I'm not against rap. I'm not against rappers. But I am against those fools that aspire to live every lyric they hear, even the most misogynistic and illegal ones. For women like me who value simple things like safety and staying alive, life imitating art can be life-threatening. It's one thing to hear about kidnappng in a song, but to hear it said in "real life" is scary.
Last weekend it was unseasonably warm in Chicago, so I decided to take myself out on a walk to the park. Less than two blocks away from my house, a black car pulls up beside me. Damn. Here we go. "I like your locs, "says one of the two men in the car. I smile and say thank you, never missing a single step in my brisk walk to the park.
They continue to keep the conversation going, asking question after question. The driver shares that his name is Raymond. "Oh, I have an uncle named Raymond." They both get a good laugh out of that response. "You got a man?" I smile and say I do. Friend in the passenger seat looks at me and says, "We gon kidnap you and put you in the trunk." Car tires. Engine smoke. They're gone.
I pause. What the fugg just happened? I'm no stranger to street harrassment and have been called everything from bitch to sexy, but being threatened with kidnapping and torture is a new one even for me. Who the hell says stuff like that???
2 Chainz does.
In his song, "No Lie" featureing Drake, The Source Magazine's newly crowned Man of the Year boasts to an unidentified wack dude:
"I take ya girl and kidnap her, feed her to my mattress"
Despite 2 Chainz's flowing mane of perfectly coiled locs, there is nothing about this scenario that sounds appealing. Beat up, cut, stab, poke, drill are all common references to sex in hip hop and being fed to a mattress is another for the list. The "kidnap" part is just the cherry on top, I suppose. It's clear from the rest of the verse that 2 Chainz doesn't like the dude he's talking about, but why does his "girl" have to be the one to suffer? An imaginary kidnapping to an imaginary woman in a song is just that - imaginary. However, I have to take it seriously when threats are made to me.
Some will say I'm taking it too seriously, after all, didn't the men drive away? Didn't I make it to the park unharmed? True as those things are, the reality is those men COULD HAVE kidnapped me, or done anything else they were crazy enough to try. It only takes a second to snatch someone and toss them in a car. There was no one around and the apartment complex on the opposite side of the street is vacant. Who would have seen it happen? Who would have reported it if they did? No one expects to be kidnapped, but it happens.
In a recent story out of France, a 15-year-old girl was kidnapped and found by police tied up in a trunk during a routine traffic stop. Chloe Rodriguez was abducted while out on her scooter going to visit a friend and held captive for seven days.
I know that I can't blame 2 Chainz for listeners taking his lyrics to heart and saying stupid stuff to women, no more than I can blame Chief Keef for all the shirtless, saggy pants-wearing, dreadlocked teen boys walking around looking like extras from his homoerotic video. But like all things hip hop, people hear and see things and think what they see and hear is cool. Threatening girls and women with kidnapping, rape and anything other than a compliment is NOT cool. Having your advances shot down isn't reason to commit a crime.