Hip-hop has long been notorious for it’s disrespect towards women. Granted there are a lot of good artists who refrain from the easy-to-slide into culture, and it’s extremely catchy slang. But, sadly many artists still try to imitate the subject matter that rappers like Kool G Rap, Too $hort, and 2 Live Crew, gained mainstream attention with.
Many rappers have taken influence from the 60s and 70s pimp culture. Children’s movie star Ice Cube and SVU’s Ice T adopted their names in part from reading the well known pimp Iceberg Slim’s last book, Doom Fox. Most pimp references in Too $hort and Snoop Dogg’s music, ultimately can be traced back to Iceberg Slim. Even Jay-Z has referred to himself as Iceberg Slim in the lyrics to his song Who You Wit.
This disrespect for women in ingrained in some of the great in the hip-hop game, and while not as prevalent in today’s music as the late 90s and early 2000s, it is still far from acceptable.
Fetty Wap has always been in the news for being a good bloke, he has given a young boy the confidence to not wear his prosthetic eye and is not afraid to go against the macho man culture of hip-hop, by tearing up when he discussed winning Music Choice’s MC100 Award of 2015. But, would you go as far as to say he is a hip-hop feminist?
Legendary rapper MC Lyte thinks Fetty Wap is a bona fide hip-hop feminist. During a roundtable discussion at the White House Council on Women and Girls, which specifically focused on women in hip-hop, Lyte pointed to Fetty as an example of how to respect women in rap music. “He may have a very unique way of presenting his ideas, but he does love women,” she said. “For what he’s up against in this climate with all of the other emcees, he’s taking a stand. He’s being pretty courageous right now with what it is that he presents in his music. Because it’s really not the norm.”
Lyte also referred to artists like Kendrick Lamar, Big Sean, Common, and Talib Kweli for discussing women in a respectful way in their music, and urged all rappers to realise they needed to take responsibility for the content of their lyrics.
MC Lyte has brought up and important issue within the hip-hop genre and I don’t mean to discredit her or Fetty Wap. I just think it’s hard to find a rapper with a good positive representation of women within their songs. In Fetty Wap’s shout out to his girl – Trap Queen he comes oh so close, but loses it in the last verse – “I’ll run in ya house, then I’ll f*** your hoe.” I think ‘feminist’ might have been the wrong word. I do, however, totally agree with the aforementioned artists being “at the forefront of what could be a great change in hip-hop.”
“What I will say is that we need to give a few of these good men a chance in hoping that they will develop to be something else in the future,” Lyte said. “I know that when I first started I used a whole lot of profanity. I wasn’t good at communicating, so I just used what I knew. And the more you understand that you’re not just rocking for the block, that these words are going out across the entire globe. You at that point have to take responsibility and accountability.”
Hip-hop is far from rid of it’s chauvinistic and derogatory character, but I do believe in what MC Lyte has said. She has started the discussion and put forth some rappers with the ability to change the next generations ways.
Lyte also created the perfect way for me to Segway into Fetty Wap’s new song. “Big Sean raps about his grandma,” she said. “Any man that raps about his grandma you gotta show some love to.”
Which is exactly what I am doing now by showing some love to Fetty Wap’s new track called Grandma, which is dedicated to his grandma who scolds him for wearing his pants too low.