If words are a rapper's most powerful tool, then Lupe Fiasco is doing everything right.
After the release of his latest video, 'Bitch Bad' this week, the rapper told MTV News his sole purpose was to start a social dialogue.
"I just wanted to have a conversation. It was more to just put it out in the world and see what happens," he said in an interview with MTV News.
The music video features the Chicago rapper describing the lives of a young girl and boy and how they use and view the word bitch. In the boy's scenario, it means hearing his mother singing along to a song and calling herself a 'bad bitch.' For girls, the video shows three young females watching a music video online -- the stereotypical rap video with a shiny car, a blinged out rapper selling a beverage and a barely-clothed woman moving her body along with the beat.
But it's the contrast between how the two children interpret the word "bitch" that delivers the true surprise -- while the boy seems to associate it with the strong role model of his mother, the girls, on the other hand, attribute the term to an overly sexualized male fantasy that they later try to emulate.
In commercial music, there's never been a clear-cut way to use the word "bitch." After the birth of his daughter, rapper Jay-Z reportedly vowed to stop using the word "bitch" in his lyrics, but critics fired back, saying this didn't cover years of sexism against black women, according to The Guardian. (Jay-Z also later denied he'd even made the statement in the first place.) Even more recently, rapper Kanye West wrote a song for current girlfriend Kim Kardashian, calling her the 'perfect bitch.' (Kardashian, in turn, tweeted about her happiness with the song's description.)
But as the video attempts to suggest, along with feminist publications like Bitch Magazine, when bitch is used as an insult, it's often against women who speak their minds or express their controversial opinions. So when a female does call herself a bitch, she defines and spins the meaning to a positive compliment, according to Jezebel.
What do you think of Lupe's video: is he challenging our perceptions of the the word 'bitch' in mainstream hip hop or is this just an attempt to get the viewer's attention? Or both? Let us know in the comments below: