Rap should not be only genre getting bad rap on misogynistic song lyrics

4 Jun
The original Guns N' Roses Album cover for 1988

The original Guns N’ Roses Album cover for 1988

Hello SK Fans,

Many reasons why there’s been some time between posts, not the least of which being a heavy pollen count that left My Pub quasi debilitated.

But we’re back today with a topic that was actually an inspiration for this blog: Misogynistic Song Lyrics.

Now, here’s a subject that people just can’t stop talking about. There are few things sweeter than the melodic hooks, stanzas, licks and so on about harming women.

The topic came to light in today’s New York Times’ piece “Retro Rap that Puts Women Down” that focuses on misogyny in rap lyrics. If you don’t feel like pressing the link, we culled a few ditties from a popular Chris Brown song, “Loyal” here. You will see where this post is going.

 

Why give a bitch your heart?

When she rather have a purse

Why give a bitch an inch?

When she rather have nine

 

My Pub and I are not familiar with this “hit,” but, having spent years carpooling tween and teen boys, she is somewhat familiar with Rap. (She actually downloaded Chingy’s “Right Thurr.”)  She had rules. Offensive songs were off-limits – i.e. ‘I wanna freak in the sheets who’s a lady in the streets’ –  and the boys respected that.

Rap songs, however, are not the only offenders.

Years ago, as a card-carrying member of the National Organization for Women My Pub was listening to Jimi Hendrix’s “Hey Joe,” for like the millionth time when she began to actually absorb the lyrics.

jimi

Hey Joe, where you goin’ with that gun in your hand

Hey Joe, I said where you goin’ with that gun in your hand

I’m goin’ down to shoot my ol’ lady

I caught her messin’ ’round with another man

Yeah, I’m goin’ down to shoot my ol’ lady now

You know I caught her messin’ ’round with another man.

 

Now, being a Southpaw myself, I have a love of left-handed guitarists, which may be why the lyrics slipped past us for so long. Now that we’ve really listened to the words, we have to wonder why this song is allowed on the same airwaves that broadcast news accounts of women killed in the name of domestic violence.

This does not make sense.

Jimi did not write Hey Joe, but made it a big hit – pun intended – and we cringe every time we hear it.

That’s not the only offensive classic hit.

Recently, My Pub was locked in traffic on Memorial Drive, when she decided it was time for some Ozzy. Switching to the heavy metal pre-set, she caught this:

I used to love her

But I had to kill her

I used to love her, Mm, yeah

But I had to kill her

I had to put her six feet under

And I can still hear her complain

I used to love her, Oo, yeah

But I had to kill her

I used to love her, Oo, yeah

But I had to kill her

I knew I’d miss her

So I had to keep her

She’s buried right in my backyard

Oh yeah, Oo yeah, whoa, oh yeah

These charming lines are from “Used To Love Her,” which is on the 1988 Guns N’ Roses album ‘GN’R Lies Exclusive.’ The jacket art was originally emblazoned with “Wife Beating has been around for 10,000 years” on its cover. (Like that’s a good thing.) The album cover was changed, the song was not.

Now let’s go Down Under for some Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap by AC/DC in 1976. Not familiar with it? Here’s an excerpt:

If you got a lady and you want her gone

But you ain’t got the guts

She keeps naggin’ at you night and day

Enough to drive you nuts

Pick up the phone, leave her alone

It’s time you made a stand

For a fee, I’m happy to be

Your back door man hey

On a lighter note, here’s the Rolling Stones with their 1966 B-side “Under My Thumb.”

Here are a few highlights:

It’s down to me

The difference in the clothes she wears

Down to me, the change has come,

She’s under my thumb

It’s down to me, yes it is

The way she does just what she’s told

Down to me, the change has come

The way she talks when she’s spoken to

Down to me, the change has come,

Under my thumb

Her eyes are just kept to herself

Under my thumb, well I

I can still look at someone else

Well, we could carry on forever.

Before signing off, though, here are a few lines from one of our favorite singer/songwriters Warren Zevon.

He took little Suzie to the Junior Prom
Excitable boy, they all said
And he raped her and killed her, then he took her home
Excitable boy, they all said
Well, he’s just an excitable boy
After 10 long years they let him out of the home
Excitable boy, they all said
And he dug up her grave and built a cage with her bones
He’s just an excitable boy.
wahoooo, wahoooo!

(That’s Linda Ronstadt on background vocals.)

Oh, it is all so disturbing, but yet the beat goes on.

We ask: Why does society turn a black, we mean blind, eye to domestic violence when it is in art form? We are without an answer but perhaps you have one. We’d love your opinion and examples of other offensive song lyrics.

xo, LMA

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9 Responses to “Rap should not be only genre getting bad rap on misogynistic song lyrics”

  1. sued51 June 5, 2014 at 7:21 am #

    LMA…I understand about your Pub being under the weather from allergies…I have been feeling the same!

    On this subject…you are completely right…it is not just rap, not just music either…movies and TV shows depict misogyny. It makes me uncomfortable to feel I “like” such things (I also like Warren Zevon, so your quote was an “ouch.”)
    One the less extreme end, I tried to watch “Mad Men” because everyone said how great it was, but after a couple of episodes, I had no desire to watch further. I found it disturbing to watch the way women were treated in the show, every though I knew it was accurate to the time period. ICK…

    • Louisa May Alcatt June 5, 2014 at 7:31 am #

      We have not seen Mad Men, but were intrigued, because like you, we have heard so much about it. The fact that it is degrading to women makes us wonder if it only is perpetuating that attitude to a younger generation. The younger set may deem it acceptable as this behavior is being modeled by celebrities on a hit show. thank you for your comment, xo LMA

  2. Carol Jamison June 5, 2014 at 7:10 pm #

    So many lyrics, even in popular songs today, are degrading to women. You’d think we would learn, but somehow it is still acceptable to sing about killing women, raping women, you get the idea….actually Ms Alcatt, you state it far better than I!

  3. soonie2 June 8, 2014 at 9:40 pm #

    Think I’ll go listen to some Bach…

  4. LB June 9, 2014 at 9:30 am #

    Great point! Country music / pop music are similarly problematic … full of references to how a woman looks in her tight clothes … so many songs are about women from the physical perspective. And also the man still bringing home the bacon while the woman is NEVER overwhelmed with care of the children and home. Caregiving a home and children is the hardest job (no 15 breaks or 30 minute lunch breaks) … yet somehow the women in these songs always look and dress sexy!

    • Louisa May Alcatt June 10, 2014 at 1:31 pm #

      You raise an excellent point LB and we were just scouring youtube for a country song that respects women for who they are. Alan Jackson’s She Don’t Know She’s Beautiful -despite the conjugation error – came to mind. We also came across as Dana Gilmore poem,which will be our next post, xo LMA

  5. onespoiledcat June 25, 2014 at 7:43 am #

    Oh I SOOOO agree. There are a few songs that celebrate the powerful, positive, pretty, loving side of women but somehow they take a back seat to the negative. Sadly a lot of young folks seem to be “into” that….hopefully that will change otherwise we’ll have another generation of negativity brewing!

    Pam

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Stop promoting violence against women | Suffragette Kitty - June 16, 2014

    […] few weeks ago we posted a rant on popular song lyrics that we deem overly offensive to women. On the way to work this morning, my pub heard the first few […]

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