Jay-Z Blinks at ‘Big Pimping’ Lyrics and I Take Notice

In The Wall Street Journal last week Jay-Z blinked at some of the lyrics that he has used historically. He was referring to his bars on “Big Pimping”. Here is the first verse,

You know I thug ’em, fuck ’em, love ’em, leave ’em
Cause I don’t fuckin’ need ’em
Take ’em out the hood
Keep ’em looking good
But I don’t fuckin’ feed em
First time they fuss I’m breezin’
Talking ’bout what’s the reasons
I’m a pimp in every sense of the word, bitch
Better trust and believe ’em
In a cut where I keep ’em
‘Til I need a nut
‘Til I need to be (in) the guts
The it’s beep-beep and I’m pickin ’em up
Let ’em play with the dick in the truck
Many chicks wanna put Jigga fist incuffs
Divorce him and split his bucks
Just because you got good head
I’mma break bread
So you can be livin’ it up
Shit I part’s wit nothin
Y’all be frontin’
Me give my heart to a woman
Not for nothin’ never happen’
I’ll be forever mackin’
Heart cold as assassins, I got no passion
I got no patience and I hate waitin’
Hoe get your ass in

I mean shit, I do say that a sponsor/pimp is an owner so, he is just kinda laying it out, no?

How does a Black feminist respond, when one of the the world’s most famous rapper’s, blinks at saying this?

Where does a Black woman feminist meet a rapper where they are, is there such a thing in this context?

It reminds me of how easy it is to normalize talking shit about us and build a career off of it.

It reminds me of a post I have been thinking of “Rap Music A World Built on Black Pussy.” Please note that I said rap, not hip hop. Huge difference.

It also reminds me of tone of white people and institutions that apologize for slavery. What is the point of an apology without restorative justice? The hood still look crazy. In fact, I was awakened by gun shots last night. Somebody was mad and bucking blood.

How is an apology or in this case a recognition of sexist lyrics impacting our lives?

Is it meaningful because it may be the beginning of much needed discourse?

On the Crunkfeminist’s blog, Crunktastic related Jay-Z’s misogyny blink to the politics of dating while being a Black feminist. An awesome read that inspired me to write this. Peep it here.

Is saying “I regret those lyrics” a beginning or posturing or a combination therein, given the fact that human beings are NOT linear. I know I am not.

No I am not saying that what Jay Z is saying is analogous to slavery.

What I am talking about is how both racism, and sexism work in similar ways AND how women of color in general and Black women specifically experiences racialized sexism. I have written about it, here, here and here.

I remember being reluctant to criticize myself and Mobb Deep on Racialicious. Now the only reason I hesitate is to ensure that I choose the appropriate words and tone to get my point across. #OldLadyRapshit. #PeacetoUnkut.

My silence never protected me, never had, never will.

Engaging with rappers be some hairy shit.

Moya tried to holler at Nelly on Twitter a month ago to discuss the issues that arose between Spelman women and the Tip Drill video, but that went awry.

Just because it went awry doesn’t mean we shouldn’t raise these questions. In fact, it probably means we should.

Jay-Z is worth nearly half a billion dollars.

Because Black wealth is hard to come by, and because as Leroi Jones has said? “an analysis of the state of Black music in America tells us something very particular about Black people and the US,” his language is worth being analyzed.

Thoughts?

Big Pimping?

“Misogyny Blink” in Rap music?

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Comments

  1. says

    Is saying ?I regret those lyrics? a beginning or posturing or a combination therein

    It’s a beginning. I don’t want to condemn him and say it is posturing but come on dude has a catalog of Big Pimping and murder. His personal politics has always been funny to me. This is the same dude that still states that hip-hop has done more for race relations than the civil rights movement. My first reaction when I heard this was “how convenient,” and how easy it is to reflect when you’re sitting pretty good financially. I know folks don’t allow their artist to grow, so I will say it is good to hear him acknowledge problems in his lyrics.

    I am wondering if he will take a proactive approach to addressing his past language like Master P did after realizing he was sending the wrong message. Better yet, I’m wondering if young up and coming artist will take note or continue to record songs about throwing some D’s on it like Rosie Perez.

  2. Renina says

    V.

    I hear you. Truth be told I have had, in that past some really misogynistic tendencies as well. I felt that I had to push those limits if I was going to ride and work @ the SEC or Goldman’s, which was my goal back in the day.

    When I learned that he was worth nearly Half a Bill, I was like damn, that’s a whole lotta pimping. I speak these words from the perspective of someone who has done a lot of thinking around my own gender politics as they relate to BOTH men and women. #ummhmm.

    I think my next post is going to be about the how he wants folks to be more original yet he refuses to talk about your wife. I mean, come on ock. Nas Did.

    BUT.

    Nas is also beginning Def Jam to release his album, Jay owns his masters, or least the Reasonable Doubt jawns, I believe. 0.o

  3. says

    Note, I hate the fact that you make me read all these freaking side links. Win.

    The Jay quotes from Crunktastic post were on point. But to his credit Jay-Z in the past has been brutally honest about his outlook, his intentions and the audience. This is one of my favorite Jay-Z quotes because of its honesty. It’s loaded.

    “And the music I be making
    I dumb down for my audience
    And double my dollars
    They criticize me for it
    Yet they all yell “Holla”
    If skills sold, Truth be told
    I’d probably be, Lyrically
    Talib Kweli,
    Truthfully,
    I wanna rhyme like Common Sense
    (But I did five Mil)
    I ain’t been rhyming like Common since”

    – Moment of Clarity (Black Album)

    Jay-Z talking about love in an interview. Hmmm, how about recording songs about love, revealing your true emotions and making them good pop songs?

    Nas? I think he’s still playing checkers.

    ——-
    Gender Politics? In the past 3-4 years I’ve became aware. It is definitely a struggle but learning more about gender politics has been a tremendous help in my personal relationship. It’s really hard to relate when you simply can not see.

  4. Renina says

    Oh Shit V.

    Okay.

    If J explicitly chose to not rap like Common, because he need to advance his quotes then he MADE that decision to advance his quotes ock.

    I mean, what happens when you put your desires for quotes ahead of your desires as an artist.

    Not a week goes by that I don’t think about being the Black Girl John McWhorter. Trust. W/ my background and credentials, shit….I could make major dough trashing Black women, Oakland, Un married mothers, the Hood, Welfare queens, Black men, on and on.

    Jay-Z talking about love in an interview. Hmmm, how about recording songs about love, revealing your true emotions and making them good pop songs?
    ——
    I contend that neither one of them will talk about each other as it entails being vulnerable. He may be willing more so than she (Beyonce Knowles), just because a lot of his work has involved personal narrative (Brooklyn, hustling, mommas, daddies, cousins.)

    He gives us the Dope Boy who is worth half a billion because it honestly, supports both the rags to riches narrative AND White masculinity.

    White masculinity needs hyper violent Black men, because historically white folks told themselves that enslaved Black people were hypersexualized children and savages, who needed to be protected.

    Do people want to listen to Rap Music about how his wife likes her eggs.

    No, because there is NO space in Rap music for a “dope” selling Black man millionaire rapper to talk about how his wife likes her eggs?

    Or maybe it is. Remains to be seen.

    To talk about his wife is to render himself human, not a super hustla.

    Trust me honey, All my Lovers know how I like my eggs and my coffee. #oldLadyRap.

    Nas? I think he?s still playing checkers.
    ———–
    I caution you against being so dismissive here. Both Nas and Jay’s careers, the power to control how their narrative as disseminated are important.

    In some ways, Jays, Hammers and Nas’s career symbolizes to me that only to the extent to which you are useful to US Corporations will you be allowed to get your raps out.

    ??-
    Gender Politics? In the past 3-4 years I?ve became aware. It is definitely a struggle but learning more about gender politics has been a tremendous help in my personal relationship. It?s really hard to relate when you simply can not see.
    =======
    It?s really hard to relate when you simply can not see.

    Thank you for saying this. Peace to you and your family. Little Bear!

  5. says

    I hear you about Nas. Fortunately cats like Chuck D are still rocking despite corporate sponsorship. It just kills me when some people will state that he’s no longer relevant. I’m looking at Jazz pasts and present. I think Nas has the agency to get his music out there and still make an impact without the limitations of Def Jam. I thought his letter was a poor PR move.

    I can see Jay discussing love, being progressive with his overall subject matter without discussing his personal life. I didn’t listen to BP3 yet.

    Side note. I always found it interesting how 50 Cent openly embraces his character as a black man in context of white masculinity. He has no problem playing up the hyper violent black man role. 50 is the most conscious and self-aware popular emcee in the game.

    The limited space in popular rap is similar to the limited space in popular comics and video games.

    —–
    McWhorter. I’m not mad at some of his arguments when he’s not trying hard to be contrarian. The opposing view is interesting, helps me keep my guard up.

  6. Renina says

    Ummmmm.

    I hear you about Nas. Fortunately cats like Chuck D are still rocking despite corporate sponsorship. It just kills me when some people will state that he?s no longer relevant.
    =====
    Relevance to whom? To Rap Bloggers, To the Hip Hop Scholar Industrial Complex? To global Hip Hop Culture? To 14 year white rap fans in suburban Michigan? Relevance is relative.

    Side note. I always found it interesting how 50 Cent openly embraces his character as a black man in context of white masculinity. He has no problem playing up the hyper violent black man role. 50 is the most conscious and self-aware popular emcee in the game.
    ======
    When has he explicitly embraced this?
    Link please.
    Conscious and self aware? I am no doubting that he is. When you start selling your ass for white corporations you OUGHT to be conscious of something. My question is whether or not he admits this publicly which is a whole other conversation.

    Ok, rather than McWhorter, Shelby Steel. Luls. <<

  7. says

    Sorry no link on 50, but I’ve heard a number of 50 interviews and he sounds like he’s very familiar with the role of the super-scary-n** character. I would have to do some real digging to find a link, if(when) I do, I’ll send it your way.

    Now reading that Ayana Bird piece. Lunch time, I’m out.

  8. Kjen says

    Jay-Z and Beyonce have always interested me as the epitomes of the stereotypical Black femininity and masculinity and the concessions they’ve had to make to appeal to the broadest base possible.
    Hmmm, ultimately the comments were interesting but I don’t see them having a visible effect upon the immediate future of rap. Rappers still know to get attention,money they need to rap about certain narratives and they will if those are their goals.
    The only recent Jay-Z songs going through my mind are ‘New York’ and ‘Forever Young’ and when they were released I didn’t think about them of being proof of him progressing, willing to talk about different topics – I was thinking about how he is an aging rapper who wants to appeal to the broadest market possible (i.e. sellout). i’m troubled that those were my first thoughts now, but i’m willing to bet that even if he started making more progressive raps, he would not receive as much positive reviews as we would assume.