In the spring of 2000, Jay Z released his hit single "Big Pimpin'", the song which would become an anthem for professional and aspiring pimps everywhere. But a decade after he penned the poster song for the glorification of pimp culture, Jay Z has expressed serious regret at exactly what his song might be promoting. In a interview with the Wall Street Journal, Jay Z reflected on the lyrics he has written throughout his illustrious music career. He said,
Some [lyrics] become really profound when you see them in writing. Not "Big Pimpin." That's the exception. It was like, I can't believe I said that. And kept saying it. What kind of animal would say this sort of thing? Reading it is really harsh.
Like many mature artists reflecting on their early success, Jay Z has a point. They lyrics of "Big Pimpin'" are both harsh and animalistic in their treatment of women, especially women in prostitution. The song is perhaps the epitome of the glorification of pimps, the eroticization of a man who owns and completely controls a woman, and the normalization of pimping and abusive prostitution as integral not only to hip-hop culture, but mainstream American culture as well.
Jay Z now has the chance to bring hip-hop back to its roots of celebrating freedom and stand against pimping and exploitation by donating the proceeds from his pimp anthem to one or more organizations serving women and children who have been abused, exploited, raped, sold, and trafficked by pimps.
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