This week’s post was inspired by Mother’s Day and a song that’s been bothering me for a few months now- “Wouldn’t Get Far” by the Game, produced by and featuring Kanye West (see the video here). This song is the newest addition in a long line of hip-hop songs talking about the dangers of women known as “video vixens,” “golddiggers” or a number of other less friendly terms. Example: Dr. Dre classic “Bitches Aint Shit,” which features the great opening line, “Bitches ain’t shit but hoes and tricks.” The Game gives this type of song a twist by addressing it directly to the women themselves, saying “I wrote this song for you, for you, for all y’all” and even referring to a number of infamous video girls by name. This recognition is notably a step up from the silent unacknowledgement of nameless homogenized “bitches” in the background of a lot of hip-hop videos. Moreover, the video makes a point of poking fun at the stereotypes of the genre by formatting it like VH1’s classic show “Pop Up Video” and providing the “Warning” at the beginning that it is “not a real rap video” but a “reenactment” and that the girls are “not real video girls, but actresses pretending to be.”
Despite the suggestion that the song is a satire of a musical culture that objectifies and uses women, the reaction from many “video girls” themselves has not been so positive. Although many infamous video vixens were reportedly invited, only one, Gloria Velez, appears in the video, mouthing the words to the sample from Creative Source’s “I’d Find You Anywhere” (see wikipedia article here). Indeed, the focus of the satire, compounded by the direct address, seems to be on the women themselves. Their images are tagged with “censored” (over the breasts), “clueless,” and “give em an inch, they’ll take a mile,” while they dance vacuously around the men and their cars. While both The Game and Kanye talk about the disadvantages these women have had (Game mentions that even one of the most successful video vixens drives a Honda Accord and Kanye says that the “only dream” of the “ghetto prom queen” was “to make it to the screen”), the women are nevertheless criticized for their use of sex to become “successful.” There is no word about the casting practices of music video producers or the advantages men in hip-hop use to solicit sex. In fact, Kanye concludes by saying, “since they all fall in my palm, I’ll take a trio” and Game reasons, “that’s why I fuck ’em today and forget ’em tomorrow.” Neither proposes an alternative for these women. Instead, the conclusion seems to be that as long as these women are offering their bodies, it’s perfectly legitimate to take them. Normally I wouldn’t suspect Kanye of this sentiment, but since his recent comment using the word “mutts” to describe the interracial women favored in videos these days, I suppose anything is possible.