More money, more temptation, and often the wives are left to pick up the pieces.
There are multiple facets to any person’s identity in this world. Each individuals identity is subjective in nature to the individual to whom they are identified by. So for instance my father to me is dad, but to another is Sergeant Major Edwards of the US Marine Corps. In this notion we are all a schizophrenic unto the world, should the world share but one view. However, what can be said of our own personal identities to ourselves? Are we categorically individuals with multiple personalities as we see within ourselves? Or does professional capacity make us less susceptible to being crazily less sure of who we truly are? Always asking questions; the story of my life. My thoughts to yours, let’s wrap our heads around the above context as it relates to the following.
The subject of this piece stems from a single I was recently listening to by Snoop Dogg titled, “Late Nights“. It’s a characteristically smooth track from the 44 year old rapper from Long Beach, California, and I rock with it on the regular, so to speak. I have found the greater subject of Snoop Dogg, and an unconscionable amount of other rappers who are supposedly in magnanimous relationships, but choose to rap about sleeping with other women, very interesting as of recently. So interesting that I find it worth my time, and yours as a reader, to further examine.
Snoop hits us with the following hook on said track: “Late night on the move, what you b*#ches wanna do? We can do a hotel or get up in a swimming pool. Set up on the mountaintop, let you get a hella view once you get the diznick, you do what I tell it to.” Now I’m not a lyric critic, or anything of the sort. My point and subject of this piece is simply, how do these rappers get away with rapping about sleeping with other women? Snoop has been married since 1997. What does his wife, Shante think about her husband talking about smashing broads in hotels on the late night? How does Shante, and other wives of rappers deal and feel? Does she care? Does she not listen to his music? Lastly, and potentially of most importance, how do these rappers maintain the image their fans have grown to love as they get older, while also embodying the inevitable lifestyles associated with that of husbands and fathers?
Snoop is not alone in this regard, plenty of artists who are married spit the same bars about a life unbefitting of a traditional husband. My thesis for the vast majority of artists married with children is that their stage name, Snoop Dogg, is a character. Cordozar Calvin Broadus Jr. (Snoop’s real name) Is the man on the daily with the fam, but Snoop is who largely pays the bills. If that’s what these artists tell their wives I can not say, but that’s my guess. Let’s take a ride down the figurative block of selling records by way of glorified infidelity and borderline schizophrenia.
Looking at the current Billboard Top 15 R&B/ Hip Hop tracks, the top songs are largely in the context of enunciating grandiose flares for various forms of promiscuous belvedere. As of writing this the number 5 song on said list is, “Two Phones”, by Kevin Gates. The track is not all that ambiguous in its subject matter; “one phone for the bit#!&$ (derogatory term for ladies), one for the dough.”
Kevin Gates is married to one Dreka Gates, his longtime girlfriend of 13 years. She is also his booking manager and co-founder of their record label, The Bread Winners Association. One would normally think lyrics implying such infidelity would be a problem, but in fact it has not been. Mrs. Gates was interviewed for a piece by The Source; she was labeled within the sub title, The Force Behind his (Kevin Gates) Music. In said interview when asked if she ever considered putting a time-frame on how long she would wait for his proposal, and for him to marry her, she is quoted as saying, “I’m going to say this and I don’t mean this like a little puppy dog, but he just kind of always found his way back home [laughs]. He just got with the program and realized like, Kevin, wake up dude! This is the one right here.” Prior to, Dreka Gates also explained her firm belief in not trying to ever change her partner by saying, “I let him do him and be him, and he does the same for me.” It is hard to clearly define what she meant by this, and to what extent the statement may be applicable, but what is apparent is her explanation points to the grounds of their non traditional, yet successful relationship. I do not doubt that this view has allowed them to not only remain a couple in an industry that quite literally disables loving relationships regularly, but has also allowed them to remain effective business partners over the many years.
Kevin Gates also has 2 children, Islah (the name of his latest album) and Khaza. Not due to a lack of trying, I was not able to specifically find how, if at all the 30 year old rapper may address his children’s overall conception of the many bars in which he rather candidly promotes drug selling, violence, and unlawful street life. What I did find rather interesting is an interview Kevin Gates did with DJ Suss where he speaks about his relationship with Dreka. A relationship that apparently entails his wife potentially giving other women permission to sleep with him. He explains it by saying, “his relationship with his wife is bigger than just sex.” He goes on to say, “I want other men to see my wife booty clapping in the mall, to want to be with my woman. That’s why I am with her. I know she bad. I’m with her for her entirety.” He expresses again how the Gate’s relationship is bigger than any person they may sleep with.
It is not a mystery that the Gates have a working understanding of seemingly radical and broad minded beliefs. The two have established a successful and lasting working relationship that could arguably not only be an example of relationship goals for some, but potentially an industry standard for others. What I’ll add further is that while the Hip Hop industry in some cases is less liberal than others, especially regarding LGBT rights, I have managed to uncover a great deal of evidence pointing to very liberal, and progressive views surrounding what it means to be in a relationship with a partner in the Hip Hop community.
Shante Broadus, Snoop Dogg’s wife, is not so progressive in her beliefs regarding loyalty. She has publicly dealt with Snoop cheating on her with numerous women, including British Playboy model Carla Howe. The two were married in 1997, it would be seven years later in 2004 that the rapper filed for divorce for issues surrounding his crazy lifestyle. In a Rolling Stone interview Snoop gloats, ” I did a Playboy tour, and I had a bus follow me with ten bit#$@! on it. I could fire a bit#@, fu#* a bit&* , get a new ho. It was my program. City to City, titty to titty, hotel room to hotel room, athlete to athlete, entertainer to entertainer.”
You might be confused by the athlete and entertainer part; I’ll explain as it’s fairly simple. Snoop was flat out pimping, using his connections sending girls to high profile individuals, and girls were bringing back money. The enlightening silver lining in this interview comes in somewhat disproving my thesis, at least as far as Snoop is concerned, in a candid statement he made summing up his pimp activities; everything Snoop does, he does for real, not for play. So you’ve heard it here folks: Snoop does Snoop for real, including when it comes to pimping.
Shante, Boss Lady, Broadus is a successful business woman in her own right, owning an entertainment company and dance studio, among other ventures. Her and Snoop have 3 children, and this very aspect of her life is the basis for a lot of her decisions. With that being said The Boss Lady is not unlike many other women who have chosen similar paths when confronted with such issues domestically from their partner. In summary of a few interviews and pieces written on her and Snoop’s self described roller coaster of a relationship, she ultimately reconciled with the rapper for the benefit of their 3 children, and maintaining home life family stability. There isn’t much outside of speculation about what Shante thinks of her husband’s music and lyrics, but what she hasn’t remained so tight lipped about is how much she claims Snoop has had to work to repair their relationship.
There is a particular aspect that is fairly easy to notice with the right ear to the music. The Snoop Doggy Dogg, Long Beach Crip, Gangster Rapper of Death Row is not exactly the same rapper today. What I’ve noticed and is particularly interesting is as the Doggfather has gotten older, and has become more breaded, or amassed more millions of dollars, (for my people who are less familiar with urban vernacular) the lean, tall, smooth California rapper has simultaneously toned down the violence in his raps while speaking more about glamorous lifestyles and rich taste possessions. Needless to say, Snoop doesn’t reside in the hood anymore. I happen to be a firm believer that it’s largely how you say something, not exactly what you say that is important. With that being said, as long as Snoop maintains mastery of his silky, soothing, catchy delivery in his tracks, and stays on the general, widely accepted industry topics of subjectivity, the 41 year old rapper isn’t losing any fans due to a lack of street credit maintenance.
So what is the diagnosis for these rappers who struggle between street and family life, and what is to be said about the feelings of their wives? I believe it’s simple: a person’s actions is consistent of what they value, or in wives terms, what they can get away with. As a wife of an artist you can choose to try to tame said artists, and make your expectations known as Shante Broadus has. This likely leads to the same constant kinds of struggles the Broadus relationship has experienced, all the more evident as Snoop has fallen prey to temptation throughout the years. If Cordozar and Shante Broadus can remain together beyond 30 years of marriage, will remain to be seen. However on the other side of the spectrum, a more effective, clearly more lenient, and perpendicular method of rationale has been adopted by Mrs. Gates. It’s rather clear to me that Mrs. Gates has a more efficiently less dramatic ethos necessary for sustaining a relationship with a rap superstar.
The truth in any type of relationship is that understanding is paramount in these situations, and that all scenarios need be stripped down to the bare bones of the source. Rappers are no less human, but are subject to exuberant amounts of temptation from the opposite sex. You can choose to believe like the Gates do regarding infidelity in rather scientific less meaningful standards, or like the more traditional Broadus’s in which the offender apologizes profusely for their mistakes and the offended party gives way to forgiveness and reconciliation. This is life and regardless of any piece written now or later, life will remain the same for all of eternity; all about choices.
All four parties however share one point in which they agree upon and understand well; they all know how important their husband’s debaucherous tales are to their fan base, a fan base that essentially paid and pays the family bills. So what do you think, should rappers with families tone down their lifestyle? Should the messages and vibe of a rapper evolve in an equivocal fashion professionally to where they are currently and personally in life? You be the jury.