Young Thug, you are changing the rap game, my friend.
Your beginnings were arguably shaky, given the thorough dissection of your lyrics on the Rich Gang track "Lifestyle," a song that lent itself to countless memes and viral videos thanks to your mumble rap (this "T-Murda" one was the best, though). You were mercilessly dragged for sounding like Lil Wayne. Your music was likened with the demise of hip-hop, though we've all heard that narrative before. And then, in what is perhaps your boldest move to date, you showed up in a dress on the cover of your JEFFERY project.
We (and I'm speaking for women here) SHOWERED you with YASSSSSes and saluted your bravery. Maybe it wasn't even bravery, rather a steady stream of "I Don't Give a F**kness" that seeped through the pores of your body and painted the cover of your mixtape-slash-album (since it's all the same these days). You even went the extra mile and titled it with your government name — sealing that bad boy as the epitome of a "this is me" masterpiece.
Some were horrified by the cover; my Facebook page can attest to that. And in a desperate attempt to hate listen to your music — just so they can crack their knuckles and devise yet another trendy meme — they pressed play and something crazy happened. They loved the music. Of course they loved the music. This is hip-hop, where women are hailed and then nailed (literally and figuratively, like Lauryn Hill once said).
I f**k on your baby mama
I f**k on your baby mama
Let's f**k on your baby mama
'Cause I wanna f**k on your baby mama
Some head from your baby mama
I need some brain from your baby mama
The head from your baby mama
I need me some brain from your baby mama
– “Future Swag”
And we even saluted the cheeky click-baity song titles, right? Naming tracks "Kanye West" and "Webbie," having us all think they're about something or someone. We all waited for some hot diss tracks. Instead we got some surprisingly decent cuts from an artist who is gender bending the genre in a way that didn't quite drive the point home when Kanye West wore that leather skirt and Andre3000 wore that "kilt."
I got fifty foreign h**s on my d**k / I'ma nut in all 'em h**s, let's have some chicks – “Floyd Mayweather”
For ten tracks you carried on about sex and all of the self-serving pleasures that comes from it. You tackled your bravest fears — you know, worrying how women who had sex with you would suddenly fall in love. You wanted children in about two or three songs. You delved into real life situations buried beneath chants about seemingly nothing. And that's cool, because that's the new wave with rap these days.
Only here for one night, let me put it on your face
Let a n***a nut, only way I'll go to sleep – “Wyclef Jean”
Even a year ago with your engagement to Jerrika Karla, we all applauded that perceived monogamy. Yet art doesn't always have to imitate life, so we won't start plucking JEFFERY lyrics about infidelity. In your VFiles video, you claimed that you "don't care for sex," which would make Dr. Phil squeal with delight at the opportunity to ask how you've managed to separate yourself from that act for your hypersexualized lyrics on records.
I'ma go 'head and nut in my b***h
I'ma gon' and give her juice – “Webbie”
You suggest there will be two brides at your wedding, which begs the assumption that you will also be in a dress and less that you will be marrying two women, considering you have openly admitted to not particularly caring about sex with even one of the brides.
In that h** mouth like a Colgate – “Guwop”
You opened up to Billboard about your firm stance on genderless fashion saying, "When it comes to swag, there's no gender involved." And you're right. But see here's the thing with that: in a world where cisgender women and transgender women are constantly minimized in the media and real life, you don't get to pick and choose which parts of us you can hang with. You don't get to slay in feminine couture on your mixtape cover and then nut all over us in the music. You want us to defend you to all of the dudes who have seemingly written you off for that lovely purple ensemble? Then you respect your muses, you don't diminish them.
But then again, maybe you really don't care about breaking up the boys club with your dresses. Maybe those glitter shoes you claimed you rocked as a kid just looked cool to you. Maybe you're not here to destroy the patriarchal values of rap that have been in place for four decades now. Maybe you don't care about us; maybe you just like dresses.
That's fine. This isn't the first time we as women have awkwardly swayed (or even done more) to rap lyrics that only aim to exploit us. You can join that league of artists; your catalog warrants it. But save those pensive thoughts about gender then or musically do something about it. If you really wanna dress like us, you can't have it all in this hip-hop world then. Just like us.
(Photo: Atlantic, 300 Entertainment)