Maybe Lupe Fiasco's 'B--ch' Isn't Bad

Lupe Fiasco (Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

When progressive listeners hear the term "b—ch" in a rap song, it can be easy to disregard the track's message. However, Akiba Solomon writes for Ebony, in the case of Lupe Fiasco's newest single. "B—ch Bad," perhaps the smarties shouldn't be so quick to judge and take a few minutes to hear Fiasco out.

I urge you to listen to the song for yourself. But here's my take: Through the lenses of a young boy "maybe 5, maybe 4" and a group of Internet-savvy girls ages 9 through 12, Fiasco explains how adult women's casual re-appropriation of "bad b#@ch" can scramble romantic communication for their children down the line. For the boy, confusion takes root when he hears his mother — ostensibly the most central female figure in his life who he's been taught to exalt — sing along to "bad b#@ch" lyrics on the car radio. Meanwhile, the girls are looking at the sex-positive interpretation of "bad b#@ch" via scantily clad "lead girls" in videos who garner the attention of male artists.

Fiasco's story is complicated and all of the pieces don't add up. So in what seems to be his attempt to turn a cognitive tightrope into solid ground, Fiasco sums up his fable with a Madonna/Whore hook:

"Bitch bad/Woman good/Lady better."

Now, egghead critics like Spin's Marc Hogan have slammed the song for its alleged lack of artistic merit. (I disagree; I like it.) And The Crunk Feminist Collective's always-insightful, eloquent Brittney Cooper rightfully challenges the narrow respectability politics Fiasco invokes in the hook.

Read Akiba Solomon's entire piece at Ebony.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.

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