Many of us that listen to hip-hop, or even music in general, love the beats but only listen superficially. What we don’t realise is that there is so much behind each chorus, each verse. Hip-Hop is more than just a song or an album – just like the corporate world, its culture has underlying problems of misogyny and homophobia that we as listeners are exposed to, but do not always take notice of or act upon.
Misogyny in hip-hop is present in lyrics, in videos, and in other aspects of the music that support the objectification of women. This includes words like “bitch” or “ho”, which are featured in many songs, such as ‘FDB’ by Young Dro, with the persistent line “now fuck that bitch”. Songs such as ‘Stupid Hoe’ by Nicki Minaj also mention the word “ho” consistently; does that mean women in hip hop also support misogyny? I’m sure many women have a problem with misogyny in hip hop, but do we know we are indirectly supporting it? Even I cannot help enjoying a catchy song, but the fact of the matter is by singing and supporting these artists, we support what they stand for.
Lil Kim, Trina, and Rihanna are all examples of artists who refer to women, including themselves, as bitches and hoes
Self-objectification from women in hip-hop themselves is what I believe holds us back from overcoming misogyny in hip hop completely. Lil Kim, Trina, and Rihanna are all examples of artists who refer to women, including themselves, as bitches and hoes. As such influential artists, their audiences do as they do, so women listening portray themselves in favour of this misogyny.
“If you see something and you don’t want to be that because there’s such a negative connotation towards it, you try to separate yourself from it so much that it made me homophobic,” words from Kanye West himself. He expresses the pressures to conform to masculinity in hip hop and how this poisoned his perspective of gay people. This implies the presence of artists in this industry that do not have a specific problem with homosexuals, but due to pressure to conform they worsen the environment for homosexuals in hip-hop. This is because they fear being classified as gay themselves and thus being treated differently. This pressure forces homosexuals to be ashamed of their sexuality, and to live secretly in an industry built on a platform to express thoughts and feelings, which should be accessible for all artists regardless of their sexuality.
The fact remains that as much as misogyny and homophobia are morally wrong, they will always be present
How do we overcome these problems? The fact remains that as much as misogyny and homophobia are morally wrong, they will always be present. All are entitled to their own opinion and to express this opinion, so although many see these problems as severe issues, there will always be people who don’t, who in fact support these problems and will continue to depict this in their music. All we can do is use our views, whether for or against, to influence those around us.