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“Call Him Out” (female empowerment rap)

All right! The public library is open again, which means I have access to wireless. (Don’t ask.) So I’ll kick off the new year with this, a new rap song. It’s a support song for abused women — an encouragement not to endure harassment or mistreatment, but to stand up and speak out against being done wrong.

Each verse is in the voice of a woman in a tough spot, and each one struggles with whether she should give in to abuse as inevitable or stand up against it. See for yourself how things turn out. (Note — there’s some strong language here, which makes this perhaps NSFW/kids.)

Whew! Heavy stuff. I have to say, I’m as surprised as anyone that I wrote this — I only came to this subject after wandering through a chain of rhymes that started somewhere very different. Gradually a bitchy party girl who’ll “kiss to deceive/ turn up at your party just to diss you and leave” became a domineering man “you’ve got to call ‘mister’ to please/ Acts like a gentleman, but still he’s got a fist up his sleeve“. So far, so much gibberish :P But then someone in a female voice said that this guy “grabs my butt when no one’s watching and he gives it a squeeze.” And suddenly I saw the whole scene of a woman being harassed at work by her boss. Everything just flowed from there!

So, in a way, this isn’t something I ‘chose’ to write about, and I’m not sure it’s something I would deliberately have chosen to write on; it’s not something I’ve been through myself, and I don’t know if I’m the person to talk about it. But I have dear female friends who have gone through things like this, so it’s an issue that’s close to my heart; and since there’s so much rap that cheapens women, I thought, as long as I had this written, that it would be a good thing to share.

I think the production turned out well, all in all. I’m gradually learning more tricks with Garageband — I’m especially proud of how the low guitar swells in so threateningly. And this rap thing is turning out to be a fun space to synthesize my creative interests! I got to apply my Beach Boys skills in the chorus and throw some 18th-century harmonic moves into the backing track. (First rap with an augemented-6th chord?) Somehow all of this feels much less obtrusive in a ‘beat’ than it would in a pop song. I’m not sure why.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts. ‘Til next time!

Here are the lyrics:

Feel like I’m living a lie, ’cause I’m dying to live
Try to catch my tears; it’s like I cry in a sieve
What I’m saying is, the way I make a living is killing me
‘Cause I work for a man who spends half the day feeling me.
Whenever no one’s watching, there’s a twist or a squeeze,
And every time, I know I should resist or just leave,
But I just freeze, I just kinda wheeze, “Mister, uh, please!”
And he whispers, “if you give me some of this to relieve
The aching swell in my pants, then I can help in advance-
ing your career; you’ll go far if you can quell my demands.”
And I feel so lonely, like no one in hell understands,
Though there must be other women here he’s held in his hands,
But I don’t know, ’cause no one says a thing, of course, we’re afraid,
‘Cause if it’s hard to think about, it’s torture to say it,
So though he’s a; predator; maybe it’s; better ta;
try to for; get it or; let it just; settle, ah,
But no, I can’t let him keep up the thing that he’s doing,
Making me choose between my job and my dignity? Screw him!
C-c-come on girl, grit ya tooth, let the truth set ya loose,
tell them all he touches you and let the law protect ya, boo, just

Call him out! Call him out! Girl,
Don’t let that fucker get away with it,
Tell him he can save the shit, go ahead,
Call him out! Call him out! mm,
Tell that degrader get
Out of your life, like, see ya later, chick-hater, get gone!

I’m falling apart; well; I’m a bit of a mess;
It’s nothing, really; I’m just a little bit stressed,
It’s just, the other day, online, I filled out this test,
“Is Your Relationship Abusive?” and it spit out a “Yes”…
And, I’m confused, I knew things were rough,
But I just thought, in every couple, a few things are tough,
There’s always feuding and stuff, but if you work through things enough,
You fix ‘em; I just thought that’s how you do things in love!
But I gotta face it: things are rougher now than they once were;
Cunt? Sure, he’s called me that, and other fun slurs,
Little shit’s chasing dumb skirts while I’m home and my thumbs twirl?
And to top it all, he’s still never made me come once! (grrr!)
So, goodbye, lover blues, I’m flying high cause of you,
I’m sick of trying to pull you closer just to tighten the noose,
I’ve got my eye on the blue skies, I’m flyin the coop,
Because I’m telling you, it’s over, now, I’m tired of abuse!

Call him out! Call him out! Girl,
Don’t let that fucker get away with it,
Tell him he can save the shit, go ahead,
Call him out! Call him out! mm,
Tell that degrader get
Out of your life, like, see ya later, chick-hater, get gone!

2 thoughts on ““Call Him Out” (female empowerment rap)

  1. Kali Carys

    that’s a pretty epic combination of things i like in this entry’s tags.

    & speaking of epicness, this is, i think, my favourite piece You’ve created — & i say that having enjoyed many such things over our years of friendship. dearest Arden, we need more men like You… i’m curious: would You consider building on this to create a man-speaking-to-other-men kind of piece? ’cause even more tortuous to think about & to say than making public abuse one’s suffered is to acknowledge having used a privileged positionality (maleness/masculinity, sure, but also whiteness, class, education, age, etc.) to do things to hurt people. which is not at all to say, ‘You, Arden, have done terrible things, & should own up to them as part of the creative process for what i’m suggesting,’ but rather that it’s within the nature of privilege to oppress others un- or semi-consciously, and that that’s an area in which accountability is less common than defensiveness.

    one tiny lyrical note: ‘feuding’ is awfully strong for something that’s ‘always’ a feature of relationships. how would ‘yelling’ or ‘shouting’ fit there in your eyes/ears/opinion?

    Reply
    1. ardenrb Post author

      dearest Kali – I’m going to prize this comment for a long, long time. Thank you. It means a lot to know that a real person-who-thinks-about-this thinks I did good.

      As far as ‘feuding’ goes — I guess I felt that, in the phrase ‘feuding and stuff’, it meant something more like ‘being at loggerheads’. I certainly wasn’t thinking Montagues and Capulets! I imagined my character thinking, ‘any relationship will have moments when the partners aren’t on the best of terms with each other, for a little while at least, but this…this is more than that.’ So it’s not so much about the yelling or shouting as the not seeing eye to eye?

      And thank you for your suggestion about how I might build on this. I’ll have to see – as I wrote above, this song just sort of happened (!), and I don’t know if I’d do as well if I tackled these themes on purpose. I’m afraid I’d get a little preachy. But I’d like to do more socially conscious pieces if I can. This seems like a good medium for talking about…things.

      Reply

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