BItch Bad – Lupe Fiasco

As I was trying to figure out what song I should choose for this week’s blogpost, Lupe Fiasco’s Bitch Bad played on my iTunes and I knew it was the perfect song. The song looks to address the negative stereotypes hip hop artist reinforce of black culture and women. Lupe attempts to show the negative affects the misogynistic messages that is passed on to young children.

I say bitch bad, woman good, lady better
Hey, hey, hey, hey

[Verse 1]
Now imagine there’s a shawty, maybe five maybe four
Ridin’ ’round with his mama listening to the radio
And a song comes on and a not far off from being born
Doesn’t know the difference between right and wrong
Now I ain’t trying to make it too complex
But let’s just say shawty has an undeveloped context
About the perception of women these days
His mama sings along and this what she says
“Niggas I’m a bad bitch, and I’m bad bitch
far above average”
And maybe other rhyming words like cabbage and savage
And baby carriage and other things that match it
Couple of things that are happenin’ here
First he’s relatin’ the word “bitch” with his mama, comma
And because she’s relatin’ to herself, his most important source of help,
And mental health, he may skew respect for dishonor

In the first stanza, Lupe is describing how a young son hears his mother signing claiming herself as a bad bitch. He may think  that becuase his mom is a “bitch”, that the word is positive cause his mom is doing good things for him by taking care of him. Since his mom seems happy to call herself a bad bitch he now considers that a positive term or maybe even not a positive term, but rather a negative term that causes a positive reaction. Women have accepted these degrading terms and incorporate them in their own vocabulary.

Bitch bad, woman good
Lady better, they misunderstood
(I’m killin’ these bitches)
Uh, tell ‘em
Bitch bad, woman good
Lady better, they misunderstood
They misunderstood
(I’m killin’ these bitches)

[Verse 2]
Yeah, now imagine a group of little girls nine through twelve
On the internet watchin’ videos listenin’ to songs by themselves
It doesn’t really matter if they have parental clearance
They understand the internet better than their parents
Now being the interent, the content’s probably uncensored
They’re young, so they’re maleable and probably unmentored
A complicated combination, maybe with no relevance
Until that intelligence meets their favorite singer’s preference
“Bad bitches, bad bitches, bad bitches
That’s all I want and all I like in life is bad bitches, bad bitches”
Now let’s say that they less concerned with him
And more with the video girl acquiescent to his whims
Ah, the plot thickens
High heels, long hair, fat booty, slim
Reality check, I’m not trippin’
They don’t see a paid actress, just what makes a bad bitch

In this verse, Lupe tries to explain how  many little girls try to imitate what they hear and see on the internet, thus becoming a ‘bad bitch’. These young women are easy to manipulate and mold because they just want to fit in with what is ‘cool’ and will make them feel good about themselves. So when these girls see their favorite artist like Chris Brown’s surrounded by “bad bitches” in their videos they develop a crush on the artist and mold themselves after those girls.


[Verse 3]
Disclaimer: This rhymer, Lupe’s not usin’ bitch as a lesson
But as a psychological weapon
To set in your mind and really mess with your conceptions
Discretions, reflections, it’s clever misdirection
Cause, while I was rappin’ they was growin’ up fast
Nobody stepped in to ever slow ‘em up, gasp
Sure enough, in this little world
The little boy meets one of those little girls
And he thinks she a bad bitch and she thinks she a bad bitch
He thinks disrespectfully, she thinks of that sexually
She got the wrong idea, he don’t wanna fuck her
He thinks she’s bad at being a bitch like his mother
Momma never dress like that, come out the house, hot mess like that
Ass, titties, dress like that
All out to impress like that
Just like that, you see the fruit of the confusion
He caught in a reality, she caught in an illusion
Bad mean good to her, she really nice and smart
But bad mean bad to him, bitch don’t play your part
But bitch still bad to her if you say it the wrong way
But she think she a bitch, what a double entendre

This verse discusses what happens after the children have grown into young men and women. The encounter between the guy from the first verse and the girl from the second verse.In the female’s mind, it is a good thing because of the meaning that’s been placed on the word. Artist like Nicki Minaj  is one of the few female artist who have embraced the term bitch to describe themselves.However, she is simultaneously living as the kind of femininity she has been taught to live in the patriarchal society in which we live.From a male’s perspective, this differs from what his mother exemplified in his eyes.Overall, this serves the purpose of creating a song like this: to look at the different contexts and connotation behind the word “bitch”.


Bitch bad, woman good
Lady better, they misunderstood
You’re misunderstood
Bitch bad, woman good
Lady better, greatest motherhood
(I’m killin’ these bitches)


5 comments on “BItch Bad – Lupe Fiasco

  1. This song does a good job of raising awareness of misogyny in today’s media. Too often do we sing along to songs that are very degrading towards women and various types of minorities. Most people don’t think anything of it, but we are drilling these ideas into our heads without fully noticing what we are saying.

    • I agree with you. I myself am guilty of it. To many times i have blindly sung along with a song and not really thing about the message it is sending or how I am endorsing it. Having younger sisters and young nieces, I’m scared of what messages they are gong to get from the music as they get older.

  2. I like the way you laid out your post. I played the song then followed along with the lyrics and your analysis of them. I would recommend doing that! It made for a nice read/experience.

  3. This song really hits into some of the problems with many rap songs and how they degrade women and further degrade social environments. I like what you did with your analysis. It really helps with the overall understanding and meaning behind the song.

  4. I’ve probably ranted enough about the inherent difficulties of popular music or rap trying to overcome in one song the waves of negative imagery about women and gender relations. I don’t know Lupe well enough to know if he is as vulnerable to some jabbed critiques.

    I mean, how many of these songs have to come out before the center of gravity in rap and/or hip-hop shifts?

    Can a musician have a whole album of songs about men and women in less ridiculous roles and still be wildly successful?

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