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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…)

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:

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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…)

Rappers like Lil Kim and Foxy Brown have used their sexuality and bodies to sell records. Unlike MC Lyte and Queen Latifah, Foxy and Lil Kim have promoted their personas as being sexy, naughty, and rough females and embraced their sexualized images. Most of their lyrics reflect similar themes and subjects as male rappers. The obsession with money, power, and respect is manifested in their raps as they struggle to establish themselves as rap icons despite their femininity. The rap game is dominated by men who gain power by having as many women as possible and maintaining a reputation for being desirable and sought after. Females, especially heterosexuals, have to approach rap with an agenda to preserve their interest in men while also having the power to be sexy. It in interesting because many of their verses would be acceptable if they were not women. They choose to rap about the same topics as their male counterparts, but are targeted for being too explicit. Unlike their male counterparts, they put a female heterosexual perspective to “fucking bitches and getting money.” In this sense, the word bitch is replaced with the word “nigga,” but is used to refer to the same type of person. There are actually many different definitions of the words ‘nigga’ and ‘bitch’ but in simple terms, the word “bitch” could be replaced by the word “nigga” to make distictions between gender.

Although Christina Aguilera is not a rapper, her message about double standards between men and women is one that is often talked about by female rappers. In Christina’s video, Lil Kim’s verse (more…)

While doing research on Lil Kim and Foxy Brown, I ran across this article by Lori A. Tribbett-Williams entitled “Lil Kim and Foxy Brown- Caricature of Black Womanhoond” that articulates the possible negative affects of having women, specifically Black women, hyper sexualized in the media. The article points out why these images are acceptable and fall into categories that have been set up long before the careers of Lil Kim and Foxy Brown.

KIMfOXY

“Among the most commonly depicted images of African-American womanhood is the image of the promiscuous “temptress” known as Jezebel. The new generation of rappers, through their X-rated lyrics and fashions, breathe new life into Jezebel, a mythical caricature and distorted representation of African-American womanhood….This Note focuses primarily on the racist and sexist social construct known as the Jezebel, and the proliferation of the Jezebel image into rap music, particularly the music of the new generation of African-American female rap artists. Lil’ Kim and Foxy Brown are affectionately known as “gangsta bitches” and are credited as the catalysts for the revolutionary sexual persona of the new generation. They have established their fame largely because of their “barely there” fashions. Female rapper BOSS commented that “tight clothes mean ‘weak lyrics.” ‘ That being the case, Lil’ Kim and Foxy Brown are saying nothing lyrically, with respect to the social status of African-American women, but talking loud, since they are among the most successful of the contemporary female rap artists. The new generation personifies what has perhaps been the most destructive image of African-American womanhood, an image that African- American women have for centuries tried to “live down.” The Jezebel image, as glorified by emerging female rappers, continues to be resurrected from history and projects a distorted image of African-American womanhood.”

Prior to reading this article, I didn’t really pay attention to how significant female rap artists are in contributing to the few portrayals of Black women in the media. There is no surprise that the most successful female artists are African-American since rap has been tied and so intimately connected to the Black community. Although black women are expressing themselves via music, (more…)

Since we are talking about female rappers, let’s also take a look at women in rap who are not behind the mic, but are in front of the camera. These women are usually referred to as video vixens and have become a crucial component of rap videos. A rapper is not legit unless he has dozens of beautiful women crowded around him, at least in his videos. Part of the game is attracting gorgeous women and so rap videos would be incomplete without the video vixens.

The Game featuring Kanye West- “Wouldn’t Get Far”

A video vixen is a woman that is featured in a video to be eye candy for the viewer. Her only purpose is to show off her body and face for the pleasure of those watching. She rarely has any lines but instead uses her body to speak to the camera. Rappers, The Game and Kanye West, reveal just how far video vixens go to become famous in this song. Just like in other rap videos, there are countless attractive women prancing around in front of the camera with just enough clothes on. As you can tell from the lyrics, The Game disapproves of these women. He specifically calls out a few of their names in this song, dissing them for doing “whatever it takes” to gain a position in front of the camera.

Some women have made careers from being featured in rap videos. If you watch enough of the videos, the same faces start to show up. The Game cynically criticizes video vixens for exploiting their looks and bodies yet he hires many to appear in his video. The irony…… (more…)

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