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What Happened to All the Female Rappers?

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Once upon a time, not long ago, a hip-hop world existed where more than one female rapper could be a star. Imagine that, a world where female rappers co-existed. They even collaborated – think Ladies Night starring Angie Martinez, Lil Kim, Da Brat, and Missy Elliott with video cameo appearances from Mary J Blige, SWV, Total, Xscape, Queen Latifah; even your girl Rashida from Love and Hip-Hop Atlanta made an appearance.

From the emergence of hip-hop in the early 1980s through to the mid-2000s, women were not only highly visible in hip-hop, but they were crossing over into film (think Lil Kim in She’s All That) and pop (Eve featuring Gwen Stefani on Blow Ya Mind). They were also breaking records (Lauryn Hill was the first female rapper to reach number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 – Cardi B has since broken that record, of course). Every crew of rap artist crowned their queen, a rap crew could not survive without their bad bitch – Diamond and Princess of Crime Mob, Mia X of No Limit, Rah Digga of Flipmode Squad, Amil of Rocafella.

Salt & Pepa | PhotoCredit : Janette Beckman/Redferns/ Getty Images

Let’s just take a moment and remember – Salt N Pepa, Oaktown 3.5.7., Yo-Yo, Lady of Rage, MC Lyte, Da Brat, Missy Elliott, Remy Ma, Trina, Roxanne Shante, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, Shawna, Charli Baltimore, Bahamadia, Gangsta Boo….I could keep going, but there aren’t enough characters.

At some point after Lil Kim came home from jail and people realized she wasn’t going to monopolize on all that newfound street cred, before Eve found love in a White man overseas, after Queen Latifah dropped the Grammy award-winning jazz album, but a little bit before Foxy Brown was fighting the Asian woman in the nail show, the female rap game sort of dried up. Honestly, I have no idea why.

Missy Elliot | Photo Credit: Time

Perhaps the boys at the top shut the door to up and coming female rap artists? Perhaps hip-hop had gotten so misogynistic that it couldn’t sustain women and misogyny? Perhaps music wasn’t selling the same because people were stealing it online through Napster and LimeWire and record labels, as they are prone to do, dropped the least valuable artists first? Or maybe it is a combination of all those things. At the same time, the female rap artists who managed to gain some level of power had moved on to other endeavors – Queen Latifah was hosting a talk show. Missy Elliott was busy writing and producing pretty much every radio hit in every genre – pop, rock, rap, and r&b. Da Brat, well, she was in jail for busting a bottle over someone’s head. What we know for sure is that there was a good stretch of time when female hip-hop artists were completely missing from the game.

Nicki Minaj | Photo Credit: © MICHAEL STEWART/WIREIMAGE

And who should emerge from this lull but Onika Maraj. I remember when I first heard her mixtape, the one with Gucci and Rocko and that crew, I was in a gay club with my main homie. When Beam Me Up Scotty first dropped, all my LGBTQ friends were the only people I knew pumping it. Nicki had us all believing that she was ‘family’ and at the time, it was ground-breaking to have a woman, outwardly identify as something other than heterosexual. I mean, we all speculated about some artist, but no one ever confirmed and affirmed bisexuality/pansexuality in the way Nicki did. Eventually, we would realize it was all a gimmick, but the point is, it was ground-breaking at the time. Nicki joined a rap crew – Young Money – that owned the rap game (Remember, Rocafella fell apart when Jay-Z left and took Kanye and Rihanna with him) Nicki hopped on that empty stage, grabbed the spotlight and did it on ‘em. The girl had it. She had club bangers, she had barz, she had pop bops. She had Beyoncé. She had it all. And then…

Cardi B performs at Coachella Music and Arts Festival |Photo credit: KYLE GRILLOT/AFP/Getty Images

Over the past year, we have seen the emergence of several female rap artists, none more popular than straight-talking, loud ass Belcalis Almanzar, better known as Cardi B who pretty much hasn’t taken her foot off the neck of the hip hop game since Bodak Yellow hit number one — baby, cheating ass n*gga and all. Cardi B’s success coupled with Issa Rae being intentional about the underground musical artists she drags into mainstream through her show Insecure on HBO, I think, has reignited an interest in female rap. It is so many up and coming female rappers that are one radio hit away from breaking into mainstream music. You can feel the shift happening. I know Nicki can feel it. We all know Nicki can feel it.

There are so many up and coming female rappers that are one radio hit away from breaking into mainstream music. You can feel the shift happening. I know Nicki can feel it. We all know Nicki can feel it. Click To Tweet

Creating a hip-hop world that only allows for one female rap artist at a time does a disservice to a musical genre that is situated distinctly in black culture, a genre that is so deeply black, built on the struggle and disenfranchisement of young black people. It especially does a disservice to the female rapper who never had to learn to contend with other women, who never learned how to embrace other women, who never learned how to collaborate with other women, who never understood what it was like to cheer for other women, who never learned to be secure in her own artistry so that her only competition was herself. It fucked Nicki up.

City Girls | Photo Credit: Rolling Stone

Yes, much of the blame for the marginalization of Black women in hip-hop can be placed firmly on the doorsteps of men (Black men included) who are the primary gatekeepers in this industry. Maybe they’re scared, because the female rappers, all of them, are better than the boys – Young M.A., Resha and J.T., Rico Nasty, Kash Doll, Megan thee Stallion, Doja Cat, all y’all. We see you, we need you.  

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Entertainment

The Diversity JUMPED out: Savage x Fenty Fashion Show Gave us all the Inclusion we Needed

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Last night Savage x Fenty by Rihanna ended New York Fashion Week with a bang! The lingerie brand had an array of women from different skin tones to body types. Rih wanted to show the world that ANYONE can wear Savage x Fenty and feel sexy. There were even pregnant models featured in the show. Yes, pregnant. Get into the models and event down below:

 

Rihanna is taking the fashion industry by storm. Let’s hope other fashion brands can follow suit.

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Lawrence Makes His Way Back to Insecure and Leaves Us SHOOK

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Lawrence must’ve had a seasonal positional at Best Buy because he is back but will he be in a full-time employee in Issa’s life?

Insecure delivered one of the most sickening episodes with “High-Like” episode 4, and not because they brought back breaking couch potato, Lawrence. It was the conversation about friendships and how things change. Dealing with real situations and how friends can all have something going on but also come to support one another. But for some of us seeing Lawrence made us wet and how us wondering why since we didn’t want to see him anymore.

The last 2 minutes as Issa walks in 7-Eleven after trying to assure Tiffany that things will be the same after she has her baby. Tiffany seems to be reluctant that it will be. Issa walks into the store to get some water and runs into Chad the Bluetooth wearing real estate agent. As she looked over to her left (in my Tweet voice) their goes Lawrence looking so good without a mustache OH MY! Issa’s looks as if she is excited and Chad’s mood is all of us!

Take a look at some of the reactions from Twitter as some said: “To hell with Lawrence!”

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Black People Stay Winning! Tiffany Haddish & Katt Williams Win Emmys!

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Tiffany Haddish made history last year for the being the first black female comedienne to host “Saturday Night Live.” Her performance garnered her a Creative Emmy for “best guest actress in a comedy.” During her SNL episode, Haddish addressed the hot button issue of sexual assault in Hollywood. It’s great that Haddish was able to bridge the gap between comedy and current events and get an Emmy for it! Haddish beat out Maya Rudolph, Jane Lynch, Tina Fey, and Wanda Sykes.

Another Emmy award winner we’re excited about is Katt Williams. The comedian won “best guest actor in a comedy” for his appearance on FX’s “Atlanta.” Katt Williams played Earn’s Uncle Willy and stole the show. This is great news because Williams career has gone through its ups and downs along with his personal life. With the Netflix special and this Emmy hopefully, this indicates that the “It’s Pimpin’ Pimpin'” comedian’s career is on an incline and we get to see him in more TV and film projects. Williams beat out Bryan Cranston, Donald Glover, Sterling K. Brown, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Bill Hader for the award.

It’s great to see black talent that would be classified as “ghetto” or “ratchet” win Emmy awards. This goes to show that that respectability politics isn’t ruling anything over here. Black people are being their authentic selves and getting awards for it.

Are y’all here for the Emmy’s now that we’re getting awards or are they still late like always? Let us know in the comments.

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