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 Article - Death of the Female Rapper

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PostSubject: Article - Death of the Female Rapper   Tue Sep 09, 2008 12:52 pm


Article by: Ashley West-Nesbitt

Its Friday night and you’re up in the club looking fresh. The dance floor is packed with sweaty bodies dry-humping strangers and the Dj is feeding everybody’s habit to dance all night long. Hyping the crowd up he screams into the mike, “ Do the ladies run this mutha…” And the congregation of booty-dropping females screamed,” Hell yeah!” right back making the night theirs. But outside the club, especially in Hip-Hop, females ain't running nothing.

Obviously it’s no secret that men dominate Hip-Hop. Out of every male crew, there seems to be room for only one worthy female for them to sponsor in to the rap game. From the platinum-plus album sales, endorsement campaigns and Hollywood movie deals, male rappers seem to represent the face of Hip-Hop while the presence of real female emcees are becoming extinct. It’s rare to come across a female emcee that is lyrically superior and who will challenge herself to deliver superb hits that touch on a variety of subjects that will showcase her skills as a supreme wordsmith- not a supreme sex lyricists. But unfortunately that’s the type of female rapper industry heads are pushing out. The type with designers clothes pasted on them and a mountain of weave on top of their head shouting into the mic that they are the truth but after one hit they flop. Why? Because after all the extensive publicity, their transparent lyrics get chopped-up and the only thing left that stands out clearly is their triple x makeovers.

People are getting tired of buying into gimmicks. And it shows because sales for some female rappers are plummeting. Maybe seeing the same female rap clones talking about the same mess - sex, materialism, and men- over and over again frustrates listeners. If rappers are going to talk about the same topics at least flip-it to make it appear brand new because its coming to be a point where if a consumer purchases one female rap album they bought them all. Its crazy to spend your money on something that lacks originality and depth, right?

However, there are few main female rappers like Eve, Foxy Brown, Lil’ Kim, Shawnna and Remy Martin who are attempting to break the cycle and hold it down as queens of Hip-Hop. Yet with their street images and understated talents, some of these ladies haven’t been able to maintain their respectable careers as rappers. Eve--one of the realest rappers that spoke directly to their female audience about being in love or being in abusive relationships--put down the mic briefly to make moves with her sitcom and clothing label. Foxy Brown and Lil’ Kim, two of Hip-Hop’s reigning female rappers seem to struggle with resurrecting their lyrical--not tabloid-careers. After the success of their classic debut albums, both artists have failed to follow-up with a solid album without their male companions. From legal to personal troubles, Foxy Brown and Lil Kim seem to have lost focus and got caught up in the ugly side of rap--a side that many artist seem to never shake, take DMX. And despite the poor sales with her critically acclaimed fourth album and her short stint in jail, Lil’ Kim seems focused on her craft now and ready to restore her queen status among newcomers like Remy Martin and Shawna. Yet, these two rookie rappers are handling things abit differently than the other females: they are learning to balance their sexual persona with tight lyrics to get people’s attention and their respect. Check out how Shawnna fooled people with her song “Gettin’ Some” which sounds like a sex anthem from the title but actually turns out to be the opposite and if people haven’t seen the freestyle battles of Remy Martin then their missing everything about Remy. Hopefully, these two ladies wont disappear and have their faces etched on the backs of milk cartons with the headline “Another Female Rapper Lost.”

But Hip-Hop wasn’t always missing a sharp female voice. Back in the 80’s and early 90’s, female rappers were in control; it was their period of influence. There were groups and solo acts of female emcees coming out hard and taking their own mics to battles. Female rappers were proving that they had a high place in Hip-Hop from the jump. And with or without the presence of sex, past female rappers were diverse lyricists. Take Mc Lyte, the madam of rap known for her metaphorical stories and lyrical intelligence but when needed Ms. Lyte could flaunt her need for a rough neck just as naturally. She didn’t sound like a guy was making her deep throat those lyrics to boost her sex appeal to sell records; it seemed as if she wanted to genuinely be roughed up. And on the other side Salt-N-Pepa, the first all-female rap crew to hit the charts in a big way, had their sexual hit “Push it” but then later extended their skills to promote sexual awareness and to give praise to mighty good men. They didn’t limit themselves or their music. Female rappers during that period weren’t spitting about fantasy issues all the time like jewelry, million-dollar houses, or designer clothes; instead, they used some of their time on the mic to tackle real issues that people-their fans- dealt with.

Maybe it’s the structure of society that hinders female rappers today from rising and from pushing themselves as artists. With all these faulty messages and distorted images tainting the fresh minds in the streets, some female rappers make the choice to project those images in their lyrics to sell records and to gain mass appeal. As a result some may gain nothing but a slice of notoriety and others get stuck in the one-sided persona they try to portray. Yet, there are a few defiant females emcees out there that are staying true to the essence of Hip-Hop like Jean Grae, Jane Doe, Lady Luck and Bahamadia keep it real with a slew of songs that are quality thinkers. And these ladies maybe called underground rappers or whatever, they are not being sold-out and used by companies or wasting their talents to cadge the minds of their listener’s. They are using their flow to take Hip-Hop to a higher level. Because even if you’re in the club or on the streets, everybody knows that the people on the higher levels really run stuff. So lets get lifted.
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