Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Plight of the Female Emcee: 3 Kinds of Rappers That Annoy Everyone

I've often contemplated why female emcees have gone the way of the wholly mammoth. I've also wondered why to be honest, I don't really like most female emcees.

Most of my musings have focused on industry politics and insider's refusal to take chances and reinvent the wheel. You don't know how many executives I've spoken to who claim that female emcees won't sell, have no real audience, and require too much effort to market. Um, excuse me, but isn't that your job? These executives are so spoiled by these "ready-made" emcees that they no longer even understand the concept of real marketing, artist development and grooming a project to make audiences understand why they need the music in their lives.

Anyhow, this time, I've decided to focus on the actual female emcees, not the system. These are the emcees that need to re-evaluate themselves and get focused on making good music. They are the types of female rappers that annoy everyone (even if they won't admit it).

The Mood Ring Emcee.
If I wanted to hear about solar eclipses, how the moon has affected my life and mood and the galaxy, I would google "astrology" or buy a damn telescope. Seriously, the hell ya'll be talking about? And yes, this applies to men as well. I think because so many female emcees got their start writing poetry (another annoying cliche) they tend to be all Mother Earth-ish in their rhymes. Rapping about the Milky Way and linear equations does not make you deep. Spare me. Please.

The Butch Emcee.
This is a complex issue. This category is probably the most cliche as well. You damn near have to be gay to rhyme these days if you're not being a whore. And before you get your draws in a bunch, no, I'm not anti-gay. I'm just sayin. Somebody needs too.

The truth of the matter is, I've never understood overtly gay female emcees. In fact, if you're a female emcee and are overtly gay, you're probably wack. At the end of the day, I don't want your sexual orientation/presentation to override your music, and for too many Butchy emcee's, it does. When you hit the stage, the first thing that pops into my head should NOT be "wow, she's extra gay." It should be "wow, she's dope" or "this song is jammin." Agreed? The same would apply to dudes, if any of them ever publicly came out of the closet. Nothing wrong with being proud about who you are, but your sexual orientation shouldn't define who you are as an artist, your music should.

Not only that, but too many of these newer Butch Emcees spend so much time trying to prove how dude-like they are, they forget their female audience and lose themselves and their message in the process. I mean, at the end of the day, I don't need you trying to prove to me how hard you are to overcompensate for your feminine qualities. I could just go listen to Chingy or Lloyd Banks if that's the case.

I understand that hip-hop culture damn near breeds gay women. Hell, hip-hop hates women (as it's repeatedly proven) and over the years has insisted that we deny any real femininity in favor of overtly perverted sexuality. I also understand that there are a plethora of gay emcees who have rocked long before the 2000s... I don't need to name them, since many are still semi-in the closet. But even with those emcees, their sexuality wasn't flamboyant. They were just women who rocked, pure and simple. If they happened to be gay, in addition to being a dope emcee, cool. Again, the focus was on making good music... Let's get back to that.

The Rapping Whore.
Out of all of my little categories, this is probably the one that pisses me off the most, for a number of reasons. I think the main reason is because the majority of these women don't even write their own lyrics and do not have any real control over their packaging. Therefore, they become the real-life projected image of what some warped, chauvinistic, controlling man thinks and wants a "woman" to be. Sick shit when you think about it.

I once wrote a piece for a book (that to my knowledge has yet to be published) about how Lil Kim's Hard Core change female emcees forever. Now, I'm not going to blame Kim for killing female rappers, the same way that I won't blame Master P for killing "real hip-hop" when he got on wax and proclaimed that he wasn't a rapper, but a hustler and proceeded to sell millions of records worldwide. I will say that both P and Kim are probably the most tangible examples of the inevitable change that took place.

After Kim dropped and experienced so much success, the blueprint was set. Take a cute female with low self-esteem, get a popular rapper to write her rhymes and make sure she is dressed like a hooker at all times. The female emcee became the physical manifestation of many men's most warped fantasies about what a woman should look like. She became the physical manifestation of what some men believed women secretly coveted-- their money (using sex as weapon to achieve their goals).

Basically, the female emcee quickly lost any traces of real femininity. She lost her voice. And she hasn't really gotten it back since.

The Rapping Whore is probably the most dangerous out there, because she's the only one who has experienced a great deal of commercial success. We all know how imaging can affect and influence people, damage their perceptions of what's real and kill self-esteem. This is a prime example.

I said all of this to say female emcees, for too long, have not represented real women...average women, like me. And that's why we're losing. Again, I understand that the industry machine is like, 97 percent of the problem. You can't even get attention unless you're endorsed by a click of men. I understand that. But for a second, let's forget about men and what they want. Hell, they've totally forgotten about us on the mic, with few exceptions. Just be honest and don't be afraid. It's hard, but it's necessary for women to ever be properly represented in hip-hop again.

***On the bright side, there is a small movement of female rappers across the country starting to sprout up again. They're focused, they're perceptive and they're making good music. If you know one, please, please sponsor her before she makes a break for Europe or Japan.


samax said...

great post! i'm with you...

Concerned Fan said...

Dont you rap...or used to? Pretty well from what I remember. Are you going to offer up some of your music as a solution or alternative to this crap we're subjected to? It would be much appreciated.

SirEdgarO'Really said...

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one66soul said...

This is why Bahamadia has always been my favorite femcees, I am checking for this chick by the name of Boog Brown also...I think it will be cool if you named a few females that are representin' somewhat a female emcee should be..

Danielle said...

Great read Jacinta! I love how you're straight forward with it, no sugar-coating.

I, personally, would absolutely LOVE to see a female rapper that represents myself, my friends, etc. Not sure if that day will ever come, but it'd be nice.

Chase. said...

Hey Jacinta,

I read your post I would have to agree with the 3 types of "female rappers".

Maybe you should make a 4th category...There are quit a few artists trying to make a name for themselves but get little press because they are NOT one of the 3 types. The attempt to brand yourself as an ARTIST and not just a FEMALE ARTIST is a difficult, yet possible task.

Brittany Street for instance. Maybe you should check her out...I would love to hear your thoughts on her as an ARTIST male or female >>



A.R. Shaw said...


Nanci O said...


Link back:

Nanci O

Panama Jackson said...

Interesting post. Me and one of my boys were having a similar argument a ways back. We determined that Lauryn Hill's success as a rapper was because she was a dope spitter who rapped like a woman...just one who was better than most dudes. She wasn't selling sex or over thugged out talk or spitting about suns, moons, quasars or anything. She was just straight no chaser dope. Whereas the Lil Kims and Foxxy's came out selling sex (like you said).

I'll be curious to see what happens with Nicki Minaj. Though I personally can't stand her, she's like the new age Foxxy or Kim, except she has the zaniest cat in the universe (possibly) writing for her so it makes her somewhat interesting. I hate her voice though, with the passion of Mel Gibson. Strange though, despite selling sex, I dont just want to place her in the rapping whore section. No clue why though...

Keith504 said...

Good post, Lol at "The Mood Ring Emcee!" "Sun, moon, stars, quasars... Motherf*ckas sound like Elroy Jetson." - Doughboy [Boyz N The Hood] Naw but on a serious note I think your right! Isn't it the labels job to market and promote artist! They are getting to lazy and comfortable making money off these one hit wonder artist! If their even making money! What the hell is Def Jam doing with Unladylike (female rap group)? I'm sure some of you heard of them! They should have been in the BET Cypher, collaborated with Rihanna on her album, etc. They are dope female artist and should def be out there! I hate to see prominate female rappers/ emcees get the shaft while the "The Rapping Whore" gets all the attention! The are a few talented female rappers that in my opinion should have been recognized by these major/ major indie labels like Rasheeda, Kanary Diamonds, Bola and Texas female rapper La Femme Nikita! Search these chicks they are great artist, and I mean artist! While they do touch on subjects like life and how their childhood was affected, they manage to relate. And they may get aggressive and go hard like a n*gga would on the mic, but all the while maintain their femininity! And as a man I want to be reminded of how sexy you are... "Contrary to your beliefs, I'm the best thang smokin. A LADY IN THE STREETS, IN THE BED I GOT HIM OPEN, provoking; him to think he first only is bogus. No time for all that love sh*t, I grind tryin' to stay focused; and you know this" - La Femme Nikita

Keith504 said...

I forgot that verse by La Femme Nikita up top is from her song Sally Walker off her indie album Nom de code: Nikita. Also Google search "Rasheeda - I Wanna Be Successful: Successful Remix" She went off on dat ish!

Pablo504 said...

That's why I like the rapper Imazia. She writes her own lyrics and songs for other people too. She has lyrical content!!! In my opinion she can compete with any of the male or female rappers out there. Lady got that real appeal and I like that! FINALLY SOME REAL HIP-HOP!!

Anonymous said...

I agree with you most females on the mic are ''so so''.. I guess looking for ''stardom''Instead of doin colabo's like the guy's to keep promoting their Career/organizing to produce a few GREAT female Squads to do good work,getting more recognition.I think it is SO POLITICAL for females in ''Hip hop''.I just moved to Atlanta from Harlem NY to see who the scene is here as far a colabos/networking.