I was showing your article tonight to a few friends of mine who are much more into Hip Hop music than I. I agreed with the general sentiment of the article, and was saying something to the effect when I was cut off, by my friend who said that the word "bitch" and "ho" is not used just against women but against men too.
This caught me off guard, and I suggested that hip hop music does not use that term against men, and even if it did, it would likely be used in an off-hand manner, in jest among friends, not in the same manner as when said to a woman.
My pal (MIke) says that men are called "bitches" and "hos" a lot in hip hop music.
So this is where I am hoping you can help me here: Is there a theme of men being referred to as bitches or hos in hip hop? I can't find A SINGLE REFERENCE anywhere online.
When a male rapper calls another male rapper a bitch, and this is not uncommon, it is always in the spirit of mockery, and not camaraderie ("my nigga"). It's the same as a male rapper calling another a fag. Indeed, the very fact this is meant to express the extremely low regard one male rapper holds for another shows how low a regard they have for the rights of gays and women.
But why, at the end of the day, do so many black male rappers in the mainstream use this language of hate with such gusto? It is because their own status in this society is so precarious. And why is it so precarious? Because of years, generations of systematic emaciation and disempowerment.
The strange thing is this: Mainstream hiphop was not always dominated by Jay-Z types, the big exploiters of black male precariousness. It was much more democratic in its composition. Recall Queen Latifah's "U.N.I.T.Y." ("Who you calling a bitch?") was a huge hit and a part of mainstream hiphop discourse. The death of this democracy began when Tupac and Biggie Smalls turned hiphop over to corporate interests, which essentially saw a huge white market for black males who exploited their precariousness. Recall that insightful scene at the end of The Cotton Club. What are the choices for a black male in this society? To dance or the underworld. Gangster rap makes one of the two.
With gangsta rap you had something of an autocatalytic process: Black males exploiting their exploitation for their exploiters and for those who are exploited like them (keeping it real). That has been rap since 1997. Furthermore, democratic hiphop went underground and cultivated (in both senses of that word) a predominately white audience. Whites got the best of hiphop and blacks were stuck with the worst. (It's important to point out that hiphop for blacks was beneficial when there were "Potholes in My Lawn" and "Gangsta Gangsta" in the hood—both tracks were released in 1988, both were in groundbreaking and commercially successful albums.)
So, at the end of the day, blacks lost everything of any value and are stuck with Jay-Z, who only now realizes misogyny might not be so cool. As for females, empowerment has been reduced to: "put a ring on it."