Hip-Hop has had a dark cloud over it for the last 20 or so years: its use of the word “b-tch” in reference to women. Whenever anyone wants to lob criticism at Hip-Hop, its degradation of women always comes first. The word is the safety net for people that want to disregard any good the genre does. Remember when Don Imus called the Rutgers team “Nappy headed h0es” and dodged the bullet by throwing rap under the bus for its language toward women? Or, when Hip-Hop was essentially blackballed from anything Oprah-related for most of her run.
In fact, Hip-Hop's use of the word “b-tch” may be the single most significant reason rap music has had trouble infiltrating the political or social activism sphere. No serious politician will closely associate himself with the person or policies of a person that casually throws such a vile word around.
Lupe Fiasco's “B-tch Bad” is the most important song we have in Hip-Hop.
Most of us that listen to rap don't call women “b-tches” in normal conversation. Hell, most rappers don't go around calling women “b-tches.” Yet, use of the term is just something we've all come to accept as a facet of Hip-Hop that just won't go away. If Jay-Z, who we know is married to one of the most beautiful and respected women in the world, still makes songs with hooks like “that's my b-tch” then how are we going to expect any other random party rapper to care about shifting the way we discuss women?
The “it is what it is” approach to the use of the word “b-tch” may make it easy for long-time Hip-Hop heads to dismiss the word's impact on younger listeners but every year the studies and facts come out showing how rap music is detrimental to the development of young Black minds. And, while it's easy for us to point out the immense good music serves for the culture, those studies will always exist and the use of the word “b-tch” will always be cited.
That's why Lupe Fiasco's “B-tch Bad” is the most important song we have in Hip-Hop.
When Lupe Fiasco hit the scene as a nerdy, otherworldly talented Chicago MC with a knack for political commentary and incredible lyricism, he was touted as the guy that would change the game. Nearly a decade and three albums later, he's finally crafted a song that can redefine how Hip-Hop – and Black America – addresses one of its most important issues.
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Photo: Atlantic Records