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 how much the rap game has changes over the last 18 years. It has evolved into a sexist industry that doesn’t know how to embrace a variety of different artists. There are not many unique rap artists who have their own style and rap with an original perspective. I am not saying that all rappers have to be totally different from one another, but it seems like the same message is reiterated by most rap artists. Even females have become obsessed with money, power, and an image of pure perfection. Rappers seem to have it all these days. Rap videos have a special formula. The classic rap video consists of several cars (with rims, 24’s or higher), dozens of pretty women (wearing summer clothing), a lot of bling-bling, and lyrics that show the world just how conceited the artist is. All of these elements reveal the “luxuries” of life. For a large majority of rappers, the video set is the only time that these ingredients have any truth in them.
Not only are women (including female rappers and video vixens) products of the industry, but men have also fallen victim to the stereotypes about gangsta rappers. Rap as a whole has transformed into a misogynistic monster with so much power and influence on our society. It definitely fits in with our current obsession with the self.
Too bad the 80’s era came to an end.