Tuesday 29 June 2010

Feminists are down with Snoop..Sort of

In the Guardian yesterday, they had a little pullout all about Glastonbury. There was a feature by someone called Julie Bindel writing about her love of the Rap superstar Snoop Dogg who she went to see at Glastonbury this weekend.

It was entitled Top Dogg, you can read it here.

Apparently this Julie Bindel is a feminist who loves Snoop, despite his sexist lyrics. I thought I've got to read this.
I hadn't realised that Snoop was playing at Glastonbury but it seems he went down quite well.

Bindel claims that there are many feminists who love Snoop's music which sounds a huge contradiction when you listen to many of his lyrics.

When hearing Snoops records for the first time she writes:

'I hated the fact that so many were peppered with the "n" word, as well as the obligatory "bitch", "ho" and "mutherfucker" - but I chose to ignore the lyrics'

She's hit on a point here, as I can honestly admit I would never refer to women in those terms or use the "n" word, but having listened to Hip Hop for over 20 years, I've just become desensitised to it all and completely ignore it.

If a track has a good beat, bassline, and I like the flow of the rapper, then I can overlook the misogynistic and sexist lyrics. People can criticise me for this, but I think you have to listen to Hip Hop in that way.

Snoop has managed to have quite a long and successful career for a rapper, but he's managed to do that by playing on and parodying his gangster rap persona.

For me The original gangster rap era ended around 1995. Anything after that is really just a parody. The trouble is nobody ever acknowledges this, and calls almost all hip hop 'gangster rap' despite the wide variety of styles out there.

Classic gangster rap would be the likes NWA, Ice Cube, Ice T, Dr Dre's The Chronic album, and Snoop's first album Doggystyle. Classic gangster rap was always an odd mix of militant nihilistic black politics, tales of true crime, street life, and sex and violence.

Back in the late 80s and early 90s, you'd never really heard stuff like that before, it felt 'real' as they say in hip hop. You could believe that the rappers lived the lives they ware talking about.

This isn't the case now. Once gangster rap started to sell records in its millions, that 'realness' soon disappeared, it became sanitised, the record companies were simply just selling a lifestyle and image to both white and black kids. It was all just a parody.

What I like about Snoop, is that I think he understands this. He's not a real gangster, he just representing a persona, telling stories that might be sexist and violent, but it's all just a fantasy.

Bindel spoke to other women who loved Snoop's music but thought he hated women. I don't think he hates women at all and neither do I, even though I'll happily listen to his lyrics.

On a sort of rational level it doesn't really make sense. One of the best examples of how I feel about Hip Hop comes from the American comedian Chris Rock.

Have a look at this clip of him talking about Rap music, in so many ways it sums up everything I feel about Hip Hop

Love Hip Hop tired of defending it!

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