Adam Does Music – Lil’ Wayne’s “Rich as Fuck” and Misogyny in Hip-Hop

I know music, like, totally know music and stuff. Sometimes I’ll write about it but not in a snobby, douchey way. I’m doing it way cooler. This is Adam Does Music…

Here is ANOTHER blast from my past, completed unedited or updated, from my time at Brightlife Records in 2013. No, it’s not the 90’s but guess what? It’s my site. Enjoy!

Misogyny within the hip hop world is far from a recent issue. Criticism has been levied for years at the derogatory depictions of women as nothing but greedy, manipulative sex dolls within the genre, and the always tricky artistic expression is often cited in defense. While the use of inflammatory language and imagery certainly has its place within pop culture entertainment, whatever “message” is aimed for becomes muddled in between calls of ‘bitch ass hos’ being good-for-nothing sex slaves. Love ‘em and leave ‘em seems to be an accepted belief within the hip hop realm, and is indicative of larger social problems and warped, archaic cultural beliefs (which we don’t have the time to delve too deep into).

Lil’ Wayne certainly hasn’t attempted to help alleviate these misogynistic criticisms. He has been called many things, but a feminist would probably never be on that list. With songs like “Lollipop,” “Mrs. Officer,” and lyrics like, “baby just make me c*m, then don’t make a sound,” his opinion of women, at least within the context of his music and artistry, is, well, it’s not the highest regard for the female gender, is it.

Not that any of this has stopped him from becoming one of the biggest hip hop acts in the game. With his trademark raspy/nasal delivery and hood/skater/rock star amorphous style, the public demand for Weezy seems unquenchable. In 2013 alone, he has been featured on TEN singles by ten different artists (not including his two solo single releases), the latest of which was with the legendarily respected nu-metal outfit Limp Bizkit (sarcasm is reflected in words on a screen, right?)

His newest solo single, “Rich as F*ck,” was released on March 13 (and is not the ubiquitous “I’m on that good kush and alcohol…” track). A slowed down, laid back beat anchors a low-key celebration of Lil’ Wayne and his crew’s success, illustrated with the chorus: “All my niggas look rich as f*ck!” In addition, the song somewhat celebrates the violent, crime-ridden lifestyle of many young, urban (and, yes, mostly minority) men in this country, proclaiming, “I’m spraying that on these rusty niggas like WD40,” while decrying he, “Never talk to the cops…all rats gotta die, even Master Splinter.”

The song is good, as you’d expect from a musician of Lil’ Wayne’s caliber and level. He doesn’t disappoint in his delivery and flow, and creates many of the distinctive, clever wordplays in his rapping that focuses on the themes of the song. A chorus anchored by 2 Chainz provides a nice up-tempo contrast to the subdued verses. But a prevalent theme within the lyrics presents the common viewpoint (within hip hop and Lil’ Wayne’s discography) of women being there simply for a man’s pleasure and having no other interest outside of “wanting that hose pipe, so [he] give all these hoes pipe.” Another line alludes to his manipulating and using women as he’s “selling all these hoes dreams,” while also denouncing that one “can’t trust none of these hoes.”

Of course, Lil’ Wayne has gone on record that he “believes females deserve the ultimate respect at all times, no matter when, where or how,” in an interview with MTV News last year. While there is at least a touch of contradiction and hypocrisy in those words when you break down the music of Lil’ Wayne through the years (don’t song lyrics constitute a “where or how” for females being respected?), the fact remains that the culture of hip hop has been shaped to, in many ways, need to continue spewing out misogynistic themes and lyrics. While exceptions to this rule have been prominent at times throughout the history of the hip hop genre, by and large, it appears there is still a market and, furthermore, a desire to hear lyrics belittling women and raising up the patriarchal standard.

For artists like Lil’ Wayne, there’s little incentive to change their approach to the lyrics they sing and themes they push forth, particularly when the idea of artistic expression and freedom of speech rights are thrown into the mix. Until the day comes when these themes can be extinguished from popular culture, those of us uneasy will have to do what most Americans do when faced with a problem they don’t want to address: pretend it doesn’t exist.

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