Recently I read an interview with rapper Shawnna who brought up a valid point about female rappers. There are few female rappers who are mothers because it is difficult to be an artist and raise a family. In this interview, Shawnna reveals the hardships that females face when their careers take off. The type of abandonment that Shawnna refers to is not exclusive to female rappers but is a conflict that all female entertainers have to face. “We (Shawnna and Remy Martin, another female rapper) both have kids. Before us, the female rappers weren’t mothers. They didn’t have kids. The industry doesn’t understand how to deal with us. We can’t be gone forever all the time. I had Jeff Dixon of DTP tell me today that “you need to be thinking about just never being home” and I had this conflict with him that there’s no such thing. I have two children, there’s no such thing as never being home. Y’all gon’ have to make adjustments to where the bus is kid-safe or you’re buying additional tickets. There’s no such thing as I’ll never be home.” The problem of leaving the kids home while the mother pursues a career is very common, especially when the job requires the mother to be on the road. This is a dilemma since mothers, like Shawnna ,want to be physically present in their child’s life but do not know how to negotiate their jobs. Not only are the mothers unsure about how to balance their careers, but those who are in higher positions than the artists are also oblivious to the ways that a mother can have her children and maintain her job.
Shawnna’s career as a successful rapper has started to take off. She is the first female signed to DTP, a record label created by grammy award winner Ludacris. Her bio is well written, mentioning the rapper’s aggressive attitude that started her career, her legendary father’s musical accomplishments, and credits the rapper for having the “complete package of skills, looks, charisma and of course, sincerity.”
Is this ‘complete package’ requirements for both male and female artists? How does it match up to what characterstics males artists need?
The complete package described is exclusively a requirement for successful female rappers. Men do not need to be equipped with the identical traits. All rappers need to have skills but looks are not a key factor when considering the career of a male rapper. Masculinity and street credibility are highly ranked in substitution of looks and sex appeal. The credentials for being a female rapper has more to do with the physicality of the artists and less to do with raw talent. People often question whether ot not a female rapper writes her own rhymes although many male artists are guilty of having “ghost writers.” This suspicion can derive from many places, such as he
Male and female rappers are not held at the same level of scrutiny. It is much harder for a female rapper to be successful. She has to have the complete package, a package that most successful male artists do not possess. The standards and stipulations of being a good rapper should not be sexist. Unfortunately the rap game is designed so that it is more difficult for a female to succeed.