Hip Hop Is for Lovers: Reflections on Being Kanye West’s “Perfect B*tch”
By Patia Braithwaite
It started with a text message:
BFF: How would you feel if someone dedicated a song to you called, “Perfect Bitch.”
Me: [sarcasm] Honored and humbled. You?
BFF: Not so much. Apparently that’s the title of Kanye’s new song for Kim Kardashian…
FLASHBACK: The year was 2008, and I was 24 years old. I was living on my own in Harlem (albeit East Harlem) — the home of all the upwardly mobile black people I knew. I worked in midtown. I worked in television. I worked 20 hour days for less than minimum wage. I thought I was glamorous because I was poor, creative and in love.
Beyonce Knowles had just released I am…Sasha Fierce, and — every morning on my way to my lowly production job — I became Sasha Fierce. I sat on the crowded 5 train and (silently) belted out the lyrics to Halo. I gave sold out concerts to the people in my head and dedicated each performance to my beloved.
“This is love,” I thought as I pulled off my ear buds and sat down at my desk each morning. At the time, I was dating an amazing man that irritated the hell out of me. I pretended not to be irritated. He was, after all, amazing. One day, in an uncharacteristic outburst of affection, I played Halo for him and professed my devotion:
“Everywhere I’m looking now/ I’m surrounded by your embrace/ Baby I can see your halo/You know you’re my saving grace”
In retrospect, that was far too intense, but I was 24 and prone to such outpourings. He was touched. A lone tear might have rolled down his cheek. He thanked me for seeing him that way and we made love had awkward 24 year old s*x.
A few days later, he came over to my apartment. He was extremely excited.
“I found a song that reminds me of you.”
I expected some old school Marvin Gaye or at least Maxwell ( I would’ve settled for Usher…after all, I was listening to Beyonce).
“Listen to this,” he said before playing the following:
She make me beg for it till she give it up/And I say the same thing every single time/ I say you the f**king best, you the f**king best/ You the f**king best, you the fu**ing best/ You the best I ever had, best I ever had/Best I ever had, best I ever had, I say you the f**king…/Know you got a roommate, call me when it’s no one there…..
I remember twitching in irritation. Drake? Yes, I know it was 2008 Drake; thus, my boo was a few seconds ahead of the curve. Yes, I know there are actually some endearing lines in that song, but seriously? I was annoyed.
“ I’m the f*cking best?” I asked, trying to hide my incredulous stare.
“You are,” he said. “I feel like this song was written for you.”
His eyes were full of admiration, and he had a dopey love-smirk on his face. I didn’t have the heart to tell him he needed to find another song. I was too in love to realize that a man who dedicated this song to me wasn’t as deeply in love with me as I was with him.
Why do I tell this story? Because like my ex, Kanye West is a douche bag. Any man who dedicates/writes a song to his girlfriend entitled “Perfect Bitch,” doesn’t really love her. It’s almost like saying, “You’re pretty for a dark-skinned girl.” If you have to qualify, it cheapens the compliment. You’re perfect, b*tch; Of all the b*tches I know, you’re the perfect one. Not okay…
For the next 45 minutes, our source says the 35-year-old rapper played a number of new tracks that sampled other music and included “a similar production style (to the one) he used on his wildly successful album with Jay-Z last summer, “Watch the Throne.”
But the standout track of the night, according to our insider at the club and a source close to the mercurial rapper, was a song that included the chorus “My perfect b*tch.” Our second source says the song is about his current and former girlfriend. “(He raps) verses about his search for the perfect woman and how he has now found the “perfect b*tch,’ ” says the insider, adding that there are a number of descriptions in the song that reflect the looks of the curvalicious Kardashian and Rose. “The crowd was on their feet,” says the first source. Our second source says the song, which West has tentatively titled “My Perfect B*tch” due to the repetitive chorus, uses the same melody from the 1937 composition “Carmina Burana,” a cantata by German composer Carl Orff.
Now in all fairness, I can’t find the lyrics to this song, but let’s reflect for a moment: Kanye wrote songs about Jesus and didn’t title them “That Ni**a Jesus.” He wrote a song about his mother and used the correct noun to describe her (RIP Donda West). And yes, I know, when it comes to describing his relationships, Mr. West isn’t always the most respectful (throw some D’s!), but someone needs to tell Kim Kardashian to be outraged. Someone needs to tell Kim a lot of things, but that’s another story all together. While we’re at it, someone needs to tell these 24 year old dudes to abandon the thought of dedicating that song, or any song that uses the terms “b*tch” “h*e” “sl*t” or alludes to your infidelity (ehem…Drake), to your lady. She’s your LADY! You are dooming your relationship, I promise.
MOST importantly though, someone needs to tell all the little (and not so little) girls that will inevitably like this song that being someone’s “Perfect Bitch” literally conjures the image of a well-trained, well-groomed dog. There’s nothing endearing about that.
Ladies, what’s the worst song you’ve ever had a man dedicate to you? What’d you say? How did you react? Fellas, do you think there’s anything wrong dedicating a song to your woman that has profanity in it? Does it cheapen the sentiment?
Patia Braithwaite is a Brooklyn-based relationship writer. Her work has been featured in The Coral Gables Gazette, Florida Inside Out Magazine, Yahoo Shine, and BounceBack.com. She’s currently working on a non-fiction book that explores the various ways men see God and how these views impact their romantic relationships. Check out her musings and more at: www.menmyselfandgod.com