Attention: Hip-Hop Is Not A Woman
Thursday April 03rd 2008,
Filed under: Not Your Average,The Unkut Opinion
Written by:

There have been so many shitty trends over the course of hip-hop’s relatively brief life-span that it’s tough to pin-point the worst. Novelty dances named after comedians? The Roxanne wars? Weed songs? Love ballads? Tracks titles including the words “Represent: or “Keep It Real”? Nah, it has to be that tired old “Hip-hop music = a hot chick” concept. Should I just blame Common? As much as I’d like to, I’m not sure if he was the first to record the idea to wax (let’s assume he wasn’t), but “I Used To Love H.E.R.” was certainly one of the most celebrated incarnations of this oh-so-clever metaphor. Shit, even Ice Cube caught feelings over it and took a shot at Chicago’s favourite son on the first Westside Connection album (which in turn led to Mr. Sense serving O’Shea the ethering of a lifetime with “The Bitch In Yoo”).

Sure, it could be argued that several of these love letters to rap have actually been pretty good when judged on their own merits. MF Doom‘s “The MIC” and Tragedy‘s “Deja Vu” both work, but this is more of a testament to the abilities of Metal Face and The Intelligent Hoodlum that they’re able to use such a hackneyed theme and still win. Back to the Common version – the acronym used in the title should set off the alarm bells all by itself. “Hip-Hop in it’s Essence and Real”. Huh? While the track is widely hailed as a “classic” song, there are a few points about it that bother me. It’s not the tune itself which is the problem, as both the beat and the lyrics are effective, but rather the awful trend it inspired.

Thanks to “I Used To Love H.E.R.”, we’ve had to endure Erykah Badu‘s “The Love of My Life” and The Roots “Act Too (The Love Of My Life)”, plus countless other copy-cats that I’d rather forget. Com might also be held responsible for the much of the holier-than-thou “back-packer” mind-set that plagued the late-90’s rap underground (De La Soul‘s “Stakes Is High” is equally guilty). Instead of concentrating on making dope records, it became all the rage to make cheesy declarations that hip-hop had become “impure” and overly commercial. There’s no denying that there was some super gay music released at the time, but making lame “anti-jiggy” and “no more gangsta rap” songs didn’t exactly help matters, and was part of the reason that back-packers became stereotyped as whinging hippies. If rap really was a girl she would’ve dumped you lames long ago.

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60 Comments so far
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Lets not forgot Mega’s ‘American Beauty’! 1

Comment by The Funkologist 04.03.08 @

i would wager that the Her in a real sense is the european tradition of personifying spheres of influence as deities. perhaps the culture of Hip Hop is Athena (Goddess of Wisdom, Learning, the Arts, Sciences, Medicine, Dyeing, Trade, and of War)?

-ghost

learn. pray. grow.
read wundernews.

Comment by ghost 04.03.08 @

let’s not forget the second head of this annoying beast: rap songs that personify marijuana as the love of one’s life. Fuck H.E.R. and Mary Jane, I listen to rap and get cheeched, hunnid.

Comment by Dankweed 04.03.08 @

ha so funny…but if u lived around gangstas in ny or nj u wouldn’t want people rapping about shooting ur friends or u for that matter either…i don’t know it may be an urban american thing…u know..not wanting to get shot.

Comment by mercilesz 04.03.08 @

In many cultures, specifically African culture, anything that brings forth life, that creative force in nature, is given the feminine principle-mother earth, Godess, etc. Hip Hop has given life to many people globally, which has enabled them to prosper. If you look at the majority of artists you named, they have some semblance of “black consciousness”; most people consider Kool Herc the Father of Hip Hop but in the same breath will tell you that the Bronx “mothered/birthed Hip Hop”. Your cultural foundation will heavily influence your linguistic patterns. I don’t want to write an anthropologic thesis, these are just my thoughts and observations. I agree that most trends get bitten to death, including the Hip Hop as a woman metaphor.

Comment by bronxbred 04.03.08 @

“Com might also be held responsible for the much of the holier-than-thou “back-packer” mind-set that plagued the late-90’s rap underground (De La Soul’s “Stakes Is High” is equally guilty).”

Why not blame KRS? With Hip-Hop vs Rap? His philosophical rants had more of an influence on backpack kids than Common or De La — and aspiring ‘true schoolers’ hang off of his words until this day.

Comment by haroon 04.03.08 @

Phife’s “Melody Adonis” was a meager attempt at the trend but Pete Rock’s track was crazy.

Comment by sooch 04.03.08 @

european? naaa we dont call our continent the fatherland…..i agree with bronxbred…the mother is the parent hence the motherland…Athena was born from Deus’s(Zeus) head while Hathor(Het-Heru) is the predecessor of Athena in Egypt and gave birth to Horus who grew up to be Osiris(the egyptian predecessor of Deus/Zeus).Totally different philosophies and the reason while the Roman church denied the validity of the earlier Egyptian Coptic Church.Read the minutes of the counel of Nicea and u will understand more.They even replaced the mother with the “holy ghost” in europe because europeans hate women.Greece and Rome where homosexual cultures which can be seen in all of their phallic symbology.Catholic priests still can’t resist young boys to this day. Oh yeah the Nazis called Germany the Fatherland…that is a fact.Great observations BronxBred.

Comment by mercilesz 04.03.08 @

thats the counsel of Nicea

Comment by mercilesz 04.03.08 @

Afaik Christianity was hardly tolerant (ie stamped out) that man-boy shit in greece and rome, so i think that link to the catholic priests is a stretch, also considering that the majority of catholic priests are not italian, and almost none rgreek. interesting argument tho

Comment by Liam 04.03.08 @

common is the first I know to focus a whole song personifying hip hop as a woman. Peso (fearless four) did personify new york city as a woman on “She’s Wild” ’85….

Comment by kevin beacham 04.03.08 @

Liam Romans are not Italian in the modern sense of the word and Greeks are not European in the modern sense of the word however when the European talks about the foundations of the west these are the two civilizations they acredit for birthing Europe.Now the Catholic Church abroad owes Millions of dollars in lawsuits for rape and molestation of little boys and in America Catholic preists have the highest rate of aids of any occupation.This is a fact. In Rome and Greece the act of fellatio being performed by a boy can be seen in many monuments…this is a fact.Roman Chrisitianity is based on homosexuality because it originates from the greek orthodox church 1st.Even our term for female homosexuality comes directly from Greece…This is a fact.The men were sent to the island of Sparta to be trained how to fight while the women were sent to yup u guessed it…the island of Lesbos…hence the term Lesbian.Oh yeah i forgot to tell you my major in college was Ancient History.

Comment by mercilesz 04.03.08 @

from played out rap themes to the island of lesbos in 12 posts.

Comment by gx 04.03.08 @

Perhaps ‘Put it in you mouth’ by Akinyele was actually deep social comment about how we view Hip Hop as a ‘woman’ that can pleasure us as as long as we are prepared to pleasure her… ( so Talk Like Sex was about G Rap’s mastery over H.E.R. at the time )

WOW! and all these years I’d just loved ‘em for being songs about ‘wiping dick on curtains’ and ‘giving bitches permanent beards’

Comment by ED209˚ 04.03.08 @

I always thought I Used to Love Her was a clever song back when it came out. I cant’ believe that TO THIS DAY rappers still jack the concept

Comment by Finally 04.04.08 @

ed’s right les fuckus on skillz

A bumrusher, cause I’m a crusher of hardrocks
When I turn thirty, I’ll still be dirty as Redd Foxx

good shit R, beat em over da hed wif it

gud songs is gud songs learn yer records and talk shit

Comment by Mike Lavonia the storeowner 04.04.08 @

ha so funny…but if u lived around gangstas in ny or nj u wouldn’t want people rapping about shooting ur friends or u for that matter either…i don’t know it may be an urban american thing…u know..not wanting to get shot.
Comment by mercilesz

^ What’s that got to do with the price of fish? I don’t recall demanding that all rap should be about the “reign of the tech”.

In Rome and Greece the act of fellatio being performed by a boy can be seen in many monuments…this is a fact.

^ Ayo (technology) for this entire discussion on the origin of fudging.

Comment by Robbie 04.04.08 @

1 u said de la was lame for making anti-gangsta rap…i said they actually are from hempstead where you have bloods and crips and now ms-13 runnin around wylin but u don’t live in ny or nj so all the things rappers talk about u have to fantasize about therefore you really don’t get the severity of the situation.It’s just music 2 u.if u lived here u wouldn’t want that lifestyle glamourized by wannabe’s at all.

2 the origin of fudging? not quite…just stating that bronxbred is right about the reason y African Americans continue to personify things as female…because Africans have always done this and continue to do this long after we’re gone.Robbie if it’s played out it was played out well before your parents and their parents and anybody else in your family was born. God in Africa is female and God in Europe is male.sorry to enjoy the discussion of philosophy as well as hip hop.

Comment by mercilesz 04.04.08 @

The island of Sparta???? LOL

Comment by antipop 04.04.08 @

u said de la was lame for making anti-gangsta rap

^ No I didn’t. I wrote that they were mad at “jiggy” rap.

i said they actually are from hempstead where you have bloods and crips

^ Really? I didn’t catch that part since you never actually typed that in your comments.

Comment by Robbie 04.04.08 @

“u said de la was lame for making anti-gangsta rap”

thats not how I read it…

“…making lame “anti-jiggy” and “no more gangsta rap” songs didn’t exactly help matters”

to me thats saying the problem was making LAME records. The subject matter is not being held up as lame – what’s being addressed were the “cheesy declarations that hip-hop had become “impure” and overly commercial” – continuing this ‘cheese’ into topics such as ‘no more gangsta rap’ dilutes the message i.e. makes a lame track.

I’m only making this point as I always hear and judge music before lyrics – world changing lyrics over a wack beat is a wack track ‘to me’ – if the beat is alluring then I’ll listen again and again to get the depth of the lyric – if that depth is to be found. Both parts have to be firing to make a classic track.

4 candles or fork handles? interpretation is down to the individual.

Comment by ED209˚ 04.04.08 @

ur right i didnt…however they r from ny where gangs and gangstas do exist as well as shootings and people hustling on the block.again thats my reality so i understand why they made those records in an era of glorified hustling and killing.I wouldn’t call that era jiggy since no one in america used that term except will smith in 96 or 97 thats an early 90’s term when polo and guess and girbaud were all the rage. i would accept versace/coogi rap however and during that time u had groups like wu claiming italian/columbian/dominican connections which of course none of them had…they were just making rap records.De La had to say something cuz the fakeness was just to much and after they recorded that album we lost biggie to guess what ? gun/gang violence. again to truly understand our music u have to live within the culture and the culture is alive and well right here in good ol usa.its impossible to call backpackers and de la lame when u fantasize about it and they live it.sorry

Comment by mercilesz 04.04.08 @

oh and ed209 rap was lame in 97 and overly commercial however De La’s stakes is high was a classic that stood out during that time in which no one can remember any songs from.ny kids stopped listening to the radio and most of us stayed strict underground giving birth to such talents as cage and mf doom. if it werent for that corny versace/coogi era we wouldnt have people like mos def who strayed away andkept the real shit alive. just a thought.

Comment by mercilesz 04.04.08 @

^ Yeah Cage is “real talent” alright.
“Waaah, Eminem stole my ‘crazy white guy’ image! Waaah!”

its impossible to call backpackers and de la lame when u fantasize about it and they live it

^ I hope you were wearing you’re “vintage” Rawkus shirt when you typed that.

Comment by Robbie 04.04.08 @

no doubt kid…universal magnetic on rawkus…best single of 97

Comment by mercilesz 04.04.08 @

Can’t fault you there. That’s the only Mos record I own.

Comment by Robbie 04.04.08 @

i was actually wearing a polo bear tshirt under a group home tshirt…sorry. group home my fav group from e. ny

Comment by mercilesz 04.04.08 @

“I’ll bust your mom’s in the head with a metal pipe”

Comment by Robbie 04.04.08 @

yes sir…good rap… u see why i love gangstarr foundation…”and to allude to a record u mentioned be4 “ill shoot ur moms if i have 2″…dont u just love hip hop..

Comment by mercilesz 04.04.08 @

I’ll still co-sign the sentiment expressed in “Stakes is High”. It was a much needed balance to the over played commercial stuff at the time.
De La is from Amityville, more specifically the E. Massapequa area and let’s just say they arent exactly caught in the crossfire.
They definitely wasnt on some holier than thou shit, it was more of a commentary on taking responsibility for your seeds, your actions, and stop acting like youre “ready to die” when really just a 2 bit hustler selling fantasy. It was definitely some thinking man’s shit at a time when most werent so into thinking.
Mercilesz, between hempstead and ENY we were almost getting trees from the same spots.

Comment by keatso 04.04.08 @

mercilesz, you’re on some shit man, you must be smoking some space chronic, cause i majored in philosophy in college and the shit you say bugs me out, anyways, i fucking hate common, i don’t really care what he says, most of it sucks, he only had one track in the history of this hip hop game that i liked called panthers and it was mostly because it was with dead prez, otherwise fuck dukes, plus hes pretty homophobic and i think he might himself be gay with the way he dresses and shit, fool looks like hes posing for gq mag and shit, oh and on this whole hip hop as a woman thing, i think its easy for a bunch of male emcees to call hip hop or rap a woman, cause you can call it a bitch, or that “shes easy” or has been raped or whatever the fuck, but flip that shit and make hip hop a man, and it gets awkward, its easy to blame shit on a feminine source that brought forth an artform

Comment by gstatty 04.04.08 @

nah Statty u missin the point. africa says that all matter is feminine. hence matter = mother.mater in latin means mother thats an african concept.thats y i agreed with bronxbred.

Comment by mercilesz 04.04.08 @

Mercilesz – you are making totally valid points but making them using Robbie’s “making lame “anti-jiggy” and “no more gangsta rap” songs” quote as the jump off just feels wrong and dilutes your message.

What happened to “Don’t tell me what I’m thinking…ask me!” i.e. “Robbie… are you saying Anti-Gangsta Rap songs are lame?” as an opening shot gives a firm foundation for what you followed with… only I doubt the answer would have been ‘Yeah I AM’ – seewhatimsayin?

( BTW I’m no De La hater! I’m De La deep! They were a crucial group in my early development that focused my interest in music construction and LISTENING to the words. I’m going to have to go listen to “Stakes…” again and get back to you – I just know I wasn’t really feeling it ‘musically’ at the time so I wouldn’t have heard its lyrical message for the reasons I stated – thankfully music tastes change )

“mos def … strayed away andkept the real shit alive”

In the class of ‘Keeping Real Shit Alive’ Mr Def was an underachiever.

Comment by ED209˚ 04.05.08 @

“Roman Christianity is based on homosexuality because it originates from the greek orthodox church”
-disagree with this

“De La’s stakes is high was a classic”
-agree with this

kinda on topic, theres that joke that the greeks invented sex, but the romans invented sex with women. it started many a fight at my school lol

Comment by Liam 04.05.08 @

well y do u disagree with the roman church emanating from the greek orthodx? rome is a greek city state and a product of greek empiricism

Comment by mercilesz 04.05.08 @

cosign merciles. . athena actually represents the warrior/woman not the female energy . this warrior energy was the essence of the greek pilllaging of kemet . anyway female energy is very prevalent in the ancient spiritual systems (not western)

robbie how do u feel about lyin’ king ? is that one of the spawns or one of those responsible ??

Comment by dolo 04.05.08 @

De La is from Amityville, more specifically the E. Massapequa area and let’s just say they arent exactly caught in the crossfire.
“They definitely wasnt on some holier than thou shit, it was more of a commentary on taking responsibility for your seeds, your actions, and stop acting like youre “ready to die” when really just a 2 bit hustler selling fantasy. It was definitely some thinking man’s shit at a time when most werent so into thinking.”

Good way to sum it up

Comment by A 04.05.08 @

mercilesz rome was not founded as a greek city state, and while it undoubtedly was influenced by greeks (and assimilated them) it was founded by italic peoples as an independent entity that rose to challenge greek hegemony.

but this is all beside the point, the roman church did not grow out of the greek one, they both grew out of early Christianity and split in 1054. more importantly you have associated pagan greek cultural practices with a religion that not only outlawed them, but was never ‘greek’ or ‘roman’ in the first place. nhjic

Comment by Liam 04.05.08 @

This can all be settled by listening to Professor Ras Kass’ “Nature of a Threat”:

Stole from first man, Greek power expands
The first Greek fraternities band
The word gymnasium is Greek for “naked”
This was the place where adolescent boys were educated, and molested
This was accepted because Greek culture was homosexual
For example, Sappho trained girls on the island of Lesbos
Hence, the word lesbian (Ay let these dumb motherfuckers know)
December 25th, the birth of Saturn
A homosexual god, now check the historical pattern
December 25, now thought the birth of Christ
Was Saturnalia, when men got drunk,
fucked each other then beat their wife
Fact is, it was still practiced, til they called it Christmas
So put a gerbil on your Christmas list
The Hellenistic Era, Alexander the Great
Conquers all the way to India leavin four successor states
By the Fifth century B.C., R.O.M.E.
succeeds to be the conqueror of Egypt and Greece
But had the threat of the Black Phoenicians in Sicily
The Punic Wars began 264 B.C.
The Black general Hannibal and Carthaginian Peace
In 146 B.C. Carthage fell after a six-month siege
Rome sold every citizen to slavery
The first genocide of history
And more bisexuality in sight; Julius Caesar was known as
“every woman’s husband and every man’s wife” (BEOTCH!)

Comment by Robbie 04.05.08 @

No homo on this entire thread.

Comment by Robbie 04.05.08 @

Funnily enough, I was thinking of that song just the other day. Is he out of jail yet?

Comment by Liam 04.05.08 @

In my experience I have found that similar knowledge is being dropped in parole waiting rooms, street corners, and in subway cars. Not so much in the universities. Peace to the Gods and the Earfs.

Comment by keatso 04.05.08 @

i love the comments here..where else are u gonna read about the island of lesbos,a melachi da nutcracka rap quote,greek & roman history and a common record all at the same time?!?

Comment by dj blendz 04.06.08 @

Robbie.

Hip is a Girl, and you love waking up with her.
Smelling her.
Watching her get dress.

So stop lying to kick it.

Comment by m.dot 04.06.08 @

dj blendz got me laffing…word up rite? ha ha

however rome is a greek city state.every greek god was a roman god…they shared the same pantheon… hera/demeter is venus…poseidon is jupiter now st. peter and apollo/iusous was mythra/jesus and hermes was mercury…Greeks spawned Rome.Ask em’ theyll tell u. lol

Comment by mercilesz 04.06.08 @

yeah i used to like that song nature of the threat…not so much the beat but the lyrics…but U must learn is still my alltime fav next to the blackmans in effect. yay Robbie for bringin that out the vaults..i forgot about that song

Comment by mercilesz 04.06.08 @

Lets ruin this deep historical thread shall we..

“I went out the other day and saw this sweet thing – checked her out – she was looking good so I picked her up. Hand in hand we went back to my house – she chilled while I made a cuppa. I took her upstairs – slipped her out of what she was wearing and held her close – it was dark so I felt for the hole and and laid her down – ‘Nah’ – I thought ‘I’m looking for something special tonight’ so I flipped her over – put the ‘needle’ in her ‘groove’ and moved her back and forth. AH YEAH – thats whay I’m sayin! She got in my head so I let her take control – she rocked me all night”

Vinyl is a woman.

Comment by ED209˚ 04.07.08 @

Let’s just say that De La’s “Stakes Is High” was the perfect record at the perfect time. Being from Long Island as well, that record expressed EXACTLY what many of us were feeling….The whole shift to no talent, talking about nothing, bragging about shit you ain’t got BULLSHIT that had flooded the radio at that time. It was time for that nonsense to go back south where it came from, and De La let ‘em know. As far as my man Mos goes, so much potential, such a waste. Blackstar and Black on Both Sides were dope, inspiring records. After that, well not so much. Considering his brief cameo in Talladega Nights was the best thing he has been associated with in years is sad. “There is nothing worse than wasted talent.”

Comment by BIGSPICE 04.07.08 @

Here’s a list of topics that I think were left out of this thread, but could somehow be construed to be relevant:

Pop the Brown Hornet
Sam Peckinpah
Bring me the Head of Alfredo Garcia
Ptolemy
Gonzo Porn
Blue Tooth is the new fanny pack
Reggie Reg
BBO Enterprises
Labia Minora Origami
Fizzy Womack’s production skills
the fact that RZA used Bing Crosby “White Christmas” for Ice Water
calling up Kool T and Hurricane from the afros and manager Kenny Lee and finding out if there are any MC Hood demos that were recorded before his demise (RIP)the kid was raw
purple dank

okay with that let’s all get back to work, and for some of us that means hitting the books and learning a thing or two. Sure you can believe Rome was a Greek city/state, but that also means that you believe that the Aeneid by Virgil was nonfiction… it’s your delusion, use it how you wish.

Comment by Dankweed 04.07.08 @

Let’s just remember that after Stakes is High, De la assumed the “if you can’t beat em, join em” mentality.

Comment by keatso 04.07.08 @

except about half of “nature of the threat” is garbled nonsense. don’t get me wrong, the other half is speaking truth to power, and of course Ras Kass, in addition to making his nonsense sound x100 times better than anyone else’s, also deserves credit for tackling things few others talk about. whatever, ras kass is still on my short list of greatest mcs ever but that doesn’t make “genetic recessive blue eyes” type of stuff anything less than ignorant. one thing that’s always amused about this is that homophobia is like the most white-man-in-power thing of all time.

Comment by tony allen 04.07.08 @

delusion?….the same pantheon is a delusion? or did i loose u? u gotta come with some info to the contrary…and i just woke up ha ha Dankwwed is it?

Comment by mercilesz 04.07.08 @

Gonzo Porn
Blue Tooth is the new fanny pack
Fizzy Womack’s production skills

^ Top 3 Co-Signs from Dankweed’s list.

Comment by Robbie 04.08.08 @

Robbie – I’m sure thats a Ghostface lyric from Daytona PtII…

“YO YO I’m like gonzo porn … blue tooth .. the new fanny pack like Fizzy Womack on production skills … MC ULTRA!”

Comment by ED209˚ 04.08.08 @

lol @ ed209

Comment by KQ 04.09.08 @

and every female and male in ancient Greece did stints either on Lesbos or in Sparta, respectively?
Yeah, right!!
That is flat out wrong.
Where’d you get your history text? From the back of a comic book right next to the add for sea monkeys?

Comment by Dankweed 04.10.08 @

wow Dank…do u read?i said info to the contrary.
u gotta read a book dude.

Comment by mercilesz 04.10.08 @

“Hip hop’s not a bitch she’s just sick of being personified!”

Comment by Req 04.16.08 @

Stakes Is High gets more and more relevant with each passing year. Don’t front.

Comment by DocZeus 04.17.08 @

We seem to have forgotten the best “Hip Hop is a Woman” song of all time: Pharoahe Monch’s ‘Rape’.

Comment by Gary 06.11.08 @



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