You know whom I kind of feel bad for?
Dude, who’s a C-class rapper, at best, has the hottest song of his life and all of the track’s momentum is getting killed by a single line — one that he didn’t rap. And one — assuming he has final say in his own music — he didn’t think was offensive.
The song is the Rick Ross and Future-assisted “U.O.E.N.O.” And the song would be perfect if it wasn’t for this one Ross line:
“Put molly all in her champagne, she ain’t even know, took her home and I enjoy that, she ain’t even know it.”
Only in hip-hop could someone get away with a line that brazen. Actually, only in hip-hop prior to last month could someone get away with a line that brazen.
Because criticism of the song, which has grown into a minor hit, has been fierce. There’s been a number of blogs, vlogs, panels, some dream hampton rants and petitions, including one directed towards Reebok, a company that does business with Ross.
Directing your complaints to an adversary’s sponsors is an effective strategy. And it worked: Ross apologized, twice. First, last Friday during an interview with a radio station and again yesterday on Twitter.
In layman’s terms, both apologies sucked.
And, amazingly, the second one was even worse than the first:
(And, just to make sure those pesky business sponsors were paying attention:)
Anyone with half a brain cell can see why the apology is faulty: There was nothing foreign. The line was describing and promoting rape.
Nothing needs to be interpreted.
Here’s the thing, though: I am convinced he doesn’t think he did anything wrong.
And, in some ass-backward sense, he’s right: he was just following hip-hop’s twisted rules.
Since gangsta rap has been classified as a thing, the music has been lawless. Murder, robbery, drug dealing, and, yes, rape have all been fair game. From Eminem to Notorious B.I.G., some of hip-hop’s most glorified legends have described and promoted rape.
Hell, I’ve been looking at lists like the one Smoking Section did, of 32 Overlooked Rape Lyrics In Rap, and thinking about sh*t that they left off.
When Ross was writing that verse he assumed he was following the twisted rules of hip-hop, where it’s cool to kill our people and drug and rape our women.
But those rules switched up on him. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because of cases like Steubenville getting so much press. But we’re at a new place where we expect more decency from our rappers. I’m not arguing against it. F*ck no; it’s a fantastic thing.
I’m just confused why people feel like someone like Ross should know this. I mean it was only only four years ago that Ross rapped a line that was far more brutal on “Gunplay:”
“Tellin’ lies, getting n*ggas wives tied up and raped.”
Also, if we’ve arrived at a place where rape is off limits, don’t we need to apply these rules fairly?
While writing this blog, I couldn’t help but think about Tyler, the Creator, who dropped his Wolf album this week.
If Tyler rapped that “molly” line, would he be getting the venom Ross has gotten?
I know this because he’s rapped far worse, unapologetically, and he’s still treated as a critical darling.
The reason is because we take Ross more literal, when, in fact, we shouldn’t. Ross is a cartoon and judging by his past, and his persona now, he should be treated with as much parody as Tyler is.
So both should receive the same kind of backlash when discussing rape.
And when discussing borders for hip-hop, why stop at rape? Shouldn’t we go further?
Maybe we should also make a rule that a 16-year-old who laughs at a kid dying on Twitter can’t make songs about killing people?
Man, don’t look at me for answers. I’m still trying to figure out the rules.
I’m on Twitter @Milkman__Dead, just in case U.O.E.N.O.