Rick Ross performs onstage at the 2012 BET Hip Hop Awards at Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center on September 29, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Chris McKay/Getty Images for BET)

Social media has been in a frenzy over the last few days over the newest lyrical offering from Rick Ross. In a verse on the song “You Don’t Even Know,” Ross raps about drugging a woman, and then raping her while she is incoherent. The offending line:

“Put Molly all in her champagne, she ain’t even know it

I took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain’t even know it.”

Justifiably outraged, bloggers and cultural commentators are taking Rick Ross to task for explicitly boasting about sexual assault. The lyric has proven to be alarming to male and female hip-hop fans alike.

To men, rapping about rape crosses a clear line into unacceptable behavior. Media personality Jeff Johnson penned an open letter soon after hearing the Rick Ross lyric, calling for brothers to hold each other more accountable for supporting music that boasts about sexually assaulting women.

And for women (especially for female sexual assault survivors), hearing an acclaimed rapper boast about rape reminds us just how unsafe we are, not only in the world of hip-hop, but the world at large.

This is nothing new, unfortunately

But this is far from the first time that misogynistic lyrics have made it into the hip-hop sphere. There’s almost a fatigue after decades of imploring rappers to stop referring to women as “b*tches,” “hoes,” and “tricks,” and using them as expendable props in videos and other imagery.

Even when the lyrics move into arguably violent territory — the ever-popular phrase “beat the p*ssy up” comes to mind — little is made of it. And despite that line showing up in no less than a dozen rap songs, it wasn’t until Lil Wayne compared the assault of a woman’s vagina to the beating of civil right’s martyr Emmett Till that music listeners called foul.

So why now? Why does this Rick Ross lyric cause such an outrage at this time?

One reason is the glaring explicitness of Ross’ rhyme. “I took her home and I enjoyed that, she didn’t even know it,” is aggressive, specific and direct, and there’s no way to argue that he’s not describing rape. Most other hip-hop songs describing sexual contact, while still often misogynistic, at least leave room for a listener to believe that women are consenting parties. But in this case, listening to a man gleefully rhyme about drugging someone and having sex with her while she’s unconscious feels like an alarmingly pointed threat.

In the shadow of Steubenville

The song also comes as the nation has highly-charged conversations about sexual assault and consent, prompted by the rape case in Steubenville, Ohio (in which two high school football players were convicted of sexually assaulting an intoxicated 16-year-old girl), and last year’s high-profile rape case in New Delhi, India (where a 23-year-old female medical student died after being gang-raped, beaten and impaled with a tire iron on a bus).

A number of female media personalities — such as Goldie Taylor, Zerlina Maxwell and Melissa Harris Perry — have been using their platforms to speak out against sexual violence and to open up about their own ordeals as rape victims, and countless commentary and opinion pieces on sexual assault — both by women and men — have been published by a myriad of news outlets.

Events in the news have opened up the dialogue about sexual violence among friends, lovers and families, and rape survivors have taken to social media and blogs to speak out about their personal stories. And increased discourse and awareness lead to increased sensitivity.