Article Index

Other artists like Kid Rock have won commercial success easily and faced only minor battles with the FCC with songs such as: "F**k U Blind. Consider the lyrics of Kid Rock, whose piercing blend of hard rock, metal and misogyny has sold millions of records:

Now if you like the booty come on fellas show it
This is your last verse to wax so why would you blow it
And if the ladies if you are tired of a man on your fanny
Then f--k you go home and watch the tube with granny
...Just look at all the girls that are dying to get some
Man, just don't be a wussy
And I'll guarantee you could get a piece of p----

Likewise, consider the lyrics of the rock song "Anything Goes" from Guns ‘N Roses:

Panties 'round your knees
With your ass in debris
Doin' dat grind with a push and squeeze
Tied up, tied down, up against the wall
Be my rubbermade baby
An' we can do it all.''

The bad-boy, outlaw rockers have traditionally and consistently been marketed and packaged as misogynistic. Artists and groups such as David Lee Roth, Kid Rock, Metallica, Uncle Kracker, to name a few. Take note of the following list of rock groups and some of the albums and songs that they have released: American Dog (released an album in 2001 titled, Six Pack: Songs About Drinkin & F**kin), Big C*ck (released an album in 2005 titled: Year Of The C**k - with titles like Bad Motherf***er, Hard To Swallow & You Suck The Love Out Of Me) W.A.S.P. (released an album in 1983 titled: Animal: F**ks Like A Beast, an album in 1997 K.F.D.: Kill, F**k, Die), Faster Pussycat (released album in 1992 titled Whipped - with a song titled Loose Booty, 2001 titled: Between The Valley Of The Ultra P**sy, 2006 album titled: The Power Of The Glory Hole - with such titles as Porn Star and Shut Up & F**k), Lynch Mob (released an album in 2003 titled: Evil: Live - featuring the song (Tie Your Mother Down) and a compilation album released in 2003 titled C**k'N'Roll: The World's Sleaziest Rock Bands - displaying "hits" like: Dog Sh*t Boys - One Minute F**k, Sagger - The Closest I've Ever Come To F**king Myself and Hellside Stranglers - Motherf***ers Don't Cry.

In an article by Dana Williams titled, BEYOND RAP: Musical Misogyny, Ann Savage, associate professor of telecommunications at Butler University stated: "It's the repetitiveness of the messages, the repetitiveness of the attitudes, and it builds on people...." "People say rap is dangerous. Yes, rap music does have misogyny, but there has always been an objectification and misogyny against women in music," said Savage. "Yet we focus on the black artists, not the rockers and not even the white executives who are making the big money from this kind of music."

Savage further asserts that the race-based double standard applies to violent content in music as well. "There was the Eric Clapton remake of Marley's ‘I Shot the Sheriff,' and there was little to be said. But then you have the ‘Cop Killer' song by Ice-T and it's dangerous and threatening."

In this same article Cynthia Fuchs, an associate professor at George Mason University, affirmed that "the public seems far more disturbed by misogynistic lyrics in the music of rap and hip hop artists who are largely black than similar lyrics in rock music, perceived by most as a white genre."

"The flamboyance of rock is understood as performance, rather than from the perspective of personal feelings," said Fuchs, who teaches courses in film and media studies, African American studies and cultural studies. "These guys are seen as innocuous. They appear to be players in the fence of accumulating women in skimpy costumes, but they aren't necessarily seen as violent. The mainstream takes it (hip hop and rap) to represent real-life, so it's seen as more threatening than some of the angry, whiney white boy rock, even though the same messages and images are portrayed."

Moreover, in a piece titled C*ck Rock from the October 21-November 3, 2003 edition of the online music magazine Perfect Pitch, it was revealed that when the Hustler founder and entrepreneur Larry Flynt wanted to combine the worlds of porn (the ultimate god of misogyny) and music he did not turn to rap, but rather to rock. It was stated that since porn has been mainstreamed, they wanted a more "contemporary" look - and when they looked for a contemporary look, did they seek out the likes of Nelly, Chingy, 50 Cent or Ludacris? No. Rock legend Nikki Sixx was chosen to "grace" the cover of Hustler's new venture along with his adult-entertainment and former Baywatch star girlfriend Donna D'Errico wearing nothing but a thong and Sixx's arms.

It is my belief that this paradigm; this unjust paradox exists because of the media stereotypes of black men as more violence-prone, and media's disproportionate focus on black crime (which is confused with the personas that rappers adopt), contribute to the biased treatment of rap. The double standard applied to rap music makes it easier to sell the idea that "gangsta rap" is "more" misogynist, racist, violent and dangerous than any other genre of music. However, I believe that bell hooks conceptualized it best in her essay Sexism and Misogyny: Who Takes the Rap?: "To the white dominated mass media, the controversy over gangsta rap makes great spectacle. Besides the exploitation of these issues to attract audiences, a central motivation for highlighting gangsta rap continues to be the sensationalist drama of demonizing black youth culture in general and the contributions of young black men in particular. It is a contemporary remake of ‘Birth of a Nation' only this time we are encouraged to believe it is not just vulnerable white womanhood that risks destruction by black hands but everyone."

Part of the allure of gangsta or hardcore rap to the young person is its (however deplorable) explicitness. The gangsta rapper says "bitches" and "hos," defiantly and frankly (once again... deplorable) and that frankness strikes a chord. However, it is not the first time that a young man or woman has seen society "treat" women like "bitches" and "hos." Like mother's milk, the American male in this country has been "nourished" on a constant diet of subtle messages and notions regarding female submission and inferiority and when he is weaned, he begins to feed on the meat of more exploitative mantras and images of American misogyny long before he ever pops in his first rap album into his CD player. Young people, for better or worse, are looking for and craving authenticity. Now, because this quality is in such rare-supply in today's society, they gravitate towards those who appear to be "real" and "true to the game." Tragically, they appreciate the explicitness without detesting or critically deconstructing what the person is being explicit about.

There have been many who have said that even with Imus gone from the airwaves, the American public in general and the Black community in particular will still be inundated by the countless rap lyrics using derogatory and sexist language, as well as the endless videos displaying women in various stages of undress - and this is true.

However, by that same logic, if we were to rid the record stores, the clubs and the iPods of all misogynistic hip-hop, we would still have amongst us the corporately-controlled and predominantly white-owned entities of Playboy, Penthouse, Hustler and Hooters. We would still have the reality TV shows, whose casts are overwhelmingly white, reveling in excessive intoxication and suspect sexual mores. If misogynistic hip-hop was erased from American life and memory today, tomorrow my e-mail box and the e-mail boxes of millions of others would still be barraged with links to tens of thousands of adult entertainment web sites. We would still have at our fingertips, courtesy of cable and satellite television, porn-on-demand. We would still be awash in a society and culture that rewards promiscuity and sexual explicitness with fame, fortune and celebrity (reference Anna Nicole, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears).

And most hypocritically, if we were to purge the sexist and lewd lyrics from hip-hop, there would still be a multitude of primarily white bands and principally-white musical genres generating song after song glorifying sexism, misogyny, violence and lionizing male sexuality and sexual conquest.

Originally appeared in Black Agenda Report.


Knowledge Project

Africa Knowledge Project is an academic resource that offers journals and databases. Check them out.

 Upcoming Deadlines

CALL FOR PAPERS

Columnists

LivewireRasta Livewire is a leading blog that provides in-depth viewpoints from Rastas in Africa and African Diaspora.

Africa Knowledge Project (AKP) publishes peer-reviewed journals and academic databases.

Ojedi is an online retailer of fine art and exceptional handcrafted pieces from around the world.

Africa House is an Africa and Diasporian gallery. Africa House accepts proposals for submission on a rolling basis.

African Event Posters show posters of events at Africa House.

African Gourmet Dinners shows images of African gourmet dishes.