[BEAUTIFUL STRUGGLER]
Rick Ross Thinks Rape Is a Punchline

[BEAUTIFUL STRUGGLER]
Rick Ross Thinks Rape Is a Punchline

[OPINION] Jamilah Lemieux says the portly 'Port of Miami' rapper's latest verse speaks to a major cultural issue

by Jamilah Lemieux, March 26, 2013

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[BEAUTIFUL STRUGGLER]
Rick Ross Thinks Rape Is a Punchline

By now you have likely heard about Rick Ross’ controversial lyric on once-and future-struggling rapper Rocko’s new track “U.O.E.N.O” (NSFW): "Put molly all in her champagne, she ain’t even know it / I took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain’t even know it.” Molly, of course, being a popular street drug that shares properties with what is commonly known as Ecstasy.

Disclaimer: I have been clear about my feelings about Rick Ross for years. To paraphrase ‘Pac, “F— Rick Ross as a record label, a staff and a MF— crew/And if you down with Rick Ross, then f— you, too.” The man is a marginally talented huckster who was lucky enough to find a massive audience that was either gullible or simply undiscerning enough not to care that the dude who’s supposed to be a 350-pound Miami drug kingpin was actually a corrections officer.  And if it weren’t for a bunch of ghetto-fantasizing, pseudo-intellectual White boy rap bloggers who decided that Ross was the most important hip-hop act since Lil’ Wayne, I think he’d still be 'hustling' loosies and porn mags to inmates.  

I can write the script for what happens next. A number of rappers who’d rather get a feature on a Ross record than do the right thing will be awkwardly silent about the issue. The White boy rap writers who have so much to do with the relevance of Ross will remain mum as well.  Outspoken advocates for women’s right-to-be-human will be outspoken. Folks will tweet “Father your sons” and find a way to blame Black single moms for the whole thing. We'll get the requisite reminder that women buy rap records, so really, this is our fault anyway. And there will be the standard note that “Parents raise kids, rap does not raise kids.”

If only that last sentiment were entirely true—if only people of all ages could consume entertainment and be completely unaffected by it, regardless of how “well” they were raised.  Just last week, a 27-year-old Virginia man was fool enough to attempt the murder of one of his friends in hopes that he would be admitted into the Illuminati and become a successful rapper due to the human “sacrifice.” 

There have been many dark subversive fantasies played out in rap music—hell, most emcees who claim to be thugs ain’t seen no paaaaarts of the pistol—and women have quite often found themselves the target of these vile references.  So, no, I’m not cynical enough to believe that we’ll now see a massive wave of young men procuring molly for the sake of slipping it to unsuspecting women. But one instance of such is one too many. And we can’t ignore the fact that many men of all races, creeds and classes are willing participants in rape culture.  Even the All Hip-Hop article that revealed the lyric to many of us took a clear shot at the sisters; the writer, Illseed, charged that the song would “upset smart women” and that the “ratchet chicks” would take it as a compliment.  Dumb broads love being raped, right?

What’s so scary about Ross’ line is that this is something that a good number of men and boys actually do. Maybe a rap lyric won’t inspire an impressionable young dude to go and try to flip a couple keys, but normalizing this sort of rape? I see it. I see it and it scares me.

Because he’s tied to a major label and because the rape reference was so blatant, it’s likely that Ross will issue some sort of apology or come forward to say that it was just a joke—“Don’t really go out and do that now, y’all!” To that, I’d say…the title of his last studio album was God Forgives, I Don’t and, well, that’s one thing I have in common with the  ex-cop. Not unless he commits himself to actively working to change his tune, and if that happened, he probably wouldn’t be signed to anyone’s major label anymore. So while this sister is praying for him and urging him to be some positive person that I’ve never observed him to be during his rap career, I just hope he goes away and fast.

This is not just another terrible rap lyric to be dismissed. This is an important teachable moment for young men, boys and even some full-grown adults who don’t understand consent. Who don’t understand that yes, even the girl who brought the molly and the Magnums to the party can be a victim if she was not able to decide when and how they were used. THIS IS RAPE CULTURE—the global reality that was dismissed as a feminist talking point by so many men on this very site just recently.

This is what happens when we simply (CONT. ON PAGE 2)      

think of rapists as always and only boogeymen who lurk behind the bushes with a knife and a ski-mask. And that’s why someone like Ross would feel comfortable boasting about a rape on a rap song. Not a ‘gray rape,’ mind you. Not a situation where there could be an argument made that perhaps there was some confusion about consent. No, this big horrible man boasted that he gave a chick drugs unbeknownst to her and had sex with her unbeknownst to her. And he liked it! Which is good to know, because you know what matters more than a woman’s safety? A man’s pleasure, duh.

If there is any takeaway from this whole miserable mess, I hope that there are some men and women who will soon understand that sex sans consent is rape—no matter how many pills the victim pops on a regular basis, no matter how many times she’s had sex with her rapist or anyone else in the past. It sounds awfully simple, but how much evidence do we need to see that for many folks, the culture of rape is readily accepted and sustained?

As far as an impact on Rick Ross’ career, well, R. Kelly peed on an underage girl in a video that many of us watched and later collected an NAACP Image Award. So I don’t think the consequences for “just” a rape lyric will be great. However, we do know that the rapper endorses Reebok , he's an Island Def Jam artist and that his Maybach Music Group is distributed by Atlantic.  Perhaps these folks should hear just what we think about his latest verse.

Jamilah Lemieux is the News and Lifestyle Editor for EBONY.com. She may joke, but she does not play. 
 

 
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