Every character on the animated sitcom Family Guy is multifaceted; each with their own quirks and vices and metaphorical prevalence to American society. Take Stewie Griffin, for instance, who is the brainiac toddler that is hellbent on destruction and world domination. Children in America, while not obsessed with destroying the world, have vivid imaginations and their youthful ignorance makes them feel they can rule the world, before societal norms and other people's morals seep into their psychology. Children are also much brighter than some will give them credit for and have the potential of greatness, but are limited by their age and confused about their sexuality. Stewie’s father, Peter, represents the blue collar male in America and, unfortunately, the Hip-Hop culture.
Much of the show’s comedic moments comes from Peter’s impulsiveness. He does what he wants, when he wants, no matter the cost, circumstances or inconvenience to others around him. If he wants to get drunk at a movie theatre, punch a hole through the screen and then make a mockery of the Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, he will get drunk at a movie theatre, punch a hole through the screen and then make a mockery of the Alcoholics Anonymous meetings without a second thought. Hip-Hop suffers in part from that braggadocious impulsiveness. While the wave of independence is a great thing for artists to get their music out, the quality of the music has declined. Record labels want a package to be perfect when it is introduced to the public, making artist development a crucial part of the process. Nowadays, performers skip the developmental stages and put themselves out there, most of the time being a raw, underdeveloped product that fails to connect with its intended audience. Sometimes, patience on the front end will mean bigger success later.
Peter Griffin’s drinking issues are well-documented on Family Guy. Many of his shenanigans take place because of his drinking, like the time him and his friends completely destroyed a library in drunken stupor, which forced the town’s mayor to raise the legal drinking age to 50, ergo, 42 year old Peter could not legally drink anymore. Hip-Hop and drugs have been linked since the 80s. Tone Loc and The Beastie Boys made songs in admiration of marijuana before Dr. Dre took over that space with The Chronic in 1992. In more recent times, “molly rap” became an actual subgenre of music. Xanax and codeine mentions can be heard over the airwaves, and from two of Hip-Hop’s biggest acts, Future and Lil’ Wayne, who have admitted use of these drugs during songs. The days of songs like “White Lines (Don’t Do It)” are gone like the Walkman and MP3 player.
Peter’s wife, Lois, and his teenage daughter, Meg, are often the victims of his belligerent behavior. In fact, he treats them pretty awful at times, especially Meg, who has been farted on, hit with a whip and told that she “sucks” by her father . Women are constantly at odds with Hip-Hop, whether it is the misogynistic lyrics, or degrading imagery, or the constant belittling of Black women. Just like Lois and Meg allow Peter to act the way he does with little pushback, some of the same women who complain about the Hip-Hop product are the ones consuming it.
Gender politics has permeated almost every aspect of our culture. Peter often cross dresses and Hip-Hop stars are following suit. The lines between man and woman are becoming blurred, and artists like Young Thug and Lil’ B continue to push the narrative of masculinity, or lack thereof, in Hip-Hop. To a different extent, Drake has also spurred this discussion with his catalogue of emotionally-fueled ballads.
Next time you watch Family Guy and witness another idiotic stunt pulled by Peter, think about how his actions run parallel to Hip-Hop.