Hip Hop x Women. The Two Sides to a Coin
*plays 50 Cent "Get Rich or Die Trying" intro*
Women been part of hip hop for a long time, whether actively on the mic or behind the scenes. Names like Angie Martinez, Lee Kasumba and even Carmen Bryant; have been a pivotal part of hip hop. Even when they step on the mic, they left many mouths gaping in awe and many more rappers re-writing their rhymes to match the ferocity of the woman.
On the 17th of November, South African rapper AKA enlisted an all women ensemble, consisting of Fifi Cooper, Rouge, Moozlie & Gigi LaMayne, for a remix of his chart topper single, "Baddest" and the first concern from people (read: men) were why did AKA feature women. Sad.
That mindset is backward considering that Lil Kim was the hardest spitter in Junior Mafia, Da Brat was heralding So So Def back in the 90s, Left Eye (RIP) gave the all girl group TLC a new dimension, Missy Elliot showed people that Timbaland doesn't only produce for R&B stars in Ginuwine & Aaliyah (RIP), Lauryn Hill... My God L-Boogie... I mean! Figures got gems from L-Boogie, Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is a classic. Not for a woman, no. It is a classic across the whole hip hop. It sits amongs your Illmatic, Ready to Die, Only Built For Cuban Linx, Reasonable Doubt, it sits there. A gem to behold from a talented artist.
Saying, "You rap good for a woman" is parallel to, "You speak English well for a black person". It is NOT a compliment. It is condescending. It's the belief that as a woman, or any entity considered inferior, is surprisingly capable of having talent. It is undermining the raw talent, the hard work and the passion the being has. It is also a safe net for insecurity as it amazes you how much talent this being has, you realise you are no better than them.
There was a post I found on the internet that said Nicki Minaj's verse in "Monster" is the best rap verse in history.
That statement had me feeling that, it is both equally wrong as it is right. Let's start with the wrong.
No ways! Yes that verse is brimstone of a verse but it's battling for top 2 in the song, now you claim it's the best IN HISTORY? Click bait.
Now the right.
The construction of that reaching statement is perfect. It's beautiful! Whether the intention was click bait or get people riled up, it's what I wish to see in hip hop.
They said, Nicki Minaj's verse is the best rap verse in history. I'll repeat, best rap verse in history.
There was no "for a woman" or the hideous femcee, it was put against ALL outstanding rap verses in history. It was ranked in accordance to lyricism not gender. I loved that.
I searched for the term femcee. Only (barely) logical explanation was its a female emcee. That's it?
So my beloved hip hop, we overlook the women who rapped their asses off and made hip hop appeal to everyone who didn't find sagging pants & tales of drug slinging fascinating with a term that segregates them from titles we adore as Best Rapper Alive or G.O.A.T? Now women are femcee, there's a standard only for women in hip hop?
Hip hop is unisex, sexist, misyognist, hyper masculine, patriarchal and very unfair to women.
I say that from the deepest of my heart which belonged to hip hop since '99. I love hip hop more than life itself. Hip hop saved my life. In the same breath, I can't overlook the bad that is associated and embedded in it. A hero can save your life and then use their superpowers to rob a bank. They are a hero for their noble act, but we can't turn blind eye to the bad.
We jam to these songs that degrade women. We create terms to put women aside so we can sing "These hoes ain't loyal" without women feeling offended. The ones that sing along, we embrace as the target of the lyrics.
Again, I LOVE hip hop with all of me. I get uncomfortable when I am rapping along to a song and I feel I have to censor myself because "hoe" & "bitch" are not words in my vocabulary.
Sexism sells. Appeal to a market that loves strippers (I love strippers too) and throwing money, use the most degrading terms as it shows who's the boss, millions of sales.
I searched the Internet for posts about how hip hop is unfair to women. Women wrote most of those posts. Maybe my google search is not thorough, but I haven't found an article by a man. Are men comfortable with rap lyrics that degrade women?
Up to this sentence, you might have called me a purist at least 5 times. Understand this, I'm a realist. I'm a disruptor. I DO love ratchet music. Rae Sremmurd is my go to get wild group. In the same breath, I will not be comfortable with degrading women.
I'm saying, in this hip hop we love & worship, let us see the wrongs we perpetuating in society. Hip hop is a strong movement. Hip hop influences. Let it be right influence. Shout out to the Diddy's & Hovs of the game, black owned companies (not only in hip hop) are coming up faster than a Drake song in the charts. THAT influence, is a good one.
Let's have fun without insulting anyone, let's teach without sounding condescending, let's rap. My people, let's RAP!
For more hip hop commentary, corny jokes & appreciation of women, follow me here: @SDotJR_