Respectful Rappers Rock Tumblr
Whatever you’re into, chances are it has a Tumblr (for better, or for worse).
The latest single-topic Tumblr to grab my attention is Respectful Rappers, which features photos of rappers with more progressive versions of famous raunchy lines and bears the tagline “If rappers were a little less angry and misogynistic.”
“Sometimes I need to be alone /
Bitch don’t kill my vibe, bitch don’t kill my vibe.”
“Ass ass ass ass ass”
You get the point.
I’m aware that this is intended to be satirical and humorous, and no, not all of them directly address misogyny. However, there’s no denying that this is yet another example of rap music and hip hop culture being singled out. Make no mistake, I am NOT excusing or defending the misogyny that has been prevalent for the better part of hip hop’s existence. I am all for calling out misogyny when it is expressed, but I’m not here for the sentiment that rap has the monopoly over the market. The discussion of misogyny can and should be expanded to examine how it influences popular music overall. One example that definitely deserves a closer look is the vintage country western song “Cocaine Blues,” as famously performed by Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison in 1968:
The song starts off like this:
“Early one mornin’ while makin’ the rounds
I took a shot of cocaine and I shot my woman down
I went right home and I went to bed
I stuck that lovin’ .44 beneath my head”
And later, there’s this:
“The judge he smiled as he picked up his pen
99 years in the Folsom pen
99 years underneath that ground
I can’t forget the day I shot that bad bitch down”
But Johnny Cash isn’t held in contempt for penning lyrics that glorify violence against women and illicit drug use. In fact, he’s revered as an “American Treasure” and as Jon Stewart pointed out on The Daily Show, honored by the White House for his contributions to American music. While this an extreme example, and doesn’t fully embody Johnny Cash’s massive body of work throughout his career, it’s worth noting that this song more or less has gotten a pass for the last 4 decades and is considered a “classic” which says a lot.
For the TL;DR crowd: we need to stop treating misogyny as something that is exclusive to rap, and address it accordingly as we encounter it in all genres of music and popular culture.
I’m not going to lie though. The Big Sean picture made me cackle like a hen.
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