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

by Caty Simon on December 28, 2015 · 3 comments

in Naked Music Monday

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.

Mascara-Jazmine Sullivan

Jazmine Sullivan posits freestyle sugaring as one woman’s life in a self-imposed Panopticon in the chorus of her reflective track, “Mascara”: “So I never leave the house/without makeup on/…because you never know who’s watching you…” But it’s the verses of the song that boldly and unapologetically describe the economic realities of our work, in defiant response to the jealousy of haters: “Yeah my hair, and my ass fake, but so what/I get my rent paid with it…/And them bitches stay mad ’cause they working so hard/While I’m working so smart, oh/It’s a small price to pay/when you’re living this good and he keep me in the hills/and he kept me out the hood.” Yet, despite its unrepentant attitude, the song is haunted by the pressure imposed on sex workers by the inevitability of aging and younger competitors: “But I gotta keep up ’cause there’s new chicks poppin’ up every day…”

Come Get Her-Rae Sremmurd

Not only are Rae Sremmurd’s songs relentlessly catchy, always a plus for my stripper sisters when dancing to a tune, but they share my dancer compatriots’ opinions on all you drunk female customers who hop on to the stage—namely, that someone should come get you and take you off that stage, tout de suite. Especially if Washingtons mean nothing to you, then as an amateur you better make way for the workers who need that cash. Plus, it’s handy to dance to a song that suggests to customers that “the way you movin’/you deserve a couple racks.” Lastly, speaking of odd and unexpected performances in inappropriate venues, check out the bizarre video, in which Rae Sremmurd infiltrate a country bar to play a square dance.

Every single song on Beauty Behind The Madness by The Weeknd (except maybe the duet with Ed Sheeran)

While The Weeknd’s new album didn’t give us any whore-specific songs like “The Morning” off 2011’s House of Balloons (with its “house full of hoes specialize in hoe-in/make that money rain as they takin’ off their clothes” and its rousing get-that-cash chorus, “All that money/the money is the motive/all that money/the money she be foldin’/girl put in work/girl put in work”), Abel Tesfaye will always be a hooker’s go-to musical artist. He makes sweet R+B with hateful lyrics alienated workers can relate to while pacifying their clients with purported mood music. I played “Acquainted” so many times during sessions this year I started musing on whether the “dangerous”/”acquainted”/”complacent” slanted rhyme scheme truly worked while riding guys. Plus, he collaborates with Lana Del Rey on this album, and she’s another artist well beloved by sex workers (despite her many political missteps.) “Fucked My Way Up To The Top,”anyone? And the Christmas single The Weeknd just dropped with Future, “Low Life,” promises that he’ll be making more music that this sex worker loves, anyway—it’s all about being a pillhead true to your lower class roots, ashing on the floor, and turning “a 5 star hotel into a traphouse.”

Please leave your own top 5 sex worker song lists for 2015 from any genre in the comments!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jodine January 4, 2016 at 12:25 am

Awesome blog! Jx


Sateen February 3, 2016 at 2:29 pm

This list is awesome.

Just wanted to throw it out that when I hear Rihanna shout blah blah brrrap braaap I think she’s not mincing words, I hear it like straight gunfire, and I love her for that coz it’s EXACTLY what I think about when one of these bitches doesn’t pay up!

Fantasizing about murdering man children who don’t pay me what they owe me has done wonders for my blood pressure, and I’m here to report that my doctor approves. Big ups to RiRi for saying what it is!


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