We Luvs Deeds Hoes: The Issue of Women and Black Masculinity In Outcast’s Music Hip-Hop is the top selling genre in the U. S. Today although over the years, critics have suggested Hip-Hop has no real future [Suburb 2005]. Hip-Hop’s emergence into mainstream culture and its success across America has continually caused tension with not only the media but politicians and other members of society. This has been due Rap artist’s explicit view on society from the Black perspective. The extensive use of curse words has been Just one battle between rappers and American censorship.
However, one theme that has caused great controversy, most apparent in the ‘Gangs Rap’ genre, is misogyny and sexism. In a study of the 2005 U. S. Billboard Charts, Rap music held the majority for degrading sexual references [Dalton et al 2008]. The issue of misogyny and sexism in Gangs Rap has been discussed by many academics, including Rose, Sharply-Whiting and Adams and Fuller. But, it Is important to look further than the genre that has the most media attention to learn more about this theme In Hip-Hop music.
Hip-Hop Culture Hip-Hop is more than a music genre. In the mid sass’s, the Hip-Hop culture was plopped by the poor, Black youth of America; those disregarded by society due race and class [Chuck et al 2002/2003, Adams and Fuller 2006, Sullivan 2003, Happy 2003]. The culture grew in the streets and basements of New York; Bronx, Harlem and Brooklyn [Steersman 1991; Watkins 2005]. The culture included break dancing, graffiti art and Mincing; creative elements that allowed freedom of expression amidst the White dominated, oppressed society.
During this time, Rap existed as Party Rap which acted as a backing for socializing and dancing [Kermis 2003; Rose 1 994; Hughes 2011]. However, Rap moved to the forefront of the Hip-Hop culture as free expression could be transcended through the power of language. In turn, this raised a rapper’s social status through their “verbal prowess… A deeply entrenched black tradition” [Steersman 1991 : p. 61 51. Rap could speak for the “marginal’s voices” [Crossly 2005: p. 501] of inner-city America. With this, music and words could be recorded and therefore a portable means of expression.
With this new form of expression, Party Rap became an area for the oppressed to alarm their views about society. Socially and politically conscious (SSP) Rap became more reverent and by the late sass, several artists emerged, including Public Enemy and Grandmaster Flash [Aldrich 1 2005; Hughes 2011; Rose 1994]. The few SSP Hip-Hop artists soon grew into many. Rap artists began to produce direct and complex explicit forms of expression, youth; the struggles amidst the an affluent city [Forman 2000]. However, it was sass that saw the boom of Black popular culture [Ramsey 2003].
The sass saw a transition from SSP Hip-Hop to Gangs Rap, where Rap artists began to take on ‘gangs’ personae, including Snoop Dog [Kermis 2003]. Although SSP Hip-Hop had explicitly commented on the problems of society and politics, Gangs Rap celebrated the dysfunction of society (more specifically Black society) [Chuck et al 2002/2003]. Issues raised included money, women and pippin’, making sexism and misogyny of Hip-Hop culture far more evident. Gangs Rap became the most explicit in its message through the language used.
In turn, this led to the issues with the media and hierarchy, which are still evident in today’s society. Issues of Black Masculinity and Exploitation of Women Black males of the “underclass” are consistently up against the dominant order of society; White masculinity [Cheney 2005]. Academics have discussed the loss of Black masculinity that has existed in different forms. The first can be linked to slavery whereby African males’ masculinity was reduced by the power of “the man” (the White man) [Steersman 1991: p. 624].
In contrast, African women kept their female roots as no one could take away the power to give birth. We can also look back to more recent times of the Hip-Hop generation (born between 1965 and 1984) [Hill Collins 2006]. Many Black males throughout the sass and sass have been brought up in a female run household, without a father figure [Cheney 2005]. The issues of poverty, unemployment and the lack of parenting led to male disembowelment [Crossly 2005]. As a result, contemporary masculinity can be described as violent, self-destructive and aggressive [Bell Hooks et al 1995].
Throughout the sass to sass, Black males were highly aware of the new racism that still exists; the “phenomenon of laissez-fairer exclusion” [Hill Collins 2006: p. 6] due to African- American’s potential threat to society [Rose 1991]. The term ‘Niger’, once employed by the White Supremacy to describe Afro-Americans has been adopted by the Black out, not only in Hip-Hop music, but in everyday life. The term has a derogatory history and highlights the effects of racial discrimination on the contemporary Black male [Morgan 1995].
This lack of self respect and masculinity has led to Black males re-instating and asserting their masculinity through their music: ; Threat, violent to others and dangerous 2 ; Part of a gang ; “Noble warriors” [Gray 1995: p. 402] of African-American rights, fighting against the man’ thus giving strong politicized messages ; Above something in social order; Black women (possible to see a double oppression because they are OTOH female and Black) The exploitation of women in Hip-Hop music emerged in the late sass, the advent of Gangs Rap.
Rapper’s lyrics have been described as vulgar, aggressive, violent and nihilistic that include “derogatory views of women” [Adams and Fuller: p. 940; Rose 2008]. These views are expressed through the sexual objectification of women using towards women; physical, verbal and sexual abuse ; Degrading statements often linked with sex ; Women as a burden to men; users and trouble makers The most degrading terms used in Rap are ‘bitchy’ and ‘ho’. The terms are not new to describing omen, more specifically Black women.
Both relate to reclaimed myths; the ‘Sapphire’ and the ‘Sizeable’ [Adams and Fuller 2006]. The ‘Sapphire’ is the equivalent to the ‘bitchy’. Her aim is to gain possessions and she thinks of no one to get what she wants. She is a ruler in her own home and she is demanding, money hungry and scandalous. The ‘Sizeable’ is the equivalent to the ‘ho’ (or sometimes Where’). A ‘Sizeable’ is a sexually aggressive woman who accepts sex from any man. As a result, she uses her sexual desire as a bargaining tool to get what she wants. Consequently, these ERM reflect the overall misogyny in Gangs Rap lyrics.
Although many rappers have claimed they are simply talking about the realities of life, others see such attitudes as regressive [Rose 1994]. They are upholding the media labels and the dominant order that are oppressing them. The mythical stereotypes have been used to attack Black women and rather than speaking against these labels, they have celebrated them [Adams and Fuller 2006]. In opposition to this argument, it is important to point out that Hip-Hop is not the cause of sexism. Rather, rappers show up the sexist society that has existed far ended any generation that is alive now.
In that respect, rappers are addressing the harsh issue of sexism [Chuck et al 2002/2003]. 3 With this, Hip-Hop can be seen as no more sexist than other cultures such as Playboy and other popular music genres including Rock [Sharply-Whiting 2007]. The use of salacious words have not been created by Hip-Hop music as they stem from the poetics of the Black Power Movement [Cheney 2005]. With this, Henry Louis Gates argues that lewd puns are part of art and have existed for generations, back to the likes of Shakespeare [Sharply-Whiting 2007]. With this, sexual language cannot automatically be assumed to be exploitative.
Women are not automatically used and abused as they do have sexual desires, Just as men do and some lyrics simply reflect these sexual desires. Rapper Too Short claims that misogynistic language is far more about masculinity as opposed to exploitation [Steersman 1991]. However, Morgan  argues that the machismo expressed is in fact a mask for the expression of pain and depression, from years of hatred placed against them. The last point that argues for such expression is the simple fact that there are bitched and hoes. These troopers have not appeared from thin air.
Some Afro-American women show hyper-sexuality and objectify themselves, thus highlighting the blurring lines between love and sex [Morgan 1995; Rose 2008]. Outcast Outcast are a duo from Atlanta, Georgia consisting of Andre Benjamin and Nathan Patton who go by a number of aliases, although the best known are Andre 3000 and school, where they met and began creating music together. They have been successful throughout the sass and into the 21st century, with six studio albums, a film and many other sideline projects including TV shows. Their early sound has a hardcore” [Kermis 2003: up. 2] edge, relying on extensive layering and sampling. However, this gradually developed with a number of influences appearing in their music, including Funk (more specifically P-Funk), Soul and Jazz, thus becoming a more “eclectic” group [Kermis 2008: p. 125]. With this, it is important to look at their flow as this affects the portrayal of any message. They employ a “percussive effusive” [Kermis 2003: p. 76] flow, as opposed to the “conversation effusive” [Kermis 2003: p. 75] flow of New York rappers. Consequently, their music and lyrics frequently intertwine to create complex rhythms.
Their music can be placed under the category of ‘Reality Rap’ [Kermis 2003] mainly because they speak of the troubles with their own lives as well political issues, not only in the US but across the world, e. G. ‘B. O. B’ (Bombs Over Baghdad) (2000). However, Kermis’ later book, Urban Geography, discusses the idea of 4 ‘Knowledge Rap’ which emulates older musical forms; something Outcast have done in their musical progression. Before discussing any tracks, it is important to outline the reasons for choosing Outcast. The group do not come under the label of ‘Gangs Rap’ but G-rap is a sub- genre of ‘Reality Rap’.
Gangs rap’ has received the most criticism from the media due to the clear sexist and misogynistic themes. With this, many academics have looked into sexism and misogyny in relation to ‘Gangs rap’. However, it is both interesting and potentially informative to look outside of the G-rap genre to see if other artists have the same aggressive and violent approach towards women. Tracks Outcast’s representation of women extends further than the two dimensional attitude of bitchy and ho. Their themes reach further than those of sexual objectification and violence. It appears they have 8 themes (if not more): ; Sexual
Objects ; Money Grabbers; the issue of child support is very apparent ; ‘The one’, the girlfriend ; Commenting on women treating themselves as sexual objects or accepting abuse ; Ex lovers ; Women and girls with personal issues ; Strong Women ; Mothers The tracks I will analyses do not cover all these themes, but represent a large amount of them. Funky Ride In their first album, ‘Southernplayalisticadillamukic’ (1994) there is a strong sense of sexism, with ‘hoes’ and ‘bitched’ appearing in many tracks. ‘Funky Ride’ uses a substantial amount of simulated sex sounds.
The track has a slow ballad memo and the music has a funk feel, with the addition of way-way guitar usually associated with Disco. Although the track appears to see a woman as a sexual object, the lyrics “let me take you on a funky ride” do not suggest any violence or abuse. Jazzy Belle ‘Jazzy Belle’ comes from Outcast’s second studio album Attains (1996). The backing track is minimal in texture with a prominent drum line, scratching (which acts as a percussive layer) and a simple chord progression in the guitar line. With this, the track is relatively slow creating a ballad feel.
Andre 3000 opens with his love or his girlfriend Jazzy Belle in which he appears to be the good person for not sleeping with other women. However, he also raps about women who pretend to be “Jazzy’; they pretend to be “Ms. Goodie” although in actuality they are not. Big Bob raps about women hanging around men, using their Weapon’ of sex to get what they want from men, although he points out that the men are using those women to their advantage. At the same time, he talks of his partner, who he knows is drinking behind his back. Ultimately, Big Bob shows the men are in control as users and abusers. Ad Art Of Storyteller’ Pit. Ad Art of Storyteller’ Pit. 1′ comes from Outcast’s third album Aquamarine (1998). The track, again, is slow in tempo, employs a heavy drum line with less audible harmonic lines. The track shows different women in Black culture. Big Bob meets a persona he labeled ‘Suez Screw; “because she screwed a lot”. He can not control his feelings for her and after seeing her, wants to sleep with her, possibly showing a woman who displays hyper-sexuality. However, he accepts oral sex because there Just isn’t enough time as the mother of his child (“baby mamma”) is expecting him to see his children. Andre 3000 meets Suez Screws friend, Sash Thumper.
Rather than having sex, their relationship develops over philosophical conversations. However, after leaving town for the road Andre assumes he will see Sash when he returns. He can’t find her and through her mother, finds out she is “with a Amiga that be treating’ her wrong”. Both women are perceived as weak; Suez for being a ho and Sash for accepting the poor treatment of a man. However, neither do anything about that fact, and Big Bob even encourages Guy’s actions. Interestingly, the two do not come up with a solution, with the chorus consisting of “It’s like that owe/ You better go get the hump up out your back now’.
In effect, the two are saying this is Just the way it is and nothing can be done about it. Toilet Tight 6 ‘Toilet Tight’ comes from their fourth studio album Station (2000) is about a 14 year old girl who takes her life because she cannot cope with the fact she is pregnant. In his verse, Big Bob makes it clear that she was far too young to deal with the issue she had, therefore implying she was too young for sex. The track is particularly slow, so every word song is very audible about her strife. In the middle of he track, the listener hears her mother find her, crying “Tight, no, my baby! “.
Outcast are portraying the fatalities of the hyper-sexualities attitude that some women show off. Interestingly, there is no Outcast track, out of 100 and something, that is so dedicated to the suicide of Black males, who incidentally have a higher suicide rate We Luvs Deeds Hoes We Luvs Deeds Hoes’ (Station, 2000) is possibly the most explicit display on misogyny and sexism in Outcast’s tracks. The track is up beat and has a strong rhythmic feel throughout with the piano, drum line and Big Obi’s complex flow. The track conjures up an image of a ‘ho’; one who is both in looks and personality completely fake.
The ‘ho’ refers to Adams’ and Fuller’s discussion of Sapphire. One ‘ho’ Big Bob sleeps with tries to “pull my rubber off with the puss muscles” in order to get pregnant and therefore the man would be tied to the woman for 18 years, claiming money for their child. Big Bob creates aggressive imagery with the lyrics Mimi bucked around and knocked her up and now you say she the one/Amiga you dumb, you should have pulled it out and squirted on her eyelash”. However, the chorus (see Appendix 1) sees a group of men singing about how they love the fake ways of the ho.
Therefore, this song has contradictory images, Just as a lot of Rap does [Cheney 2005]. She’s Alive This track appears on Andre sass’s album ‘The Love Below (2003). The song is a slow ballad with a simple drum line and a piano as the backing. We hear of Andrews mother’s story of labor and her struggle to bring up her baby with no male support. In the track, Andrews mother talks about her situation; “if a man don’t want look after his child you move on”, thus showing the sad realities of life. Spread/Where Are My Panties? Prototype 7 These three songs appear in succession on Andre sass’s album The Love Below.
The first is an explicit song about meaningless sex “we’ll do things backwardly, forwardly, horizontally, I’m too young to be settling down” after Andre meets a woman on a night out. However, the track is followed by a short interlude entitled Where Are My Panties?. The woman is worried about the fact she “gave it up” on the first night. However, the listener then hears the voice in Andrews head and he “don’t give a sit about giving’ it up on the first night… That Just let me know she know what she want auto life”. He realizes he actually really quite likes her but decides to play it cool.
Following this is the track ‘Prototype’ which creates a story of this woman who could be the one’ and if she’s not, she is at least the prototype. It appears here, that Andre has been open to accepting a woman as more than a sexual object/ho/bitchy and opens himself to the idea of trust and love. Something which, according to academics, is not part of re-instating Black masculinity. Conclusions Outcast show a plethora of attitudes towards women, from seeing them as bitched, hoes, money grabbers and general problems for them to a woman who loud be the one’.
Rather than being overly misogynistic, they appear to be showing the multitude of feelings they can have towards women. They love them and hate them at the same time. Relationships are always complicated which are shown in suggesting a need for change because the generations of women that follow require good role models. Therefore, they are expressing the need for change, Just as much of Hippo has expressed change across other areas of society. Conclusion It is quite obvious that, looking outside of the G-rap genre, not all Black men have a completely aggressive or angry attitude towards women.