(Un)Feminist Guilty Pleasure: Commercial Rap

My gay boyfriend Merv and I, caught on the scene (well more like at my apartment) probably after getting our thizzle dance on.
Now this is really really bad. It is so bad that I can’t even believe I am admitting it. And not just because of the rampant misogyny in rap music videos (which is over the top, grotesque and unapologetic), but because I am considered a hip-hop head that should stick to the *real* shit mayne! There is just something about certain mainstream pop-like rap tracks that get under my skin and stuck in my head and before I know it I am head bopping with the best of them and sometimes even wearing my hat to the side with some electro-glasses on.
Mind you most of what I am listening to isn’t even hip-hop, there might be some rapping but it is basically R&B and it has a groove that I can’t resist. For example I love this Lil Wayne track with Lloyd, it just gets me up and singing. And it isn’t just the super mainstream stuff, I like whatever young people are listening to all over the country. I just left the Bay and although it has seen its heyday, boy can I get down with some hyphy music, like E-40 or Mac Dre.
I have written about negotiating my feminism with my love for hip-hop, so this is something I have given a lot of thought to. And frankly, sometimes I can handle it, but most of the time I am thinking, was that really necessary? And there are moments that are so over the top (like Nelly’s Tip Drill track) which is just too much for me and I am grossly offended and ready to boycott the artist.
Does this music have sexist attitudes in it? It sure can and a lot of times yes. But it is also what my friends and my community listen to and not all of it is horridly offensive. Some of it is just cute. I actually got into commercial rap by hanging out with lesbians (well that and working in public schools for 5 years). I am not going to make a case for some type of reverse signification where we are reclaiming the music. We aren’t, we are human and we like good beats with cheesy bass lines and corny lyrics and relate to the universal themes of sexual attraction, love and heart break.
I have no idea how I will continue to reconcile my love for mainstream commercial hip-hop since I am aware of its nefarious corporate packaging, mistreatment of members and a form of music that people of my generation (from the golden years of hip-hop) consider to be responsible for ruining hip-hop as we know it. However, I will make the argument that I don’t think rap/hip-hop is any more sexist than other male dominated forms of music. So maybe your guilty pleasure is cock rock and mine is faux mainstream gangsta’ rap. Either way, if you see me dancing somewhere and you are like, “omg is that Samhita from FEMINISTING” just know I recognize the potential contradiction, but also, like everyone else like to have a good time, dance with my friends and have taken myself to the task of mastering the balancing act of hip-hop love and feminist self-preservation.

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