August 30, 2012
Nas Debuts “Bye Baby” Video

A heartfelt ode to loving and losing, the Nas “Bye Baby” video reflects brilliantly the emotional quality of the song. Shout out to Nas for the Aaron Hall cameo.

August 30, 2012
New Video from Big Boi featuring Theophilus London and Tre Luce

Consent is always sexy over here at HH4L and you know how we feel about the explicit consent present in Big Boi new single “She Said Ok”  from his upcoming release Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors. This song is a fave over here on the HH4L network. Check the Alexi Papalexopoulos directed video below

~U

August 30, 2012
Shh…Bitch by Naomi Lynch

A short documentary about the word “Bitch” from Naomi Lynch of Reel Works Teen Films. Check it out below and be sure to check out last nights episode of HH4L Radio.

August 29, 2012
A Bitch About the B Word

"Who you callin’ a b!tch?" It’s an insult, a term of endearment, and everything in between… It’s the b word. Join your hostesses for a conversation about the word bitch: its etymology, current and past usages, and its travels through Hip Hop music. Do you use the b word? What happens if/ when someone uses it around you? Features music by Lil Kim, Queen Latifah, and 9th Wonder.

99 Problems — Jay-Z
She’s a Bitch — Missy Elliott
Gangsta Bitch — Apache
U.N.I.T.Y. — Queen Latifah
Queen B@$#h — Lil Kim
Bitches Ain’t Shit — Dr. Dre
Move Bitch — Ludacris
I Love My Bitches — Rick Ross
Me & My Bitch — The Notorious B.I.G.
I Love My B**** — Busta Rhymes
Look Back At Me (Ft. Killer Mike) — Trina
Loyalty (Feat. Masta Killa & Halo) — 9th Wonder

August 29, 2012
Dear Lupe,

Dear Lupe:

I know the last few days have been a flurry of attention and activity for you. With the debut of the “Bitch Bad” video, a song I’m certain you believe in, came a lot of attention I’m not so certain you or your team bargained for.  Unfortunately, I’m part of that attention. But, I hope that what I will share with you is not harmful to you in any way, or makes you feel like I’m yet another disconnected critic (shoutout to Marc Hogan and Brandon Soderberg).

First, the hook of “Bitch Bad” makes it really hard for me to listen to the rest of the song. Because, you see, Lupe, the idea that there’s a level of respectability that Black women must adhere to is super problematic. This move to rank Black womanhood, you may be most familiar with, is reflected in the Mammy/ Jezebel/ Sapphire construct. It is harmful and flattens the identity of Black women by erasing our individual stories and experiences.With “Bitch Bad,” your goal is to encourage folks to rethink their relationships with the B Word, and that’s peace. But instead you replaced one hierarchy with another, which doesn’t do much to expand consciousness especially when the basic humanity of Black folks worldwide is constantly in question or outright ignored.

With “Bitch Bad,” your goal is to encourage folks to rethink their relationships with the B Word, and that’s peace. But instead you replaced one hierarchy with another, which doesn’t do much to expand consciousness especially when the basic humanity of Black folks worldwide is constantly in question or outright ignored.

For the sakeof brevity, you managed to oversimplify a complex message with “Bitch Bad,” which isn’t to say that you failed to raise good points or even provoke thought. Perhaps you are unaware, but the overall tone of the song reveals your attempt to uplift Black womanhood when nobody elected you to do that. It is not okay to be that dude by virtue of the fact that so much of our identity as black women (respectability ranking included), is determined by people who do not belong to our group, which includes Black queer-identified women, Black transgender women, and Black girl-children.

I believe that in order to truly encourage growth and to uplift Black women, it is imperative that Black men recognize when they are a part of the oppression that hinders and crushes us, because it is the same oppression that hinders and crushes Black men, absolutely.

I believe that in order to truly encourage growth and to uplift Black women, it is imperative that Black men recognize when they are a part of the oppression that hinders and crushes us, because it is the same oppression that hinders and crushes Black men, absolutely.

It all comes to a head when a brotha who feels lesser than, thanks to larger society, polices the body of a sista, tells his daughter that her worth lies primarily between her legs and not between her ears, or stands idly by when a sista is harassed in the street. This demonstrates that the harm done to us, is typically in the form of microagressions, which need to be dealt with by Black men as well. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture backed by a major record label budget, Lupe. It can be as simple as recognizing that your own misogyny and sexism, albeit well intended or not, has left you to instruct Black women in who and how they should be.

In verse 2 of “Bitch Bad,” you talk about the malleable minds of little Black girls. Lupe, I would love to know if you recognize how malleable the minds of your own listeners are. That is, some youngin’ might find themselves telling folks that the key to Black liberation is to stop using the word bitch, and… We know that isn’t it. Are you having conversations with folks who don’t have negative critiques of “Bitch Bad”? Has it occurred to you at all that this is a teaching moment for you as an artist and not just folks who’re out here consuming the media you create?

Aside from the song, I have one question about the video: Did neither you nor your video director believe that folks would see Nicki Minaj during Act II of the video? Namely, the treatment for “Beez in The Trap”? I know you had a kerfuffle with the Barbz about this imagery. You asked some questions about Nicki, were answered by some of her fans, and eventually shared those answers with the rest of us. But, Lupe, people like Nicki Minaj for whatever reasons they feel and will continue to buy, sing and be in love with her music. They will emulate her aesthetic, as she is a commodity of Hip Hop music as well as pop music. So are you. Your director’s singling out of mainstream Hip Hop was not useful in the context of liberating and/ or uplifting folks, especially when you have a major label distribution deal. I’m not certain, at all, that you recognize your own hand in the same profitable market that perpetuates the imagery that “Bitch Bad” attempts to analyze.

Your director’s singling out of mainstream Hip Hop was not useful in the context of liberating and/ or uplifting folks, especially when you have a major label distribution deal. I’m not certain, at all, that you recognize your own hand in the same profitable market that perpetuates the imagery that “Bitch Bad” attempts to analyze.

Finally, Lupe, you might not even read this open letter as I fathom that you’re busy working on your album promo and furthering your boycott of Spin magazine. Either way, I challenge you to get busy with the work of examining what Black women really need, beginning with the space to define and identify themselves without interference or well-intended misogyny. From anyone.

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