“I’m a female and a feminist. I dislike the usage of the word ‘ho’. However, as a geography major, I find this song hilarious, and had to map it,” says Stefanie Gray, referring to ‘Area Codes’ by the rap artist Ludacris.
Rap, for those less familiar with the term, is a genre in which the rhythmic delivery of rhyme and wordplay constitutes the main element of the music. Rap relates to singing as racewalking relates to running – but that’s just my inexpert opinion.
Rap music has been criticised for its content, which often consists of crude and ludicrous bragging about the rapper’s lyrical, financial, criminal, physical and sexual prowess. ‘Area Codes’ could be considered as an example of this phenomenon, sometimes referred to as gangsta rap:
“I’ll jump off the G4, we can meet outside/So control your hormones and keep your drawers on/’Til I close the door and I’m jumping your bones/3-1-2′s, 3-1-3′s (oh), 2-1-5′s, 8-0-three’s (oh)/Read your horoscope and eat some horderves (sic)/Ten on pump one, these hoes is self serve/7-5-7, 4-1-0′s, my cell phone just overloads.”
“In this song, Ludacris brags about the area codes where he knows women, whom he refers to as ‘hoes’,” says Ms Gray, who plotted out all the area codes mentioned in this song on a map of the United States. She arrived at some interesting conclusions as to the locations of this rapper’s preferred female companionship:
- “Ludacris heavily favors the East Coast to the West, save for Seattle, San Francisco, Sacramento, and Las Vegas.”
- “Ludacris travels frequently along the Boswash corridor.”
- “There is a ‘ho belt‘ phenomenon nearly synonymous with the ‘Bible Belt’.”
- “Ludacris has hoes in the entire state of Maryland.”
- “Ludacris has a disproportionate ho-zone in rural Nebraska. He might favor white women as much as he does black women, or perhaps, girls who farm.”
- “Ludacris’s ideal ‘ho-highway’ would be I-95.”
- “Ludacris has hoes in the Midway and Wake Islands. Only scientists are allowed to inhabit the Midway Islands, and only military personnel may inhabit the Wake Islands. Draw your own conclusion.”
Ludacris is not deterred by clever and/or strong women? The concept of Ludacris’ song reminds me a bit of ‘I’ve Been Everywhere’ by Johnny Cash, which, come to think of it, probably shares some subtext with ‘Area Codes’.
Map kindly provided by Stefanie Gray.