Bitches Ain't Shit
"Bitches Ain't Shit" is an American rap song, never issued as a single, but a huge underground hit, that closes record producer and rapper Dr. Dre's debut solo album, The Chronic, released in December 1992 as Death Row Records' first album. In late 1993, discussing a set of public protests over this song, rap journalist Dream Hampton incidentally called it, artistically, the best song on the year's best rap album. Billboard notes, however, "the misogyny is ugly and thick, even for a rap record." It evokes a set of four male running mates who rap sagas and lessons altogether teaching that "bitches," being women, are ripe for sexual indulgence, and sometimes offer easy money, but, being traitorous, are just "hos and tricks." Soon notorious, this song helped establish the persona of its guest rapper Snoop Dogg.
|"Bitches Ain't Shit"|
|Song by Dr. Dre featuring Snoop Doggy Dogg, Dat Nigga Daz, Kurupt, and Jewell|
|from the album The Chronic|
|Released||December 15, 1992|
Largely debuting via this album, Snoop also raps the hook, which reduces "bitches" to performing fellatio, and which fellow guest rapper Daz's verse heralds as "the anthem." Dre's verse, the song's first, overlooks literal women to disparage his former N.W.A bandmate Eazy-E as a "bitch," who allegedly cheated Dre of money, and to incidentally call N.W.A's manager Jerry Heller, allegedly complicit, "a white bitch." Snoop's own verse portrays a former girlfriend, unfaithful but perhaps fictitious, "a bitch named Mandy May." Between those verses, guest rapper Kurupt's verse, alike Daz's, demotes women to mere indulgences. With the closing verse, R&B singer Jewell, the only female, boasts indifference as "a bitch that's real." Yet until the album's 2001 reissue, this song was a hidden track—initially unexpected. Hitting especially hard, anyway, it helped drive album sales.
Despite many offended, even females often loved the song, compelling in "the beat" and the lyrical "flow." Meanwhile, Dre's musical sound, borrowing from funk music's subgenre P-funk, shaped a new rap subgenre, gangsta funk, G-funk, having a smooth musicality, whereby The Chronic singles, lyrically milder, broke gangsta rap onto popular radio. But in 1993, launching a national battle against gangsta rap, activist C. Delores Tucker largely targeted this song, album, and record label. In 1994, at the ensuing Congressional hearings, Tucker called gangsta rap, especially Snoop's, "pornographic smut." Yet its foothold proved secure. Dre and Snoop thus refashioned the rap gangsta from an angry menace to society, à la N.W.A, into an urban socialite, threatening violence only to guard his own lifestyle of leisure and indulgence. Becoming iconic, the "Bitches Ain't Shit" model reshaped both rap and R&B, which, merging, became popular music, influencing America's popular culture.
Social critics alleging adverse cultural effects by gangsta rap have recurrently indicted this song. Reportedly, it had motivated Sarah Jones's performance poem "Your Revolution," a feminist reaction to hip hop's growing focus on women's sexuality. Still, when listening, a woman may instead identify even with the male vocalists and, singing along, feel herself aggrieved by "bitches." And amid numerous, borrowing artists, some interpolate the hook to start, "Niggas ain't shit," disparaging men generically. Further, in early 2005, rock artist Ben Folds released an abbreviated cover version—only Dre's and Snoop's lyrics, including the vulgar hook, sung verbatim—a rendition ironically sentimental, later called "a gorgeous piano ballad." In April 2005, it placed #71 on the main popular songs chart, the Billboard Hot 100. Surviving his 2008 attempt to retire it, it was a humorous fixture of his live sets into about 2017. Then, to stem conflation of its slang term niggas, present in both versions, for racial slurring, Folds stopped performing it. In June 2020, amid America's escalating racial tensions, he sought the cover's removal from music streaming.
In 1986, Ice-T's song "6 in the Mornin'," stealing from electro rap and "funk hop" some attention in the Los Angeles area's rap scene, was gangsta rap's inaugural anthem, reaching gold sales. Forming in early 1987, the group N.W.A turned gangsta rap grim. Despite scarce radio play outside the County of Los Angeles, and despite two, early departures over money—Arabian Prince in 1988 and lead rapper Ice Cube in late 1989—N.W.A took gangsta rap to platinum sales, but dissolved in early 1991 once record producer Dr. Dre left. Freed from N.W.A's brash lane, Dre had creative control, industry cachet, and soon, at low cost thereby, studio access. He wanted to only produce, then, but his ghostwriter The D.O.C. convinced him to still rap, too.
Assisted by Daz and by Warren G, Dre reused classics of soul and funk music, especially its subgenre P-funk, to shape a new sound, casting a new aura: gangsta funk, G-funk. In late 1993, Death Row Records' second album—the Snoop Doggy Dogg debut solo album Doggystyle—secured gangsta rap as mainstream, popular music. Yet first, in late 1992, there was the Dr. Dre debut solo album, The Chronic. Set to the Los Angeles area's scenery and scenarios in Dre's directed music videos, its sounds and themes achieved gangsta rap's breakthrough via grooving bass lines and bassy thumps under catchy, melodic hooks and Snoop's relaxed, melodic raps. Its lead single, "Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang," pervaded popular radio, and "Let Me Ride" won a 1994 Grammy.
"Bitches Ain't Shit," on the other hand, although "equally well built with G-funk musicality and danceability," was among the more "gruff" and "sinister" of The Chronic tracks. Album recording, across nine months in 1992, began in Calabasas, California, in Dre's house—which, midway, burned down—and finished in the City of Los Angeles section Hollywood at the studio Galaxy Sound, owned by SOLAR Records' Dick Griffey. Its audio console was advanced, but its neighborhood was decayed, and in April beset by the LA riots. This song was, in the end, as its guest rapper Kurupt prides, "one of the most hard-hitting songs on The Chronic." With the album's 2001 reissue, it joined the track list, after all. Back in December 1992, although present, playable as track #16, it was a hidden track.
In the album's 1992 issue, its final listed track is "The Roach," subtitled "The Chronic Outro," plus a long silence. Abruptly cracking it to start the truly final but unlisted track, Snoop intones, a capella, "Bitches ain't shit but hos and tricks"—the hook's first line—trailed by a breakbeat from the band Trouble Funk's 1982 hit "Let's Get Small." Then opening, to loop once per bar, is a synthesized rhythm section—kick drums' bassy thumps, aflutter, syncopating offbeat, and snare drums' lively taps, steady, syncopating backbeat, atop a bass guitar's grooving bass line, a riff that is the replayed start of Funkadelic's 1976 song "Adolescent Funk"—while both snare drum attacks per bar, on common time's two and four counts, meet a chord on synthesized keys. Simultaneously, an eerie, highpitched whine or ring, created on a Moog synthesizer—a keyboard that can synthesize bass, too—manifests while Snoop, restarting from its first line, raps the full hook, sexually explicit. Snoop then repeats it while a sample emerges—to recur often in the song—from New York City rapper MC Shan's 1986 hit "The Bridge."
A rock musician, Colin Wolfe had befriended Dre working long hours for Dre at Ruthless Records, which had first invited the bass guitarist to tour with its R&B singer Michel'le. In 2014, Wolfe recalled, "One day, I was alone in the control room and Dre and Daz were up in the back room, trying to mess around on the keyboard for the 'Bitches Ain't Shit' bass line. So I stepped in the doorway and I could hear what they were trying to do. I said, 'Man, look out, y'all trying to do this.' I straight did it, recorded it, and then I was like, 'Yo, I got another part,' and did the high Moog part right after that." By 1987, to emulate Bernie Worrell's otherworldly Parliament–Funkadelic or P-Funk sounds, Dre had had Wolfe buy a Moog synthesizer. Via the funk group Ohio Players' 1972 single "Funky Worm," such a "high Moog part" is called the "funky worm." With N.W.A, Dre released only two songs deploying it—Ice Cube, in 1987, rapping "Dope Man," and Dre with MC Ren, in 1991, rapping "Alwayz into Somethin' "—a signature sound, rather, of The Chronic. Also engineered masterfully, "Dre's sonics," recalls Jimmy Iovine of the album's distributor Interscope Records, "just sounded better than anything else on my speakers."
Dre's verse was written by The D.O.C., his usual ghostwriter, who had moved with Dre from Ruthless Records to help form Death Row Records. Helping them shape its first album, this song's four guest vocalists—among the album's others—still unsigned, recorded while frequenting the studio like a social club. Snoop's circle brought his younger cousin Daz and also Kurupt—soon a rap duo, Tha Dogg Pound—while R&B singer Jewell, already present, was pioneering women's singing on rap songs. Yet most prominent is Snoop. Dre plucked him, age 20, from Long Beach trio 213, formed in 1990 of Snoop with his cousin Nate Dogg, singer, and Warren G, producer and rapper, stepbrother of Dre.
In April 1992, unheard since N.W.A's 1991 album and breakup, Dr. Dre reemerged. His debut solo single, title track to the Laurence Fishburn film Deep Cover, also debuted Dre's guest but instantly star rapper, Snoop. Despite the ensuing buzz about him, Snoop's debut solo album started recording after release of Dre's, which, heavily featuring Snoop, is nearly his album, too. Early on, collaborating to write the "Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang" lyrics, The D.O.C. focused, beyond Dre's verses, on imparting to Snoop, already gifted, an extra lyricism, "the formula." Snoop brought from Long Beach an intoxicated, brighter lens on gangsterism, and the elders coached him, sealing the aura that this team would mint.
The producer Dre links the vocals of the four "Bitches Ain't Shit" male rappers closely, barely skipping a beat between them, effecting teamwork: Snoop's hook twice, Dre's verse, Daz's verse, Snoop's hook once, Kurupt's verse, Snoop's verse, and Snoop's hook twice. (Of the hook's three rounds, the latter two host a nondescript, male voice subtly whispering, "Bitches ain't shit.") Then the rapper Dre, silent since the first verse, returns to starkly deadpan, with reverberation effect, "Bitches ain't shit," just before Jewell starts the last verse. An increasingly echoic refrain, Dre's deadpanned Bitches ain't shit recurs to head every fifth bar across Jewell's verse, an R&B/rap outro. Jewell's closing few words abruptly go a cappella and, echoing, fade out while Dre's refrain returns once more and, fading out, echoes across two bars.
First verse (Dre): Promptly after Snoop opens with the hook, Dre narrates a personal tale of a specific "bitch"—a man who allegedly shorted Dre's money—until, closing the "real conversation," Dre calls a "pass to Daz."
Second verse (Daz): Off and rapping before Dre silences, Daz exploits "hos" and grows camaraderie, "chilling with your homies and shit, and have my niggas kick the anthem like this," Snoop's immediate hook recital.
Third verse (Kurupt): A beat later, Kurupt tersely adds to the hook and then, like Daz, refers generically—"bitches" or "hos" or "tricks"—ultimately closing with a brag, "turning them trick-ass hos the fuck out, now."
Fourth verse (Snoop): Seizing the next beat, Snoop narrates just the second tale of a specific "bitch"—this one a woman, unfaithful—and caps it with his third and final round of trumpeting the anthemic hook.
Fifth verse (Jewell): Dre returns to intermittently deadpan, "Bitches ain't shit," while Jewell—a woman, singing soulfully, then rapping vociferously—stamps her endorsement, if mostly I don't give a fuck!.
Dr. Dre's verseEdit
Based on an early rap feud, Dre's verse never directly comments on women. Rather, complementing brief skits and the single "Fuck wit Dre Day," it is the album's final smear of Eazy-E. Dre's former N.W.A groupmate, Eazy had founded the group and owned its label, Ruthless Records. Never identifying Eazy by his stage name, Dre's lyrics identify him first by his legal name, Eric Wright, but otherwise call him "bitch" and "she." These jabs are occasioned by Dre's glossing their friendship, rap partnership, fallout over money, and then Wright's lawsuit against him, allegedly resulting since, Dre raps, "bitch can't hang with the street." Tracing the turning point to Wright, more specifically, "hanging with a white bitch"—unnamed in the song's lyrics—Dre thus alludes to veteran music manager Jerry Heller, counting N.W.A among his clients. Wright and Heller—manager of Dre's first group, too, the World Class Wreckin' Cru—had cofounded Ruthless.
(In real life, feeling underpaid as an N.W.A rapper and Ruthless Records' prime record producer, Dre, although signed as exclusive to the label, left it. Dre teamed with Suge Knight, buddy of The D.O.C., to form Death Row Records. But Eazy sued, alleging that Suge had coerced the April 1991 release of three artists—Dre with girlfriend Michel'le and The D.O.C.—Death Row's legal jeopardy whereby the label lost Epic Records distribution under Sony Music. Then at Dre's offer of The Chronic with artwork and video concepts nearly complete, other labels stonewalled him, until Jimmy Iovine, excited by its sound, took on the legal imbroglio and brought Death Row into Interscope Records under Warner Music. By a settlement, Interscope would pay Ruthless part of Dre's earnings for six years, and indie giant Priority Records, distributor for Ruthless, became The Chronic's official seller. Eazy's musical retort, then, became his biggest solo hit.)
Daz & KuruptEdit
Although both touting hedonism, Daz, operating systematically, alike a gigolo, stalks profit and eyes leisure, whereas Kurupt, derisively mistrustful, chases sheer thrills. Here, women resemble a faceless breed of indulgent but disloyal nymphomaniacs, who if shown men's affection would repay it by becoming the men's adversities as traitors and perhaps as parasites.
Daz, before heralding Snoop's hook recital as "the anthem," advises best practices to grow relaxation time with "your homies." In Daz's protocol, "you pick a ho who got the cash flow," and "run up in them hos and grab the cash and get your dash on." Once the hook soon closes, "Then I hops in my coupé to make a quick run," Kurupt adds, "To the sto'—to get me a 4-O."
Kurupt, out to buy a 40 oz. bottle of malt liquor, gets paged by Snoop. "That must mean," Kurupt knows, "more hos." His outing to Snoop's hometown Long Beach—"just so I can meet a freak to lick me from my head to my feet," Kurupt beams—swiftly attracts, he prides, "bitches on my nuts like clothes." But, in his circle, "we don't love them hos": "a ho's a trick"; "a trick's a bitch."
Snoop skims a saga of finding himself as "a nigga on sprung," "up in them guts like every single day," and "in love like a motherfucker," walking into his debacle with her, "a bitch named Mandy May." Early on, despite "the homies" advising him that she was "no good," he had "figured that niggas wouldn't trip with mine," his being, after all, "the maniac in black, Mr. Snoop Eastwood." But, "on a hot, sunny day," his "nigga D.O.C." and "homie Dr. Dre," retrieving him from a jail stint, pose, "Snoop, we got news."
Now wise to her "tricking" during his "county blues," Snoop, who "ain't been out a second," already must inflict some "chin checkin.' " So he pulls up to "my girl's house," he says, and will "kick in the door," but first goes, "Dre, pass the Glock." At the doorstep, drawn to "look on the floor," Snoop finds, "It's my little cousin Daz, and he's fucking my ho"—a discovery that prompts Snoop to "uncock" it. He admits, but affirms, "I'm heartbroke, but I'm still loc," and, at long last, swears Mandy May off: "Man, fuck a bitch."
Whereas "bitches can't deal," Jewell, "a bitch that's real," belts, "I don't give a fuck—about a bitch," and will "let her know that she can't fade this." Headily, Jewell boasts selfdetermination, getting paid on "the Row," the chime And I don't fuck a fuck!, a carnal skill "like a washing machine," and an oral appetite, if for "just the juicy ones," closing in some explicit detail.
"Bitches Ain't Shit," in predating the cultural effects of Snoop's debut solo album Doggystyle, met a society that, despite misogynistic rap lyrics by Too Short and by 2 Live Crew since the 1980s, still expected popular songs, rather, to romanticize women. Although too hardcore to be a single from The Chronic, this song was among its "unheralded favorites," sparking talk of "the beat"—that is, the instrumental section—and of the rappers' lyrical "flow," especially Snoop's. Interviewed, asked about it, one young black woman, echoing many women, commented, "I shouldn't like it, but I love the song 'cause it's the jam." In October 1993, rap journalist Dream Hampton, remarking aside the controversy over it, called it, in the rap genre, "the best song on the best album of a pretty slow year."
Since the November 1992 release of "Nuthin' But a 'G' Thang," the album's singles, lyrically milder, pervading popular radio, shifted the rap genre's spotlight, for the first time, from the East Coast to the West Coast. The Chronic, suddenly, "recast hip hop in the mold of LA rap." Although in August 1993, months before Doggystyle's November release, Snoop was charged with involvement in a homicide, Death Row Records' CEO Suge Knight bailed him out. Snoop kept amassing popular appeal and emerged as one of America's biggest superstars. Meanwhile, presaging Snoop's injection of misogyny into pop music's culture, "Bitches Ain't Shit" became "notorious." Altogether, this hidden track, a huge underground hit, explains its guest rapper Kurupt, "was one of the things that helped sell The Chronic the most."
All in 1990, many rap records gained the Parental Advisory label, Newsweek smeared rappers as, in one reading, "ignorant black men who scream obscene threats," and a Florida judge, triggering ban laws, ruled a rap album, As Nasty as They Wanna Be, obscene, US history's first in music. But, hearing the lewd party music in court, jurors laughed, and acquitted the group, 2 Live Crew. Recorded amid the 1992 Los Angeles riots, rather, The Chronic largely reflects this climate—anger, angst, and mayhem, present in Dre's life, too—between the visions of leisurely life for a West Coast rap "G." For the December 1992 album, Interscope Records, led by its parent and distribution channel Time Warner, had Dre's label, Death Row, remove "Mr. Officer." Its hook wishes a policeman's death. In October 1992, rapper Tupac, Interscope, and Warner were sued for the April 11 fatal shooting of a Texas Highway Patrol officer.
Although killing an undercover detective themes Dre's debut solo single "Deep Cover," already out since April 4 via Dick Griffey's SOLAR Records, a soul label in Los Angeles—through Epic Records distribution under its owner Sony Music—national outrage arose in June instead at a March release from a side project of L.A.'s original gangsta rapper, Ice-T. Heavy metal, a track on his rock band Body Count's eponymous album, "Cop Killer" was condemned by US Vice President Dan Quayle, President George H. W. Bush, the NRA, and a Texas police union, which urged a Time Warner boycott. By August, about 1 000 stores had withdrawn the album. In January 1993, Warner Brothers Records, owned by Time Warner and owning Sire Records, which had cancelled Ice-T's new rap album, announced freeing all Body Count artists from their contracts. Yet after The Chronic, despite an associated, beating death in June 1993, opposition regrouped around misogyny.
On Sunday, May 9, 1993, in his Mother's Day sermon, senior pastor Calvin Butts—leading the Abyssinian Baptist Church, in New York City's Harlem section—vowing a symbolic act, solicited offending music samples. Butts thus became the first black public figure to decry gangsta rap. On Saturday, June 5, supported by a few hundred outside of Abyssinian—historically the city's largest and preeminent black church—Reverend Butts, as vowed, mounted a steamroller. But dozens of counterprotesters, decrying censorship, blocked its path. One shouted, "You're steamrolling our dreams," and "who we are." Another alleged, "He's attacking us black rappers," not "the white power structure." Skipping ahead to the preplanned finale, then, Butts and followers, taking the boxes of CDs and tapes unexpectedly unscathed, boarded a bus to Midtown Manhattan.
On the sidewalk at 550 Madison Avenue, they laid, and some trampled, the boxes of gangsta rap. There, at Sony Music headquarters, "representative of an industry which," Butts felt, "laughs at black people all the way to the bank," he blared, over bullhorn, "Recognize that this poison kills!" But that summer, amid Harlem's wide tolerance, young males would casually wear T-shirts emblazoned with the hook Bitches ain't shit but hos and tricks. Eventually, some two dozen women organized and protested. On three days, by bullhorn, they demanded that street vendors on Harlem's main thoroughfare, 125th Street, stop selling the shirts. Such apparently sold on streets of the Los Angeles area, too, into at least 1995. By then, Reverend Butts—who, romanticizing "the black community," had called gangsta rap "antithetical to what our culture represents"—had faded from the battle.
In September 1993, C. Delores Tucker, chair and 1984 founder of the National Political Congress of Black Women, a lobbying group in Washington DC, reentered the public eye to take up the battle against gangsta rap. Swiftly becoming the battle's national leader, she expanded it against offensive rock lyrics, too, but especially targeted "Bitches Ain't Shit," The Chronic, and Death Row Records. Of a background in civil rights activism and state political office, the Democrat demanded congressional hearings. Illinois representative Cardiss Collins, already chair of Congress' standing committee on commerce and consumer protection, convened them in February 1994. There, with Republican conservative, onetime US education secretary, William Bennett in alliance, Tucker called gangsta rap, especially Snoop's, "pornographic smut." No government action ensued.
But in May 1995, the Tucker and Bennett attacks on Time Warner had aired a television commercial in four major cities, and gained a prime ally, Senate majority leader Bob Dole, Republican presidential candidate. Time Warner, although calling them political opportunists, divested from Death Row's distributor, Interscope Records. Its 1991 cofounder, Jimmy Iovine, was promptly dined, then, by four of the five other major record companies, the then Big Six's rivals to Warner Music. Assessing Interscope's options, Iovine reacted, "I'm just glad to have our company back." Interscope chose MCA, which was being renamed Universal. Death Row, likewise unfazed, steamrolled ahead. In the late 1990s, as G-funk's era closed, The Chronic grew into a pop classic. And yet "Bitches Ain't Shit" would refuel recurring rebuke and debate about this word for women, such depictions of them, and, more broadly, its album's pivotal role in popularizing the values of idealized street gangsters.
Too Short's lyrics, smearing types of women since 1985, or even 1983, were comparatively vague. In 1993, "Bitches Ain't Shit" was arresting since it apparently "scorned all women," and "presented misogyny with an explanation." Meanings of bitch and ho need the rappers' and listeners' specific context, maybe playful or even loving, but, explicitly defining terms, this song scorns any trust or love for them. A contemporary listener fond but at times uneasy, artist Saul Williams recalls, "Some people, women in particular, would be instantly offended, while others excused the lyrics because of Snoop's intoxicating flow. It became common to hear people say, almost apologetically, 'Oh, I just like the beat.' "
As ethnomusicologist Kyra Gaunt notes, "examples of women defending their love of the beats, but not the rhymes," "leaves them looking like their participation is all about the body, not the lyrics." A woman, Gaunt appraises, "For females, the appeal of being able to move to the latest jam, and falling in love with the beats that drive one's body, is a learned desire," descending to a sexist stereotype: "men work the intellect, and women work the body." But rapper Jadakiss, a man, called women "the main ones" who "want to hear" this "entertainment" of Snoop rapping "that 'Bitches Ain't Shit' shit." In any case, at least some girls who ignored unknown, passerby boys' greetings were harassed, then, by chants from the hook.
The Chronic already out a couple of years, one Sarah Jones, from Brooklyn, attended a party hosted by a New York rap mogul. "I was standing there," in Tavern on the Green, she recalls, "like some video ho, singing along to 'bitches ain't shit but hoes and tricks.' And I thought, 'Something has gone awry. This is not me. You know, I disagree!' " On this epiphany, Jones explains, as a fan of hip hop, she rebuked its new changes. Her resulting poem, "Your Revolution"—in part, your revolution will not happen between these thighs—was a performance poem, set to music in 2000. Fining a radio station for playing it, the FCC labeled it indecent, but reversed its ruling after Jones became the first artist ever to sue the FCC.
On the other hand, more recently, theatrical researcher Amy Cook, analyzing dynamics of role casting, listens repeatedly, appraises her own cognition, and—despite others' likelihood to cast her as "one of the various 'bitches' "—soon finds, "Even I, a white female, feel impelled to join him, to sing along about how 'bitches ain't shit.' " Nor is this mindless. Instead, "singing along, I take on the position of the powerful, the angry, the sad, the person aggrieved by 'bitches.' " Further, amid the female/male distinction's social primacy, at such a "miscasting, or counter casting," Cook explains, "the spectators must consider the nature of their expectations." And so Cook finds, in sum, "a cultural power in the counter casting."
Dre's carefully crafted "G"—the sociable street gangsta ever at leisure, doing violence only on threats to his comforts and privileges—spawned untold copycatting. "Bitches Ain't Shit" lays bare the basic values of the aura, refined in Snoop's breakthrough, early rap brand: intoxicated on alcohol and marijuana, mellow and debonair, but, while loyal to the homies, gunhappy and misogynistic. Amid the rap genre's snowballing corporate consolidation then underway, Snoop's persona spawned rap's massive commercialization, like his endorsements of St. Ides malt liquor and Tanqueray gin, in the 1990s. Traditional R&B rapidly lost favor.
In 1999, rap magazine Ego Trip identified "16 Memorable Misogynist Rap Music Moments." They date back to 1985: the pioneer, Too Short, still at #3, "The Bitch Sucks Dick." Topping that, the #2 moment, is "Bitches Ain't Shit." This trails only Snoop with, the next year, more male camaraderie and teamwork, now featuring Warren G, Nate Dogg, and, again, Kurupt: the Doggystyle track "Ain't No Fun (If the Homies Can't Have None)." Also never a single, yet another huge underground hit, it seemingly fulfilled overnight what Snoop's first, "Bitches Ain't Shit," had presaged: the end of soul and pop music's insistence on idealizing women.
A year into the new century, ahead of Beyoncé's iconic status solo, music journalist Lola Ogunnaike, in Vibe magazine, profiled the lead singer's R&B group, Destiny's Child. "Chockful of sophisticated, ball-busting, and often comical hits that berated brothers," its 1999 or second album, The Writing's on the Wall, "earned the group reputations for being everything from gold-digging male bashers—a charge the girls heatedly deny—to new-millennium feminists out to challenge the bitches-ain't-shit posturing that plagued much of late-'90s R&B and hip hop." But, months earlier, on her own second album, rapper Lil' Kim instead rehashed the posturing.
Sharing what, "if I was a dude, I'd tell y'all," Lil Kim's song "Suck My Dick"—a directive shared by the "Bitches Ain't Shit" hook—asserts that "niggas," or men generically, "ain't shit." Closing, she inverts on men the year 1993's influential hook. Also in 2000, rapper Trina's debut album Da Baddest Bitch, several years late, directly retorts The Chronic's hidden track by rehashing its hook into the very hook of her own song named, just as plainly, "Niggas Ain't Shit." Still, it was Lil' Kim, the selfproclaimed "Queen Bitch," who led but the latest iteration of American women's reappropriating the word bitch, now also to antidote a bitches ain't shit residue.
As the 21st century settled in, by absorbing the label bitch, women preempted its use against them, and reframed it to buoy their own ambitions. But since their 1996 debut albums, both Lil' Kim and her popular rap contemporary female, Foxy Brown—two rappers who would slur each other as various types of "bitch"—had leaned on profane boasts of vanity and lewdness, avarice and violence, more gangsta rap. Allegedly, such models of womanhood were "resurrecting Jezebel"—pernicious stereotypes of women, especially of black women—and so, in a roundabout, were supplementing "Bitches Ain't Shit." (In fact, Foxy Brown is a 1974 blaxploitation movie, whose protagonist Snoop had revived in a cinematic skit in a 1994 music video.) In 2002, certain singers, including Usher and Alicia Keyes, rather, were praised for revitalizing R&B's soul tradition, after a decade of the rap genre, with its "Bitches Ain't Shit" model, invading R&B.
But by 2005, in the rap genre itself, "Bitches Ain't Shit" had seemingly stood since "the beginning of time." And yet, in 2012, at The Chronic's 20th anniversary, Billboard magazine still found, at this track, "an elephant in the room here: the misogyny is ugly and thick, even for a rap record," as "women are treated like disposable sperm receptacles." The album was, by then, both a rap classic and a pop classic, anyway, roundly celebrated at its 25th anniversary. "A misogynistic hip-hop masterpiece and relic of the past," writes one music journalist, while another calls it "rap's world-building masterpiece." In 2020, the Library of Congress enshrined it in the National Recording Registry. By then, music artists of over 40 songs had borrowed from "Bitches Ain't Shit." In the process, it had become, additionally, "a gorgeous piano ballad"—the 2005 cover version by rock artist Ben Folds—which entered the main popular songs chart, the Billboard Hot 100.
Ben Folds coverEdit
|"Bitches Ain't Shit"|
|Single by Ben Folds|
|from the album Supersunnyspeedgraphic, the LP|
|Ben Folds singles chronology|
In early 2005, American singer, songwriter, and musician Ben Folds, an alternative rock artist, who formerly fronted the band Ben Folds Five, had a new solo album out, Songs for Silverman. With the single "Landed" forthcoming from it, he needed a B side. Having wanted since college to put a melody to rap group Public Enemy's 1990 song "Can't Do Nuttin' for Ya, Man," he at last began work on it. But soon, he "found it too symmetrical for a good melody," effecting "too much of a Cat in the Hat vibe to sound serious with sad chords." Finding in his collection of classic rap, then, a song more divergent from English poetry's classic metre, iambic pentameter, he took only Dr. Dre's and Snoop Dogg's lyrics, including the hook, and, he says, "just added pretty chords and one of my best melodies."
Without the gloating and boasting in Daz's verse and in Kurupt's verse, and lacking Jewell's endorsement and boasting in her own verse, the cover version, where Dre's and Snoop's sagas of betrayal are the only verses, lets even the vulgar hook suggest hurt. Performing it live, "Ben Folds sitting at a piano," says an observer, "evokes an old-fashioned crooner or lounge act." When opening for pop rock artist John Mayer's nationwide tour atop the pop charts, though, "I was definitely causing problems," Folds admits. "But the biggest problem," he adds, "was one particular song, which was becoming a very successful single for me." Booing at his "Bitches Ain't Shit" rendition—whose own genre, rock, newly makes even the word niggas ostentatious—was spurring Folds to play it once or twice more, until the crowd quieted or, as he demanded, sang along.
Whereas many covers stand unto themselves, the irony of this cover, switching genres and largely races and subcultures, employs recognition of the Dre and Snoop original version, a dramatic contrast. As of 2020, although seen more on other Billboard charts, Folds has had but two songs, both in 2005, ever on the Billboard Hot 100. "Landed," an A side highly promoted by Sony Music, spending two weeks on it, peaked at #77 on February 26. Its B side, which "features" his then usually collaborating musicians Jared Reynolds and Lindsay Jamieson as "Mr. Reynolds" and "Lin-Z," a rendition ironically sentimental, "had spread by word of mouth and was now doubling my audiences," Folds explains, although the growing presence of "drunken college boys" discomforted him. On the Hot 100 for one week, the cover held #71 on April 2. Its instrumentation mostly matches his familiar repertoire, but eventually summons a synthesizer at high pitch, evoking the original's eerie ring, the "funky worm."
At shows of Ben Folds headlining, "The cackles and singing from the audiences," writes a researcher appraising them, "suggest that they are hailed by the song, welcomed in, and engaged to be a part of it. And they like it." A rock critic calls the original version, originally a hidden track closing Dr. Dre's 1992 rap album, "a sumptuous slice of Olympic-level sexism that's almost as memorable as Ben Folds' emotional, piano-ballad version." In October 2006, it was released again on Ben Folds's compilation album of covers, Supersunnyspeedgraphic, the LP. During 2008, feeling that "Bitches Ain't Shit" had made its rounds, Folds, retiring it, "was choked up," he later said. But, lest the next audience feel let down, he played it—planning to honor its retirement afterward—once more, "somehow even more moving for me," he would recall. Yet at the next show, abroad in Germany, lest this crowd feel cheated, then, he played the retired song again. Folds thus accepted its unretirement. "So it's been an emotional roller coaster," he remarked to a confused interviewer in July 2008.
For about another 10 years, live Ben Folds sets retained "Bitches Ain't Shit." Amid the Dr. Dre album's 25th anniversary, some audiences heard tales instead about the venerated, ironic cover. "I've almost been beaten up a couple of times over this," Folds prefaces, "once by a kind of uptight hippie woman who said it was demeaning to women." He referred her to Dr. Dre, "the lyrics department," Folds recalls. In the ensuing live performance, emergence of the hook—the hook once notorious—could still move the crowd to shout, "So true!" But soon, ceasing to perform it—which had "never got easier for me to sing," and "always felt so very wrong", although "that was also part of what made it interesting"—he began ignoring requests to play it. "Music should work to ease social tensions, not throw gasoline on the fire, even inadvertently," he explained in 2019 while citing his audiences' nonwhites being "subjected," he said, to whites "gleefully singing" the word niggas. And in June 2020, amid America's sociopolitical upheaval via the George Floyd protests and the Black Lives Matter movement's nationally pressing allegations of ubiquitous racism violating blacks, Ben Folds announced that he would ask the record label "to take the next step and remove the recording from any streaming platforms where it has been placed."
- Soren Baker, The History of Gangster Rap (New York: Abrams Image, 2018), indexing "Bitches Ain't Shit".
- Thomas Golianopoulous, "Dr. Dre, 'The Chronic' at 20: Classic track-by-track review", Billboard.com, Prometheus Global Media, LLC, 15 Dec 2012.
- Wayne Marshall, "Hip-hop's irrepressible refashionability: Phases in the cultural production of black youth", in Orlando Patterson with Ethan Fosse, eds., The Cultural Matrix: Understanding Black Youth (Cambridge, MA & London, UK: Harvard University Press, 2015), p 184.
- Dream Hampton, "Dreaming America—hip hop culture", Spin, 1993 Oct;9(7):111.
- Aine McGlynn, "Lil' Kim", in Mickey Hess, ed., Icons of Hip Hop: An Encyclopedia of the Movement, Music, and Culture, Volume 2 (Westport, CT & London: Greenwood Press, 2007), pp 454–455 on women reappropriating the word bitch, which in "Bitches Ain't Shit" is synonymous with the word woman, and on Lil' Kim touting herself "Queen Bitch". Yet pp 453–454 skim feud between Lil' Kim and Foxy Brown while slurring each other as sorts of "bitch".
- Eithne Quinn, Nuthin' But a "G" Thang: The Culture and Commerce of Gangsta Rap (New York: Columbia University Press, 2005), p 117.
- Mitchell S. Jackson, Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family (New York: Scribner, 2019), p 125.
- Stereo Williams, "When Snoop Dogg became the most wanted man in America", The Daily Beast, 18 Nov 2018.
- David Farber, Crack: Rock Cocaine, Street Capitalism, and the Decade of Greed (Cambridge, UK: University of Cambridge Press, 2019), p 107.
- In the hook's four lines, Snoop apparently raps, "Bitches ain't shit but hos and tricks / Lick on these nuts and suck the dick / Gets the fuck gone after you're done / Then I hops in my coupé to make a quick run" ["Bitches Ain't Shit", Dr. Dre @ YouTube "Official Artist Channel", 19 Apr 2020]. (The rappers' parlance generally reads a quick run as a quick trip for more intoxicant, as affirmed by Kurupt's verse, its lyrical pickup from the hook.) Yet written sources of the lyrics may slightly depart. Cf., Mitchell Jackson, Survival Math, NY: Scribner, 2019, p 125: " '' / '' / Gets the fuck out after you're done / And I hops in my ride to make a quick run". N.b., MetroLyrics, licensed to share lyrics online, matches Jackson, except in favoring a stylized spelling as deez nutz ["Dr. Dre—'Bitches Ain't Shit' lyrics", MetroLyrics.com, CBS Interactive Inc., 2020].
- "In fact, the first 'bitch' referred to in the song is Eazy-E. This does not decrease the misogyny so much as increase the 'heat' thrown at Eazy-E, who is cast as nothing but a ho and a trick" [Amy Cook, Building Character: The Art and Science of Casting (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2018), p 166].
- Jim Irvin & Colin McLear, eds., The Mojo Collection: The Ultimate Music Companion, 4th edn. (Edinburgh: Canongate Books, 2007), p 587.
- While citing "Bitches Ain't Shit" to discuss gangsta rap's treatment of women, Davarian Baldwin, a cultural analyst concentrating on urban black Americans, interprets, "The degree of anxiety expressed in these heavy-handed fantasies explains both an intense desire and distrust of women and the way in which their (in)subordination disrupts racial authenticity" [D. L. Baldwin, "Black empires, white desires: The spatial politics of identity in the age of hip-hop", in Murry Forman & Mark Anthony Neal, eds., That's the Joint!: The Hip-hop Studies Reader, New York: Routledge, 2004, p 167]. Whatever that interpretation's merits, Baldwin, mistaking the hook's first line for the song's very title, and citing no other lyrics, asserts, "African-American women are often portrayed as welfare queens making babies merely to stay on public assistance or 'gold-diggers' who use their sexuality to take black men's meager earnings' (Kelly, 1994, 217). This narrative can be found in Dr. Dre's song 'Bitches Ain't Shit But Hoes and Tricks,' or E-40's 'Captain Save a Hoe,' in which men are chastised for taking care of a woman and her children, especially if they aren't his own" [p 167]. More accurately, the "Bitches Ain't Shit" lyrics are as follow: Dre overlooks women; Daz uses women for sex and money; Kurupt uses women for sex and esteem; Snoop, in love, finding his girlfriend cheating, is stunned and heartbroken; Jewell, a woman, deflecting female critics and rivals, boasts of autonomy and making her own money. Film and music critic Nathan Rabin instead names the two, different Snoop songs that Baldwin perhaps conflates, Dre's The Chronic track "Bitches Ain't Shit" and Snoop's Doggystyle track "Ain't No Fun", two massively influential, underground hits and misogynistic anthems that feature Kurupt [N. Rabin, The Big Rewind: A Memoir Brought to You by Pop Culture, New York: Scribner, 2009, p 91]. Rabin explains, "Gangsta rap taught us that the worst thing any man could do was to fall in love with a woman", who then "can break your heart", and "can turn your world upside down. But if gangsta rap teaches anything, it's that a bitch ain't nothing but a bitch and a ho ain't nothing but a ho. The Chronic preaches that bitches ain't shit but hos and tricks. Kurupt extrapolated on this point when"—in "Ain't No Fun", a year later—"he legendarily reasoned, 'If Kurupt gave a fuck about a bitch, I'd always be broke / I'd never have no motherfucking endo to smoke' " [p 91].
- Ben Westhoff, "The making of The Chronic", LA Weekly, 19 Nov 2012.
- EAM, "Dr. Dre: 'Bitches Ain't Shit' from The Chronic", HiddenSongs.com, visited 16 Jan 2020.
- Mark Beaumont, "Remember the '90s fad for 'hidden tracks' on CDs? Here are 10 of the best from Nirvana, Blur, Dre and more (and where to find them)", § "6: Dr Dre—'Bitches Ain't Shit' ", NME, BandLab Technologies, 5 Apr 2019.
- James G. Spady, Charles G. Lee & H. Samy Alim, Street Conscious Rap (Philadelphia: Black History Museum, UMUM/LOH Pub., 1999), p 538.
- Kyra D. Gaunt, The Games Black Girls Play: Learning the Ropes from Double-Dutch to Hip-Hop (New York & London: New York University Press, 2006), pp 120–121.
- Byron Hurt, director, Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes (B. Hurt & Sabrina S. Gordon, 2006), a "documentary that tackles issues of masculinity, sexism, violence and homophobia in today's hip-hop culture" ["Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats & Rhymes: The film about hip-hop, the issues", PBS.org, Independent Television Service or ITVS, visited 21 Jun 2020]. A 2006 transcript by Media Education Foundation, and archived by University of North Texas, University Libraries, at Library.UNT.edu, quotes rapper Jadakiss: "This shit is entertainment. If it was so bad like that, Snoop wouldn't have no fans or nothing like that. Snoop has been talking that 'Bitches Ain't Shit' shit since the beginning of time. They want to hear that. They the main ones out there" [p 14].
- Saul Williams, The Dead Emcee Scrolls: The Lost Teachings of Hip-Hop (New York: Pocket Books, 2006), p xv.
- Murray Forman, The 'Hood Comes First: Race, Space, and Place in Rap and Hip-Hop (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2002), pp 182 & 279.
- Stereo Williams, "Dr. Dre's 'The Chronic' at 25: A misogynistic hip-hop masterpiece and relic of the past", Daily Beast, 16 Dec 2017.
- Marcus Reeves, Somebody Scream!: Rap Music's Rise to Prominence in the Aftershock of Black Power (New York: Faber and Faber, Inc., 2008), p 142. In part, Reeves explains, "Laced with memorable hooks and beats grooving on cruise control, these songs sold gangsta life not as a violent reaction to a cruel world but as a state of mind, a posture, an attitude". More specifically, "the true force behind The Chronic phenomenon was the pop-crafted ingenuity of its singles", mainly "Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang" and "Let Me Ride". Not fleeing the police on grim streets, Dre's gangstas were cruising sunny boulevards in modified 1964 Chevy Impalas, showcasing them at street rallies, mingling at barbecues, and, after nightfall, drinking malt liquor at parties, at any moment puffing weed, altogether, at that time, "a glamorous brand of gangsta rap". Reeves adds, "Whereas the threatening sounds Dre created for N.W.A were shunned by radio and television, the smoothed-out production on The Chronic, sounding more like R&B than hip hop, made hardcore attractive to these outlets. As videos from Dre began to win regular play outside of Yo! MTV Raps, The Chronic solidified the new crossover, especially among hip hop's growing pop audience—white youngsters whose silent majority, since the rise of P.E. and N.W.A, indirectly shaped and affirmed this direction with its monetary support" [p 143].
- Richard S. Dunham & Michael Oneal, "Gunning for the gangstas", Business Week, 1995 Jun 18;3249:41.
- Lori A. Tribbet-Williams, "Saying nothing, talking loud: Lil' Kim and Foxy Brown, caricatures of African-American womanhood", Southern California Review of Law and Women's Studies, 2000 Fall;10(1):167–207, part III: "Jezebel of contemporary times", § A: "Rap music: Resurrecting Jezebel", pp 186–187.
- Carlos D. Morrison & Celnisha L. Dangerfield, "Tupac Shakur", in Mickey Hess, ed., Icons of Hip Hop: An Encyclopedia of the Movement, Music, and Culture, Volume 2 (Westport, CT & London: Greenwood Press, 2007), p 398.
- United States House of Representatives, Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Commerce, Consumer Protection and Competitiveness, Music Lyrics and Interstate Commerce, 11 Feb 1994.
- Bryan J. McCann, The Mark of Criminality: Rhetoric, Race, and Gangsta Rap in the War-on-Crime Era (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2017), pp 80–81: Butts quote p 80, Tucker quote p 81, author elaborating on following pages.
- Travis L. Gosa, "The fifth element: Knowledge", in Justin A. Williams, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Hip-Hop (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2015), p 56.
- Kyra D. Gaunt, The Games Black Girls Play: Learning the Ropes from Double-Dutch to Hip-Hop (New York & London: New York University Press, 2006), p 119, although Gaunt misidentifies Tucker as a "Congresswoman".
- Bryan J. McCann, The Mark of Criminality: Rhetoric, Race, and Gangsta Rap in the War-on-Crime Era (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2017), p 70–, for several pages, McCann swiftly unveils and deciphers the cultural subtexts of the G-funk aesthetic.
- James C. Howell, The History of Street Gangs in the United States: Their Origins and Transformations (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2015), pp 83–85, which find the G-funk innovation, superseding N.W.A, employing videos depicting "acclaimed and imagined places" showcasing street gangs' hubs in South Central Los Angeles, Compton, and Long Beach. But unlike warring Crips and Bloods sets, "G-funk artists remained united in messaging and representing, creating a profound cultural force (with the benefit of broadcast media)", blending "two overarching behavioral types, the nihilist gangbanger and the enterprising hustler", "stressing 'gratuitous, individualist pleasures of the moment' (Quinn, 2005, p 145). What is most remarkable is that G-funk music became mainstream. Dr. Dre's 'Nuthin' but a G thang' was arguably the 'hardest rap' to ever rank high (#2) on the Billboard Hot 100 chart". But gangsta rap's breakout period, 1989 to 1993, saw massive growth in black incarceration, mainly via illicit drug sales, and gangsta rap's popularization spurred unprecedented growth of black street gangs.
- William L. Van Deburg, Hoodlums: Black Villains and Social Bandits in American Life (Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press, 2004), pp 209 & 269.
- Lola Ogunnaike, "Divas live", Vibe, 2001 Feb;9(2):74–81, p 76.
- Craig Seymour, "The re-energizers", Vibe, 2002 Feb;10(2):68–73, specifically p 69 on traditional R&B's struggle amid rap's influence on R&B in the prior decade, p 70 on Alicia Keys, more in line with traditional R&B, "upping the ante with her breakout debut", and p 73 citing "Bitches Ain't Shit" as the model that these R&B artists countervail.
- Nathan Rabin, The Big Rewind: A Memoir Brought to You by Pop Culture (New York: Scribner, 2009), p 91.
- Sophie Smith, "Dr Dre's 'The Chronic' added to National Recording Registry", uDiscoverMusic website, 25 Mar 2020.
- Tricia Rose, "There are bitches and hoes", The Hip-Hop Wars (New York: Perseus, 2008), collected in Gail Dines & Jean M. Humez, eds., Gender, Race, and Class in Media: A Critical Reader, 3rd edn. (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc., 2011), p 321.
- Editorial, "Women and 'gangsta' rap", Glamour, 1994 Jun;92(6):93, republished as "Gangsta rap promotes violence against women", in Carol Wekesser, ed., Violence in the Media (San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 1995), p 163.
- Eithne Quinn, " 'Who's the mack?': The performativity and politics of the pimp figure in gangsta rap", Journal of American Studies, 2000 Apr 1;34(1):115–136, p 116.
- John McWhorter, All about the Beat: Why Hip-Hop Can't Save Black America (New York: Gotham Books, 2008).
- Jody Miller, Getting Played: African American Girls, Urban Inequality, and Gendered Violence (New York: New York University Press, 2008), pp 94–95, or elsewhere.
- Ajay Kumar Ojha, "Does 'gangsta rap' music cross good judgment lines and decency values?", Masters Theses (Eastern Illinois University), 2000:1466, offers a relevant sketch, perhaps useful, particularly on its pp 8–9 & 15, as well as a bibliography revealing contemporary journalism. But this paper states that Tucker, before being sued by Death Row in August 1995, had sued Death Row—a claim seemingly absent from sources. In 1997, though, Tucker did sue rapper Tupac Shakur's personal estate for defamation on his 1996 Death Row album All Eyez on Me [Chuck Philips, "Rap critic sues Shakur's estate for defamation", Los Angeles Times, 1 Aug 1997], and soon sued both Newsweek and Time magazines for their reporting that her lawsuit blamed Shakur for ruining her sex life [Anick Jesdanun, " 'Gansta' rap critic sues magazines", AP News, 1 Oct 1997].
- Chris Nutter, "I'm every woman", Vibe, 2000 Aug;8(6):90.
- Alix Olson, ed., Word Warriors: 35 Women Leaders in the Spoken Word Revolution (Emeryville, CA: Seal Press, 2007), pp 4–5 discuss Sarah Jones's success litigating the FCC, whereas pp 8–10 republish her poem "Your Revolution", which invokes Gil Scott Heron's 1971 performance poem "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised". Jones's poem suggests that rap music had recently been redirected from true, cultural liberation to men's lascivious indulgence. Once she performed it on HBO's Def Poetry Jam, it drew wider acclaim, and, with DJ Vadim, she made a 2000 version more musical. In May 2001, Portland, Oregon, radio station KBOO played it, whereupon a listener reported it to the Federal Communications Commission, which then fined the station $7 000, prompting other stations to cease playing it [Dustin Kidd, Pop Culture Freaks: Identity, Mass Media, and Society, New York: Routledge, 2018, via Westview Press, 2014, indexing "Jones Your Revolution"]. For more details, see Brenda Cossman, Sexual Citizens: The Legal and Cultural Regulation of Sex and Belonging (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2007), pp 48–55, or p 49 skimming the FCC action and Jones's legal counteraction.
- Amy Cook, Building Character: The Art and Science of Casting (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2018), pp 94–95.
- Aine McGlynn, "Lil' Kim", in Mickey Hess, ed., Icons of Hip Hop: An Encyclopedia of the Movement, Music, and Culture (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2007), p 455.
- In 2000, there was Trina's debut album and its "Niggas Ain't Shit". In 2001, Dipset's mixtape Diplomats Volume 1 offered a synthesis, "Bitches Ain't Shit (Remix)". In 2010, Boosie's mixtape Gone Til' December offered a "Niggas Ain't Shit". In 2011, YG's mixtape Just Re Up'd offered a "Bitches Ain't Shit", featuring Tyga and Nipsey Hussle, that samples the original and reached #90 on the main popular songs chart, the Billboard Hot 100. By 2020, over 40 songs had sampled the original, as listed at "Samples of Bitches Ain't Shit by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg feat. Daz Dillinger, Kurupt and Jewell", WhoSampled.com, originally visited 16 Jan 2020, revisited 25 May 2020 [sampling count at 45 songs].
- Bend Folds, A Dream About Lightning Bugs: A Life of Music and Cheap Lessons (New York: Ballantine Books, 2019), pp 272–274. Google Books tends to conceal p 273, which explains, "the part that I chose to excerpt skewed sad", "like a sad Johnny Cash song with a lot more vulgarity. Slowing these words down from their gangsta-rap presentation and adding a melody creates an absurd effect, both sad and funny. Sung this way, the misogyny in the original lyrics, no matter how wrong, COULD be explained by how badly the narrator was hurt". "It was a joke only to the extent that the comedy I loved from the seventies was a joke: It was based on something real".
- Nigel Williamson, The Rough Guide to the Best Music You've Never Heard (New York & London: Rough Guides Ltd., 2008), p 43.
- "Chart history: Ben Folds—Hot 100", Billboard.com, Prometheus Global Media, LLC, visited 20 Jun 2020. The single's B side, "Bitches Ain't Shit", spent one week on the Hot 100, where it held #71 for the week ending on April 2, 2005. The single's A side, "Landed", in two weeks on it, peaked at #77 on February 26, 2005. Although defaulting to the Hot 100, this webpage has a drop menu that, categorizing the Hot 100 as a "popular" songs chart, can switch to a "pop" songs chart, rather, the Adult Top 40, where "Landed" peaked at #40 on August 13, 2005, and where "Brick", a single by his earlier band, Ben Folds Five, peaked at #11 on March 21, 1998 ["—Adult Top 40"]. Meanwhile, on another "pop" songs chart, the Mainstream Top 40, "Brick" reached #17 on March 28, 1998 ["—Mainstream Top 40"]. Yet on Billboard's other "popular" songs chart, Triple A Songs, where "Brick" had placed #9 on February 14, 1998, the Ben Folds song "You Don't Know Me", featuring Regina Spektor, peaked at #28 on November 15, 2008, and "Phone in a Pool" peaked, also at #28, on September 9, 2015 ["—Triple A Songs"]. As of June 2020, the other Ben Folds appearances on Billboard charts are for albums, like the "popular" albums chart Billboard 200.
- Maddie Crum, "How NOT to perform a cover song", Huff Post, 18 Nov 2015.
- Jason Killingsworth, interviewer, "Catching up with... Ben Folds", PasteMagazine.com, Paste Media Group, 7 Jul 2008, partially quoted by, as a backup source here, Brandon Stosuy, "Ben Folds reveals album details, unretires 'Bitches Ain't Shit' ", Stereogum.com, Stereogum Media, LLC, 8 Jul 2008.
- Amy Cook, Building Character: The Art and Science of Casting (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2018), pp 93–94.
- Bend Folds, A Dream About Lightning Bugs: A Life of Music and Cheap Lessons (New York: Ballantine Books, 2019), mentions "Bitches Ain't Shit" on pp 272–274 & 276, but Google Books conceals pp 273 & 276. Viewable on Amazon's Look inside feature, they say, in part, that the song "was expanding my audiences much like 'Brick' had done for Ben Folds Five in the decade before. I can't say I was completely thrilled with this new demographic", "more drunken college boys", and "YouTube was full of CHILDREN lip-syncing along with the vulgar song—something I wasn't expecting"—which "never got easier for me to sing. It always felt so very wrong, but, then, that was also part of what made it interesting", while "this crude and melancholy tune was undoubtedly my hit" [p 273]. "These days, I've stopped playing 'Bitches Ain't Shit' and I ignore requests for it. Music should work to ease social tensions, not throw gasoline on the fire, even inadvertently. I don't want non-white people in my audience subjected to large numbers of white people gleefully singing a racial slur that had never been the point. We had our Dre moment. Moving on" [p 276]. (On the effect whereby music streaming, especially YouTube, extends the reach of songs to broader and younger audiences, see David Arditi, Itake-Over: The Recording Industry in the Streaming Era, London: Lexington Books, 2020, p xix.)
- Ben Folds, "Those who have read my memoir. . .", @BenFolds with "verified badge", Facebook.com, 24 Jun 2020, 5:26 PM EST.
- David Diallo, ch 10 "From electro-rap to G-funk: A social history of rap music in Los Angeles and Compton, California", in Mickey Hess, ed., Hip Hop in America: A Regional Guide, Volume 1: East Coast and West Coast (Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood Press, 2010), pp 228–231 on Ice-T, particularly p 231, and pp 234–238 on N.W.A, amid backstory on their precursor, contemporary, and evolving rap scene in the Los Angeles area. In more focus on the scene's transition from electro rap to gangsta rap, whereby N.W.A's landmark album, Straight Outta Compton, in 1988, granted West Coast rap its first unique identity, see Loren Kajikawa, "Compton via New York", Sounding Race in Rap Songs, (Oakland: University of California Press, 2015), pp 91–93. For more on the album, see Steve Huey, "N.W.A: Straight Outta Compton", AllMusic.com, Netaktion LLC, visited 14 Jun 2020.
- Todd Boyd, Am I Black Enough for You?: Popular Culture from the 'Hood and Beyond (Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1997), p 75.
- Ben Westhoff, "Backstabbing, Moogs and the funky worm: How gangsta rap was born", TheGuardian.com, Guardian News & Media Limited, 13 Sep 2016.
- Will Lavin, "Dr. Dre says he didn't want to appear on his classic '2001' album at all", NME, BandLab Technologies, 17 Nov 2019.
- For Daz's recollection, see Vlad Lyubovny, interviewer, "Daz Dillinger details working on 'The Chronic' w/ Dr. Dre at 15", VladTV–DJVlad @ YouTube "Verified" channel, 20 Aug 2015. For more on that, see Trent Clark, interviewer, "Daz Dillinger says Dr. Dre took his ideas to create 'The Chronic' ", HipHopDX @ YouTube "Verified" channel, 23 Apr 2018. On Warren's contribution, see Ebro Darden & Laura Stylez, interviewers, "Warren G talks growing up as Dr. Dre's brother, Snoop's early rap battles and his new album", Hot 97 @ YouTube "Verified" channel, 10 Aug 2015, 22:30 mark. Jeff Weiss adds, "As much as 'The Chronic' is a psychedelic and sinister warp of the Parliament and Funkadelic records that constantly rotated on Dre's childhood turntable, it is the sound of Long Beach, too: the ecumenical hymns of the Baptist church turned into filthy harmonic gospel by Snoop, Nate Dogg, Warren G and Daz" [J Weiss, "25 years later, Dr. Dre's 'The Chronic' remains rap's world-building masterpiece", Chicago Tribune & The Washington Post, 15 Dec 2017]. Snoop said that Daz and Warren made some beats on Doggystyle, but that production, truly Dre's, was a far greater task [Rob Markman, "Did Dr. Dre produce Snoop's Doggystyle?", MTV News, 26 Nov 2013]. For fuller discussion, mainly defenses of Dre, while Dre seemingly concedes some crediting neglect at Death Row Records, but asserts diligently avoiding such at his subsequent label, Aftermath Entertainment, see Jake Brown, Dr. Dre in the Studio (Phoenix, AZ: Colossus Books, 2006), pp 54–57.
- Although many contend that Cold 187um, based in Pomona, California, producer for the Ruthless Records rap group Above the Law, beat Dre to the G-funk sound, it anyhow was Dre's guidance whereby it became, far more, "a fully formed universe" [Jeff Weiss, "25 years later, Dr. Dre's 'The Chronic' remains rap's world-building masterpiece", Chicago Tribune & The Washington Post, 15 Dec 2017].
- Gerrick D. Kennedy, Parental Discretion Is Advised: The Rise of N.W.A and the Dawn of Gangsta Rap (New York: Atria Books, 2017): pp 204 & 211 on Death Row's atmosphere; p 201 on The D.O.C.'s view of it; p 206 on Chronic promotion, music videos on MTV, Dre–Snoop superstardom/trendsetting; pp 211–213 on Doggystyle's recording/content and on Snoop's murder case.
- Recording Academy, "Artist: Dr. Dre", Grammy.com, 13 Apr 2020.
- Havelock Nelson, "Album reviews: The Chronic", Rolling Stone, 18 Mar 1993.
- "Dr. Dre speaks at Snoop Dogg's Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony 11.19.18", The Hollywood Fix @ YouTube "Verified" channel, 19 Nov 2018.
- In Calabasas, on the hills west of the San Fernando Valley, Dre had bought, in perhaps 1989, "a lavish troubadour-style home", and put a recording studio in an upstairs bedroom [Gerrick D. Kennedy, Parental Discretion Is Advised: The Rise of N.W.A and the Dawn of Gangsta Rap (New York: Atria Books, 2017), pp 123 & 132].
- Nelson George, "Rhythm & blues", Billboard, 1986 Mar 29;98(13):27.
- Jeff Weiss, "25 years later, Dr. Dre's 'The Chronic' remains rap's world-building masterpiece", Chicago Tribune & The Washington Post, 15 Dec 2017.
- Felicia Angeja Viator, To Live and Defy in LA: How Gangsta Rap Changed America (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2020), p 235 on the 1992 Los Angeles riots' shaping The Chronic, and p 254 on The Chronic's reshaping rap culture.
- Although only somewhat longer than a traditional album's silences between tracks, it is long on The Chronic, which elsewhere tends to omit silence between tracks.
- "Direct sample of multiple elements": Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg feat. Daz Dillinger, Kurupt & Jewell, "Bitches Ain't Shit", The Chronic (Death Row, 1992) / Trouble Funk, "Let's Get Small" (D.E.T.T., 1982), WhoSampled.com, visited 11 Mar 2020. "Let's Get Small", itself, is discussed by John Leland, "Singles", Spin, 1985 Sep;1(5):33, and by Kip Lornell & Charles C. Stephenson, Jr., The Beat!: Go-Go Music from Washington, D.C., revised edn. (Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2009).
- In a conventional drum kit, the kick drums, also called bass drums, are each struck by a "beater"—propelled by a lever attached to a pedal pressed by the player's foot—producing bassy thumps, while snare drums, each tapped by a handheld drumstick, participate at higher pitch.
- George Clinton & Ben Greenman, Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain't That Funkin' Kinda Hard On You?: A Memoir (New York: Atria Books, 2014), p 375.
- "Interpolation (replayed sample) of bass": Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg feat. Daz Dillinger, Kurupt & Jewell, "Bitches Ain't Shit", The Chronic (Death Row, 1992) / Funkadelic, "Adolescent Funk", Hardcore Jollies (Warner Bros., 1976), WhoSampled.com, visited 11 Mar 2020.
- A chord is multiple notes played at once, such as three piano keys pressed at once. Even if consciously noticing the chord, a casual listener might call it simply "a note" or "a key press". But if literally a single note, it could sound unnaturally empty. The "Bitches Ain't Shit" chords, if synthesized, mimic piano chords. But their origin and nature, perhaps two chords, each struck twice per bar, then alternating, remain unclear as to this Wikipedia article [this footnote last revised 24 Mar 2020].
- "Direct sample": Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg feat. Daz Dillinger, Kurupt & Jewell, "Bitches Ain't Shit", The Chronic (Death Row, 1992) / MC Shan, "The Bridge", Down by Law (Cold Chillin', 1986), WhoSampled.com, visited 11 Mar 2020. "The Bridge", itself, is contextualized by John Leland, "Singles", Spin, 1988 Dec;4(9):112.
- Tony Best, interviewer, "Musician Colin Wolfe built beats with Dr. Dre for The Chronic, NWA's Niggaz4Life, and Jimmy Z's Muzical Madness", Wax Poetics, 3 Jun 2014.
- "Colin Wolfe & The Chronic", live demonstration and Q&A at University of North Carolina School of the Arts, UNC-TV, 1 May 2017, streamed live, now archived, on Moogfest @ YouTube. Wolfe demonstrates and discusses his use of Moog keyboard and bass guitar to help write The Chronic instrumentals. Comments on meeting and working with Dr. Dre start near 33:10 mark.
- Allen Hughes, director, The Defiant Ones, Part 3 (New York: HBO, 2017).
- Vlad Lyubovny, interviewer, "The D.O.C. on co-writing Dr. Dre's 'The Chronic' & paperwork not being right", VladTV–DJVlad @ YouTube "Verified" channel, 10 Jan 2016. Near 02:33 mark, D.O.C. affirms he wrote Dre's sole "Bitches Ain't Shit" verse. Near 00:24 mark, he comments, rather, on imparting to Snoop "the formula". Groping a moment for an apt word, he apparently invokes the theme of his own single "The Formula", released in 1989 by Ruthless Records before a car accident, injuring his vocal cords, ended his own rap career. On some principles he imparted, see Soren Baker, "Doing numbers with the D.O.C.", History of Gangster Rap (Abrams Image, 2018).
- Vlad Lyubovny, interviewer, "The D.O.C.: I put Suge and Dre together so we could build Death Row Records", VladTV–DJVlad @ YouTube "Verified" channel, 22 Dec 2015. Interview clip opens on money gripes sending Dre from Ruthless. Death Row's formation enters near 2:33 mark. Snoop's development enters near 12:36 mark.
- Whatever the legal terms, Dre left Ruthless while finishing N.W.A's final album in 1991, already forming Death Row through assistance now often overlooked—creative partner The D.O.C., industry insider Dick Griffey, and incarcerated financier, onetime cocaine kingpin, Michael 'Harry O' Harris—but with Dre himself and mainly Suge Knight as its core founders. For major story versions, see Ben Westhoff, "We know where your mother lives", Original Gangstas: The Untold Story (New York & London: Hachette, 2017). On Harris, see Nate Gartrell, "Death Row Records co-founder 'Harry-O' denied early release from prison, feds say", Mercury News (San Jose, CA), 28–29 Feb 2020.
- In the studio at the back of the V.I.P. record store in Long Beach, the 213 trio, longtime running mates, made a demo tape. Rebuffing Warren's requests, Dre refused to listen. But at a bachelor party for Dre's buddy, another producer, LA Dre, Warren gave the tape to LA Dre, who forwarded it to Dr. Dre, whose own listen had him summoning 213 to his home studio, where he immediately recorded Snoop. On that and more on Warren, see P.R., "Warren G", in Nathan Brackett with Christian Hoard, eds., The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004), p 859. For Warren's own telling, see Ebro Darden & Laura Stylez, interviewers, "Warren G talks growing up as Dr. Dre's brother, Snoop's early rap battles and his new album", Hot 97 @ YouTube "Verified" channel, 10 Aug 2015. On the V.I.P. record store, see Andrea Domanick, "World famous V.I.P. Records to close", LA Weekly, 5 Jan 2012.
- Soren Baker, The History of Gangster Rap (New York: Abrams Image, 2018).
- Al Shipley, "Dr. Dre's The Chronic: 10 things you didn't know", Rolling Stone, 15 Dec 2017.
- Interviewed in 1998, Snoop explained his January departure from the label. "When I first got with Death Row, it was for Dre", says Snoop. "I wanted to be down with him, help him, and that's why I wrote so many tight records with him. That's why I was there. His departure took away my heart and soul. But I stayed down, did what I had to do. And then Tupac got killed, and it was like, Damn, and then Suge went to jail, and it was like, I can't handle this by myself, 'cause I don't have control. When the company's structure broke up, I was just an artist, a player with no coach. So I had to find a team that knew how to coach me" [Cheo Hodari Coker, "The treacherous two", Vibe, 1998 Sep;6(7):151,159].
- William L. Van Deburg, American historian, likens the song to "a testosterone-fueled gang bang" [Hoodlums: Black Villains and Social Bandits in American Life, University of Chicago Press, 2004, pp 209 & 269].
- Gerrick D. Kennedy, Parental Discretion Is Advised: The Rise of N.W.A and the Dawn of Gangsta Rap (New York: Atria Books, 2017), p 204.
- Daniel Kreps, "Jerry Heller, former N.W.A manager, dead at 75", Rolling Stone, online, 3 Sep 2016.
- Arsenio Hall, interviewer, with Eazy-E, guest, and live stage performance of "Real Compton City G's", featuring Gangsta Dresta and BG Knocc Out, The Arsenio Hall Show, season 6, episode 64, 10 Dec 1993.
- Chuck Philips, "The big mack", Spin, 1994 Aug;10(5):48–53,96, p 53.
- Elka Worner, "Rapper sues Sony Music", UPI, 15 Oct 1992. Reputedly among Suge's bodyguards at the time, James McDonald, the former Mob Piru Bloods gang member known as "Mob James", describes the storied meeting, but states that it occurred with Jerry Heller, not with Eric Wright [Vlad Lyubovny, interviewer, "Mob James details Suge Knight forcing Jerry Heller to sign over Dr. Dre & Michel'le", VladTV–DJVlad @ YouTube "Verified" channel, 13 Jul 2019].
- Soren Baker, The History of Gangster Rap (New York: Abams Image, 2018), indexing "October 1992".
- Interscope agreed to pay Ruthless a "huge" cash payout and publishing royalties on Dre's Death Row earnings: 10% on production and 15% on solo performance [Gerrick Kennedy, Parental Discretion Is Advised (Atria, 2017), p 156]. By some estimates, Eazy's royalty payments were up to some $1.5 million before his 1995 death: 25 to 50 cents per copy on some three million sold [Al Shipley, "Dr. Dre's The Chronic: 10 things you didn't know", Rolling Stone, online, 15 Dec 2017].
- Soren Baker, The History of Gangster Rap (New York: Abams Image, 2018).
- Geoff Mayfield, "Is you or is you ain't an indie?", Billboard, 1994 Mar 26;106(13):86.
- Sacha Jenkins, Elliott Wilson, Gabe Alvarez, Jeff Mao & Brent Rollins, eds., Ego Trip's Book of Rap Lists (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2014), p 237.
- Joel Whitburn, Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–2002, 10th edn. (Menomonee Falls, WI: Record Research Inc., 2003), p 217.
- Hedonism means "devotion to pleasure as a way of life" [Dictionary.com, visited 26 Mar 2020].
- Near closing his own verse, Kurupt asks rhetorically and answers circularly (while Snoop queries—and echoes), "How could you trust a ho? (Why—) / 'Cause a ho's a trick (—?) / I don't love them tricks (Why—) / 'Cause a trick's a bitch (—?)".
- Charles Aaron, "Sir real", Spin, 1993 Oct;9(7):50–56, p 51.
- In California gang culture, the term loc, meaning "insane, irrational, or mentally unbalanced", particularly as to violent tendencies, is short for the Spanish term loco, meaning "crazy" [Maciej Widawski, African American Slang (Cambridge U P, 2015), p 218; S. Ivan Riley Jr & Jayne Batts, "Youth and gang violence", in Ralph Riviello, ed., Manual of Forensic Emergency Medicine (Jones and Bartlett, 2010), p 197].
- Sacha Jenkins, Elliott Wilson, Jeff "Chairman" Mao, Gabriel Alvarez & Brent Rollins, "16 memorable misogynist rap music moments", Ego Trip's Book of Rap Lists (New York: St. Martin's Griffin Press, 1999), p 40. Ten of them postdate the #2, Dr. Dre et al., "Bitches Ain't Shit" (Death Row, 1992). Of the five that instead predate it, two are by, alike Dre, a recent N.W.A member, #15, Ice Cube, "Can't Fade Me" (Priority, 1990), or by the group itself, with Dre in it, #8, N.W.A, "One Less Bitch" (Ruthless, 1991). The remaining three, predating "Bitches Ain't Shit" but not connected to N.W.A, are #3, Too Short, "The Bitch Sucks Dick" (75 Girls, 1985), #12, 2 Live Crew, "We Want Some Pussy!!" (Luke Skywalker, 1986), and #11, Kool G Rap & DJ Polo, "Talk Like Sex" (Cold Chillin', 1990).
- In 1985, Tipper Gore, wife of Democratic senator and later US Vice President Al Gore, bought Prince's album Purple Rain, which spurred her to cofound the Parents Music Resource Center, or the PMRC, which instigated laws requiring some albums to bear parental advisories. In 1990, the Recording Industry Association of America, the RIAA, standardized the Parental Advisory sticker, soon most common on rap albums, sometimes for reasons unclear. For discussion, see Jessica Elliott, "Hip hop and censorship", in Mickey Hess, ed., Icons of Hip Hop: An Encyclopedia of the Movement, Music, and Culture, Volume 2 (Westport, CT & London: Greenwood Press, 2007), pp 398–399.
- Richard Harrington, "Critics hit Newsweek's bum 'rap' ", The Washington Post, 28 Mar 1990. Harrington explains that the Newsweek article, more like a mere opinion piece, so broadly stereotyped rap that it triggered a unified rebuttal by some three dozen music critics, including Harrington. (For a short take, see Times Wire Services, "Critics rap Newsweek on rap", Los Angeles Times, 29 Mar 1990.)
- Jessica Elliott, "Hip hop and censorship", in Mickey Hess, ed., Icons of Hip Hop: An Encyclopedia of the Movement, Music, and Culture, Volume 2 (Westport, CT & London: Greenwood Press, 2007), pp 398–399.
- Jeff Weiss, journalist, writes that Dre, then age 27, "was nearly destitute". Besides his Calabasas house, bought with money from N.W.A's 1988 or debut album, the "former N.W.A. sound architect was flat broke and fighting legal turmoil on multiple fronts. In the year leading up to The Chronic, disturbing headlines overshadowed his music: a punch by Dre shattered another producer's jaw; MTV News reported on a shooting that left four bullets in his leg; he totaled his car; and his house burned down. In May 1992, Dre left a music industry convention in New Orleans in handcuffs after allegedly participating in a brawl that left a 15-year-old stabbed and four police officers wounded. None of this even accounts for his attack on rapper and Pump it Up! host Dee Barnes—a brutal assault that indelibly stains his legacy" [J Weiss, "25 years later, Dr. Dre's 'The Chronic' remains rap's world-building masterpiece", Chicago Tribune & The Washington Post, 15 Dec 2017]. The July 1992 shooting was in South Central at a party, where, Dre claimed, he was among a group calling someone's girlfriend ugly, whereas the assaulted producer was Damon Thomas, soon prompting Eazy-E to comment, "He had the Dee Barnes thing, breaking that kid's jaw, driving his car off the cliff, getting shot, New Orleans. None of that ever happened when he was down with us" [Gerrick Kennedy, Parental Discretion Is Advised (Atria, 2017), p 201].
- Julia Chapman, "The race card", Spin, 1996 Jan;11(10):65.
- Nelson George, Hip Hop America (New York: Penguin Books, 1999), p 140.
- Gerrick D. Kennedy, Parental Discretion Is Advised: The Rise of N.W.A and the Dawn of Gangsta Rap (New York: Atria Books, 2017), p 204, quotes a line from the song's hook as going, "Mister Officer, Mister Officer, I wanna see you lying in a coffin, sir".
- During a routine traffic stop on April 11, 1992, the trooper was shot by Ronald Ray Howard, age 19, reportedly listening to "Soulja's Story", a track on 2Pac's November 1991 album 2Pacalyse Now. With Howard's attorneys expected to claim this as an influence and mitigating factor at his sentencing, the widow, Linda Sue Davidson, filed in October 1992 a product-liability lawsuit alleging gross negligence via music that incites "imminent lawless action". Interviewed, she said, "Ron Howard may have pulled the trigger, but I think Tupac, Interscope, and Time Warner share in the guilt for Bill's death and they ought to take responsibility for their actions" [Chuck Philips, "Testing the Limits", L.A. Times, 13 Oct 1992].
- In this duet, whereas Snoop raps the role of an undercover detective's killer, Dre actually raps the role of that undercover detective, in line with the theme of the 1991 film Deep Cover, whose director wanted such for the soundtrack [Soren Baker, The History of Gangster Rap, NY: Abams Image, 2018, "Deep Cover" indexing].
- In June 1992, a presidential election year, US vice president Dan Quayle called the song "obscene", whereupon US president George H. W. Bush, the elder President Bush, characterized such lyrics as "sick", and then the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, or CLEAT, called for a boycott of all Time Warner products. Time Warner's CEO, Gerald M. Levin, publicly defended the song's release. But in July, at a shareholders meeting, eminent Hollywood actor Charlton Heston read "Cop Killer" lyrics and condemned company officials. By August, the Body Count album went gold—over 500 000 copies sold—but over 1 000 stores pulled it from their shelves. For the timeline and context, see Soren Baker, The History of Gangster Rap (New York: Abams Image, 2018). For more specifics on the "Cop Killer" song and more appraisal of the public opposition to it, see Barry Shank, "From Rice to ice: The face of race in rock and pop", in Simon Frith, Will Straw & John Street, eds., The Cambridge Companion to Pop and Rock (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001), pp 268–269.
- Not to be conflated, Warner Brothers Records, owned by Warner Music Group, hence by Time Warner, is an intermediary record company—what often grants a small record company's releases their distribution—whereas Warner Music Group, or simply Warner Music, part of Time Warner, is a major record company, controlling distribution.
- In 1987, Ice-T had become the first rapper signed to Sire, whose artist roster included Madonna [B. Westhoff, Original Gangstas, New York & London: Hachette, 2017]. Following the "Cop Killer" controversy, indie giant Priority Records, issuing much of gangsta rap, released the new Ice-T rap album, Home Invasion, later in 1993 [M. Forman, The 'Hood Comes First, Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2002, p 296, archived elsewhere].
- On Saturday, June 12, 1993, in Port St. Lucie, Florida, the brutalized and mutilated body of Mollie Mae Frazier, age 81, was found in a field near her home. Victor Brancaccio, 16, once an altar boy, but otherwise troubled, had been listening on his walkman to The Chronic track "Stranded on Death Row" when the elderly woman, a passerby, unwittingly provoking his attack on her, had criticized him for rapping the coarse lyrics aloud. For details, see Karen Testa, Associated Press, "Man convicted of widow's slaying gets new trial, fashionable defense", Los Angeles Times, 11 Oct 1998, and Erin MacPherson, "Family members plea to judge for grandmother's killer to stay behind bars", CBS 12 News website, 17 Jan 2018. On the American climate of controversies over song lyrics in the early 1990s, see Murray Forman, The 'Hood Comes First (Wesleyan U P, 2002), p 295.
- Earlier, in 1990, the 2 Live Crew controversy was mainly over lyrical obscenity. And although other rap acts with lyrical misogyny predating 1993, like N.W.A and the Geto Boys, became targets for it in 1993—year of The Chronic and Snoop Dogg—it was here that misogynous lyrics overtook murderous lyrics in the cries against gangsta rap. For a broad view, see Carlos D. Morrison & Celnisha L. Dangerfield, "Tupac Shakur", p 398, and Jessica Elliott, "Hip hop and censorship", p 399, in Mickey Hess, ed., Icons of Hip Hop: An Encyclopedia of the Movement, Music, and Culture, Volume 2 (Westport, CT & London: Greenwood Press, 2007).
- Michel Marriott, "Harlem pastor to campaign against rap lyrics", The New York Times, 8 May 1993, § 1, p 24.
- Clarence Taylor, Fight the Power: African Americans and the Long History of Police Brutality in New York City (New York: New York University Press, 2019), p 11.
- Clifford J. Levy, "Harlem protest of rap lyrics draws debate and steamroller", The New York Times, 6 Jun 1993, § 1, p 39.
- A counterprotester, Gary Jenkins, 31, a lawyer, shouted, "You're steamrolling our dreams, you're steamrolling our aspirations, you're steamrolling who we are. But we're here to say that we will not stand for it. We know what is right. We know what is wrong. Music is not the killer, it is not the ill. The ill is the streets". Willie Stiggers, 15, an aspiring rapper, before climbing onto the steamroller, shouted, "No justice! No peace!" Noel Rosa, also 15, of the rap nickname Kiddynamite, verbally squared off with Janice Robinson, 38, a Butts supporter then working for a record company. Janice told him, "You did not listen, my brother! The Reverend said he was not attacking rap or rappers. He was attacking negative rap!" Noel persisted, "I understand that! But he should be attacking the white power structure, who own the record companies, who own the cable stations." Janice affirmed, "He did. He said it was mainly their fault because they were the ones with the money." Noel retorted, "But what is he doing now? Actions speak louder than words! He's attacking us black rappers now!" Janice posed, "Do you consider yourself a negative rapper?" Noel demanded, "What is negative? You tell me what negative is!" According to Janice, "Negative is when my 14-year-old daughter comes home with a tape that says, 'Gangster bitch!' That's negative!" [CL Levy, "Harlem protest", NYT, 6 Jun 1993, § 1, p 39].
- Press release, "Sony Corporation of America announces sale of 550 Madison Avenue building", Sony Corporation of America, 18 Jan 2013.
- Joel Anderson, "The reverend vs. rap", Slate, 20 Nov 2019.
- Carter Harris, "Eazy living", Vibe, 1995 Jun–Jul;3(5):59–62, collected in Raquel Cepeda, ed., And It Don't Stop: The Best American Hip-Hop Journalism of the Last 25 Years (New York: Faber and Faber, Inc., 2004).
- The commercials against Time Warner—aired on the West Coast in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and on the East Coast in New York City and Washington DC—urged parents to "make them feel the heat".
- During 1995, Tucker and Bennett, codirector of conservative advocacy group Empower America, recently director of US antidrug policy, and once the US secretary of education, appeared in a television commercial against music that allegedly "celebrates the rape, torture, and murder of women". In May, Dole joined the battle against "violent and sexually degrading music". They all targeted Time Warner apparently since its major music company Warner Music Group, as the only publicly traded American music company, was singularly vulnerable to public pressure. But, as foreign companies, like Germany's Bertelsmann Music Group, or BMG—the major label parenting, for instance, Arista Records, offering distribution to Bad Boy Entertainment—were delivering even more gangsta rap, Time Warner alleged itself targeted by political opportunists. Still, while gaining only some 2.5% of its own income from Interscope, Time Warner was in some 40% of households via cable television, and needed congressional approvals to expand in cable. [On the Tucker and Bennett teamwork against Time Warner, see Ken Auletta, "Fighting words", The New Yorker, 12 Jun 1995, p 35. On that and Time Warner's counteraccusation, see Richard S. Dunham & Michael Oneal, "Gunning for the gangstas", Business Week, 1995 Jun 19;3249:41. Toward the BMG tangent, see Christina Saraceno, "Bad Boy and Arista part ways", Rolling Stone, 21 Jun 2002. On Dole joining, and the pressure on Time Warner amid an important congressional bill on cable reform, see Julia Chaplin,"Dogg Fight", Spin, 1995 Oct;11(7):46. On Time Warner's profits and ownerships, which, besides the major label Warner Music Group, included some intermediary labels, too—Atlantic, Elektra, Reprise, and Warner Brothers—and on Warner Music Group dropping Interscope to likely nil consequence for either Time Warner, Interscope, Death Row, or music lyrics, see Julia Chapman, "The race card", Spin, 1996 Jan;11(10):65.]
- Robert Hilburn & Chuck Philips, "They sure figured something out", Los Angeles Times, 24 Oct 1993.
- Warner already out, and Sony abstaining, BMG, EMI, MCA, and PolyGram vied for Interscope [Chuck Philips, "Company town: 4 music companies wooing Interscope", Los Angeles Times, 1 Dec 1995].
- James Bates & Claudia Eller, "Seagram signs deal to buy 80% of MCA", Los Angeles Times, 10 Apr 1995.
- Death Row actually counterattacked, in August 1995 suing Tucker [Cynthia Littleton, "Time Warner, rap foe sued by Death Row", UPI, 18 Aug 1995], and in March 1996 publicizing alleged dirt that its hired private investigators, Palladino & Sutherland, found on her [Chuck Philips, "Anti-rap crusader under fire", Los Angeles Times, 20 Mar 1996]. But soon, Death Row imploded, by troubles in house, signaled and spurred by Dre's departure, to form Aftermath Entertainment, in March 1996, by Tupac Shakur's shooting death, amid Death Row posturing, in September 1996, by CEO Suge Knight's imprisonment, for parole violation, in March 1997, and basically completed by Snoop's departure, going to Master P's No Limit Records, in January 1998 [Neil Strauss, "Rap empire unraveling as stars flee", The New York Times, 1998 Jan 26, § D, p 1]. Cf., Thomas Harrison, Music of the 1990s (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2011), p 51. Harris notes that Tha Dogg Pound saw its October 1995 or debut album, Dogg Food, "delayed, as sharesholders of their parent record company, Interscope/Time Warner, had decided that they would protest the lyrical content of the album". Harris claims that, "coupled with the shareholder's protest, Suge Knight's incarceration, Snoop Dogg's exit, and Tupac Shakur's death ended the label's hold on the hip-hop scene". As Harris concedes, "the album did enjoy high sales". But in Harris's estimation, "this was the last high-selling album released on Death Row in the 1990s". On the contrary, released months later, in February 1996, 2Pac's All Eyez on Me was a juggernaut. Merely, by February 1998, Tha Dogg Pound's Daz was the last high-selling artist still with Death Row [Strauss, NYT, 1998]. And in 1995, Interscope, not having shareholders, had sided against Time Warner, a quagmire resolved by the split, as no other major label had American shareholding [J Chapman, "The race card", Spin, 1996 Jan;11(10):65]. And even without Interscope and its next major label, MCA/Universal, the independent giant Priority Records, unfettered in distributing gangsta rap, like N.W.A and the Geto Boys, was on standby to pick up Death Row's distribution [Strauss, NYT, 1998 & Randall Sullivan, Labyrinth: The True Story (Grove Press, 2007)].
- By the July 1998 release of Nate Dogg's repeatedly delayed solo album, the curtain was already closing on the G-funk era [Thomas Erlewine, "Nate Dogg: G Funk Classics, Vols. 1 & 2", AllMusic.com, Netaktion LLC, visited 24 Apr 2020]. Even longer overdue, the eventual studio album from the Long Beach trio 213—formed of Warren G, Snoop Dogg, and Nate Dogg in 1990—was a 2004 release, The Hard Way, competent G-funk for the nostalgic. "Time waits for no man", an album review closes [Rondell Conway, "213: The Hard Way", Vibe, 2004 Sep;12(9):236].
- S. Craig Watkins, Hip Hop Matters: Politics, Pop Culture, and the Struggle for the Soul of a Movement (Boston: Beacon Press, 2005), p 48, or elsewhere.
- Cheryl L. Keyes, Rap Music and Street Consciousness (Urbana & Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2002), p 96.
- Marcus Reeves, Somebody Scream!: Rap Music's Rise to Prominence in the Aftershock of Black Power (New York: Faber and Faber, Inc., 2008), p 148.
- Ellen G. Friedman & Jennifer D. Marshall, eds. Issues of Gender (New York: Pearson Longman, 2004), p 95.
- A professor of English and of theater arts, this Amy Cook, now at Stony Brook University, in New York, is not the American musician Amy Cook. Professor Cook's present appointments are unclear online, as various webpages seem outdated or incomplete and thus, taken together, contradictory. Still, she has an English faculty webpage and a profile with the College of Arts & Sciences, where she has been "Associate Dean for Research and Innovation", and which adds, "Cook specializes in the intersection of cognitive science and theatre with particular attention to Shakespeare and contemporary performance" [webpages visited 15 Mar 2020].
- Amy Cook, Building Character: The Art and Science of Casting (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2018), p 94.
- Ira A. Robbins, The Trouser Press Guide to '90s Rock, 5th edn. (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997), p 217.
- Note that on "Bitches Ain't Shit" and, the following year, also on "Ain't No Fun"—Snoop's other reputedly misogynist anthem [Jenkins et al., Ego Trip's Book of Rap Lists, NY: St. Martin's Griffin, 1999, p 40]—whereas Kurupt scorns any love ever for a "bitch", and so does Nate Dogg on the latter song, Snoop uniquely concedes having loved a "bitch", if both times incurring his present regret. In "Ain't No Fun", Snoop raps, "Hoes recognize; niggas do too / 'Cause when bitches get scandalous and pull a voodoo / What you gon' do; you really don't know / So I'd advise you not to trust that ho / Silly of me to fall in love with a bitch / Knowing damn well I'm too caught up with my grip" ["Snoop Dogg—'Ain't No Fun' lyrics", MetroLyrics.com, CBS Interactive Inc., 2020].
- For a discussion of consolidation in the music industry, see Tom Hutchison, Amy Macy & Paul Allen, Record Label Marketing (Burlington, MA: Focal Press, 2006), pp 280–281.
- Frank Hoffmann, Rhythm and Blues, Rap, and Hip-hop (New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2006), p 166, remarks on Lil' Kim's debut or 1996 album, "The record, which entered the pop charts at number 11 due in large part to its effervescent dance arrangements, represented something of a challenge to the misogynistic posturing of male gangsta rappers". Yet apparently, this is because her debut album itself was gangsta rap.
- The Lil' Kim song's closing four lines go, "Niggas ain't shit, but they still can trick / All they can do for me is suck my clit / I'm jumping the fuck up after I cum / Thinking they gon' get some pussy, but they gets none" ["Lil' Kim—'Suck My Dick' lyrics", MetroLyrics, CBS Interactive Inc., 2020]. Also of four lines, the hook of Dr. Dre's song goes, "Bitches ain't shit but hos and tricks / Lick on these nuts and suck the dick / Gets the fuck gone after you're done / Then I hops in my coupe to make a quick run".
- Abigail Addis, "Trina 'Da Baddest Bitch' ", Vibe, 2000 May;8(4):173.
- Peter Shapiro, The Rough Guide to Hip-Hop, 2nd edn. (London: Rough Guides, 2005). Trina's song opens, "Niggas ain't shit but hoes and tricks / Lick the pearl tongue; nigga, keep your dick / Get the fuck out after I cum / So I can hop in my coupe and make a quick run" ["Trina—'Niggas Ain't Shit' lyrics", MetroLyrics, CBS Interactive Inc., 2020].
- Stephane Dunn, "Baad Bitches" and Sassy Supermamas: Black Power Action Films (Urbana & Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2008), p 27.
- Debbie Clare Olson, "Films, exploitation", in Melissa Hope Ditmore, ed., Encyclopedia of Prostitution and Sex Work, Volume 1 (Greenwood Press, 2006), pp 165–166: "Exploitation films are films that exaggerate sex, violence, drug use, and other perceived social evils. . . . One of the sociological effects of exploitation films is their ability to create and then naturalize certain stereotypes, particularly for those marginalized groups. . . . Most exploitation films are set in areas, such as the deep South or the inner city, that are as exaggerated as the characters. . . . Foxy Brown was the basis for Quentin Tarantino's 1997 Jackie Brown, a modern tribute to the blaxploitation films. . . . . The production of blaxploitation films only lasted roughly five years, but the genre helped establish stereotypes of black prostitutes and pimps that are still prevalent in popular media". Cf., Sari Rosenberg, "April 5, 1974: 'Foxy Brown' starring Pam Grier was released", Lifetime website, A&E Television Networks, 5 Apr 2018. Rosenberg alleges, more specifically feminist, that the "gratuitous violence and nudity" were "ever-lingering misogynistic barriers", but credits "the fact that 'Foxy Brown' introduced blaxploitation film audiences to strong, sexy, and outspoken women for the first time".
- In Foxy Brown, a 1974 movie heavy in sexuality and violence, its protagonist, a supersexy vigilante, hunts down a murderous drug ring by posing as a prostitute. In the 1994 music video for his Doggystyle song "Doggy Dogg World", she reappears, along with her blaxploitation, male contemporary from Dolemite—the pimp and nightclub owner of a protagonist, vintage 1975, that Snoop likens himself to on The Chronic's main hit single—in a cinematic skit featuring the original lead actors, Pam Grier and Rudy Ray Moore. (On the biggest Chronic single, "Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang", Snoop raps, "Showing much flex when it's time to wreck a mic / Pimping hos and clocking a grip like my name was Dolemite".) For details on the skit, see Cheryl L. Keyes, Rap Music and Street Consciousness (Urbana & Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2002), p 217. For brief discussion of the song, see Eithne Quinn, Nuthin' But a "G" Thang: The Culture and Commerce of Gangsta Rap (New York: Columbia University Press, 2005), p 146.
- "T.I., Juicy J & Outkast's Big Boi share their fondest memory of Dr. Dre's 'The Chronic' for 25th anniversary", Billboard.com, Prometheus Global Media, LLC, 14 Dec 2017.
- And in 2006, an obscure group, the Leisure Kings, turned the same lyrics that Folds excerpted, Dre's and Snoop's, into a "Bitches Aint' Shit" cover that itself, musically, parodies a lounge act ["Cover version: The Leisure Kings, 'Bitches Ain't Shit', Total Loungification (Retropolis, 2006) / Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg et al., 'Bitches Ain't Shit', The Chronic (Death Row, 1992), WhoSampled.com Limited, visited 25 May 2020].
- Adam Bradley, The Poetry of Pop (New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2017), p 268.
- Hayley Madden, contributor, Getty Images editorial #85019781, Ben Folds w/ Lindsay Jamieson & Jared Reynolds, and #85019918, Folds w/ Jamieson, live performance, Hammersmith Apollo, UK, 13 Dec 2005.
- Justin A. Williams, " 'Cars with the boom': Music, automobility, and hip-hop 'sub' cultures", in Sumanth Gopinath & Jason Stanyek, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Mobile Music Studies, Volume 2 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014), p 139.
- Nielsen Soundscan, "The Billboard 200: Nov 11 2006", Billboard, 2006 Nov 11;118(45):85.