Thanks to acts such as NWA, The Geto Boys, Tupac Shakur, D12, and 50 Cent, rap music has come to be perceived as a violent, aggressive, misogynist, and male-dominated genre. In accordance with the generalized exscription of women from a great deal of music history,1 women tend to appear in forms of hip-hop culture as marginal figures.2 The elimination of women from the rap arena is effected on several levels. Lyrical content interacts with visual imagery, including, but not limited to, the music video. All-male spaces are constructed visually by way of the “crew.” Groups of disenfranchised young men work to enact an almost excessive display of masculinity, not only through the actual exclusion of women from their space but also through physical actions such as grabbing their genitals or keeping their hands close to the pelvic area, and swaggering boastfully. When women are granted entry to this all-male space they are often objectified and fetishized in a way that constructs the space as male dominated and heterosexual. Eminem, for example, displays blatant objectification combined with misogyny, portraying various women as blow-up dolls: Christina Aguilera in the video for “The Real Slim Shady” and his ex-wife Kim onstage.3 Rap music has become particularly notorious for its lyrical content, which is seen as typified by violence, homophobia, misogyny, and, again, the objectification of women. The Bloodhound Gang, for example, deploy

a kind of toilet humor that commonly includes references to women’s genitals as odious, recalling perhaps the vagina dentata. The fetishization of particular female body parts is also a factor, reducing the implicated female character to a set of disembodied components.4 Such responses to female sexuality and physicality are founded upon an exaggerated notion of disgust that borders on the comic, being almost a parody of itself. It may well be that comedy is deployed as a distancing strategy by the group, such that the offensive potential is somewhat lessened by an implicit caveat emptor: “It’s just a joke.” More overtly, Eminem concludes a tirade of misogynist violence with the line, “I’m just playin’ ladies-you know I love you.”5