Full disclosure: I enter this conversation as a longtime fan of Lupe Fiasco's work, particularly because of the way he challenges the status quo, breaking away from the misogynistic attitudes found in so many mainstream hip-hop songs.
But I'm also not one to give somebody a pass simply because they have good intentions. Addressing misogyny is a complicated matter, and it's possible for Lupe to make mistakes. It can be hard to discuss the issue in hip-hop without falling to one extreme or the other – how can we criticize the objectification of women's bodies without contributing to ideas based in shame around black women's sexuality? Is it possible to have this conversation while thinking outside of the virgin/whore dichotomy?
Some argue that with "Bitch Bad," a song that sets up a hierarchy of women (“bitch bad/woman good/lady better"), Lupe speaks against misogyny from the wrong angle, by slut-shaming, and by honoring only a certain type of woman – the chaste, mother-figure type.
I'm following my usual habit of seeing this conversation as more complex than just one conclusion or the other. Sure, Lupe's video misses a few parts of the complicated issue. But he also does a few things right, starting with the fact that he's willing to create this concept and contribute to a conversation about the issue in the first place. I agree with Akiba Solomon and Rahiel Tesfamariam on this one (and I link to their articles because I believe they've said it all already, and better than I can say it myself). It's not enough to have good intentions alone, but it's a good start, better than starting from a place of maintaining the problematic status quo.
Here's the video, so you can take a look and decide for yourself where the message lands. What do you think?