Why I Cannot "Love" Rap Music
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Politics and Activism

Why I Cannot "Love" Rap Music

The lyrics matter.

Why I Cannot "Love" Rap Music

Many of my peers and acquaintances seem to have a Spotify playlist full of rap music by the latest rap artists. Although some songs are alright, the vast majority of them I would not listen to a second time. Why? I think most Rap of today sounds the same, and only touches on the same two themes: partying and exploiting women. However, my biggest problem is not with lyrics about partying because if you go back to Rap and Hip Hop’s roots it was centered around partying and having a good time. I have a problem with the second theme—the exploitation of women because it only serves to perpetuate one type of masculinity and one type of femininity.

I feel this would not be such a pervasive problem if rap music was not mainstream. But, look at the Top 40 and even the Top 100 on Billboard. Most of the music is either rap music or has a rapper featured on a song of a different genre. Since Rap is extremely prevalent in this decade’s musical repertoire, we readily embrace Rap as ‘cool’ and ‘hip,’ but forget the negative side of rap music. While rap music can be used to draw attention to social problems such as police brutality and violence against women, it is mostly used to draw attention to how many “hoes” and “bitches” a man can score. We have embraced Rap as a mainstream genre of music, but we have also normalized the gross amounts of misogyny present in top-selling rap singles. This normalization densensitizes us to the objectification of women in these songs. A woman is just a “hoe” for a man’s sexual pleasure, she is not a lady worthy of respect, and she is a lady that can be disrespected.

My peers and accquaintances usually make the music does not reflect the rapper’s life argument. He does not hate women. He just did that for a song. Look he loves his mother. My first question to this argument is: Would you ever treat your mother that way? Most of the time the answer is no. So, why are you okay with that woman being treated poorly? They usually cannot answer that question or they say they do not know the woman. Every woman deserves respect and every woman deserves to be treated as a subject not an object. If you think it is fine for some women to be disrespected, but you would never disrespect your mother, then you do not value women as full human beings because you pick and choose which women you want to objectify. Women are disposable to you.

When I move to the other parts of the argument, I see an illogical argument. Many times rappers justify putting out a song with the song reflects their life. This answer debunks their argument because if the rapper was just doing it for the song, then why does the rapper say it reflects their life? You heard the rapper, the song reflects their life, and in turn reflects their attitudes towards women. If they really just objectified women for the sole purpose of selling music, we would not hear about real life scandals involving rappers. We would not hear about R. Kelly peeing on a girl and we would not see Kanye West grab the mic from Taylor Swift during her VMA acceptance speech. There are real life manifestations of the behaviors in rap songs. Ignoring them only serves to validate misogyny and to invalidate the experiences and personhood of women.

We should realize the kind of gender roles that we are reintrenching with rap music. The man must have sex with lots of women and can disrespect women because he is entitled to them. The woman must sit by and let it happen because it is considered improper to deny the man what he wants. A world where hegemonic or domineering masculinity is considered the only “proper” form of masculinity, and others too ‘girly.’ Lastly, a world where feminity is to be passive and not seen as a subject, but an object.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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