Kanye West and Taylor Swift went at it again last week when West dropped his latest album The Life of Pablo and included a few less than favorable rhymes about Swift on his track “Famous.” Alluding to the pair’s infamous VMA debacle back in 2009, West raps, “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex/Why? I made that b*tch famous/ I made that b*tch famous.”
According to Swift’s reps, she did not give him permission to use that line in his song, and even warned him about the lyrics, which she claims have a “misogynistic” tone.
While their hilarious beef gets juicier by the second, let’s just back up for a minute, stop talking about these two and start talking about these so-called misogynistic lyrics; because unlike the petty back and forth between a certified narcissist and a grossly sweet pop star, THAT actually matters.
So according to Vocabulary.com, a misogynist is quite literally, a person who hates, or distrusts women. Now, the idea of hating an entire gender is a bit massive in implication, so let’s put it this way. If he thinks it is cute when you speak your mind, he might be a misogynist. If he didn’t see Star Wars: The Force Awakens because he just “can’t identify” with a female heroine, he might be misogynistic. If you blow off his advances, and he returns your disinterest with a “You’re ugly anyway!” girl, he is absolutely a misogynist.
Well, the song opens up with an intro from Rihanna, who apparently understands if some entity does not want to be with her anymore because she is pretty hard to love. “Man I can understand how it might be/ Kinda hard to love a girl like me,” she sings. “I don’t blame you much for wanting to be free.”
Although West sings in unison with Rihanna at this point in the song, they are both still talking about a chick that right off the bat feels like she does not fully deserve to be with either something or someone. Not to say that this song is definitely about self-doubting women, but nonetheless, I find it interesting.
For the first verse, West goes right into everything with the whole T-Swizzle comment, only to launch into a few words addressed to his exes, hookups and one-night stands. He says, “If you see ’em in the streets give ’em Kanye’s best/ Why? They mad they ain’t famous/ They mad they’re still nameless/ Her man in the store tryna try his best/ But he just can’t seem to get Kanye fresh.”
So basically, West feels like the majority of girls he has been with were using him for fame and riches, and now live their lives with broke dudes who idolize Kanye and his monetary gains.
Then Rihanna comes back in with Swizz Beats and sings, “I just wanted you to know/ I loved you better than your own kin did/ From the very start/ I don’t blame you much for wanting to be free/ Wake up Mr. West/ I just wanted you to know.”
All right, it seems pretty clear to me that Rihanna’s chorus is not supposed to represent an actual woman; instead it exists as a personification of West’s fame, insinuating that although fame has always embraced West, it also has wrecked havoc on his personal life, and evidently wasted a ton of gold diggers’ time.
In the next verse, Kanye mentions driving in a flashy car with a woman waving as if she is in a parade, suggesting that again, these girls are with him for the money. Enough, Kanye, I get it.
He also mentions feeling “young” and “alive” while flying his private jet “over personal debt.” Now that one is just plain awkward considering he just publicly asked Mark Zuckerberg for a billion dollars over Twitter the other day.
The rest is just some angst-riddled hype man nonsense about putting middle fingers up in the air and the fact that “it’s too late” for fame to win back into Kanye’s good graces. He is out of here and he is never coming back. To which we all say: Bye, love! Enjoy your flight.
However, after it is all said and done, West samples legendary songstress Nina Simone’s “Do What You Gotta Do,” who sings the final chorus that Rihanna has been adapting throughout the song. “I just wanted you to know/ I loved you better than your own kin did/ From the very start/ I don’t blame you much for wanting to be free/ I just wanted you to know,” she sings.
So, is this all just a women-hating rant for the masses?
Throughout the track, West essentially references all women mentioned as two-dimensional jerks or idiots who place insatiable amounts of value upon materialistic possessions and notoriety. And in addition, fame really has been personified as a broken-hearted woman who would rather have her man move on and find someone better than stay with her self-deemed unlovable self.
Not that it isn’t a great metaphor for West’s relationship with fame, but to be honest, the average Joe is probably just going to take that all to mean that the majority of women are crazy shallow people who desire be seen and/or financially accommodated to, so every man with a little bit of cash needs to watch his back. If that isn’t the epitome of distrusting women, I fail to see what is.
But let’s be clear, West is only speaking from personal experience, and about specific women who he perceives have had ulterior motives. It seems that he hates and distrusts not necessarily all women, but definitely those women.
Still, he perpetuates a common stereotype without offering any contrasting representations of women who are genuine, and know how to respect a man with power. And though West doesn’t seem the type to worry about how people perceive any of his work, or how they use it as advice for their personal lives, that doesn’t change the fact that a lot of men are going to look at this song and think this generation of women is a lost cause with nothing to offer but headaches and heartbreak.
As far as Swift is concerned, he did reference her by name and dwindle her down to just some chick that might as well bow down and bend over for the man who hypothetically gave her all the fame in the world that she has ever desired. Yeah, that’s messed up, too.
My conclusion? “Famous” is your classic Kanye versus “The Man” anti-establishment tune thickly bedazzled as one of a million misogynous-toned rap songs roaming around this world, getting the clubs “turnt” and the crowds hyped. It’s a “Hotline Bling” by Drake. It’s a “Loyal” by Chris Brown. It’s a “B*tches Ain’t Sh*t” by Dr. Dre.
Nothing more, nothing less, and certainly nothing new.