Patriarchy & Hip Hop: The strangest duality

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Hip hop and I grew up together. Hip hop is often referred to in feminine form. I’ve loved HER for as long as I can remember. She’s my sister, my mom, my best friend, my aunt, my baby. There’s dozens of hip hop songs that pay homage to matriarchs. Whether the song is praising our mothers, our wives or our daughters hip hop always comes through with a bow to women. But there’s a facet to hip hop that is the epitome of misogyny and patriarchy. Let’s explore.

Over the years, some of our favorite artists have said and done some deplorable things. 50 Cent, The Game, Mystikal, Tupac, South Park Mexican, Numskull from The Luniz and a host of others have been accused, prosecuted and/or convicted of some very heinous crimes against women and girls. They range from forcible gang rape and simple assault to sexual abuse of a 9 year old girl. Most rappers are guilty of reciting misogynistic lyrics. Here’s a short list:

E-40’s — Captain Save A Hoe
Dr. Dre — Bitches Ain’t Shit
Eminem — Superman
Public Enemy — Sophisticated Bitch
Rocko — U.O.E.N.O.

Even though rappers often project a misogynistic image that is merely an act that I wrote about last year, some artists really are ridiculously misogynistic. The latest on the board? CeeLo Green. He was one of the first artists that praised our Black womanhood. How could he POSSIBLY be against us? Easy. Lots of celebrities do horrible things that aren’t anywhere near their artistic talents. Nobody knows if CeeLo raped his ex girlfriend. We DO know he tried to redefine rape though. And it blew his house of cards to the ground.

It seems that you’d have to walk the talk and talk the walk in hip hop since it was born from pure self expression. But marketing doesn’t work that way. So we deal. We bob our heads, we dance, we recite the words. Do they sting? Yes. Of course they do. But when you’re a woman, few things in life don’t.

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Wale Folarin v. The Court Of Public Opinion

Imagine working a position that was performance based. The more work you can sell to your customers, the more opportunities you’ll receive. And if you can ensure that you’re valuable to the company they’ll give you a bonus. So you work really hard to market your product. You make sure you’re putting everything you have into your product. People are buying it. A lot of it. And when the end of the year comes you don’t get that bonus.

That’s what happened to Wale.

Earlier this week, if you were under a rock, Wale called Complex. He was clearly aggravated with how many lists he’d been excluded from. It wasn’t just Complex. Several publications have completely ignored Wale’s achievements this year. Even the Grammy’s snubbed him.

Not long after Complex posted the recording of the phone call with a story attached, social media went crazy. All of a sudden Wale became a sissy, a bitch, whiny, etc. (Those same critics call Kanye a genius when he throws tantrums, but that’s neither here nor there.) I’m not here to give you Wale’s resume. Rappers are employees just like regular Joes. They just happen to have different guidelines for their work environments. The directives and protocols are different. The uniform varies. There’s politics involved. If I worked my ass off everyday to do my job well and provide for my family only to be shorted when my paycheck came you better believe I’m going to say something about it. And here’s where it gets sticky. Wale threatened a staff member at Complex. Was that wrong? ABSOLUTELY. But he’s human. It’s no different than if you were denied a bonus on the loading docks of UPS. You’re gonna run up to your supervisor and go off.

What’s the point of not being able to walk around without being asked for a picture or autograph, missing the holidays with your family, not being able to thoroughly enjoy the fruits of your labor if you’re not going to be recognized for it? I understand exactly where Wale is coming from and I might have reacted the same way. What I admire is his forwardness. He could have had someone contact Complex for him. He called directly and aired his grievances.

What I think was wack is how Complex recorded the call, wrote a “story” and posted it for everyone to see/hear. He called your offices like an adult and said what he felt and instead of handling it professionally you took advantage of the potential page clicks? Really? That’s trashy. But then again, Complex is “lifestyle/style” magazine/blog directed at “young men”. I don’t know any young men that want to watch a dramatic fallout between a blog and a rapper. Additionally, Complex.com is partially comprised of bloggers. They’re human. They are influenced in many ways. Just because they snubbed Wale doesn’t mean he sucks or isn’t deserving of praise and accolades. You don’t have every single project you’ve ever done, compilation and solo, go #1 on the US Rap charts if you suck. Not in THIS market you don’t. No sir. No ma’am. [Attention Deficit, his first album only reached #2 but don’t force verbosity on me, man.]

Call Wale whatever you want, but he made a lane for himself. He makes music on his own terms. And he has managed to obtain success without selling his soul to the industry, using features from pop stars to define his worth or creating an imaginary persona. That’s admirable and quite rare these days.

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REVIEW: @YoDot – Sherman Park Memoirs

SPMCOVER

I keep telling y’all to turn off the radio and stop watching BET. Everything that’s hot is online.

I remember when I was little and I was practicing my flute, my parents always said the same thing over and over; consistency is key.

I repeat it to myself all the time. Consistency is key. Consistency is key. Consistency is key. Continue reading REVIEW: @YoDot – Sherman Park Memoirs

Is Hip Hop Responsible for DMX?

The decline of Earl Simmons
The decline of Earl Simmons

I’ve been sort of hesitant to write this because of the plethora of opinions that come with it. Fuck it. I’m here.
Recently the hit reality series on OWN, Iyanla: Fix My Life, returned with it’s season premier focusing on the reunion of DMX and his oldest son, Xavier. Continue reading Is Hip Hop Responsible for DMX?