2 Live Crew
A HISTORY OF FOULNESS
I won’t attempt to give an exhaustive account of misogyny in popular music, since I would certainly receive countless emails about noteworthy vagrants whom I overlooked. According to Phil Spector, the Crystals liked getting smacked around (his wife, Ronnie, later begged to differ); the Rolling Stones kept girls under their thumb; the Misfits hacked the heads off little girls and put ’em on their wall; and heavy metal – well, that’s another essay entirely. Suffice it to say that while every genre has taken its shot at misogyny, hip-hop was the first to turn it into an art form.
Misogyny is a regular trending topic in hip-hop discussions because it’s become part of the canon – it’s more or less expected, even at the highest levels of the game. Bono might be a megalomaniacal ladies man, but he’s not singing “Bono gave a hoochie mono,” or “U2 don’t apply to getting head in bed.” Furthermore, females get assaulted at the highest levels of the rap game. One of Eminem’s first hits was about murdering his wife. Jay-Z – who is such a socially acceptable figure that Obama called to thank a brother for helping the campaign – is renowned for pimp rhetoric. Jay’s99 problems were famously bitch-free; he had his first major smash in the super slimy “Ain’t No Nigga”; and one of Hova’s most revered lines (albeit one he jacked from Big L) is: “All I’ve got for chicks is hard dick and bubble gum.”
I’ll give props to guys like Eazy-E, whose “Gimme That Nut” was one of the first insults that girls sang along to; as well as to Akinyele, whose “Put It In Your Mouth” was only made funnier when India Arie ironically used the same beat for “Video.” Nor can one forget Philly bad boy Schoolly D (who, if you ask me, gets deprived of props in various departments way too often), or such SVU suspects as Ice-T, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, the Geto Boys, and Snoop Dogg, who, from the jump, assumed a famously apathetic position on misogyny: “I treat a bitch like 7-Up; I never have, I never will.” I’ve heard countless interpretations of that spiel from Doggystyle (which, of course, also includes the seminal box popper “Ain’t No Fun”); but I take it to mean that he’s never treated a can of 7-Up like anything at all. Soda, I think, is just something that he doesn’t lose sleep over.
And of course there’s the underground; if not for such lyrically voracious smut peddlers as Cage, J-Zone, Copywrite, and Boston’s own Porn Theatre Ushers, then this pointless essay would have never been conceived. One of my favorite subterranean bitch-slaps of all-time – and one that pays particular homage to deep-throated co-eds – is Alcohol/Ism by Jay Love and Louis Logic (The Odd Couple). A follow-up of sorts to Lou’s not-so-nice-to-girls debut, Sin-A-Matic, A/I packs prime production and a rectum’s worth ofinspired tongue-twisting and vulgar ping-pong raps (imagine Run-DMC with no conscience).