1-800-YouDoYou: Examining Drake’s “Hotline Bling”

Original Print“Although Drake’s “Hotline Bling” can be interpreted as counter-hegemonic due to its allusions to female empowerment and male sensitivity, the song still caters to a dominant masculine narrative that relies on the subordination of female sexuality. This project attempts to explore and disentangle these conflicting messages while recognizing the potential of this song to become a space in which feminist discourse and contemporary hip-hop can coexist.”
—Jade Frost, Mari Young, Charlie Britton, and Nora Teter (Block 5 2016)

“The original cover art for ‘Hotline Bling’ consists of a pink square with the text ‘1-800-HOTLINEBLING‘ written ten times consecutively. The simplicity of the italicized white writing creates a unique aesthetic and therefore distinctive impression.”

“Implicitly, his argument is that she was better off with him, despite the fact that the song is about his yearning for control over her. Here, one could argue that the promotion of male sensitivity is resistant to dominant gender ideologies; yet, the promotion of male sensitivity in the song perpetuates problematic themes, such as slut shaming and controlling male behavior […] The lyrics paint Drake as obsessed with the fact that he is no longer exuding the same degree of control over this woman; yet in the video, he is deliberately depicted as enthusiastically happy, comical even, dancing, and ‘feeling himself.'”

New Print“With ‘1-800-YOUDOYOU,’ we are feeding into the postfeminist mantra by arguing that women have the ‘choice’ to feel empowered in doing whatever they want, but we feel as though we could have delved deeper to question the notion of choice in our print component.”

“It is clear in the original text that Drake is not ‘stressed out,’ because he is lonely and single—instead, he is ‘down’ because his ex-lover is acting in a manner that he deems unsuitable and outside the ‘good girl’ narrative that he tries to impose on her: ‘wearing less’ and ‘going out more.’ This is why we chose to reflect real remorse (both visually and verbally), as well as demonstrate female liberation in the absence of the victimization of a male as well as told from the male perspective.”

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