topic and Lupe Fiascos it.
Kendrick’s most commercially and critically successful album, To Pimp A Butterfly. I love this album. Like, it is the embodiment of black power from a cis-heterosexual point of view. This shit is fire. You feel the anger and rage in Blacker The Berry save for those very problematic last two bars. You empathize with Kendrick’s struggle with depression with u. You fucking celebrate black resilience with i and Alright. You take pride in your blackness when you listen to Complexion and Wesley’s Theory. You contemplate materialism and politics with soulful tracks like How Much A Dollar Cost, Mortal Man, and Hood Politics.
This was the quintessential black album before Beyonce took that spot with Lemonade.
I love this album. I really do. But again, it does have some shade of misogynoir and continues this trend with Kendrick who can’t seem to mention black women without colluding them with sex or their bodies. You can say complexion was the one song that he didn’t do this, but again, it is subtly a love song so it is still a problem.
And finally we have the Heart Part 4, and Kendrick’s debut single, “Humble” with the above bars about a woman’s ass with stretch marks. The issue here is not that Kendrick is celebrating positive images of a woman’s body. The issue here is that he sexualizes it.
There is a fine line between sexualizing a woman’s body and celebrating it. And male rapper’s fall for this line every fucking time women are brought up. They always relate to black women while mentioning how beautiful they are. It is always about their attractiveness. The only artists that I feel that succesful averted this in a song directed at black women was Tupac and Keep Ya Head Up and even that was just him bemoaning the accusations of rape that were levied against him(That is complicated).
In fact, male rappers seem completely incapable of hiding their misogyny unless it comes to their mother and significant other. The only rapper that I know who speaks ill of both are Eminem and Angel Haze and the former is because he has this pseudo Fight Club white male rage thing going on and Haze dealt with a neglectful mother and lover.
This also stems from the fact that womanism and black femininity revolves around beauty and sexuality which contrasts white feminism which usually denounces it or internalizes the feeling, black womanism,because society tends to de-femininize them, are often criticized(unfairly) as being hyper-femme and materialistic, utterly devoid of anti-capitalist sentiment. And black men tend to see aesthetics as the main focus of womanism because it appeals to them and allows black men to continue to sexualize black women without actually addressing black patriarchy.
And don’t think I am forgetting rappers like Jermaine Cole who uses respectability politics in songs like No Role Modelz and homophobia in G.O.M.D. It is as Elexus says, we have to challenge our artists to do better.
I am going to tag @reverseracism and @fightingmisogynoir because I kind of want to open this up to discussion to black women, and I as a relatively small tumblr blogger, do not have that clout to bring people in this discussion and I also have a dick so it is relatively patronizing of me to speak on shit without having any objections.
Dude what is your favorite album of 2017? I gotta ask because your musoc snaps GO AWF!
YOOO this is a hard question. 2017 is my fav type of year for hip hop. where the indie rappers are putting out soooo much quality music, i’ve barely been able to give much attention to the mainstream rappers. kinda reminds me of 2013 when industry titans dropped major efforts like Kanye, Cole, Drake, etc. but most of the focus went to projects like Acid Rap and Flatbush’s “Better Off Dead.
that being said, the albums I have found myself listening to the most so far are
P.O.S-Chill Dummy(if you love experimental rap, POS has been the king of that scene for a minute imo. a former punk rapper turned conscious rapper makes for an interesting sound time and time again.)
that new Joyner Lucas just got that heat.
J.I.D- Never Story(WHAT A DEBUT! creative album)
Oddisee-the Iceberg(come on. anytime Oddissee drops a new album, it’s automatically a best of that year contender. seriously it’s ridiculous how long he’s been making consistent classics.)
Roc Marciano-Rosebudd’s Revenge(you like that mafioso rap? like Ghostface? Bronson? KA? you’ll love this)
JonWayne- Rap Album 2(just…..listen to it.)
and last but not least.
Freddie Gibbs- You Only Live 2wice.(goodness gracious. after being mentally broken by the physical and emotional abuse he face overseas in prison for that false sexual assault case, I thought I’d never hear from him again(if you don’t know about the case, look it up, it’s the sickest shit.the case happened because the accuser said she dreamed he raped her. they arrested him, and tried to extort him for money with no trial, but he refused, he wanted a full investigation. turns out he was doing a concert on the other side of the damn town and never even met her. and throughout the whole thing, they placed him in a cell with nazis and other anti black radicals. the guards abused him, emotionally and physically. once the investigation proved without a doubt he was innocent, He rightfully said he didn’t want to return to making music just wanted to be with his wife and kid. but then he came with a masterpiece. i mean he still keeps that grimey Gangsta Gibbs sound, but it’s peppered with some introspective, emotional, and vulnerable lyrics. lowkey a modern day To Kill a Mockingbird story.)
at the end of the year, I’ll have a more definite list. the good stuff keeps coming!
Adam Nathaniel Yauch August 5, 1964 – May 4, 2012) better known as MCA.He went from a rowdy kid in punk band to skilled rapper conscious activist. The deep and raspy voiced took all his wild energy put into positive with dope lyrics. Adam is missed by family former bandmates fans music community.
While outsiders often see Sweden as a kind of utopian ideal, the rise of the Sweden Democrats (who polled third in the 2014 election) and news of Nazi-related violence would suggest otherwise. Imam is at the front of a wave of socially conscious and feminist rap that has risen concurrently with these issues and with the rise of the feminist party, Feministik Initiativ (FI), which, in the 2014 election, received their best-ever share of the vote. Imam has performed at FI events—she says they are “the only political party who wants to change the structures from within”—but does not consider herself a political artist.
“I’m a conscious rapper,“ she says. “I write songs about my life, and since I write through a lesbian-immigrant-woman’s perspective, it’s labeled as "political.” I’m letting people know how fucked up the world is through my art. This is about my life and my own survival in this patriarchal and anti-democratic world. A woman who writes love songs to other women causes immediate chaos in most peoples’ minds? That is something you should question. and not whether I’m political or not.”
“LIKE A THIEF IN THE NIGHT, I’LL TAKE ANYTHING BUT SOME PUSSY”
As trash, as ratchet, as “bad for the culture” as everyone says Young Thug is, it is the epitome of irony that the only anti-rape lyric I’ve ever heard was heard on a Young Thug track. Not a Kendrick track, not a J.Cole track, not Wale, not Lupe, not your favorite conscious rapper. Just like suits, ties, and soul-sample beats don’t determine your social awareness, neither do face tattoos and blonde dreads. In an era where black women are routinely being raped and brutalized with impunity, keep in mind the ratchet artists that speak on it while our “kings of consciousness” are silent.
How rappers should be viewed according to black tumblr
Old School/Golden Age rappers (Run-DMC, Eric B & Rakim, Slick Rick, A Tribe Called Quest, etc...):
Legends and Icons (Jay-Z, Nas, Wu-Tang Clan, Snoop Dogg, etc....):
Lazy and/or salty has beens who drink too much respectability politics-flavored kool-aid and have forgotten their roots
Mainstream stars (Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, Drake, T.I., etc....):
Misogynistic assholes who pander too much to whiteness and shouldn't be trusted
Non-black rappers (Eminem, Macklemore, Joell Ortiz, Far East Movement, etc...):
Culture appropriating criminals who are completely at fault for the downfall of hip hop. With the exceptions of Paul Wall and Riff Raff. Any black person who doesn't completely agree is a race traitor that must be stoned on sight
Female rappers (Nicki Minaj, Missy Elliott, Lil' Kim, Azealia Banks, etc...):
Convenient when a point needs to be made, totally irrelevant otherwise. It's even acceptable to throw them under the bus for trivial matters from time to time
LGBTQ rappers (Angel Haze, Cakes da Killa, Mykki Blanco, Big Freedia, etc...):
Only exist to serve one purpose: Macklemore bashing