When I first heard that Jay-Z had supposedly vowed to stop using the word “bitch” following the birth of his daughter, I was skeptical. Jay-Z uses that word a lot, and it seems inconsistent with his image to do a sudden 180 like that. After years of unapologetically using it to refer to lesser rappers, other people’s daughters, and even the mother of his own magic child, would he really let a baby change his mind on what is, for him, a basic element of language, to be used interchangeably with “woman” in both positive and negative contexts?
No, Hova wouldn’t. “That poem and story are fake,” the unrepentant swear sayer told The New York Daily News of the poem allegedly written by him that’s currently going around on the internet. He’s nothing if not consistent.
Is it okay for rappers to use that word? As a feminist, I’ve often struggled to reconcile my dislike of that term with my appreciation for rappers who use it. It’s become such a common syntactical trope that most MCs don’t think twice about it, even using it in songs where they’re supposed to be praising the “bitch” in question. Take Jay-Z’s verse in the recently released “That’s My Bitch,” where he’s basically like, “bitch, you should be in a museum!”
Go harder than a nigga for a nigga, gofigure
Told me keep my own money if we ever did split up
How could someone so gangsta be so pretty in pictures
Ripped jeans and a blazer and some Louboutin slippers
Picasso was alive he woulda made her
That’s right nigga, Mona Lisa can’t fade her
I mean Marilyn Monroe, she’s quite nice
But why all the pretty icons always all-white?
Put some colored girls in the MOMA
Half these broads ain’t got nothing on Wyldna
Don’t make me bring Thelma in it
Bring Halle, Bring Penelope and Selma in it
Back to my Beyoncés, you deserve three stacks word to Andre
Call Larry Gagosian
You belong in museums, you belong in vintage clothes crushing the whole building
You belong with niggas who used to be known for dope dealin’
You too dope for any of those civilians
Now shoo children, stop lookin’ at her t*ts
Get your own dog, ya heard
That’s my b**ch