Disability in Hip Hop

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I had brought up Lupe Fiasco in class during our discussion of disability and disabling words and terms in hip hop music. I think that Lupe Fiasco is one artist that is very aware of the words that he uses and how he uses them, as well as the message being sent through his songs.

The song that I brought up is "Bitch Bad". The song is about how the term "bitch" is misused and how it means different things to different people. This song is not about disability, but it is about femininity and woman in general.

The song starts with the hook "bitch bad, woman good, lady better, they all misunderstood". He talks about how the word "bitch" is first introduced to young boys through music. In the situation that he makes, a little boy hears a song and his mom is singing along calling herself a "bad bitch", and he makes the connection that the word is an honor to how well his mother acts and dresses and carries herself. He also makes the scenario where young girls here songs where male rappers are talking about how they want a bad bitch, and they focus on the video vixen and what makes her appealing to the men (her skimpy clothes, provacativeness, et cetera), instead of seeing that she is merely a paid actress.

At the end of the song, the young boy and the young girl meet later on in their lives. The boy is disappointed because he feels that the girl is dishonoring his mother, who portrayed herself as a "bad bitch" by being independent and well put together instead of the ideal music video woman. The girl thinks that she is being a "bad bitch" by her actions and how she presents herself, and feels that that is how all men want their ladies to look and act; but their ideas don't match. Lupe uses the line "And he thinks she's a bad bitch, and she thinks she's a bad bitch, he thinks disrespectfully, she thinks of that sexually"

I feel that this song can show us a couple things.
1. Not very Hip-Hop or rap artist is ignorant to the songs that they create.
2. There are many types of words that portray a privleged point of view (sexism, racism, ableism, et cetera)
3. It is very common for artists to misuse words, and for these words to get passed down generations, which makes this type of vernacular so popular.

Within this, I have to admit that just listening to my music library on random for the past couple of days, I have come across SEVERAL songs that have ableist language.
- I Gets Crazy - Nikki Minaj
- Moron - Prof
- ADHD - Kendrick Lamar
- This Girl Crazy - Messy Marv ft. Lil Wayne
- Crazy 1 - Big Sean

Here is the link to the video by Lupe, please check it out!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3m3t_PxiUI

4 Comments

That is very interesting. In another class i have taken, we talked about how art is a combination of what the creator put into it and how the viewers interpret it, which is different for everyone. I have heard this song before, many times, but now i really know more about it. i am sure i am not the only one who doesn't look into song to find more about it. I just take songs for what its is, and i never noticed the subliminal meanings and effects music has to its audience, until now from what i learn from this class. Also, I want to mention that some artist rap about whatever for the money.

I think this blog is very interesting. I like that you incorporated Lupe Fiasco's music video and how he brought up many different interpretations to the term "bad bitch."

I think that people today interpret the term "bad bitch" into their own meaning. I typically think of it with a bad connotation and I would never want someone to call me a bad bitch. However, there are a lot of women in the world who for some reason pride themselves for being called a bad bitch. I just don't find this very attractive on their part. I understand that they may see it as a compliment, but I suppose everyone is different. Thanks for sharing!

I think this is a good point that you brought up. A lot of times, words used in a disrespectful way become normalized in songs like these and people form their own meanings in their mind. Sometimes I get discouraged when I hear a lot of songs with bad messages or with the wrong use of words, and it seems like there's no hope to fix any of it. But I think that the first step is identifying that there are issues with certain songs and how they can affect people. Thanks for sharing this!

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This page contains a single entry by sawye160 published on December 10, 2012 9:28 PM.

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