Rappers have long been catching heat for the content of their lyrics. But usually the criticism comes from outside, rather than from the artists themselves.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Jay-Z appears apologetic about decade-old words that appear to condone prostitution, violence and general disrespect of women. The opening lyrics of the 2000 hit "Big Pimpin'" say:
You know I thug 'em, fuck 'em, love 'em, leave 'em / Cause I don't fuckin' need 'em / Take 'em out the hood / Keep 'em looking good / But I don't fuckin' feed em
Ten years later, Jay-Z has changed his tune. He told the WSJ that upon taking a close look at the words in his new book "Decoded" he wasn't happy with what he saw: "It was like, I can't believe I said that. And kept saying it. What kind of animal would say this sort of thing? Reading it is really harsh."
Jay-Z's more positive messaging can, of course, also be found in the HeadCount public service announcement released last month.
But talk is cheap, according to activist blog change.org. It's asking the multimillionaire to put his money where his mouth is. They've created a petition asking Jay-Z to use the money he made with these exploitative lyrics to fight against actual criminal pimps. To sign the petition, click here.