Rizzle Kicks star Jordan Stephens attacks 'misogynistic' and 'homophobic' rap music
The 21-year-old took issue with Kanye West song Clique, but has he forgotten about his own hit single Mama Do The Hump?
Reared on the mean streets of Brighton, their talents polished at the Brit School fame factory, hip-hop duo Rizzle Kicks have always traded on their good-time likeability rather than seeking to exude the menace of the old school rappers.
In their latest interview however the pair revealed that they have finally lost patience with stars including Kanye West and the genre's continued reliance on misogynistic and homophobic lyrics.
"I can't listen to hip-hop at the moment … I really struggle," Jordan "Rizzle" Stephens told the BBC. "The stuff I'm hearing in the mainstream... it's overly-misogynistic and it's still homophobic," he added. "It does my head in."
The duo, best known for their infectious party anthem "Mama Do The Hump", have become standard-bearers for an updated hip-hop sensibility in which women and sexual minorities enjoy equal respect – even if some of their own lyrics have been called into question.
However, Stephens said he was nonplussed at the reliance of stars on the use of outdated language. "I don't understand why you'd bother. Think of something more inventive to say. It's a cultural thing that needs to p*** off, basically," he said.
Eminem's latest single "Rap God", released last month, contains references to "fags" and "gay-looking boy". Meanwhile, hip hop tracks and videos such as Nelly's "Tip Drill" – which features the rapper throwing cash at scantily clad dancing women – and Dr Dre's "Bitches Ain't S***" have long enraged feminists for their aggressive misogyny.
But Stephens told the corporation that the women he and musical partner Harley Alexander-Sule knew were no longer prepared to tolerate such sentiments that were still being espoused by top artists.
He said: "I think it's even worse for women. I had an ex-girlfriend who was seriously up on her hip-hop, and I played her this song "Clique" with Jay-Z, Kanye and Big Sean.
"The first lyric is 'I tell a bad bitch do whatever I say'. And she just turned around and said, 'what's that?'"
"I don't think we know any women - smart women, who you'd want to be friends with, that would proclaim themselves as a bad bitch."
Rizzle Kicks grew up in north London. The pair met up again as teenagers in Brighton where both families had moved. They began making music at charity AudioActive before studying at the Brit School, whose alumni include Amy Winehouse, Adele and Leona Lewis.
They were eventually signed by Island Records after releasing a homemade video on YouTube.
Their first album went platinum and they went on to support Ed Sheeran. It emerged that they had consulted lawyers over references to former England captain John Terry in a track on their second album, entitled Lost Generation, while they found themselves at the centre of a media spat with Miley Cyrus after criticising the twerking craze.
Despite their noble sentiments their own lyrics have caused some eyebrows to be raised. "Mama Do The Hump" contains the words: "Yeah lemme touch back down/Slap her on the bum until it comes back round."
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