?The other day, I had the urge to tell one of my favorite rappers that I loved her.
??That rapper's name: Jean Grae.
?How did I tell her? Well, I didn't.
I updated my status on Facebook and told all my friends like a coward. Eventually, she saw it. I don't know if she was online (were FB friends) or if somebody told her, but I just felt the need to say it. But, is not some crush on a talented artist.
??I don't know why, but I have been missing the womans voice in Hip-Hop. Im not just talking about Jean's lyrical prowess. Nor am I talking about vixen rappers, even though they are cool for obvious reasons. [Like one younger female friend of mine said, A little Nicki Minaj never hurt.]
I'm talking about the women in the game that had a mighty voice, a voice thats been systematically silenced through the years.?
?There are so many reasons for their disappearance, but I wont go into that now. I just miss the ladies, even when they were dissing us men or proclaiming it was "Ladies First."?
?When I say I miss women in Hip Hop, Im not just talking about the ones holding a microphone. Men have always dominated Hip-Hop, but women were always involved in some way or another. I miss women at concerts and album listenings. I miss debating with a woman whos the best and why. I miss women music executives and managers; important women such as writers, editors, stylists, publicists and other critical cogs in the machine.
I dont blame the women who have abandoned Hip-Hop. Who really do they have left to rally behind? Lil Mama? Lil Kim?
Ok, what about male rappers? Most women I know tend to only like a handful of them ie Drake, Lil Wayne and Jay-Z. Even Drake is skating on thin ice thanks to his debut video that nearly pushed women to protest in the streets. Strategically, that was a bad move for Drizzy, because females had hoped he would help spread a positive depiction of women in Hip-Hop.
?Eh, we can't entirely blame Drake's video for the view that women are nothing more than eye candy in Hip Hop. (Maybe we should blame Kanye who directed the clip?)
??I miss women in Hip Hop but because they arent being given a spotlight but that doesnt mean they dont exist.
Shawnna is a beast.
Amanda Diva is Hip-Hops ultimate hustler, merging art and music.
Nicki Minaj was reminiscent of Kim and Foxy, but now has adjusted into a far more original being.
There are also a bevy of underground acts like Eternia, DJ Chela, Toni Blackmon and others doing their thing.?
??SO WHY ARE THEY M.I.A.??
?Hoping that it wasnt just me, I asked some female friend why they thought women had left the scene. Overall they told me that they were "totally frustrated" with Hip-Hop.
??"There is no diversity, said one woman, who works in a white-collar job. We're in a recession and they just do all that bragging. 'I got cars jewels crap is so played. Maybe I'm getting old, but I'm tired of it." Frustrated or not, she still recognized Raekwon Only Built For Cuban Linx 2 as one of the better albums of the year.
?My pal Aimstar, general manager at The Source, also cited Raes album as one of the reasons why she refuses to give up on Hip-Hop.?
?Not to turn this into an editorial praising Raekwon, but there is something special about that album, Cuban Linx 2. I believe it is appealing, because it reflects a certain expertise in musical diversity, authenticity, musicianship and storytelling.
During the week of OBFCL2's release, I went to Rae's concert/album release party and was amazed at the number of women that were in the crowd. Now, I dont mean traditional Hip-Hop ladies that looked like they smoke weed and listen to Murs on repeat. There were all types of women there.
You had the b-girls rocking Wu shirts (shout out to the Caramel Sundaes). Some women where flashy in heels and form-fitting mini dresses. Others were somewhere in the middle. Racially the crowd was like Jay-Zs 9/11 concert but on a much smaller scale: Black, White, Asian and others. The venue was so jammed packed and hotter most Hip Hop parties Ive attended since the 90s.
? ?IS THERE ANY HOPE FOR WOMEN IN RAP?
??This is the tough question.
??I want to say yes, because there are living, breathing examples such as Jean Grae.??But we have to keep it real.
One of my industry friends has a daughter that aspires to be a rapper.
Like most moms, I don't want to see my daughter hurt, and I feel like in the rap industry, she would get her feelings hurt, she said. It seems as if you have to be supported by, or endorsed by a man in order to succeed. It is the one area of business where Black men have way more power than Black women.?
?Misogyny has killed the female rap star not because they aren't talented, but because a lot of male rappers have taught young people and outsiders how to feel about women. Hip-Hop music has taught many men to undervalue women, pour champagne on them, sleep with them and their friends and make them walk home. ?
?Its not just the mans fauly. Women need to take control of the their own fate and destiny. Sadly, that requires a culture reprogramming itself for women to accept each other who they are and stand firm on how they want to be portrayed. If you dont respect a womans views you cant respect the woman.?
??Our mindset, especially (but not limited to) in Black culture, has to shift if we want to see more ladies in the rap game. The future of Hip Hop depends on it.
I just know that I felt strange at the Slaughterhouse show and its almost 100% men in the house watching Joe Budden talk about being sexy with his arm in a sling. Rappers did those bits for the women in the crowd but if there are no women in the crowd who are you doing it for? Not me.?
?The late James Brown said it best: This is a man's world, this is a man's world. But it wouldn't be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl.
??Lets get that balance back in the world of Hip-Hop that is unless you dont like women or think they cant keep up with the men. I know of one woman, who could come out right now and smash 90% or more of the dudes currently in the gameLauryn Hill.
R.I.P. to Female MC's: Featuring Jean Grae, MC Lyte and Eternia
Lauryn Hill freestyle
Nicki Minaj - "Still I Rise"