In early 1999, the Sporty Thievz were just another unfortunately named Flex mixtape concubine no one gave a damn about, and a “pigeon” was just the word we’d given to the world’s most arrogant shitter. Then, TLC released “No Scrubs”—the now iconic “diss” track that strangely encouraged dangerous driving habits (hollering out the passenger side is much, much safer than hollering while driving)—and this made some men very upset.
The Sporty Theives rode this male outrage wave with “No Pigeons”, a popular rebuttal that was more clever in theory than reality. The song’s (lack of) quality didn’t matter to us, though. We (the men of hip-hop America) finally had a male champion. Someone who’d let women know who the fuck we were and, more importantly, who the fuck they were. Someone to fight the girlpower. Someone to carry the torch and deliver us from Chili.
Now, with the barriers to creative entry being so low, we (men) didn’t have to rely on the Sporty Thievz to speak for us. We could do it ourselves.
It happened again when Destiny’s Child released both “Bills, Bills, Bills” and “Soldier.” And when Khia released “My Neck, My Back.” And pretty much any other time a female artist-created track that was even remotely critical of men became popular. Only, as the aughts continued, the rebuttal song started to give way to the thinkpiece, the Facebook thread, the blog post, and the meme. Now, with the barriers to creative entry being so low, we (men) didn’t have to rely on the Sporty Thievz to speak for us. We could do it ourselves.
Still, as Cassidy’s “Lookin Ass Bitches”—a reply to Nicki Minaj’s “Lookin Ass Nigga”—proves, the male rebuttal song isn’t extinct. But it should be.
Cassidy is a talented rapper whose career-making take down of Freeway is one of the three or four best things on the entire internet. He's also a rapper whose entire catalog is filled with references to broke bitches, fake bitches, poor bitches, stank bitches, skank bitches, stripper bitches, bus stop bitches, pregnant bitches, and bitch-ass bitches. This in itself is (unfortunately) not uncommon. A list of popular rappers with catalogs full of misogynistic lyrics would take a couple light years to complete. But, this further proves the redundancy of including lyrics such as...
"A fuck in the club bathroom to get a bottle ass bitches"
"Going out with they girlfriend's shoes ass bitches"
"Red bottoms on, livin' in the projects bitches"
...in a rebuttal song, as each could have easily been cherry-picked from, I don't know, 80% of the songs Cassidy's created in the last decade. It's Cassidy just doing what he's always done. And, this is all the male rebuttal song is. An uber-sensitive rapper using a woman's song as an excuse to do what he's already done a thousand times before.
Basically, it's an exercise in a particular brand of butthurtness that’s even worse than the typical butthurtness: A hypocritical butthurtness.
It operates from the premise that these bitches and hoes are “winning.” And, since these bitches and hoes are winning, we need someone to stand up for men to put those bitches and hoes in their places.
This premise conveniently ignores the fact that the last two decades of rap music has been filled with song after song after song after song after song after song of lyrics and concepts insulting and disrespecting women.
This premise conveniently ignores the fact that the last two decades of rap music has been filled with song after song after song after song after song after song of lyrics and concepts insulting and disrespecting women. These are not veiled or implied disses, either. The consistency of these types of lyrics is only rivaled by how bold and unambiguous they tend to be. Songs like “No Scrubs” and “Lookin Ass Niggas” are singular raindrops in an ocean full of “Big Pimpin”s and “Tip Drill”s and “Pop That"s and “Bitches Ain’t Shit"s.
The male rebuttal song—and the male rebuttal meme, the male rebuttal Facebook thread, the male rebuttal tweet, and the male rebuttal thinkpiece—is us (men) showing that we can dish it out, but we can’t take it. It’s a brand of beta humorlessness no different than the eight-year-old boy crying and running to his mommy because the girl he’s been teasing all year finally said “shut up, stupid.” Basically, Cassidy, like the Sporty Thievz before him, is a tattletale.
That said, things will be different a few months from now. Nicki Minaj (like TLC before her) will likely release another song or two that’ll be just as popular as “Lookin Ass Niggas.” Cassidy (like the Sporty Thievz before him) will probably not.
Damn. I guess they were right. These fucking bitches and hoes are winning.
READ MORE ESSAYS BY DAMON YOUNG
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