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Is N.W.A responsible for the objectification of women in the hip hop industry?
In this clip from Sunday’s all-new E! True Hollywood Story, the famed rap group’s frequent use of the word bitch is examined by hip hop legend MC Lyte. Per a THS voiceover, N.W.A offered up a “stark rebuttal” to Salt-N-Pepa‘s message of female empowerment, allegedly causing a shift in the industry.
“With N.W.A’s walk into hip hop, calling women bitches in that way, it changed the game,” MC Lyte, born Lana Michele Moorer, reflects. “They broke the word out. So then, you know, it just didn’t stop.”
Despite their frequent use of the word in their music, the group—which included Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Arabian Prince, Eazy-E, DJ Yella and MC Ren—never took ownership of the derogatory term.
“We didn’t make the word,” MC Ren defends in a vintage interview. “We just usin’ it.”
Nonetheless, by 1991, N.W.A’s influence grew thanks to the millions of albums they sold. Their hits included “A Bitch Iz a Bitch” and “Just Don’t Bite It.”
“The change that called for women to be used much more as objects was jolting,” MC Lyte recalls. “It was like, ‘Oh wow! Is this where we are now?’”
This seemingly influenced today’s hip hop industry. As rapper Da Brat noted in a previous THS highlight, female hip hop artists are expected “to be f–kable.”
For a deeper look into the sexism that plagues the male-dominated rap industry, be sure to catch Sunday’s all-new episode of E! True Hollywood Story.
Watch a brand new episode of E! True Hollywood Story Sunday at 10 p.m., only on E!