(Featured Image: Lucille Bogan via Wikipedia)
(This article includes lyrics and music videos that are a bit NSFW)
Following the recent release of Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s ode to sex, “WAP” (Wet-Ass-P*ssy), there has been a rise of people declaring how much the song goes against the spirit of music due to being “crass.” Those who defend the song like to note that songs like WAP have existed for a long time and that many beloved songs were just as raunchy and explicit in the 80s and 90s.
So, I want to talk about Lucille Bogan, the 1930s Jazz singer who liked to sing about her WAP.
Well, to be fair, Lucille Bogan (April 1, 1897 – August 10, 1948) sung about a range of explicit topics. Considered a “Dirty Blues” singer, she was not shy when it came to discussing the reality of her life, including drinking, sex work, and sexuality. When she sang about her sex life, she didn’t hold back.
“I got nipples on my titties, big as the end of my thumb,An excerpt from “Shave ‘Em Dry II” by Lucille Bogan
I got somethin’ between my legs’ll make a dead man come,
Oh daddy, baby won’t you shave ‘em dry?
Now, draw it out!
Want you to grind me baby, grind me until I cry.
Say I f*cked all night, and all the night before baby, And I feel just like I wanna, f*ck some more,
Oh great God daddy.”
A lyrical masterpiece? Mayhaps.
“I gotta big fat bellyAn excerpt from “Till The Cows Come Home” by Lucille Bogan
I gotta big broad ass
And I can f*ck any man With real good class Talking ’bout f*ckin
Talking ’bout grindin baby all night long
And I can do it to you honey
Until the cows come home”
A sign that women have sung songs for a very long time expressing their desire for not just regular sex, but that weird “I can’t look my partner in the eye when we are done due to the shame of what acts of carnal sin we just performed” sex.
Lucille’s songs were adult and raunchy and makes for aggressive get in the mood songs. If W.A.P. is two women expressing how much they like sex, Bogan’s music was about how much she prided her sexual feats.
“Oh daddy, daddy shave ‘em dry,Excerpt from “Shave ‘Em Dry” by Lucille Bogan
I would f*ck you baby, honey I’d make you cry.
Now your nuts hang down like a damn bell sapper,
And your dick stands up like a steeple,
Your goddam ass-hole stands open like a church door,
And the crabs walks in like people.”
Bogan’s songs were not all about sex as she did go on to sing the beautiful “Jump Steady Daddy.” Lucille Bogan would go on to later manage her son’s jazz group, later passing away in 1948. She would enter the halls of history as one of the most unique performers to ever live, Lucille Bogan’s name sits alongside other jazz performing women who had pride in the fact the enjoyed sex, such as Irene Scruggs, Julia Lee, and Ma Rainey, each with their own special styles and tone.
“When he’s around there’s not a thing I lack. When he loves me he holds nothin’ back.Excerpt from “King Size Papa” by Julia Lee
King size papa. He’s my king size papa. Everything that I need he carries in his king size pack.”
Women singing frankly and openly about how much they enjoy sex is not something new or damaging to music. That is what we can take from the fact that a genre considered as conventionally classy as jazz has some real aggressive songs about sex, written roughly 85 years ago. It is weird that two performers singing a song for adults are being told they are role models and letting down the fans that like them, when those same fans, and beyond, enjoy the song.