The Failure of Pro-Feminist Hip-Hop

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About Mychal Denzel Smith

Mychal Denzel Smith is a writer, social commentator and mental-health advocate. He is a featured columnist for MSNBC's theGrio, as well as a contributor to The Root. His writing has also appeared on The Huffington Post, as a part of award-winning author Rebecca Walker's "One Big Happy Family" blog series. Mychal's work covers a range of topics, including but not limited to: politics, social justice, pop culture, Hip-Hop, mental health, feminism, and black masculinity.


  1. Funny you mentioned Mayer, who happens to be a sexist, racist d-bag. Or did you not read his interview with Playboy?

    It’s unfortunately that rappers like KRS-One, Talib Kweli, or Ceelo don’t get center stage. I’d posit because the misogyny is hard to get rid of. Reality is, you like it. Women be damned.

  2. You do a great job of skewering Drake’s disaffectation and evident insincerity, but I’m very surprised to see you call him pro-feminist or progressive. He has endless lyrics explicitly on thr topic of dispassionately deceiving, ignoring, and taking advantage of girls. His feigned sensitivity comes off to me as sociopathic manipulation.

    I think Kanye is sexist, but pro-feminist. Other artists I see as more feminist than Drake include Jay-Z and even Lil Wayne. (that is to say, not terribly)

    KRS, Kweli and Cee-Lo are “conscious,” but do little in their work to address the subjective lives of women. They just don’t say bitch VERY MUCH.

    Himanshu from Das Racist identifies as feminist. That’s something!

  3. You started at the wrong point. So Far Gone made him a household name but he had already been influenced by Lil Wayne by then. Go back to Room For Improvement and Comeback Season and you might get closer to what you were looking for.

  4. I would recommend checking out K’Naan or the up and coming L.A. based, wonder-kid, Shane Eli. Lyrical geniuses ad beautiful men who adore women and honor their matrilineal heritage with fervor

  5. What does “Pro-Feminist” mean in this context? Respecting women just as much as men? If so, pro-feminist is certainly a misnomer because most people have equal respect for women as men and are not feminists. When I hear descriptions of something or someone being pro-feminist, the accompanying ideologies and policy positions usually end up showing that it really not only means pro-female but also anti-male.

    • You are playing make-believe.

      You feel your male privilege threatened; that’s not anti-male. That’s anti-oppression.

      Women are oppressed in western culture. To promote equality, one must promote the rights of the oppressed more vigorously than the oppressor.

      • “To promote equality, one must promote the rights of the oppressed more vigorously than the oppressor.”

        Black males are far more oppressed than white women. And feminists have worked long and hard to make it so. Their anti-male agenda is clear and without pang of conscience.

        • If black males are more oppressed than white women, partly due to feminism, then that’s not an anti-male agenda, it’s a self-serving pro-racist agenda.

  6. There is nothing in Hip-Hop that needs to be pro feminist anyway. Hip-hop is The sale and marketing of pornographic manhood in excess to father starved inner city global youth. You can’t drive men out of the family then ask them to sing (or rap) your praises.

  7. I fail to see how Drake is pro-feminist. Because he’s not a gangsta, he’s pro-feminist? How does the dude who raps on “Everygirl” and makes a video like “Best I Ever Had” pro-feminist? I like Drake a lot, but I don’t understand.

  8. How exactly is Drake’s music “pro feminist”?
    Some of his lyrics:
    “She came through, she brought food
    She got fucked, she knew whassup
    She think I’m the realest out
    And I say damn that makes two of us
    Aww that look like what’s her name
    Chances are it’s whats her name
    Chances are if she was acting up then I fucked her once and never fucked again
    She could have a Grammy
    I still treat her ass like a nominee
    Just need to know what that pussy like so one time is fine with me
    Young as an intern, but money like I built the shit”


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