Drunk In Love: How Rape Culture Is Influencing Music
IT’S probably safe enough to say that you saw the Jay Z and Bey opening Grammy performance of Drunk in Love. Sexy, right? All that tight-fitting, black-strapped sheer fabric combined with those dank, tousled locks and smouldering make-up probably had every woman in the crowd keeping one eye on their man and the other on his pants. It was all very Flashdance-esque. She looked sextastic. So much so that Jamie Foxx publicly told Jay Z that he has the glad eye for ‘yoncé. There and then it got uber-awkward, which was quite obvious on the face of a suddenly very modest and refined Beyoncé.
Sexy? Check. Powerful husband? Check. No sense of class? Check.
I’ve never thought that Beyoncé had any class. No disrespect. I’m not saying that she looks like mutton dressed as lamb or a 20 dolla hooker. I’m just noting that she has built her very solid career on a foundation of being sexy and that’s grand, but to say she’s classy would be a lie. Cue the tweets:
So what does ‘Queen B’ have to say for herself? Well, in some titbits of behind the scenes footage which you can watch if you follow the link, B explains that a lot of the inspiration for her self-titled album released in December came from life after pregnancy. In her song titled Mine which was co-written with Drake, Bey says that she’s “been having conversations about separations and breakups / I’m not feeling like myself since the baby, are we gonna even make it?”
She wanted to feel sexy again and so she worked on an album whilst working on her bod and tried to channel sex into both. It worked. Kind of. Although her album is unfortunately one perfectly sculpted leg over the uncomfortably sexy line. It’s difficult to watch a mother be so vulgar. In Partition she sings:
“Driver roll up the partition please,
I don’t need you seeing yoncé on her knees
Took 45 minutes to get all dressed up
We ain’t even gonna make it to this club
Now my mascara runnin’, red lipstick smudged
Oh he so horny, yeah he want to fuck
He popped all my buttons and he ripped my blouse
He Monica Lewinski’d all on my gown”.
You could expect this low-level promotion from the likes of bad gal Riri or Ke$ha (the dollar sign says enough). But for a woman who claims to be hella independent to write a song about dropping to her knees to give a guy a blowjob in the back of a limo is a bit confusing really – which brings me to my next point.
Drunk in Love is a good song – apart from Jay Z’s shite rapping in the middle of it. It’s one of the few songs on the album that’s more Beyoncé than Solange. Beyoncé’s record is wholly centred on her and Shawn Carter’s relationship which is why the whole world seems to be mentally saying ‘DAFUQ?!’ regarding a lyric from the album.
The more astute group of you will have noticed this from the heap of publications that have been nurturing and feeding it through the systematic internet in the last number of weeks and some of you won’t have a notion, so I’ll give y’all a rundown.
In Drunk in Love, Bey and Jay are having sex. Grand, most couples do. Some people like it rough, I ain’t judging. But Jay’s lyrics take it too far. First he says, “Beat the box up like Mike, in ’97 I bite”. Here he refers to Mike Tyson who is famously known for biting Evander Holyfield’s ear off. Biting in the bedroom is nothing overly explicit but Mike Tyson is also a convicted rapist. Yeah, so from here it gets ugly.
Jay then goes on to say “I’m Ike Turner, turn up, baby, no, I don’t play. Now eat the cake, Anna Mae said, Eat the cake, Anna Mae!” This is taken from What’s Love Got to Do with It?, a 1993 biopic released by Tina Turner (real name Anna Mae) about her rise to stardom whilst dealing with her abusive husband Ike Turner. In one scene of the movie, Tina is sitting in a diner with a very high Ike when a cake is placed on the table. Ike badgers Tina to eat the cake until he forces it into her mouth and subsequently ends up beating her friend.
Jay Z caused a lot of controversy amongst fans and the media with this lyric. Since the release of her fifth album, this line has lingered on everyone’s mind. The very talented writer Sasha Frere-Jones talked about this degrading lyric in an article for The New Yorker recently where he incomprehensibly gushed, “I won’t pretend to know how this potentially ugly reference works between Jay Z and Beyoncé, but it’s her album and they look pretty happy on the beach, so some sort of inversion is at work”.
So that’s it then? We’ll just brush off glamorised references to rape and domestic violence because Beyoncé and Jay Z look so fluffy and cute and happy? It’s disgusting. Since when did this become OK? Why are people spineless? “ERMAGEHRD Bey’s new album is out, I just love it soooo much! Her and Jay are too cute! And have you heard his rap? Yo, he’s such a badass!”
What’s even worse is that this is Beyoncé’s track. This isn’t Jay’s single or anyone else constantly playing the ‘cool’ card. Its just like Sasha Frere-Jones said, this is ‘her album’. Did you notice how she sang along with Jay to this lyric during their Grammy performance? Something for you to think about when you’re at her next gig dancing along to Independent Women.
Photos c/o meltyfashion.fr, twitter.com, youtube.com