Misogyny in Hip Hop

A lotta my girls come up to me sayin’ “Oh I just like the beats. I don’t listen to what they sayin”

Them beats open you up and you just let everything seep in. When you breathing it in—all the language, these words– they creep in like second hand smoke.

One of my favorite artists is Dr Dre and he’s rough on the ladies, man. I swear I don’t even register it.

I’m so like “Ooooh how he get his drums to slap like that?!”

or

“Daaaaayyyyum—the EQ on them overdubs”

— Peep One in HYPE MAN, p. 41

When Peep says Dr. Dre is rough on the ladies, she’s speaking to the issues that Dr. Dre presents in his music and relationships with women, but also to the pervading misogyny in hip hop music and culture more broadly. Not only is this behavior excused and accepted, it also makes navigating the industry exceedingly difficult for women like Peep One who are trying to make a career in music.

“Hip hop has always had a serious problem with the female gender. Most of the time women are viewed solely as a visual accessory or sexual object. This is nothing new, right? I mean, how long has it been since Dr. Dre assaulted Dee Barnes? And the list of incidents in recent memory goes on, including Famous Dex, Ian ConnorKodak Black and let’s not forget Chris Brown, who managed to get off or get over in the court of public opinion, becoming a worldwide icon again thanks to people’s short memories and attention span not to mention their willingness to overlook violence against women.”

(Read the full article here.)

Check out Dr. Dre being “rough on the ladies” in his song “Bitches ain’t shit” below:

 

“Bitches ain’t shit” is only one example of the many songs where male hip hop artists have expressed aggressive sexual and physical violence toward women. Some prominent highlights also include:“Me So Horny” by 2 Live Crew, “Big Pimpin” by Jay-Z f/ UGK, “One More Chance” by The Notorious B.I.G., “Slob on my Knob” by Three 6 Mafia, “Wait (The Whisper Song)” by  The Ying Yang Twins“Who knew” by Eminem, “Culo” by  Pitbull, and, “Bitch Suck Dick” by Tyler, The Creator f/ Jasper, Taco.

All of these artists have been, and continue to be, hugely successful in the hip hop industry, largely because of a die hard fan base that defends them no matter what. And because American society normalizes misogyny and violence against women, especially in pop culture and music,  many fans keep listening and push push past the lyrics to hear only the beat. But, as Peep One says, it doesn’t mean those messages don’t enter our subconscious — they truly do creep in like second hand smoke.

 

Dr. Dre: The most influential producer in hip hop history

“So many dope women out here. I can put on for em. I can build a movement just like Dr. Dre did. That can be my brand.” — Peep One in HYPE MAN, p.56

In rehearsal, the team has been exploring the intricacies of Peep One’s character journey throughout the play, including the way she begins to find her voice as a female beat maker in the hip hop industry. Peep One mentions Dr. Dre multiple times throughout the play, suggesting that his career success and influence in hip hop is something she aims for in her own work. Verb also references Dr. Dre’s song “Deep Cover” while telling a story about a high school party later in the play.

So who is Dr. Dre, and what innovations has he contributed to hip hop?

dd

“Initially known to the world as an MC for gangsta godfathers N.W.A., Dr. Dre went on to become the single most influential producer in hip-hop history. With 1993’s The Chronic, he married breezy funk samples to hardcore imagery, creating the G-Funk style and inspiring a host of imitators. He would later discover and nurture some of the best rappers ever, including Snoop Dogg, Eminem, and 50 Cent.” — Rolling Stone

Not only is Dr. Dre a groundbreaking music producer and beat maker that discovered some of the most famous rappers in history, but he also popularized rap by marrying early gangsta rap’s commercial sheen with the grit of the neighborhoods from which the genre came. This is the legacy Dr. Dre has carved in the hip hop industry, and what Peep One would like to model for women in hip hop.

For a deeper look at Dr. Dre’s sound and career highlights, check out “Dr. Dre’s 16 Greatest Contributions to Music, Ranked” on Vulture. The list includes the aforementioned song “Deep Cover,” which features a lot of Dre’s stylistic hallmarks, as well as tracks from his groundbreaking album The Chronic and other collaborations and high points spanning his career.