Thanks to ridiculous & ill-conscious rappers, we are discussing rape culture more openly. That's the good news. Check out this article by Ebony News & Lifestyle Editor, Jamila Lemieux for some of that incisive analysis.
The not so good news: this is hardly just about how idolized celebrities glorify gendered violence- it's that there is an entire rap industry dedicated to the worship of cash, racing to the top on everyone else's broken back, lavishing in luxury and joining the few who have distinguished and distanced themselves from the salt of this earth. The whole point is to escape destitution by achieving singular achievement. Kanye West and Jay-Z sang this tune for 16 tracks on "Watch The Throne." Beyonce, an avid supporter of women's empowerment joined this self-exaltation nonsense in her newest track, "Bow Down." Music, diamonds, Bentleys, and Maybachs all reproduce images of luxury that don't disgust us for their excess but instead illicit envy. And its so pervasive because its good music that we want to jam to.
But hip-hop- the source of those infectious beats, is an urban creation and an act of self-expression not limited to music. Its original purpose is no less than emancipatory- it challenges norms, it engenders consciousness, and subverts mainstream ethos. American hip-hop has been so powerful as to inspire new generations in global contexts of oppression to similarly use hip-hop culture to resist and inspire.
In contrast, commercial hip-hop doesn't challenge these neoliberal norms, they endorse them. They don't condemn
its exclusionary model, they just want to be a part of it. They want to be a part of the 1% rather than deal with the structure that made them part of the 99% and made their story an exception to it. In this context, women, and often girls, are commodified like cars, they are objectified like things. They are to be owned, enjoyed, traded, and compared to one another. They can be enhanced with surgeries like adding new rims- and all the while we all- women and men - condone and celebrate it. It's not a male affliction, it's a societal one that accepts neoliberal ideals and endorses patriarchal norms. So it should be no surprise that rappers talk over women to other men about women like objects, rather than as active subjects who must consent to sex before engaging in it. Otherwise, it's rape.