When people think of rap they think about Tupac, Biggie, Jay-Z, Ice Cube, and Dr. Dre. What do all of those people have in common besides being rappers? They’re all men. Men have been dominating rap since its beginning, but let’s not forget that women play a part in rap as well. There are many talented female rappers such as Foxy Brown, Lauryn Hill, Salt-N-Peppa, Lil Kim, and Eve.
Female rappers don’t get enough credit. No one focuses on the music when it comes to female rap. Attention goes more to the rapper’s physical appearance when the artist is a woman. An artist by the name of H.E.R. has chosen to be anonymous for this very reason. Her stage name H.E.R. is not an acronym; she chose the name because she wanted her fans to focus on her music. She also covers her face when she performs and on her social media accounts, as she wants her fame to be credited to her musical talents. Although she is not a rapper, I feel as though she is raising awareness in a way.
Women are always being sexualized in the music industry. To be a popular artist, it is not solely about the music; you must have the complete package. It is very hard for women to make it big by just music alone. There are tons of stories about the scandalous things women have had to do to become established artists. Women aren’t taken seriously as artists. Most of the time the person controlling a woman’s music career is a man. Most rap music has a hard approach to it, and in the past, men just couldn’t see women taking the hard approach. If they did, they thought the music wouldn’t sell, so they would suggest that the women add a sexy twist to it.
Two of the hardest female rappers I know that used this strategy are Lil Kim and Nicki Minaj. These ladies claimed their fame in two different decades, so that tells you that the rap industry is sort of at a stand still for how women are treated. One rapper who beat the odds was Lauryn Hill. She was both a singer and rapper, and she was not up for being sexualized by the media. She stayed true to herself and let her music make more noise than her appearance. She was not so much of a “hard” rapper, but she was a conscious one. Her famous hit “Doo Wop (That Thing)” hit the number one spot on the Billboard’s Hot 100 chart in 1998. She was the first female rapper to ever to make it to number one without any features.
An accomplishment of this magnitude didn’t happen again until Sept. 25, when Cardi B made it to the number one spot on Billboard for her hit single “Bodak Yellow.” Cardi B has a different background from Lauryn Hill. She went from exotic dancing to reality tv, and now she’s making hit records.
One thing the two women have in common is hard work and dedication. I’m a fan of rap music by both men and women. For me, the music is more relatable when it comes from the female perspective. I want to see more acknowledgement for female rappers. I want them to be able to break the same records as all the men in the industry. As women, we should support female rap because that is hard to find in their field. A lot of female rappers are feuding with their counterparts, but they should be working together so that they can break more barriers in the music industry.