Kanye West Fathers Newborn Baby Girl and Releases Misogynistic Record All in Same Week
Mainstream hip-hop has never been particularly feminist-friendly, and we can all admit that a certain dose of sexism and unnecessary sexual aggression towards women is expected to be present in the lyrics of the latest top-charting beats. Since I was little I can remember deep-voiced alpha-male rappers telling me to “shake my ass” and submit to the will of mens' desires, messages that were sent and are still being sent to millions of women all over the world in the name of “artistic expression.” Upon listening to Kanye West’s newly released album, Yeezus, it was hard to ignore the amount of female-bashing lyrics that were present and the negative light in which Kanye portrayed women, especially when keeping in mind that Kim Kardashian gave birth to Kanye’s daughter only a few days before the album's release. A simple Google search gives evidence that the bulk of critic’s reviews of the record have been extremely positive and hail West as a lyrical and musical genius, an activist voice on issues of racism and self-autonomy, and countless other positive titles, yet almost none seem to take issue with any of the sexist ideas that run rampant throughout the rapper’s music. The birth of the celebrity’s new baby girl makes the issue a little more immediate. In Kanye’s “I’m In It” off of Yeezus he raps about a “black girl sippin’ white wine” and proceeds to “put [his] fist in her like a Civil Rights sign.” I mean I don’t know anything about his parenting skills, but if I were Kanye I don’t know how I would feel about my future teenage daughter hearing me rap about shoving the Black Power salute into a woman who is used as a vehicle for domination and gratification. Whether it’s treating women as a number while degrading them with historically sexist terms in “Black Skinhead,” (“Three hundred bitches, where the Trojans?”), or insisting that giving sexual pleasure to the famous rapper is a more important job for women than their actual day jobs repeatedly in both “Sent It Up” and “I’m In It,” Kanye seems to make no effort to paint a respectable picture of the modern liberated woman, regardless of the fact that he is now responsible for helping to raise one into the world if the female gender is what she comes to identify herself with.
None of this is to say that Yeezus is a bad work of hip-hop in the musical sense- its experimental beats and hints of trap music, EDM, and even Chicago house all make for a groundbreaking album in the rap world and there is no doubt that Kanye has been a consistently talented artist throughout his career. However, do we really think it’s okay to praise a piece of work that depicts men as the traditionally dominating gender and women as good for nothing but sex and gold-digging in the name of “talent” and “expression?” And is it okay for easily influenced young male fans to accept these messages and perpetuate these roles? No matter how musically impacting this album may be, this question remains unanswered and relatively un-discussed in the music world, and as a woman who wants to be able to listen and sing along with Kanye’s lyrics without calling myself a “bitch” or a “hoe” every other minute, I encourage you to look past the trance of the media and the hype of the buzz and think about what kind of messages you’re actually putting in your head as you check out this new record.
You can check out all the hype for yourself and download Kanye West's new album, Yeezus, here on iTunes!