Thursday, July 16, 2009

Music Note #9: Where My Female Rappers At?

Another reason why I love Old School Hip-Hop is the abundance of strong female rappers. In the late 80s to mid 90s, there was Salt & Pepa, Sha-rock, Queen Latifah, Monie Love, MC Lyte, Yo-yo, Da Brat, Lauryn Hill, the early Missy Elliot, the early Eve and the list goes on. What was different about these ladies and some of the female rappers out here today who seem to come and go. Well, first, these rappers had respect for themselves. Second, they did not use their body to sell their music because they knew their music was good enough to sell itself. Yes, they talked about sex and yes they used some profanity, but that was not what their whole career was focused on. They were focused on saying something important. Not only could these ladies stand up to male rappers and be just and good or better, but they also knew that they were not these guys' playthings. This is something that I feel today's mainstream rappers have lost.

For example, in 1993, Queen Latifah did a song called "U.N.I.T.Y". in which she made it clear that a man cannot do anything he wants with her and that includes calling her a b***h or a h**. Her other song, "Ladies First" honored all the strong black women in history. Salt N Pepa's "Lets Talk About Sex" was an intellectual discussion about sex, not all vulgar. "Whattaman" was about the strong black men in their life that they loved (yeah, black love). One of the best known female rappers to use her mind and not her body was Lauryn Hill. Just listen to "Lost Ones," "Everything is Everything," "That Thing," and her earlier records from the Fugees.

Now, let's look at the mainstream female rappers who represent the declining essence of Hip-hop. I really do not expect any better when the male rappers mostly discuss a few topics: money, guns, h**s, drugs, cars, jewelry and yep that's about it. From the female rapper's side, we have Lil' Kim, Trina, Khia, Shawnna and others who feel the need to be in extremely revealing outfits, act like a slut or a h**, get implants, use the word b***h like it is a nickname, and speak about everything they do with such vulgarity (e.g. my butt, my boobs, how I gave someone a blow-job or how I am going to give someone a beat-down), just to sell a song. From what I see, that is only thing they are about and that is very shallow. I hear barely any purpose or positivity in their lyrics. That is not female empowerment or sexual liberation because she is still selling her body which at that moment belongs to the person (or people) buying it. Is this the image to be portrayed to young girls like myself? What makes it worse is that the public keeps buying it, a reflection of our declining culture.

So, what do I have to do now -- basically turn away from the mainstream to find a great female rapper and that's what I did. Artists like Amanda Diva, Ms. Dynamite, Keny Arkana (from France) and other stars in the making are what true Hip-hop is about, which is to make you think. Sex should not be what is selling Hip-Hop, it should be Hip-hop itself and these actual female Hip-hop empresses are doing that.

An up and coming female rapper who should be at the top: Miss Nana "D.O.F. (Death of the Female rapper)

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