I like rap music—a lot—which is sometimes hard to reconcile with other values, and rappers like The Game make it increasingly harder to defend the majority of the lyrics and lifestyle behaviors that go along with this genre, particularly as a woman.
What The Game lacks in album sales he makes up for in media coverage of his ridiculous antics; and although his lack of success in the actual rap game makes him easy to ignore, his overt disrespect of women does not. Jay Electronica already had to hand it to The Game late last year over lyrics disrespecting Erykah Badu but it seems 50 Cent’s former protégé could use another refresher on being a gentlemen based on two web scandals he’s currently involved in. The first is a video of the rapper at a nightclub in Australia. For a few seconds the rapper is seen chilling in VIP and the next, he is leaning over a railing and spiting on a group of girls below him. As the girls turn around appalled and one fan screams “How Dare You,” The Game removes his chain from around his neck and hands it to one of his boys. The clip ends shortly after, with the girls exiting the club, but I think we’ve all seen The Game’s gesture before and are quite familiar with what he intended to do.
But if you’re willing to spit on and fight a girl in a club, why not egg your boys on to push one off of a stage when she refuses to bare it all. That’s the second internet controversy following the Compton rapper. At a show in Adelaide, a young woman comes on stage with several other fans of his (who knew he had so many?) and she is immediately pressured to “show them t***ies.” A couple members of The Game’s crew even grab her breast and try to pull her shirt down, and after trying to push the men’s hands away the girl proceeds to walk off the stage, only to be pushed off by someone in his entourage. The entire scene was trifling, disrespectful, and sick—and unfortunately not uncommon these days.
I was just having a conversation the other day about how men, who were at one time expected to protect women, have become the primary attackers themselves. It’s the easy target, I suppose, for men who struggle with their masculinity to step to a woman as though she is a man. He most likely has the advantage of stronger physical force, and if he can’t have that power over another man, slapping, pushing, spitting on, cursing out, hitting, and getting in the face of a woman is the next best thing. I’ve witnessed it more times than I’d like to, and it’s easy to sniff out the men who would cower at being confronted by a male counterpart, but love to try to intimidate women with power they really don’t have.
I’m not asking The Game to be a role model—a task which he would no doubt fail—but at the very least, an entertainer should respect his fans. It shouldn’t be a stretch to demand that he respect women too. I guess he gets points for being “the realest” out here and actually living what he talks about, although in this instance that’s no honorable recognition. So often it’s easy to dismiss the lyrics rappers spit in their songs as mere words, but The Game is an obvious example of a man who when he says “We make a move and act a fool while we up in the club” clearly means it. More importantly, he’s a man who has serious issues with women, and unfortunately has been given a platform to spread that hatred and influence others to follow suit as if sexual harassment and attacks against women somehow make you a man.
I know the perpetuation of this behavior is just as much the consumers fault as it is the rappers who write the lyrics in the first place but if rappers were smart, they’d start paying attention to where the buying power lies and recognize their growing female demographic and change their lyrics—and behavior—accordingly. And I’m not talking about throwing an “independent woman” track on the album and saying you love strong women either, I mean making a concerted effort to create content both men and women can stand by and support.
The Game just did himself a great disservice artistically with his disrespectful behavior, although I can’t say that he will be missed. With the extra time he’ll have on his hands not doing shows, maybe he’ll seek therapy to deal with his issues as a man and his need to feel adequate by disrespecting women any way possible.
Do you think most rappers have deep issues with women or are they just mocking behavior they see other men do? Do you struggle being a female rap fan or have you given up on the genre altogether?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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