While doing research on female rappers, I ran across a very interesting article in the archives of the New York Times. The article is entitled
“RECORDINGS; Female Rappers Strut Their Stuff In a Male Domain by Jon Pareles.”
(Make sure you also read the second page of this article.)

This article commemorates the efforts of rappers like Queen Latifah and MC Lyte for excelling in a male dominated culture such as rap. I was attracted to this article because of its title. After reading the title I told myself that whoever wrote this had made a mistake. They could not be talking about present day female rappers. Then I noticed the date that the article was published. It was published on November 5, 1989! So that’s why the writer was so optimistic about women in rap.

The date makes a lot of sense. Unfortunately female rappers like Queen Latifah and MC Lyte are no where to be found in rap today. And if they are out there, we don’t hear their music or know much about them. This article made me realize (more…)

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The article “Where Have All the Female Rappers Gone” by Nekesa Moody supports the notion that there is a lack of female rappers. Males have always outnumbered females in the game. but there is a recent shortage of female artists. Even the artists who are present are not representing for the ladies. Ice-T, a hip hop veteran said this about female rappers:

“It’s hard for a girl to rap. Rap is a very aggressive, testosterone-based, hard-core music at its base. To rap, you’ve got to stand on the stage and say I’m the best and this is what’s up. It’s a very narcissistic music. It takes a special woman to be able to pull that off.”

Why is that women have to be so exceptional, so special, to rap and men have an easier time getting signed and selling records?

Author Baraki Kitwana says, “Clearly, hip-hop remains this kind of male-dominated and almost locker-room atmosphere, and if women are going to be a part of it, they have to buy into it … they have to almost out-male the men.” This idea may sound absurd but if you think about the female artists of today, this thought of female rappers as mega-male or beyond masculine is not far fetched at all. Successful female rappers, (more…)

Sex is at the center of rap and even female rappers have picked up the topic and ran with it. Oral sex is a form of sex that is usually talked about and Lil Kim and Shawnna have dedicated entire songs to indulge on this subject matter. Let’s see just what they to have to say about it.

Here’s a snippet from an interview with Shawnna about the song:

Rappersroom: Your track “Gettin Some Head” is getting crazy spins in clubs & radios…How did this song come about?

Shawnna: My management called me in the middle of the night. The hook was already on the beat. Producer by the name of XL from Chicago, he sent it to my management and they called me like off the chain, like this the one. This is the one we gotta do. Even when I started writing to it? I never really talked about getting some. I just kinda had fun with the record. I thought about it coming on in the club and what would woman want to hear and throw their hands up and going to dance for a little bit. And I guess (more…)

In the beginning of their careers, it seemed like the two would be able to get along. They both agreed to do a collaboration with Total, also featuring Da Brat, and the video is similar to the bank robbing females in the movie Set It Off. It reminds me of that movie, showing the unity of black females and their rebellion against society.

Total feat. Foxy Brown, Lil Kim, and Da Brat- “No One Else (Remix)”

It would appear that Foxy Brown and Lil Kim are on the same team, but the truth is far from that.

Foxy Brown and Lil Kim have had an ongoing rivalry since the late 90’s. Quite frankly, I doubt that most people remember the exact time that the beef began or who is responsible for initiating the verbal attacks. The only memorable thing is that the rivalry has gone on for years. As a matter of fact, the battle has lasted and persisted for the majority of both of their careers.

The rivalry between the two MCs may have started with the artists but was definitely fueled by the media. It began because the two women have approached rap in a similar manner and there can only be one to wear the BEST title. Both have similar backgrounds, growing up in Brooklyn, New York and the two twist the male domination of rap to (more…)

Lil Kim is extremely explicit and most of her music glorifies women like herself, who gain control by their sexual power. She proves that a woman can be as sexually explicit and graphic as men and get away with it. Her entire persona embraces her image as a sex object, yet she is ironically powerful and dominating. On her second CD, she has a song entitled “Suck My Dick.” The lyrics of this song reveals Lil Kim as a being that only thinks about sex; oral sex in particular is focused on and repeatedly mentioned. Although she has not released an official video for this song, someone on youtube took the liberty of posting the video, using pictures and snippets of Lil Kim in her other videos to provide the visuals. The male voice in the video is 50 Cent, a very popular male rap artist. It is interesting to compare the images of Lil Kim and her male counterpart, 50 Cent. This visual representation adds something to the lyrics of the song.

The chorus of the song is especially captivating:

(more…)

Never have I read such a good piece of writing that compares rappers Lil Kim and Foxy Brown. I found an essay entitled “What is Freedom? A critique of Foxy Brown and Lil Kim.” This essay makes so many valid points on the ongoing debate about who is the better MC. The two rappers are usually compared because of their similar image and style. Both represent a woman that flips the script and acts like one of the boys in rap while maintaining a sexy image, but Lil Kim has had more success. Bell hooks says this about Lil Kim, “Donning blond wigs and getting a boob job so that she can resemble a cheap version of the white womanhood she adores wins her monetary success in the world of white supremacist, patriarchal capitalism and helps her cover up the fact that she has no self-worth.”

This is a harsh and cynical evaluation of Lil Kim but raises good questions about why Lil Kim is so much more successful than Foxy Brown. One theory is that Lil Kim is more attractive by White America’s standards of beauty. She has lighter skin, blonde hair, and resembles white beauty far more than Foxy does. Kim also built her career with the help of the Notorious B.I.G. With such a rap icon as this in her corner, (more…)

Videos are supposed to be a visual representation of songs and is a way for the artist to communicate to the audience. So much about an artist can be learned from a music video. Many rap videos have the same theme: dozens of women, money, cars, and other luxuries that signify the “good life.” Males are the assumed audience for rap videos and the camera picks up images that will please the male gazer. This is often the case even if the rap artist is female. Scenes of lesbians or bisexual women are common and are specifically present to attract the interest of men.

Here is a video by Jackie-O featuring The Ying Yang Twins titled “Fine.”

In most videos created by female rappers, the artist is often made up to have some appeal to men. Female artists sometimes objectify themselves in the video and lyrics of their songs. Jackie- O, a southern female rapper, does just this in her song “Fine” with the Ying Yang Twins, two male rappers. The video places her at the center of attention (more…)