By Dee Lockett
Blog editor

A line from a new Rick Ross verse that glorifies date rape demonstrates the heart of the problem.

“Put molly in her champagne, she ain’t even know it. I took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain’t even know it.” For Rick Ross, I imagine this is just a typical Sunday night at LIV. But for more than 14,000 women and men each year, the Miami rapper’s not-so-eloquent verse describes the hellish experience of drug-facilitated sexual assault. The above lyrics come from Ross’ feature on what will obviously be a Grammy-winning smash hit “U.O.E.N.O.” off Atlanta rapper Rocko’s mixtape Gift of Gab 2 (oh, the irony).

Rappers spit insensitive ignorance all the time, so it really shouldn’t surprise me that even a highly publicized case like Steubenville didn’t deter Ross from so casually rapping about rape. But this extends beyond lyrical content and becomes a cultural issue, because this isn’t just a verse that mentions rape; it glorifies the act. And this isn’t just rape, it specifically deals with date rape drugs in a surprisingly nuanced way. “Date rape drugs” usually include alcohol, GHB, or roofies. Here, Ross talks about using molly to drug a woman into a vulnerable state. But molly’s a street drug, one hugely popular in rap culture (woo!). So if you think this verse is thoughtless, consider how Ross tailored the scenario to his fan demographic. That malicious intent disturbs me.

But Ross’ response to critics, particularly this public petition, disturbs me the most because it demonstrates the root of the problem with rape culture. In an interview with New Orleans radio station Q93.3, the rapper took the “It Wasn’t Me” approach, saying, “It was a misunderstanding with a lyric, a misinterpretation where the term rape wasn’t used. I would never use the term rape in my records.” Oh, my fault, Ross. I clearly misunderstood when you said you drugged a woman’s champagne, took her to your home, and “enjoyed her” without her knowledge or consent. That doesn’t sound like rape at all. So sorry.

Language is rape culture’s greatest partner in crime. This whole “well, it sounds like rape, and it probably was rape, but no one’s saying it’s rape, so it can’t be rape” societal thought process facilitates the cycle of rape. Had Ross instead rapped, “I took her home and I raped her, she ain’t even know it,” even the biggest Rozay stans would’ve second-guessed their allegiance. But rape is the Voldemort of crime: no one ever protests the phrasing “he murdered her” or “she robbed him.” But “he raped her” just begs excuses and qualifiers.

And while I’m doling out the blame for rape culture, I too must hold myself accountable. One scroll though my Pandora account reveals my Rick Ross station. Yeah, I grunt with the rest of ‘em. I even paid to see Rick Ross at last year’s Rock the Dome And that was after reading a day-in-the-life GQ profile, which briefly noted Ross’ live-in sex slave. The supply-and-demand business model here is idiot-proof: you want the music, you get the music.

But suppose we demanded the industry reject content that normalizes, promotes, excuses, or accepts rape. Suppose we demanded some fucking change.