I can’t name Joe Budden’s last three songs, but I can name at least three women he’s been linked to. It isn’t that his music isn’t at all popular; I’m simply not a fan of it. Details of his personal life, however, are not so easily avoidable. The Slaughterhouse rapper has built up quite a reputation for cavorting with beautiful video/men’s mag models and then sharing the messy details with the world. Among them: model Tahiry, Love and Hip Hop star Somaya Reece and, most recently, video vixen Esther Baxter. For the last two days, Twitter was abuzz with deets over the release of Budden’s latest song “Ordinary Love Shyte, Part 3: Closure”, which details his account of the relationship with Baxter. In a series tweets leading up to its debut, the rapper references the loss of “four children” seemingly with the model. It’s unclear as to whether these were abortions or miscarriages, but there is an air of accusation against Baxter that the ceased pregnancies were her fault; he also charges Baxter with cheating on him with He then tweets: “If you know her and care about her well being, tell that Beyotch to chill…”Though the rapper has denied it, Tahiry stated in an interview last year that her ex-beau was abusive; in his song “Downfall”, which addresses the couple’s demise, he states “/I loved you so much that when I caught on to your fibs, I hit you like a man, you wore it in your ribs”. The latest breakup song features both references to violence with Baxter (“I dragged you off the bed…I hemmed you up/it wasn’t what I aimed to do, I ain’t attack you/Itchbay, I was restraining you…”, “I lost my unborn daughter when we fought…”) and claims that he stayed with Tahiry when Baxter filed an order of protection against him that banned him from the couple’s home. I guess she’s forgiven him. The entire situation is depressing. For starters, while music and even social media can be cathartic, there is no reason for the public to have this level of access to these people’s lives. Furthermore, it’s troubling to watch Budden not only be accused of domestic violence, but to admit to both shaking a woman AND having a fight that somehow led to a miscarriage, yet receive virtually nothing but sympathy for the alleged infidelities of Tahiry and Baxter. Strangers have weighed in on the latest situation, calling the latter all sorts of trifling whores and Beyotches; one of the few tweets I saw acknowledging Baxter’s alleged abuse was from a woman who called her a “dumb c*nt” for staying with a violent partner and stating that “@JoeBudden wins”. I’m not giving his exes any passes for anything they may have done wrong, in terms of infidelity or any other romantic misdeeds. However, if Budden is an abusive jackass or simply has awful taste in partners (or a combination of the two), there is something particularly disturbing about the fact that he has a large audience of folks happily turning in as he Twitpics pictures of pregnancy tests, describes incidents of violence and attempts to publicly shame women with whom he had a relationship with. If Baxter is, in fact, a victim of domestic violence, I hope that she peruses legal action ASAP; the idea of harming a woman to the point that she miscarries and then implying that she herself did something wrong to end her pregnancy is frightening. The fact that hundreds of young men and women look at this behavior as normal or admirable is even more terrifying. I don’t care if Baxter was the most trifling, cheating Slore to ever walk the planet; it simply isn’t okay to threaten violence or sexual harassment against a woman. For all the wonderful things Hip-Hop has given us, it certainly has provided a space for us to ‘do’ gender all wrong. Budden is granted the freedom to be emotional in the face of his peers, but he is also given a pass to allegedly abuse and to mistreat the women in his life. If people find this sort of behavior to be entertaining or acceptable, then we are even more doomed than I may have realized.
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