The way female sexuality is perceived is quite strange. Some embrace it, while others condemn it. Some find it liberating, while others find it disgraceful. To argue that it’s viewed on the same plane as male sexuality is naive, and honestly, ignorant. But in my opinion, there’s something extremely powerful about a woman who comfortably embraces her sexuality, and that’s one reason why it’s typically shunned. The female body is capable of incredible wonders. One way that we’ve seen this depicted is through the idea of the honeypot. Now, the term honeypot has a few different meanings. But for the sake of this article, I’m referring to a woman who uses her sexuality to get what she wants, whether it’s information, an item, or even just attention. Oftentimes, the woman is using the other person and their vulnerability to her advantage, praying on the weaknesses of those around her because of her confidence and divinity. It’s used as a term for spies, where the agent uses sex to con someone out of viable information. I think there’s something freeing about that. Imagine being so sure of yourself and your beauty that you can make anyone do as you please. We live in a world that criticizes women who own their sexuality, and yet men are the same ones that constantly exploit it. So why not take control of the narrative, and get what you need? For this article, I pulled examples of women in Hip-Hop songs who used their feminine appeal to control men, often leading to their demise.
In Yasiin Bey’s “Ms. Fat Booty,” he is instantly drawn to Sharice. He recounts every detail about her, including her curves and her jewelry, and finds every bit of it enticing. Despite attempting to play it cool, he trips up and asks her to dance, only to be rejected with the claim that she was leaving. We’ve all used that line and then been caught an hour later on the dancefloor. Fast forwarding in time, Mos gets formally introduced to her at another party. Despite being played for a fool, he’s smitten almost immediately. The boy is helpless. Now he called it from the beginning with the claims that she was “the type of girl giving out the fake cell phone and name,” and even getting rejected wasn’t enough for him to keep his guard up. He knew to look “at her skeptically,” but fell prey to her anyway. As soon as they have sex, he’s canceling plans and at her beck and call. He continues describing how he gets further attached to her, rather than describing their mutual, growing love. While he’s experiencing flu-like symptoms in her absence, he fails to let us know where Sharice is or if she’s feeling the same relentless pining. So consumed by his own feelings, he tries to lock down Sharice without knowing if they’re truly reciprocated, only to find out that she’s afraid of commitment. He wakes up the following morning to her gone, and in the next few weeks that he’s heartbroken and missing her, his buddy sees her at the strip club. While the ending is ambiguous, it shows just how smitten someone can be by the vibes of someone else. Yasiin continues to harp about how fantastic the idea of Sharice is, exclaiming how everyone envied him for dancing with her, but he took their relationship for granted and assumed he had it in the bag. She got what she wanted; the attention and the sex. Once she realized that Yasiin saw it as more than what it was, she left, perhaps because she got bored, perhaps to spare his feelings.
Common’s “Testify” is a bit more of a theatrical approach, although the lead woman’s sexuality isn’t exactly a direct factor at play. Instead, Common alludes to the fact that that’s how she ended up in this position, referencing the classic ‘hoe to a housewife’ anecdote. As a result, it’s fair to assume that at one point she used her sexuality to win over her man, and since then, her persona and their relationship have evolved. During the song, she goes to court to testify on her husband’s behalf. Rather than seducing someone, she made herself into the ‘damsel in distress’ to garner sympathy, using her emotions to manipulate just about everyone. She plays up the performance for the jury, acting erratically, shocked by everything new that the judge has to say. However, the song quickly takes a dark turn. With one simple line, her vulnerable, emotional character breaks away, revealing a stone-cold criminal who actually framed her partner. Similar to a honeypot, she used her stereotypically feminine traits to create a facade, convincing her husband, the jury, and the judge that she was a heartbroken housewife when in reality, she’s the villain that played them all.
Smooth illustrates the differences in connotations for female players versus male players in “You Been Played.” The song begins with her already taunting her subject, rubbing salt in the wound by exclaiming that she used him. At first, I was a bit taken aback by her aggression and malicious behavior, but by the time she compared him to a groupie, I reevaluated it. We see men create songs like this all the time, boasting about how they use women for sport and satisfaction. And yet, when a woman raps about using her sexuality to play with someone’s feelings, my first instinct is to question her morals, associating her with the word bitch rather than player. The fact that we view male behavior like this as acceptable and normal but then see it as ‘unladylike’ or ‘inappropriate’ for women shows that men are held to a different standard. I think the other difference is that although she is bragging about him, she does express concern and second thoughts. But then she remembers that he’s the one who won’t leave her alone, so why not have some fun with it? If anything, she was trying to protect herself because she knew that if she didn’t play him, she would get played. She did what she had to do to protect her heart. Another overlapping theme that we notice for each of these songs is motive. Some want the attention, and in the case of “Testify,” she wanted an alibi. But for Smooth, all she wanted was respect, and I think most women can relate to that.
Beenie Man’s “Bad Girl” perfectly embodies the idea of a honeypot. The whole song is Beenie Man describing this beautiful girl and the effect that she has on him. He talks about the things that gorgeous women say and do to capture his attention, breaking down his walls. And once he bites and gives them what they want, the chorus kicks in, letting him know what they really want. Eventually, they run off, leaving him heartbroken and confused.
Before becoming the progressive, woke kings that they are today, the Beastie Boys created probably the most hilarious example of honeypotting with their song, “She’s Crafty.” During the track, they recognize a number of warning signs about this girl that they’re trying to take home. In fact, just about the whole town seems to know who this woman is and what sorts of games she plays. At that point, can you really even blame her? She’s not hiding her true colors from anyone. (Although we don’t victim blame here at Spice on the Beat.) It seems that the more she lies and destroys her credibility, the more enticing she becomes. The group’s reservations when she’s brought over seem to be justified, because when they wake up the next morning, they see that everything is gone. While she’s known for her sexual promiscuity, it seems like deceit is her most impressive trait. She seduces men, sleeps with them, and then robs them of all that they have.
De La Soul’s “Shopping Bags” looks more at the financial side of honeypotting. I’m not sure if there’s a technical difference between this and being a golddigger, but I guess one is more transparent than the other. Throughout the song, the main character is fully aware of how beautiful she is, with the group exclaiming that “she know what to flaunt.” But the best part about it?! She doesn’t even have sex with the guy! What a power move. They even go on to compare her to a Bond Girl, who in my opinion, is the epitome of a honeypot, especially given the spy context. My favorite part about this song is that in no scenario does the group mention her personality, or that they love her. Everything is so hyper-focused on the way that she looks and the fact that she won’t sleep with them, so frankly, if that’s all they want from her, and she’s able to use and abuse that, then good for you, girl.
Now, Blackalicious’s “Powers” is a more romantic, deeper version of some of these prior tracks. They seem to hold the same mystification as they do in “Shopping Bags,” but the description and attraction go way beyond just her appearance and surface-level attributes. If anything, painting her as the all-around perfect woman makes them willing to do anything for her. With that sort of treatment, of course, she isn’t going to take advantage of anyone. They do these things for her out of love. They also acknowledge that they have competition, and rather than fault her for it, use it as motivation to treat her right. Moreover, they mention that she is fully aware of her other suitors and the depths to which they will go for her, and rather than viewing that as a negative attribute, they perceive it as self-love and confidence. She uses her beauty and sexuality, and yet it doesn’t make her a bad person. Instead, it makes her that much more hypnotic and magical, because she is willing to recognize her self-worth and not stand for anything less. Because of that, they want to explore more than just her physical beauty, and consequentially, she’s willing to create a connection beyond material goods. When there’s mutual respect, the relationship grows. But if you treat the woman like an object, you can’t be mad if she treats you like an ATM or a butler.
Women get sexualized and objectified every day, and when they don’t reciprocate positive sentiments, they’re cocky, unfriendly, or ‘not even that attractive.’ To take advantage of someone’s feelings is never alright, but what if that person’s motives are anything but pure? What happens when it comes down to protecting yourself before you get hurt? If someone uses a woman for her body and is willing to say whatever to get her in a compromising position, why is it viewed as so terrible when a woman does it to her benefit? Is it different when tangible items come into play? Although the idea of a honeypot is a bit of a hyperbole, we see new normalcy in women profiting off of their sexual liberation. In the case of OnlyFans, if a woman is going to be harassed relentlessly for nude photos, why is it wrong to profit off of those same people that want her naked anyway? Obviously, this is circumstantial, but I know how often random men ask to see me naked. Why not pay my bills while I’m at it? It’s a consensual act between two adults, and while the line blurs when the actions are misleading to get a certain outcome, I understand why women do it. When dating, I’ve met men who clearly wanted one thing. When it was apparent that it wouldn’t be easy to get, they tried a bit harder and fell in love with the chase. The desire and lust only intensified, and they were willing to put in the work that they should have initially put into courting me. But I knew that once they got what they wanted, none of it would have mattered anyway. So was I wrong to reap the benefits?
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