The other week Rick Ross unleashed his new track called "U.O.E.N.O." which had some disastrously distasteful lyrics about rape. At the time, he probably thought it was a good idea and would further cement his position as the Boss. But, in doing so, he's lost his deal with Reebok. So, it probably wasn't a very good idea, then.
He's since apologized on radio and Twitter for his lyrics, citing it as a misunderstanding, stating: "I would never use the term 'rape' in my records and as far as my camp. Hip-hop don't condone that, the streets don't condone that, nobody condones that."
Because spiking someone's drink doesn't totally allude to rape, right Ross? Either way, Meek Mill waded in and spoke up for him and his right to "freedom of speech," suggesting that since Biggie said it was okay for people to rape kids then it's okay for Ross to allude to raping girls. Although coming off as slightly ignorant, he made a good point. Has rape culture been around in hip-hop since the beginning? Is this the start of a series of repercussions that are going to ruin Ross' career? Do we need to furiously stop rape culture being referenced in rap music? Or, should we ignorantly get over it and accept that music is art?
We went out on to the streets of London to find out.
Kamal: 21, Music Producer.
Hi Kamal, what do you think about that 'lyric' he dropped on "U.O.E.N.O"?
Oh, what about the rape thing? I first heard the lyric and I was "he's not gonna get away with it" but no one brought it up when he said it. I thought someone would be like 'What the fuck is he on about?'. It's wrong and it's silly but that kinda stuff is getting a pass in hip-hop.
Well it shouldn't get a pass. Will this affect the state of hip-hop right now?
Nah, it won't because we're already in the hole. It's nothing. People have already said worse. Like I still like the song, it's just that lyric that I don't like.
We let Biggie and Eminem get away with saying some outlandish stuff about rape in the past. So why are we giving Rick Ross so much grief?
Because Rick Ross said it in a really distasteful way, his persona is really stupid in the first place. Everybody knows he used to be a cop, or whatever, so for to him to say it, it's weird. Like Biggie's a lyricist and Eminem is a lyricist so they get a pass. But that's just my opinion.
Good point but just cause you can spit 'That hot FIYA' doesn't mean you rap about rape in a jokey or threatening way.
Hi Donna you look like the type to listen to rap music, do you?
No, I'm really bad with music, sorry.
Nevermind. Check out this lyric by Rick Ross and tell me what you think.
That's date rape.
Spot on! He's apologized for it, do you think that's enough?
I probably wouldn't have released it if I was him. I would've changed the lyrics somehow. I don't think he should've done it in the first place, you've got to be careful with what you put out there to be honest.
How does this affect your view on rap music right now?
I don't really listen to rap but I personally think a lot of rap artists go too far and they make themselves look bad. They should be promoting positive things and I think a lot of the time they bring up negative things which they shouldn't do. Especially since a lot of young kids are affected by it.
Josh: 23, Bartender.
Hey Josh, do listen to any of Rick Ross' material?
Ummmm what's that tune that he brought out?
You're probably thinking about "Hustlin'" or "B.M.F (Blowing Money Fast)". Please don't make me rap it to you because I won't stop if I do. Have you heard that new song that's got him trouble?
The one about rape? It's pretty bad.
Imagine if he rapped this to a female friend that you knew. How would that make you feel?
Yeah it would be pretty bad.
He's apologized on Twitter and radio but is that enough?
Yeah I would say so, I don't know how else you could apologize for that.
How do you think this will affect his career?
Not that much, it's not really exploded loads. The only reason I know about it is because it was on the TV for a second but I think everyone has forgotten about it, now.
Oh really? He's just lost his Reebok deal.
Elena: 16, Student.
Do you listen to Rick Ross, or just rap in general?
No, not a lot.
Oh that's a shame. Well have a look at this lyric by the man himself and tell us what you think.
I dunno, I guess I'd have to listen to the actual song for me to properly judge it.
I don't think you need to listen to the actual song to understand what he's saying, a lot of people are saying it's glorifying date rape. As woman how does that make you feel?
I dunno, I think a lot of rap music these days are like that. They're very - what's the word…
Yeah, a lot of songs I don't listen to because of that. I do like it, but with songs like that there's no respect for women and stuff. They speak like they're just objects. I find it disturbing that kids are listening to that and that's just the normal thing to do.
Some strong feelings there Elena, what do you think Rick Ross is like as a person?
He sounds a bit like a dick.
It's obvious you don't hold back.
Paul: 23, Designer.
Do you listen to a lot of rap music? A bit of Rick Ross perhaps?
A fair bit and I do actually listen to a bit of Rick Ross.
So, what do you think about his date rape line?
That's pretty controversial. It's probably not really appropriate is it. Like, a lot of people are influenced by this stuff so, it seems to be saying that kind of thing is okay.
Would you still listen to Rick Ross' music after hearing that though?
Yeah it hasn't really changed my opinion. It's art.
But how can you translate that into art? Also, surely the damage has been done, he's lost his deal with Rebook after all.
I'm not really sure the damage has been done. Not really sure if he needs to make an apology, it's art to some extent. There are performance artists that cut themselves up and they do it for art sakes, it's like they'd do it in their own lives. I mean I can't personally comment on that because I think that it's for art's sake. It's possibly a little bit inappropriate and I disagree but it's art and everyone is open to their own interpretation.
Because rape is art.
Hi Oletia, what do you make of this Rick Ross lyric?
Sounds like he's talking about sex and he's not really respecting the woman that he's talking about, or women in general. Obviously I don't listen to his music for those reasons. It doesn't respect women. She's not aware of what he's gonna do, innit. So he's taking advantage of her and she doesn't know it herself.
You're a woman. How does this make you feel?
It doesn't make me feel good, another man talking about a woman like that. Well all came from women and he talks about women like that, it's just disrespectful.
How does it make you view rap music as whole? Do you view it negatively?
Well today's rap culture yeah but when hip-hop and rap started the sounds were very different at the time. I think nowadays the sound of it has changed and the lyrics have changed. Everything about it has changed. Hip-hop isn't what it was anymore.
If I had penny for every time someone has said that to me… Thanks Oleita!
Want to read more about Rick Ross? Check these out: