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The difficulty of being a female rap artist

Taylin Ford

 Rap/hip-hop is one of the biggest genres of music the world has to offer, giving generations tons of sub-genres to choose from. Coke La Rock and Dj Kool Herc being the founding fathers of the category, rap didn’t come into fruition until 1973. It brought a new flow of music to the 70’s. A female rep for the genre didn’t step onto the scene until the late 80’s: MC Lyte breaking that male mold. 

Ever since then, rap has been a genre anyone can participate in. Though it’s mainly a male dominated category, we still have many iconic female artists that killed the rap game such as Lauryn Hill, Missy Elliot, Queen Latifah, Eve, Da-Brat, Salt-N-Pepa, Nicki Minaj and more recently Cardi B. But unlike their male counterparts, female rap artists combat additional criticisms especially when there’s more than one. The most recent example being Nicki Minaj and Cardi B.

Nicki Minaj is a veteran in the industry, debuting with “Starships” on her Pink Friday album. The song going 6x platinum and breaking Billboard 100 history. Minaj has been a staple not only in the rap industry but the female rap industry overall. So, in a genre that isn’t known for ‘sticking’ female talent, when Cardi B planted her feet in the industry with “Bodak Yellow” going 7x platinum, the world was hostile. 

We saw one of two things as a result, complete love for the artist or overwhelming hate, but why? 

We’d think in such a ‘feminist’ era the rap-loving community would be open to two females crushing the game, but that’s the opposite of what is happening. The Complex article “Why Can There Be Only One Dominant Woman in Rap,” published on April 15, by Kiana Fitzgerald, talks about the reasons behind this, the biggest thing being gender. 

The world doesn’t see many joke female rappers, the last respected getting recognition being CupcakKe in 2015. We’ve seen so many male joke rappers come to the scene like Ugly God, Lil Pump or Lil Dicky, meme culture being the reason for the high ranking, that are respected. The world is much quicker to accept male rappers, most of them now being found through social platforms. 

We lack diversity in female rap. I feel like this “one can only be better” mentality is something that needs to be obliterated all together. Especially seeing how much love male artists show for each other, and we rarely see fans sparking beef between them. 

We see these male artists doing features with each other, tours, and performances; the things we don’t see from females. Instead the world has made it a dog eats dog industry for women.


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