A few months ago, Watts rapper Glasses Malone stopped by LA Weekly to chat about his oft-stalled debut album on Cash Money Records. When asked about the delay, his theory was, "I'm not willing to make a fool of myself to get attention. I just make really good music. This is a big success for me 'cause I didn't make a fool of myself to get to this point. I retained my dignity."
Then he released "#Rihanna" last week and lost it.
The song begins innocently enough. Over droopy synth keys and soul claps, Glasses growls that a girl has called and told him she dumped her boyfriend. She wants to be with him. But then things get murky.
She likes rough sex. "Say you want it slapped/Leave a couple handprints," he raps. But then he goes even further: "Knocked out, unconscious on the canvas ... I'ma treat it like Rihanna ... Beat it up, 'cause playin' with the pussy ain't enough ... Bitch call me Chris Brown."
If you still didn't get it, he continues, "I love a freaky island bitch/And I beat, I beat 'till she out of it."
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Here's the thing. We have no problem with sadomasochism -- obviously, plenty of people derive sexual pleasure from pain. Even Rihanna has alluded, at least artistically, to engaging in SM. We also have been vocal in defending Chris Brown. Not because we condone domestic violence, but because so many other famous abusers have been let off the hook while he continues to be vilified.
Yet Glasses crosses the line. He's written a song about sex that makes a punchline out of an event that presumably had nothing to do with sex, and was prosecuted in court. Rihanna and Brown have had to deal with the consequences of the incident ever since, and they surely would find nothing clever about "#Rihanna's" wordplay.
Likely Glasses is taking the line from Bay Area rapper LoveRance -- "I beat the pussy up" -- one step further. But piggybacking on another song's popular (if somewhat troubling) hook is one thing. Manipulating a criminal offense to stir up controversy in hopes of gaining commercial success is another. It's tacky, insensitive, and crude. But even worse, it's cheap, particularly for a rapper who prided himself on not pulling stunts for attention.