My Personal Advice to Rapper Lupe Fiasco
Poor poor Lupe. He makes me think of Bokeem Woodbine’s character in the movie “Life.” You remember “Can’t-get-right?” Not because he’s slow or anything but just because everything he does goes awry. No wonder he named himself Fiasco.
To catch you up, a lot of people are pissed about Lupe’s new song “Bitch Bad” (including Spin magazine which killed him for it). Lupe wants to organize a boycott because of what Spin magazine said (which is silly, but a story for another day). As far as I can tell people are accusing Lupe of misogyny, slut shaming and a lot of other words that involve debasing or degrading women.
I find it all hilarious.
Personally, I thought the song and video were fine. Nothing extraordinary but nothing I would take my panties off and wrap them around Lupe’s neck to choke him for. There’s a very well-documented subsection of the black community (or community at large) that thinks mothers shouldn’t be referring to themselves as “bad bitches” or that young girls shouldn’t be watching music videos without parents at least explaining that the mostly surgically enhanced booty models that rappers brag about treating poorly are nothing to look up to.
The problem here is that women, especially black women, have spent two plus years straight with guys like Steve Harvey, Tyrese, Jimi Israel, a whole bunch of male relationship bloggers, and pubs like The Washington Post telling us what to be and how to do (all with the intention of helping us find a man to stomp on us). Moreover, most of the media directed towards women, such as magazines, is nothing but a list of things that are wrong with women. This is in contrast to male media which typically focuses on building self esteem, hearing from their sports and entertainment heroes, and in many cases strong feature writing.
Add to all of that thousands of years of general patriarchy and women who are connected and in the know are fed up.
This was a really, really bad time for Lupe to release this song. Even Spin’s review was basically someone griping about the fact that Lupe was a man telling women what to do.
[To see how I threw the cape on for Lupe to save him click Read More]
My personal advice to Lupe if he wants people to stop criticizing him is to stop trying to be different from other rappers and just settle into a routine of rapping about sex with “bitches” in the club and listing the many ways he will murder you on a track or on the street. Rappers that attempt to be smart have it harder than everyone else. One, because many times they’re not as smart as they think they are and two, they get held to a higher standard.
Remember when Talib Kweli did a song with Gucci Mane and a bunch of people lost their shit? Most probably hadn’t ever even PURCHASED a Kweli album but they were pissed on principle. That’s why it pays not to have any principles.
I don’t know Lupe’s motivations–maybe he’s sincere maybe he’s not. But what rapper IS sincere? Do you think Jay-z was a drug lord? Do you think Rick Ross will roll up on you and kill you? The rappers who live their raps end up dead or in jail. The ones who make shit up shake booties in the club and prosper without being bothered it’s really that simple and there’s no in between.
When that loony writer Dream Hampton called herself outing Nas for having ghostwriters and then argued down Sticman from Dead prez ON HIS OWN FACEBOOK PAGE that it was true, the first thing that I thought to myself was this: If Nas and Sticman didn’t pride themselves on the craft no one would care who wrote what. [And btw Spin says Lupe has half baked social commentary, so does Nas and so do most people who happen to think they know something but have never dedicated themselves to study it at length.]
Again–victims of high expectations they participated in setting for themselves.
I don’t see why people are extraordinarily upset with Lupe but then again on the internet people find something to be mad about every.single.day. How tiring. And the targets for the outrage are usually folks they know will care about what they say unlike, for example, 50 cent who would essentially tell everyone to suck his dick if they don’t like what he said. Other rappers say all kinds of messed up things INCLUDING judgments about what a real woman is and people have given up on addressing them. Why?? Cause those rappers don’t care. They are getting money and your opinion is irrelevant.
Personally, I found the message in Lupe’s song to be fairly obvious. I do think it’s strange and sad that there is a generation of women right now that seems to THRIVE on male validation in the form of sex and sexual gestures to the point that they’re killing themselves getting illegal plastic surgery. The song and video weren’t particularly well executed but it also wasn’t produced in a vacuum and that, to me, accounts for the out of proportion reaction.
I didn’t think Lupe singled out women only as the problem as many other ladies do. But even if he did, I don’t find Lupe to be some woman hater who constantly puts us down. He’s entitled to make a song about what he doesn’t like about women or culture without everyone screaming “WELL MEN DO IT TOO!” which is how many conversations get side tracked in the first place.
When it comes down to it, Lupe has been blasted for his opinions time and time again. Either he needs to give up on expressing himself the way he does and just let his pockets finally prosper or he needs to get a thicker skin. There’s a whole audience of people out there, including myself, who’d love to hear more songs like “Out my head” with Trey Songz a tune that Lupe’s core audience probably hated but that I still listen to frequently. I would say perhaps Lupe should spend some time becoming as smart as he presents himself, but I don’t get my information from rappers so I’m more than happy to let them make me happy dance rather than think.
By the way, there is something very offensive about the same publications who promote rappers who actually do promote negative stereotypes about women suddenly wanting to take a stand. For what? Why now?