Kanye West 'Yeezus': Does New Album Treat Women Unfarily? Sexist Lyrics Rampant Despite New Baby Daughter with Kim Kardashian

By Carolyn Menyes (c.menyes@gmail.com) | Jun 19, 2013 12:04 PM EDT
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Kanye West has never been one to shy away from controversy, particularly in his lyrics. With the release of his new album Yeezus comes a whole new crop of rhymes from the rapper, and there is some troubling treatment of women on the record, which has some feminists raising their eyebrows.

Though misogyny has always been present in hip-hop, on Yeezus, West treats women solely as sexual objects and money-hungry groupies/wannabes. A negative reference regarding women is present on each of the album's 10 tracks.

This is particularly troubling because the record was supposed to be different and more political in nature. Yeezus was hyped as being hostile even before its release, but it wasn't clear that the hostility would be aimed toward half the population. Though the sound itself is more mature, lyrically West finds himself falling to stereotypical hip-hop lyrical tropes.

"On and on that alimony, she got you homie, / 'Til death but do your part, unholy matrimony" from "Blood on the Leaves" is actually the least troubling of the sexist lyrics on Yeezus.

Most are sexually explicit in nature and simply don't paint women in a good light. They're either treated as nothing but a number ("Three hundred bitches, where the Trojans?" from "Black Skinhead") or as a vehicle for nothing but sex ("When I go raw, I like to leave it in, / When I wake up, I like to go again, / When I go to work, she gotta call in, / She can't go to work, same clothes again" off "Sent It Up").

The concept that work isn't nearly as important for women as pleasing West sexually is repeated on Yeezus. "Eatin Asian p*ssy, all I need was sweet and sour sauce, / Tell your boss you need an extra hour off," he raps on "I'm In It."

There's also talk of adultery ("I'll f*ck your Hampton spouse, / Came on her Hampton blouse, / And in her Hampton mouth" on "New Slaves") and serving West with favors and threesomes ("Hurry up with my damn massage, / Hurry up with my damn ménage, / Get the Porsche out the damn garage," from "I Am A God).

Some may say this is just the way of hip-hop and that West has no obligation to break new lyrical ground or be a role model. In an interview with Rolling Stone, producer Rick Rubin said that West wrote most of the album's lyrics in two hours, perhaps lending them to be non-thought out and not worth examining.

But the words that accompany one of the year's biggest releases can't be so quickly dismissed. More so, one has to think about West's millions of female fans and of his newborn daughter with girlfriend Kim Kardashian.

Are women worldwide expected to sing along with these lyrics and not think of their consequences or meaning? West certainly seemed to think so, and that is a problem.

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