Hip-Hop: B****es, Hoes, and…Old Men in Suits?!

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Hip-Hop, along with its close cousins RnB and Gangsta Rap is all over our radio stations, television sets and clubs; its stars are household names and its culture and fashion is now inextricably linked with our own. Whether it’s Lil’ Wayne, Eminem or Jay-Z, hip-hop stars dominate our world. But as we buy their albums, wear their clothes and attend their shows, are we listening to their lyrics? Or simply turning a blind eye.

Be it in a club at 2am or in your car radio, you’ve heard the lyrics a thousand times. Our generation is no stranger to the culture of ‘B****es and Hoes’, and seemingly, not too bothered by it either. We’ve all heard 50 cent’s P.I.M.P. or Dre and Snoop’s ‘B****es Ain’t S***’. In the world of Hip-Hop, masculinity is measured by the size of your rims, the bulge in your wallet and the girls on your arm. It’s a fairly demeaning culture – so what makes it so acceptable?

Like all music and fashion trends, Hip-Hop conveys the values that are already present in society, it doesn’t create them. Hip-Hop is simply an exaggerated portrayal of our society’s attitude towards women today, which explains why it doesn’t shock us. Sex sells. Because of this, it is everywhere, not just in the realms of Hip-Hop. Whether it’s beer, shampoo or shaving cream, sexy women dominate the commercial world and media machine. As our society becomes more and more enamoured by materialistic possessions, it’s only natural our music will too. As women are increasingly commoditised outside of music, the derogatory treatment of women within the music scene is legitimized. If spec-savers use them, it’s no wonder Jay-Z and Kanye do too.

Funnily enough, it’s not the artists themselves that put their lyrics, music and values on millions of TV sets and albums worldwide. The industry is run by old white men in suits, not young African American artists. The suits actively control and encourage the content of the genre’s music – if it makes money, it receives investment.

It’s not just males who adopt hyper-masculine attitude in order to sell records. Take for example Lil’ Kim. If women are participating in the derogatory treatment of women, it lessens their case of ‘vulnerable women’ considerably.

Beyond this, if it’s got a good beat, people don’t care.  As comedian Chris Rock aptly pointed out, boys and girls alike will dance to anything if it’s good enough, whether or not the lyrics refer to women giving head or bending over. If your foot’s tapping, who cares?  Some might argue artists and labels have a responsibility to regulate content, I disagree. As Tyler, the creator once said. “I rap about guns and bitches, I don’t actually kill people and rape them.” Viewing his provocative and demeaning lyrics as a “story”, Tyler likens his art to that of Tarantino’s.

Now I’m not saying we should excuse Hip-Hop and other genres of their blatantly sexist, homophobic and misogynistic content. Artists should and do have a responsibility to their listeners, but it is our society that makes them. For as long as sex, materialism and inequality dominate our society, then our artists’ songs will have a well from which to draw their inspiration, and the corporate machine will continue cashing in. Don’t hate the player, hate the game. Peace out bitches.

oscar gregg

I'm a recent graduate of the University of Manchester, who loves travel, sports, writing and socialising. I'm interested in film, literature, history, current affairs and love to experience new cultures and new people. I have travelled to South America, Hitch-hiked to Morocco, and been to a variety if festivals both in England and abroad. Currently I am trying my hand at journalism, and plan to take my travels to America in the near future! As a person I'm easy going and fun to be around, I have a good sense of humour and don't take myself too seriously.

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