I’m gonna get back to international hip-hop (Canada I see you!), but I’ve got a few other things on my mind today.
Yeah, so an acquaintance of mine recently laid down an interesting argument about pimp mythology. “Women love that shit,” the dude claimed. Which is a ridiculous thing to say, really. But he went on. He argued that whenever a rapper pulls the pimp card, his record sales go through the roof (think 50’s “P.I.M.P.” and Jay’s “Big Pimpin”). Female consumers eat that shit up, he said, and how bizarre is that given the fact that a real pimp would beat your ass in a heartbeat? I don’t know how you would prove his theory with sales stats, but I do think there’s a kernel of truth to it.
It got me thinking. The Baby Boomer feminists are probably gonna come after me with sticks for this (Valerie Smith, a.k.a. ‘the Canadian Tipper Gore’: bring it on)—but I’m gonna say it anyway cause it’s true. Sex sells, and we’re kidding ourselves if we think only men are buying in.
More to the point, there’s obviously something about the pimp/hustler/gangster image that a lot of females go crazy for. (Think Alicia Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got You” video with Meth.) The fact of the matter is that desire doesn’t always align with rational thought. Joan Morgan talked about that in her book about women and hip-hop culture back in the late 90s. For a lot of chicks out there (trust me, girls talk), there’s something irresistible about the smooth swagger and bold game of the thug image.
I say “image” cause obviously when it comes to street dudes, fantasy and reality are two different things. Nobody wants to deal with a real pimp. You would get your ass kicked cold and put out on the track to get violated by a bunch of nasty johns. Nobody wants to mess with a real hustler or gangster either. Who wants to get the call at 3 a.m. that your man is locked up, or badly beaten, or shot? Who wants to worry that his rivals are coming after you? Or, on a less dramatic tip, who wants to see someone they love suffer jangled nerves, mad regrets, and general day-to-day despair? You would never want that for your man. Just like no man would ever want that for himself. It’s something people end up stuck in when they have no resources and no options and no hope. And there’s nothing hot about that. It’s just plain old heartbreaking.
So where does that leave females that have a soft spot for the thugs? No idea.
I don’t have any answers to any of this. I’m just trying to tell it like it is. And I’m suggesting that when people go after rappers for frontin’ like gangsters, or for profiling in booty clap videos (folks are dogging Bubba Sparxxx as we speak), that us females should search our own hearts too. And maybe start by admitting that while we find a lot of that shit ignorant and infuriating, we find some of it sexy too. At least some of us, some of the time.
Hate it or love it, that’s the schizophrenia of the hip-hop generation.