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Women In Hip Hop

Women In Hip Hop

            While thinking about the issues raised in this class, I found myself reading through several selections across the book in an effort to find out what this class was about. I skimmed through a few readings from each of the book’s chapters to see if anything caught my interest. One of the most thought provoking articles I encountered was “If Women Ran Hip Hop” by Aya de Leon. The reading consists of a free verse poem that explores the titular proposition; the world described by the poem is very different from the current world of hip hop. The poem is fun to read and contains several semi-humorous passages like “the only folks dancing in cages would be dogs & cats from the local animal shelter”. Its humor is similar to that of “If Men Could Menstruate” by Gloria Steinem, as both articles begin by setting out to examine how the world would be different if another group was in charge. After reading the poem I wondered how different the hip hop and rap worlds would be if women were the majority in control; the first problem I encountered was, would hip hop be hip hop if women were in charge, secondly I wondered if hip hop could ever be controlled by women? In my experience hip hop and rap are certainly male dominated genres in nearly all regards, the vast majority of artists are male and they do not seem to give much value to female artists; in fact they do not give much value to females in general, even female artists like Lil Kim and Nicki Minaj’s lyrics are derogatory towards females. It seems that as a genre hip hop undermines women almost intrinsically and I cannot imagine that hip hop would appear in any recognizable form if women artists were in control. Likewise it appears unlikely that women can take control of the genre, however since Nicki Minaj became famous every major hip hop record label has acquired a female artist; so perhaps this trend will allow more females into the genre and allow for more variety in the future. This is an issue that I intend to research and explore further.


5 Comments

  1. zhassan2013 says:

    I agree, I don’t think that women can be in charge of hip hop since it is probably one of the most demeaning form of music towards women. If they were in charge, it would probably be the same since many women nowadays feel like they have to act like in a way that is represented by music videos and lyrics of rappers which is pretty sad.

  2. hanamattar says:

    Yeah I definitely agree, like Zakaa said, most musicians tend to mold themselves into what would appeal most to the audience, it seems unlikely that hip hop would still be popular if instead of its derogatory lyrics about women were actually gentlemen-like.

    I remember seeing this post on tumblr that questions this exact argument;

    “What if rappers rapped about nice things? Like “Girrrl, imma take your clothes off.. and hang them neatly in the closet, yeah.””

  3. rwhensle says:

    Totally agree Nathan. I’ve never understood why the vast majority of women in the hip-hop world also use their voices to degrade women. Seems like even the women don’t feel as if they can or will be as successful within the hip-hop community if they don’t have lyrics or videos portraying women the same way the men do. Obviously there are exceptions, but for the most part this seems like a trend that isn’t going away anytime soon.

  4. jasonjameson says:

    My question is what would hip-hop be like if feminist ran it?

    You are correct. Even when women are given power in rap; they often are similar to the males with their sexist and derogatory lyrics. I suppose the problem is much deep than rap. Rap is an indication of the cycle of hate and violence.

    If people did not enjoy that type of music no one would buy it. Now the question is what is the cause and effect? Do people buy the rap music because it is available or is the music available since people want to buy it? Of course, both are true.

    I do enjoy some older rap and some of it is distasteful. As I get older, I avoid the nasty stuff. I think a lot of people really do not even listen to the words. They just enjoy the beats and the way the lyrics sound.

    I know I do not know half of what is going on in songs. I look up lyrics sometimes. I find out that I am completely wrong about what they are saying the whole time!! I’ve listen to songs for YEARS and I find out I was misunderstanding it the whole time.

    However, many of the lyrics are clear and they are revolting.

    I think if feminist ran rap, it may sound something like this.

  5. jasonjameson says:

    Here is link to Natasha Miller [T Miller] a slam poet who performed on campus Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at Take Back the Night.

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