Jay-Z has only been a father for a week and already he’s feeling protective of his child. The rapper has reportedly written a poem about his newborn daughter Blue Ivy Carter, in which he laments the derogatory term “bitch” and vows to strike it from his vocabulary.
According to NME, this is an excerpt from Jay-Z’s poem:
Before I got in the game, made a change, and got rich
I didn’t think hard about using the word bitch
I rapped, I flipped it, I sold it, I lived it
Now with my daughter in this world I curse those that give it
Hova has yet to confirm or deny that the poem is his, so who knows if the hip-hop mogul will really de-bitch his discography. Some of Jay-Z’s biggest hits — from “Big Pimpin’” to “99 Problems” — make use of the word. He has a song called “Bitches and Sisters” on The Blueprint II: The Gift and the Curse and his Watch the Throne collaboration with Kanye West contains a track called “That’s My Bitch,” on which Jay-Z talks affectionately about his wife, Beyoncé (and then immediately refers to her as his bitch). Just how many of Jay-Z’s songs contain the word, anyway? We decided to count.
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Some TIME writers and I combed through the lyrics to Jay-Z’s 15 studio albums (both solo and collaborative) and this is what we’ve found: 109 out of 217 songs contain the word “Bitch.” That’s 50.2% of Jay-Z’s entire lyrical output. Hova’s bitchiest album appears to be 1998’s Vol 2…Hard Knock Life, on which 71% of the songs feature the newly illicit B-word. On the song “Paper Chase,” he even took the women-as-dogs metaphor a step further with the line “Greyhound bitch, stay down bitch.”
There are, of course, countless ways the word can be used, and to varying degrees of offensiveness. To simplify things, all uses of “bitch” were treated equally in our lyrical survey. For example, Jay-Z’s 1996 debut Reasonable Doubt included commonplace phrases such as “Life’s a bitch” and others as rude as “If your leg’s broke bitch, hop on your good foot.”
While I appreciate this newfound feminism (if it is indeed true), I don’t know how Jay-Z’s going to avoid using the word if he wants to keep performing his old material. He could just bleep it out, I guess, but that’s not very helpful; we’d still know what he meant. No, Jay-Z will have to find an apt replacement to fit every lyric. That must be the 100th problem he’s been trying to avoid.
Update: Jay-Z didn’t pen the poem.
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