I’ve been waiting to get on this for a long time.
Some of you may not have heard this song by Lupe, or you may have listened to it but didn’t give it much attention. It is definitely not his best track musically, but the message is very strong and has some very interesting analogies.
The most striking of themes in this is the comparison between ‘blackface’ and racialised gender stereotyping in rap culture. Blackface, although cringing and horrible to watch old footage nowadays, was a fully accepted art form in it’s time. The link between this and a few modern day rappers (Lil Wayne and Nikki Minaj come to mind from the video) are essentially wearing a blackface in the way they present themselves to sell music.
The fact that it shows the artists wiping off their blackface in tears gives this a more dramatic effect.
The story itself plays a lot more into how gender plays its part in the mask of fake imagery. It is almost as portraying a ‘bad-bitch’ is pretty equal to being blackface in modern times. With the woman growing up to emulate a ‘bad bitch’, the negative gender stereotype is enforced and she emulates that. This affects guys too as it gives both genders a false perception of reality. The only thing that isn’t so clear, is that although Lupe is definitely not promoting the ‘Bad-bitch’ persona (later reversing that and giving props to Nikki Minaj) he doesn’t give any hints at what a female model worth emulating actually is.
This is a very fascinating song and is a clear example of why I love Hip Hop and it’s possibilities. I hope you like this.