Kanye West’s new album Yeezus is full of explicit, sexual braggadocio just like all of his other albums and all of the misogynistic tropes will likely be barely mentioned in the media in favor of long, whimsically worded musings on the album’s production and the rapper’s legendary ego.
But it’s hard to gloss over lyrics like “Black girl sippin’ white wine/put my fist in her like a civil rights sign” or “Eating Asian pu**y/All I need was sweet and sour sauce.”
Or how about this little gem from the “feel good” track “Bound 2” at the end of the album? “One good girl is worth a thousand b*tches.” How poignant. Surely he whispers that girl-power anthem to his newborn daughter every night before bed.
Where’s the ‘Rick Ross’ treatment
Academic and media personality Marc Lamont Hill tweeted that Kanye seems to have a “visceral hate for women other than Donda West,” his late mother. Agreed. And I say that as a fan of Kanye West. I think he is brilliant and I also think he’s a misogynistic knuckle-dragger.
West will likely not get the Rick Ross treatment for this album. Part of that is because Kanye does get a “pass” of sorts from a lot of people just on the strength that he is a talented artist. In a musical landscape where it seems most rappers slide out of bed, roll a blunt and mumble into a microphone for their latest platinum single, Kanye seems to be a perfectionist who is serious about his craft. You might not like what he puts out, but he at least seems to care about it.
The other reason that Kanye will not be Rick Rossed is that misogynistic lyrics are nothing new to hip-hop, so even though he has some terribly offensive lines on this album about women, the sentiments he expresses are unfortunately a staple in much of hip-hop. The difference with Rick Ross was the rape aspect.
For whatever reason, hip-hop fans will accept women being called anything but women (b*tches, hoes, sluts, etc), and hip-hop fans by and large seem a-okay with women being objectified; however a lack of consent crosses the line.
Taking misogyny to absurd lengths
So, Kanye can rap all day about b*tches and fisting and whatever awful/racist/WTF-ish things he’d like to do to a woman, but as long as consent is a non-issue, it is unlikely that Kanye would lose any potential deals or endorsements. He told us a long time ago he was looking for a “blonde d*ke” and nobody batted an eye. West being a chest-thumping neanderthal when it comes to women is not news.
The game seems to be more about how “creative” one can get with misogyny. Some people try and fail as was the case with Lil Wayne and his infamous Emmett Till line (“Beat that pu**y up like Emmett Till), but that was only because the Till family found it offensive. If Weezy had said Holyfield instead of Emmett Till, nobody would have cared. But who wants to have their vagina “beaten up?” Other than Amanda Bynes and her stated desire to have Drake “murder” her vagina, I think most women would prefer their vaginas to be free of violence. Just sayin’.
So, even though Kanye continues to take misogyny to ever more absurd lengths, we will likely continue to purchase, write about and debate about his music. Should misogyny be a deal breaker in terms of supporting artists? Why do we so readily accept the degradation of women in exchange for a witty line or a hip-swaying bassline?