Who You Callin A.... Female Rapper!?
"If you call me a bitch, make sure you put THE BADDEST in front of it." - Trina
Let's take it back, back to what many consider to be the 'Golden Age' of Hip-Hop. Back to MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, Monie Love, Yo-Yo, Gangsta Boo, The Ghetto Twins, Lady of Rage, Rah Digga, Da Brat, Lil Kim... I could go on, but let's take it back to when those women represented the Female Rapper.
Now I understand that times have changed and opinions have shifted, but one thing that will never change for me is the significance of 'female' rappers to the game.
I'm not certain when or how the tables got turned, but somehow they did. At some point in history being called a 'Female Rapper', 'Female Emcee', 'Femcee', etc. became a derogatory term and offensive to some.
Depending on who you ask, those labels are legit fighting words. But why? If you are a female that raps are you not a female rapper?
I know that the argument against the terms are mainly about respect. I wanna ask you though, is it the term that needs to be changed or the level of respect associated with it? You're probably saying to that those two things are one in the same, change the term or rather discontinue it, to show respect.
I disagree. No matter what term you use 'Female Rapper', 'Femcee', 'Female Emcee' etc. there's always going to be an issue with respect when it comes to women in HipHop.
Apple's to oranges here, but it can be argued that the arguments disputing the term 'Female Rapper' are similar to those that tell women to 'cover up' and people of color to 'stay in their place' in order to avoid problems with those who clearly don't respect them.
We're cutting our nose despite our face.
While many women won't admit it, a large majority of us have allowed the patriarchal society that we live in to influence and overwrite our own perceptions of ourselves. Being labeled a 'Female Rapper' instead of just a 'Rapper' only implies that the former is less than, if you accept the perception that one actually is less than the other.
For myself, I automatically associate the term 'Female Rapper' with greatness. I know I'm getting old now cause I can honestly say that I come from a different time. In my day... Female Rapper's we're cut from a different cloth. Being the First Lady of a crew or label was an honor that automatically came with respect. Not only did it mean that you could spit, but that you could hold your own.
I took it back to the 90's because that's the era I'm more familiar with, but further back to the late 80's...to the days of Lisa Lee, Debbie D, Nicki D, Roxanne Shante, Boss, the late Ms. Melodie, and MC Trouble, when the bar for Female Rapper's was set higher than those of their male counterparts, being a Female Rapper came with more respect.
Was it easier? Of course not, but that's exactly why we should embrace the term. Being a woman is a beautiful thing. I don't say that for the more conventional reasons, but for the unconventional ones. Despite being or the pressure of being a mother and/or wife, on top of being black and a woman, on top of the struggles that come with simply being a person on this earth, these women pushed forward. For that, their contributions to Hip-Hop opened doors and created opportunities for the ones (male or female) that came after them.
Give them all their 10's baby!
If we highlighted the accomplishments of women of Hip-Hop more we wouldn't have to repeatedly use all of our energy arguing about them being called a Female Rapper.
Let's celebrate the Female MC and engage in conversations that highlights their greatness.
Sometimes, if you want the opposition to hear you, you have to deliver your message from their perspective to ensure that they understand. Perhaps, if we started having more conversation on content, lyrical ability, flow, and the need for more diversity, oppose to those that only highlight beef and misogyny, the domino effect would be more respect for the Female Rapper.
But hey....all this, is just my opinion