To what extent does your chosen subject either perpetuates oppressive gender attitudes/myths, or allows participants involved in it to transcend the limitations imposed by gender/gender myths? Gender Degradation of Rap and Hip-Hop Music Dating back to the eras of the Battles and the Relentlessness, music has always had an affect on the ways that people act, dress, and live their lives. With the arrival of rap and hip-hop music in the mid sass’s, new lyrics and cultural values began to spread throughout the radio frequencies of every household and car in society.
Rap revived a new form of music – a music based upon fast and catchy rhythms that could launch an audience off of their seats, forcing them to dance in the isles of a concert or down the halls of their own home. Yet, with this form of entertainment gaining popularity so quickly, its affects gradually began to take a toll on the ways that individuals lived and perceived life. With lyrics promoting anger, violence, and substance abuse, society began to absorb what is sometimes called the “gangster lifestyle. Through lyrics, music videos, and radio airtime, rap and hip-hop music has en able to positively expose the realities of the urban lifestyle, while promoting the degradation of women In a male dominated Industry; where female artists are scarce and are nearly forced to appeal lyrically and physically to males. With the arrival of the music video, rap and hip-hop artists were given the opportunity to express their lyrics in a visual form. Instead of directly relating the videos to some of the lyrics, rap artists decided to film videos that degraded the social and physical status of females in society.
In various music videos, it is common or a female to be dressed in merely a bra and panties, dancing around a male for his own entertainment. This nearly nude image, which seems to depict a sense of power among males over females, is highly evident in the music video for the song “The Thong Song” by popular hip-hop artist Solos, formerly of the quartet Drug Hill. In this video, Solos sings about the thongs of women and how they shake it around for men. Not only are the lyrics to this song primarily about the body parts of females, but the video focuses on women of all different races dancing on the beach.
It’s not he fact that these women are dancing for fun, but it is the fact that these women are merely wearing a bathing suit top and a thong bottom piece. With their butt cracks revealed, the females in this video dance around Sis’s and other artists in this video. Sis’s is seen walking down the beach in one scene, Just viewing a line of females with their rears facing his face. Sis’s seems to have total power over these women, as he does back flips and dances along the sandy beach while grabbing and fondling any females that he chooses.
In another particular scene, hip-hop artist Notion is seen toting in a hot tub with four other females; with all four females rubbing and touching the body of the sole male in the hot tub. These Images in the video alone show that women are merely seen as objects of sexual pleasure in rap and hip-hop music videos. The women nearly seem to look Like the slaves of the males, as they provide back rubs and belly dances for the spectators people call men. Not only are females depicted as sexual objects in music videos, but male rappers of their lyrics.
In an article focused on the lyrical content of rap music, Victoria A. Brownout of Curve magazine claims that eighty percent of rap music is being performed by African-American males, yet the same percentage of the lyrical content is primarily discriminating against both females and homosexuals. This statistic researched by Brownout shows that even though hip-hop and rap music may have high entertainment value in the market, its true lyrical content is degrading to females, homosexuals, and even the buyer of the album.
Furthermore, violence against females is evident within the lyrics of the song “Stan” by rap artist Mine. Amine’s lyrics state “Shut up pitch! I’m trying to talk! Hey Slim, that’s my girlfriend screaming in the trunk but I didn’t slit her throat, I Just tied her up, see I anti like you cause if she suffocates she’ll suffer more, and then she’ll die too. Well, goat go, I’m almost at the bridge now Oh sit, I forgot, home I supposed to send this sit out? ” Amine’s lyrics depict a disturbing form of violence to society.
In the lyrics, the reader can see that the male in the song has tied his girlfriend up, put her in the trunk, and is going to drive the car off of the bridge so that she drowns and suffocates inside the truck (Mine). These disturbing lyrics are a prime example of how females are beat and thrown around in many other rap lyrics – promoting violence towards females in America’s society. Females are seen more as the objects of males, rather than individuals that have emotional and physical feelings of their own. These depictions harm the entire character of females and show the distinct weaknesses of abuse among many males in today’s society.
Along with the promotion of female abuse in the rap lyrics of many artists, one must realize that in a field that is primarily dominated by the men, few women seem o slip through the cracks and enter the rap and hip-hop music industry. In this industry very few females are taken seriously, which is obvious as Marl L. Shelton lists the few successful female rap artists in her article in Popular Music and Society. In her article, Shelton can only list the “core” of the artists that include TTL, Salt N EPA, Queen Latish, and MAC Late.
Along with those four artists/groups, today there are merely three other famous rap artists, including: Missy Elliott, Ill’ Kim, and Eve. In an industry that is filled with sexist lyrics towards women, it is evident that these male artists wont be taken seriously lyrically. With very few females involved in the industry and males entering it nearly everyday, females remain a heavy minority among the hip-hop industry. Since the lyrics that the males rap about seem to express masculinity among these artists, rap music has taken upon the stereotype of being more masculine.
Therefore when women enter the industry, it seems to be unacceptable for them to lyrically express feminine views. Feminine views are rarely seen among the lyrics of males, answering the question that females don’t belong in he rap industry because it is the masculine territory of men. Furthermore, with females gradually beginning to work their way into the rap industry, they are forced to repress their true feminine views and produce lyrical content that appeals to males and contains more masculine aspects. Marl L.
Shelton makes this evident in her article as she speaks on how women conform to masculine standards and base their lyrics on the idea of “gangster rap. ” Shelton describes the scenes of various female music videos that tend to be based in an urban, crime- ale artist rather than that of a female artist. Along with conforming lyrically and visually to masculine settings, female artists have transformed from being more masculine and fully clothed to the feminine approach of less clothing that targets a male audience.
Instead of standing for what they truly believe in, today’s female artists direct their image and their lyrics on what will sell rather than what they personally value as an artist. Women rappers are often seen in music videos dressed wearing nothing but underwear, while rapping lyrics directed towards males. In the Eng “How Many Licks” by Ill’ Kim, the chorus talks about how many licks it is going to take the male to get to her the center of her body. The song also is filled with moans and sexual content that appeals to the sexual pleasures of males rather than to the artist’s own feminine satisfaction.
Ill’ Kim focuses her song about various men that she has had sexual experiences with, degrading herself to the public, risking her image in an attempt to sell records rather than to promote the power of females. Even though women tend to be a source of degradation in hip-hop and rap music, his genre positively exposes the realities of the urban lifestyle. Rap music effectively shows the conditions of the “hood” and helps to open the eyes of the listeners that life for everyone isn’t easy and worry-free. In the song “Changes” by Outpace Shaker, the rapper illustrates an image of the common inner-city urban street.
In his lyrics, Shaker describes a scene where white and blacks are enemies, and crack sellers are around every corner. Yet, even though these lyrics talk about the violence in the streets, it talks about needing to make a change within the society. Shaker raps “We deed to make changes, Learn to see me as a brother instead of two distant strangers. And tats how it’s supposed to be. How can the devil take a brother if he’s close to me, uh, I love to go back to when we played as kids, but things change, and that’s the way it is. In the previous lyrics Outpace is encouraging peace within the community. He is encouraging whites and blacks to see each other more as individuals rather than two different enemies, but in the end he says that is Just the way the life is (filled with hatred). The ability that the rap and hip-hop genre has to expose how life really is in he ghetto not only can promote change, but it helps to show people of all socioeconomic backgrounds that life everywhere isn’t truly kosher.
Many of the rap lyrics composed by various artists focus on the neighborhoods that they live in, not generally depicting masculine views, but talking about how harsh urban life really is. As rap music continues to remain a top the music mainstream, new rappers continue to emerge daily from both the suburbs and the inner-city. With different tales to tell, rappers continue to conform to the ghetto image of the urban society. Yet, lyrically, rap music continues to express similar lyrics of female degradation and violence.
And as the years pass, it is likely that more female artists will land inside the rap and hip-hop music industry. Where violence is constantly being depicted, very few songs tend to express the true realities of urban life, limiting the views of people to only those of degradation towards women. And as long as the rap industry continues to remain popular among consumers, the lyrical content within the songs will never change; helping violence, hatred, and sexism survive in a society that is striving for change.