Where Are They Now (Rmx)-A Plea to Fans of Female RappersJune 25, 2007 at 1:02 pm | Posted in Editorials/Opinions | Leave a comment
“We need more females like you in Hip-Hop, D.”
To me, that was the ultimate compliment. Given by a male writer and acquaintance, I was flattered. I, a female writer and fan of this multi-faceted sound we all know and love as Hip-Hop has watched it grow from being touted as a fad to it becoming a global force in popular culture. Not only was I flattered as a writer but as a fan. But buried in that compliment was sincerity and an appreciation for my knowledge, intelligence and writing talent instead of just my lips and hips.
Before you dismiss this as another pro-feminist rant about how females in Hip-Hop need to be treated with respect (and they do), I ask you to listen, read further and learn. Lately the topic has been about the lack of female presence in Hip-Hop. While many cite low sales and lackluster music as reasons why female emcees remain under the radar, I’d like to explore an oft-overlooked reason: the fans. When will industry professionals and fans alike understand that it is our lack of support, our “need” for females in Hip-Hop that has caused female rappers to slowly become extinct. Sadly, we are all to blame.
I can remember as a teen in the late 90s, I faithfully copped the newest releases by Nas, Jay-Z or whomever The Source’s Record Report deemed as the must-have album that month, only to merely browses over releases by Da Brat, Missy and Eve. Why would I want to blast Eve while riding around as a teenager when I had the LOX rhyming over the synth stylings of Swizz Beatz on my Ruff Ryders complilation? After all, I could always watch Eve, Lil’ Kim and Missy in heavy rotation on BET…wasn’t that a sure sign that these ladies were platinum household names? While that rings true, actions like mine were the beginning of the end for some of my favorite female rappers. Multiply my careless attitude by the millions of fans who felt the same way and those record sales figures begun to pale in comparison to the numbers achieved by Kim and ‘nem’s male counterparts.
While no one can deny the accomplishments females have made, ladies, we still have a long way to go. And how can our favorite female emcees catapult to the top without support from the fans? We won’t ever see a female rapper-turned-CEO/mogul a’la Jay-Z until we begin to regard female rappers as highly as we do our Jiggas and T.I’s. When will we begin to show female rappers the same amount of love?
I, like so many fans, have also taken these women for granted. They do something for women that no other male rapper can: they are our voice. Female emcees provide expression for the juxtaposition of feelings, thoughts and attitudes felt by the assortment of women who listen to Hip-Hop. From the hardcore stylings of Remy Ma to the holistic lyricism of West Coast rapper, Mystic, female rappers are the voice of the female Hip-Hop fan, in all of our complexities and contradictions. Hands-down, Rakim is one of the greatest (I get chills when I listen to “I Ain’t No Joke”) but his music can’t duplicate how I felt when I first memorized all the lyrics to MC Lyte’s “Paper Thin”. I have bought every Nas LP ever made but I still can’t forget the first time I heard Lauryn Hill’s “Lost Ones.” In short, I am a skinny jean wearing, high heel-rocking fly girl who can recite Cormega verbatim but still reads Elle magazine. Now when’s the last time you heard a guy rapping about that? Face it, ladies: no matter how much we love Meth(od) Man, we identify more with Mary and there is nothing wrong with that. But when will we give credit to those who gave us a voice and leveled the playing field in today’s modern-day hustle called Hip-Hop?
The ladies of Hip-Hop give women a voice, period. Their temporary silence can only be broken when the entire Hip-Hop community recognizes and supports that voice. So to Mia X, Boss, Rage, Charli Baltimore, Missy, Lil’ Kim, Sonja Blade, Jane Blaze, Jean Grae, Lil’ Kim, Foxy Brown, Apani B, Jacki O, Shawnna, Remy Ma, Trina, Rah Digga, Lauryn Hill, Amil, Champ MC, N-Tyce, Gail Gotti, Gangsta Boo, Lady Bug, LinQue, Ms. Jade, Monie Love, Marvaless, Paula Perry and all other female rappers past, present and future: We need more females in Hip-Hop like you.