Still, some hip-hop fans wonder: “What about murder? What about drugs and gangs? What about all the other immoral and criminal activities that artists have rapped about for years?” In the case of Rick Ross (and numerous other rappers), tales of drug-dealing and manslaughter are a form of theater, play-acting for sake of the art-form.

Rape, however, doesn’t lend itself to a “street life” fantasy. It’s all too real, crippling and traumatic.

As one friend put it, “Rappers might talk about murder, but few people actually know a victim of homicide. Almost everyone knows someone who’s been raped.” Out of any group of four or five women, it’s likely at least one of them has been sexually assaulted. And there’s no way to glorify that in song.

Rick Ross is not alone

There’s a virtually unanimous agreement that Rick Ross’ rape lyric crossed a line of decency, and that’s encouraging. Petitions have already been started to pull the song out of any possible radio rotation. Still, the work doesn’t stop there. While Rick Ross’ verse may be among the most egregious depictions of rape in hip-hop, there’s much more to be concerned about.

For example, a few weeks ago, Chris Brown took the microphone at a Hollywood club and instructed men to declare ownership over their girlfriend’s bodies. He then launched into song, singing the lyrics:

Don’t make me had to tell you again, that that’s my p***y, baby

It is mine, baby, babe, mine…

Don’t make me had to tell you again, that that’s my p***y, baby

It’s mine girl, It’s mine girl, It’s mine…

So you better not give it away.”

The bizarre song doesn’t explicitly instruct rape, but it equally contributes to the notion that a woman’s body is not her own, and that a man, by sheer virtue of being a man, can do what he wishes with it. This line of thinking is much more pervasive in our culture than the idea of drugging a woman and taking her home, and easily contributes to the fact that more than half of rape victims are assaulted by a partner, boyfriend or husband.

A history of sexual violence

A myriad of other sexually-aggressive lyrics have been swept under the rug in the history of hip-hop. And maybe that’s why Rick Ross thought he’d be able to get away with one of the few lines that explicitly depicted sexual assault. It’s great that listeners have drawn the line at date rape, but we all need to remain critical long after this latest outrage, and continue to call out artists who perpetuate rape culture, whether through a descriptive lyric or a seemingly-playful metaphor.

Whether slipping her a “molly” or “beating the p*ssy up,” anything that advocates sexual violence contributes to hip-hop’s reputation as a hostile environment for women and girls. And we can’t afford that when life so often imitates art.

Veronica Miller can be found on Twitter at @veronicamarche.