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What stopped you reading?
You really should continue. She raises some valid points.
There's definitely a problem when a lot of reviews either ignore or don't make a big deal of misogyny on an album (see: Yeezus). The article mentions Eminem's use of "personas" too, which I can understand but music that glorifies sexism still glorifies sexism no matter if the artist is playing a character.
There was plenty of discussion/criticism of the lyrics
I just think it's generally a problem in hip-hop that comes across as juvenile and silly and albums should be more heavily criticized for it.
I'm not saying that music is sexist if it contains a character who is sexist. I'm saying that if the music glorifies sexism and degrades women then it doesn't really matter if the artist is putting on a persona.
Anything otherwise, would be like saying a sexist TV show isn't sexist because the actors are all playing fictional characters and not themselves.
i guess that does explain it..
which couldve just as easily been written about many other high profile hip hop albums released recently
Well not unless you're seeking to sidestep talking about the issues in an attempt to have a go at the writer.
because it's an issue that's all too easily dismissed imo.
In the review itself the topic was pretty much dismissed:
"all that misogyny and homophobia that lurks throughout his lyrics has always been problematic"
Bloke's a cunt. If people stop misguidedly praising his shitty output we wouldn't even need to be discussing him.
these articles are always written by someone who doesn't listen to any rap music. e.g. using Danny Brown as a counter example - surely no one who has heard his music would hold him up as beaming example of feminism
rizzle kicks, britain's biggest hip hop group. i mean come on.
How is that any better than Blurred Lines exactly? This article's pointless.
oh it get my dick hard
Everyone seems to agree that NME are kinda shit, at least over here. Why does anyone still give a shit what garbage they spout off about anything?
not in noise tho.
‘The Marshall Mathers LP 2’ brims with dazzling acrobatic wordplay. The virtuoso is on monstrous form, spitting some of the cleverest and wittiest lines of his career. Line after line throws up unexpected twists and how-did-he-get-there moments. What he claims is true: lyrically he’s a miracle.
"That’s right bitch/we ain’t done yet" he raps after popping a girl a molly.
As a woman and long-time hip-hop fan, I’m sick of it. I love Eminem. ‘My Name Is.. ‘ was the first hip-hop cassette tape I bought in 1999 and I remember exactly where I was when I rewound it again and again and again, to learn the rap off by heart.
So basically misogyny's OK because this isn't a particularly well-written article?
There are posts here implying her lack of hip hop knowledge negates her valid point about misogyny ffs.
if you come into this thread primarily to complain about her musical knowledge you are implicitly condoning all those who listen to Eminem despite disagreeing with his views (as expressed by his lyrics).
Which just so happened to be so awfully written that it made me cringe throughout.
Of course, she's got a completely valid point, and in an ideal world there'd be no misogyny in hip hop, no homophobia in reggae and Slayer wouldn't sing about mutilating people, but that's what helps to sell records and, for the lady in question, there's a very simple option if she doesn't want to hear Eminem rap about beating women - stop listening to Eminem records.
thanks very much.
That is exactly what people are saying.
i feel like...
(a) it's perfectly acceptable to criticise the way a piece is written even if you agree with the general stance
(b) there is a general crisis of musical journalism at the moment, and this piece is a prime example of what's wrong with it. the same badly researched, tired polemics almost exclusively about misogyny in rap music - apparently Prayer To God by Shellac is OK because it's, like, rock music and Steve Albini is so cool man, and it's ok for Kanye West to co-opt the aesthetic of protest movements to flog his vulgar brand of late capitalist rap music, and it's hip and trendy to go on about black metal bands all the time despite them being neo-nazis.
(c) there's no consideration here that someone talking, in an artistic context, about violence towards women might not be glorifying it. i haven't heard 'the marshall mathers lp 2' but when these things come up in the past and you listen to the album.... lo and behold it's not presented as unproblematic but genuinely via characters that are clearly unhappy, unhinged, self-loathing etc... i think the main trouble is that this music is often taken under the wing by the absolute scum of society, thick masculine teenage boys, who misinterpret the music.
(d) as an aside, i think this failure to understanding that the music shouldn't be interpreted autobiographically is clear evidence that she doesn't know much about the history of rap music and why this lack of understanding has lead her to write a bad piece of criticism.... of course, the history of the genre is that of rappers using pseudonyms, having science fiction alter egos etc etc. it is pretty much a distinguishing component of the genre that the lyrics are fictional.
correct... i was trying to get the post done so i could get on w/ my day
I mean he talks about killing a woman sure, but in the context of the song which is much more focused on the killing of a man (let's remind ourselves of the chorus eh?) it seems like a bad example of misogyny per say: 90% of the violence is focused on the male figure in the song.
By all means accuse Albini of misogyny if you want (I mean there's the name of his second band!) but Prayer to God seems like a weird target to me.
Do you think the attitude in music criticism (and beyond) is that artistic merit and morality are entirely separate. Therefore a morally dubious record can still be construed as "good" because artistic value is all about truth and expression, rather than any grasp of "right/wrong"?
That's taking music at an artistic level; most have us don't have to care and will always dismiss his music because he's a misogynistic prick (I say most...but he's one of the world's biggest artists).
because it's too easy to just switch off when you hear a bad word, you don't get any of the context and you have no real understanding of what's really going on. there's also this assumption that a rap lyric displaying apparent misogyny could never be satirical or backhanded in any way, or that it's just part of some absurd character. just take a look at how successful childish gambino is with the white boys that don't listen to rap except for... - it's okay because he speaks well and everybody knows him from that shit sitcom on tv, so when he pulls a clumsy lyric about fucking bitches out his ass it's alright because we know he's joking. it's silly.
i absolutely do not claim to fully understand the culture of rap, and can only speak from my own feelings on it, but it's an area where i find it more enjoyable to be a spectator, much like you would for an action movie. you can enjoy the flair and the passion of something without needing to break each component down into moral categories and see if they align with yours.
Robin Thicke and Eminem appear to get a lot more criticism for their misogyny than black singers and rappers with similar themes and lyrics do. You might interpret that as positive discrimination, but I think it has to do with people 'expecting better' of white people. I find it really uncomfortable.
it's the same problem but in a less convoluted way
choosing eminem and his music as the subject of analysis means nobody can accuse the white writer of reserving particular criticisms for black artists (there does exist a body of writing on this topic already. it's a frequent criticism in the context of chris brown - it's very easy to 'hate' an artist whose work is generally irrelevant to someone of your race and class) or of reinforcing stereotypes about black male sexuality and violence. which makes the writing both really lazy and unhelpful. as fyd said above, she probably doesnt know much about the history of this music and she's probably aware that she couldn't really account for that history and how interwoven it is with anti-racist resistance.
it could also be because the women eminem raps about and threatens with violence are white. whereas most misogynistic hip hop is about and objectifies black women. they are more directly implicated in it but their interests and perspectives probably aren't as relevant to most white nme writers. in which case it's not that we are 'expecting better' of white men, we just care less about black women.
his voice is all funny and he goes really fast with his words and that.
If it's being introduced for films in some parts (see Social Board, where the idea is generally supported), why not music?
Dialogue doesn't really feature in most albums. Perhaps one instance where the voice (not necessarily an actual female voice) of a woman is represented without any reference to a man?
Albums could then come with a misogyny rating on the cover.
as the Parental Advisory stickers that Tipper Gore had slapped on the front of all the "explicit" albums in the 90's, in that it would simply make a record more desirable to the more impressionable members of society?
Also, what if I download the album illegally without having any knowledge of the misogyny rating and then get all offended by the words that come out of the artist's mouth who I've chosen to listen to??
and in sports
shows you it's not very reliable.
I know that film far too well.
gary and wyatt's fantasies
the subject being talked about doesn't need to be female just 'not a man'.
Can we end this now?
it's not about how feminist a film is, it's just pointing out how little the women in films even get to have a normal conversation.
But GG is talking about using it on an individual album basis which is flawed.
whcih is what they are advocating in sweden as far as I could tell
If people start seeing that rating and wondering what it means maybe they'll start asking why such a weirdly easy-to-pass test should be so hard to pass? It's certainly not harming anything.
Just Don't Give A Fuck.
And yes, he is a misogynist prick.
Just can't leave his music on or stay within an audible distance of it because it's really, really horrible to listen to
NEVER CALL A GIRL A HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
All part of the appeal. It's like complaining about Philip Roth books being sexist, or Mafia films being too violent.
but you lovely bitches and hoes should know
that I'm tryna correct this
jus' sayin is all
Look at these lyrics!
"How much sound from the brass to the air
Will it take, to put your bras in the air?"
"Don't let me meet your girlfriend
That'll just lead to babies like umbilical chords"
"But you told me you wanted more
I wished that I had played you like the whore, that you are"
why does so much rap music have to be so ignorant sometimes? I don't get why women and gay people get shit on so much. I'm not saying all rap should be put through a Will Smith filter, but it's hard to keep listening to and defending a genre that seems stuck in the past.
I don't want to make excuses for misogyny and homophobia, but it's a wider issue than just rap music. It's easy to live in our little liberal bubbles and pretend that sexism is an issue from the past, but it isn't. These attitudes aren't created in rap songs, they're created in society. While rap songs may perpetuate them, even then you have to look deeper at the record industry and ask how those attitudes became so prominent during the gangsta rap era etc.
Ultimately, rap music is an outsider culture that became a mainstream culture. It's not meant to read nicely on a page nor is it designed to be dissected in chin-stroking broadsheets. Listening to rap can be problematic, but tbh at least it's fucking up-front and can be dealt with on a case-by-case basis instead of lurking under the surface like a lot of pop music.
and rap isn't the only genre thick with issues like this. it just seems lazy to me to believe that's just how it is, rap will be rap
If you take a broad view of rap in 2013 and rap in the mid 90s, it's not like there hasn't been progression. With the internet, you can be any kind of rapper you want now and there'll be an audience for you if you're good (and to be honest, being good doesn't even seem that important). As these things develop, and mainstream rap and the underground get closer and closer together - I hope we'll see even more progression and better drawn female characters.
But at the same time, there's no getting around that a lot of rap is difficult and even offensive by design. It's difficult to compare it with other genres because its an inherently politicized art form - a lot of rap is born out of communities that are completely neglected by society and government, so it doesn't play by the same rules as other types of music. I'm not saying that means we should accept things like misogyny as fair game, but try growing up in a fucked up place with a shitty education and come out as a completely balanced and rational human being.
but I am having this conversation on the Drowned in Sound forum.
cause constructions of black men/rappers from those marginalised communities as ignorant and uneducated can naturalise some forms of misogyny and violence against women. i think you can overemphasise the fact that someone has been shaped by their own social exclusion, economic marginalisation etc. and conversely underplay their capacity to act outside of a 'role'. women will have grown up in much the same cultural and material circumstances as them. and they don't need to imagine or to "try" growing up in a fucked up place in order to fully understand their own experiences and the reality of the misogyny that violates and degrades them. in other words, it's not really for you or me to asses how harmful that misogyny is. idk.
I still stand by the fact that we shouldn't underestimate the significance that poverty, exclusion and marginalisation has on hood communities and subsequently rap content as a whole, but there are obviously countless of examples of those that do 'act outside of a role'.
More importantly, your second point is what is so often left out of the conversation. And as you mention below listening to what women have to say is really vital to this discussion.
You seem pretty confident that all rap does is repeat and prolong sexism rather than, maybe, that it might be part of a two-way process which also produces sexism in new forms. I think it's important to look at the particular forms of sexism/misogyny emanating from a style/text of music before passing any judgement about it. especially when your answer is: "because life is ugly and complicated".
but this thread has largely been a very broad conversation and I was writing in equally general terms to make a counter-point. Basically, what I'm saying is that this discussion is a lot more complicated than 'bad people should stop saying bad things in 2013'.
If we're getting into specifics, then I agree that each instance of misogyny should be reacted to on its own terms. Personally, I don't really go in for a lot of heavily sexualised rap because I'm uncomfortable with it, but I tend to just take it as it comes. Rap is by no means guilt-free, but it also does so many positive things that I can't stand seeing it reduced to 'why does rap have to be so ignorant'.
' she probably doesnt know much about the history of this music and she's probably aware that she couldn't really account for that history and how interwoven it is with anti-racist resistance.' (badly worded sentence but you catch my drift).
basically all i'm arguing for is interrogating specific artists and their work and being very open to the possibility that some music texts/songs/records promote violence and misogyny in a way that isn't merely mirroring pre-existing gendered oppression. i was just sceptical of your first point that: "These attitudes aren't created in rap songs, they're created in society. While rap songs may perpetuate them, even then you have to look deeper at the record industry and ask how those attitudes became so prominent during the gangsta rap era etc". because it's a very weak claim about the oppressive potential of any cultural production.
'why does so much rap music have to be so ignorant sometimes?'
I didn't say rap=ignorance. ignorance grows in all neighborhoods and shows up in much more music other than rap. like I said before. i'm really not trying to villainize rap. i think as a world we're struggling with some very basic things, namely equality among people, and it's very scary how ugly people can be toward each other.
I wasn't reacting to you specifically (although I know that my post read like I was), more just the general kind of discussions we always have in threads like these.
Actually, Kyle makes an interesting point that many other forms of media perpetuate misogyny and discrimination while it bubbles under the surface. There's a kind of inherent sexism which kids are taught from a young age, which is far more damaging that what you hear in rap music, in my opinion. This is the equivalent of cartoon Grand Theft Auto V violence; few take it seriously, and it has an altogether different impact on our individual and collective psyche.
The whole of popular media is utilised in a way which dictates gender roles and perpetuates stereotypes, and there's plenty of evidence to say that this kind of discourse, these more subversive messages, are far more powerful and destructive than something as blatantly ludicrous as Eminem chucking his wife off a bridge or whatever.
Rap as an art form isn't for everyone, but it does and has served as an outlet for some of the most marginalised and neglected people, people often facing real poverty and genuine struggles for survival (remember the mortality rate for an African American is roughly twice that of a white American), and often victims of almost complete social exclusion. The world looks pretty different from these perspectives, and rap music has often presented that, warts and all.
it's called patriarchy! thanks for that explanation though mate.
'there's plenty of evidence to say that this kind of discourse, these more subversive messages, are far more powerful and destructive than something as blatantly ludicrous as Eminem...' sorry but that's quite a silly claim. Eminem doesn't exist outside all other discourses. And there's no measure of the "power" and "destructive" capabilities of a particular instantiation of sexism. I'd like to see what methods people have used in gathering this "evidence" though.
'Rap as an art form isn't for everyone, but it does and has served as an outlet for some of the most marginalised and neglected people, people often facing real poverty and genuine struggles for survival (remember the mortality rate for an African American is roughly twice that of a white American), and often victims of almost complete social exclusion. The world looks pretty different from these perspectives, and rap music has often presented that, warts and all.' that's just really patronising. sorry night. i hate the music board.
My point wasn't trying to tell you anything you obviously don't already know, just to remind that it's a more complicated picture, before everyone starts pointlessly scapegoating rap music again. I also wouldn't claim that hip hop is somehow above or beyond the patriarchy, or care to actually defend misogyny in hip hop, but was trying to place it back into the much wider context that it exists rather than on some silly pedestal.
Anyway, apologies, and I'm going to bail before looking any more silly for discussing this in subject on drownedinsound.com/community/boards/music
however, i think it's possible to ask serious questions about misogyny and rap whilst being acutely aware of the cultural context in which it's operating. especially if we actually gave any attention to the views of black women. i feel a bit uneasy about how much this thread will inevitably be predominantly white men talking about a culture that they have actually minimal interaction with other than how it's presented in popular culture and art, mostly by men. cause there's been a lot of talking about 'people' and but actually what's being said only really relates to men's lives. your point that "the world looks pretty different from these perspectives" particularly has the effect of potentially silencing women in black communities in the us who might not share these 'perspectives'.
how do you know that you big willies? imagine if everett true was still knocking about with his derailing for dummies link, it'd be carnage.
Nick Cave's Murder Ballads (and most of his oeuvre) is filled with murder, rape, misogyny, drug taking, violence, homophobia.
Just find it interesting that there are certain types of artists who must be held responsible and others who are not. Not going to suggest that this is because some have artistic merit and therefore licence to express these sort of things, because that would be to imply that art works on the same principles as the free market, which it doesn't.
Was going to write more about this but I'm too tired. Eminems new album is crap but so is that article.
success is valued in and of itself. You know like a load of people hated yeezus but said something like 'fair play because he's doing something different' or whatever. A lot of people hated migos but said "you can't hate on them because Versace has struck a chord with hipsters and they're making money off selling ignorant hood rap which has been done a million times before". In contrast in rockist circles success is treated with suspicion.
Someone might like to expand on this, I dunno.
i think both articles (ariel pink and eminem) contain things that certainly need to be discussed, and neither are badly written, but they've been hooked onto the wrong examples for me.
- the very conflated use of 'twee'
- the complete lack of discussion about queerness and twee and the potential in the genre for subversion
- the total male perspective. why should women in tweecore scenes lack 'political credibility' because the writer thinks there are too many male, pseudofeminist hangers-on? there are loads of amazing feminist women in twee DIY scenes. why focus on men and twee culture?
-the point about peep show, that women are just trophies and symbols of advantage, is basically equally true of pretty much all western notions of romantic love. which i think peep show deals with in a more reflexive and knowing way actually. idk, not seen all of peep show.
- the writer, i think, is a man which makes it a bit dodgy that he's appointed himself a policeman of men who identify as feminists.
- downplaying of agency of women in twee scenes. it's like he thinks only he can tell who the feminist pretenders are and that the women who make up the object of their advances cant see through the duplicity. also what's wrong with going to a twee club and trying to 'get laid'?
by all means identify more insidious workings of objectification and the narrative of 'nice guys' using women to get back at school bullies or Revenge of the Nerds. i just don't think the writer did a great job of identifying it and discussing how it figures in these different works (peep show and tweecore. ariel pink is obviously a misogynist bastard). he presents the narrative as peculiar to twee and other related 'indie' things. when obviously lots of very mainstream things are just as bad (e.g. big bang theory). i take his point that twee culture can be self-congratulatory. but he's taken certain sexist elements of a very disparate scene/culture and used them to attack the genre as a whole. which is just really annoying cause as i said, there are loads of really amazing twee feminists. who deserve a mention ffs.
I think this situation and subsequent interview with Too $hort that went down last year is relevant and tbf way more worthwhile than that nme article.
keep it up