Rap Is A Male Dominated Industry

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.

About aleex032

Senior at Old Dominion University
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8 Responses to Rap Is A Male Dominated Industry

  1. uksara2012 says:

    Hey, I didn’t know Queen Latifah was originally a rap artist, thanks for that bit of education, haha! This article reminds me of every other social movement that I can think of where people fought to be treated as equals and then the next generation took it for granted. Point in case: women’s lib and all that about wanting to be treated fairly. I haven’t studied it too much so I can’t say, but I imagine that the original women were not referring to themselves as “Queen B” and other derogatory-turned-reclamation terms. They behaved in such a way that men had no choice but to take them seriously. And now we have Snookis and Nicki Minaj(es?) who are free to do and act how they want because they were born into a country of (mostly) equal footing.

    • aleex032 says:

      Women weren’t necessarily calling themselves a b*tch in a derogatory way, but thats what they were referred as when they demanded respect. Missy Elliott said “I’m a b*tch in power and I think this is gonna be the year of the b*tches.” She is calling herself a b*tch but turned it around and used it as a positive and took the power away from men calling females b*tches. Women will never have the same amount of active rappers as men but they are being accepted by their male counterparts whether they are listening to their music or enjoying their sex appeal in music videos.

  2. mvensland says:

    I definitely see your point about rap being male dominated. There have been a few female rappers, but there are all looked at much differently than male rappers. When rap was developed, it seems like it was built around many male-held ideas among african americans. I personally don’t believe that the rap game will ever be close to 50% male and 50% female, only because the concepts rap was built upon were more related to male points of view and activities most females didn’t take part in. It isn’t like, say, country music; at its core, rap was meant to be male dominated, not that their aren’t very skilled female rappers who are as talented or even more talented than most of todays male rappers.

    • aleex032 says:

      I agree with you it will never be 50/50 but rap music wasn’t built around male points of view, it was built on how African Americans could express themselves (Males or Females). There is not relativity to just male subjects, rap is expressing yourself in however you see fit. Females have just as much subject matter as the men to speak on. Country music was male dominated also; the first recognized female country singer wasn’t until 20 years after the start. While the first female rapper presented herself less than 10 years after the creation of rap music.

  3. One thing that distinguishes a female MC from a male is that for a woman it is permissible to both sing and rap, sometimes in the same song. Among men that just isn’t done. You could have a group or a pop hit where there’s one guy who lays down the R&B lyrics and then another guy who comes in to rhyme but it can’t be the same person. There HAS TO BE that division of labor and I don’t know why that is, exactly.

    Maybe its because MC-ing is a certain kind of masculine performance and singing is seen as going against that somehow? Because the singers can still be playas: R.Kelly doesn’t rap, Usher doesn’t rap. But Nikki Manaj can sing and rap, Lauren Hill can sing and rap. It’s like women are allowed some versatility in performance because the men are more constrained by rapping as a gendered performance. You’re saying something about your manliness by being a rapper that prohibits you from venturing into other fields – and women don’t have that issue.

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