And You Even Licked My Balls: A Black Feminist Note on Nate Dogg

So I have been thinking of Nate Dogg in general but rap music in particular and the difference between how I as a Black woman and how White men relate to rap music.

While I understand that sexism and patriarchy is systemic, that we LEARN and are taught how to be “men” and “women,” how to be racist, how to be sexist as well as  how to Love, how to forgive.

What I am getting at is, to be crude, we don’t pop out of our mommas knowing how to be men and women, we are taught from infancy on through blue and pink clothing,  girls being told to sit a certain way that is lady like, boys being told crying is weak, and not manly etc.

I also know that there are several structural things impacting the lives of Black men and women such as archaic drug laws, mandatory minimums, three strikes, the underdevelopment of public education, gentrification, police who shot and kill Black people with impunity, and the lack of good grocery stores in working class and low income neighborhoods. All this shit matters.

Culture matters as well. Culture meaning,  music, books, websites and films.

Culture is hegemony’s goon.

Which brings me to Nate Dogg. The recent coverage of his death clarified for me why some issues that I have thought of about rap music but didn’t have the language to articulate.

I am a little troubled over how White mens investment in Black mens misogyny in rap music isn’t interrogated. And how that shit impacts me and the women who look like me.

Society is organized by and for men.

And our lives in the US are hyper segregated racially.

By and large Black people don’t live around White folks, so most White men can experience the pleasure of singing “and you even licked my balls” in the comfort of their cars, homes and apartments, whereas a young Black man said to me nearly two years ago on 125th street that he wanted to “stick his dick in my butt.”

On the street, in broad daylight.

That shit was so absurd I thought HE was singing a rap song initially. No, he was talking to me.

Consequently, largely, White men are  not subjected to the kinds of violence and sexism that is sung about in the songs that Nate sang the hook on. As a Black woman, I am.

As a woman, as a Black women who Walks like she has a right to be in the street, this means my ass is toast.

For example, there is an officer in my neighborhood that harasses me so fucking much that I am now on a first name basis, Peace to Officer Anderson. Typically he stops me because there is apparently a 11pm curfew in DC for children under 18 on week nights. He normally asks me from his car, “Hey, how old are you.”  Dead ass, the second time he did it, I responded saying I was grown. o.O

After the third time, I was like “Mr. Officer whats your name because this is either the second or third time you have asked me that, and seeing as we are going to keep running into each other, I thought we could just on speaking terms.” He smiled. Doesn’t MPD carry 9mm’s too? Sassing officers of the state who carry legal weapons?  Ummhmm. And, he told me his name.

My clarity on this issue came about after I read a excerpt of a post on NPR about Nate Dogg by Jozen Cummings. He writes,

“There’s also “Ain’t No Fun (If The Homies Can’t Get None),” a song that was never chosen as a single from Snoop Dogg’s debut album, Doggystyle but has become a favorite for many DJs trying to work a room. The song is a tour-de-force of misogynistic lyrics, but only Nate Dogg can make a verse about dismissing a one-night stand sound so sensitive and endearing.”

“Remembering Nate Dogg, Hip-Hop’s Hook Man”

by Jozen Cummings, NPR.org,  March 16th, 2011

(via beatsrhimesandlife)

Then I reblogged and responded on tumblr saying:

In some ways, Cummings comments re Nate Dogg remind me of why I think The Chronic and Doggy style are the Devil, in terms of rap music. Men in general and White men in particular have a different relationship to the kinds of violence that I am subjected to as a Black woman who WALKS like she has a right to be in the street. Shit…two weeks ago I told two dudes to kill me or leave me alone. Dead ass. This ain’t for play. This is our lives.

Have you ever thought about White men’s investment in rap lyrics by Black men that are hella outta pocket?

I went to look for Cummings racial identity and I learned that he is African American, Japanese and Korean, so I am not saying that he is White. What I am saying is that his writing about Nate Dogg’s misogyny reminds me of how when the misogyny bomb is dropped, people who look like me tend to get hit with hella sharpnel. Whereas White men get to live out their thug fantasies singing along with Nate “And you even licked my balls.”

The Chronic and Doggystyle are sonically genius, however, did they up the ante on allowing White men and even some Black ones live out their Black sex fantasies?

Do you see the connection between Black women and White men that I am trying to make, why or why not?

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?