Rap is a male dominated industry. Females have just as much to say as their male counterparts. Rap has evolved over the decades and so has female rap. In the 80s and early 90s, female rappers had no sex appeal, when you compare Queen Latifah to Nicki Minaj; you see a progression, not necessary in the right direction. When you listen to the lyrics of Da Brat and Lil Missy Elliott, their substance, vibe, and creativity talks about society and how females need to unify with one another. Now you see female rappers looking more feminine and don’t really talk about anything that matters, such as “Lip Gloss or Put it on me.” When I speak for the men, when we see a Nicki Minaj music video we aren’t listen to the lyrics, we just see Nicki half-naked because in our society that is what attracts men to her music.
Usually, a women’s value in rap music is as a back up singer or dancer (e.g. video hoes). Although men still constitute and control the vast majority of the commercial industry, female rappers are emerging as a force. Female rappers are people of empowerment for the women who are going through the same economic obstacles as men; they are someone they can look up to, someone they can listen to for uplifting when needed.
When you think rapper, you might think oversized clothing, lots of jewelry, and no make-up. Well that’s how male and female rappers dressed in the early 90s. The female rappers had to hide their femininity in order to gain respect in the industry by wearing combat boots and fatigues. Some of the first recognized and respected rappers were Queen Latifah, Da Brat, Lady of Rage, Missy Elliott, Lauryn Hill and MC Lyte. One thing they all have in common is their choice of clothing. Some of the women that progressed rap into the millennium were Lil Kim and Foxy Brown, showing that women can be “gangsta” rappers without dressing like men. Women went from hating the word “Bitch” to referring to themselves as the “Queen B.” Foxy Brown and Lil Kim’s over sexuality is a liberating force. They were a product of the male fantasy. As the old saying goes, “Sex Sells.” Lil Kim used sexual lyrics as a way of establishing herself. Men always refer to sex in rap and she showed the world that women could do the same.
“Nicki Minaj refers to herself and her fans as barbies.” She has a unique style of rap that is heavily criticized, uses lesbian charged appeal in the majority of her lyrics, and created so much buzz in the rap game because of her animated persona. While this makes her memorable, it’s also made her a target of much skepticism. Nicki Minaj is more of a hip-hop artist but refers to herself as a rapper.
Female rappers are forever evolving and one day will be an equal in the rap game.