Anyone who knows me knows I’m a huge R&B music “head”, my entire music catalog on my iphone give or take a few albums consist of nothing but R&B.

Even though R&B is my genre of choice, I’m not a stranger to Hip-Hop music (thanks to my big brother and step-dad) more specifically 90’s hip-hop. Tupac, The Notorius B.I.G, Wu Tang Clan, DMX, NAS, A Tribe Called Quest, Eric B. and Rakim, The Lox, and Busta Rhymes to name a few, are some of the artist I listen(ed) to. I’m completely aware that most of the lyrics of some if not all of the above artist are misogynistic and perpetuate stereotypical generalizations of black women/men, and growing up in the “hood”. You would have tomaxresdefault be an idiot to think poverty and crime are mutually exclusive to black and brown people in the inner city.

Of course some people take comfort in those stereotypical generalizations as it helps to further differentiate them from “those” types of people, you know your basic prescription for racism and classism “They aren’t like me, therefore I can’t relate”.

To most people I’m a seemingly harmless, free spirited, Afro wearing, intellectual militant chick from Philly, what they would never expect is that I have an inner thug, especially when I listen to certain hip-hop songs. While I take pride in knowing better therefore doing better, I can’t help but to think my inner feminist is utterly disgusted, as I can’t help but sing along aggressively when the beat drops and DMX spits,

Ain’t no other cats got love for me
Ain’t no cats gon’ bust slugs for me
Ain’t no cats gon’ shed blood for me
But my dogs, is gon’ be a thug for me


What these bitches want from a nigga
What you want (what you want)
What these bitches want from a nigga
Really want
What these bitches want from a nigga

(I know you tried your best Sisqo impression while reading those words don’t front)

I know I should be offended by most lyrics, but my inner thug friend just wants me to forget about all the bitches and hoes that I may or may not be referenced as and just listen to the story being offered over the dope beat and catchy hook.

It doesn’t make sense but hey it’s art, some art is more ignant than others and while the grown up “woke” intellectual feminist in me wants to be disgusted and reframe from using words like, bitches, hoes, and niggas I can’t imagine hip-hop without said bitches, hoes and niggas. To love hip-hop is to love the duplicity of its contradictory characteristics, hip-hop is militant, fun, uplifting, violent and degrading all at the same time. If that sounds familiar maybe it’s because some of the same characteristics can be found in what it means to live and experience life black (or as a minority) in the USA.




2 thoughts on “Thugnificient?

  1. That’s so true – it does create a little inner conflict for me when I listen to some of my favorite music that contains stereotypical verbal imagery; I sometimes feel like I should care more about the specific meanings conveyed by the language, but sometimes I just like the way the beat and the verses make me feel. And I think that feeling is priceless on a personal level.

    I know this is a little different, but one of my favorite bollywood songs is definitely a culprit – it’s a love song about a girl who wears a lot of jewelry, and it has some stereotypes in it. But I like it because it’s upbeat, and it makes me feel like singing along. I can’t feel guilty long enough to not indulge in the music. As for hip-hop, I feel guilty sometimes about the lyrics, but in general I’m having too much fun listening to and learning about it after having grown up in a household where it wasn’t allowed, and after living with a woman who… let’s just say she wasn’t exactly a fan.

    1. I have the same issues with certain songs and genres, but hey if it makes you feel good sometimes it’s worth looking past the negativity.

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