The Dumb Bitch Syndrome: Getting A Piece of Love in Hip Hop and R & B
by Goddess Oya
At the beginning of Guy's song, "A Piece of My Love," which was a big old school hit, we used to all go back and forth trying to determine what he was actually saying in one of the background vocals. At the beginning of the song Aaron Hall sings:
The song was about a love affair with someone who is married but doesn't openly declare himself to be such in the lyrics of the song. We know this is the case because he repeatedly says that their love affair is wrong and, indeed, the whole title of his song is directed to his lover who probably wants a more substantial relationship but he reminds her that what she can have is "a piece" of his love. In the second part of the chorus, however, some people think he says "you can have a piece of my love (lovin' baby)" but this could be easily debated by the rest of us who were told (and heard) the words "dumb bitch". I tried to hear something else in the background vocals but it sounds exactly as if he's saying "dumb bitch." It got to the point where we would listen to the radio and grow silent right when that part came on; and when we were listening to the album, we would play that part repeatedly. I realize now that this debate was never resolved but what happened is that we all resigned to the point that whether he said it or not, everything in the song conveyed that he was talking to a "dumb bitch" anyway. The "dumb bitch" syndrome, wherein a woman appears to be so desperate for male attention, material items or sex that she will settle for any man who treats her any way for any period of time, has no say in the matter and is content with this sorry situation.
The "dumb bitch" has no problem being the "other woman," "the mistress" "the hoe" or "the bitch" in her relationship with her so-called man. He is never committed to her, usually married or has another girlfriend and although he gives her occasional compliments on her makeup, jewelry or sexual prowess, he insists that she stays behind closed doors, in the back seats of cars, running home in the middle of the night and in communicate only via payphones, cell phones and two-way pagers. The "dumb bitch" is an accessory and she is considered "dumb" because she is stupid enough to settle for much less than she's worth, all the while thinking she might be worth more because she is offered an occasional trinket, a free dinner or a bang in a cheap hotel. She will never walk down the runway, never be the accompaniment at Awards shows, never hang out with the fellas and the other girls unless they are with their "dumb bitches" and she will never be seen in the full public eye with the man she so adores until and unless he says so, which is usually never. Sometimes these women brag about this type of a relationship. They sometimes write songs that say, "I may be the other woman but I'd better be the only other woman," as if that makes one bit of sense. And, if she ever gets frustrated with the situation and demands more commitment, the "dumb bitch" will become a "pain in the ass" and an annoyance to him. If, in all of their lovemaking, the "dumb bitch" becomes pregnant, she will be a "problem" and a "stupid bitch." If she stays silent and has an abortion, she will be a "good bitch" who may be rewarded after being chastised for being so careless. However, if she decides to have the baby against his wishes and/or the wife or girlfriend finds out, she will be a "bitch hoe" and then a "baby mama" who, if she's not careful, just may end up being a "dead bitch."
But in between all of that drama, as long as she uses birth control and denies half of her humanity, the "dumb bitch" will be rewarded with compliments, favors, sex and occasional moments of recognition that is supposed to sustain her until one of the lovers grows up. In his most recent tribute to his "dumb bitch" (he doesn't call her that but you'll see), Fabolous sings about a woman who is a kind of model dumb bitch who does what she is told, demonstrates extreme levels of patience and has an altruistic spirit that shows she just wants everyone involved --- husband, wife, girlfriend and mistress --- to be happy. And Fabolous demonstrates just how much he appreciates this kind of a woman. Since his woman doesn't take him to court (for what? Is she one of his baby's mamas?), he "treats [her] like a princess" and gives her a necklace to thank her. In addition to being a princess, she is also a "gangsta" and a "pinch hitt[er]" who is called in whenever he becomes dissatisfied with his wife. He never says she's "second string" but this is what sitting on the bench following the starting lineup means in any game and it's definitely a game he's running. He tells her that even though it may seem as though he's just telling her things to make her feel good, the reality is she had to play in the backfield for a while before she could be called up to bat. In a classic R.-Kelly-silly-lyric-car-analogy, he tells her, "It took time to get from the back seat to the passenger," meaning that you have to agree to be a cheap floozy who is constantly hidden in the back seat (with tinted windows?) and is usually providing sex in the back seat (with tinted windows?) before you can have the privilege to ride in the passenger seat (where the wife is usually sitting when they go to church), for example:
So, the "dumb bitch" should be congratulated for demonstrating such wisdom and patience. If she were working at McDonald's it would mean she would get promoted from fries to burgers. Maybe one day she could get to cashier or eventually be the manager of the franchise. Fabolous is definitely considerate of his wife, even while thinking of his mistress:
For the record, the term "wifey" is supposed to mean one's girlfriend or heavy dating partner. It should not be used if the couple actually gets married. Then, she goes from "wifey" to "wife." However, it's good to know that given such high levels of deception, were these two women ever to meet they would engage in acts of violence trying to settle their feelings relative to their respective husband and boyfriend. He reassures her that "it'll be alright" but since when have you seen a catfight not get ugly? Will it be "alright" because his wife is also a "dumb bitch" who will tolerate his philandering?
After the chorus wherein he admits he's wrong, Fabolous is back to giving his "dumb bitch" a locket in return for her silence, for never stepping "out of line" or "out of pocket". And then, just like we hear constantly regarding "ryde or die chicks", Fabolous wants his "dumb bitch" to live up to her name and "play dumb if cops do come through" conducting an investigation after he pulled out his gun in an effort to protect her. It's nice to know that he will commit murder for her and buy her necklaces but doesn't care enough about her to actually exit her life and let her get a man of her own with whom she could be a priority instead of a second string, back seat stroller.
In addition, he pays for clothes and beauty treatments for the both the girlfriend and the wife, separately. Fabolous is fabulously generous:
In the meantime, he keeps an eye out for his wife and keeps the roof of the convertible up just in case she might catch them in the car together.
Sticking to the "dumb bitch" mode of communication, Fabolous brags that she "always get a daily page, weekly ring" and unlike his wife, she "ain't too shy to do them freaky things". Also unlike his wife, he "ain't gotta put a band on your finger" because why on Earth would a "dumb bitch" want some kind of a symbol of commitment or devotion beyond another necklace?
With these stupid lyrics, it will be another R. Kelly remix, for sure. Earlier, the "dumb bitch" was pulled up off the bench, made a pinch hitter and was promoted from the backseat to the passenger side of the car. But now, she is reminded that she is the side dish while the wife is still the entrée. However, she should take solace in the fact that a grilled chicken breast tastes better with some mashed potatoes and a little bit of chicken(head) gravy on the side:
Remember when Keke Wyatt stabbed her husband on Christmas Day 2002?! Now just take a look at that pretty, innocent face. Does she look like a murderer to you? It's brothas like Fabolous and sisters like this "dumb bitch" that will take such sweet singers (and ordinary folks) to otherworldly places. I can't say her husband was cheating but stabbing him five times with a steak knife didn't come out of nowhere. Even though there's variation between different states, in a court of law "Crimes of Passion" are real but is not exactly a legal term. Still, people seem to get less time for committing such acts because it's a subset of murder in which "motive" must be considered. Why? Because human beings seem to know that betrayal, dishonesty and inconsideration are extremely hurtful to encounter, especially from loved ones. Nevertheless, Fabolous is enjoying the moment and the "dumb bitch" seems to be doing the same.
Just keep in mind that the "dumb bitch" syndrome is a psychological condition, not a person or a permanent place. If you're playing yourself by playing the role, get up outta that video before you wind up knocked out on the corner of 106th and Park.
Released: June 26rd, 2003
The views and opinions expressed herein by the author do not necessarily represent the opinions or position of Playahata.com.