I heard the song for the first time in the car, and for much the same reasons I enjoy Mad Men and anything throwback (this song's just begging for someone to mashed potato to it), I loved it immediately. Once home, I downloaded the explicit version, assuming it would be even better.
But I quickly discovered that in the explicit version, "that lovin's changed" becomes "that pussy's changed." "I miss that lovin'" becomes "I miss that pussy."
Now, I'm not the kind to take kneejerk offense. I'm not a prude, so the word isn't banned from my iPod. I didn't even mind when the Ying Yang Twins whispered about beating it up. So I gave the song a few listens, but soon realized I found this particular use of the word entirely off-putting.
Let's get down to brass tacks. Vaginas don't physically change, especially in the span of a weekend, no matter what kind of recreational activities a woman gets herself into. So what Lloyd is actually saying is that his girl's lovin' changed. He suspects she's cheating, she's acting differently, she makes love to him differently, and he's using the word pussy to illustrate that. In doing so, he's dehumanized her, reducing his "really special lady" to a vagina.
This is a world that embraces Missy Elliot and Nicki Minaj -- the Madonnas of hip-hop who empowered the sexual image of women. Though we're not quite past the gangsta rap days when women were relegated to little more than sexual playthings, surely we shouldn't be moving backwards. I thought Lil Wayne, who makes a cameo on "Dedication," felt something for women trying to learn how to love. And Andre 3000, who also does a verse, once promised he'd always call before he comes. Where's that chivalry now, Andre?