The Sexist

Lil Wayne: Feminist or Misogynist?

Lil Wayne has emerged as an interesting figure for feminist critique. As a rapper, Wayne peppers his lyrics with "pussy" and "no homo." As a public figure, he has reluctantly helped to raise awareness about sexual assault against males and growing up with an absent father. And Wayne's lyrics, as misogynist as they are, are also playful enough to usher in a few rare feminist hints. Let's play the Weezy lyrics game: feminist or misogynist?

First up: "A Milli," a track off Tha Carter III:

[youtube:v=eTF6N7EWzOA]

Relevant Lyrics: "The Bible told us every girl was sour / Don't play in her garden and don't smell her flower / Call me Mr. Carter or Mr. Lawnmower"

Feminist: Weezy's lawnmower is here to destroy all those antiquated ideas about female sexuality.

Misogynist: A man's lawnmower chopping up a woman's flower is not exactly the most sex-positive imagery.

"Mrs. Officer," a song about a sexy cop.

[youtube:v=AnS040x1gVs]

Relevant Lyrics: "Doin a buck in the latest drop/ I got stopped by a lady cop/ She got me thinking I can date a cop/ Cause her uniform pants are so tight . . . And I know she the law, and she know I'm the boss / And she know I can hide above the law / And she know I'm raw, she know it from the street / And all she want me to do is fuck the police."

Feminist: He's attracted to women in positions of power!

Misogynist: . . . as long as their pants are tight, and he can neutralize their authority by pulling out his wang.

"We Like Her," a song about wanting to fuck every girl in the world. Every single one!

[youtube:v=4pdrJfDAZDQ]

Relevant Lyrics: "Open up her legs then filet mignon that pussy / I'm a get in and on that pussy / If she let me in I'm a own that pussy / Go'n throw it back and bust it open like you 'posed to / Girl I got that dope dick / Now come here let me dope you / You gon' be a dope fiend / Your friends should call you dopey"

Feminist: Every woman is beautiful.

Misogynist: Just beautiful enough for Wayne to declare ownership of her genitals and describe their courtship in sexual assault terms.

"Lollipop," a song about oral sex.

[youtube:v=2v6xK1eSBFk]

Relevant Lyrics: "I get her on top / She drop it like it's hot / And when I'm at the bottom / She Hilary Rodham."

Feminist: He just name-checked Hilary Rodham. In a positive way! And without the Clinton, even!

Misogynist: I'm not sure that riding Weezy is exactly the type of women's liberation Hil is working for.

"Prostitute Flange," a song about not caring if your lady previously turned tricks.

[youtube:v=wWRTccgV-qE]

Relevant Lyrics: I wouldn't care if you were prostitutin' / That you hit every man that you ever knew / See it wouldn't make a difference / If that was way before me and you girl.

Feminist: An anti-slut-shaming anthem: Her sexual history is not an issue, even if she had sex with every man she has ever met. That's pretty progressive!

Misogynist: Well, the history is unimportant as long as it's ancient—"way before me and you"—and as long as she's now only his forever: "Three letters: I do."

"Project Bitch," a track from Lil Wayne's Hot Boys days.

[youtube:v=FNlbKNSFd6k]

Relevant Lyrics: Wayne's contribution to this track is devoted to the ladies who " be puttin' they mouth on it / and they suck everything out of it / and they catch it and swallow it. . . . When I come through in a Rolls Royce / I leave them with no choice / but to hop up in it an just let me make they throat moist."

Feminist: Hmm.

Misogynist: Yeah.

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  • Sally

    This is amazing! I love this blog so, so much.

  • U.S. Citizen

    This must be a slow news day for the City Paper? Who cares about this ugly monkey Lil Wayne. He's a savage lacking character and class.

  • Emily

    Hm. I call troll.

  • kza

    There's a lot of things about people I cannot understand. I don't get how a person can like Little Wayne. Do you not understand how god awful he is? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills! Aaaaahhhhh

  • sedcdude

    Damn, well ain't this the pot call'n da kettle BLACK! LIL Wayne is as AMERICAN as APPLE PIE! He is a rebel, not the easiest on the eyes, short, a junkee, a LYRICAL GOD, young, gifted and BLACK! There is so much about weezy to not like, love, respect and disassociate from, but young people identify with his syrup sip'n ways and his metrosexual/thug charisma! His lyrics reflect his being a byproduct of good ol USA! A kuntry where a woman can look like a man, talk like a woman, dress like a slut, work like a mule, cry like a baby, bitch like a bitch, be a slut and demand RESPECT LIKE A QUEEN; SO with that said, imma be with WEEZY on this one, CON-FUSED!

  • http://www.fairlyprejudiced.blogspot.com Kjen

    The fact that for every supposed progressive lyric reading you can easily and convincingly see a mysogynistic undertone lets you know that at the very least you can not comfortably label Wayne either or.

    I've been wrong too often like this before - claiming an artist as an ally because of a clever line or entire song, only for them to totally contradict my assesment on subsequent songs.

    Unless, he comes out and says, in so many words (yeah right) that he's a feminist and backs it up with unequivocally feminist/woman friendly lyrics, don't assume anything.

    Currently, you can only say "Lil Wayne - not the most hate filled or gender role conservative rapper there is".

  • kza

    @sedcdude

    Have you ever actually listen to his shit? The dude doesn't understand rhyming. You can't rhyme pussy with pussy, sorry

  • sedcdude

    @ K
    I won't get into a debate, but this is a sample of his genuise, not only does he master rhym'n, it's relevant and COMPREHENSIBLE! NEXT TO PAC, HE IS THE BEST, hands down!
    "UN FUKK N BELIEVABLE lil wayne da president, fukk emfukem fukkemm even if they celibate, I kno da game is CRAZY its more crazy than it's eva been, I'm married 2 dat crazy bitch call ME KEVIN FEDERLINE".......I'm Me, carter v, THE LEAK

  • sedcdude

    and this verse here sums up the music industry at a time when southern rappers were try'n to break into the scene, his duo w robin thicke.....Shooter, NUFF SAID!
    "And to the radio STATIONS, I'm tired of b'n PATIENT, STOP b'n rappa RACISTS, REGION HATERS, SPECTATORS, DICTATORS, behind door DICK TAKERS, its OUTRAGEOUS, u'n kno how sick u make US, I WANNA THROW UP LIKE CHIPS N VEGAS, but this is SOUTHERN face it! If we too simple, then y'all don't get the BASICS"

  • http://thebadgirlsguide.blogspot.com Whitney

    I don't think that I'm wrong in assuming that most of the readers of this blog are stereotypically un-hip hop, let alone un-Southern rap which is a whole other thing (oh, I'm sure lots of WCP readers love their 20-year-old rhymes), which makes most of these comments all the more laughable. Wayne (and it's Lil, not Little, kza) is a great artist who is definitely mysogynistic at times (nothing new, so was Hemingway) but like Amanda said, he's so playful and obviously has a lot of love for women that he promptly says how much he wants to ravage-borderline-rape them. At the end of the day, I think his music is great for women old enough/mature enough to understand what it means. My issue is always exposing younger girls and guys to this, who might think its cool and take some of his lyrics literally.

    And to the commenter who talked about him being an "ally," umm what?! of course he's not and I don't think that was the point of the post. But he is an ally of a lot of the things that your movement isn't, so whatever.

  • http://reiseohneende.blogspot.com Tiffani W

    This is a great post. I personally am extremely attracted to Lil Wayne for some kind of inexplicable reason. It's true that his lyrics are dripping with sexual imagery - as is standard for his genre - and as a (presumably) straight male, they're obviously going to reference women as sex partners. Certainly some of them can be read as misogynist, especially in "We Like Her", particularly when they refer to violence. Then again, I'm never quite sure what is sexism and what is kink, so I tend to read it the way I like it (the latter).

    I also LOVELOVELOVE his cameo in Jay Sean's "Down", which is a pretty kind/romantic song to begin with ("Baby don't worry, you are my only. You won't be lonely, even if the sky is falling down. You'll be my only; no need to worry. Baby are you down?")

    Lil Wayne:

    Even if the sky is falling down like she ‘posed to be
    She gets down low for me
    Down like her temperature 'cause to me she zero degrees
    She cold, over freeze
    I got that girl from overseas
    Now she’s my Miss America
    Now can I be her soldier please?
    I’m fighting for this girl on the battlefield of love
    Don’t it look like baby Cupid
    Sent his arrows from above?
    Don’t you ever leave the side of me
    Indefinitely not probably
    And honestly I’m down like the economy

    Of course there's the obligatory oral reference: "gets down low for me" - they bleep this out on the radio, so you know that's what it's referring to. ;) And I have no idea what "down like she's supposed to be" means.

    But the whole, I wanna be a soldier for her, I'm fighting for her on the battlefield of love, I got hit by Cupid's arrows, etc. But she doesn't seem to want to commit: she's "overfreeze", to him she's "zero degrees". And his response is: "I'm down, if you are, I'll be here forever." There's no talk of, like, "forcing that bitch". It's just...so...sweet <3

    Anyway. My rambling is over. But it's a great post and I really like analyzing lyrics/movies/other media for social messages, so your blog is the love of my life! Good job girl.

  • sedcdude

    Hey Tiffani W, great reply IMHO! You are supposed to be attracted to Weezy, simply because of the reasons I previously listed! Now, to bring clarity to his verse "down like she supposed to be"......he simply kills 2 birds with 1 stone, he references the sky falling while simultaneously referencing the girl SUPPOSEDLY being down (like the sky falling) for him no matter what, having his back, submitting and supporting him , does that make sense?

  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/sexist Amanda Hess

    On Lil Wayne's contribution to "Down": The lyric I've been stumbling over in that song is "I got that girl from overseas." I've always read that as an allusion to sex trafficking. To me, Wayne is establishing his girl's worth by comparing her to a woman he's selected and shipped from another country. Obviously, referencing human trafficking as a positive is no good. But maybe I'm misreading the reference. If anyone else has another interpretation of that line I'd love to hear it.

  • sedcdude

    @ A H
    GTFOH! R U SERIOUS???

  • Rick Mangus

    Lil Wayne is not a feminist or a misogynist he is just a typical low life, uneducated dumb ass who's talent or lack there of is just a flash in the pan like so many other rap dumb asses.

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  • e

    @Rick Mangus

    If there's one thing he's not, it's an "uneducated dumb ass." See his Katie Couric interview: he got straight A's in school. He also doesn't write down any of his songs. Even if you don't like his music, it takes skill.

    Like most everything, it's complicated. That 'playful' aspect of his work makes him really intruiging to me, even if I feel conflicted about just what it is he's saying...

  • Ashley

    Well lil wayne is next to the next to the best... He places hisself in the position of being third because all he talks about is BITCHES/HOES, MONEY, DRUGS/ALCOHOL, AND CARS.... Music is much more than that.. MUSIC IS LIFE!!!! Not... dissing females for no reason at all.. Who cares because u are famous that does not give u the right to degrade females and any female who likes wat he says about females onlii makes things worse... the things some females do give all females a bad name..
    -Not so much a wayne fan anymore

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