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, like Lil Kim, hold on to the image of themselves as individuals that lack emotions and are fully detached. They are over sexualized and feel the need to jeopardize their femininity for success. They are always being compared to men and have to outperform a man at his own game.
It is unfortunate that women feel like they have to fit a certain mold to be accepted, a mold that they may initially try to avoid and steer away from.
The truth of the matter is that we commonly examine these women against rap but don’t examine them as pure individuals. I think that if a man did the same things (as many male rappers do), people’s impression of that man would be different. But since women are exploiting themselves instead of being exploited by a man, we have a problem. Female rappers have to consider so many more rebuttals because they are simply a female in the male dominated world of rap, a world that is leaking over into mainstream culture.Maybe this is why a lot of women become singers instead of rappers. The world of singing is more open to women than the rap scene.
Remy Ma admits that there were never an abundance of female rappers. “I didn’t realize when I was growing up there weren’t that many female rappers. I didn’t realize what it really was. Now, actually being a female artist, there was no other females at the time or that was even on it like she [MC Lyte] was on it, coming at it from that perspective.” This realization substantial because many girls who may be interested in rap do not have many women to look up to. They may stray from rap because it is obviously very difficult for a female to succeed and why would they want to set themselves up for failure? Maybe this is why Ice-T states that it takes a “special woman.”
It is crucial for a new female artist to be confident in her skills and her image in order for her to stand tall against the media and all of the eyes watching to see if she will succeed. There is always pressure placed on the shoulders of a new artist, but female artists are especially scrutinized and critically examined, specifically because of their gender. I hope that this unfair assessment of female rappers will soon change. But don’t worry, I’ll be sure not to hold my breath.