For the ordinary listener, music is the perfect gateway to a carefree day and a practical way to express some repressed feelings; especially when listening to rap, with today’s surplus of subgenres it is possible to channel whatever you’re feeling with your desired artist! You want to feel like a dope dealer while folding your laundry? Listen to Pusha T. You want to get into the zone and feel like you’re putting niggas into body bags? 21 Savage. You want to celebrate getting to the money? 9 out of 10, you naturally thought of a male rapper. In all honesty, for the common listener, it is basically second nature. Now, we cannot discount what the rappers listed have done for music today, but at the end of they all have something in common— being male.
Hip-hop has always been a male-dominated genre, but as women, we go through legnths to be heard. Our pioneer female rappers like MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, Roxanne Shante, and more made sure to leave a permanent mark and inspire many rappers till this very day.
Felicitously, women rappers wouldn’t stop just there! As Hip-hop continued on into its golden age, rappers like Lil Kim, Foxy Brown, Amil, EVE, Trina, Missy Elliot, and more climbed charts, featured on iconic anthems and created cultural shifts all on their own. These women effortlessly carried the torch reminding us that in this male-dominated industry being our own boss is a top priority. Within their lyrics, they pressed on the importance of maintaining our own source of income and of course, playing these niggas with ease.
Subsequently, these rappers received their deserved accolades, perused acting careers, served jail time, and eased out as male rap reclaimed their boys’ only lane. Fortunately, around early 2008 rapper, Nicki Minaj freestyled and trailblazed her way right into our playlists. From her iconic remixes like “Itty Bitty Piggy” and the “The Warning”, she solidified her name during a time where there was honestly a scarcity of women rappers. Dominating for almost ten years and easily reminding us of her queen status with her track “Hard White” from her latest album titled, Queen and hard-hitting features with numerous big names. We also had rapper Cardi B grow into a household name with her nonstop hustle and tracks like “Get Up 10” and “Money”. As a thorough overseer, it is clear that female rap is now shifting into the mainstream and I’ve never been more excited. We now see that most labels are stopping at nothing to push out their own female rappers and more male rappers co-signing female rappers left and right.
With this surge of female rappers, my hopes are that we stop the compare and contrast challenges; especially when it results in pitting them against each other. When a new emerging male rap artist is in the public eye, we often see interviewers be quite optimistic about their future endeavors. We want to know more about what they like, what they’re wearing, and who they would love to collaborate with. They don’t hesitate to advocate with unity and it’s almost a slap in the face when they are quick to put one female rapper against another just for “ha-ha’s”. Watching interviews with female rappers almost feels imprudent as a supporter and viewer. Immediately we hear interviewers become invasive about the rappers’ sex-life, questions steeped with misogyny, and literally force female rappers to compare themselves. When it comes to rap, I think it is important we challenge these barriers. A female rapper is a rapper– whether you like it or not. They put in the same work ethic, they speak their truths and break barriers just like any other male rapper, if not better. Scrolling through youtube, I enjoy watching interviews with Azealia Banks, Young MA, and more challenge interviewers and DJs to focus more on their music than their personal livelihood.
Furthermore, the argument about female rappers constantly discussing the same topic is the most pretentious notion. Male rappers literally rap about bitches, drugs, guns, etc. It’s been a reoccurring motif for the past forty plus years! I’m not saying it’s all rappers talk about, but it’s all rappers talk about. The hypocrisy should be laid to rest already; male rappers are making millions and gaining highly acclaimed credentials just being mediocre, monotonous, and redundant all while the standard for women in rap stays raised and untouched. Why don’t female rappers have more space to do what they want? It would be amicable if women were given the space to experiment without such harsh criticism on basically everything. The small-minded should just keep that same energy when it comes to female rap, mind your business or just bop with us.
Side note: the videos of guys rapping to City Girls “Act Up” are so hilarious and I’m happy to see them fucking with female rap!
The best thing about female rap is that every rapper is capable of evoking the idea of being a woman is indeed a strong suit. Despite whatever background they come from, as women, we are constantly silenced— regularly being told we’re too loud, unyielding, sexual, prude, and more. With hard-hitting bars, every rapper perpetually has a message for their listeners; invariably touching on topics on oppression, sexuality, hardships, relationships, and emotions– their own reality. The bigger picture here is that women are capable of declaring their autonomy. Women are not here to be told what to do, to be easy targets for abuse and told to quiet down. Being able to absorb the stories and lessons these rappers relay to their listeners is an empowering feeling.
Female rap is rap. You feel like raging out to something? Some Rico Nasty or Coi Leray will get you done. You feel like being a beautiful scammer? City Girlz. You feel like channeling your inner hood bitch? Maybe throw on some Queen Key, Asian Doll, S3nsi Molly, or Molly Brazy. Not into being violent, you want to listen to quirky but cool tracks, Tierra Whack, Kari Faux, Junglepussy, or Young Baby Tate. There is so much more, female rap is on a much-needed rise, and as a listener who just happened to be a woman—I’m pretty excited!
If you were fully educated on what hip-hop is as a whole, it wouldn’t make sense to fix your lips and discredit female rap. It just would’nt…
In the words of Megan Thee Stallion, “DON’T GET MAD HOE, GET A BAG HOE!”