Lupe Fiasco – Bitch Bad [Music Video]

Your classmate Stephanie shared this with me, so I’m sharing this with the entire class. Take some time to watch the video and share your opinion. I’m sure some of you are already familiar with Lupe Fiasco as a rapper and an artist. Did he hit the mark or was he way off.

 

 

 

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18 thoughts on “Lupe Fiasco – Bitch Bad [Music Video]

  1. Since Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five released “The Message” in 1983, Hip-Hop musicians have always used Rap music as a medium to speak about issues that affect the black community. Although conscious songs are sort of a lost art in contemporary Hip Hop, artists such as Common, Talib Kweli, Immortal Technique and Lupe Fiasco always release material that find a way to uplift us. “Bitch Bad”, a song that analyzes the state of contemporary hip hop’s demoralization of women, really attacks the lyrics and music videos of artists of this time period. The term “bad bitch” has somewhat became synonymous with being an ideal woman in many urban communities. When this vernacular is molded into the lead women of music videos, we get what a “bad bitch” entails. This usually means a woman with a curvaceous shape and a “pretty” face. Some (not all) young women look to these women as role models and often try to embody these women in everyday life to be socially accepted as ideally “bad”. The word “bitch” is extremely degrading and misogynous but when paired with “bad”, it’s seen as being ideally good. On almost every social media outlet we see a lot of young women characterizing themselves as such and it speaks volumes to how influential media is in our lives. In many ways the women that identify with being a “bad bitch” can pass this psychologically degrading term down to the children of tomorrow and it can be very confusing for them if they do not know the difference. In my opinion, “Bitch Bad” holds rap video directors and rap artists accountable for the messages they input in their lyrics. It was a much needed song for an extremely dark age of hip hop music. The album in itself is really good by the way (Food and Liquor 2: The Great American Rap Album if anyone wants to listen. My favorite song is “Ital” another positive message). “Bitch Bad” in many ways reminds me of one of my favorite rap songs titled “What They Do” by the Roots. Both artists are similar in the fact that they both are conscious rappers stuck in a commercialized Hip Hop world. Both songs however find a way to make a mockery of their contemporaries and try their best to infiltrate what’s left of this dying folk art.
    PLAYING DEVIL’S ADVOCATE. Can the term “Bad Bitch” be a term of empowerment? Throughout the history of language, linguists have often written about people taking the “power” out of words and use them for something negative and positive. For example, Hitler’s swastika was not always a symbol for racism and anti-Antisemitism. It was a religious symbol often used in Hinduism as a sign of good fortune. The “N Word”, was a socially constructed term created to demean black people. Often we see it used casually in urban vernacular. The “F” word has always been a word used to degrade the gay community, but often people of the LGBT community use it in their vernacular. The word, “bitch” has essentially changed from being degrading to some people as well. Personally this is an interesting discussion to have because what some people may find offensive, some people may see it as a term of empowerment. Just something to think about.

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    • Great comments, Zach. Although, I think its a great song and a good video I doubt that it will have the impact the filmmaker and artist hopes to. The overwhelming negative imagery in music videos and hip hop is now part of mainstream music. For every Lupe Fiasco, The Roots and Public Enemy there is a Little Wayne and Rick Ross that has 10x the airplay. Hopefully, the tides will turn again as it did in the earlier stages of hip hop where the music had more meaning and at the least was more fun and light hearted. In regards to your comment about how we use words, I am sure some can and will find the term Bad Bitch as a sign of empowerment but it will never erase the negative connotations connected to it. The same way, that term can be used as a term of endearment is the same way the N word or the F word can be used to humiliate and disempower with the greatest malice.

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      • You are right about people like lil wayne and Rick Ross getting more airplay. I absolutely agree with you.But Hip Hop is a folk art that should not be defined by radio. Fans of this music should seek and find real Hip-Hop music. I like songs by Rick Ross because for what they’re worth they are entertaining. However I understand that intellectually Rick Ross cannot do it for me. I look to Talib Kweli, Common and other intellectually conscious rappers to take me there. The problem in Hip Hop is that its saturated with artists that don’t care about the culture. I just want it to be more balanced.

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  2. I kind of think that he gets to the point he is trying to make. The problem that you stated is very relevant though, because nowadays a song like this not one that everyone will listen to. I find myself very in tuned with popular music and I have never heard this song until today. Therefore for people to actually catch the idea that Lupe is trying to put across is hard, not because its not clearly depicted in the song but because it isn’t really available to them. Putting it into contrast with a similar popular song “Illest Bitch Alive” by Wale, is something that I would do. The statement being made isnt as strong as Lupe but there is still similar message there and even though some may contradict, Wale may be more main stream than Lupe, therefore the message may reach a bigger audience.

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  3. I think Lupe did an excellent job with this song and he tries to get his message across. The problem is that since he is a rapper that tries to relay a positive message his songs are not being played on the radio as much as a rapper that has a degrading message. This video is showing the view of a boy and girl and the way they view the word bitch. The boy is hearing his mother call herself a bad bitch. the girl is watching a music video of a light skin black girl (colorism) being over sexualized (jezebel). I have reviewed this video before in my intro to gender studies course and it is interesting to be discussing it again in a drama course. I must say that I myself try to voice my opinion of empowering women using positive language. I try to avoid using the word bitch because I am raising two little boys and I don’t want them to grow up thinking it is ok to call a woman a bitch even if it is trying to be used in a positive way. Women do a lot and don’t get enough credit for it.

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  4. I actually have heard this song prior to the blog post, yet I can imagine that for a lot of people it is the first time hearing this song.This song/music video reflects the hegemonic society we live in, which male dominance is praised and women are placed under a submissive role. This can clearly be seen in the music industry where “bad bitch” is used in a way to praise the visualization of a hyper sexualized woman. The music industry promotes the “bad bitch ” title as something a female should want to replicate as Lupe Fiasco shows young girls observing and absorbing what they see in the media by imitating such models of what they believe is a “powerful woman”. In reality, not only are women degraded, they are under the impression that they should strive to be a “bad bitch”. This leads to the strengthening of control men have in society. The attempt to change the meaning of “bad bitch” to something positive cannot occur as the basis of such term holds negative elements that cannot be erased. Although some might not see this,women will continue to face a glass ceiling if terms such as “bad bitch” are embraced. He shows the result of how young men are affected by such term by showing a young boy and his mother and how “bad bitch” has been used throughout his life by his mom to mean an independent female as well as a strong maternal figure to the boy. When he grows up, what he sees in his surroundings is not what he thought a ” bad bitch” was according to how he saw his mother. With this example we can see that the attempt to change the meaning behind “bad bitch” cannot be used as a form of female empowerment while women continue to portray and embody a hyper sexualized women that men have created within music videos and music itself.

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    • I agree! Commerical radio is not ready or equipped to deal with a school. The same way the film and television industry profits from negative stereotypes so does the music industry. There was a time in the mid to late 80’s to early to mid 90’s, where music like Lupe Fiasco was more common. Now there are probably less than 10 known rappers that produce positive music. Hopefully, that will change soon.

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  5. I think social commentary in this song is really interesting and he makes several important points. Most obviously, he discusses the impressionability of children and how kids that grow up watching/listening to degrading representations of black women will have a significant effect on how those children later treat black women and view themselves. I liked that he brought up the concept of the Madonna/whore complex. Young boys want to find a “respectable” woman like their mother (the Madonna), but are constantly exposed to over-sexualized images of other women (the whores), creating confusion. Additionally, throughout the video a white man is shown counting money, which represents the fact that ultimately corporations run by predominately white men are the ones profiting from the misrepresentation of black people in mainstream media.

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  6. I watched this video in my Gender 333 class int he spring which is Gender and Philosophy. First off this an example of how slang is used in hip-hop and how it effects our youth. It was very inspiring to me to finally see someone rap about a “REAL” issue and not just say that talk about real stuff in their lyrics and music. WHat this song explains is how like the n-word, the word bitch (a word already taken out of its context definition) is now being taken out of its derogatory context and being used as a positive which is a major no-no however young boys and girls still revolutionize the term. What is lost that while the term is supposed to be something positive it is still a derogatory device. As Lupe says “bad bitch” is supposed to mean something sexual which technically is the truth. Females who consider themselves bad bitches believe they are something to be desired. Men on the other see a bad bitch as a sex object they would fuck without question.

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  7. Lupe Fiasco never disappoints. I mean the video and message sells itself to the audience that listens. Sad to say most wont listen to this song twice. Its interesting to see the evolution of the word bitch. How it has become a compliment in some cultures if you simply add the word bad in front. But to people with sense most of the older more mature folk Bitch whether bad or good is still disrespectful word or name. The images Lupe displays is exactly what goes on every single day in households across the nation. Whether the parents are attentive or not some kind of way these children and adolescents have become so tech savvy that they can access inappropriate things such as music movies games websites etc. So its safe to say you cant just tell parents to monitor what their kids watch and do but you can just educate them to the real world. So when they do come across a video like this they can appreciate its content because it supports or is a representation of what their parents already explained to them.

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  8. Olivia, Korede, Karen, Chris and Darell , you all make great points and I’m glad to see some, if not all of you were familiar with the song/music video. An artist like Lupe, Talib Kweli or Mos Def will never get the acclaim or financial success of a Kanye West or Drake because of his desire to use his art form to inform more than entertain. In addition, he seems more interested in educating and moving beyond stereotypes than repeating the same boring often repeated boast about having the most women, money and cars. He is creating and building his audience through thoughtful and creative lyrics. Most rappers as well as mainstream singers and filmmakers will burn out when their audience gets bored with the same immature and ignorant output. It’s actually what is happening to Tyler Perry, his films are no longer box office gold because his audience has grown tired of the story lines over and over again. You want your audience to grow and evolve as hopefully you do as an artist. If you don’t, eventually your audience will move on without you. I’m sure Lupe, as other great hip hop artist like Public Enemy, will last for years to come, as long as they keep developing and evolving.

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  9. As previously mentioned “Lupe never disappoints”. Lupe Fiasco knows all too well the power of words. Depending on where you stand, the term “bad bitch” may have positive or negative connotations, and the Chicago MC filmed the video for his new single “Bitch Bad” with the sole intention of sparking discussion. By the time the song and video reaches the third verse, the two youngsters are grown. One has a positive take on the term “bad bitch” while the other has a more negative view. “Even if we don’t come to a definition about it, even if we don’t come to an agreement about it … it’s definitely something that I think we should talk about because it’s so prevalent in our culture right now” Lupe said. Though not too many, there are some female rap artists like Trina, who have become empowered by taking the negative word “bitch” and spinning it around, while Lemieux argued that there are a lot more positive words that women can use to affirm themselves. This video was exactly what our generation needs to see. Our ancestors fought in order for the African-American race to have equality and success in this country, and nowadays it has been taken for granted. Instead of uplifting one another, we our killing ourselves for wealth and monetary gain, glorifying detrimental lifestyles that are unrealistic. The youth have very few positive influences that have shown that it is important to gain an education and to work for the betterment of our society, instead we have degraded our own race, instead of working together to strengthen our communities and give back to those less fortunate. This video was excellent and had reflected the current state of our society. In short–We as a people need change.

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  10. I agree Sam. To add an exclamation point and i have said it before, last time i checked a bitch is a bitch no matter what word you put in front of it.

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  11. Samara I totally agree with you. Commercial music has a way of using the word “Bitch”. While some take offence to the word, simply putting “Bad “in front of it Changes the meaning.
    Niki Minaj, Trina,Lil Kim always referred to themselves as Bad Bitches. SO, when a female call herself a bad bitch – it’s actually a compliment. I’m not a fan of Hip Hop music,But the lyrics itself is misunderstanding. Bad Bitch, Women Good, Lady Better? To me it sounds like lady in the streets freak in the sheets. Those three terms makes me think bad bitch in the bedroom, good women at heart and a Lady in public. . . (Just my thoughts) Lupe Fiasco made a great point in the video when the young male and the young female interpret the word in different ways. Recently Kanye West wrote a song for his wife calling her a perfect bitch. Kim Kardashian tweeted that she loved the song, so you see where we get it from ?
    I also want to bring another thing that Lupe Fiasco brought to my attention. Towards the ending I started to realize that maybe this video is trying to be “Awareness” to where these names originated from. “BLACK FACE” Black face created racist black stereotypes – Jim Crow ,Zipcoon, Mammy ,Uncle Tom ,Jezebel ,Mulatto, Pickanninny which was used during the Minstreal Era.

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  12. I like that you guys are actually having a conversation with each other rather than post and wait for me to reply. There is the type of dialogue we need to help make change happen.

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  13. After watching Lupe fiasco’s video I feel that he did a great job in relaying the effects that parents and videos have on young children in today’s society. My parents were fairly young during my childhood so I always heard music with profanity in it because this is the music that my parents were into. But they always made sure to explain to me right from wrong. But for a kid that doesn’t have the proper guidance hearing and seeing such things can have a negative effect on them. The topics Lupe brought up was well put together and the video was very creative. The only negative thing I have to say about the video is that even though he was trying to do something different and make a point about what children are seeing in todays videos his video had all the things they see in it as well. I feel that young children wouldn’t get his message and only hear the catchy chorus with the word “bitch” in it adding more fuel to the flame.

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  14. I think this was a powerful video. I agree with everyone that messages like this get loss in mainstream hip hop and rap. To me the most powerful aspect of the video was the imagery of the minstrel and the white man counting money in various scenes. Lupe is showing how these damaging messages are instilled and promoted in the Black community because it helps line the pockets of white society. By falling for the message we are acting and entertaining White society. When the rapper cries at the end, to me it demonstrates how he is aware that he is selling himself and destroying his people but he has no way to rectify it.

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    • Welcome Back Ieasha,
      Good comments. Lupe’s video is a great example of the social implication of negative stereotypes perpetrated in the media about men and women of color, especially African Americans. But I disagree that these damaging images are just lining the pockets of white society. Those who help produce those images whether White, Black or Brown are also benefiting for those stereotypes. Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, music producers, record labels, rappers, filmmakers and adveritsers all create and make money from these images without concern for the damage that it creates.

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