Thinking About Jay Electronica & “Choking Women During Sex.”

I hate them record scratch assed moments when I have to rethink whether or not to deal with an artist. Or whether I will be able to listen to them the same way after I heard them say something bugged out with regard to women, Black people or Black women.

Context. I rode for Jay. Read posts here and Jay Electronica is Basquiat on Wax.

I saw the videos this morning of Jay Electronica surveying his audience during his shows asking whether “All Women Liked to Be Choked” during sex (@00:20 sec).  Please note that in this clip he does say that he “didn’t say that all women liked being choked during sex,  some women do.”

I couldn’t help but think, man listen, here  goes another Clipse-esque “Tree Huggin Ass Bitch ” moment. The context is that I use to be a huge Clipse fan until I realized that they were calling me a “tree hugging ass bitch.” I still bump them from time to time, but it ain’t the same.

With regard to Jay Electronica, the issue isn’t the fact that he is discussing sex that involves erotic asphyxiation, or grabbing or smacking. Get it how you live. Sex on mutually agreed upon terms between two adults is what the streets want.

The issue is that when he asks “Do All Women Like Being Choked” question over and over again at different concerts, along with making statements like “You know what that means there’s a lot of women in Seattle getting choked against they will..[crowd laughter] ”  he is contributing to an environment that renders sexual violence as normal, an environment that already blames women for being sexually assaulted, a sexual ecosystem where 60% of sexual assaults are not reported to police,  a sexual ecosystem where every 2 minutes someone is sexual assaulted.

The issue is the silencing the woman in this video (@3:25 sec ) who tells him “It’s not funny.”  He responds saying “We know its not funny. Relax”  and then commands the crowd to repeat after him. Peace to her for speaking up. She is a #bravebear.

There is a woman who said she no longer felt safe after one of the “Do All Women Like Being Choked” incidences, and left the show.

There were rape victims in the audience. They are everywhere.  How did they feel?

Mr.  Fantastic pointed out that Jay mentioned choking women in a freestyle on a mixtape, I haven’t heard it, so  if you have a link, please leave it.

He is also “surveying” here at a performance at the  Hiro ballroom in NYC last July.

@afrolicious and I use Exhibit C’ing as a verb. As in I will Exhibit C you. As in where is that art that you keep talking about producing? Get to it.

Artist have the power to change the world because people listen closely to what that they say, this is why they are influential.

For that reason I listen closely to what artists say.

What do you think of the video?

Isn’t a bet around whether women like to get choked during sex rather odd?

Other thoughts?

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Comments

  1. says

    Wow. That’s mad disappointing. I love Jay Electronica. I mean, how many other emcees refer to Tesla and Fyodor Dostoevsky in their rhymes? But him joking about women getting choked during sex? I feel like he’s like any other rapper talking that “fuck bitches/fuck hos/etc etc” clap trap.

    Et tu, Jay Elec?

  2. Renina says

    Et tu, Jay Elec?

    I don’t know sponge bob.

    In a soceity organized on proteting a dominating women HOW could a man be differnt unless he is willing to be TAUGHT how.

    This is not letting him off the hook.

    I look at it like this.

    Men have a vested interest in keeping the narrative going, patriarchy assumes that they will never question it.

    The same way White folks have an invested interest in never questioning racism. Something has to happen where they be like “NO. I will question this when it arises.” But that is a conscious decision that they are rewarded for NOT making. #Ummhmm

    I knew you would appreciate this post.

  3. says

    I’m not surprised. Every once in a while there’s an emcee who appears conscious or enlightened and praised by the peoples, slowly but surely some ugliness rears its head.
    @Renina, yeah what you said. Men will rarely question it or take the time to think about it, I’m not an exception but I recognize how language normalize the crap.

    Whether its Jay Electronica, Kanye West or Common it doesn’t surprise me. Many of them will quickly defend any other rapper talking that “fuck bitches/fuck hos/etc etc” clap trap. Common and Talib Kweli has explicitly stated their solidarity with those rappers often. I always thought that was odd but I kind of understand. So this controversy buzzing around Jay Electronica does not surprise me.

    Who knows? Hopefully the backlash will make Jay aware that people are not feeling what he’s saying. But I doubt it because it sounds like he’s going out of his way to discuss choking during sex.

    End note, some what relevant, Chuck D eventually apologized for recording Sophisticated Bitch of PE’s debut album YO! Bum Rush the Show. And I recently checked out an interview where Spike Lee realized how crazy “She’s Gotta Have It” was. With age comes wisdom . . . and daughters that you have to explain yourself to.

  4. Renina says

    End note, some what relevant, Chuck D eventually apologized for recording Sophisticated Bitch of PE’s debut album YO! Bum Rush the Show. And I recently checked out an interview where Spike Lee realized how crazy “She’s Gotta Have It” was. With age comes wisdom . . . and daughters that you have to explain yourself to.
    =========
    Because of this research I have been immersed in She’s Gotta Have it.

    I don’t know about having daughters as the litmus.

    Many men have daughters and still behave the way they do. Or they just treat them like they are human and other women are bitches ho’s, et al.

  5. Kris says

    Wow…thank you for this! See this is why I’m ansty about going to a lot of hip-hop shows. Cuz part of me is just waiting for that record scratch moment. I remember seeing Madlib perform a few years back and he had this bit in a song about ho’s and freaks and starts pointing around the audience and at one point his finger lands right on me. I love you Madlib but you do not get a pass. Just because a hip-hop artist is more underground or creatively enlightened does not mean they somehow “get it.” I pretty much expect to be disappointed at some point by all of my hip-hop faves.

  6. says

    “Many men have daughters and still behave the way they do. Or they just treat them like they are human and other women are bitches ho’s, et al.”

    Yeah, look at Eminem. He has a daughter and that doesn’t stop him from writing rhymes about killing his daughter’s mom and burying the body somewhere. Oh, and Jay Elec has a daughter too, if I’m not mistaken. And so does Common.

    “Something has to happen where they be like “NO. I will question this when it arises.” But that is a conscious decision that they are rewarded for NOT making. #Ummhmm”

    Sad but true. And great analogy.

  7. says

    I was just thinking about some friends with daughters. Some began to think about their actions and words while others (read:many) continued with the same program, same channel and same M.O.

    Snoop makes distinctions where he puts his mother, daughter, wife in one group and have no problem trashing women in the same breath. I see.

  8. rob says

    Here’s the freestyle that he kicks before he goes into his choking shtick http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_gf0yRM7Dg

    So here’s one of my initial reads: left-of-center hip-hop head blogosphere/twitterverse latched to jay because he’s a throwback to the golden age of conscious, Nation of Islam infused, east coast centric rapper who cares about his craft. However,the other side of all those early 90s dudes coming out of the NoI/NGE tradition is that when talking about women they were paternalists at best, if not outright misogynists. I don’t think anyone from that era escapes indictment.

    I know lots of people have already made that connection, but I thought it bares repeating not to excuse what he did, but to historicize the comment and the evolution (or lack thereof) of gender politics in “conscious” hip-hop?

    Speaking of which, has anyone written at length on the presence of progressive gender politics in Erykah’s work? Should we assume that she has a progressive outlook on gender/sexuality?

  9. says

    Thanks for the shout out!

    I been thinking.

    By not restricting his bet to just Black women, Jay Elec crossed a line. His bet is… weird… and I have no context for why or where it comes from. I leave the videos scratching my afro, really questioning what in the world is going on more than being outraged.

    I’m still gonna use the term Exhibit C (writing an email to this effect right now) because I know how powerful the context is. Jay Elec’s wordplay in that song is… for the win.

    I can do this because I don’t consume his image. I learned a long time ago not to trust an image, especially that of a rapper. As much as I want hip hop to respect me as a woman, I don’t get that often, even from the best of the creators. Additionally, I don’t expect progressive gender politics from most people, so to some extent I’m not disappointed.

    It’s not a perfect rationale, but it’s how my filter works.

  10. says

    Its not just Black women. I don’t see any evidence of this. The crowds are multiracial…and I would imagine that Seattles was HELLLLLLA White.

    I hear you re-your gender expectations. This is hard for me to reconcile with Love and Change are always possible.

  11. Renina says

    Rob!

    Thank you for stopping by and commenting. You will find that we have fun here @ NMM.

    Re- Erykah.
    OMG. Get out of my head. Moya, Summer and I are presenting a panel on Black women @ the
    Critical Ethnic Studies conference in the spring. My paper is tent titled “Will We Be Ho’s in the Future Too: An Analysis of Erykah Badu, Octavia Butler and Future Black Women Sexualities.” I have not thought about analyzing gender politics in E’s work but I certainly am open to it.

    Time permitting, are you will to read such a paper?

    Re-Jay Elec:
    I hear you on historicizing Jay Elec. However, I wonder if you or anyone would be willing to do the same thing in the face of White racism.
    What I am getting at is, in the last 24 hours, you are the second Black man to bring up the history out of which a Black man is rooted to contextualize their misogyny, the other time occurred in a conversation about Jim “I chase women out of windows” Brown last night.

    I mean…I don’t hear people saying well you know…The Tea Partiers come out of a very particular history…..feel me? While I am not saying that Jay, the Tea Partiers or Jim Brown are analogous..I am certainly thinking of HOW and WHEN we deploy the “lets historicize” for a minute Renina steez. I guess this is me interrogating the historicizing…which is what your comment asked for.

    Again…Welcome…You push my thinking on this and I appreciate it.

    Permission requested to use your comment in the Blog post.

    OH AND THAT Jay Elec Clip is going up in a blog post Friday.
    @1:54 sec

    “A Pretty dime, with a neck full of baby powder/
    put time in, try to get a baby out ‘er/
    Pull her hair, squeeze her neck, bring the crazy out ‘er.”

    Oh word. Pull her hair, squeeze her neck, bring the crazy out ‘er. Houston I see a pattern.

    ~R

  12. z.bediako says

    “Will We Be Ho’s in the Future Too: An Analysis of Erykah Badu, Octavia Butler and Future Black Women Sexualities.”

    *love!*

  13. rob says

    I would definitely love to read your prospective paper. sounds dope.

    Also, feel free to cut out or take anything that you want to use from things I’ve said or written.

    re historicizing jay elec

    I definitely feel you and just so I’m clear, I don’t want to use historicize here as a synonym for rationalize. More broadyly, I think it’s beneficial to historicize everything (food, music, love, politics, etc).

    Specifically in this case, I think it is precisely because jay’s thoughts are irrational and oppressive that we have to take the time to understand the specific spaces and places that he inherited them and how they may be part of larger tradition within the conscious rap movement.

    I think that it’s key for those of us who are concerned with fighting oppression to be very clear about how different forms oppression get shaped by different histories. From there, I think it gives us a better map of how we engage, argue with, and hopefully defeat these various forms of oppression.

    Sometimes you gotta use tiger style, sometimes you gotta use crane.

    SN: I know we slapbox on different sides of the internet, but your comment on the tea party made me think of some of the work that I’ve written and read on the rise of the New Right. In the last 10 years or so, a really robust historiography has emerged that tries to take modern conservatism seriously as a longer historical force. Nixonland is a part of that but there’s a lot of really good stuff that emerges out of this literature on the internet which does take the tea party seriously and tries to find its roots.

    Sean Wilentz had a really good piece in the new yorker a little while back.
    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/10/18/101018fa_fact_wilentz

  14. says

    Um. Ma’am. YOU are the #bravebear

    If I was more tech savvy and time-having, I would read your posts ALL the time. You’re one of my favorite cultural critics, hands down. Keep raising that hand high in the air. It’s a bird soaring. Your mind is a clear sky.

  15. Renina says

    Thank you.

    What a nice thing to say. Was thinking of you tonight and ways of celebration.

    Congratulations on defending your thesis. Coming out of these institutions whole with our passion
    intact is quit the feat. I couldn’t be there in person, but you were certainly on my byrd.

    Cerveza’s y cupcakes? Lemme know.

    Love,

    R

  16. Renina says

    Rob,

    #ummhmm.

    Historicize ? Rationalize. Okay. That’s cool.

    “I think it’s beneficial to historicize everything (food, music, love, politics, etc).”
    ========
    Well duh. You’re a historian. Luls. Kinda makes since. Take that, take that, take that #noPuff.

    I think that it’s key for those of us who are concerned with fighting oppression to be very clear about how different forms oppression get shaped by different histories. From there, I think it gives us a better map of how we engage, argue with, and hopefully defeat these various forms of oppression.
    =======
    YAS! And I would say as a feminist theorist that “how different forms of oppression get shaped by different histories and how those histories are influenced by gender. From there, I think it gives us a better map of how we engage, argue with, and hopefully defeat these various forms of oppression. Awesome.

    What have you written about the rise of the New Right and when can I read it, *gulp.* #sharebearMuch?

    And will you share it with “our” generation or perhaps write about it in your blog. I think we Need more historicizing of White working class rage, in 250 word bits, as opposed to just saying “them white folks are racist.” Feel me?

  17. a daughter of yemonya says

    I was quite excited upon hearing about JE’s signing with JZ (I am no fan of JZ’s music but when he speaks I do enjoy to hear him and knows he exhibits signs of simple brilliance…the dichotomy…hmmm). I thought the signing could be a push for more intelligiable music, and interplanetary audial lyrics and images being heard in mainstream airwaves. I was born and grew up alongside hip hop and now that I am an adult I am looking back at not only my development through the years but hip hop’s as well… I am curious…

    I have just recently (yesterday) come upon Jay’s comment and have gone through a myriad of emotions and at the very root of it I am confused and concerned at the state of the world especially as it relates to women. My husband and I have been avid appreciators of J.E. and his music, lyrics and overall character (from what we of course are privy to). I too understand we are all human…however, I do find this situation very baffling on many levels but mostly unsetteling metaphysically, karmicly (not sure if it’s a word but I hope my gist is gotten;)) spiritually and even generationaly…I digress

    My husband and I went to a Mos Def concert in ATL and JE opened for him, we were just as excited to see him perform…his energy was off the charts his flow was fluid and his charisma was aces. After his set he did something very different he led the whole audience in a non religious, universal yet sincere and divine word of non specific prayer. I thought the words he chose were poignant but the whole act quite different we both felt (after discussing on the way home that evening) that that prayer really set another tone for that evening and the crowd seemed more united (maybe it was just us). No one heckeled him, told him to shut up…I fact many of us united hands, hearts and spirits. And I am unsure of whether he did it at each and every concert but that is a thought worth pondering. BTW both Mighty mos and JE ROCKED IT that night!!

    I feel that had I gone to his concert in Seattle and he began or ended his set with the question he is NOW posing to audiences worldwide, I would have felt entirely different, not to mention the energy of the crowd. I know I would have left the building until Mos came on and then maybe would haven’t even stayed for his concert only feeling he could be “guilty by association” especially if it was polled at every concert…again I digress a bit…

    After the concert, a friend of our was good friends with Mos and wanted to introduce us which was an added bonus of the evening so we waited outside and while we were waiting we were graced by JE…he wasn’t talking to everyone either, but he came and spoke to us (a group of sisters and my husband) and we inquired about his daughter and her well-being and he beamed a ray of light and broke out his cell phone and shared pictures and a brief story about Mars. Being a mother of two, a wife, daughter and aunt I felt his joy radiate and was touched to be a part of that moment with him…So fast forward to the present when I heard, read and meditated on the poll/bet he is posing I found my disturbance in these points here…
    (Like you I know that consenting adults do what they like when they like and that’s one thing so rough sex, violent sex to each their own) BUT when attending a concert and having the person I am coming to see pose a question of this nature: 1.knowing there are minors present (he make his disclaimer in the video of him in Seattle) 2.knowing women are present and I am assuming this next point (based on the words he prayed at his previous concert) but 3.knowing the seed you are planting by stating a question of this nature in the minds of the public, the universe over and over again really upset me, saddened me and also alarmed me, at the lack of respect and consideration for the women from whence he came from and fathered. It alarmed me also because I had just seen a clip of Kanye’s new video Monster and there are many images just in the 40 second preview of women (mannequins) hanging from ceiling and Kanye kissing dead looking women, while fondeling their genitalia, and knowing the connection between KW, JZ and now JE and praying that this is not the next level of abuse on women. I really am not against nor in support of the conspiracy theories but I am aware of my ancestors and spiritual guides and the knowledge of the power of words and ritual and I do stand firm in stating that this is a dangerous thread to “gamble” with…I know for a fact if his under aged daughter went to a concert and this was a topic of discussion AND GODDESS forbid a choking/sex incident like this occurred to his underaged daughter IT WOULD BE NO LAUGHING MATTER.

    I am aware as adults we are all given choices and it is up to us as individuals to make our choices (right or wrong) and deal with the outcomes (positive or negative). The reasons as to the “whys” of this question are mute to me…was it a pub stunt, is it an intiation, was it “male” humor, is it really just a bet, is it linked to a song or was it simply a joke. However, the repercussions are what concern me.

    I know we all make thoughtless mistakes and because I know of second chances I am prayerful that JE will step up and admit to his irresponsibilty of this poll and right the wrongs that he has set into motion…and if he doesn’t I can no longer support this brother based of the fact that I am a woman, daughter, sister, wife, and come from a divine line of women.

    I am grateful to you Renina for this blog and posting and making a united stand.

    Peace, love and positive motion with the ocean by the light of the moon goddess…
    a daughter of Yemonya

  18. Mike says

    Why would it not be a problem that he asks the question “Do All Women Like Being Choked” b/c ppl “Get it how you live” but a problem that he asks he more than once on the tour?

    He says why he’s asking, he’s made a bet about women being choked. That another rapper (Might be Nas, could be wrong) said that “all women like to be choked to some degree” and he said “some liked to be choked but not all”.

    Also to me the joke is being read wrong. He’s not making a joke about guys forcibly choking women, he’s making a joke about how women don’t admit to liking rough sex in public most times. That’s what the whole bet thing is about and that’s definitely what the jokes in regards to.

    Ppl (Both men and women) still seem to think that the only women who like rough sex are whores and mentally unstable women. When in actuality it’s common for any type of woman to enjoy rough sex or incorporate it into their fantasy role-playing.

    Can ppl tell what me what an actual “Conscious rapper” is? B/c most of the ones I know either hate the term or I don’t consider them to be “conscious”. I think Mos Def said it best “They’ve got their little categories, like ‘conscious’ and ‘gangsta. It used to be a thing where hip-hop was all together. Fresh Prince would be on tour with NWA. They keep trying to slip the ‘conscious rapper’ thing on me. I come from Roosevelt Projects, man. The ghetto. I drank the same sugar water, ate hard candy. And they try to get me because I’m supposed to be more articulate, I’m supposed to be not like the other Negroes, to get me to say something against my brothers. I’m not going out like that, man.”

  19. Renina says

    @A Daughter of Yemonya
    Thank you for taking the time to respond. I read every word.

    I am seeing that one of the things we have to be careful with is assuming that because a man has a girl child that they creates a sensitivity, or should with women. Men can Love their daughters and beat their wives, Shit, women can Love their sons and beat their daughters.

    In some ways, I seeing that we need a language to talk about treating ALL human beings like humans, and not rooting the treatment in being “related” to someone.

    @Mike
    My understanding of a “conscious” rapper is one who’s rhymes have a beginning middle and end, someone who is socially aware of racial issues pertaining to Black men in particular, may talk about other marginalized communities as well. Kweli, Mos, Lupe, Com, Nas are five who come to mind.

    You seem to be calling into question the politics of WHO gets to name groups in Rap music. Is this true?

    Also to me the joke is being read wrong. He’s not making a joke about guys forcibly choking women
    ======
    Peep @ 3:07 sec.

    And peep the comments HERE of women who have RECENTLY been choked against their will this week.
    http://bit.ly/fri8gL

    His words are “Someone is getting choked against their will tonight.” How can this be read “wrong”?

  20. a daughter of yemonya says

    Thank you for taking the time to my post this topic is near and dear to my heart.
    ====================================

    “I am seeing that one of the things we have to be careful with is assuming that because a man has a girl child that they creates a sensitivity, or should with women. Men can Love their daughters and beat their wives, Shit, women can Love their sons and beat their daughters”

    Trust me I know that as a fact personally I was raised by both of my biological parents and my father on many occasions abused my mother and sexually molested me from the ages of 9-12. So, I know that being a “relative” really makes no difference…. However, what I was assuming was (and obviously wrong about) that JE would be knowledgeable of the repercussions of his words in the presence of minors, women and the negative backlash from laughing about such a sensitive topic…not really the fact that because he had a daughter he should know better.

    My explanation of my encounter with JE was to juxtapose the “energies” of his positivity and radiance shared/displayed at one concert to the abuse and violence shared/displayed at another and the ripple effects of each situation that we as spiritual energies existing(in constant balance) in the human experience must become more cognizant of.

    We also as a “human race must practice taking negative experiences and finding the positive in it all. How can we take this experience and begin to open the dialogues between us as individuals of the whole and propel forward. I will continue to speak up against and for any for of abuse yet celebrate and praise the positive and JE as we all do embody it all.

    I didn’t let my experience with my father prevent me from moving forward I am now a mother of 2 youth married to a loving, supportive and non abusive Black man.
    =======================================

    “His words are “Someone is getting choked against their will tonight.” How can this be read “wrong”?”

    Not to misquote the brother he said “I guess there are a lot of women in Seattle getting choked against their will” in response to his question to the fellas in the audience…curiously not the women in fact he really only posed this question to the men of the audience…

    This is a wonderful springboard that does need to begin “I seeing that we need a language to talk about treating ALL human beings like humans” but how can we when obviously we all have varying degrees on what is means to treat and respect humans…
    just my chime on the dime;)

  21. Renina says

    @ a daughter of yemonya

    Thank you for being honest.

    You are right re the Jay Elec quote, I did misquote him.

    Trust me I know that as a fact personally I was raised by both of my biological parents and my father on many occasions abused my mother and sexually molested me from the ages of 9-12.
    ======
    Are you okay? How you feel?

    My explanation of my encounter with JE was to juxtapose the “energies” of his positivity and radiance shared/displayed at one concert to the abuse and violence shared/displayed at another
    =======
    I hear that.

    “I seeing that we need a language to talk about treating ALL human beings like humans” but how can we when obviously we all have varying degrees on what is means to treat and respect humans
    =====
    We do in fact have varying degrees of what is expected of us with regard to treating humans. My research sits at the intersection of racial and gender oppression. So often times, I am writing about how sexual oppression, and oppression premised on sexuality operate the same way that racial oppression does.

    ALL of us see it every day, and when I say to people “Listen, I don’t like white police putting their hands on Black men, and I don’t like Black men putting their hands on us”….people get it.

    Seeing the varying degrees is connected to the possession of a language to describe the shit going on.

    Remember what happened to Malcolm when he found the language to describe his life?

  22. Mike says

    @Renina
    It’s kinda ironic that you asked how his words could be read wrong when you in fact read his words wrong in that very same point.

    I think it’s being read wrong for 2 reasons:

    1)What does he ask the male audience RIGHT AFTER women made a little noise…… “Let’s see if the ladies are lyin'”. It’s clear as day.

    2)He then asks the guys and the guys make a lot more noise (I’m sure the gender ratio had a part in it but realistically goes back to his point and mine). He chuckles are the difference of response, then makes the j/k about women getting checked against their will. BUT then clarifies his stance on sexual violence by saying “We don’t choke women, only if they ask us.”

    Those are 2 statements that he said in the moment (Not some after the controversy backpeddling) and to me show what the point of this was.

    =====
    My understanding of a “conscious” rapper is one who’s rhymes have a beginning middle and end,
    someone who is socially aware of racial issues pertaining to Black men in particular, may talk about other marginalized communities as well. Kweli, Mos, Lupe, Com, Nas are five who come to mind.
    You seem to be calling into question the politics of WHO gets to name groups in Rap music. Is this true?
    ========

    “My understanding of a “conscious” rapper is one who’s rhymes have a beginning middle and end”
    don’t know what that actually means, whether it means that it has to be a story or if there has to be a moral at the end. But either one I disagree with that point entirely. There’s plenty of abstract political or social songs.

    “someone who is socially aware of racial issues pertaining to Black men in particular, may talk about other marginalized communities as well”
    So rapper who deals more with political issues (Since racial issues seems to be the determining issue) isn’t considered conscious? Also there seems to be an assumption that rapper=black male. I think Immortal Technique, Brother Ali, MIA, all would like a word with you.

    “Kweli, Mos, Lupe, Com, Nas are five who come to mind.”

    Well Kweli has complained about how much he hates that title and even plans on naming his next album “Prisoner of Consciousness”.

    Mos also hates the title, definitely says a lot of things in his music but he lives differently. He’s been accused of domestic violence, has 5 kids that he’s been taken to court over for not paying child support and married a music video vixen.

    Lupe can’t really argue, has said some dumb stuff about A Tribe Called Quest but hasn’t really contradicted himself.

    Common is pretty contradictory. Started off pretty ignorant with songs like “Heidi Hoe”, went on to do some great social songs and now is back with lines like “A stripper from the South, lookin for a pay day/Said “Bitch, you should do it For the Love’ like Ray J.”/”But they say, you be on that conscious tip”/”Get your hair right and get up on this conscious dick”.

    Nas is the definition of contradiction. Going from “I Gave You Power” to “Favor for a Favor”, from “You Owe Me” to “I Can”, or from “Make The World Go Round” to “My Generation”. Has moments of consciousness but can turn on a dime.

    “You seem to be calling into question the politics of WHO gets to name groups in Rap music. Is this true?” My problem is labelling hip hop anything outside of actual movements and/or sub-genres.

    When we label artists “real hip hop” or “conscious”, it not only divides the genre and hip hop as a movement but also uses an invisible line that differs person to person.

    Wu-Tang has many songs that I would consider socially conscious (Cream, Bible, Tearz, Better Tomorrow), but they also have made some very socially un”conscious” music (I Want Pussy, Ice Cream, etc.). Dead Prez (Another “conscious” artist) considers themself Revolutionary But Gangsta, speak out against hip hop misogyny but then do songs with Jay-z.

    This isn’t even factoring in how these rappers live, how many “conscious” rappers actually walk around living like they spit? MIA got called out recently for that, and there’s plenty of others who could as well.

  23. Renina says

    Mike,

    If you think he was “just playing” then so be it, this site IS NOT the space for you. Find a rap blog to comment on that thinks that “choking” women is cool.

    If you want to learn more about why Jay’s comments are dangerous read:

    This-
    An Open Letter to Jay Electronica — Please Re-Blog http://bit.ly/gQt9YH

    and this

    Why Jay Electronica Can Go Choke On His Own Words « The Crunk Feminist Collective http://bit.ly/eSa2mG

    and then feel free to leave a comment/response.

    In this space we take violence serious be it White Police killing Black men with impunity or Black men rappers talking about choking women during sex and then telling a woman to “relax” which is a gentleman’s way of saying shut the fuck up.

    ~R

  24. a daughter of yemonya says

    Peace to all, based upon the discussions and energy here with this topic I am putting out a call to all women of all backgrounds, ages etc to join myself and several other women across the world in a very special healing full moon ceremony.

    The full Moon is a time when women would come together to celebrate themselves and the Spirit of Great Mother Moon. It is a time to give thanks for lessons and blessings since the last full moon. In this case this being the last moon of this cycle, it is time to reflect and give thanks for things received throughout the year and also to put prayers into the Universe for the upcoming year. Our ancestors new and worked with collective energy doing rituals and prayer circles together to add ashe, Spiritual power to the energy. We have the power to use that same energy to bring balance and harmony to our lives right now.

    INVITE YOUR MOTHERS, GRANDMOTHERS, SISTERS, AUNTS, SISTER FRIENDS AND ALL WOMEN TO COME AND JOIN US

    At 11:15 pm EST on December 21, 2010, we would like every woman to go outside, read aloud the group affirmation of unity, wealth, success and prosperity. While facing the moon lift your largest purse up towards the heavens and open it up asking the Moon to please fill up our bags with unity, wealth, success, prosperity and all good things for our collective upliftment While your purses are held high say fill them up 3 times.

    Affirmation:

    We come to you humble this evening and in prayer for the upliftment of our communities and for our families, children and for our own spiritual preservation. We ask for guidance to help direct our minds, and spirit in reconnecting with our truest selves, to know and to believe that our bodies are sacred vessels, that our wombs are the homes of the souls returning ,that we are not without fault but we must begin to forgive ourselves and others for any transgressions known and unknown. We pray for healing of our bodies, our spirits, and our minds. We pray for the upliftment of the children, that they will be protected, nurtured and loved.

    Please fill us up with joy, good health, hope, happiness, peace of mind, good character, gentle character, self love, self determination, moral courage, self-worth,& unity please fill up ours purses with prosperity, wealth, and abundance. Then say: (fill them up, fill them up, fill them up) (your confirmation statement)

    LET US UNITE, HEAL AND BRING BALANCE TO SITUATIONS SUCH AS THESE AND MANY MORE USING OUR FEMININE ENERGY, POWER AND CONNECTION TO MOTHER EARTH

    peace love and positive motion of the ocean by the light of the moon goddess

  25. Mike says

    Renina,

    you didn’t retort anything I said, instead you carried on the exact same points I countered and tried to conceptualize my argument into something not anywhere close to the point I was getting at. I not once said he was “just playin”, I never even said something a long the lines of “you guys can’t take a joke”. I very clearly pointed out what I thought he was saying and you didn’t recognize that at all. In fact you seemed to insinuate that I am defending domestic abuse or sexual assault.

    I read the first letter, it was written extremely poorly. She’s attaching so many things to these comments (Rape, mental abuse, etc.) of that have nothing to with it. It’s a shame that ppl have to have an agenda just in order to comment on something. I can appreciate some of the points she says but realistically she’s using this situation to springboard every thought she has with anything even close or near to the issue.

    The 2nd one was a lot better written. She not only acknowledges that both men and women can and DO enjoy asphyxiation (Something that you nor the previous letter seem to do) but also there’s a problem in our society with talking about sex. I agree with her point that it’s wrong to generalize ppl’s sexual preferences and Jay (& Crew) very much are displaying the egotistical goal wanting to sexually conquer every woman. I also agree that if Jay was wanting to talk about this subject in public that he should have at least let the protesting fan give her opinion.

    Where I disagree is that she (Among others) sees the protesting woman as a hero for fighting back at the joking of forcibly choking women. But she can heard yelling well before then when he was just explaining the bet. So realistically I would place her in the category earlier presented by the same author of being parochial on sexual issues (Which she is entitled to be but should be noted).

    I also disagree with her 3 points of what he was promoting. He never once said women don’t know what they want in the bedroom, if anything he implied that they won’t publicly admit to what they like in the bedroom. He never set out to discover what women want in bed, he set out to see where most women stand on that issue. The last point isn’t even a msg it’s swipe by her, and by her making that swipe she acknowledges the point that he tried to make that women won’t admit to certain sexual things publicly. I’m against all forms of censorship so while a concert isn’t the best place to talk about these topics I’m not against him talking about them just b/c there maybe children. I assume if you’re at a Jay Electronica concert you’ve heard enough hip hop that promotes a lot worse that you won’t be scarred for life.

    I also strongly disagree with both of the writers for implying that he is any way promoting rape or saying anything that could be taken that way. As I pointed out he clarified after his comment about women forcibly getting choked that he is completely against that. And if the 2nd author acknowledges that BDSM or specifically erotic asphyxiation is a legit form of sexual pleasure than she wouldn’t make that connection given the additional comments he made at the concert.

    The truth is erotic asphyxiation is a legit sexual practise, not for everyone but legit nonetheless. It’s not a way for men to oppress women, and it’s not even something that is necessarily requested by dominant person. It could very well be requested by the submissive person in the scenario. This doesn’t make someone a slut or a mentally unstable, it means there sexual preferences are different than yours.

  26. Renina says

    Mike,

    You point seems to be that:

    -Some women and men enjoy erotic asphyxiation

    -Jay Electronica’s comments don’t promote rape or anything like that.

    I have 3 questions for you?

    Do you assume that we live in a (over all violent) rape culture?

    If no, why not?

    Assuming that we live in a violent rape culture (one where boys are socialized to treat girls like prey and where women are frequently blamed for being raped)does Jay Electronica’s comments contribute to an environment that normalizes sexual violence against women?

    ~R

  27. Mike says

    1) 2) No I don’t assume we live in a rape culture, why would I think that? If we (North America) had statistics like South Africa than yes I would believe something like that. Although rape in all forms is prevalent in our society it is still in the minority (In Canada where I’m from, it’s 1 in 3 women have experienced a sexual assault). I’m not saying it’s not a problem or that that statistic isn’t still a high number, but i wouldn’t say it defines our culture or even our sexual culture. Do we live in a sexually charged culture? Yes. Sexually misinformed? Of course. But I wouldn’t say rape defines our culture.

    3) Well personally speaking I wouldn’t say that it’s society that teaches men to think like that, it’s animal instincts. Rape isn’t a product of just “violent rape culture” b/c it’s been in human history for forever as well as in the animal kingdom, some species it’s a reproductive strategy or some to display of male dominance (Dolphins being the ones that first come to mind).

    So no I don’t think it contributes to the normalization of sexual violence b/c he’s talking about woman enjoying consensual erotic asphyxiation. Not going on the hunt for women to choke for merely his pleasure.

  28. says

    Mike,

    4 More questions.

    1. What does the term rape culture mean to you?

    2.Do you know the statistics for rape in the US? If not, then how can you say that this isn’t a rape culture.
    http://bit.ly/eoS5ed

    17.6 % of women in the United States have survived a completed or attempted rape.
    21.6% were younger than age 12 when they were first raped.
    32.4% were between the ages of 12 and 17

    3.What do you know about this history of sexual violence/rape in the US? If you know little, which is fine, how can you conclude that this isn’t a rape culture?

    4.Do you think that songs like “Drunk and hot girls” http://bit.ly/SWn8X normalize sex without consent? Can a woman consent if she is drunk?

  29. Mike says

    !. I gave an example of what i thought a rape culture was, a place like South Africa who’s stats are 1 in 3 men have admitted to rape (That’s just completed) & close to 40% of men believe a woman can’t refuse sex with their husband.

    2. Yes I know most of the statistics in the US.

    3. Do you want me to list everything I know?

    I think that it was more normalized in the US back from the times of colonization up to 2nd wave feminism. After that law began to include and be more specific to the different forms of sexual assault, as well as more organizations began to develop that dealt with rape. Like I said in my earlier response it is still a problem and but is going in the right direction. More women now are reporting them than 20 years ago, as well laws are less likely to support the “well she was asking for it” train of thought.

    4) I would say that “Drunk & Hot Girls” is a parody of that sort of thinking than actually celebrating or normalizing it. I mean the character in the song seems to not like women at all, everything from her talking to her friends existing to her wasting his money on booze (Even though he wants her to be drunk) seems to piss him off. Eventually after they spend the night together they fall in love and spend the rest of their life together. Although I’m sure some may take this song as a celebration of the that way of thinking and enjoy it for that, most ppl I know see it as making fun of it.

  30. manaen says

    Mike, a few more questions.

    RE: “it [isn’t] society that teaches men to think like that, it’s animal instincts.”

    If we were to accept that, would not a well-functioning society depend upon teaching men NOT to think like that? Given your premise, the lack of such teaching would result in animalistically-instinctive men pressing their sexual incontinence upon women on sight. Thought precedes action; do the thoughts emplaced by “entertainment” like this strengthen or weaken such teaching? What would be the expected behavioral result of that?

    RE: “Rape isn’t a product of just ‘violent rape culture’ b/c it’s been in human history for forever”

    But what are the relative frequencies of rape in violent-rape and not-violent-rape cultures? Renina is the social-data maven here; I’d be interested in a longitudinal comparison of rape incidence and the growth of such entertainment. We’d have to sort out causation vs. coincidence but I’d expect that the more mainstreamed such thoughts become, the weaker becomes teaching against animalistic rape instincts, resulting in greater frequency of rape.

  31. Mike says

    1) Well I think my point was that through thinking and teaching is what helped bring us out of society that was closest to a rape culture.

    I don’t know what “entertainment” you’re referring to so I can’t properly answer your question. But if you’re referring to Jay Electronica it would 0 effect on ppl raping one another b/c he wasn’t talking about rape.

    2) Well you could never do that b/c the further you go back the less rape is reported. As well as what “entertainment” are you referring to? There’s been rape in stories/entertainment since at least Greek Mythology, so I don’t know what you mean by “growth of such entertainment”.

  32. Renina says

    Mike.

    Resolved.

    You are blocked.

    Smug comments, along with arguing with me or anyone else on this blog about whether a rape culture exists, is about as absurd as arguing about whether racism or sexism exist.

    Not acceptable.

  33. brandi says

    Yes, Mike, South Africa is the only place where rape occurs and rape culture exists.

    #TryAgain

    Also, what was the point of asking that question in the first place? People went to a concert to hear music from an artist they liked, not to be asked about their sexual preferences.