Pretty Girls Like Trap Music: The Latest Gain in Black Feminism
Trap music has long been regarded as a boys club within an already male dominated industry. So when 2Chainz announced he was releasing an album called “Pretty Girls Like Trap Music” back in January and released the cover in May the conversation began as to what exactly that meant. Boasting a baby pink background (credit to the talented @troubleandrew || IG) and what would appear to many as an abandoned house, “Pretty Girls Like Trap Music” is arguably among the best embodiments of modern Black feminism from a man in the last decade. And here’s why.
Before some of you jump off of the deep end, let’s define feminism. Feminism is:
- the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes
- organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests
So keep that in mind as we move on.
Historically, women have always been subjected to an unwritten rule of decorum. There are certain topics a woman should not discuss (such as recreational sex or financial gain), words we should not say, and clothing a respectable woman just should not wear. Remember the Ayesha Curry thing?
Where “classy” was once considered a coveted compliment, the rise of the independent, free thinking woman has highlighted the circumstantial nuances in the subjectivity of “class”. A woman was only considered classy if she played by the rules. You know. White aura women, perfectionists, the “marrying type”. Because every woman’s goal in life is to get a man right?
PGLTM marries the pretty and the gritty of the female trap enthusiast. It combats our ideas of societally acceptable class and sex appeal. Who are these “pretty girls”? Are they strippers? Are they the beautiful, Instagram models who are the envy of every woman?
Well, yes. Them, too.
The independent woman of color isn’t a one dimensional woman. She is your child’s teacher, your dentist, your social worker friend, or your the realtor who sold you your house. She also enjoys five star restaurants, Freaknik, and Future. The line is becoming blurred as to where class stops and “hoodrat things with friends”, starts posing the question “is there really a line?”
Over the course of rap’s history, women have always been made to choose. Good girls were to stay good and bad girls were perpetual harlots, yet the secret desire of every man that laid eyes on her. And only bad girls listened to the kind of music that “objectified” them.
With the resurgence of the ol nasty female rapper like Kash Doll and Cardi B (Baaarrrdddiiiii!!!) and rappers who toy with the dichotomy between traditional femininity and androgyny such as Ingrid, signed to Beyonce’s Parkwood label (check her out here), women are cutting out a place for themselves in the millennial rap game, owning objectivity and allowing themselves to control the narrative of desire.
With one bold statement and an obviously brilliant marketing strategy, 2 Chainz targeted a subculture within the trap subculture; the women who love it. He single handedly validated the idea that women are listening to trap music for themselves, by themselves and, no, there is no man around to hit play for them.
Ultimately, feminism is about a woman’s right to have the freedom to define who she wants to be. The title Pretty Girls Like Trap Music openly welcomes women into the club. What most would have expected to be a softer side of the College Park native, what 2 Chainz delivers is the effortlessly classic finesse we’ve grown accustomed to coupled with his usual club ready bangers. Some wondered why he didn’t alter his project to accommodate a softer side for the ladies.
2 Chainz understands the psychology of Black feminism. The lot of it isn’t about altering the culture, it’s about being acknowledged within it in our various roles and being a valued part of the conversation.
The Black feminist is perfection.
She is smart, sexy, and unafraid to go after what she wants out of life. Most importantly, she knows who she is and what she stands for; therefore, able to view the world objectively. She is not offended easily and has a deep understanding of the culture and stands clear in her purpose. Therefore, she is able to understand the place of trap music in the culture without seeing it as a personal attack on her existence.
So does that mean she condones misogyny? Well, even the question is a bit problematic.
We must remember, each woman’s connection to trap music is highly unique. Some women enjoy it because it is the lifestyle that they, too, have come from. Grandma servin Js in the kitchen. Sending them on with what they came for a hot meal because she cares. Some women have done time behind the same struggles Black men are expressing in the music, so just because (much like the artists we speak of) her station in life has changed, is she supposed to separate herself totally from that lifestyle?
The Black feminist is all about duality. She is the best version of herself at all times whether that hat requires her to put become a personal chef to her family on a shoestring budget, open a legitimate business to launder money through, or go all the way in at Trap Karaoke on a weeknight.
She understands the ions of separation between herself, as a woman and the music and does not find suppression as much as she finds expression because S H E is liberated. In an easy over at the Bullshit.ist, the writer, Joseph Cook, a Black feminist, I gather, talks about a piece of literature by the incomparable Audre Lorde that discusses “embracing erotic power” as a means to free the Black woman from the oppression of men. I agree with both Lorde and Cook in that, power is given away when a woman is not able to acknowledge and accept all pieces of herself. That is to include the sexual component.
This opens up the possibility of enjoying trap music for the control and expression of sexuality. Some women hear trap music and unleash all the fierceness of their inner Beyonce’ while others, such as Keyshia Ka’oir take a different approach. Either way, there is an undeniable sex appeal attributed to a woman who knows and loves trap. She owns her sexuality and is not concerned about social stigmas in regards to personal interests. We appreciate her because we can all find our place in her.
Then he goes a step further. Remember the second definition of feminism? Organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests. On June 18 (Father’s Day) 2 Chainz and his team took over a nail salon in Buckhead to treat women to manicures and pedicures…on him. Now, if you think the date was by coincidence, then you’ve likely underestimated how genius this man really is. Even dating back to his name change, 2 Chainz has always been adamant about the care he takes in making sure women feel as respected as possible in a culture like this. He hosted several events focused on women’s wellness from Pretty Girls Fit Fest to a Paint & Sip for ladies to unwind during the week empowering women by offering safe spaces while simultaneously uprooting social stigma AND marketing the f*ck out of this project.
The title Pretty Girls Like Trap Music acknowledges the presence of feminine duality. The world, at large, now understands somewhere there is a successful female lawyer celebrating her dirty 30 with “big booty hoes”. She cleans her house on Sundays to Used To (with an added twerk break) and has just enough time to prepare for court on Monday.
Honestly, the album could have been titled anything, had the same track list and still sold just as well. But one thing this avid business man understands is the buying power of the female demographic and his target audience. We wouldn’t expect anything less than why we love Chainz, wicked punchlines, delivery with finesse. A dash of class and sophistication, but all that ratchet shit that has us standing on couches at Josephine’s on Sunday nights after brunch. Because every pretty girl does brunch. ;)