By: Andrew Corcoran
There may not be artist in pop culture that has songs and music videos more explicitly offensive to women than Tyga. Tyga’s and the three songs that I will look at closely in this, Ice Cream Man, Make It Nasty, and Rack City convey Tyga’s offensive nature as well as his construction of masculinity. Despite having different beats and lyrics, the same consistent objectification and over sexualization of women, particularly African American women, are appalling. As frightening as it is, Tyga’s lightest aggression towards women does not come in in his use of “hoe” and “bitch” to describe them, but possibly in his music videos, which show him completely using women as a commodity merely to inflate his own sense of masculinity. For Tyga, the more women that he can use for sex and treat with disrespect the better. The disrespect for women only augments his own sense of masculinity, a common thread through much of male hip-hop culture. What it takes to be a man according to Tyga is having as much sexual interaction with as many women, while also enacting violence on others to promote his “gangsta” persona.
Tyga’s illustration of masculinity, and in turn his outwardly concerning relationships towards women, has become apart of much of mainstream hip-hop and rap music culture. The problematic themes portrayed in songs and music videos add on to the construction of what it means to be a man, especially and African American man, in today’s hip-hop world. Tyga, similar to his contemporary hip-hop artists, promote gender roles and stereotypes that should be seen as alarming and dangerous for society as a whole.
#1 Ice Cream Man, 2015
Video: Ice Cream Man
Lyrics: Ice Cream Man
Tyga’s hit song “Ice Cream Man” and his music video in particular show and represent women in an alarming way. First, the title of the song “Ice Cream Man” refers to how he is selling women in a basic sense. Right off of the bat, he uses women as a commodity in the song. His chorus to the song goes “I’m the Ice Cream man, she chunky monkey”. Tyga clearly uses the “chunky monkey” to illustrate the larger physique of particular African American woman.
Tyga goes on to describe different parts of women’s body using the analogy of ice cream, such as “She chunky monkey” and “Marshmallow booty”. Going along with his explicit lyrics are images of light-skinned African American women that are as close as they can to being naked, while licking ice cream. The scenes are supposed to invoke acts similar to oral sexual intercourse, while highlighting their hypersexual nature with showing women with tight clothes highlighting their physical features mentioned in the song.
-All these hungry hungry hippos wanna love me
-Tell’em get me more condoms, we doin’ more fuckin’
-She like to fuck me, suck me, then suck me fuck me
-I’m the ice cream man, she chunky monkey
-She got a marshmallow booty, I like to sprinkle it too
#2, Rack City, 2012
Video: Rack City
Lyrics: Rack City
Rack City is yet another example of Tyga’s promotion of what it means to be a male in hip-hop culture. Once again Tyga uses derogatory terms to describe women such as “bitch” and “hoe”, but it Tyga goes far beyond his problematic epithets towards women. Tyga talks about his nightclub life and all the money that he spends on women with large breasts. To continue his idea of masculinity Tyga celebrates his multitude of sexual relationship that he has with women: “got my other bitch fuckin’ with my other bitch”. Tyga goes in to talk about violence and reloading guns, which only perpetuates the false sense of masculinity within hip-hop culture that violence goes hand in hand with masculinity.
Similar to his alarming lyrics, Rack City’s music video shows a skit where he owes another man something, which is perceived to be either ammunition of weapons. As collateral he lets the other man take his women, and in the scene the other man enacts violence on that woman. Naturally, the music video shows different scenes with of Tyga and his crew in a Gentlemen’s Club throwing money at women.
-Got my other bitch fuckin with my other bitch
-Fuckin’ all night, nigga we aint celibate
-Rack City bitch, rack rack city bitch
-Tell that bitch to hop out, walk the boulevard
-All the hoes love me, you know how it is
#3, Make It Nasty, 2012
Video: Make It Nasty
Lyrics: Make It Nasty
The title of Tyga’s chart-topping song hides nothing from what the song is about. In Make It Nasty Tyga gets deep into how he wants women to do “nasty” during sexual intercourse. Tyga references different sexual acts from different women, and talks about how he merely uses women for sex. It is clear that Tyga’s views women as nothing more than a sexual commodity. In fact, Tyga openly states that he prefers his “hoes” without any sort of clothing. His use of the “hoe” accentuates his view of what he sees women as: nothing more than a sexual commodity. Tyga also perpetuates the idea of masculinity to be using women for however he wants. Tyga tries to flex his masculine muscle by using women for sexually in a “nasty” way as well as through violence. Tyga talks about using weapons when the club gets too “hot” with naked women and other masculine figures.
Make It Nasty not only degrades women through the lyrics of the song through its quite problematic view of both masculinity as well as the objectification of women as merely a sexual commodity to promote his own masculinity, but also through the music video’s pornographic nature. At the beginning of the video it has a disclaimer for anyone under the age of 18 because it portrays women basically having sex with each other right in front of Tyga’s face, while he sometimes will intervene.
-Got a China Bitch, straight from Beijing, pussy so tight all she do is scream
-Hoes, ah, open close I like when my bitches don’t wear no clothes
-Poke til it’s bruising on punta gimmie gimmie chocha kill it like OJ
-I like blowjobs she could be my employee
After closely analyzing Tyga, and in particular the lyrics and music videos of Ice Cream Man, Rack City, and Make It Nasty, it is clear that Tyga furthers the gender roles of many of the hip-hop and rap artists before him, while adding his own flair. For Tyga, to flex his masculinity is to have total disregard or respect for women, while using them merely for the purposes of sexual intercourse. Through his music videos, he creates the image of what a typical African American woman should be: a light-skinned with a curvy physique covered in make up and lipstick to accentuate her large lips. Tyga promotes this mostly unattainable image for the mainstream African American woman, while also suggesting that their purpose is no more than pleasing men. On top of his concerning illustration of women, particularly African American women, Tyga projects an image of masculinity not only through his disregard and disrespect for women, but also through his spending of money and violent nature. Tyga consistently measures his masculinity by the jewelry that he wears and the different guns in which he uses or “re-loads” (Rack City).
In conclusion, Tyga portrays a hip-hop culture with images of misconstrued masculinity as well as problematic images and constructions of the feminine ideal within society.