Cash, Cars, and Ho’s: How A Feminist Can Love Hip-Hop

21 Oct

Like Jigga, I am also addicted to the game.

I am completely enamored with the world of what I like to call the “theater of hip-hop”. Most women who identify themselves as feminists would not dare admit any lingering love for rap and hip-hop. The genre earned the reputation for objectifying women during the Gangsta rap era, which began in late 1980s Los Angeles. Hip-hop and rap that developed before Gangsta rap embodied a carefree, party-focused mindset; artists like The Sugarhill Gang, Grandmaster Flash, and Afrika Bambaataa are some of the first to popularize the rap genre at the tail-end of the Disco era. However, when the Original Gangsta himself entered the scene, hip-hop became a multi-layered genre with a niche for every fan. Ice-T released what many believe is the first Gangsta rap song in 1986: “6 in the Mornin'”.

Gangsta rap focuses on exactly what its name implies; artists of the genre focus on what they know best: the danger-tainted lives of black youths on the hard streets of L.A. Many people love to whine about what a horrible influence gangsta rap is on American youth, but it’s best to give young people the benefit of the doubt and assume that they will not get hold of AK-47s and run China White in the suburbs. At an early age I was exposed to the “My god! What about the children!?!” mentality that is strangely prevalent among square adults – however, I learned to take the words of gangsta rap with a huge grain of salt. My theory on “the theater of hip-hop” helps me to defend my love of rap to those who hate on the genre, especially my fellow feminists. I see hip-hop and rap as a large playhouse in which the artists are players on a grand stage. In this world, anything goes, and that may include referring to women as “bitches,” but the most important things to emphasize are making cash, driving fancy cars, and popping endless bottles of Champagne.

Listening to rap and hip-hop is nothing more than pure fun to me. There’s nothing more entertaining than turning up Ludacris’s “Move Bitch” and going for a ride through the suburbs. It may surprise some that hip-hop is as popular as it is among young, upper middle class suburbanites, but that is exactly who buys everything moguls like Jay-Z and P. Diddy deign to sell to young people. Dancing to rap and hip-hop is also endless fun; I cannot stand women (or even men) who refuse to dance to such music. This is usually the sign of a square and/or someone who cannot be trusted. Rap also gives me the opportunity for me to pretend that I am a much bigger baller than my reality may show. Therefore, I do not find it contradictory for me to call myself a feminist and a fan of hip-hop. Hip-hop is an art form that suffers due to endless witch hunts. Good hip-hop (of which there is an endless supply) is not demeaning to women, and the songs that do mention “bitches” and “hos” should not be taken so seriously. My advice to anyone questioning the importance of hip-hop in our culture is to buy a copy of Jay-Z’s The Blueprint 3 and then try to argue their points. Rap and hip-hop are American cultural institutions not to be dismissed, but saluted. Now pour one out for your homies.

Here are three rap songs that currently make me want to stay on my grind, if you will:

1. “Toot It and Boot It,” YG

As a proud feminist I should hate this song. It’s a young man’s anthem about how he loves to fuck chicks and leave them, but I figure it can also be utilized by women regarding their personal lives. Plus, the video is pretty good and features one of my favorite rap video clichés: thick women dancing in the rain.

2. “My Chick Bad,” Ludacris ft. Nicki Minaj

Ludacris has long been the greatest Southern rapper. My childhood is peppered with memories of his fantastic little ditty, “Move Bitch (Get Out the Way).” For his most recent album, Luda focused on beats that make you want to shake your ass, and “My Chick Bad” is my go-to song for getting pumped up for a night on the town. It also features the hottest female MC of the moment – Nicki Minaj (an upcoming piece on Fixed Air will sing the praises of Minaj.)

3. “Successful,” Drake ft. Trey Songz

Drake is the second hottest thing on the rap scene now, right after Nicki Minaj. This song says it all: “I want the money, money and the cars, cars and the clothes, and the hos, I suppose…I just wanna be successful.” I give mad credit to Drake, who is of course best known for playing Jimmy on the Canadian teen soap opera, Degrassi: The Next Generation. Little Jimmy is all grown up. Tear.

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One Response to “Cash, Cars, and Ho’s: How A Feminist Can Love Hip-Hop”

  1. constantineintokyo October 27, 2010 at 4:37 PM #

    I’m going to call this Heather’s ‘All the world’s a stage, and the men and women merely PLAYAS!’ interpretation of hip-hip.

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