Pimp out Hoes Down: Sex as a Form of Power in Hip-Hop Culture

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About Nelly's tape Tip Drill, a rather young and intelligent female pupil enquired. After watching the video, it is evident that the rise in hip hop's appeal has increased sexist obscenity and masculinity as well as the general acceptance of chauvinism. In Pimps Up, Ho's Down, a number of general problems encountered by young black women associated with hip-hop culture are described. Tracy D. Shapley's Whiting, a feminist author who explores the complexities of a frequently mystifying and misogynistic society, is dissected in the book. More importantly, she questions the impact of the constantly increasing alliance of hip hop with the sex industry. Some of the critical issues discussed include rise of groupie culture, hip hop’s obligatory hetero-sexual behavior with black women and infusion of hip hop ethos into Women on the conception of love and romantic relationships. Whiting’s powerful exploration of the ways in which hip-hop culture has shaped a particular feminine and masculine identity amongst its members. MEE (motivational educational entertainment) expounds Sharpley-Whiting’s analysis by focusing on sexual behavior by the young generation and how they these norms are exploited. Consequently, the thesis of the paper elaborates ways in which Whiting and other scholars discuss how sex is used a form of power within hip-hop culture.

Pimps Up, Ho’s Down initiates a discussion on the complex relationship between hip hop culture and sex, and how it is used as a form of power. Particularly, the author explains the increasingly misogynist and homophobic culture depicted by hip hop artists. In fact she introduces her book using Nelly’s (a celebrated hip-hop artist) song titled “Tip Drill” whereby the artist releases a sexually provocative video which advocates for gender and sexual provocations (Sharpley-Whiting 4). Lyrics such as “Now baby girl bring it over let me spit my pimp-juice” are evidently an illustration of how musicians influence young men to use abusive language to exercise certain unnecessary powers on the opposite gender. Sharpley-Witting argues that such a videos boldly declares impingement of sense of womanhood. The degrading and demeaning lyrics are often accompanied by objectifying rap videos. Although some hip-hop artists are just trying to make money, the genre has become a cultural force among the youth (Sharpley-Whiting 5). Sharpley-Whiting focuses on female adulation in the face of misanthropy and misogyny. Most young black women experience either of the following: sexual dishonesty, color prejudice, anti-lesbianism and self-esteem issues. It is not that these behaviors did not exist before the hip-hop generation, but they have been justified through public celebration and commercial trafficking (Sharpley-Whiting 7). Simirlaly, men face their own set of patriarchal and misogynistic problems. Hip hop has influenced the way these men interact with women. The sexually charged nature of male-female relationship in this genre encourages men to demean women and enhance sexual abuse. Moreover, increasing collaboration of $ 10 billion adult entertainment industry and glorification of hip-hop oriented movies further elaborate the use of sexism as source of power. Artists such as Ice-T and Snoop Dogg have released porn videos which not only objectify but also encourage sexploitation of young women. (Sharpley-Whiting 13).

Rise of groupie culture has created homoerotic and homophobic tensions that have exposed the willingness of women to participate in sex escapades; thus, they tend to be objectified and this bolsters the thesis on use of sex to obtain power over females. The author notes, “Like wet wipes, they are convenient and disposable” (Sharpley-Whiting 13). The use of exotic dancers and video vixens further depict the portrayal of black women as weak and therefore, they are only fit to play the subordinate role. Women are depicted swaying around in provocative and seductive clothes. For instance, in Tipp Drill, the song’s cover has a portrait of a woman’s behind. In hip-hop slang, “Tip Drill” means a woman with a breath-taking body but an average looking face. In the videotape, the woman is wearing a Bikini and performing sexual behavior while the men are seen throwing money over the female’s body. A shocking scene is revealed whereby Nelly swipes a credit card between the female’s behind. This sums up the idea that women are viewed as inferior and men can exert their masculinity over them. Such demeanor can be attributed to the fact that rap rewards objectification of women. As such, rap music influences and models adolescents towards such unhealthy practices (Nikodym 24). When young women come of age, they would have no problem recruiting for such videos. Moreover, Sharpley Whiting terms sexism and lesbophobia as ways in which hip hop uses sex as a form of power. Having come of age during the hip hop’s revolution in the 80s, Whiting mixes her graduate studies with her experience as a runway model. Whiting relates the hip-hop genre groupies and generation members such as rapper Trina, Aisha Simmons, Jacklyn Diva, among other hip hop rappers (Sharpley-Whiting 54). Additionally, corruptness in rap music is connected to crude language and aggression common in hip hop and rap music. Use of such language is easily adaptable by young men who would use the same dialectal against women.

A ground-breaking research by MEE provides a better understanding of how hip hop culture has influenced the use of sex as a form of influence. The article examined the media content and consumption and the social and environmental factors that influence sexual decision making. In MEE’s text, playing out the Reality: Serial Sex, willingness to have promiscuous relationships is used as a form of power by black women. Simirlaly, the male gender use their masculinity and belief that they are the better gender to abuse and devalue women. For instance in Pimp out, Hoes Down, Whiting claims that hip hop encourages disrespect of women and this results in power and control struggles. Also, MEE notes that young black males feel that they need to be in complete control of their girlfriends. This control is sometimes exhibited through violence. The writer notes, ‘whereas dating used to say, “We are interested in each other, now sex says you are mine” (MEE 31). Meanwhile, hip hop culture has encouraged transactional nature of sex whereby both parties need to get something out of the relationship. In many cases, young women give sexual favors just to get material things (MEE 28). Essentially, they try to keep with their peers by satisfying consumer-driven wants. Moreover, Gender roles have shifted in the new hip hop generation as young teens exhibit aggressive behaviors. The author writes, “some girls are like, I’m tired of being hurt, so I’ not gonna have one boyfriend” (MEE 29). They tend to behave like ‘playas; and they satisfy their sexual needs and in return they get money and other material things. Additionally, masculinity and chauvinism in the hip-hop trend is depicted by the fact ladies involved in sex are put into two classes namely: the “Wifey” and the “Shorty.” The shorty is primarily for sex while the “wifey” is kept for long term relationships. Basically, the man is committed to the wife but he particularly puts her at risk of sexually transmitted diseases (MEE 29). Modern females are increasingly adopting the norm of keeping a secondary man to provide them with money. For that reason, men begin to devalue and disrespect women irrespective of whether they are engaged on these behaviors or not (Nikodym 25). Another factor that drives the use of sex as a form of power is the emphasis on a patriarchal society and low income nature of black neighborhoods. To add on, women have always struggled for equality and as a result, they are not respected and appreciated by black men. This is attributed to sexism in the mainstream society (MEE 30).


To conclude, the main chapters in Sharpley-Whiting’s book explain the complex involvement of young black women in a male dominated society and the misogynist hip-hop culture. Moreover, the analysis covers how sex is used as a form of power as depicted in rap lyrics and other forms of entertainment such as the adult content industry. Displays in music videos, fashion shows and films show how sexism and commercialization of hip hop has been made acceptable irrespective of the obvious ramifications on women. Moreover MEE’s article on sexuality elaborate the intricate issues that black women are involved in order to maintain the status quo. The rush for material things is also used by the male controlled society to take advantage of young money-oriented women, and thus it is expected that they would control these women.

Works Cited

MEE. Playing out the Reality: Serial Sex. Motivational Educational Entertainment. 2004.

Nikodym, Ellen. The Effects of Objectifying Hip-Hop Lyrics on Female Listeners. , 2013. Print.

Sharpley-Whiting, Denean. Pimps Up, Ho’s Down: Hip Hop’s Hold on Young Black Women. NYU Press. 2007.

June 26, 2023

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