In Search of Good Rap: Let’s Stop Condoning Misogyny

In Search of Good Rap: Let’s Stop Condoning Misogyny

Why is Future's album DS2 ranked one of the best albums of 2015?

Content Warning: explicit language, sex, violence

The other day, in a panicked frenzy over what to gift my younger brother for Christmas, I searched “best albums of 2015” online. My family is large, so we use the secret Santa system. I figured an amazing CD could add something to the sorry state of his gift haul.

My search produced a list, compiled by Google, labeled “Music Albums Frequently Mentioned on the Web”, containing the following:

1. To Pimp a Butterfly - Kendrick Lamar
2. Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I just Sit - Courtney Barnett
3. Vulnicura - Bjork
4. Carrie & Lowell - Sufjan Stevens
5. If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late - Drake
6. Summertime ’06 - Vince Staples
7. The Epic - Kamasi Washington
8. Wildheart - Miguel
9. Currents - Tame Impala
10. Surf
11. In Colour - Jamie xx
12. DS2 - Future









My brother’s heard Kendrick’s album. The next top three albums—all of which I love—are not to his taste. So I just picked an album at random: DS2 by Future, ranked the 12th most frequently mentioned album on the Internet.

On Christmas day, we all opened our presents; thank you’s were exchanged. It felt wholesome. Until a few days later, when I looked up Future’s album, listened to it all the way through and suffered serious disappointment.

Turns out, I had gifted my brother some of the most misogynistic, albeit critically acclaimed, tracks.

Some of the more memorable lines of DS2 include:

“I just had some b*tches and I made ‘em lip lock”
“Hit that b*tch while I’m choking her out”
“I f*ck on your b*tch and I’ll prove it”
"She gon’ come f*ck me whenever, whenever I want her”
“She a hoe and a slut and a metaphor”



Critics have called Future’s album “the crown jewel of his creative peak”, a “star-studded ‘honest’ album”. Pitchfork’s review states: “His rapping is nimble and dreamy… it’s a strange record… The production is mostly slow and sad… What kind of darkness is this guy experiencing?”

Indeed. The entire album is depressing, with drugs, money, and “pu**y” (i.e. women, human beings) being the three objects at play. Pitchfork doesn’t feel the need to bring up how utterly abusive the album is to women. Because misogyny in rap is a given. Duh.

According to Wiki and more legitimate sources, 22 percent to 37 percent of rap music is misogynistic. Almost all great (male) rap artists have some line out there that’s questionable. But why is this so unquestioned, so acceptable?

I only recently started listening to rap. I had always written it off as not being substantive, until about a year ago when I was introduced to Lupe Fiasco. Lupe is without a doubt the James Joyce of rap—his dense lyrics never end, and it takes several read-throughs on Rap Genius to understand all of his allusions. From Lupe, I moved to Kendrick Lamar, Chance the Rapper, and Childish Gambino. I was astounded to see my old prejudices fall apart in the emotional raw intensity of Kendrick’s “The Blacker the Berry”, Lupe’s “Murals”, and even Kanye West’s “Blood on the Leaves”. But for every talented, complex rap song out there, there are ten, utterly mind-numbing, offensive ones.

Would Future’s lyrics be acceptable in any other genre? Could John Mayer produce a new album with a parallel lyric to “pull out my dick and I pee on her”? Or let’s switch roles. Could misandristic woman succeed in the music industry? Could a woman sing a parallel lyric to “I ain’t got no manners for no sluts/ I’ma put my thumb in her butt” about men? Sure, these comparisons are crude and grate against what we know to be acceptable about music. But that’s the point.

Let’s not kid ourselves. Women would never succeed with such explicit, sadistic lyrics against men. And if they did, critics wouldn’t be calling the album “honest” and “depressing”. They would call it f***ed up.

Truthfully, going through Future’s lyrics to write this article made me feel sick. But a hundred times more disturbing is the fact that this album is ranked as one of the top 20 best albums of the year. As an amateur rap listener, I’ll be in search of anti-Futuresque music, despite what the critics say. Sorry, bro.

Cover Image Credit: Georgia Kasamias

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Worlds Collide

To some, this will seem silly. To others, I hope it speaks truth.

  

Is it wrong that I want to call you mine?

Is it wrong that when you talk about her, I want you to talk about me instead?

I know what you’re all thinking

That this is just another silly little love poem

Designed to make people fall asleep as this tale was already told thousands of times before.

I know because I was just like you.

Falling asleep as soon as the girl started talking about ‘the one’

But this is different

Because I know you’re not the one.

And this isn’t silly.

Not to me.

I can’t say that I think about you all the time

Because I don’t.

Life is too hectic for that.

But little things will remind me of you.

Little, everyday things.

So in a way

I guess I do think about you a lot.

I think about hugging you

And being wrapped in a warm embrace, never wanting to escape into the cold air.

I think about you watching every theatrical performance I’m in

And cringing every time someone breaks into song because you hate musicals, 

But you come anyways

I think about you coming to my games, cheering me on

Then asking you to not come next time because you make me so nervous that I mess up

But you still come anyways.

I think about holding your hand

And you know people will talk but you choose not to care.

I think about coming to your games

Wearing your number on my cheek with so much pride that I pin my hair behind my ears so all can see it.

I think about driving around with you

Doing absolutely nothing

But never wanting to leave each other’s company so we just pretend like our destination is real.

I think about calling you

And staying on the phone for hours

First talking about this hellish, heinous world full of awful people

Then talking about absolutely nothing but we stay on the phone anyways because we can’t stand not hearing the other

But our worlds will never collide.

You would get too bored in my world

And I wouldn’t even know how to breath in yours.

I’ve tried

And I’ve failed.

I don't see a long term future for us.

Perhaps even after high school I will never see you again.

Your face never popping up in my head until I go through the list of unimportant people in my contacts.

How odd it is that someone so special to you at one point in time can just become another face of nothingness and blends right in with the crowd.

I’ve never seen us getting married 

Or having kids

Or even going to the same college.

Our plans for ourselves are too big for that. 

So I know that this will never become a long term thing.

But is it wrong that I want it to still happen?

I know our worlds will drive us apart,

But is it wrong that I want to try anyways?

I know that our futures have nothing to do with the other,

So why do I still want our nows to combine like a perfectly placed ribbon on top of a Christmas present?

You’ll never hear this.

Or even if you do, you’ll never know it’s about you.

Or even if you do, 

I’ll always say it’s not true.

Why?

Because deep down

I’ll always know

That our worlds will never collide.

  

Is it wrong that I want to call you mine?

Is it wrong that when you talk about her, I want you to talk about me instead?

I know what you’re all thinking

That this is just another silly little love poem

Designed to make people fall asleep as this tale was already told thousands of times before.

I know because I was just like you.

Falling asleep as soon as the girl started talking about ‘the one’

But this is different

Because I know you’re not the one.

And this isn’t silly.

Not to me.

I can’t say that I think about you all the time

Because I don’t.

Life is too hectic for that.

But little things will remind me of you.

Little, everyday things.

So in a way

I guess I do think about you a lot.

I think about hugging you

And being wrapped in a warm embrace, never wanting to escape into the cold air.

I think about you watching every theatrical performance I’m in

And cringing every time someone breaks into song because you hate musicals, 

But you come anyways

I think about you coming to my games, cheering me on

Then asking you to not come next time because you make me so nervous that I mess up

But you still come anyways.

I think about holding your hand

And you know people will talk but you choose not to care.

I think about coming to your games

Wearing your number on my cheek with so much pride that I pin my hair behind my ears so all can see it.

I think about driving around with you

Doing absolutely nothing

But never wanting to leave each other’s company so we just pretend like our destination is real.

I think about calling you

And staying on the phone for hours

First talking about this hellish, heinous world full of awful people

Then talking about absolutely nothing but we stay on the phone anyways because we can’t stand not hearing the other

But our worlds will never collide.

You would get too bored in my world

And I wouldn’t even know how to breath in yours.

I’ve tried

And I’ve failed.

I don't see a long term future for us.

Perhaps even after high school I will never see you again.

Your face never popping up in my head until I go through the list of unimportant people in my contacts.

How odd it is that someone so special to you at one point in time can just become another face of nothingness and blends right in with the crowd.

I’ve never seen us getting married 

Or having kids

Or even going to the same college.

Our plans for ourselves are too big for that. 

So I know that this will never become a long term thing.

But is it wrong that I want it to still happen?

I know our worlds will drive us apart,

But is it wrong that I want to try anyways?

I know that our futures have nothing to do with the other,

So why do I still want our nows to combine like a perfectly placed ribbon on top of a Christmas present?

You’ll never hear this.

Or even if you do, you’ll never know it’s about you.

Or even if you do, 

I’ll always say it’s not true.

Why?

Because deep down

I’ll always know

That our worlds will never collide.


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A 2008 Book Craze With A 2018 Book Review Of "Life and Death"

Here I am sitting in 2018, my mind stuck in 2008.

Picture this: Its 2008, Twilight is in theaters and I’ve read most of the books cover to cover. I was probably the biggest Twilight fan I knew…. I try to write that with pride.

It’s now 2018 and I find myself once again reading a Twilight book. But this time, it’s a different story.

Twilight Saga author Stephanie Meyer rewrote the original story for the 10th anniversary by gender-swapping the characters. It’s now under the title of “Life and Death.” That’s right, every character, with exception of two, had their gender switched to the opposite. For example, Edward Cullen was now Edythe Cullen. When I heard about the book, my 11-year-old soul needed it.

I am well aware of the issues with Twilight, and I have come to see the shortcomings. I know Edward was a crappy boyfriend, the writing wasn’t all that great, and a host of other issues. But revisiting it as something I loved as a kid is sometimes enjoyable.

This version breathed new life into the story. For starters, the book was more polished, it read better than Meyers’ past books in the series. The language and some of the dialogue was changed to fit the new perspective being shared. In rereading her books, I couldn’t help but notice how ‘cringe-worthy’ the wording was, something I definitely never noticed when first reading the book.

The new perspective was interesting seeing the story from Beau’s, the male version of Bella, point of view. The essence of the original story was there, but I felt like I appreciated it more from his view. I found Bella whiny and one-dimensional and while the one-dimensionality still remained, I feel like the whininess I had an issue with was decreased. Whether this was because he was a guy and “guys aren’t whiny” or maybe it was ironed out in her rewriting the story.

Going into the book, I had questions about its ending and how it would be resolved. By about halfway through, I had sort of guessed the ending, and I saw a quick quip (oops) of the afterword and put it all together. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the journey, even though I saw the ending coming. I actually found the end way more compelling than the original. The end seemed more realistic… as realistic as a book about vampires can get. It was moving and that really surprised me. It actually made me cry a little.

It seemed that the characters finally found themselves in this version of the book. Twilight seems awkward and forced while this novel seems to flow. If Meyer decided to continue and flip all of her other books around chances are I would read them.

In the end, vampires are still whiny and not good significant others, humans are still annoyingly helpless, and Charlie is still the best character in the book. That being said, would I recommend this? Absolutely, it was nice slipping into the past and enjoying it all again for the first time. It was a fresh look at a familiar story.

Cover Image Credit: Youtube.com

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