Boys Never Outgrow Their Gender Disses

When I was in elementary school, the most powerful diss that you could throw at a boy was to call him a girl.  When I got to middle school, this evolved somewhat as the worse thing that you could call a boy was gay.  I don’t think that too much has changed now that I’m a grown man.  Most of us have come up with more nuanced language than we possessed in elementary school but challenging someone’s sex and/or sexuality remains the most scathing attack that one can aim at a man.  The recent back and forth between Drake and Meek Mill got me thinking on this as I thought about how nearly every iconic diss track includes an obligatory shot at someone’s sex and/or sexuality.  Here’s some of the tracks that come first to mind for me.

Artist:  Easy E


Song Title: 

“Real Muthaphuckkin G’s”

All of a sudden Dr. Dre is a G thing, But on his old album cover he was a she thing

Artist:  Dr. Dre


Song Title:

“Fuck With Dre Day”

Your dick on hard, from fuckin your road dogs

Artist:  Ice Cube


Song Title:

“No Vaseline”

Tried to tell you a year ago, but Willie D told me to let a hoe be a hoe, so

Artist:  Common


Song Title: 

“The Bitch in Yoo”

Any time you come out, I’mma talk about you Until you let that bitch in you walk up out you Any last words before I hit the switch From the immortal words of one, a bitch is a bitch

Artist:  Benzino


Song Title: 

“Pull Your Skirt Up”

I’m gonna pull your skirt up, expose your true sex Antagonize your label, till I get my respect

Artist:  Nas


Song Title: 

“Ether”

Y’all niggas deal with emotions like bitches First, Biggie’s ya man, then you got the nerve to say that you better than Big Dick sucking lips, why not you let the late, great veteran live

Artist:  Jay Z


Song Title: 

“Takeover”

You’s the fag model for Karl Kani, Esco ads

Artist:  Drake


Song Title:

“Back to Back”

You love her, then you gotta give the world to her Is that a world tour or your girl’s tour?

Artist:  Meek Mil


Song Title:

“Philadelphia Freestyle”

Niggas turn to hoes, Caitlyn Jenners turn to Drizzy Drakes

I get that some of these lyrics are colloquial language for behaviors unrelated to sex or sexual orientation but this particular language nonetheless operates on implicit understanding that girls and gays are inferior the same as was done in elementary school.  Hip hop is a world of hyperbole and extreme bravado but I do believe that it’s a male-dominated space that reflects the inner workings of male socialization in many cases.  Artists use vernacular that resonates powerfully and quickly and that most often means comparing opponents to women and gays when it’s time to battle.  Language matters and clinging to the same sexist and homophobic language for conflict that we learned as children remains a barrier to the emotional and social independence of men.

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