During her recent TED talk, Monica Lewinsky, aka the Most Famous Intern in the World (after Joe Biden), said that she’d been referenced in almost 40 rap songs. “Hi, I’m Monica Lewinsky,” said the former handbag designer. “Some of you younger people might only know me from some rap lyrics.”
Turns out, she’s actually referenced in three times that amount. According to the annotation website, Genius, Lewinsky’s name has appeared in at least 128 (!) rap songs, mostly as a synonym for fellatio.
Some songs use the scandal as a historical touchstone, as when Celph Titled raps, “Shit was good when Billy Clinton was gettin Lewinsky pussy.” But mostly, references to Lewinsky in hip-hop have one of two meanings. The first is global shorthand for all things fellatio and can be found in English, Polish, German, Spanish, and French rap songs. “The cigar” makes only a single appearance, but at least 70 songs use her name as a verb related to oral sex: i.e., to Lewinsky, to give Lewinsky, to get Lewinsky. Sometimes her name is synonymous with coming, both as a verb and — when paired with face, dress, or gown — a noun. See: Beyoncé, in “Partition,” whose sex partner “Monica Lewinsky–ed all on her gown.”
The other use of Lewinsky is as a derogatory term for an inferior person — either an insult against lesser emcees (referred to as “Lewinskys” or accused of sucking like Monica) or a stand-in for a prostitute or willing sexual partner. Songs casually use Lewinsky to refer to the women who throw themselves at prominent men in clubs, to insult women who kiss and tell, or to label the “obvious sluts,” who are power-hungry. One song, “It Has Been Said,” by Aaron Omar, even uses Lewinsky as a virgin/whore moral lesson, warning listeners to avoid becoming a Lewinsky: “You should be a Michelle Obama.” And of course, there’s the now-infamous Chris Rock mock interview, in which he used Lil Kim samples as Lewinsky’s answers to demonstrate just how crass Lil Kim was (its own kind of inverse slut-shaming).
What a terrible fate. You make a mistake at 22 years old and BOOM, your name becomes a stand-in for rappers searching for “clever” ways to discuss oral sex. I will spare you the 3,000 word think piece on fame and sexual power I have loaded in the chamber. Besides, as usual, Chappelle said it best:
New York Magazine has the entire list.