Bitch? Please

“Bitches Be Crazy” is actually one of my favorite things to say and I haven’t given much thought to the way that the word ‘bitch’ is now a part of everyday vocabulary; unless the context implies that the word is being used in its true sense. But Lupe Fiasco’s “Bitch Bad” made me think of what the true sense of the word actually means today and how, as empowering, funny, harmless, endearing as it may seem, in real life, it still may be pretty problematic.

In the song, Lupe raps like a true spoken word artist and tells of a young girl and boy who hear the word bitch used by their favorite artists and internalize it in different ways and when they meet later on in life “he thinks she a bad bitch/and she thinks she’s a bad bitch/ he thinks disrespectfully/she thinks of that sexually”. It’s not just the fact that women are still being set impossible standards based on male-generated stereotypes, it’s also that these stereotypes are being perpetuated through the even bigger generalizations at play in most commercial hip – hop.

Like Rick Ross for example, whose entire persona (including his name) is based on an actual drug dealer who lived the real thug life which is not as romantically awesome as the fake Rick Ross makes it out to be. Nothing about his act is real but as long as that exists (and sells records and makes money) people will think that hip-hop – and therefore it’s culture and it’s people — is about thugs and bling and the all – important bitches. Creating fake gangsters at the real expense of the real people who look up to them is just not cool. And whether they realize it or not, and whether they want it or not, musicians have such cultural power that even the stupid shit they say can end with a new word in the dictionary or the misogynistic treatment of women.

Lupe Fiasco, to me, is what hip –hop should be defined as: there’s great narrative, a story rhymed cleverly with artful use of entendres and metaphors that challenge, speak truth or encourage.  It’s about being conscious of the fact that there are people listening to your words and shaping their perceptions and identities from them and it’s disturbingly irresponsible for a musician not to realize that.

He says that he’s using ‘bitch’ as a psychological weapon and by the end of the song I’m aware that even I am entirely unsure about the implications of the word. It’s good if I want it to be and it’s probably bad if a man says it to me but aside from when I’m joking, bitch isn’t a nice way to refer to a woman. But larger than that is also the fact that the “bad bitch” is also the ‘’angry black woman” or the “big booty ho” created by that lady’s son or spouse so that his music can help sell Reeboks. Today, a woman has the right be a bitch if she wants to be but at the same time, she should definitely try not to be a bitch.

The worst part is the crap Lupe Fiasco has been given for bringing this up – for bringing consciousness back into hip – hop and challenging the negative, ignorant things we do to each other. Only the foolish underestimate the power in music and it takes some kind of douchebag (aka Chief Keef)to put someone down for not only putting out a song that makes you think, but to put someone down for a song that makes you think that sounds this good. I don’t know, maybe I’m just a crazy bitch.

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2 responses to “Bitch? Please

  1. Reblogged this on Make Me a Sammich and commented:
    The use of the word “bitch” in our culture has been on my list to write about, but I’m not there yet. One step closer today, however, after reading this post and watching the accompanying video, which I found fascinating. I’m going to chew on this for a while. Let me know what you think.

  2. Lupe Fiasco, to me, is what hip –hop should be defined as: there’s great narrative, a story rhymed cleverly with artful use of entendres and metaphors that challenge, speak truth or encourage. It’s about being conscious of the fact that there are people listening to your words and shaping their perceptions and identities from them and it’s disturbingly irresponsible for a musician not to realize that.

    Came here via Make Me a Sammich! I don’t listen to a lot of hip-hop, but this song is so self-aware and critical–I love it. Thank you!

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