Anyone who knows me knows I’m a huge fan of rap music by a variety of artists. One of my favorite rappers, Wax, has a song called “I Ain’t A Real Man.” The catchy hook qualifies the title:
I ain’t a real man, real men work
Digging, digging, shoveling dirt
The kind of work, that when you get home your back hurts
Blood stains cover your shirt, that’s real work
The rest of the song goes on to explain how Wax doesn’t consider himself a “real man” for working in the music industry as a rapper when there are firemen, soldiers, plumbers, migrant workers, coal miners, truckers, and even McDonald’s employees who are laboring under worse conditions for worse compensation. I thought it was an interesting perspective, considering most rappers take pride in boasting about their masculinity and degrading that of any competition in the industry.
We learned that masculine identity is often expected to include certain elements of success and self-reliance in one’s field of work, but in spite of this, Wax admires laymen who work more labor-intensive jobs for less wages. Listening to the song is helpful in understanding the dynamic logic he offers, so I encourage you to check it out!