Misogyny In Rap Music And Hip-Hop

Categories: Hip Hop


Misogyny has always been an issue in the media. The over-sexualization of women is appalling and extremely degrading. This problem often slips unnoticed because we have become desensitized to it. It's never viewed as a problem, instead, it's become normal to overly sexualize females in misogynistic ways. If you listen to rap or hip-hop music, you know that women are nonchalantly objectified, demeaned, and exploited in a large percentage of songs. Scholars have researched and concluded many different explanations for the presence of misogyny in this music genre.

The oppression of women is overlooked and normalized in rap music. We are desensitized to women being called ‘bitches’ or ‘hoes’ because of the music we’ve been listening to from a very young age. Misogyny in rap music is a huge problem that can perpetuate rape culture, stereotypes, objectification, exploitation, and violence towards women in the United States. These hateful lyrics reduce women to objects for male ownership, use, or abuse.

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Perpetuation of Misogyny in Rap and Hip-Hop Music

Hip Hop and Rap music is most definitely an environment that perpetuates rape culture. This specific music industry has continuously overlooked abuse allegations. Other artists continue working with abusers, and fans continue supporting them, too. Record labels don’t drop them. They are given no consequences for their despicable actions, and the American legal system is not the best in convicting rapists/abusers. Some popular artists who have serious allegations against them include XXXTentacion, Nas, Russel Simmons, and Tupac Shakur. This has been going on for decades – Russel Simmons had claims of rape made against him in 1991.

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Tupac Shakur got charged with sexual assault and was behind bars on a 1.5 to 4.5-year sentence. He only served 9 months of this sentence after posting a $1.4 million-dollar bail during a pending appeal, courtesy of Suge Knight, a record producer (James 1). Famous people being abusers has been swept under the rug in the past decades, but now it comes to light more prominently, with a recent example being XXXTentacion. XXXTentacion was charged by the Miami County state attorney’s office with aggravated battery of a pregnant victim, domestic battery by strangulation, false imprisonment, and witness tampering (Hogan 1). There are recordings of him talking about how he “started fucking her up” (his pregnant ex-girlfriend) and saying that she is “scared for her life, which (he) understand(s)”. There are also recordings of him saying he will “kill that bitch if she plays with me”. The victim has talked about how he punched her, stomped on her, tackled her, gave her black eyes, scratch marks, and bruises, tried to cut her hair, and held her head under running water in a bathtub (Hogan 1). Despite being guilty of all these terrible things, people still defend him to this day. His allegations are widely recognized, though, which surrounds his name with a lot of controversy on social media. Another popular rap artist whose abuse allegations were overlooked is Nas. His ex-wife, Kelis, accused him of mental and physical abuse. She said that he would “fight frequently, with Nas often drinking to the point of being black-out drunk before becoming violent toward her” (Carmichael 1). She said that he would wake up with no memory of the events. This was not the first time that Nas had been accused of abusing a woman who was his significant other. Another ex of his, Carmen Bryan, with who he has a kid, wrote a book and in it detailed being punched in the face by him so hard that she saw stars (Carmichael 1). It’s even become acceptable to rap about drugging girls and raping them, as heard in a remix of a song named “UOENO”. In Rick Ross's verse, he says “put molly all in her champagne, she ain’t even know it. I took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain’t even know it” (Weitzer 12). Rick Ross is a former correctional officer, so it’s shocking and disgusting that he would think that it’s acceptable to say those things. There are so many more examples that could be given of abusers in this industry. Society has accepted these abusers and put them on pedestals.

Represenation of Gender Stereotypes in Popular Rap Music<0/h2>

Gender stereotypes are common in popular music, where women are often presented as inferior to men or are trivialized and marginalized. The objectification of women has always been a problem in the media. This issue, however, has worsened due to the recent popularity of rap, especially because the main demographic is young developing males who are being fed this mindset at a vulnerable age. For example, the most obvious problem with this genre is that women are hardly ever referred to as women. It's always terms like 'bitch,' 'whore,' 'ho,' or 'slut.' The objectification of women can give aspiring male hip hop artists the wrong idea that the only way to succeed in the hip hop industry is by featuring naked girls in their videos. Moreover, it can also send wrong instructions to young females that they need to be sexy and dress revealing to catch the attention of the men. To sum up, male hip-hop artists should discontinue objectifying female bodies in their music videos for commercial success. They also glorify using girls for sex, but the theme of objectification also exists outside of that. They sing about features like lips, eyes, hair, etc., which shouldn’t seem offensive, but it becomes insulting once that’s all they write about. They don't mention a female’s mentality or interests. It's always physical features like that's all women are, a pretty face or body for sexual pleasure. One analysis of rap and heavy metal songs from 1985 to 1990 found that rap was more sexually explicit and graphic whereas heavy metal’s allusions to sexual acts or male domination were more subtle (Weitzer 6). Women in the rap or hip-hop industry feel like they need to wear revealing clothes to be paid attention to, meanwhile, guys can dress however they want.

Female Rap Performers That Promote Misogyny

There are even many women rap/hip-hop artists that participate in the years of misogyny that surround the rap industry, such as Nicki Minaj, Missy Elliott, and Eve. Although rap provides an outlet for those that are oppressed such as women, there are very 'high numbers of female self-objectification, self-exploitation, and derogatory and demeaning lyrics about women in general” (Weitzer 12). This is often overlooked by the fact that it is said by a woman. However, this is counterproductive in the effort of empowering women and female rappers. Despite the growing presence of female-empowering music, some of the female artists that had empowering lyrics also created music that contained messages that conveyed and reproduced male-dominant notions of femininity. An example of this can be heard in Nicki Minaj's 'Did It On 'Em,' in which the following lyrics are one of the many examples throughout the song and her music: 'Bitches better get on they knees,' and 'If I had a dick, I would pull it out and piss on 'em [bitches]' (Wetizer 13).

Misogynistic Double Standards in Rap

There are double standards when it comes to gender in the rap/hip-hop industry. Male rappers in hip-hop can compete and all be considered the greatest, but when it comes to women, they are constantly compared ad forced to compete against each other. Many female rappers want this to change. “It’s important for people to see that, especially black women, that we get along”, says Rapsody, a female rapper. “It’s important for young girls to see that.” (Leah 1). There have been so many rivalries between popular female rappers: Nicki Minaj and Lil Kim, Nicki Minaj and Remy Ma, Nicki Minaj and Cardi B, and more. It seems like people just enjoy pitting women against each other. Men and women have never been held to the same standard in this industry because males are the ones who drive the culture. Men love when they are above women. It gives them pride and boosts their ego. Women can dominate the industry, but some gatekeepers only allow a select few to shine. Nicki Minaj even pointed out the double standards in one of her tweets, saying “In any field, women must work TWICE as hard to even get HALF the respect her male counterparts get. When does this stop?” (Leah 1). She has been rapping for over a decade, and pressure is constantly put on her to release great albums, or else she will lose her title as the ‘queen of rap’. Before releasing new albums, she receives opinions on how they will flop and not be as good as other female rappers’ albums. Many male rappers, such as Travis Scott or Kanye West, release albums that have been hyped up months before the release. Even if their albums aren’t the best, they receive fair criticism and sometimes a ‘pass’. There is nothing fair about how men are treated vs women in this industry.


Hip-Hop and rap music are male-driven. Many issues are surrounding the industry that we need to work to change as listeners. People will excuse and still listen to an artist’s music even if they are outed to be an abuser/rapist, because apparently letting go of an artist whose music has been a major part of their lives is difficult, and the ‘music’ should be ‘separate’ from the artist’s actions. They still get publicity, fame, and money, regardless of being morally incorrect and terrible human beings. Misogyny in rap music is a huge problem that can perpetuate rape culture, stereotypes, objectification, exploitation, and violence towards women in the United States. These hateful lyrics reduce women to objects for male ownership, use, or abuse.

Updated: Feb 02, 2024
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Misogyny In Rap Music And Hip-Hop. (2024, Feb 04). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/misogyny-in-rap-music-and-hip-hop-essay

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