UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1980:  Photo of Roxanne Shante  (Photo by David Corio/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Hip Hop Herstory

As Women’s History Month comes to a close this week I want to take time away from everything else happening in the Rap game to once again recognize the women who’ve made contributions to Hip Hop Culture and the industry of Rap music. It is no secret that as people everything we do is to innately impress the opposite sex. Men and women dress a certain way in hopes of attracting someone romantically. It is all about making an impression and Hip Hop is all about impressing others these days. Who has the best style, rhymes, followers, likes, drugs, money, and hoes? Well, maybe it’s not about the best rhymes but it should be for the real emcees anyway. Women on the other hand are held to a different standard than their male counterparts. For women in the game it’s not about the drugs, money, or hoes but her style and how she promotes her sexuality. Women emcees have always been thought of as “fly” but it wasn’t until Lil Kim came along that women were pressured to be overtly hypersexual.

It is also no secret that these same women have made Hip Hop history with their rhymes and not their bodies but simultaneously these women are being discredited for their contributions. Every female emcee has had her battle with the rumor mill about the use of a ghostwriter. Lil Kim allegedly got rhymes from Biggie, Foxy Brown admitted that Jay Z wrote a few bars for her, and allegedly MC Lyte’s early rhymes were written by Audio Two. Now you hear rumors that Nicki gets bars from Safree, Drake, and Lil Wayne. Remy Ma’s ShETHER got caught up in the same rumors when it was rumored that Papoose wrote some of those bars. People will dispel rumors of Drake having a ghostwriter even after hearing a reference track but slander any lady emcee spitting fire simply because women are seen as weaker thus becoming an easy target. Most female Rappers are Black women so historically the unfair discrimination of the Black woman in this country rears its ugly head within Hip Hop Culture as well. When people have their top 5 debates there is almost never a mention of a woman, not even Lauryn Hill. (The argument would be because she only had one album.) The dead will get a mention before the living. *Cues Big L legacy*

There’d be no Rap or Hip Hop if it wasn’t for the women who birthed the pioneers and the forefathers of the culture. Women get a bad rap all over the world despite being the backbone of cultures throughout the globe. We cannot continue to minimize and overlook the women who have played a vital role in the establishment and the forward movement of the culture. The culture and the industry is mostly run by men who’ll tell the story of these pioneering women? History is always written by the victor and they tell the story the way they want to interpret it. The same goes for “Straight Outta Compton”, the Bible, and many other historical scripts or visual media. We have to look past the ghostwriting rumors and the hyper-sexuality and give these women the praise they deserve and stop belittling and disrespecting these women. They are someone’s daughter, sister, mother, aunt, niece, and last time I checked some of you have one of the aforementioned if you aren’t one yourself. A group like De La Soul can come back and break records with their new music but if a group like Salt-N-Pepa tried to comeback it wouldn’t get half the attention they deserve. Take the rest of this week to listen to some new lady emcees and go back to those who paved the way. I’m sure her rhymes will exceed your already lowered expectations so check your bias at the door.

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