"Here’s for the Bitches":  
n Analysis of Gangsta Rap and Misogyny


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by Darren Rhym  


 I'm sorry if I talk about what I've experienced in my lifetime.  I call women bitches and 'hos because all the women I've met since I've been out here are bitches and 'hos.

And what do you call your mother? a female reporter asks. 

I call her "woman," but I'm not f -- -ing my mother.  If I was f -- -ing you, you'd be a bitch.

    -- Bushwick Bill1  

Sexist and misogynistic lyrics in gangsta rap music are a serious problem for the African-American community.  While sexism and misogyny in no way are restricted to black lyrics or African-American communities, they are prevalent traits of gangsta rap music.  The purpose of this critical analysis is not merely to examine sexist and misogynistic lyrics, but to look at a specific group (N.W.A.) for the roots of misogynistic lyrics and attitudes in some forms of black music, to discuss why the black community as a whole does not condemn these lyrics, and to examine how gangsta rappers attempt to redefine black women and their roles in the black community and the larger society. 

Misogyny creates a conflict between gangsta rappers and women in which these men struggle to empower themselves.  Gangsta rap is their means of this empowerment.  The medium of rap music allows them, once empowered, the personal freedom to define themselves, their environments, their lifestyles, and their perceptions of the world.  It is as a consequence of this quest for empowerment that the conflict between gangstas and rappers arises.  Clearly, what distinguishes the gangsta rapper from other male rappers is not only his misogyny, but also his self-centered view of his community and the world.   The gangster rapper seeks to assert himself as a man, as white men are able to do when they become successful.  But, in order to do so, he must claim his innocence as a power.2  That is, he must appoint himself a victim and adopt a "me against the world" mentality in which he trusts no one and labels himself greatly misunderstood.  If the rapper can claim such innocence, then he can adopt a power position in which he can view black women as objects and also use them as scapegoats for his own shortcomings.

To gain a better understanding of this conflict, we must go back not only to the beginning of rap music but also to the original influences on the form, and to the social aspects that always have been present in African-American music.  The history of today’s rap music typically is traced to the South Bronx.  It emerged and gained national recognition in 1979 when the Sugar Hill Gang recorded "Rapper's Delight."   

However, in The Rap Attack: African Jive to New York Hip-Hop (1984), David Toop traces the origins of rap to even earlier American history:  

Rap's forebears stretch back through disco, street funk, radio DJ's, Bo Diddley, the bebop singers, Cab Calloway, Pigmeat Markham, the tap dancers and comics, The Last Poets, Gil Scott-Heron, Muhammad Ali, acappella and doo-wop groups, ring games, skip-rope rhymes, prison and army songs, toasts, signifying and the dozens, all the way to the griots of Nigeria and the Gambia.  No matter how far it penetrates into the twilight maze of Japanese video games and cool European electronics, its roots are still the deepest in all contemporary Afro-American music (19).

If rap music can be traced to the African motherland, it should have firm roots in African-American musical traditions like the blues.  In "Rap Music and the Black Musical Tradition: A Critical Assessment," Andre Craddock-Willis examines these connections between rap and blues.  He states that most Western scholars describe the "rich oral tradition, the call and response mechanism, the improvisational character, and even the dueling elements of African culture and music" (31); but the purpose of African-American music is what they so often neglect.  He describes African-American music as a way of life that has the ability to communicate in all forms and on all occasions.  Blues and jazz, like rap, were born from the shared experiences of African Americans that include abduction, Middle Passage, slavery, the Southern plantation tradition, Emancipation, Reconstruction, post-Reconstruction, Northern migration, urbanization, and racism (Bell 5).  From the pain of the struggle came the creativity that gave birth to artistic expression.

Rap music and the blues share several traditional elements.  Both forms were created in the midst of African-American struggle, use humor, use narrative and/or documentary forms, have origins rooted in impoverished black areas, and use boasting.  In her article, " 'I Can Peep Through Muddy Water and Spy Dry Land': Boasts in the Blues," Mimi Clar Melnick says that boasting is one of the traditional means for the expression of masculinity.  In the history of rap music it is easy to follow the braggadocio style of rappers as they boast of their achievements and status.  According to Melnick, the backwoods boaster and the blues singer, in the cleverest possible language, dream of personal greatness in their music.  Like the rapper, both follow certain formulas for success.  They brag of accomplishments and, in no uncertain terms, establish themselves as heroes. Their boasts provide them with an outlet for aggression and frustration, lend them a means for expressions of protest, and generally are designed to help them "be somebody" with the greatest possible style and color (Melnick 268-69).

The rapper, the blues singer, the backwoods boaster  --  each seeks status.  Whether it is materialized through clothes, cars, liquor, or weapons, his objective is the same: to create a sense of superiority by establishing what Melnick calls the importance of his role in the competitive society (268-69).  The status of each of these men also lies within his own identity.  Sometimes, to compensate for feelings of inferiority, he blows up his male ego and subjugates others in an attempt to uplift himself. 

The presence of the boaster in both the blues and gangsta rap suggests that gangsta rappers are perpetrators, not innovators, of misogyny in African-American music.  There is a connection between the boaster, misogyny, and powerlessness in gangsta rap.  There is a continual social subplot present in most popular gangsta rap in which the gangsta rapper's bravado aggressively seeks to protect him from the perceived threat of the "bitch" character.  Like the "backwoods boaster," whom Melnick describes, the gangsta rapper seeks to verify his personal importance.  His male gangsta ego is uplifted and distanced from the female, who is denoted as the "bitch."  The "bitch" character in gangsta rap always is depicted as shallow, one-dimensional, and money-hungry.  The conflict between the gangsta rapper and the "bitch" character is symbolic of the male gangsta rapper trying to free himself from the yoke of white oppression.  To do so, he must degrade the "bitch" character for the amusement of his audience: the suburban white teenagers who make up the major buying market for this type of rap music.3  

Even though it is not the black community that financially empowers these young gangsta rap artists (by funding their hate lyrics), it is the black community that raises and nourishes them.  Gangsta rappers constantly try to identify with the inner-city black community and the urban experience.  Traditionally, they have been able to preserve their status within their communities because they bring a segment of the black experience to the public.  The truth is, however, that once a gangsta rapper becomes successful, he is no longer a part of the world he raps about:  He has become a member of the black privileged class.  No longer a member of the impoverished class, he now must overcompensate for his wealth in order to retain the acceptance of his community. 

Whether one views gangsta rappers as folk heroes or absurd sterotypical images, one must acknowledge that they are capable of dictating images of black women and the black community to the world via the music industry.  To gangsta rappers, the black experience is machismo, the gangster lifestyle, and drug use.  They portray anti-establishment, high-rollin', shoot-'em-up characters that smoke too much chronic (a very potent strain of marijuana), drink too much alcohol, tote guns, and surround themselves with voiceless women in bikinis or spandex.  There are also hard-core street niggers who never have had anything and just want to rap about their oppressed people; but the one constant element in gangsta rap is the theme of mistreatment of black women.  In songs and videos, black women become objects, props that are barely clothed and continually gyrating.  Often, many people in black communities, women as well as men, accept these negative images of black women as bitches or sex objects.  To such audiences, this degredation of black women is a fair trade, as long as they can see black images on television or hear misogynistic rap songs on the radio.  

Gangsta rappers are often quoted as saying that they merely depict life as they see it.  A more accurate description of what gangsta rappers depict is a stereotypical fantasy in which black women do as they are told.  Perhaps the most ironic observation I can make is that if gangsta rappers were white, the reaction from the black community would be very different.

An excuse used by some gangsta rappers to defend their misogynistic actions is that they are merely assuming a stage persona.  In "Signifying Rappers," David Foster Wallace and Mark Costello state that the rapper's "masks are many" and that these personae can change frequently, even within an album (15).  A rapper can alternate between hardcore and playful, comic personae.  He can be a street-smart trickster or a smooth-talking sugardaddy.  

The stage persona theory allows the rapper to disassociate himself from his boasting.  This gives him the ability to claim himself as a powerless victim who is describing his difficult former life of poverty and violence, thereby deflecting any sympathy from the "bitch" character onto himself.   In Paulla Ebron’s "Rapping Between Men," she says that the rap performance becomes "a stage where audience and performers actively create themselves and respond to structures of dominance" (24).   In their response to these structures of dominance, gangsta rappers appear to believe that they only can make the transformation from boys to men by establishing their domination over women, since, of course, they cannot challenge the dominant white patriarchal power structure, which ironically is where they gain their financial support.  

Typically, gangsta rappers use sexist and misogynistic lyrics for three reasons.  First, they are selfish and seek to empower only themselves.  Second, they put business before art:  Songs with misogynistic lyrics sell millions of CDs and tapes.  Sales mean money.  Money means power.  Finally, gangsta rappers reinterpret their experiences into a packageable product that can sell.  They peddle half-truths and fantasies that formulate a stereotypical mythology in which all black women are bitches and/or all gangsta rappers live the life of driving sports cars, collecting thong-wearing, gyrating women, and smoking chronic. 

The gangsta rap group N.W.A. (Niggers With Attitudes) serves as a good example of the gangsta rapper's quest for empowerment.  They burst onto the rap scene in 1989 with their double-platinum album, Straight Outta Compton.  At one time the rap group was known as the hardest of the hardcore.  Their music consistently has been full of hate, sexism, and misogyny.  The group initially consisted of the late Eazy-E (co-founder), Ice Cube (chief lyricist), Dr. Dre (co-founder, rapper-producer), M.C. Ren (DJ), and DJ Yella.  They broke up after three albums.

Eazy-E, born Eric Wright, framed N.W.A.'s opinion of women in the Straight Outta Compton title track when he explained, "Straight outta Compton is a brother that'll smother your mother."  In the same song he shows no sympathy for a woman who is the victim of a shooting: "What about the girl who got shot? / You think I give a damn about a girl? I ain’t a sucka."  These lyrics adhere to the street mentality of individualism in which the gangsta rapper separates himself from females.  Wright and the members of N.W.A. view themselves as "players."4  They idolize 1970s cult figures like Dolomite, Superfly, and the Mack, who are famous players from that era.  N.W.A. member Ice Cube expounds the player's credo when he states in "Gangsta Gangsta" that "Life ain't nothin' but girls and money." This credo is also the credo of the gangsta's predecessor, the blues boaster.  

Eric Wright, who died at the age of 31 of AIDS, grew up in a middle-class family in the Los Angeles suburb of Compton.  He dropped out of high school, became involved with street gangs, and made a small fortune selling drugs which enabled him to start his music career.  The father of seven children by six different women, Wright sought to validate the myth of the "bad nigger."  Music columnist Jon Pareles tells how Wright boasted about his contempt for and prowess with women, how he frequently called women "bitches," and how he proudly declared himself a "woman beater" (40).   One year after his death, Eric Wright, a man who disrespected and beat women, had songs written in tribute to him by gangsta rappers.  

Born O'Shea Jackson, Ice Cube was the chief lyricist of N.W.A. during the group's heyday.  He was the first to leave it because of a financial dispute in 1991.  Jackson is certainly the most ambiguous in terms of his love/hate relationships with women.  During a popular phase of his career, he completed an interview that included photographs of him with his mother.  In some photos, they hug and smile in the front yard, like the mother and son next door.  Both appear very happy.  (In interviews, he also has spoken about being home with his father, hanging out.) 

Yet, Jackson's music makes understanding his perceptions of women and male-female relationships difficult.  In a March 1990 interview with Fab Five Freddy (134-35), Jackson admits that rappers live blessed lives and should act somewhat like role models.  I take this to mean that he believes gangsta rappers should be more responsible concerning their lyrics and their actions.  After this statement, however, on one of his albums there appears a sixty-second song continually repeating the word "bitch" (Sager 84).  This song is dedicated to the women who would not give him any "play" before his first solo album.  Similarly, in Straight Outta Compton he raps an overtly sexist and misogynist song that symbolizes the group’s perception of women.  The song, written below, is entitled "I Ain't the 1":

I ain't the one, the one that get played like a poop butt

See, I'm from the street

So I know what's up

On these silly games that's played by the women

I'm only happy when I'm going up in 'em

But 'cha know I'm a menace to society

But girls in biker shorts are so fly to me

So I step to 'em

With aggression

Listen to the kid, and learn a lesson today

See, they think we narrow minded

Because they got a cute face, and big behinded

So, I walk over and say, how ya doin'

See, I’m only down for screwin', but you know

You gotta play it off cool

'Cause if they catch ya slippin' you'll get schooled

And they'll get 'cha for ya money son

Next thing you know, you're gettin' their hair and their nails done, for 'em

They'll let you show 'em off

But when it comes to sex, they got a bad cough --

Or headache

It's all give and no take

Run out of money and watch your heart break

They'll drop you like a bad habit

'Cause a brotha with money, yo, they gotta have it

Messin' with me though, they gets none

You can't juice Ice Cube, girl

'Cause I ain't the one.  

Woman #1: Girl, you gotta get these brothers for all the money you can,

honey.  'Cause if they ain't got no money, they can’t do nothin' for me

but get outta my face.  

Woman #2: I know what you mean, girl.  It ain't no wild thing jumpin'

off  unless he got dollars.

A classic example of the way gangsta rappers view women, this song exudes paranoia and distrust, and fosters no sense of love or sharing in male-female relationships.  It depicts a woman as only interested in a man as an object to provide money for her needs, and as desiring to live on his earnings while she degrades and humiliates him.  

In an interview, Fab Five Freddy asks M.C. Ren to explain how he feels about women.  Ren says, "Women?  Oh, man, I love women, man!  I don't like bitches.  Bitches like motherfuckers just for they money.  You know, looking down on motherfuckers 'cause they working at motherfucking McDonald's or something.  Everybody in my group love [sic] women; we just hate bitches" (135).   M. C. Ren's statement exhibits the "empowerment" of the group.  The rappers' distinction between women and bitches suggests that these men have the power to define what and who women are and the criteria that place women into each particular category.  Thus, if a woman shuns the sexual advances of a group member or displeases him in any way, she may be labeled a "bitch."  Since male rappers are the overwhelming majority in the rap music industry, women's issues, rights, and concerns are poorly represented.  

Jackson obviously does not include his mother in the "bitch" category because she loves him and supports him, unconditionally.  Jackson says he does not write about women like his mother "because they aren't the problem."  Most importantly, his mother stays in her place (i.e., as she appears in the photos, by his side and at home).  Jackson's greatest fear is a woman who will take his money and try to play him, like the money-hungry characters in "I Ain't the 1."  Yet, when he tries to clarify his feelings towards all women, it is difficult to take him seriously.  In his music we only hear about the "bitch" character; thus, we have no choice but to assume that he perceives all women as bitches.  There are no disclaimers in any N.W.A. or Ice Cube music that state that the word "bitch" signifies a specific kind of woman.  

Jackson does give women a semblance of voice in Amerikkka's Most Wanted:  He shares the microphone with Yolanda Whitaker (Yo-Yo), a female rapper out of Los Angeles, to rap a song that explores sexual stereotypes.  (Ironically, Whitaker says she started rapping because she was tired of so many rappers dogging women.)  Whitaker's inclusion is an attempt by Ice Cube to be positive, yet her one song is overshadowed by the other sexist and misogynistic songs on the album.  Jackson himself proclaims his album to be about "things that need changing."  He says, "the radio is full of records about how good everything is.  What does that do?"  

In deciphering all of this ambiguity we must remember that Jackson, like all rappers, is in the business of selling records.  He does not waiver in his decision to sell out all black women in a so-called attempt to chastise a small element within the black community.  Yet, since he is one of the most popular and successful rappers in the history of rap music, as long as his beats are funky, he can rap about anything.  So why disrespect black women?  

It is obvious that we cannot trust the stage persona of Jackson, but can we trust the mother-loving son?  Can we trust him when he tells us that "bitches" only refers to women who "strictly" assess men for their economic value?  According to Jackson, when a woman selects a man solely based upon economic criteria, she "brings down the community as a whole."  He also states that this kind of behavior eventually leads those who are poor to get money "to impress these women, and that generates crime" (Kot 10).  Empowered by his status as a gangsta rap superstar, Jackson can theorize about the degradation of the black community, yet totally absolve African-American males from responsibility for this abasement.  

Andre Young, more commonly known as Dr. Dre, personifies the myth of the bad nigger.  In his debut solo album, The Chronic, he is preoccupied with the glorification of chronic ganja and the shoot-'em-up gangsta lifestyle.  Unlike the albums by N.W.A. and alumni, there are no songs dedicated solely to the degradation of women.  The closest Young comes to all-out debasement is a skit entitled "The Doctor’s Office" in which he has a sexual encounter, complete with a banging headboard and a woman who seems extremely sexually satisfied.  

Young does not greatly emphasize sexism and misogyny in his album, but his public life is full of violence and abuse.  A 1991 Rolling Stone article gives a brutal account of Young physically attacking rap show host Dee Barnes.  The incident began in 1990 with a segment about N.W.A on her Fox TV rap video show, Pump It Up.  The show crosscut between members of the group dissing their former partner Jackson and a previous interview with him dissing N.W.A.  The members of N.W.A. were displeased with Barnes' inclusion of the clip.  On January 27, 1991, Young (Dre in the quotation below) ran into Barnes at a record-release party in Los Angeles, where:

He picked her up and "began slamming her face and the right side of her body repeatedly against a wall near the stairway" as his bodyguard  held off the crowd.  After Dre tried to throw her down the stairs and failed, he began kicking her in the ribs and hands.  She escaped and ran into the women's rest room.  Dre followed her and "grabbed her from behind by the hair and proceeded to punch her in the back of the head."  

Finally, Dre and his bodyguard ran from the building.  

Far from denying the attack, the members of N.W.A. insist that, as Ren  says, "she deserved it  --  bitch deserved it."  Eazy agrees: "Yeah, bitch had it coming."  

And Dre himself says: "People talk all this shit, but you know, somebody fuck with me, I'm gonna fuck with them.  I just did it, you know.  Ain't nothing you can do now by talking about it.  Besides, it ain't no big thing-- I just threw her through a door" (Light 65-66).

Barnes, who first filed charges against Young in February 1991, also pursued a civil lawsuit alleging assault and battery, infliction of emotional distress, and defamation.  Barnes states that N.W.A.'s whole philosophy has been that "they’re just telling stories, just reporting how it is on the streets. . . . But they've started believing this whole fantasy, getting caught up in their press, and they think they're invincible.  They think they're living their songs" (Light 65-66).   In her opinion, the issue is bigger than just her  --  one person  --  getting slapped around:  It is a campaign by N.W.A. to promote a Number One album calling for violence against women.  Barnes says of N.W.A.: "They've grown up with the mentality that it's okay to hit women, especially black women.  Now there's a lot of kids listening and thinking it's okay to hit women who get out of line" (Light 65-66).  

Young's violent encounter with Dee Barnes is not an isolated incident.  In the past, the rapper has been under house arrest and also has stood trial after being accused of beating up seven New Orleans policemen.  His behavior appears to have become the norm for gangsta rappers.  His protégé, Calvin Broadus, more popularly known as Snoop Doggy Dogg, recently was absolved of guilt in a court case involving a gang-related killing which he claims was self-defense.  

When they performed together, the members of N.W.A. constantly were accused of glamorizing violence and hatred, and this was their constant defense: They were not advocating anything; they were just reporting what they saw on the streets and setting those reports to Dre and Yella's funky, bass-powered beats.  But when questioned about their status as role models, Young has said, "We ain't doing this shit to send out no messages. . . . We in this shit to get paid. . . ."  (Light 65-66).  100 Miles and Runnin', N.W.A.'s second album, moved the group even deeper into the business of bashing women.  Ren says, "Ever since we did 'Just Don't Bite It,' girls tell me how much they like it . . ." (Nachbar et al. 78-79).  Their third album, Efil4zaggin, contains songs with titles such as "To Kill a Hooker," "Findum, Fuckum & Flee," and "One Less Bitch."  M.C. Ren's perspective on Efil4zaggin is that the side with the songs about the bitches "makes you laugh" (Light 65-66).  

Arguably the most angry and misogynistic of the West Coast gangsta rappers is Broadus.  Broadus was born in Long Beach, California, and nicknamed "Snoop" by his mother.  She also gave him the southern twang in his nasal tenor voice.  Broadus' parents, as well as his grandparents, were born in Mississippi.  The rapper's modest beginnings also include a broken home and his membership in the church choir at Golgotha Trinity Baptist Church, Long Beach.  

Broadus began rapping in the sixth grade.  He graduated from Long Beach Polytechnic High School, where he was a star on the basketball team.  He claims he never joined a gang, though he hung out with gang members and it was from watching them that he obtained much of his subject matter.  He was jailed at the age of eighteen for selling drugs.  In 1993, aged twenty-two, he was arraigned in the previously mentioned shooting death of a Venice, California gang member.  When that particular slaying occurred, the rapper had been released from jail on bail for a weapons-violation charge.  Broadus has been in so much trouble he even thanked his probation officer ("Mr. Dwoskin") in the liner notes of his debut album.  

Like many other gangsta rap albums, his debut album, Doggystyle, uses humor to discuss or present misogyny.  Doggystyle is full of  bitches, 'hos, hustlers, players, and Mack-daddies.  Broadus' credo (repeated frequently) is, "I don't love you 'hos." One of the most disturbing songs on the album is "Aint [sic] No Fun (If The Homies Cant [sic] Have None)."  In its attempt at humor, this is a deceptively rank and vile parody of an R&B love song.  The introduction is a funky R&B groove, sung by a smooth-sounding male vocalist, but quickly drifts into vulgarity, violence, and blatant disrespect for women.  Also, in one particular skit on the album, Broadus elucidates his philosophy of women:  

Yeah, niggas be brown-nosing these 'hos, and shit.  Takin' bitches out to eat and spending money on these 'hos, you know what I'm sayin'.  I treat a bitch like Seven Up: I never have and I never will.  I tell a bitch like this: Bitch, you without me is like Harold Melvin without the Blue Notes --You'll never go platinum.

Broadus, Jackson, Wright, and Young use their music to define gender roles, relationships, and social structures.  They associate relationships with money and power.  There is no mention of love or examples of loving relationships.  In fact, these rappers go out of their way to reject the very notion of loving a woman, whose function they perceive exclusively as the fulfillment of their sexual desires.

In the end, this whole argument boils down to the fact that misogyny is ingrained into our culture and we allow it.  We buy CDs and go to concerts where gangsta rappers call black women "bitches" and "hos."  It is not just black women who are victimized.  Since gangsta rappers disrespect our mothers, sisters, and daughters, every black man is a victim. 

Excuses  --  "I like the beat," "I don't listen to the words," and "They are only referring to certain types of women"  --  are not acceptable.  When gangsta rappers disrespect men and women and preach violence and hate to us, we must reject their messages.  We cannot buy their CDs, albums, or tapes, or attend their concerts, or appear in their videos, or even support record labels or radio or television stations that advocate gangsta rap in any way.  Malcolm X used to preach about the ills of airing "dirty laundry," and that is what gangsta rappers do when they disrespect black women in rap songs. 

Rap is not just music; it is our African-American culture.  It is the way we blacks perceive ourselves, and the way we are perceived by the world.  The content of gangsta rap music in its current form is unacceptable.  It cannot and should not be tolerated by anyone.  


1.  Qtd in Raspberry  A27.  This article gives a good account of the mentality of hardcore, gangsta rappers.  This particular conversation happened at a convention of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ).  Rapper Bushwick Bill (Richard Shaw) was a participant in a symposium on the rap culture.  He was asked whether rappers' popularity among young people required them to be more responsible in their use of language, including, of course, their degrading references to women.

2.  The idea of the gangsta rapper claiming innocence is a modification of  Shelby Steele's theory of racial innocence.  He states that the individual or group striving for innocence must develop a feeling of essential goodness in relation to others in order to then claim superiority over them.  Steele defines innocence as power.

3.  See Samuels 354 and Nachbar et al. 78.  Samuels explains that during the summer of 1991, Soundscan, a computerized scanning system, showed that demographics of rap music had shifted.  The high-sales areas were not minority-focused urban centers, but white, suburban, middle-class malls.  Samuels continues that "although rap is still proportionally more popular among blacks, its primary audience is white and lives in the suburbs."  Samuels hypothesizes that the history of rap's "degeneration from insurgent black street music to mainstream pop points to another dispiriting conclusion: the more rappers were packaged as violent black criminals, the bigger their white audiences became."  Samuels believes that the appeal of rap music to whites is "rested in its evocation of an age-old image of blackness: a foreign, sexually charged, and criminal underworld against which the norms of white society are defined, and, by extension, through which they may be defied." 

4.  Major's dictionary (355) lists two definitions for the term "player," both nouns.  The first is used from the 1950s to the 1990s and means "a pimp or a person  --  usually male  --  in 'the [hustling] life'; also any male who can manipulate rich women into giving him money or supporting him and his expensive habits; a man who manages to convince people  --  usually women  --  to invest in crooked schemes."  The second definition is the one I believe applies to the members of N.W.A.  It is also used from the 1950s through the 1990s, and defines a player as "a lady's man; a sexually active male; [a] male with more than one woman."



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Toop, David.  The Rap Attack: African Jive to New York Hip-Hop.  Boston: South End, 1984.

Wallace, David Foster, and Mark Costello.  "Signifying Rappers."  Missouri Review 13.2 (1990): 15.

Darren Rhym was born in Trenton, New Jersey, and educated in Pennsylvania at Bucknell University and The Pennsylvania State University.  Currently, he is instructing at Morehouse College in Atlanta and The University of Georgia, and plans to start doctoral work in the Department of English of The University of Georgia in Fall 1997.  His primary research interests are the African-American novel and Hip-Hop culture.