It took an elaborate satire for two of hip-hop’s biggest acts to address the elephant in the room of rap.
Saturday night on SNL, musical guest Lil Wayne performed two songs from his recently released LP The Carter V. He brought out pop singer Halsey for backing vocals on “Can’t Be Broken,” and producer Swizz Beatz to perform their song “Uproar” for his second segment. But the real highlight was Wayne’s collaborative appearance, along with the rapper Future, in a skit on sexual consent.
In “Booty Kings,” SNL players Chris Redd and Kenan Thompson starred as The Booty Kings, two flamboyant rappers — “the kings of that booty music” — who rock oversize Time’s Up lapel pendants next to their glaring, gold Booty Kings chains. The skit flips mainstream rap’s penchant for misogynistic content that objectifies women by featuring the duo, along with Uncle Butt (Pete Davidson), as rappers who prioritize consent first. Far from “conscious emcees,” they’re hilariously hellbent on navigating the learning curve.
In the mock music video, The Booty Kings’ oversexed appeals to women in the club come with awkward shows of respect for the objects of their desire: “I’m on a mission for that a**, but first I need permission,” as the refrain goes. “Lights, camera, action / Video vixen / Hendrix steal yo’ girl / But only with her permission,” Future raps in a surprise appearance that parodies the popular, but played-out, conceit of rappers endlessly bragging about stealing their adversaries’ girls.