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Naked Music Monday: Caty’s Top 5 Sex Worker Songs of 2015

Rihanna playing X-Box. (Photo by Gamer Score Blog, via Flickr)
Rihanna playing X-Box. (Photo by Gamer Score Blog, via Flickr)

2015 was a year in which hip hop and R+B continued to produce excellent soundtracks for the hustle. Here’s my shortlist of the cream of that crop, in no particular order:

Trap Queen-Fetty Wap

Fetty Wap’s infectious “Trap Queen” was technically first released in 2014 online and independently, but only really blew up this year with its major label release, ultimately peaking at number two on Billboard‘s Top Ten. The ditty happens to fall into my favorite hip hop subgenre: two members of the lumpenproletariat in lurv. Fetty Wap enthusiastically enlists his stripper beloved in his drug operation and immediately treats her as an equal and partner-in-crime after he teaches her the zen of cooking rocks. The video features a totally desexualized, smiling Black woman in jeans and a hoodie (what an accurate take on the dress code for a dancer’s day off!) diligently counting their shared money while Fetty Wap clowns around with his buddies, occasionally checking in to give his trap queen an affectionate kiss. (Accurate again: it’s the woman who takes care of business, and not much drug dealing actually gets done if you leave it to the boys.) Fetty and his bae illustrate how two heads are better than one in the hustle as they make financial plans together: “We just set a goal/talkin’ matching Lambos…” Maybe I’ve got a soft spot for the drug dealer-sex worker power couple as depicted in pop culture because of my own history, but you’ve got to admit the track is also just unstoppably cheerful—the antithesis of grim gangster rap, perfect for any psyche-yourself-up-and get-ready-for-work playlist.

Bitch Better Have My Money-Rihanna

Rihanna’s revenge ballad might be aimed at her cheating accountant, but its no-holds-barred titular sentiment is one any sex worker can identify with. “Don’t act like you forgot/ I call the shots” is a bottom line we all have to make sure our clients remember when they try to haggle with and lowball us. And their excuse filled whining in reply just sounds like “blah blah brrrap braaap” to us. All controversy over the graphic video aside, this is another excellent choice for any pre-work playlist. “Pay me what you owe me!”—doesn’t it all come down to that? Plus, brava to Rihanna for making it clear that men are the biggest bitches there are.

Naked Music Monday: Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow”

Born in the Bronx to a Dominican father and Trinidadian mother, Cardi B, a natural born hustler, has clawed her way out of poverty with stiletto shaped manicured nails and unwavering determination. In an interview with VladTV.com, Cardi says that being a stripper saved her life. At the age of 19, she turned to exotic dancing as a way to financially escape her abusive boyfriend. She made a promise to herself that she would retire from dancing by the age of 25. At 23 years old, Cardi B quit her job as a stripper and took the internet by storm via Instagram with hilarious, relatable, and opinionated videos on topics like sex work, sexism, and slut shaming.

Cardi’s brand of feminism is just what the world needs. In one of her infamous IG videos, Cardi B explains that feminism is not just for women who have college degrees: “If you believe in equal rights for man and woman that makes you a feminist. I don’t understand how you bitches feel like being a feminist is a woman who that has an education, that have a degree—that is not a feminist.”  Cardi’s inclusive style of feminism gives a voice to marginalized groups including black and Afro-Latina women and sex workers. 

Naked Music Monday: Insane Clown Posse

I’ve been workshopping an excuse to write an Insane Clown Posse post for a couple years now, but could never find a plausible reason to do it. But you know what? It’s 2017 now. Nothing makes sense anyway; a reality TV star is President, knitted pussycat hats are considered revolutionary, and McDonald’s sells guacamole. Anything goes! So gather around, children—I have a story to tell you. A story of two magical wizards from the annals of Southwest Detroit, men who forged their mark on our cultural schism with a palette of face paint and a lot of Faygo two-liters.

For some perspective: On September 17, Detroit’s whitest, Confederate flag waving-est rapper, Kid Rock, will be performing his third in a series of SIX no doubt sold-out concerts in the city’s brand new, tax-payer-subsidized hockey arena. Kid Rock is handily Detroit’s most obnoxious musician, and yet he was asked to christen the shiny new venue. On the same day, Detroit’s original white rappers, the Insane Clown Posse (whoop whoop), will be performing for free in Washington D.C. as part of their Jugallo March on Washington. So while Kid Rock is gaslighting us with his fake-but-maybe-not-fake Senate run, ICP has organized direct political action. Why? Because the FBI labeled their dedicated fan base a gang. (The FBI get zero whoops, thank-you-very-much.)

A pro-Trump rally is also scheduled for that day, at nearly the same location. Which … will be interesting. Because if you explore ICP’s body of work, you’ll see that they don’t have much patience for rich people (“richies” in Juggalo-ease) or racists. For the past decade, ICP have garnered some pretty condescending and embarrassing coverage. But now that the liberal media has nominated Juggalos as the first line of defense against the alt-right, people have started examining ICP and their movement more closely. Turns out they’re not idiots, nor are their fans.

Just for funsies—and so I’d actually have a sex work peg for this post—I asked Tits and Sass contributor Kitty Stryker of the Struggalo Circus to speculate if ICP would support the decriminalization of sex work. She told me their record on slut-shaming isn’t great (but what male musician’s is?), but that they would, because ultimately, “They care about individual freedom without the influence of government.” Seems fair. So maybe the ICP are allies? At least we can determine they aren’t enemies, which we could never say about the FBI.

Anyway. Are you working this week? Delight your client or your tip rail with this colorful, anti-racist, and oddly politicized ICP playlist. Support the Juggalos. Because they’re being targeted too, and they might inadvertently fuck some Nazis up for us. 

Bad Girls and Killer Queens: Hookers in Pop Music

Freddie Mercury delivering one of his most famous quotes.

Songwriters seem to love sex workers, no matter how little they may actually know about us. And on a superficial level, we seem like pretty good song material. We’re sexual, illegal, naughty, and easy to desire and pity at the same time. You want to protect us from the dirty men who pay us for sex, yet you secretly still kind of want it for yourself (see “Roxanne,” below).

Hookers provide instant layers of emotional complexity. Throw one in your song, and viola: an edgy, sexy hit single, depressing and tantalizing all at once. (If you find the hooker-heroine of your song isn’t pitiful enough, just add drugs and that should balance things out.) Charlotte and I sifted through some sex worker songs and rated them, 1-10 based on how obnoxious or pleasing they are to hear if you’re an actual sex worker.

We’d love to hear from readers too, on what songs make you smile or cringe. Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Stripper Music Monday: Rihanna’s “Pour It Up” Is A Girls’ Club

pouritup2Big news this week! Pop superstar extraordinaire Rihanna has changed careers. She’s finally going to pursue her true passion.

Rihanna became a stripper.