The song’s lyrics are lazy, but worse, “Bitch Bad” reveals Lupe’s unfortunately uncomplicated thinking on ideas of gender, and yet presents itself as a cure all for our gender woes. We can add it to the long line of well-intentioned songs from male rappers attempting to come off as feminist but actually reinforcing the ideas that make feminism necessary.
The chorus is simple, repeated as if by someone trying to memorize the names of all 50 states and their capitals: “Bitch bad, woman good/Lady better, they misunderstood.” Here he sets up a simplistic and demeaning hierarchy of womanhood, in which one can choose to be a bitch, woman, or lady - without even attempting to define what those terms might mean. In the background, he can be heard lightly bellowing the phrase “I’m killing these bitches!” as a way of inverting what would usually be heard as a violent threat to instead say that he’s going to eliminate the mentality that creates “bad bitches.” The message is unsubtle: Bitches are bad.
Kind of sums up my feelings about this disaster of a song. There’s also some history about other rappers who tried to put out similar messages. Other great excerpts from the article:
“Not directly implicated or admonished are the men calling women bitches in the first place. The blame is placed on the mother repeating lyrics in front of her son or the little girls sneaking around to listen to the offending songs. Men escape the responsibility for establishing the disrespectful terms of the debate, and any nuance about why a woman may choose to call herself a bitch (Lupe seems to feel it’s a sexual thing and doesn’t note that women are constantly called bitches for adopting traits that are typically celebrated when practiced by men) is left to the listener’s imagination.”
“Chief among those is that the answer to the misogyny in hip-hop and in the broader culture in general isn’t to replace it with a nice-guy-misogyny that’s equally as limiting in its definition of women.”
Although the author—who by the way is a male—totally craps out at the end and says it’s a “needed piece in the on-going dialogue surrounding gender politics” because ”It’s a misguided step,” and so “For now…it’ll have to do.” Lame.