Do Women Really Want Men to ‘Beat It Up?’

by Britni Danielle

I’m not really sure when it happened. When having sex and making love morphed into men bragging about their ability to “beat it up,” but I know one thing, it has got to stop.

Recently, one of my friends sent me a link to the blog post, “The Opposite of Sexy,” and he asked me what I thought about it.  When I began reading I found myself nodding my head in complete agreement.

The essay, written by frequent Clutch contributor Jamilah Lemieux, took a look at the ways in men (especially rappers) talk about sex. And how a lot of the time, it sounds more like abuse than lovemaking.

Lemieux writes:

“Hip-Hop is, as usual, one of the most guilty spaces. The titillating sexy suggestions of LL Cool J and the naturally seductive voice of Rakim have given way to a bunch of goons that promise to bust your pussy open and beat the stuffing out of it, after they see ‘what that mouth do’. While rough sex is certainly a fan favorite for many folks, there is still much to be desired when so much of our music centers around sex acts that almost sound hateful or abusive.”

As a hip-hop fan I have found myself cringing on many occasions when a rapper discusses his sexual prowess in ways that sound like he’s aiming to do harm to a woman, rather than pleasure her. While I don’t knock people who enjoy rough sex (hey, get your kink on!), I don’t want to feel like a man is trying to beat anything, especially my body, into submission.

I know some will write this type of talk off as just another example of the misogyny within hip-hop and say, “Well, I don’t listen to it, so I’m cool,” but we cannot pretend like what happens on wax isn’t trickling down to real life.

I’ve met plenty of men who have uttered such things—bragging that they could “beat it up” if I wanted—and they weren’t rappers. They were regular men who felt like “beating it up” was a come-on.

I briefly relayed my thoughts to the friend who sent me the link, and while he saw where I was coming from, he also questioned if it was a bit one sided. He wondered, if in my zealousness to amen Lemieux’s assertion, I let women off the hook for being complicit in such a vulgar exchange.

Our conversation reminded of the bit in Chris Rock’s show “Never Scared” in which he commented on his inability to defend rap music even though he still loved to listen. Rock discusses many of the questionable, anti-woman lyrics, and discussed his uneasiness with the songs (and his love for them). He then goes on to comment on women and rap music, adeptly summing up the ways in which many of us give rappers a pass for their questionable lyrics. He says, “Women that like rap, don’t give a fuck. If the beat’s alright, she will dance all night.”

I admit, I’m guilty. Even though I would describe myself as a feminist, I also love some of hip-hop’s most misogynistic songs. I’m often reminded of this whenever I hear Dr. Dre’s classic, “It Ain’t No Fun,” in which Nate Dogg sings of sharing a woman—excuse me, a “bitch”—with his homies.

I ask myself, how can I on one hand demand more from the music and brothas in real life if I’m effectively co-signing this school of thought by listening (and dancing) to the music?

Ladies, when we complain about the misogyny in music and say we want men to do better does this also mean we also have to begin to do better by not supporting artists who constantly talk of “beating it up” and treating our bodies like objects to be discarded after use?


What do you think, are women co-conspirators in the “beat it up” line of thinking that’s so prevalent today? Or should men just stop saying such things?

Let’s talk about it!


  • ALIG83

    No, I don’t want to have a man ‘beat it up’ or ‘smash’ as they like to call it. It sounds derogatory to me and I would be extremely turned off if a man spoke to me in that manner.

    Black culture seems to be a culture where one is thought of as ‘corny’ or ‘whack’ for not liking the happenings of Black culture. I think too many Black women are accepting of misogyny because they would rather have a man than to not have one. That’s just what I think.

  • cta122

    Here’s one .. “Girl, I’ll blow your back out”.

    The first time I heard that in a song, my first thought was “why in the h*ll would anyone want you to do that?!” … and things just got dumber and more crass from there. It’s not cute or sexy, and NO I don’t listen to rap music of today or even a lot of R&B from these young “boys” who slip into their lyrics too.

    I could add so much more to this post, but I’m going to take a deep breath and save my rant.

  • au napptural

    I’ve had these thoughts myself. I do love some questionable songs. But sometimes it’s a question of practicality. If the few concious people stopped going to the club, we’d just not be going to the club. It would take a huge overhaul of the industry, prompted by the consumers to make any difference. And white people by the most rap and hip-hop. Sooo…

  • Dawn

    Yes, men should stop saying these things, but women should speak up too. It’s become so normal (you really do hear it in hundreds of songs), I guess many women feel like it’s common place, and don’t even question the negative effects of violent language – beating it up, ripping, busting, banging, drilling, etc. – in reference to what some guy wants to do “to them” versus “with them.”

    I may love some of hip hop’s most misogynistic songs’ beats, but I refuse to listen to them any more. I made the choice about five years ago to not purchase any song that uses derogatory language and to speak up around those who listen to it.

    Men are actually really good about voicing their opinions’ about women’s lyrics. How often have any of you heard some guy talk about Beyonce and how we can’t stand her man-hating lyrics? I heard this from a few guys, and I always tell them that Beyonce isn’t a man hater; almost every popular rapper out right now is a woman-hater (at least that’s what the lyrics show). Remember TLC’s Scrubs? Didn’t guys come back out, right away, with the song, Pigeons? Where are our rebuttal songs?

    We need to get way more aggressive about voicing that we’re sick and tired of misogyny in hip-hop, and that we’re going to be loud and direct about it.

  • LNicole

    I no longer consider myself a fan of hip-hop. With that being said I love the hook Tre Songs sings on Gucci’s song “it’s four in the morning, she calling my phone, she wanna be grown…cause I can beat it up”. There is something so catchy and honestly sexy about that hook to me. Now, I am married and have been with my partner for nearly 18 years and there are times when I want to just get my swerve on and not “make love”. There is a time and place for everything and when he “beats it up” we are both very satisfied with the experience. As far as rap goes, my problem isn’t always the misogynistic lyrics, it’s the fact that most of them aren’t talking about anything relevant in my opinion. I adored NWA, etc. back in the day and they used bitch and hoe like it was going out of style but I felt their lyrics often had substance. Not the case today.

  • Alexandra

    Exactly. You’re right. Women aren’t snapping back.
    I remember the whole ‘Scrubs/Pigeon’ thing. Some men got so mad at that song, but aren’t mad at the sexist lyrics in male songs.

    I do remember one woman’s rebuttal song. It was in response to Eamon’s “Fuck it, I don’t want You Back”. It was buzz in ’05/06.

  • LNicole

    I no longer consider myself a fan of hip-hop but the hook Tre Songs sings on Gucci’s song “it’s four in the morning she calling my phone she wanna be grown…he can lay it down, but I’m gone beat it up” is so catchy to me and honestly it’s sexy. I am married and have been with my partner nearly 18 years and some of our best sexual experiences have been when we just let loose and got out swerve on without the thought of “making love”. I believe there is a time and place for everything.

    As far as rap goes, it’s not so much the mysogonistic lyrics that turn me off, because I was a huge NWA, Ghetto Boys, Ice-T fan in my day, it is the lack of substance. They just don’t seem to have much to say these days, so I find myself being completely dissatisfied.

  • ALIG83

    Speaking of such…I remember when that Keyshia Cole song “I Should’ve Cheated’ came out several years ago, all the guys were talking about how much they hated it.

  • Alexandra

    Exactly. You’re right. Women aren’t snapping back.
    I remember the whole ‘Scrubs/Pigeon’ thing. Some men got so mad at that song, but aren’t mad at the sexist lyrics in male songs.

    I do remember one woman’s rebuttal song. It was in response to Eamon’s “Fuck it, I don’t want You Back”.

  • Dawn

    I heard guys saying that too.

    Guys complain so much about certain female artists’ lyrics, that I cringe when Scrubs or Irreplaceable comes on because I know I’ll likely hear some guy voice how much he hates that song.

    Why aren’t more women doing that? Why don’t guys cringe when hearing women called b*&ches or h*#s because they know how upset we’ll be about some rapper talking about us like that? I’ll tell you my boyfriend is like that now. We’ll be listening to one of his CDs, and as soon as he hears a misogynistic lyric, he changes the song. Why? Because he doesn’t want to hear my mouth again about all these woman-hating lyrics. Be vocal ladies!

  • African Mami

    It’s crass, but if your man says that to you first thing you should ensure is that you have the phone near you, just incase he beats it up to a point of a 911 emergency.

  • Rastaman

    Why don’t we just ratchet back on the literal interpretations. Am I wrong to assume that most of us realize that a lot of popular music is strewn with slang, metaphors, sexual innuendos and meaningless rhymes?
    I do not disagree that there is misogyny in hip hop but it is what apparently sells. Not too many conscious artists seem to be moving units anymore or getting airplay. Both the authors and female commentators are admitting that they like the raunch and even if they find some of the lyrics objectionable they still show support by dancing or listening and even buying.
    A big aspect of artistic interpretation is an understanding that we are always going to be wrong whenever we attempt to literally interpret the expression. Misogyny did not start with the music and so we may want to look much closer to home, in our homes.
    Additionally, art does imitate life and most of those lyrics are unfortunately reflective of how many men and women interact with each other. No matter whether I like it or not, I cannot account for other’s personal taste.

  • Moni

    Worst song in history that had the FUNKIEST beat: “Bitch Please” by Xhibit & Snoop Dogg.

    I have to admit, I would listen to it in the house (on headset or at a low level), but I would NEVER dance to it in the club, I would leave the floor. The song lyrics just made me cringe.

  • The Realtor

    As a man, I also cringe at some of the slang used. I try not to refer to sex as “fucking” either but is this word more acceptable? I often hear my female friends referencing their boyfriends or boy toys “beating it up” or “blowing backs out” more so than when I am hanging out or talking with the fellas. Even my ex would ask that I “beat it up” while we are in the act.
    I listen to these songs and to be honest, I don’t know if I pay much attention to the lyrics. I’m knodding my head, tapping my foot to the beat. I assume most women who are out on the dance floor when certain songs come on more for the beat of the music not the bullshit lyrics.

  • Shawna

    This is a very interesting topic. I must admit, I love hip hop and r&b. As a woman, I love a sweet, well spoken, romantic gentleman. However, I also like for a man to be aggressive (not abusive). I like when he takes control of certain situations and also in the bedroom. When I hear phrases such as “beat it up” in songs, it is a turn on for me.I guess I’m one who likes to have my cake and eat it too.

  • jamesfrmphilly

    if we are gentlemen we get disrespected for being too soft.
    ladies love thugs. thugs “beat it up”. yall ladies best make up your minds.

  • Tonia

    A real woman appriciates a gentleman.

  • Edwina@FASHION+ART

    He can’t ‘beat it up’ if you don’t let him. It’s really that simple. Women have the individual and collective power to turn this kind of foolishness around. Unfortunately, too many women don’t realize that nor do they want the responsibility or the possible fallout as a result so the ‘beat’ goes on.

  • ALIG83

    Your choice in women has nothing to do with anyone else.

  • Anon

    When all of the “literal interpretations” refer to physical sexual violence (i.e. beat, smash, blow out the back, bust the **** open) it goes way beyond metaphor or “artistic expression.” What everyone does behind closed doors or whatever sexual preference one has is their own business, Black men need to put an end to dealing with Sisters in an abusive way, verbally and otherwise.

  • austin

    I love a self -aware writer! One that is not afraid to admit their imperfections and open up the conversation. B Danielle We still gotta get together on a piece for The Smugger..

  • brittany

    i 100% agree with what this post is saying. but also, it’s disappointing how much rap/hip-hop gets critiqued by outside sources as well. complaints about the misogyny in the lyrics are totally valid but plenty of rock/pop songs have it as well. and i hate when people like indie/alt music is somehow ~above it all. even feminists are quick to condemn rap and it’s how some of the black community expresses itself and its sexuality. as a feminists, i too am conflicted about it but i try to stick to socially aware hip hop *kanye shrug*

  • Rastaman

    So If I am to understand your reasoning when there is reference to physical violence in music then it should be taken literally. Are there additional caveats for the “literal interpretation” of pop song lyrics?

    Those kind of lyrics are in the music because there is an audience male and female for it. As long as we have the First Amendment in this country these type of songs will continue to be made but the truth of the matter is we in the community are responsible for this. So many of us act like we are not the one’s listening, buying or dancing to these lyrics. Its some alien entity attempting to undermine us.

    We can’t expend so much energy condemning objectionable lyrics if we are not expending the same amount of energy trying to clean up our personal attitudes, how we speak to each other and how we relate as men and women. Because that is the origin of these lyrics not some teenager sitting around in his bedroom dreaming of stacking chips. I heard most of this stuff on the street long before someone decided to put these words to music. Some of you all need to get over yourselves. Let the change you want begin with you.

  • Fabian Egbesu Ohore

    while i am aware of the negative implications and how they can actually turn into abuse i am also not for males who turn their brains into female rhetoric. when a man has sex he normally thrusts, now some may enjoy a slow repetitive stroke but most men are(esp young) lokking for forceful thrusts. to say that this very act is not (banging, smashing, or hitting) is very myopic. women need to decide what it is that they want from men. do you want a man who says the following
    may i please place my penis into your vaginal cavity and gently push while i simultaneously use my index finger to stimulate your clitoris. please don’t be upset.

    or would u rather the blow ur back out jingles that plies and other rappers specialize in.
    to me this can be solved with one simple solution. men need to rid themselves of treating females as if they cant fend for themselves. prior to European contact we African and native American men where not concerned with the female orgasm because it is just that a “female” orgasm. why should i care if she wants an orgasm she can make that happen herself. all of this crap about making sure she is pleasured is a feminist trick to get men to bear a woman’s sexual responsibility. even the kama sutra makes no mention of such nonsense. in summation i agree about the social issues relating to violence however when women start to decline the advances of men who want to blow their backs out then men will change their approach. as for men stop caring about whether she “cums” or not its not your responsibility you have your orgasm and she has hers let us follow the ancient African way that says “men speak of women not for women”.

  • African Mami

    @ Fabian Egbesu Ohore,

    You told us to decide what we want. I have decided.

    “may i please place my penis into your vaginal cavity and gently push while i simultaneously use my index finger to stimulate your clitoris. please don’t be upset.”

    With a banging orgasm to top it all off.

    “to me this can be solved with one simple solution. men need to rid themselves of treating females as if they cant fend for themselves.”

    Trust me we can fend for ourselves, hence the sex toy business making a killing. BUT, when you are available, capable and willing, why should a drought erupt?!

    “prior to European contact we African and native American men where not concerned with the female orgasm because it is just that a “female” orgasm. why should i care if she wants an orgasm she can make that happen herself. all of this crap about making sure she is pleasured is a feminist trick to get men to bear a woman’s sexual responsibility.”

    Stop acting like the female orgasm is a European concept that was introduced to a very primitive people, and its existence was not heard of before. Total BS! It is not a feminist trick. Quit being selfish and help her get off just the way you did. A copulation act involves more than just pumping and splaying of legs.

    “as for men stop caring about whether she “cums” or not its not your responsibility you have your orgasm and she has hers let us follow the ancient African way that says “men speak of women not for women”.

    How kind of you. The African woman needs to be liberated from your kind of thinking! Backward to say the least!

  • X

    Sex isn’t fun if it isn’t rough. Say what you will, but if said right, any of these “misogynistic” phrases can turn a woman on. #justsayin

  • Tami

    X – I have to agree with you…The rougher the better…

  • KGDC

    Considering that over 65% of women actually buy the derogatory music they seem to complain about… why change when the money spent on the music comes mostly from those that seem to feel that it demeans them? The most common answer, “Oh, they aren’t talking about me.” or “I just like the beat.”

    Oh. Okay.

    Some men need to change their language, but a lot of women need to speak with their dollars, and currently their dollars go TOWARDS promoting their objectification.

    Wasn’t there a recent post about accountability?

  • copelli21

    I think you have a point on the misogyny thing.

    But all these “beat it up” crap seems to come back to boasting. And we all know that essential to hip-hop has always been boasting about “what they have” or “are gonna do.”

    It’s their version of a male peacock flaunting his feathers, the problem is it’s not nearly as attractive or enticing.

    I think most of it is maturity and lack thereof. The young’uns lack finesse. And the rest are probably old enough to know better, but despite their advanced years, still have no idea what actually pleases or appeals to some women. But then again, it’s not really about the woman, it’s about ego.

    I don’t like the language either, but I too am a lover of hip-hop, so I do feel conflicted, but I find it easier and easier to simply turn the radio off when I hear phrases like that.
    And maybe that’s a matter of maturity as well.

  • Jenn

    I like rough but talking about rough sex with someone who isn’t your partner isn’t flirting. It’s the same old boastful “I’m hot shit” bull that men with no skills have been throwin forever. Now THAT makes me wanna hurt something.

    Women (and men who notice the violence and object) *have* to call men on it. If we don’t stand up to it then we don’t have any right to bitch.

  • AW

    As someone who listens to very little hip-hop – its the stuff like this that makes it even more of a turn-off to me. And worse is guys who take what they hear in these stupid songs and try to apply it in real life. Any guy who sounds even remotely like one of these rappers usually gets the silent treatment and the walkaway from me. Unfortunately, these men are overwhelmingly black. But if a white guy was obsessed with hip hop and came at me the same way, he’d get the same treatment.

    Don’t know if it’s a coincidence or not, but I’ve never had any kind of successful relationship with a guy who even listed hip-hop as one of his top 3 genres of music to listen to (regardless of his racial/ethnic background).

    Granted, we’re adults and we should be able to separate ourselves from our entertainment – a lot of people somehow missed that memo. The message seeps in and people regurgitate what they hear – “beat the p***y up” “lady in the streets, freak in the bed”. Stupid materialistic possessions when you can’t pay your rent – get it together!

    And yeah, Chris Rock was right on with what he said. I can’t recall the song, but there was some stupid offensive tune a few years back, that was a HUGE hit – and you know women were driving that. I swore if I ever ended up in a club when that song came on, I’d take a pause and back off the dance floor. Even if no one noticed or knew why, I would know and that’s what matters.

    It’s like all the songs about cheating nowadays – its like every other song – and women croon along. I guess they imagine themselves at the hot other woman the guy is singing out. They are stopping to think that they could be the ones being cheated on. Sorry, I can’t support your apparent obsession with infidelity – unless you’re repenting. And rarely is that the case. “She don’t have to know” anyone?

    I’m not saying I’m 100% innocent all the time. Trust me, I do own a couple of tracks that I’d never admit to anyone. But I’m hoping one day, I’m able to click “delete.” And fortunately its so small a number, I can’t even give it a percentage of my total collection.

    But basically – We let a lot of things slide and when wonder how we got to where we are.

  • AW

    I agree with what you said about Black culture. I often feel that a lot of black people will like anything a black person puts out – regardless of quality. Music, film, fashion, whatever. I’m sure it’s a solidarity thing, and maybe it’s because I grew up primarily with other cultures, but I won’t accept something just because someone like me made it. And yes, that has made me come off as a bit of a black-outcast at times.

    I have white friends that hate Madonna or Coldplay or any number of “white” movies out there. They don’t feel like they have to accept everything that’s put out by a white person just because they are white.

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