Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Shift from Sociopolitical to Misogyny in Current Rap Music Lyrics Part I

Rap’s counter-public space been redefined since its inception (Kitwana, 2002). In the new millennium, rap artists have abandoned the anti-racism messages and focuses on money and sexual exploits (Sullivan, 2003). (Although, I am concerned with popular rap music lyrics, one would be able to find conscious rap music; however, one must be ready to strenuously look, as it is not readily available to the public). As one can make arguments of the effects of commercialism and globalization on redefining rap’s counter-public space, I am interested in misogyny and its transitions in rap. Rap is an extremely masculine space and sexism and homophobia has always been evident in the lyrics[1], however, I am concerned with the recent shift to the ultra sexualized black woman appearance in the lyrical content of rap. When looking at the misogyny in rap music, “…it is useful to think of misogyny as a field that must be labored in and maintained both to sustain patriarchy but also to serve as an ideological anti-feminist backlash. What better group to labor on this “plantation” than young black men” (hooks, 1994,). It is wise to remember that misogyny is a male attribute, and in hip-hop, black males take the “rap” for it.

[1] An example of this is clearly exhibited in GrandMaster Flash and The Furious Five 1982 song, “The Message” where in one verse he is describing a sexualized woman who must get a pimp and in another verse where a man kills himself after becoming “an undercover fag”.


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