Remember when Drake was touted a “feminist” rapper? As it turns out, he’s quietly been spouting deeply misogynist, troubling lyrics all along, and most of us have been none the wiser. That’s the problem with a catchy tune: you’ll be singing along with lyrics about “bitches and hoes” and not even notice because you’re too busy dancing away. Remember “Blurred Lines”? Many of us were bopping along with that even though it promoted rape culture. Drake is under the microscope right now because “Hotline Bling," the video that’s been memed into the galaxy and beyond, is pretty hard to avoid. That and the song uses some really reductive stereotypes to belittle women, which you’ll see discussed in the list below. Rap and hip-hop obviously have a long and public relationship to sexism and misogyny, and it seems like something that’s unlikely to change, especially when “enlightened” and “millennial” rappers like Drake are still partaking in propagating the same old tired tropes. What’s most terrifying about Drake’s casual misogyny is how subtly sexist it is. With his “nice guy” pretext, he uses shame as his weapon of choice in order to diminish women. Here are some of his most sexist lyrics to date:
1. “Hotline Bling”
“Got a reputation for yourself now,” “Started wearing less and goin' out more/ Glasses of champagne out on the dance floor,” and “Used to always stay at home, be a good girl." "Hotline Bling” is essentially a slut shaming anthem. The plot of the song goes that Drake’s girlfriend broke up with him and started partying and drinking in skimpy outfits, making her no longer “good” and therefore by default “bad." The song suggests that a certain level of propriety is required for a woman to be “good” and the standard for said propriety is justifiably policed by her whiny ex boyfriend. Demeaning women for displaying overly sexual behavior or simply making themselves publicly visible in a way that is threatening to men is the epitome of misogynist thinking.
2. “No Lie” - 2 Chainz
“Chances are, if she was acting up/ Then I f*cked her once and never f*cked again/ She could have a Grammy, I still treat her ass like a nominee/ Just need to know what that pussy like so one time it's fine with me." Drake’s verse of 2 Chainz’s “No Lie” betrays a seriously ass backwards way of thinking about women. As in “Hotline Bling," the woman who is “acting up” is considered completely unworthy of respect, and is shamed for her behavior. Meanwhile, Drake visits the same old territory of rap completely objectifying women, stripping them of their autonomy and making them sex objects available at the whim of men for sexual gratification.
3. “Good Girls Go Bad” - The Game
“Where’s all the women that still remember who they slept with?/ Where’s all the girls too busy studying to make the guest list?” Perhaps the women are doing both, Drake. Or perhaps a woman sleeping around or partying doesn’t preclude her from commanding respect or living free of judgement. On The Games’ “Good Girls Go Bad," Drake continues to shame women for their sexuality. Meanwhile, you better believe he’s boasting about how many of these women he’s slept with.
”I hope you don’t get known for nothing crazy, cause no man ever wants to hear those stories about his lady." Well, you know Drake, most people don’t relish in hearing about their partner’s sexual history. But it’s there, and it’s nothing to be ashamed about. Moreover, it’s nothing to bring up as a reason to make someone feel bad. And yet, Drake seems to think what defines a woman is who she’s slept with, when the rest of us know that a woman is much more than the notches on her bed post.
“You go get fucked up and we just show up at your rescue.” Meanwhile, Drake also seems to believe that women need to be “saved” by men. It’s very Super Mario of him, but these days all the empowered Peaches of the world are more comfortable taking care of their own business, thank you very much.
6. “Aston Martin Music” - Rick Ross
“I hate callin' the women bitches, but the bitches love it.” On Rick Ross’ “Aston Marin Music," Drake claims to be a “nice guy” because he hates being unkind to women, insisting that women enjoy the disrespect. There’s a word for this, and it’s in the dictionary now too: “mansplaining." This is essentially Drake mansplaining to women how they want to be treated. Can we get a woman’s opinion in here please?