Is Jay-Z Giving Up The Word “Bitch”?
Over the weekend, the feminist blogosphere was all a-titter with the “news” that Jay-Z has sworn off using the word “bitch” in his rap lyrics after the birth of his baby Blue Ivy Carter. A poem posted online, which RollingOut.com claims was written by the rapper, says he’ll no longer use that “degradation.” Read it, after the jump!
I didn’t think hard about using the word B—-.
I rapped, I flipped it, I sold it, I lived it
now with my daughter in this world
I curse those that give it.
I never realized while on the fast track
that I’d give riddance to the word bitch, to leave her innocence in tact.
No man will degrade her, or call her out her name
the women won’t despise her and call her the same.
I know it’s gonna miss me
cuz we been together like Nike Airs and crisp tees
when we all used to hang out front
singing 99 problems but a lady ain’t one.
Excuse me miss, can I be your mister
cuz I can tell the difference from a little girl and a sister,
She never grew up, her father left her alone
I promise not to talk like we used to
until Kingdom Come.
I’m so focused on your future,
The degradation has passed
I wish you wealth, health, and insight
forever young you may pass.
Blue Ivy Carter, my angel.
It hasn’t been confirmed that Jay-Z actually wrote the poem/lyrics and I’m inclined to agree it’s a crappy forgery.
But nevertheless, a forgery like this is also a kind of brilliant way to put Jay-Z in the hot seat regarding his use of demeaning lyrics. I already thought it was weird that Jay-Z was married to Beyoncé, who has made pop feminism a part of her image (“Independent Woman, Part 1,” “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It”), “Girls (Run The World),” etc.), but he himself rapped lyrics like “Bitch, behave, and I just might let you meet ‘Ye.” (FWIW, there are some hip-hop lyricists like Dead Prez who don’t, to my knowledge, use words like “bitch” in a negative sense at all.)
Jay-Z actually began to reflect on some of his past lyric choices back in 2010, when he debuted his book, Decoded. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Jay-Z seemed embarrassed about his song “Big Pimpin’“:
Some [lyrics] become really profound when you see them in writing. Not “Big Pimpin.” That’s the exception. It was like, I can’t believe I said that. And kept saying it. What kind of animal would say this sort of thing? Reading it is really harsh.
So even if this new “poem” about forgoing the word “bitch” is a forgery, if brought to his attention, it may actually cause Jay to consider his choice of words in the future — not just because he has a baby daughter now, but because it has always been the right thing to do.
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