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The office-block persecution affinity.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

how you ain't gonna fuck? bitch I mean! I'm the GODdamn reason you in VIP or: feminism, hiphop, false consciousness, and my inconsistent principles

I am a bad feminist. Here is why I am a bad feminist: I am about to write a post in which I defend the indefensible. Here are six mainstream hiphop songs I love which are either partially or wholly... wrong. Wonderfully wrong.

Ludacris, 'Stand Up'



Why It's Wrong: it gives us our post title (unfortunately the video is censored so thoroughly that the 'new' first line of the verse makes no sense), which manages to encapsulate everything that's gross about the 'sex for goods' gender imbalance; the women are a giant cliche and all about their butts (and, to a lesser extent, their boobs); the lyrics encourage drunk girlfights.

Redeeming Qualities: the production is one giant BOMP of joy (thanks Kanye, I think); Ludacris is the flow equivalent of Lewis Black - angry and hilariously funny, often at his own expense; and the video contains giant things. Giant things rule.

Notorious B.I.G., 'Hypnotize'



Why It's Wrong: why *isn't* it wrong? Aggressive, scary, horribly violent and sexist, contains gratuitous Puff Daddy; the line about the girl tied up in the basement is fucking chilling; and, uh, the video is astonishingly stupid and contains dumbass interludes.

Redeeming Qualities: bassline, beat, and chorus, which ride roughshod over everything else and force me to love them.

Jay-Z, 'Girls, Girls, Girls'



Why It's Wrong: hmmmm. I can't possibly imagine what a feminist would have to object to in this song, can you? Jay-Z, the man with an adoring girl in every port, all of them waiting for him to turn up and reduce their entire beings to a couplet in his song; oh, and the casual racism is nice too.

Redeeming Qualities: the oldschool soul samples are pure delight; and I'm sorry, but Jay-Z is so fucking funny and inventive. I can't believe he makes the conceit of this song last as long as he does - every description is great! Apologies, my sisters. I sold you out.

Ol' Dirty Bastard, 'Got Your Money'



Why It's Wrong: erm, well, it's a song about pimping, general sexual exploitation, and threats of murdering women who don't come up with the cash. Oh dear.

Redeeming Qualities: ODB (RIP) is so completely ridiculous, grunty, and ranty that he undercuts his hateful lyrics at every turn (nothing is *less* sexy than Ol' Dirty saying 'sexy sexy sexy' - I tend to assume that he's like the 90s version of Screamin' Jay Hawkins or something); I have never laughed so much at a song as I have at this one; catchiest chorus ever thanks to Kelis; handclaps! Plus: bonus blaxploitation video is hilarious.

Justin Timberlake, Snoop Dogg, 'Signs'



Why It's Wrong: well, there are much, much worse Snoop songs. MUCH worse. This is just a generically sexist song, really: fickle hot girl won over by the cash-heavy gangsta, lots of scantily clad chicks in the video. However, that exchange where Snoop says 'you with your friend right? She ain't trying to bring over no men right?' has always struck me. Snoop, are you that challenged by the mere prospect of another dude at your party? Weird. Disturbing.

Redeeming Qualities: this Neptunes production job makes all human beings dance. It is a scientific fact. I challenge you to put this on at a party and see what happens. Also: Justin sings and dances; Uncle Charlie preaches; and Snoop does that thing he does with the laidback tone. It's pretty much pure love as soon as you hear the first 'Cupid don't fuck with me', and you never look back.

Ghostface Killah feat. Ne-Yo, 'Back Like That'



Why It's Wrong: hello, Ghostface? This is the double standard calling: I would like to let you know that you are a thoughtless, casual misogynist, because you cheated on her first, and she responded in kind, and now you're cutting off her finger to get the ring back and threatening her with 'my girl cousins, they gonna rock you!'? Dude, I gotta say, that's way uncool.

Redeeming Qualities: Pretty much everything else. Ne-Yo sings his little heart out on yet another catchy chorus with some old-school-soul-sampling production (I think there's a pattern emerging here for me); Ghostface gives us some interestingly rage-filled background to the whole sorry saga, because he is a fine storyteller; and I'm all about the random ranting at the end ('got my swagger back and all that!')


So, what have we learned? (Apart from 'never trust a female with no skills', of course.) I think we have learned that something which makes me dance or laugh has an enormous amount of leeway, and that storytelling trumps orthodoxy, and that, yes, I am a bad feminist. I'm not sure what to do about this, though...

2 Comments:

At 7:22 AM, Anonymous Tree said...

I am exactly the same! And I don't apologise for it either. I am in my twenties, relatively successful and independent, and yet this afternoon I lay in bed thinking, "my ideal boy is a ganster who reads books." Maybe it's the idea of being "owned" by someone, which is exciting, you know? Especially when you know everything you want you can get without a man. I am an indie girl at heart but fairly secretly fantasise about dancing in dirty hip hop videos! I think I'd add Glock Go Pop by Bobby Digital to that list...
Keep up the good work!

 
At 2:28 PM, Blogger Snorklewacker said...

Oh man, that ODB song is too damn catchy. How can I justify humming "baby I got your money" all day? It does pain my feminist heart, it does!

p.s. That Biggie song has the best bass sound of all time, yes indeed. Bumpin'!

 

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