Ladies First

Hip-hop is a culture that everyone can participate in. But where are the ladies? They are severely underrepresented in this genre. Why is that?

XM radio 65 explored this topic all weekend. The extended the Ladies First radio program to celebrate everything female in hip-hop. It was nice to hear all the great songs from female rappers over the entire history of this art form. I had the radio on all weekend long.

There are some historic ladies that have blessed us with their skills on record. But they always had to battle for respect. They still do. Female rappers and DJs are few and far between. Why aren’t there more ladies in hip-hop?

It could have something to do with image. When it comes to guys on the mic, we don’t care what they look like. The Notorious B.I.G. is heralded as being one of these best ever on the mic, but he was a huge dude. Craig Mack had a bunch of hits and he wasn’t even close to being attractive.

However, when it comes to ladies on the mic, I think we expect too much. We expect women to be polite and look good. Rappers generally don’t have to do this. We expect women to behave in certain ways and it’s almost counterintuitive to what hip-hop seems to stand for.

I think we need a total shift of thinking here. Women can rock the mic and they can do it well. I think we should pay more attention to them. Women deserve respect in this culture and there are some truly great and underappreciated artists out there.

Check out Eternia, Remy Ma, Jean Grey.

And the Legends; Queen Latifah, Monie Love, Michie Mee, Salt and Pepper, Motion, Missy Elliot, Roxanne Shante, MC Lyte,

And don’t forget; Foxxy Brown, Lil Kim, Da Brat, Angie Martinez, Left Eye Lopez, Nonchalant, Lauryn Hill, Rage, JJ Fad, Eve, Bahamadia, Paula Perry, Rah Digga, Heather B.

And yes I do own some of these records. I should own more though. A lot of the artists I just listed haven’t recorded any new material in a long time either. It’s a shame. And there should be way more ladies on the mic, so much so that my list would be too large to even put in a single blog post. Which leads me back to the question, where the ladies at?

6 responses to “Ladies First”

  1. that’s true there should be more women but hey u never know there may be more around the corner and I am a big queen latifah fan and missy elliot.

  2. Where are the ladies? I suspect they’re out, taking lessons in elegance and style from real legends such as Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington and Edith Piaf (those are just ones that popped in my mind right now).

    I dunno Chase, maybe people don’t care that much what big ugly male rappers look like, but I suppose you’ve noticed they always surround themselves with ‘babes.’

    And I don’t think Lil’ Kim would have had so much success if not for the… ermm… apparel.

  3. Trisia, that’s my point. We shouldn’t care what artists look like if they make good art. I think women might be scared to reveal themselves in hip-hop because they might not be confident about their appearance. If this is holding ladies back then it really is a shame. I think we need to hear more of their voices and opinions on the beats. This might change a lot about the perception of the art.

  4. I feel like I am always having to defend my culture. Hip-hop culture is built around artistic expression.

    Trisia, you might not like hip-hop and I can appreciate your opinion. I enjoy all the comments you have been making. But I think you have to admit that good rap music is an art and it is beautiful.

    Unfortunately there is a lot of garbage out their on the airwaves. But that can be said for any genre of music or medium of art.

  5. My comment was rude, and I apologise. I realise you like hip-hop, and I have friends who listen to this type of music (strangely enough, it’s always the quiet ones…)

    Let’s say then that I feel that so far I’ve only been exposed to the part that’s plain rubbish.