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Females In Hip Hop
Artists like Wu Tang Clan and Tupac Shakur brought international attention challenging militants to fight, thinkers to think, and DJs to turn out the party. Rumors have it that the female artist is popping up throughout the history of hip hop. But the truth is that the female artist came on the scene in the late seventies along with other male rappers. Lady B was one of the first female rap artists to record an album. If we talk about achievements, for a female hip hop artist to record an entire album not only proved to the world that she had skills, but potential to survive in a male dominated genre. Later, other female rap artists would emerge from the underground, such as Salt n’ Pepper, The Real Roxanne, Roxanne Shantae, Queen Latifah, MC Lyte (first to get a major record deal), Lil’ Kim, Foxy Brown, Lauryn Hill , etc… Although only a few above the underground, there are countless amounts of female talent that never made it into the big leagues. The question today is where is the variety pack? What happened to the female selection of hip hop CDs in the local music stores, or DJ booths? If a girl wants to hear what a woman has to say about the value of a woman, how can they find an album they can relate to?
Every woman in the world has her own story. Not all women are single or even want to lead a single life. In fact, according to statistics, 69.3% of American women are married, divorced, widowed or divorced. 30.7% have never been married. With statistics rating so low, for single women it is amazing how most of the music is geared towards those who lead a single and promiscuous lifestyle. In choosing a female hip hop artist who can relate to real life issues, record labels have failed us. There are countless amounts of men who promote mental growth, knowledge, education and understanding such as Common, Mos Def, 9th Wonder, etc. But today’s female artist seems to be more materialistic and spiritually immature. That’s not to say there aren’t countless men within the genre who are negative. But the fact is that there is a wide variety of men dominating the game on both sides, but few women are heard in the industry promoting positivity through their lyrical content.
Hip Hop has become a competition almost equal to the law firms and medical fields in the 50’s and 60’s when women in those industries were nothing more than litigation secretaries and nurses who actually did most of the real work . The music industry in the US is not teaching young women of the future anything about surviving life. They are taught that it is okay to lower their standards in order to get ahead. Women are gradually promoted as booty shaking backup dancers, bitches, hoes, and materialistic self sufficient yet uneducated girls? Where is the reality in the industry that claims to keep it real? Although Rolling Stones Magazine crowned Nicki Minaj as the Queen of Hip Hop, it would be difficult to prove that she is not due to the lack of competition. There aren’t enough female voices in the industry to get even the best results for the Best Female Rapper category during mainstream award shows. When the majority talk about female rappers, we can only look back in past times to those who ruled well for this generation. If the female voice is to survive in the world of hip-hop, they must present new faces that have never been heard or seen before. Once upon a time, there were many females that emerged from the underground. Of course, that was before capitalists and venture seekers got involved.
The fall of the female rapper
Most female artists in the late 90s were often portrayed by men as a promiscuous gangstress who would do anything to protect the man who disrespected her by constantly calling her names like bitches and hoes. Although a decade has passed, not much has changed since then. The female presented to the public today has no backbone of her own, and is often degraded by men and presented as modern concubines.
Today, activists could compare today’s mainstream female hip-hop movement to Saartje Baartman. For those who do not know the history of Saartje Baartman, she was a slave from South Africa who was persecuted because of the size of her buttocks. They were so amazed by her appearance that they offered to pay her as a dancer. If she went with this plan, she would be able to raise money for the poor tribe she belonged to. Instead they deceived her and used her for their own selfish agenda.
According to former South African President Mbeki,“What followed was five years of exhibitions in museums and at fashionable parties, her spectacular buttocks and breasts exposed, French and British men and women clustered around her, mocking her at the same time that her body made her uncomfortable with her own desire. Their days were interrupted by rape and scientific research.”
This is something that young black girls should keep in mind when performing such behavior. Although Saartje Baartman’s story has been broadcast through plays, spoken word performances, blogs and books, it has apparently failed to make its way into the homes of urban women in America. According to African-American history, black girls have been blamed for rapes, abusive relationships, and accused of being weak-willed and materialistic. When popular culture promotes this type of image to masses of people, they give the world the same impression of urban women. That can be offensive not only to the average black woman but her daughters as well. People are continuously perishing due to the lack of knowledge. If they are not informed about the things that happened in their own history, they lose sight of their own cultural identity and as a result they allow themselves to be used in a way that Saartje Baartman was used. Hip Hop labels, promoters, producers, managers, etc. (black or white) feed young women false information about what it takes to make it as a female rapper. Their whole purpose is to realize their own personal agenda. At the end of the day, when the industry is done using her, she is pushed aside as if she is nobody, because she sees mainstream producers and so on gimmick her by someone else. (Lil Kim vs. Nicki Minaj) Even more than that, they monopolize their so called beef. What is more disturbing is that even black people, some who are educated, continue to promote this image because they see it as a step towards success for themselves and the African American Community. But how does this affect the black community? In the year 2010, there were 434,758 live births to parents between the ages of 15-19 years old. That’s 41.5 live births per 1,000 with African Americans having the highest rate according to the US Census Bureau. 63% of the teen population in the United States suffered an STD before the year 2010. African-American adolescents 13 – 19 account for 1,919 AIDS cases alone. (Respect your mind, protect your body) Hip Hop magazines, blogs, etc. go out of their way to promote negative images of black girls because that’s what’s hot in popular culture. Speaking out about things that affect the black community has become an act of hate and doing wrong has become the history of African American culture according to the stereotypes that are often promoted by mainstream media. More than a few black men lead other cultures to think it’s OK to disrespect the average black girl in this way. When others talk about it, racism is the glue that keeps the propaganda in place, which further gives political parties the motivation to mock blacks like the president of the United States through stereotypes promoted in mainstream media. According to Eric Bolling of Fox News, Obama is shivering in the white hizzouze with thugs while he is forty.
Until the female rapper realizes how they are being demoralized by mainstreamers, they will never develop a community like the men within the hip hop genre. Education is the key to surviving life. We would love to see the average female rapper become not only successful on America’s hip hop charts, but successful in everything they do in life. It is important for black women to stand up and speak out against those who sell the negative images of themselves. Females need to make a movement that lets the world know that they are much more than what is shown on television. All the way from DJs, break dancers to emceeing, women have proven in the past that they are just as talented as any man. But who will support the strong females of today? Who will support the talent that everyone claims does not exist, but has a large community underground?
There must be someone who can talk to the girl with low self-esteem because she is also a part of this world. There must be someone who can guide the poor at heart through their music, or open the blind eye. Each learning is meant to be fast. It wasn’t made to just rock a party, and for those who say that, I would question their passion and knowledge of not only hip hop, but life in general.
What does it take to succeed as a female rapper in today’s industry? Lyrical skills no longer matter. To make it in the world of hip hop in the past you had to have real talent. Now when a female artist puts on an outfit that promotes sexuality, auto-tune can make up for the areas where she lacks creativity. Lyricism no longer counts in a world that has been taken over by corporate America. It only depends on how well you can dress or how much money you have made from your glorious hustling lifestyle. It seems as if women are no longer capable of consciously thinking out loud. All black women are not uneducated, and many have decent paying jobs, college educations and live positive lifestyles with their husbands and children. The big question is why American corporations continue to spread propaganda in hip hop/rap music all over the face of the earth and keep urban youth subjected to an old crack epidemic lifestyle.
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