My last post was difficult to get through, as a writer, an editor, a reader, and a lover of hip-hop. But it was an issue that I was passionate about that needed to be brought to light. However, I ended it by mentioning “WAP,” the Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion song that has everybody talking. Astonishingly, the lyrics that I discussed in my last post were far more accepted than two women rapping about consensual sex, something that isn’t a new trend. When I first heard the song, I was a bit taken aback. However, that’s mainly because the version I first heard edited the chorus to say “this wet and gushy.” If you know me, you know that that would make me uncomfortable no matter who sang that. I’m definitely no prude. Gushy is just a weird word. It’s like how some people react to moist, which, oddly enough, I’m a little more okay with. But once I heard the actual version, I could 100% get behind it. It was empowering and refreshing. It was fun, but it was also powerful and sexy. It felt both dominant and feminine, showing just how fierce women could be. And frankly, if you think that song is inappropriate, you haven’t heard anything yet. So this post is dedicated to having *consensual* sex, fucking, making love, whatever you want to call it, and how it’s portrayed in hip-hop.
Hip-hop has often been thought of as misogynistic. I wouldn’t necessarily dispute that, but to generalize that in saying all hip-hop music is degrading to women is a bit unfair. Just like in every genre, you have songs that objectify women, and songs that celebrate them, from both men and women alike. However, one trend in hip-hop is to focus solely on male pleasure, completely neglecting the woman as a partner. Three 6 Mafia’s “Slob On My Knob” is a perfect example. In this track, he tells the girl to “lay on the bed and give [him] head,” because that’s how every woman wants to be courted. He even mentions that he wants to “find a bag, to hide the ho face.” Ahh, and they say chivalry is dead. That line has become iconic, with even Juicy J re-creating the track completely to control women in his own way. We later go on to hear both G-Eazy and A$AP Ferg incorporate the hook into two of their songs, introducing the line to even younger generations. I get why it’s so popular, it’s catchy and fun and dumb. It was pretty innovative when it was first heard. But as a woman, I can’t help but internally cringe. It makes me wonder what I would do if a man said that to me in real life. Hell, even if someone rapped that at me, I’d probably smack him in the face. It’s the way sexual acts are demanded that has always made me feel a bit uneasy.
We also see this lack of reciprocation in Cam’Ron and Lil Wayne’s “Touch It Or Not,” where they straight up say they “tell the bitch [they] ain’t tradin’ places.” I feel like there are two extremes when it comes to a woman’s pleasure in rap music; you’re either bragging at how amazing you are, or you brag that you’re doing absolutely nothing at all. How good is this sex in reality because it definitely isn’t enticing on this end. Too $hort takes the first approach in his song, “Blowjob Betty.” We all knew he would get at least one honorable mention. I love Too $hort. Not necessarily as a rapper, but maybe more like… a comedian? No, probably as a rapper too. He’s hilarious. It’s probably why I genuinely don’t even know how to analyze this track. There are SO many moving parts. Ultimately she dies from giving Too $hort a blowjob, and no, I’m not sure if there’s any sort of symbolism behind that, but the fact that it’s an actual song deserves a mention all on its own. I do want to commend Too $hort for actually encouraging ‘Blowjob Betty’ to get paid for doing what she does, advocating for sex work. He acknowledges the power and strength that she holds in what she can do, and if she isn’t getting any sort of pleasure, she might as well get something for the work she’s putting in. I guess that’s a step forward for feminism?
As always, I have to mention Geto Boys for their wild contribution to this topic with their song, “Quickie.” Just like every other Geto Boys track, it’s full of vivid imagery and an insane plot twist. It begins with the expected misogyny for a track about a quickie with a random girl at booty call hours. Scarface begins the song by rapping about how he hit up a girl late at night for a quick session, rapping that “once [he] came [he] didn’t want the bitch to kiss [him]. She thought [he] wanted a long one but [he] only wanted a quickie.” However, shit hits the fan when he notices the woman is upset on their way back to her house, with her explaining that “[she] ain’t even cum [and she] shoulda stayed home.” Oh, girl. But then, plot twist! She pulls a gun on him! She ends up getting hers more than once and even potentially gets him in trouble with his girlfriend, whom he left at home, hence why he didn’t have much time. I love it. It’s the most hilarious and exaggerated scenario, but it brings to light the issue that women are used and treated like sex toys, only for their own pleasure to be completely disregarded.
I think what really pisses me off about this one-sided pleasure is the many instances in which women are expected to fulfill a man’s every sexual wish, only to be shamed by them in the same breath. It’s this expectation that women are supposed to please men, especially if the men in question hold a higher status like ‘rapper’. But god forbid women do it too much, because then they’re sluts. Conversely, if they don’t give it up enough, they’re thought of as prudes; a waste of time. For instance, good ol’ Common. Lil Lonnie Lynn. With the “Heidi Hoe.” The song that first captivated me and made me fall in love with the culture of hip-hop. Looking back at the track, I physically grimace, more so because I was like 13 when my brother played that in the car for me. The lyrics, the flow, and the production are great. It’s a solid track! But the fact that it’s directed towards a woman who you’ve clearly messed around with shows quite a sense of fragile masculinity. Like, you’re the one who was decided to have sex with her, so what does that say about you? Are you that desperate? It does make you respect how much he’s changed as an artist (we love growth!), but when you’re saying to a woman that “just because I fucked you doesn’t mean that I’m a marry you, bury you I will do after I bill you, kill you hoe cause your shit smells like mildew, pe ew think you need some soap and a rag,” it’s a little hard to ignore. I never understood why someone would brag about having sex with someone that they think everyone else had sex with, as well as someone that physically repulses them?
Ice Cube had a similar idea about dedicating a whole song to slut-shaming a woman, except this time, he’s rapping about having sex with a 17-year-old girl to her father, knowing full and well that “she is a minor and this is illegal.” Well now. He tells the man about how “[his] daughter was a nice girl, but now she’s a slut,” explaining all of her sexual escapades, including having multiple men at once. The only positive of this song is that Ice Cube includes a PSA at the end of the song to use “jimmy sacks,” otherwise you’ll have “creepy crawlers crawlin’ on your nutsac.” Again, people actually wanted to have sex after hearing lyrics like this? This also raises the question around another common theme we see when shaming women for their sexuality; the idea that a woman’s parents own her sexuality. This idea that a woman is good and pure until she has sex, and then somehow magically brings shame to her family (while the men receive absolutely no consequences) is frustrating. I mentioned this in my Women In Hip-Hop series, but no one woman deserves respect more than another. Similarly, in 2 Live Crew’s “Me So Horny,” they rap that the girl’s dad will be “disgusted when he sees [that] pussy busted” and her mama will “be so mad if she knew [he] got that ass.” Well, first of all, it’s no one’s business what I choose to do with my body besides me. Second of all, what about your parents? Why should this shame only be associated with the girl? Why is it associated with her family at all?
On the other end of things, you have the men who are so vocal about their skills that you have to wonder how true it is. It’s like on Tinder. The guys who feel the need to talk about their dick the most are usually the ones who need to compensate. Do they do it just because they think this is what women would respond to more, or is it how they truly feel? With that being said, I know what I would rather hear, but it makes me wonder how others view it. This is no disrespect to him because as my Twitter followers know, I want to be best friends with him, but Too $hort’s “Freaky Tales” is the most exaggerated example I can think of. This whole blog post could probably just be Too $hort examples and I’d be thrilled. The 10-minute long track tells the story of… You guessed it. The freaky tales… That he tells so well. He talks about his sexcapades with numerous (I counted 36… If you counted differently definitely let me know!) women and the different, kinky ways in which he had sex with them. If that’s not a flex, I don’t know what is. It makes you wonder if this is based on real-life, or the persona he’s created for himself. Another example is Danny Brown, who wrote “I Will,” to talk about how he would do all of the things a woman may want to do that her current man is refusing to do, claiming that “what he won’t do (she like), bitch, I will.” This is basically directed at all of the guys I mentioned above. In my opinion, that’s some BDE. Even in tracks like “Dang!”, Mac Miller boasts that “[he] just [eats] pussy, other people need food.” Additionally, in “Pussy Monster,” Lil Wayne that “it’s the reason [he’s] alive/it’s like [he’s] got to eat to stay alive.” What I love about both of those lines is that it symbolically shows the importance of womanhood (literally in Lil Wayne’s case, considering where we all came from biologically), but depicts pleasing women as this hungry necessity. It also shows that they do it out of enjoyment for satisfying their partner without expecting anything in return, contrasting significantly with the idea that women should drop to their knees for their man.
However, before a lot of these raunchy songs, LL Cool J released “Doin It.” I remember walking around with this playing in my headphones instantly feeling uncomfortable by what others would think if they knew that this was what I was listening to. It was sensual and seductive, but I think that’s what made it even more scandalous in my eyes than songs like “Me So Horny” or “Freaky Tales.” It felt like I was intruding on this personal moment, and a lot of that was because of this open dialogue between two people. It actually felt like sex between two people who didn’t see it as a charade or a way to overpower another person, but rather as a way to experience this together. It felt equal. With that being said, it makes me laugh that people are so scandalized by “WAP” when this is like a literal porno playing out in your headphones. I decided to play Run The Jewels’ “Love Again,” which is a similar format, for my girlfriends who love “WAP” to see how they would react, and it did not disappoint. The song features Gangsta Boo in a fight for dominance with Killer Mike and El-P, explicitly laying out just what they like to do in the bedroom. My girlfriends were a bit turned off by the specific line, “my dick in her mouth all day,” which was repeated in different variations, but I told them to just hold on a bit. And that’s when Gangsta Boo flipped the script. She spits one of my favorite verses about controlling her man and getting what she wants, then changes the obscene line to talk about her “clit in his mouth all day.” It’s so rare to hear that specific word used in music, and for some reason, it’s thought of as so crass, when in reality, it’s just part of the female body. Regardless, her way of taking back that line and reclaiming her position on top (no pun intended) was extreme and intense and so fucking badass. So many other hip-hop songs follow this back-and-forth type dialogue, with Trina showing up Juicy J and 2 Chainz in “Having Sex.” The chorus of “if you believe in having sex say hell yeah” and then following it up with both a male and female verse shows a sense of inclusivity, where everyone can bond over this and no one is discriminated against based on gender. And trust me, Trina doesn’t stop there. She puts Killer Mike in his place on “Look Back At It.” In fact, a lot of these features showcase emcees at their raunchiest, and it feels like it’s much more acceptable for female rappers to showcase their sexuality when it’s offset by male rappers.
Although some may argue against the sexual progressiveness in hip-hop, the culture has done a lot for sexual education. I dive into detail on the increasing presence of different sexual orientations in my Homosexuality in Hip-Hop: Part 2 post, showcasing ways in which the genre has embraced sexual fluidity, especially among women. Unfortunately, it can also be argued that there’s a sexualization surrounding homosexuality for women that creates unfair and inappropriate expectations and stereotypes, but I believe that issue is rooted much deeper in society as a whole. My last post, The Terrifying Normalization of Sexual Assault, discussed ways in which hip-hop lyrics rationalize sexual assault, but there are a lot of artists who have used it to draw attention to the issue as well. Similarly, artists have raised awareness over the consequences of unsafe sex, especially from a health standpoint. For instance, Immortal Technique’s tragic “You Never Know” tells the story of young love with a detrimental ending. The main character’s love interest confesses in a note that she couldn’t have sex with the man she loved because she had a blood transfusion that left her H.I.V. positive, the disease that ended up killing her. Although she didn’t contract it sexually, she understood the risk of passing it on, exposing the terror behind these illnesses. In Killer Mike and Big Boi’s “A.D.I.D.A.S,” they advocate the use of protection, rapping that “when [he drills], [he] don’t spill, even if she’s on the pill, keep [his] weapon covered, concealed, and in a shield, cause [he] don’t need that A-I-D-S.” This reminds listeners that pregnancy isn’t the only concern. Your partner may be on birth control, but some things only a condom can protect you from. Kool Moe Dee lays out a terrifying situation in “Go See The Doctor” as he contemplates his decisions, stating that “as [he] turned around to receive [his] injection, [he] said next time I’ll use some protection.” Even Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre do their due diligence in “Nuthin’ But A G Thang,” rapping that “ain’t no pussy good enough to get burnt while [they’re] up in it.” The one frustrating thing about this is that we tend to see a lot of STDs associated with women, making it synonymous with selling sex and being a slut, rather than expressing the idea that it could take just one person to get you pregnant or a sexually transmitted disease. However, as long as the point is being made, it’s advocating for a responsible cause.
With that being said, women have always found a way to reclaim their sexuality. Cardi B and Megan the Stallion haven’t done anything new, but they’ve found a way to make their sexuality mainstream. Unfortunately, a lot of female rappers weren’t heard as much as they deserved, but definitely made sexually liberating tracks. Hopefully after “WAP,” we can revisit these songs and pay homage to the women who weren’t received the same way while paving way for a new sexually liberated generation of artists. In fact, a lot of these women twisted the same shit that men shamed women for in their sex anthems, exposing that fragile masculinity. For instance, in Rasheeda’s “Got That Good,” she bragged about how she’s “the type of girl you wanna take to ya mamma house.” While I mentioned above that men kept threatening to tell a girl’s parents about her sexuality, she twists this around. She’s so satisfying that you’re not only going to want to wife her but take her to meet your parents too, showing the respect in what she does. Likewise, Shawwna uses her abilities in “Gettin’ Some,” to show that she can control her man with the same very thing men shame women for; oral sex. She knows that her skills can get her what she wants. In fact, she sampled Too $hort’s “Blowjob Betty,” finding liberation in the sexual act. Lastly, I have to mention Lil Kim. The queen who could probably have made any man do just about anything she asked. In “Not Tonight,” she shows that she’s not putting up with any of these men who think they could just get theirs and pack up, exclaiming that if “you ain’t lickin’ this, you ain’t stickin’ this.” This song also had like every incredible female rapper at the time reiterating this sexual revolution, making it that much more revolutionary. For decades, women have talked about sex in the same ways as men, just to end up criticized for embracing it. At that point, no one even pays attention to their flow and lyricism. Instead, they’re judged solely on their appearances, feminism, and sexuality, and then criticized for doing what they please with them.
I understand that a lot of these songs I mentioned wouldn’t make it to mainstream media the way “WAP” did, but the fact that it garnered this much attention is what’s so cool about it. We never get to see women freely talk about their personal sex lives like this on the radio, even though sex is such a predominant theme for so many songs. Even if these tracks didn’t make it to the airways, there are rappers out there talking about sex with underage women, golden showers, BDSM, and even more extreme things. Which I’m not judging. You’re into what you’re into. Unless that thing is underage women, then that’s not cool. But the reality is, they aren’t saying anything different than what most male rappers brag about. We’ve heard everyone from Big Sean and Future, to even the older school artists like Biggie and Tupac, rap about how they make girls wet or have big dicks. These girls really aren’t saying anything controversial or out of the ordinary for what it is-a RAP song. No one asked them to be role models. No one is saying that the song is for children. They want to have fun and embrace their sexuality while breaking numerous Billboard records. Your homeboy is in his basement rapping over a stolen beat about getting his dick sucked. What’s the difference? At least they’re making money. We need to stop expecting every woman to be a saint and stop deeming them as less worthy when they choose otherwise. Sex is natural, and a woman has a right to do what she pleases with her own body. Let female artists make the music they want without policing their every move. Focus that attention on more important issues in the world.
If you haven’t already, I strongly suggest checking out my last post. It’s extremely important to me, although I do exercise caution while getting through it. Take a break if it’s too much. There’s no harm in stepping back if it makes you uncomfortable. It’s a difficult topic. As always, I included a Spotify playlist of all of the songs I mentioned below (although I did try to keep this list a bit vanilla). If you haven’t already, please please please follow either through WordPress or your e-mail for updates on new posts. If you ever want to reach out to me, the best way is through my Instagram. If you’d like to find out how you can be featured on my blog, you can check out the Submissions and Services page. Don’t forget to share this and check out some of my other work.♥